A small but mighty ecommerce platform
If you want to do something outside of the box, without giving up the benefits many users have come to expect from major ecommerce platforms, Weebly might just be the option for you.
Founded in 2006, Weebly is a platform developed with small to medium-size websites in mind, making the full transition to focus on ecommerce in 2016. In 2018, the platform was purchased by Square, Inc
It might not get the recognition of a Shopify, but Weebly is a powerful platform that packs in a lot more than it’s comparatively cheap price point might suggest.
What Weebly lacks in sophistication and flexibility compared to leading platforms, it more than makes up for in simplicity. For so many first-time ecommerce store owners, access to a simple platform that allows them to get set up and selling as soon as possible is hugely important.
In this guide, we’ll go over the pros and cons of Weebly as a platform and attempt to answer the question — is Weebly the perfect starting point for your ecommerce journey or a platform full of unrealised potential?
Weebly tends not to go for fancy slogans or imaginative marketing campaigns. They let the simplicity and useability of the product speak for itself.
Despite this, over 50 million websites worldwide use Weebly, a testament to how accessible a product it is.
Throughout their website, they make a point of how easy it is to get your Weebly store online, running and growing. This is really the primary benefit of Weebly to prospective store owners, whether you’re new to the ecommerce game or establishing a new store as part of your empire.
We’re barely into the article but it feels like we’ve spoken a lot about the simplicity of Weebly, and that’s with good reason. From a simple drag and drop building functionality to simplistic blogging features, Weebly is a platform that strives for accessibility.
Weebly lacks the incredible flexibility of a Wix and it isn’t as powerful as Squarespace, but it’s certainly easier to use than both.
Very accessible price points for first-time store owners
Both monthly and annual payment options
All price points include a free domain and $100 Google Ad credit
Weebly offers two pricing plans, one for websites and one for online stores.
These prices are generally at the lower end of what you would expect from a major ecommerce platform provider — particularly major players such as Bigcommerce.
As with most ecommerce store platforms, more expensive plans include a greater collection of features, such as adfree options, access to a proper domain name and the option to integrate a video player into your site.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
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Weebly Features Summary
Weebly does the basics really well.
Whatever plan you opt for, you have everything in place to manage an industry-standard ecommerce store that customers can easily understand and place orders through.
In the first year, Weebly will give you a domain name for free, which goes up to a cost of $19.99 from the second year onwards. Available domain names include .com or you can bring your own domain name from an alternative provider and redirect to Weebly.
Weebly supports large site structures, and users are given access to unlimited levels of navigational hierarchy across all payment plans. Users will find a drop-down menu automatically added to their navigation area.
- Simple, slick and familiar to anyone who has used a website builder before
- Intuitive segmentation of tasks and sections
- Quick jump to Domains and G Suite
Getting started with Weebly is an easy process with a lot of handholding for first-time ecommerce merchants.
After a quick set up process, you’re presented with a simple dashboard set up that will look very familiar to anyone who has worked with a CMS before or added content to a WordPress blog. For me, Weebly was a breeze to get started with, with its highlighting feature making it even easier to spot where you can and can’t place new elements, incredibly friendly and fun. Even if you’re not proficient with ecommerce platforms, this is a great hand-holding feature.
It’s the little details that make Weebly special.
As someone who has used a wide range of CMS before, Weebly feels immediately accessible and incorporates a lot of the basic features you’d find in competing platforms. This simplicity can be interpreted both ways, however — for some the sleek design will feel user-friendly, while others will find it oversimplified. I tend to gravitate to the former.
The different elements of running a website day to day and managing more extensive projects such as marketing are listed down the left-hand side of the dashboard. The centre of the dashboard displays the chosen element, which can be edited and adjusted quickly and without complication.
Support and a setup guide can be found along the top bar, where you can also edit the admin details of your business.
Whether you’re logging in to add a new product or view traffic data the process is incredibly user friendly.
Weebly offers a number of brilliant free themes to give your website some appropriate shine.
These themes are accessible even if you’re running a free website version of the platform, meaning you can experiment with a number of different styles without blowing your budget on backgrounds.
Themes range from grid-focused modern layouts to more conceptually visual designs, offering a wide selection for a variety for different online stores.
Free Weebly themes are listed under six different categories:
These themes also include predefined page layouts for pages you’d typically find on an ecommerce store, such as Homepage, About Us and Contact Us. These include essential elements and serve as a guide for less creative store owners.
These themes are also mobile responsive, so there is no need to worry about your website displaying inaccurately on handheld devices.
First-time store owners should have no problem adding content
Experienced bloggers looking to maximise SEO will find themselves frustrated with a lack of options
Even with no prior website experience, users will be able to upload, edit and remove content with Weebly.
The drag and drop design feature is both a positive and negative for users. While it limits creativity for more advanced web-store owners who may want to add a unique touch to their website, it does make the process of redesigning your Weebly store super simple and easier to experiment with. Adding a blog is as simple as on any other major ecommerce platform, all accessible from the highly intuitive dashboard (see above).
However, Weebly does lack some highly relevant customisable options on blog posts, such as adding related posts at the bottom of a piece.
Plugins and Extensions
Weebly has a substantial App Center where free and premium plugins and extensions can be purchased.
Popular apps include simple design tools, social media integration apps and popular ecommerce services such as Printful, Ecwid, TrustedSite and more.
Beyond helping marketing, customer retention and user experience, the App Center offers apps that can help transform your Weebly site into something entirely new and offer key functionality that boosts your ecommerce services and reaches new consumer bases.
