Before we start, I want to get this out of the way…
I love Weebly. I’ve been using it since the very beginning of my web design business, and continue to use it to build many of my clients websites. It’s an amazing web design tool.
However, one of Weebly‘s biggest drawbacks has always been its limited blogging features. They simply don’t live up to modern standards.
That being said, if you are new to blogging, have very limited web design skills, or already have a Weebly website and would like to add a blog to it to boost your website’s SEO rankings, then Weebly is definitely still a good option for you.
If you’re looking for more advanced blog functionality, or are interested in monetizing your blog with affiliate marketing, then there are better options out there for you. (which I will cover at the end of this post)
Let’s break this down a bit, shall we?
To create a great blog with Weebly, follow these important steps:
- Choosing the right theme
- Design / User experience
- Writing blog posts
- Distributing blog posts
- Weebly alternatives
Choosing the right theme
- Then, from the Weebly dashboard, select “Add a Site”.
- You’ll then be asked if you’re selling anything on your website. Select “Not Now”.
- Now it’s time to pick the right theme! Weebly actually has a category specifically for blogging, so select “Blog”.
Some things to keep in mind when picking a theme:
- What are you writing about? Choose a theme that best presents your type of content.
- What is your brand? Think about your messaging, writing style, colors, etc… and how they align with the theme you choose.
- What do you want visitors to do when they land on your site? Share your post on social media? Subscribe to your newsletter? Request information for your product or service? Your theme should make it easy to guide your visitors down that path.
- Remember that all Weebly themes are completely customizable. It just comes down to how comfortable you are with making significant changes.
Once you’ve picked your theme, click “Start Editing”. Now the real fun begins!
Design / User experience
Sweet! You’ve got a blog. Now let’s design a blog that people actually want to read.
When designing your blog, remember these 6 things at all times:
- Keep it clean and simple.
- Make it crystal clear what you want your visitors to do. Guide them.
- Add your unique style and personality. You’re selling yourself, after all.
- Have cohesive and consistent branding across your site.
- NO POPUPS. Ever.
- Design for performance and speed.
Above the fold content
Above the fold content is the first thing your visitors see when they land on your blog. It’s everything that fills their screen without them having to scroll down yet.
You need to be able to tell your readers who you are and what you do right here in this spot. In 3-4 seconds. I’m not joking.
Or, at the very least, you need to give them something so enticing that they just have to scroll down to read more. Be interesting.
My above the fold content above has a funny picture, and some intriguing and weird text to go along with it. Don’t be shy with your own. People are drawn to openness and vulnerability.
The sidebar is where you briefly describe who you are, what you do, why people should read your stuff, and also display links to your blog content via categories. This is displayed beside all of your blog posts. (if you so choose)
Tell a story. Write something that makes you stand out. If you think you don’t have anything interesting to say, you’re wrong. Everyone is interesting when given the opportunity to show it. ?
I don’t want to see any of that “the world is your oyster“, “wanderlust“, “I love coffee too much“, “just navigating this crazy world one step at a time lol” crap. You’re better than that.
Here’s how I described myself on my blog: (tell me what you think)
I’ve been told that I’m unrealistic, clueless, and unprofessional. I’ve also traveled to dozens of countries, built a successful online business, shared a lifetime of incredible experiences, and created a meaningful life that leaves me waking up with a smile every morning. (after the coffee obviously) I’ve managed to do all of this while making barely enough money to live above the poverty line. Yes, seriously. This blog documents exactly how I’m doing all of this.
I’ve already written an extensive guide to getting your Weebly website to rank higher in Google, so I’m not going to go into too much detail here.
One thing is for sure, it all starts with doing proper keyword research. You need to find high traffic, low competition keywords to optimize your Weebly website for.
To do so, you’re going to need a good keyword research tool. My personal faves are:
If you’re a complete noob to search engine optimization, I recommend going with KW Finder. It’s the easiest to use and the most affordable.
The most powerful tool of the bunch is Ahrefs. It is definitely for advanced users, however.
Use those keywords throughout your site
Once you’ve got your list of keywords you want to rank for, you need to place them (naturally) throughout as much of your blog as possible.
Again, I emphasize that it needs to be natural language. Google is way too smart to be fooled by keyword stuffing these days.
Writing blog posts
Writing and editing blog posts is just like editing the rest of your Weebly site. It utilizes Weebly‘s trademark drag and drop functionality, with the benefit of some additional features.
That stuff is easy.
The hard part will be writing blog posts that people actually want to read.
Here are some important tips to writing high quality content:
It all starts with your headline
People have incredibly short attention spans these days. You can thank the constant stream of information we receive on a day-to-day basis for that.
