Easiest To Use — Weebly is what I recommend to anyone who doesn’t feel tech savvy. It’s just really easy to use. Everything feels simple and straightforward.
Even though Weebly is easy to use, it’s not simple. Instead it’s actually quite sophisticated. It has excellent ecommerce (it and Squarespace have the best ecommerce among website builders) and one of the best membership systems of any website builders.
Weebly also an App Center that lets you add all sorts of new features to your website: language translations, paid memberships, powerful tables and more.
Weebly has around 70 themes— and they’re all quite good. If there is a shortcoming though, it’s in theme customization. At times Weebly can be limited in theme customization.
Weebly isn’t as flexible as Wix and it isn’t as sophisticated as Squarespace— but it’s easier to use than both. Weebly is what I recommend to anyone who doesn’t feel tech savvy.
Now, it’s not that Weebly isn’t flexible or sophisticated— at times it can be both. Instead, it’s just that what sets Weebly apart from it’s competitors is it’s simple, clear interface.
Since 2014 I’ve written about how uniquely easy to use Weebly is. Even as they’ve added new features, the interface has stayed simple and clean— which is an impressive balancing act. (Simple is easy to do if you don’t have many features but Weebly has lots of features.)
It starts with the website editor. Pages are built by dragging elements from the side drawer into your page. Elements are then then edited within the page:
Another trick Weebly uses to keep the interface easy to use is spotlighting. Basically, Weebly will focus your attention by dimming the rest of the website.
They use spotlighting with the form builder…
These might feel like minor details— they’re not. Keeping the interface tidy and easy to understand is how you create a website builder with lots features that also doesn’t overwhelm users. It’s a real balancing act.
Now Weebly isn’t completely perfect when it comes to ease of use. For example, moving your mouse across the page can start to feel like Minesweeper— where you’re not always sure what you’ll find. Plus pages are made up of headers, columns, sections, spacers and elements— and occasionally it can get tricky to differentiate them— what’s the difference between a section and a header?
But minor greivances aside, Weebly is still the easiest website builder and I highly recommend for anyone who doesn’t feel tech savvy.
You build pages in Weebly with individual Elements or with pre-designed collections of elements called Sections.
Weebly provides a wide selection of core elements— text, photo galleries, products, video, forms, dividers, spacers and more— but most website builders offer these. Where it starts to get more interesting is in the additional elements you can add using Weebly’s App Center.
The App Center lets you install apps that add new elements and features to your Weebly website. Some apps are free and some are paid:
- Multilanguage ($3 / month) — Let’s you add pages in different languages that users can swap between.
- Paid Members ($10 – $30 / month) — Create a paid subscription, membership site (for example: selling an online course).
- Simple Table (Free) — Adds a table element for building tables.
The App Center is a really smart way for Weebly to support additional features without making the core website builder too bloated— users can just add an “app” when they need it. Only a few other website builders also have an App Center (Shopify and Wix).
One thing bothers me about the App Center though: there is no Mailchimp or Constant Contact app. Mailchimp and Constant Contact are popular email newsletter providers— and I am imagine many Weebly users use them. It seems like one of the first apps you would add to the App Center is a sign up box for Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
Unfortunately I believe Weebly hasn’t included these apps because they compete with Weebly’s own email newsletter software called Promote. So in order to get users to use their own email newsletter software, it seems like they make it more difficult for users to integrate with competing software. Disappointing.
Weebly offers five plans. Three of the plans are for websites and two are for online stores— I’ve written an in-depth breakdown of the plans here.
Weebly also offers a free plan that’s better than most free website builder plans. It includes unlimited bandwidth, basic ecommerce and a solid subdomain— which is pretty great.
Domain names on Weebly are more expensive than you would find at a domain name provider such as Namecheap. Weebly charges $19.95 / year for a domain name, while Namecheap costs around $15 / year.
On top of that, Weebly charges $10 / year for domain privacy and Namecheap includes domain privacy for free. What is domain privacy? Domain names are required to have someone’s contact information publicly available— domain privacy allows you to anonymize that information.