Major payment options supported, but only with the highest plan
Customers can store shipping information and log in for a faster checkout experience
Weebly does offer some variety in terms of payment options, but not quite as many as leading stores or more ‘outside-the-box’ alternatives.
You won’t find a place for cryptocurrencies here, but customers can use credit cards and PayPal to complete orders. However, the highest plan is required for PayPal, in which case you are limited to Credit and Debit Card payments only.
Weebly does not add additional transaction fees onto your orders.
An SSL encryption is included to ensure all checkout processes are safe and secure, an essential part of attracting the modern online shopper.
During the setup process, Weebly will ask you how you plan to ship customer orders.
The available order fulfilment options are:
Ship items to buyer
Allow self-serve ordering
Customers can choose their preferred shipping method from a variety of options automatically built into Weebly. The supported worldwide and regional shipping carriers are:
Alternatively, you can provide onsite pickup as long as all payments are conducted online.
Dropshipping is categorically not an option with a Weebly store.
Backend operations are fairly straightforward with Weebly. Adding individual products or importing bulk data via CSV-file is simple.
There are several ways to import product data onto the site: CSV, Etsy, Shopify and Square. However, this will only import product data and not images.
Stock management is equally simple. Each product can be assigned an ID, which makes tracking inventory even easier.
Weebly Business and Business Plus plans allow you to sell digital products with a file size limit of 3 GB. File delivery is handled by Weebly and customers will also receive a receipt.
Weebly does offer some level of customer management as a base service, allowing you insight into who is shopping with your store.
Much like the rest of the initial dashboard, the order management process is simple and familiar to users with experience on other CMS.
You will also find a simple visitor statistics tool included in the free plan, with more detailed versions included in paid plan upgrades. Alternatively, you can use programs such as Google Analytics.
A store can only get so far if it can’t reach customers, and Weebly ensures that you can take digital marketing seriously.
Digital marketing has become an essential element of a successful online store, helping store owners find new customers and build their brand in unique ways.
Weebly features lead capture on all payment plans, allowing you to start capturing and converting leads with personalised forms on your site. Pop-up notifications are also featured in all plans, however advanced eCommerce insights are limited to Business and Business Plus.
The Weebly App Center features a number of essential marketing apps to grow your store across email and social media which we will discuss at greater length in the App section of this review.
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- Simple SEO options that get the basics right
- Help Center outlining additional SEO opportunities and techniques
Weebly may be a simple platform, but it still takes SEO seriously. For beginners, the Weebly Ultimate SEO Guide is a great way to get started on your new store.
Weebly gives users the option to edit URLs and on-page SEO. At the page level, you can customise your titles, metadata, ALT text and description tags.
While it lacks the power of, say, a WooCommerce, Weebly has everything you need to get started with SEO and an in-depth Help Center that focuses on additional important SEO factors such as Google Search Console support and even link building strategies.
Taking deeper steps into SEO with Weebly will require some further external reading and tools, but beginners will get a lot out of what’s on offer here.
PPC is just as accessible through Weebly as with any other form of ecommerce site. While it lacks core integration, you can integrate the typical channels with your store.
This means you can add:
Weebly themselves offer a guide to using PPC on their store (although it is from 2016) and there are a number of agencies you can access for help running your campaigns. However, you should do your research before committing to a contract and learn as much about PPC as you can.
Unfortunately for social media fans, Weebly doesn’t come with integrated social media marketing features.
The classic builder gives you access to Weebly’s App Center, which features over 350 apps including social media tools. You can easily search the Center for social tools using the category on the left-hand side of the screen.
Unfortunately, these apps are the only way to add increasingly common social media features to your store, such as the option for customers to like you on Facebook or an integrated Twitter feed.
The sleek, direct nature of a Weebly website makes it somewhat easier to transform regular visitors into paying customers.
From product images to checkout, there are several key points throughout a Weebly store that contribute to effective conversion rate optimisation.
Weebly product pages are built around large images that take up the centre of the page, giving users something to build text and CTA buttons around. It’s familiar and modern.
Although Weebly themes can feel someone limited when it comes to CRO, the introduction of smaller elements such as a site-wide benefit bar can have a huge effect on how customers respond throughout their journey on your site.
If you want to make use of email marketing, Weebly is a more than acceptable option.
Its internal email editor is one of the simplest and most user-friendly on the market.
One major failing is the lack of MailChimp and Constant Contact on the Weebly app store. These are popular email marketing apps that will appear in many guides to running an email marketing campaign and be significantly missed by long-time ecommerce store owners.
This is likely because Weebly offers its own email marketing tool called Promote. While Promote itself is a usable email marketing app, it is disappointing that users miss out on such popular applications.
Weebly offers free web hosting for all ecommerce stores backed by multiple data centres and battle-tested cloud infrastructure.
Using this free service will provide you and your visitors with a fast, professional experience.
Alternatively, you can self-host your Weebly store, which Weebly themselves outline the full details of here.
Weebly offers a detailed level of integrated analytics, making it easier to improve your website, reach, and the customer experience.
Key statistics are accessible and easy to understand at a glance in the dashboard, including the number of visitors, search terms and referral websites.
Weebly offers real-time stats for your website, so you can keep a close eye on who is coming through and when, and the ongoing success of newly launched campaigns.
Weebly’s mobile apps also allow you to check this data on the go, offering real-time access and updates to your phone.
Ecommerce Comparison Features
Free to Install
Free to Install
Ease Of Use