Which should you use?

Weebly and WordPress

You may already know this, but let me start by mentioning that there are two different variations of WordPress. The version hosted on WordPress.com and the open source version on WordPress.org.

In this post, we will make a comparison between the open source version of WordPress and Weebly.

Wordpress home pageWordpress home page

WordPress was first released for public use in 2003, so it has been around for nearly two decades. The open source version of WordPress can also be installed by you on your local machine to do any development work or learn more about the platform.

Weebly home pageWeebly home pageWeebly home page

Weebly was released about three years later in 2006. Since its release, it has received regular updates that add new features or improve existing ones. The company was acquired by Squarespace in 2016. It operates as a SaaS company and allows users to build websites with its drag and drop builder.

Now that we know a bit about both of these platforms, I’ll cover their major differences in more detail.

WordPress vs Weebly: Setup and Ease of Use

WordPress is an open source platform, which means that even though there is a huge community of people to help you out when you get stuck, you will have to do a lot of things yourself. This includes domain registration, finding a web host, installing WordPress, etc. None of this is extremely difficult, but it will still take some time if you are a complete beginner.

Weebly will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you in case you decide to use it to build your website. All you have to do is sign up for their free or paid plans. Things like hosting, domain management and SSL security are already included in the service.

Now let’s talk about ease of use. Weebly comes with a built-in drag and drop builder that makes it easy to create sophisticated layouts without writing a single line of code. On the other hand, the built-in Gutenberg block editor isn’t quite as powerful, although you can install some third-party page builders like Elementor or Beaver Builder for better drag-and-drop functionality.

Winner: Weebly is the clear winner in both setup and ease of use over WordPress.

WordPress vs Weebly: Themes Available

It is helpful to have drag and drop features built into a website builder so that users can design their website however they want. As mentioned above, both WordPress and Weebly have this feature. However, not everyone wants to start from scratch when building their websites. In such situations, it’s important to have the ability to start with a pre-built template that you can modify to your advantage.

Both WordPress and Weebly offer you pre-built themes that will come in handy in a variety of situations.

Weebly has a small collection of themes to help you build a variety of websites. This includes an online store, portfolio website, personal website, etc. The templates look decent but there aren’t many options available. All Weebly themes are free to use and fully customizable.

WordPress offers a huge variety of free and premium themes. Free themes usually have limited functionality and you can install them from the official theme repository. Themes in the WordPress repository are not always provided by WordPress. Most of the themes are developed by independent third party developers.

Free WordPress themes are adequate for some simple websites. You can also purchase premium themes from third-party marketplaces. One such example is ThemeForest, where you can choose from over 1000 different themes. These themes offer free lifetime updates and 6 months of free support.

Theme Forest WordPress ThemesTheme Forest WordPress ThemesTheme Forest WordPress Themes

Winner: WordPress is definitely the winner here as it gives you the option to choose from thousands of available themes compared to Weebly’s limited selection.

WordPress vs Weebly: extensibility

Both WordPress and Weebly come with many features built into their main product. However, they cannot be expected to be a one-size-fits-all solution. People using these platforms will have their own unique needs and expectations.

Any additional functionality you might need is made available with the use of apps in Weebly’s app center and plugins in the case of WordPress.

Weebly App CenterWeebly App CenterWeebly App Center

Weebly offers over 350 different apps to integrate with your website. Many of these apps are free, while others may cost you money. For example, there is a free app that lets you add an FAQ page or section to your website. Similarly, there is another premium app to help you integrate forms into your website.

WordPress pluginsWordPress pluginsWordPress plugins

WordPress has a large repository of over 60,000 free plugins available for you to use. No matter what functionality you want to integrate into your website, there’s a good chance that someone has created a plugin for it. What makes WordPress an even better choice when it comes to extensibility is the fact that you can change the behavior of existing plugins or even write your own from scratch should the need arise.

WordPress also has a large number of third-party marketplaces where you can buy premium plugins that offer a lot of features. Many of these marketplaces like CodeCanyon will also offer free support for six months and free updates for life.

One odd thing you’ll notice about Weebly is that the pace of active development has stopped completely or gotten relatively slower in recent years. WordPress, on the other hand, has a thriving ecosystem.

When we compare these two platforms on extensibility, WordPress definitely comes out on top.

WordPress vs Weebly: maintenance and support

Building a website is relatively easy compared to its maintenance and optimization needs over long periods. There are many things that can go wrong and take your website offline.

With WordPress, you will have to put in the effort to learn how to keep the website secure and optimized. The themes and plugins you have installed may require regular updates. WordPress provides plugins for just about anything you might need to do. This includes database optimization, SEO, security settings among other things. Compatibility between different plugins could also occasionally become an issue.

What I’m trying to say is that while you could achieve a lot with plugins in WordPress, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty every now and then.

Weebly, on the other hand, provides chat and email support for their free accounts as well. You are also less likely to face optimization or security issues because the entire hosting process is centralized and streamlined. However, SEO features leave something to be desired at Weebly. WordPress, on the other hand, has some really nice third-party SEO plugins to help with website rankings.

Winner: Maintaining Weebly websites is much easier than WordPress. You can also contact the support staff via chat, email or phone calls if you have any problems.

WordPress vs Weebly: Cost

Another thing I’d like to compare is the cost of building a website with Weebly and WordPress.

Let’s say you don’t want a custom domain for hosting your website. In that case, the cost of building a website with Weebly would be zero. The ability to have your own custom domain requires the purchase of the Connect plan that costs $5 a month. However, this plan also has limited resources.

You can use the free Weebly plan to see if it offers the features you need. You should buy the Pros plan to build a website with decent resource constraints. This would cost you $12 a month. The cost of the domain is already included in the plan, and you also get $100 in Google Ads credits.

There are even dedicated plans for people who want to build ecommerce websites using Weebly.

Weebly pricing tableWeebly pricing tableWeebly pricing table

WordPress is free to use and install. Of course you will need to pay for domain registration and a web host if you want people to visit the website. This cost will vary between different domain registrars and web hosts. Let’s say you decide to use a premium plugin or theme. You should also factor this into your budget.

In general, it would be cheaper for you to build a website with WordPress. However, the cost could go up if you need something custom and unique tailored to your particular website.

Winner: WordPress in general, but different websites have different needs.

Final thoughts

Alright, time for a final answer. Which should you use to build your website: Weebly or WordPress?

Criteria Winner
Installation and ease of use Weebly
Themes available wordpress
Extensibility wordpress
Maintenance and assistance Weebly
Cost wordpress

Unless you’re building a very basic website, my suggestion would be to go with WordPress over Weebly. Even if you are a complete beginner and not ready to use WordPress, I would like to suggest that you look for other alternatives besides Weebly. For example, you might consider using Wix or Webflow to build your websites.

Weebly doesn’t seem to offer a good mix of features to be suitable for building any serious website. Especially since the normal development work to add new features seems to have stalled.

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