One of the first decisions you’ll face when building a site for your business is whether you want to use a website builder or a content management system.
A website builder like Weebly will provide everything you need to launch a site, from website building tools to hosting, domain registration, SSL certification, templates, and support. In exchange for this ease of use, you’ll have to give up some control over your site. You can’t drag and drop elements anywhere on your posts and pages. You can’t edit parts of the underlying source code. You can’t pick a third-party hosting provider.
Using a content management system like WordPress will provide much more flexibility. You can completely customize the appearance of your site, edit the underlying code, choose your own hosting, and much more. As a result, you’ll have to take over more of the responsibility of setting up and running your site.
Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between Weebly and WordPress so you can select the right solution for your site.
Weebly vs. WordPress
Weebly is a hosted website builder that enables users at any skill level to create a custom site using pre-designed templates, a drag-and-drop builder, and a built-in code editor. Offering a much larger selection of themes and plugins and complete control of its source code, WordPress is a more versatile alternative. With this self-hosted content management system, you can create a larger and more complex site but it will take more time and effort.
While Weebly allows you to edit the HTML and CSS of your site to customize its design, you can’t edit most of the underlying source code. That means you’re mostly limited to what Weebly provides out of the box, which is okay for users with little to no technical knowledge. Entrepreneurs, start-up companies, and small online stores who don’t have the time or budget to learn and pay for a huge range of out-of-the-box features and add-ons will prefer Weebly.
Users looking for a more flexible platform will prefer WordPress. Since you can edit any part of the WordPress source code, you have virtually unlimited control over your site — if you have the required coding skills or time to develop them.
If you don’t, then you can also extend the functionality of your WordPress site by installing plugins. You’ll just have to make sure you have the time and budget required to download, purchase, manage, and update these plugins.
Now that we understand the different groups of users Weebly and WordPress appeal to, let’s look at the costs associated with building and managing a site on each platform.
Weebly vs. WordPress Price
When deciding on a website building platform, consider your budget. You’ll have more upfront costs with a proprietary website builder like Weebly, but that doesn’t mean it’s a more expensive alternative to WordPress. While the WordPress software is free to use, you’ll have to factor in costs for hosting, domain registration, and premium themes and plugins.
Below we’ll break down the costs associated with building and managing a site on Weebly and WordPress.
Weebly offers a limited free version that can be used to create business websites, ecommerce websites, and blogs. It includes all of its basic features, including SSL certification, blogging and design tools, advanced site stats, and more — but it will display ads and branding for Square (the company that acquired Weebly in 2018). You also have to use a Weebly subdomain so your URL will look something like example.weebly.com.
You can connect a custom domain by upgrading to the first tier of premium plans, which is $6 per month, but it’s also ad-supported. To provide visitors with an ad-free experience, you’ll have to upgrade to the Professional or Performance plan.
These plans are $12 and $26 per month, respectively. They offer free domain registration for the first year, unlimited storage, and more advanced functionality. Advanced features include password-protection for different parts of your site and a shipping calculator for ecommerce sites.
It’s important to note that these are the annual rates for the Personal, Professional, and Performance tiers. If you opt to pay month-to-month, then rates increase to $9, $16, and $29 per month.
In addition to these monthly costs, you may also need to factor in the cost of extensions. While 57 extensions available in the Weebly App Center are free, the rest are premium. Premium apps vary in price. Some cost a flat fee of $5, while others cost up to $50 per month.
WordPress is free to download and use, but you’ll have to pay for hosting and domain registration to launch your site. WordPress hosting ranges from $3 to $35 per month on average. Domain registration typically costs $10 to $15 per year.
There are also costs associated with customizing and designing your site if you opt for premium themes and plugins. A premium theme can cost anywhere from $60 to $200. Premium plugins range even more dramatically, from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Some require a one-time fee, like the Yoast SEO Premium plugin, and others require annual subscriptions, like the Monarch plugin.
Because hosting, domain registration, themes, and plugins vary in price, the costs of building and managing a WordPress site range dramatically. For an average WordPress site, you can expect to pay between $36 and $300 per year.
Weebly vs. WordPress for Blogging
Since marketers who prioritize blogging efforts are 13x more likely to see positive ROI, it’s important that you pick a platform with blogging tools and templates to help you get started.
