According to some reports, WordPress runs more than a quarter of all the websites on the Internet. That’s an insane number of websites! So does it mean you should definitely go with the popular option?
Well, if you’re reading this article, you’re already considering one alternative in the form of Weebly. Which is great because the philosophies and features of these two solutions are so different that they’re almost clashing.
So if you’re still hesitating between Weebly and WordPress.org (the open source product), we’ve compared all their differences to help you decide. As always, there is a lot to consider depending on the kind of website you need, so make sure you go through all the points!
Table of Contents
Ease of Use: Is Weebly easier to use?
Weebly: this is almost unfair because Weebly is probably the easiest website builder to use in the world. You can read our full review here, but the main point is that it uses a drag and drop editor to create your website as easily. They also have an excellent App Center where you can enhance your site through all kinds of gizmos and add-ons.
Lean back and watch our video review to see Weebly in action:
WordPress: how should we put this…. WordPress is not for the faint-hearted. If the consecutive letters FTP, CSS and HTML scare you, you might want to look away now. So yes, you will need some technical knowledge to create your website and to update it. You will need to trawl through lines of code.
And although the new Gutenberg version will remove a lot of the editing pain, you’ll still need to spend quite a bit of time reading instructions, tutorials and forum posts. Overall, your learning curve will be much steeper. On the plus side, some website hosts offer a one-click installation so at least installing it is not all that bad.
This tutorial shows you how the One.com 1-click installation works:
Winner: Weebly by far. In fact, if you are only concerned about ease of use, you can probably skip to the end of this article right now!
Designs & Flexibility
Weebly: their templates are modern, responsive and segmented in categories such as online store, portfolio, blog, etc… So here again, it’s very easy to find the look of your next website and it’s good to know they will work right out of the box. Weebly comes with over 55 templates, all of which are free. And you can always change the template for another one and your site’s content will look just right.
WordPress: a ton of choice here. You can find any kind of template to fit your needs online and on dedicated websites like Themeforest. There are thousands of free ones online and paid templates are generally between $30 and $60, but they’re a bit of a mixed bag, because not all of them are responsive. You will also need to know a bit of basic HTML or CSS to tweak them to your liking. Also, make sure you get your template from a reputable source as some shady websites have been known to hide malware in them.
Winner: WordPress offers more choice and flexibility so you’re probably more likely to find your happiness there (if you put in a bit of time, money and effort).
Ecommerce: Add your own shopping cart
Weebly: although it’s by no means a specialist ecommerce solution, Weebly is surprisingly capable. It’s perfect for small to medium online shops, letting you sell physical and digital goods and including a nifty live shipping calculator. On the downside, you can’t let customers login for checkout and you can’t accept manual payments (cash on delivery, money wire, etc.).
WordPress: here you have pretty much-unlimited ecommerce power. Sell as many items as you want (services, goods or digital). Sell how you want, wherever you want and accept payments in any shape or form. But there’s a catch. This is all done through a third-party plugin, such as WooCommerce. So here again you’ll need a bit of technical skills. And extra add-ons such as the Stripe CC gateway are not free.
Winner: based on features alone, WordPress with the Woocommerce plugin is hard to beat. But if you only want a simple small to medium online store and you want it fast, then Weebly will do fine.
SEO capabilities & features
Have a look at our table below for a comprehensive comparison. As you’ll see, most WordPress SEO options are added via a third-party plugin.
|Page Title||Available for all pages||Available via plugin|
|Meta description||Available for all pages||Available via plugin|
|Customize URLs||Available for all pages||Available for all pages (requires some adaptations)|
|Headings||The use of Headlines is limited||Complete customization|
|Images alt attributes||Editable||Editable|
|301 Redirects||Available||Managed externally or via plugin|
|SSL encryption||Available in the business plan||Managed externally|
|Search engine instructions||Available||Available|
|Add Google Analytics||See instructions||Added via plugin or manually|
|Add Google Search Console||See instructions||Added via plugin or manually|
|What’s missing||We’d love a bit more control over the heading tags as you’re limited to H1 & H2.||Nothing – as long as you have the right plugin installed.|
|Conclusion||Really good for SEO||As good as it can get if plugins are added|
Winner: Here again, WordPress + plugins offers everything you will need. But Weebly is absolutely fine for most projects.
