If you want to build a new website, then there are two platforms that you’re likely thinking about: Weebly and WordPress.
Key Point #1: How Easy Is It to Use?
Weebly is super easy to use for anyone. It is designed to be a drag-and-drop builder, so you can place your content where you want it to be. That content can be moved around like a puzzle once placed, so you don’t have to worry about deleting and resetting it if you change your mind. No coding knowledge is required.
No technical skills beyond writing content and uploading or capturing graphics or photographs are required either.
A help center is provided for those who are new to the builder. The tools offered are intuitive and easy to figure out.
WordPress requires a deeper learning curve because you need to know how to place content in specific places. Your design elements are going to be based on a template that you choose. Altering your template requires an ability to change the coding of the product.
That means WordPress gives users the chance to customize a website to a higher degree when compared to Weebly. For something basic that still looks good, Weebly can get the job done. For an advanced site with full customization, however, WordPress is absolutely required.
Key Point #2: Maintenance Requirements
Weebly is a closed system. That means they are going to be managing the technical issues which come up behind the scenes. You don’t need to worry about updates, performance issues, or improvements that may be coming through. That is all managed on your behalf and it occurs automatically.
That makes it very easy to ensure that your website is up-to-date from a performance standpoint for your visitors.
WordPress can be very challenging to managed. It is an open source platform that is updated on a regular basis. It is done to improve security and functionality, but that means users must frequently download the latest version and ensure that it will work with the plugins that have been used to customize your site.
Not every plugin is compatible with the updates the WordPress asks you to download. That means you may need to download plugin updates after you download the WordPress update. Some plugins aren’t updated and may not work with the new version, which could cause your website to crash. To avoid this issue, many WordPress users avoid downloading updates until they have no other choice to do so. Although this keeps the website up, it can also expose the site to possible security issues.
If you want an experience that lets you focus on your content, Weebly is the answer. If you want a powerful platform that will let you scale your business upward, then WordPress is still the better option.
Key Point #3: Customer Support
Weebly offers a number of help guides that can take users through the process of building their website.
There is access to email support through Weebly as well. It’s promoted as a 24/7 customer support option, but let’s face it: we all know that we can send an email to someone at any time. Receiving an answer back in a timely fashion is more important. It usually takes 1-2 business days for Weebly to get back with you.
For faster troubleshooting support, there is live chat and phone support during regular business hours.
Since everything is kept in-house, it doesn’t take much time to figure out a solution to what is going on in most circumstances.
WordPress, because it is open source, does not have a formal system of customer support. Help with WordPress relies on third-party developers, builders, and online professionals that are active on forums, uploading their own videos, or making themselves available in other ways.
Because 3 out of 5 websites may use WordPress at any given time, there are a lot of similar questions that get asked when trouble happens. Many users can find an answer to their problem with a little research, but that isn’t always the case. At that point, troubleshooting is reliant on someone answering a question you’ve posed and there isn’t a guarantee that will happen.
There are services available where you can pay someone to deal with your site issues with WordPress. It is a trade-off that must be thought about because of the cost differences which exist in the Weebly vs WordPress comparison.
Key Point #4: Pricing
Weebly offers a basic plan that is free to use.
There are three different tiers for those who are looking for a premium experience. The pricing for these plans is based on the monthly average cost from the prepaid annual cost that is charged upon signing up.
The Starter tier on Weebly is designed for a website that is for personal use only. This website plan is $8 per month and includes hosting.
The Pro tier is $12 per month and the Business tier is $25 per month. These tiers provide site search capabilities, site analytics, password protection, video backgrounds, and HD audio and video. Membership registration and unlimited memberships are available on the Business tier.
For those who want an online store, the Business tier or Performance tier are the best options. The Performance tier offers unlimited products, digital goods, real-time shipping rates, gift cards, and abandoned cart emails. Both tiers offer a 0% Weebly transaction fee.
The Starter and Pro tiers allow product sales as well, but limit the number of products that can be sold to 25 or less. A 3% Weebly transaction fee applies. There is no SSL security offered on these two tiers either.
WordPress is technically free.
To use it, however, you must pay a hosting service for your new site. Many hosting companies limit or restrict WordPress sites because of the space they tend to use. Expect to pay at least $7 per month for a good hosting plan that will give you a fair uptime percentage.
Design templates are required on WordPress, though you could build your own. There are free templates available. For a premium design, expect to pay at least $20 during the initial setup phase of your new site.
Plugins are often required on a WordPress site as well. Many of these are also free, but the performance of free plugins can be somewhat questionable. Paid plugins often have customer service contacts that can help with troubleshooting, which is a definite bonus. Some plugins cost over $400, but the average price of a premium plugin is below $50.
That means the average investment for a WordPress site hovers around $200. Then you have the ongoing time commitment for maintenance and the hosting fees to pay.
Key Point #5: Platform Flexibility
Weebly does offer an option to edit the coding for your site on their platform. You can customize the CSS and HTML to give is some customization, but you don’t have full access to everything. That is because Weebly is a closed system. There are things that will happen with your site that are going to be out of your control.
That means there is an overall lack of flexibility with this site builder. Non-Weebly elements are almost impossible to integrate, especially from a coding or programming perspective. You may also be limited in how the functions that are provided on this platform can perform.
The goal of a Weebly website is to have them take over the technical aspects of the site so you don’t need to worry about it. The sites built are routinely monitored to ensure that they work properly and that they are compliant with the terms of service agreed upon.
WordPress has much more flexibility as a platform because of its open source nature. Users are free to modify their site in almost any way they can imagine. You have full access to all platform codes. That means you can alter the coding of your site or hire someone to do it to achieve very specific results.
Plugins increase the flexibility that WordPress offers as well, though it should be noted that not every plugin is a good one. If you incorporate a questionable plugin to your site, you could expose yourself or your site visitors to potential security concerns.
Where there isn’t flexibility with WordPress is within the troubleshooting that needs to happen sometimes. There is no obligation for anyone to provide any answers to your questions because it is an open source platform. On a core level, choosing WordPress is an advantage for its total flexibility and independence, but being independent comes with a responsibility to solve your own problems that may arise.
Weebly vs WordPress: Which Is Better?
Weebly is a better option for individuals who are just beginning to develop website building and design skills. There is some flexibility, but it has simplicity. You don’t need to hunt down someone to host your site and all the updates are handled for you.
WordPress is a more advanced option that can help businesses scale upward. It may have some challenges to overcome sometimes, but there is also complete independence in the building of a new site.
Which is better? That depends on where you are and what you need.
What are your thoughts about the Weebly vs WordPress comparisons?