Think about how you feel when you’re scrolling through social media or your favorite news app. What types of headlines grab your attention? What makes you want to read it? What drives you to click?
Now picture your article in that vast sea of clickbait competition. Why would people bother reading your stuff?
Your headline needs to grab attention and move people to take action.
Which of these articles would you click on?
- How to Get Up Early in the Morning
- 6 Simple Ways to Get Your Lazy Butt Out of Bed Every Morning
Of course, you don’t want to insult your reader before they’ve even visited your site, but some playful humor can add some personality to your writing. (and who doesn’t feel like a lazy butt in the morning?)
And don’t forget those keywords!
Make your writing interesting (and easy to read)
Everyone can be a great writer. I really believe that.
Like anything else, it just takes time and practice. The key is to become a good storyteller. If you master the art of telling stories, you can be successful at pretty much anything in life. For real.
Keep your sentences short. Use the simplest form of words and phrasing. I’m talking Grade 6 level reading.
Break up your content to make it more skimmable. Use plenty of images, headers, bold text, bullet points, lists, and short paragraphs. Your paragraphs should almost never be more than 3-4 sentences long.
Nobody wants to be greeted by a wall of text. It’s intimidating.
Also, don’t get too hung up on using proper grammar and sentence structure at all times. Most people want to read your writing like you’re speaking directly to them in person.
Unless your audience demands it, of course. If you’re writing a blog post on your theory of gravitational fluctuations in an intergalactic nebula, don’t be writing like it’s for Buzzfeed.
Know your audience.
Use appropriate categories and tags
Make it easy for people to instantly know what your blog is about. It should be as easy as possible for them to find the content they’re searching for. (speaking of which, you should probably have the search feature enabled)
Distributing blog posts
A blog with no readers is a lonely place.
You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect blog post. You researched, wrote, edited and maybe even threw in a few custom graphics for good measure.
You’re so proud (and nervous) to share it with the world. But you know what’s even harder than writing the perfect blog post?
Getting people to read it.
Once you’ve published your blog post, take these steps to maximize it’s impact and draw in readers:
- Submit your post link to Google’s Search Console. It will help Google crawl your site faster. (and protect you from other people stealing your content and republishing it)
- Share it on all of your social media channels.
- Send it to your friends and family, and ask them to help you get the word out.
- Share on lesser-known platforms like Reddit and Quora.
- Make friends with other bloggers! Build relationships with other people in your niche or industry.
- After a few weeks, you might consider republishing your post on Medium and Linkedin native platforms. It can help build your audience. (depending on what you’re writing about, of course)
OK, you asked for it.
As I mentioned in the beginning, if you’re looking to turn your blog into a business, you’re better off using WordPress.
Building a blog with WordPress
If you do decide to go with WordPress for your blog, you’re going to need a hosting company to host it for you. Here are the hosts I’ve personally used:
- Bluehost. People love to hate on these guys, probably because they’re the most popular web host in the world, and are therefore everywhere. Personally, I’ve had no issues with them and I think they’re great for beginners.
- GoDaddy. They’re mainly known for their overtly sexual TV commercials, but they have some decent hosting services as well. That said, a friend of mine has recently become a victim of some of their predatory and deceptive business practices, so use caution.
- SiteGround. These guys have fantastic customer service. I recommend them to all of my WordPress clients.
- BigScoots. This is the company I use to host my blog right now, and they are spectacular. They’re a bit different than the other two in that they offer Managed WordPress Hosting. It comes at a premium price, but it’s been more than worth it in the amount of time I’ve saved trying to troubleshoot problems. They take care of everything for me.
What is Weebly?
Weebly is a powerful online Content Management System that allows you to build your own website easily and affordably.
Is Weebly free?
Weebly has a version that is free, yes. If you want additional features or want to use a custom domain, then you need to choose one of their affordable paid plans.
What does Weebly Pro cost?
Weebly Pro is $8/month in the US. Prices differ based on country.
Can I register a domain with Weebly? Or do I need to get my own first?
Yes, you can register your domain with Weebly. Their prices are very competitive.
Is Weebly easy to use?
Yes, Weebly is the easiest online website builder on the market.
Where can I find Weebly themes?
I’m glad you asked! I wrote this post about the best places to find premium Weebly themes.
Is Weebly good for small businesses?
Weebly was made for small businesses. It is the easiest and most affordable way for small business owners to get online fast.
How does Weebly make money?
Well, not everyone has a free Weebly account. Weebly has over 50,000,000 million websites hosted on its platform, and many of them are paying customers.
Is Weebly owned by Square?
Yep. Square just bought Weebly for $365 million in April 2018. Should be interesting to see where Square takes the platform going forward! ?