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Weebly Review: Web Hosting and Site Builder Service

Weebly is a service that provides web hosting and a drag-and-drop website builder, making it a breeze to design websites visually. Since its launch in 2007, Weebly has added a number of enhanced features that allow designers to build sophisticated websites without touching code. But is Weebly all that? Let’s learn in its review.

Here is a quick Weebly review that looks at key features and pricing

How To Get Started

weebly_starter

Getting started with Weebly is easy. All you need to do is create an account with your name, email, and password. However, for some reason the website doesn’t reveal a lot about their pricing. But basically this is how it breaks down: there’s a free basic package that allows you to create unlimited pages but you have to contend with Weebly promotions and ads in your website’s footer.

They also offer three paid plans: the Starter plan costs $4 per month and is basically a slight upgrade from the free plan. You’re free to customize your footer without Weebly branding. You can also use your own URL, add a custom favicon, add optional site stats, and you also get access to premium support.

The Pro plan costs $8 per month and includes everything the Starter plan offers plus upgrades including support for multimedia (audio and video), header slideshows, password protection for selected pages, and site search.

Finally, the Business plan costs $25 per month and is tailor-made for Web stores. It includes SSL support and allows for an unlimited number of products as well as many other features to enhance online selling.

Once you’ve selected a plan, you need to choose the focus of your site. Your options include standard site, store, and blog. From there, you choose a category from several options including personal, business, portfolio, wedding, organization, or education. Next is to choose a theme for your site but you can change it anytime you want. There are more than 100 themes to choose from and most are decent.

The final step in getting started is to create a web address. If you subscribed for the basic free account, your address will end in .weebly.com. However, you can pay for a custom domain but $39.95 per year for a .com is undoubtedly steep even if you pay slightly less if you sign up for more than a year. The best option, it seems, is to point to another domain you purchased elsewhere.

Visual Builder and Interface

Weebly has one of the better visual builders out there. It has an intuitive interface and even if you’re new to web design, it’s easy to figure out how to get things done. There’s basically no learning curve and you can have a fully working website in no time.

The visual builder interface is a straightforward layout of tools aligned along the left margin. They’re basically page elements that you drag and drop onto a page – including image, text, contact form, button, map, and more. Along the top of the margin are smaller buttons that let you switch element groups.

There’s a fixed menu bar along the top of the page that comprises higher level control menus such as Pages, Design, Build, Settings, and Store.

The Site Planner tool lets you determine your website’s objective, organize your pages, and promote your site. You can view the mobile version of your site via a toolbar button. Other toolbar buttons include one that publishes your site and another that displays an overflow menu that has website management and stats sub-menus.

One notable downside is the omission of an Undo feature that can roll back changes such as adding page elements or switching themes. You also can’t roll back your current site to a previous state. You can only Undo and Redo text changes.

Taking Your Site Live

Publishing your site is as easy as clicking a button. Since the system saves your edits automatically, you don’t need to save anything. Another beauty with Weebly is that you can have more than one person building your site: simply assign the appropriate access rights and that’s it.

Conclusion

Weebly has come a long way, from a typical website builder to a sophisticated visual builder that is steps ahead of the competition. It has one of the clearest and simplest visual building interfaces of any website builder, which is precisely what users with limited technical ability want.

There are a few things that they could improve – such as the undo feature and photo editor capability – but overall, they’re slightly ahead of their competition on many fronts.

Also read: DreamPress Review: Managed WordPress Hosting

Featured image: Wikimedia Commons

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