Weebly Site Builder: Quick, Scalable Blogging
The first thing you need to know about Weebly is that it’s a site builder. That means Weebly is a blog hosting provider in the same way that a taxi is a rental car provider: you pay to use it but someone else handles the driving and maintenance. And just like a taxi, Weebly is easy to use and you pay only for what you need.
On the one hand, full-fledged hosting providers require more technical heavy lifting from bloggers but the upside is you get more functionality and control over the design of your blog.
Site builders, on the other hand, are built for speed and ease, usually with drag-and-drop design tools that almost anyone can pick up and start using right away.
Weebly Helps Bloggers Online Quickly
Weebly is targeted to people who want to launch a business website — but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad choice for bloggers. On the contrary, for some bloggers, Weebly might be the perfect fit.
Weebly has a depth of features that allows even advanced bloggers to try out new things that they might not be able to do with a regular web host.
Which Type of Blogger is Weebly Best For?
Weebly was founded 2007 and has over 40 million customers, so it’s a company that’s honed its product for people who want an easy way to get online quickly.
Weebly is a best for bloggers who are thinking of building out their blogs by adding features like a company website or an online store. Personal bloggers who have been frustrated by their experiences with WordPress or another blogging platform may also welcome Weebly’s simplified approach to blogging.
Weebly isn’t ideal for hardcore geeky bloggers who want to fiddle with coding gears. However, there’s no harm in trying it out no matter what type of blogger you are since Weebly has a free plan.
Blogging on Weebly
When you sign up for Weebly, you’re taken through a wizard that asks you what type of site you want to build. You simply choose “Blog” and then pick out a theme. There are only eight blogging themes, but they have are slick and professional looking.
Customizing and Importing Themes
You might be wondering, “Can I monkey with my Weebly theme’s design elements after I pick a theme?” The answer is yes!
After you’ve finished the wizard, you can change your site’s colors and fonts or switch to a different theme any time you like. Weebly allows you to add bits of HTML code and adjust the style sheets (CSS) but it won’t let you go hog-wild within the frameworks of the themes they provide. You can, however, import your own theme or one you’ve purchased elsewhere.
One of the coolest things about Weebly for bloggers is the ability to create gallery widgets that feature posts only from specific categories. You can use it to feature any posts you like as long as you’ve created a category for them. It can be a nifty way for creators to highlight their portfolio by creating a blog post for each of your works and then creating a category to feature on one of these gallery-style widgets.
SEO on Weebly
Weebly helps you add some key SEO elements to make it easier for your blog to be discovered, like site description, meta keywords, Google Analytics tracking codes, Google Webmaster Tools, and 301 redirects for pages you’ve moved or deleted.
A sweet feature for bloggers with an international audience is the instant translation into 15 languages — even if you don’t speak them! All your reader needs to do is choose their language from the top drop-down and presto-change-o, there’s a Google translation of your post! This is the future we were promised, right?
Languages supported for site translation include Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, Japanese, Polish, Norwegian, Danish, Russian, and Turkish.
Adding additional blog functionality with Weebly’s app store is a bit easier than going it alone with some of the more complicated WordPress plugins.
Some desirable blog functionality automatically comes with your Weebly site. Adding Facebook comments and automated marketing emails is as simple as dragging a widget anywhere on a page, post, or your blog’s sidebar. You can also open an online store or accept donations through PayPal.
But Weebly also offers hundreds of additional apps that work similar to the way plugins work on WordPress. Weebly’s apps come in free, paid, and freemium versions.
Some free apps come integrated with your blog as soon as you get set up. For example, you can allow your readers to create memberships, add on additional contributors, or lock up your blog with a password. Other free or freemium apps of interest to bloggers include:
- Facebook “Like” button
- Tables and tabbed pages
- Visit counter
- Events calendar
- Appointment booking
Weebly also offers paid apps from third parties that require either a one-time fee or an ongoing subscription:
- Real-time chat
- Layout customization
- Community forums
- Testimonial sliders
- Advanced SEO help
While it’s not strictly a blogging concern, Weebly offers a simple way to help monetize your blog by opening an online store. You can even open an online store (up to 10 items) with Weebly’s free blog plan! The best part is that opening your store alongside your blog just takes a few clicks.
Customer Service and Support
Customer service is at the same level across Weebly’s plans with options for email and chat ticket submission or access to the community forum. The only improvement on Support that you get with a paid plan is the ability to call and talk to a tech.
Support comes in slightly fewer languages than site translation: Chinese, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Swedish, and Japanese.
Billing and Refunds
All of Weebly’s plans are paid in 1-year chunks; you can’t pay month-to-month. They do have a 30-day money back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied. You can use your free Weebly plan for as long as you like if you don’t need any of the paid features.
Weebly offers flexibility for your blog’s domain. You can purchase a domain directly from Weebly, use one that you already own, or use Weebly’s free domain while you get the hang of the platform.
Although you might not think of Weebly first, it offers bloggers flexibility and ease of setup that’s appropriate for both beginners and experienced bloggers. If you’ve been considering a blog, but you dread the thought of wrestling with WordPress or Joomla because you think the learning curve is too steep, Weebly will get you into the game quicker.