Can there really be best practices with Weebly? I hate weebly, I hate WIX, I hate square space, I hate them all except WordPress lol! That is because I have been using it for over 10 years and why bother with the others! No need to reinvent the wheel, but I have to use some weebly sites for clients so I decided to put together a best practices guide! Good luck… always try to convert them to a new wordpress website build 😉
Business owners who want to improve their online presence have a lot of options at their disposal. Weebly is one of many website builders and hosting services, but it powers over 40 million websites. It’s often touted for being one of the easier-to-use website builders, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. This article will offer a comprehensive introduction to everything business owners need to know about Weebly’s services to make an informed decision about whether it’s a good fit for them.
What Is Weebly?
- Weebly was founded in 2006 by three students at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology. Its creators designed it with the intention of making a website builder that anyone could use. The free version of Weebly operates fully online using drag-and-drop site elements, which removes the need for learning how to code. Weebly was acquired in April 2018 by Square, Inc. and has since developed a few additional features such as simple stores, support for on-site ads, and visitor statistics tracking.
Is Weebly Free?
- The company offers a free online web builder for basic use, which means site creators can get started publishing content right away without incurring any up-front costs. Unfortunately, the free version of Weebly leaves much to be desired. It has limited features, doesn’t allow site creators to use custom domain names, and displays Weebly ads prominently on the site. No serious business owner would be able to create a custom website using the free service.
How Much Does it Cost?
- Weebly also offers three tiers of paid service: the Personal plan ($6 per month), the Professional plan ($12 per month), and the Performance plan ($26 per month). The Personal plan is suitable for hobby sites like personal blogs or artists’ portfolios, but sites created with this plan still have Weebly advertisements that can’t be removed. The only real difference between the Personal plan and the free plan is that site creators can connect custom domains, so that option is out for business owners.
- Upgrading to the Professional plan removes the Weebly ads and gives site creators access to a free domain and unlimited storage. It’s the most popular plan among personal users who want to be taken seriously online, but again, it’s still not great for business owners.
- The Performance plan is suitable for small businesses. It gives site creators access to some eCommerce analytics, automated abandoned cart emails, and shipping discounts. Creators who want to add extra functionality to their sites will also have to pay for apps from the Weebly App Store, so expect to pay some extra fees.
Business owners working on a budget may want to consider alternatives to Weebly. WordPress, another popular website builder, is actually free. Site owners will need to pay for web hosting, and they may want to invest in a few plugins or a premium theme, but overall, it offers a better value for the money.
Is Weebly Good for SEO?
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to improve a site’s visibility. Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t make it easy to implement SEO best practices like applying and editing title tags and meta descriptions. Users must enter the data both under the site settings and in the in-page editor. They should also note that Weebly includes duplicated metadata in its site code, which can negatively affect search engine rankings.
It’s also important to note that sites created using the free editor are not listed on Google and other search engines. Users must upgrade to a paid account to even have any amount of optimization pay off. The bottom line for business owners who want to see more traffic and improve their customer conversion rates is that WordPress is a much better bet for SEO purposes. That doesn’t make Weebly completely useless, though, so let’s take a look at how it works.
How to Create a Weebly Site
- Since Weebly is designed with user-friendliness in mind, there’s plenty of guidance for new users. They can start by signing up for a free account, then upgrade to a paid plan later if they decide whether Weebly is really for them. From there, just select a theme, choose a domain, and start editing the site. Remember, Weebly is a drag-and-drop platform, so site creators have to work with what they see. They can, however, apply themes, customize the site’s appearance, add elements, and increase functionality by purchasing apps.
How to Change Font on a Weebly Site
- Users can change their font by navigating to the Theme menu. They can also alter individual text elements by selecting “Change Fonts” and choosing specific paragraphs, titles, or other text elements. Users can also upload custom external fonts to their sites by navigating to Edit HTML / CSS and selecting “Assets.”
How to Add Elements
- Elements can be added to the site using the Element menu. Just drag-and-drop the media icon on the page to add text boxes, videos, buttons, and more.
How to Add Apps
- The Apps button can also be found in the Navigation Bar. It directs users to the Weebly App Center, where they can find Weebly-specific apps to add to their websites. There are over 300 apps in the App Center, but only around 50 of them are free. Be prepared to spend some extra cash to add functionality to the site.
How to Change Password on a Weebly Site
- Only users who have upgraded to a Professional plan or higher can password-protect their sites to limit access. To set a password for the entire site, Professional and Performance plan holders can navigate to the “General Settings” menu and click “Change password protection.” They will be offered the option to password-protect the entire website, but the feature won’t go live until after users save and publish the site.
Professional and Performance plan holders can also password-protect individual pages. To do so, open the website in the editor and click “Page.” Select an existing page and click the gear icon that appears across from the page name to open the page settings. This menu will offer the option to change the page visibility to “Password protected.” Again, the changes won’t go live until after they have been saved and published.
How to Back Up a Weebly Site
- Site creators should back up their Weebly sites frequently. Whether they use the free service or pay to upgrade to a premium account, users are still at risk of site deletion if they violate the company’s terms of service. No matter what website builder they use, all site creators should back up their work anyway, since it’s just a good practice to be in, regardless.
To back up the site, log in to the account and navigate to the “General” section of the Settings menu. Enter the email ID associated with the account under the “Archive” section, then click “Email Archive.” Weebly will send a copy of the site to the linked email account as a .zip file. Unfortunately, Weebly doesn’t allow users to upload these .zip files directly onto other Weebly sites, nor does it let users back up blog posts. These issues also make it more challenging to switch to another web host without losing valuable content.
How to Save a Weebly Site
- The process of saving a Weebly site varies based on what phase of site design users are currently in. If they’re still in the process of creating a site, they need to click “Done” to save the settings before moving on to the customization phase. Once users have begun to customize their sites, they can click “Save” in the pop-up box after making changes.
How to Delete a Weebly Site
- Whether users have created a test site to accommodate the fact that Weebly doesn’t offer page previews before publishing or they’ve decided to move to a different web host, they have two options. They can either un-publish the site or delete it completely.
Un-Publishing a Weebly Site
- Un-publishing a Weebly site makes it unavailable to the public without removing it from the Weebly editor. The easiest way to do this is to navigate to the Settings menu, select “General,” and click on “Un-publish Site.” Users will be prompted to confirm the action. Once they have, the un-published site will display a “404–Page Not Found” error, but none of the content will be deleted from Weebly’s servers. The entire website can be re-published at any time.
- If a user has decided to switch to a different web browser, it makes more sense for him or her to delete the Weebly site entirely. Just choose the site in the dashboard, click the “…” button that appears next to the “Edit Site” and “Upgrade” options, and click “Delete Site.” Users will be prompted to confirm their choice and will be unable to retrieve the site after it has been deleted. The full take-down may take some time on Weebly’s end, depending on how large the site was.
The Bottom Line
Weebly is great for a few things. It’s perfect for those who do not understand how to design a website but want a place to showcase personal work online since it requires no knowledge of coding. Its higher price plans are decent for small business owners that aren’t worried about competitive search rankings, as well. For serious business owners who want a professional website without spending a fortune, WordPress is the better choice.