Weebly and WordPress
In this post, we will be making a comparison between the open-source version of WordPress and Weebly.
WordPress was first released for public use in 2003, so it has been around for close to two decades now. You can also install the open-source version of WordPress on your local machine to do any development work or learn more about the platform.
Weebly was released around three years later, in 2006. Since its release, it has received regular updates that either add new features or improve upon the existing ones. The company was acquired by Squarespace in 2016. It operates as a SaaS company and allows users to create websites with its drag-and-drop builder.
Now that we know a little bit about both these platforms, I will cover their key differences in more detail.
WordPress vs. Weebly: Installation 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 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 an absolute beginner.
Weebly will do a lot of heavy lifting for you if you decide to use it for creating your website. All you need to do is sign up for their free or paid plans. Things like hosting, domain management, and SSL security are already included with the service.
Let’s talk about ease of use now. Weebly comes with a built-in drag-and-drop builder that makes it easy for you to create sophisticated layouts without writing a single line of code. On the other hand, the built-in Gutenberg block editor isn’t nearly as powerful, though you can install a third-party page builder like Elementor or Beaver Builder for better drag-and-drop capabilities.
Winner: Weebly is the clear winner for both installation and ease of use when compared to WordPress.
WordPress vs. Weebly: Available Themes
It is good to have built-in drag-and-drop capabilities in a website builder so that users can design their website however they want. As I mentioned earlier, both WordPress and Weebly have this feature. However, not everyone wants to start from scratch when creating their websites. In those situations, it’s important to have the option to start with a pre-built template that you can modify to get a head start.
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 create a variety of websites. This includes an online store, a portfolio website, a personal website, etc. The templates look decent, but there aren’t a lot of options available. All Weebly themes can be used freely, and they are fully customizable.
WordPress offers a large variety of free and premium themes. The free themes usually have limited capabilities, and you can install them from the official theme repository. Themes in the WordPress repository aren’t always provided by WordPress. A majority of the themes are developed by independent third-party developers.
Free WordPress themes are adequate for some simple websites. You can also buy premium themes from third-party marketplaces. One such example is ThemeForest, where you can choose from over 1,000 different themes. These themes offer free lifetime updates and six months of free support.
Winner: WordPress is definitely the winner here since it gives you the option to choose from thousands of available themes compared to the limited selection of Weebly.
WordPress vs. Weebly: Extensibility
Both WordPress and Weebly come with a lot of functionality built into their core product. However, they can’t be expected to be a complete one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. People who use these platforms will have their own unique needs and expectations.
Any additional functionality that you might need is made available with the use of apps in Weebly’s app center and plugins in the case of WordPress.
Weebly offers over 350 different apps for you to integrate with your website. Quite a few of these apps are free to use, while others might cost you money. For example, there is a free app to allow you to add a dedicated FAQ page or section on your website. Similarly, there is another premium app to help you integrate forms into your website.
WordPress has a large repository of over 60,000 free plugins available for you to use. No matter what functionality you want to integrate in your website, there is 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 modify the behavior of existing plugins or even write your own from scratch if any such need arises.
WordPress also has a large number of third-party marketplaces where you can purchase premium plugins that offer a lot of functionality. Many of these marketplaces such as CodeCanyon will even offer free support for six months as well as free lifetime updates.
One odd thing that you will notice about Weebly is that the pace of active development has either stopped completely or become comparatively 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
Creating a website is relatively easy compared to its maintenance and optimization needs over long periods. There are a lot of things that can go wrong and take your website offline.
With WordPress, you will have to put in some effort to learn how to keep the website secure and optimized. The themes and plugins you’ve installed might need regular updates. WordPress provides plugins for almost everything that you might need to do, such as database optimization, SEO, and security settings. Compatibility between different plugins might occasionally become an issue.
What I’m trying to say is that while you could get a lot of things with plugins in WordPress, you will have to get your hands dirty every once in a while.
Weebly, on the other hand, provides chat and email support even for their free accounts. You are also less likely to face any optimization or security issues because the whole hosting process is centralized and streamlined. However, the SEO capabilities leave something to be desired in Weebly. WordPress, on the other hand, has some really nice third-party SEO plugins to help with website rankings.
Winner: Maintenance of Weebly websites is a lot easier than WordPress. You can also contact support staff through chat, email, or phone calls if you do run into some problems.
WordPress vs. Weebly: Cost
One more thing that I would like to compare is the cost of creating 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 creating a website with Weebly would be zero. The ability to have your own custom domain requires you to purchase the Connect plan, which costs $5 per month. However, this plan also has limited resources.
You can use the free Weebly plan to test if it offers the functionality that you need. You would need to purchase the Pro plan in order to create a website with decent resource limits. This would cost you $12 per month. The cost of the domain is already included in the plan, and you also get $100 in Google Ads credits.
There are also dedicated plans for people who want to create eCommerce websites using Weebly.
WordPress is free for you to use and install. You will obviously have to pay for domain registration and a web host if you want people to visit the website. This cost will vary among the different domain registrars and web hosts. If you decide to use a premium plugin or theme, you should also factor that into your budget.
In general, it would be cheaper for you to create a website with WordPress. However, the cost might go up if you need something tailored to your particular website.
Winner: WordPress in general, but different websites have different needs.
Alright, time for a final answer. Which one should you use to create your website: Weebly or WordPress?
|Installation and Ease of Use
|Maintenance and Support
Unless you are creating a very basic website, my suggestion would be that you choose WordPress over Weebly. Even if you are an absolute beginner and aren’t ready to use WordPress, I would like to suggest that you look at other alternatives besides Weebly. For example, you could consider using Wix or Webflow for creating your websites.
Weebly just doesn’t seem to offer a good enough mix of features to be suitable for creating any serious website, especially since regular development work to add new features seems to have stalled.