Weebly is exactly what it sounds like: a fun, no-frills, free piece of fine website builder service that works as well for beginners as it does for people who have been surfing the Internet since the days of dial-up.
But any honest Weebly review doesn’t take the easy-as-pie interface and promises of “free” this and “free” that at face value, does it?
Hey, why not? I like free. While Weebly is not the Rolls Royce of website builders, it doesn’t make any attempts to tell you it is, either. That’s a good thing. When it comes to website builders, there are all sorts of different makes and models on the market. You have your higher-end and stocked-with-luxuries Intuit, or your GoDaddy Website Tonight used car approach.
As for Weebly, it makes the perfect starter car. It’s Web 2.0 interface and easy registration is easy enough for grandma to understand and simple enough for anyone to enjoy. No, Weebly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, nor does it have to: judged on its own merits, Weebly is simply a fine service that you can keep in your pocket when it’s time to recommend an “easy” way to build sites. But one question lingers: is it the right service for you?
Weebly’s Internet-Newbie Appeal
While many website builders are merely aimed at the newly-initiated Internet user, Weebly actually hits the bulls-eye. It’s mistake-free signup and sitebuilding process is simple enough that you can create a website from virtual scratch without knowing anything about HTML or coding. The result of the lack of sophistication, of course, is a simple website, but if that’s all you’re really looking for, then Weebly’s right for you.
Admittedly, it doesn’t take much for an Internet user to graduate to something a little more sophisticated than Weebly. After two Weebly sites, you might feel like you’re being constrained by some of the features, such as the annoying “yourdomain.weebly.com” subdomain. It’s hard to run a business if your business’s location is followed by “Dot Weebly,” after all. Then again, what are you doing running your business off of Weebly? Go to Intuit!
The point is that even people who don’t have very extravagant website needs can find themselves a little constrained by the simplicity of Weebly. Yes, the simplicity is both a gift and a curse. If you’re perfectly content with a cookie-cutter site that’s easy to both create and edit, then more power to you.
Some websites will have their purposes served by a provider like Weebly. Off the top of my head, here are a few “Weebly-ready” ideas:
- Wedding albums and home pages
- Simple blogs and portfolios
- A business’s simple web presence
- Easy site publishing to “test” ideas
- Publishing recipes
You get the idea. If you’re an avid social media fan, then you could always use Facebook for some of these purposes, but sometimes only a website will do.
Where does that leave you? Well, it depends on your needs. If you have a business, for example, that really only needs an Internet presence telling people where to find you, then Weebly should work out just fine. If you have a business that needs to accept online payments and provide customers with a shopping cart, then you might want to opt for something a little more sophisticated.
Weebly never promised you could do those things with ease. And that brings us to our next point: Weebly is content being exactly what it is: free.
Free Weebly 2: The Adventure Online
Okay, that was a cheesy headline, and really doesn’t make sense if you don’t get the reference, but hey: it was free. Hard to complain about something that was free, right?
That’s part of the appeal of Weebly. While a few other sitebuilding services – think Blogger.com – allow you to create a website or blog for free, the free and quality website builders are too far and few between. Weebly is one of them, and if this Weebly review is judging the site based on what you pay for it, then we have a new perspective entirely.
Because Weebly is free, this enhances the simplicity and ease with which you can register. No filling in your credit card information or setting up reminders to tell you when you need to cancel their free trial. Weebly is just one gigantic free trial – without the 30 day limit. That’s good news, especially if you’re part of the target audience of Weebly in the first place: someone who wants a low barrier to entry.
The one downside to Weebly being free? The aforementioned “.weebly.com” subdomain that you’ll have to attach to your website if you don’t have a way of hosting your own site. Naturally, you can’t have your own “.com” domain if you don’t pay for the hosting privileges, but is there anything more awkward than attaching “Weebly” to your endeavors? It sounds like MySpace for ten-year-olds.
If you do have your own domain, you can use Weebly to build your site for free anyway. That’s excellent – you’ll have no need to go to a few inferior services like GoDaddy’s WebSite Tonight. If you’re paying for a simple HTML template, then you haven’t given Weebly enough of your consideration or attention.
The truth is that it’s good to live in an Internet where services like Weebly exist. They won’t knock your blog visitors or business customers out with their amazing template designs – anything that good is worth paying for. But Weebly does allow you to help anyone still learning about websites create their own with a zero entry barrier. One could imagine teaching fourth-grade students how to create websites using services exactly like Weebly. It’s meant as a compliment!
Maybe Weebly isn’t for you, especially if you’re sophisticated enough to habitually read a site like Clickfire.com. But Weebly might be for your aunt, your uncle, your grandpa – whoever’s asking you about quick and easy ways to set up websites. And that, after all, is definitely worth something.