Blog: Publish your posts
Weebly: a super flexible solution for adding text, images and video. You can create categories and modify the layout to fit your content. It’s perfect for casual bloggers and pros alike.
WordPress: hit and miss depending on the template you use. You will need to tweak the theme to make your blog look nice, but it comes with everything you need including categories and tags. However, if you’re technically inclined you will get more flexibility over advanced features, especially with extra plugins. This includes complete control of your post and comment options for instance.
Winner: Hard to tell here. They are both excellent blogging platforms. Once again, Weebly is easier to manage, and WordPress offers a few extra options.
Support: Will they help you at 2 am?
Weebly: dedicated phone, live chat and email support. The company also releases regular articles, guides and video tutorials to help beginners. Very useful.
WordPress: you’re on your own here: no official support whatsoever! However, there is a huge online community and you can find information on their forums. Be warned that it sometimes gets very geeky/techy.
Winner: Winner by forfeit! WordPress doesn’t have dedicated support so Weebly wins this one.
Apps & Plugins: Which one has more apps
Weebly: a great App Center (like the Apple App Store if you will) where you can add free and premium apps. There are 250+ of them, so you will find pretty much anything such as accordion effects, calendar support for live events, live chat and much more. It’s also handy that they provide an integrated email marketing solution called Weebly Promote.
WordPress: this is an area where WordPress really shines. It’s because it was designed to be enhanced by third-party plugins, and developers have been creating them for a long time. So you will find very advanced plugins such as BuddyPress to turn your website into complete Social media tool, or the aforementioned WooCommerce for online stores.
Then there are also a few very good solutions to create multilingual websites (e.g. WPML). With Weebly, even adding just one more website language is next to impossible.
While some are free, the downside is that others can be quite expensive, turning your website into a money pit. You will also need to follow technical instructions to integrate them.
Winner: based on the number of options, WordPress wins this round. Just remember to always have a backup in case a third party plugin breaks your website (or you could hire a developer for particularly tricky code troubles).
Prices: What’s the better deal?
Weebly: you can buy your plan monthly, yearly or bi-yearly. Very clear yearly plans too: Starter ($8/month), Pro ($12/month), Business ($25/month) & Performance ($38/month). As you can see in our complete table, you will pay a little more if you buy less than 12 months, and there is a discount for 2 year subscriptions. It’s also worth noting that there is a free Weebly version, but you can’t use your own domain name and they will advertise their services in the footer of your pages.
WordPress: it gets a bit more complicated here because technically WordPress is free. But you also need to pay for web hosting (around $6.50 / month for a decent speed). And then you can rack up quite a bill if you buy a premium theme (around $35 to $65) and expensive plugins. Not to mention a developer’s time if you are really stuck with the technical stuff.
Winner: The Weebly plans are clear and easy to understand. With WordPress, you could spend as little as $6.50 or up to thousands of dollars a year if you so choose. So this would make Weebly the winner in our book, but you’ll have to double-check for yourself!
Weebly vs WordPress: Final Thoughts
As a final word, it’s worth remembering that Weebly and WordPress were designed with very different needs in mind. Weebly exists to make your life easier and create fantastic small to medium websites. You pay the same flat fee every month and everything is included based on your needs. The time you save on designing your website can be spent finding new customers, growing your business or creating art.
WordPress was built to give you complete flexibility. But this comes at a price, namely in the form of time. This is time you will have to spend learning technical tricks, browsing for the best plugins and installing them. Which also makes WordPress the best solution for complex and advanced websites.
So keep in mind that a website is like an investment of your time. Do you want to get on with it as quickly or possible? Or do you want to invest some time in it in order to build a website that grows over the years? Hopefully, this article and your answer to that question should help you decide!
24 Aug 2018 – App and plugins section