Both Weebly and WordPress can help you create blog content to boost the visibility of your site and get more organic traffic, but each offers a unique selection of layouts and features designed specifically for blogging. Let’s compare the selection of each below.
Weebly for Blogging
Weebly allows you to easily and quickly add a blog to your site. You can edit any of Weebly’s 8 free blog templates to customize the look of your blog, use the drag-and-drop editor to create unlimited content, tag and categorize posts, enable and moderate comments, customize your sidebar, and share your posts on social media.
What sets Weebly apart from other website builders is its built-in code editor, which lets you customize your site’s HTML and CSS to extensively modify the design of your blog and overall site. This is an excellent feature, particularly considering how limited Weebly’s selection of templates is when compared to WordPress’s.
WordPress for Blogging
You’ll find many of the same features that Weebly offers on WordPress, including a drag-and-drop block editor, native commenting system, tags, and categories, and more.
With WordPress, you can build a site in your language, assign user roles and permissions, make your content public or private, or secure posts and pages with a password. You can also choose from nearly 3,000 themes that are specifically designed for blogging in the official WordPress directory. Hundreds more are available in third-party marketplaces.
These advanced features and design options will enable you to add a more complex blog to your site or create and manage a stand-alone blog with lots of content.
Weebly vs. WordPress for SEO
Because higher rankings on Google will increase your site’s visibility and get you more organic traffic, you want your web platform to have features and tools that can help you optimize your blog content and overall site.
Both Weebly and WordPress can help you improve your on-page and technical SEO. Below we’ll compare each platform’s SEO features and extensions so you can pick the best solution for your site.
Weebly for SEO
With Weebly, you can create titles, meta descriptions, and custom URLs that help your posts and pages perform better in search results. You can also use any of the mobile-optimized templates to build a responsive site.
Beyond these standard features, Weebly lacks the features and extensions to help you optimize your content as you write. The ten SEO apps in its marketplace are pricey and have only been given average ratings. That means that though Weebly offers a comprehensive step-by-step guide for making your site SEO friendly, most of the optimization process will fall to you.
That’s why Weebly is better for users who already have experience and knowledge of SEO best practices.
WordPress for SEO
WordPress offers more features and tools for building an SEO-friendly site. Like Weebly, WordPress enables you to easily customize your image alt-text, meta descriptions, headings, and custom URLs and choose a responsive theme to design your site.
What sets WordPress apart is that you can edit any part of your site’s underlying code to optimize it or download or purchase a range of SEO plugins. That way, if you have coding skills, then you can remove any unnecessary code that’s slowing down your site or preventing search engine bots from crawling and indexing it. And, if you don’t, then you can download or purchase WordPress plugins like Yoast SEO, WP Rocket, and Redirection.
While you’ll have to take care of managing and updating these tools, they can help simplify or automate the process of optimizing your content, page speed, redirects, and more to improve your on-page and technical SEO.
The Key Differences Between Weebly and WordPress
If you’re creating a site for your business or looking to migrate to a new platform, Weebly and WordPress are great options. Selecting the right one for your business will require careful consideration of how its functionality aligns with your needs.
To help you pick the best fit for your business, we’ve summarized the key differences between the two platforms below.
Proprietary website builder
Open-source content management system
Free with ads and a Weebly subdomain. Premium plans are $6, $12, and $26 per month, if purchased for an annual term. Month-to-month rates are higher. You can also purchase premium apps, which range from a flat fee of $5 to a monthly subscription of $50.
Free to use the software. Costs associated with domain registration, hosting, and premium plugins and themes range from $36 to $300 per year, on average.
Offers basic functionality for creating and managing a blog, including a drag-and-drop editor, built-in commenting system, and social media integration. While it has a limited selection of blog templates, Weebly’s code editor offers granular control over your site’s design.
Offers more advanced blogging functionality, including user management and content visibility, in addition to the standard features. The selection of blogging themes ranges in the thousands.
Besides standard functionality, there are only a few features and apps available in the Weebly App Market to help you optimize your SEO.
In addition to standard functionality, you can choose from hundreds of plugins that help optimize your on-page and technical SEO.
Originally published Mar 9, 2020 7:00:00 AM, updated March 11 2020