*Editors note: This is a comparison of Weebly and SELF-HOSTED WordPress. NOT the WordPress.com hosted option. Read this post to learn the difference between the two.*
Getting your business online can be so dang confusing these days. While web design continues to get simpler and more accessible to the Average Joe, it also means there are more options than ever before.
Why? Because Weebly meets the needs of the vast majority of small business owners out there.
I get a lot of flack from fellow web designers for making this choice. Recently, someone got mad at me online and told me I should be “ashamed of myself” for offering a terrible product “disguised as a professional service“.
The reasoning these guys use to diss Weebly, and my business as a whole, is flimsy at best. I’m not going to get into all the reasons why these guys hate like this, (I’ll save that for another post) but one common denominator is that they are all WordPress developers.
As I said, I use both Weebly and WordPress in my business, and even used WordPress to build this entire blog you’re reading right now.
And since I get so many questions about Weebly, and whether it’s worth your time and money, I’m going to use this post to answer as many questions about Weebly vs WordPress as possible.
Let’s jump into what will almost certainly become a comments tire fire in the near future.
Which one is easier to use?
Weebly. Straight up.
In fact, this is Weebly’s biggest selling point. The platform uses a simple drag and drop interface to show you exactly what your website will look like as you build it. Adding text, images, video, charts, backgrounds, and fancy special effects is a breeze.
WordPress has some plugins you can download that allow you to do something similar, but I haven’t found anything that comes close to the simplicity of Weebly. (Do you even know what a plugin is? Yah, see what I mean?)
WordPress is infinitely customizable, which also makes it more difficult to use.
Which one is cheaper?
The answer to this one is not so black and white…
Technically you can build a website with Weebly for free, but you shouldn’t. Your website will become a subdomain of Weebly and have a big ugly Weebly banner ad across the bottom. (For example, instead of rapidweblaunch.com, it will be rapidweblaunch.weebly.com)
After the free option, Weebly has multiple pricing plans to suit every budget. They vary based on features, packages and whether you are paying monthly or annually.
You get a free domain name included with your website, and all of the themes are free as well. Or you can get real fancy and use some premium 3rd-party Weebly themes.
The cheapest option is $8/month, while the priciest is $49/month.
Because WordPress is self-hosted, (meaning you need to find your own hosting company to host your site for you) the pricing varies wildly. You will need to buy your own domain and choose your website hosting.
I personally use Bluehost. They are one of the most popular WordPress hosting companies in the world, which may be why so many people love to hate on them.
I have had nothing but good experiences with them, and their pricing is some of the best in the industry. So I have no problem recommending them. Last time I checked, you can get your WordPress site hosted with Bluehost for as little as $2.49/month.
Keep in mind that, when weighing your website hosting pricing options, you need to factor in how much it will cost you to maintain your site as well.
Weebly will allow you to easily make your own edits to your website for free, while WordPress will likely require having to pay a web designer to make changes for you. At $30-50/hour, that can add up quick!
So, when factoring in ongoing maintenance costs and time required to manage them, Weebly gets the nod for me.
Which one is better for blogging?
WordPress. Hands down.
Weebly has a blogging feature, but it’s honestly the weakest aspect of their product. If you just want to write and create content that will help boost your Google rankings, it does the job just fine.
If you take blogging seriously, and are particularly interested in monetizing your blog, WordPress is the no-brainer option here.
Blogs come in so many shapes and sizes, and WordPress will give you the full customization you need to carve out your own corner of the internet and make it your own.
It’s what this and about 90% of blogs are built on.
Which one is better for SEO?
Ah yes, now this is a controversial one. Mainly because I disagree with most web designers on this one.
Don’t listen to the haters. You absolutely can rank your Weebly website high in Google. Read my full guide on how to do Weebly SEO the right way, and see for yourself. I’ve ranked my own website #1 for some pretty competitive keywords.
The biggest complaints about Weebly SEO come down to the coding. The coding structure Weebly used to build their platform isn’t the best. It can sometimes make it difficult for Google’s bots to crawl your website, and can reduce your website’s loading speed.
However, these issues are blown way out of proportion, and are completely manageable. And for the price you’re paying, Weebly is still a great value.
The WordPress platform is built to do very well with SEO. No issues there. But, because it is so customizable, it is very easy to screw up your website and kill your ability to rank well.
It’s a double-edged sword, and you need to know how to wield it. (or be willing to pay someone who does know how)
In the end, you get what you pay for. Sure, you could get a custom-built website with blazingly fast coding made for $5,000 OR, you could make one without all of the bells and whistles for a fraction of the cost.
It all comes down to what your goals are for your website. The real foundation of a great SEO strategy comes down to getting high quality backlinks, and you can do that with any platform.
Which one is better for an online store and ecommerce?
I would put this one in the same column as the SEO question.
With Weebly’s recent Weebly 4 update, they took a huge step forward in their ecommerce offerings. It’s never been easier to setup your own online store, add products, accept payments, and coordinate shipping and inventory management.
Again, the ease of use is the highlight here.
WordPress has some very powerful ecommerce tools and integrations, like Woocommerce. But, (and stop me if I sound like a broken record) you need to know how to use them.
I wouldn’t say you need to have advanced web design skills to make it work, but there is definitely a steeper learning curve. It’s not a turnkey option like Weebly is.
Which one has better customer service?
This one is easy.
While I won’t say Weebly’s customer service is anything to write home about, they definitely have more of an offering than WordPress. That’s because Weebly is an actual company with their own customers.
WordPress, on the other hand, is an open-source platform. There is no centralized customer service to contact when you need help.
So, when you’re in need of assistance, you will need to turn to internet forums or pay a WordPress expert to help you out.
Summary: How do I choose between Weebly or WordPress?
BOTH Weebly and WordPress have their pros and cons. To choose the right one for you and your business, it comes down to your goals and circumstances.
I’ll try to break this down as simply as possible.
You should get Weebly if:
- You have little to no web design skills
- You have a tight budget and affordable options are a priority
- You want access to free customer service
- You want a no-hassle, simple, beautiful website for your small business
You should get WordPress if:
- You have moderate to advanced web design skills, or are eager to learn
- You have a moderate or large budget and affordable options aren’t a priority
- You plan on taking blogging seriously and building a large blog
- You will be using your website for affiliate marketing or other monetization strategies
- You don’t mind dealing with the all the little hassles that can come with self-hosted websites
Have some questions? Did I miss something? Yell at me in the comments below!