Review: Weebly

Website Builder: Weebly (Affiliate link).
Pros: lots of designs to chose from; easy to use; free to low cost
Cons: the interface sometimes acts a little strange, looks and feels kind of cheap; limited options to customise designs; drag-and-drop elements are limited in customisability
Price: free, though some features are only available to Pro users, Pro subscriptions cost $4.58 a month with a minimum 6-month subscription. Longer-term subscriptions get reductions.
Ideal for: personal website

Weebly is a free website builder that has gotten a quite a bit of attention mostly because it is free and really easy to use.

The registration process is dead simple; fill in your user name, password and email, and you are on your way.

The website editing interface consists of a horizontal bar which floats along the top of the screen and has a double navigation system. The main navigation items, labelled Elements, Design, Pages and Settings, are all located along the top, with submenu-items listed on the left. The rest of the bar is reserved for large icons which represent different elements that can be simply dragged-and-dropped onto the page. Boxes with red outlines indicate where content can be added. So far, nice and easy.

Weebly provides a large collection of ready designs to pick from. It is good that they do because options to customise these designs are extremely limited.

The Design Options interface lets you change the font, colour and size of some of the text elements on the page. But if you want to set a headline in bold or italic, or change its alignment, you have to go into the HTML/CSS editor.

Editing the content of standard text on the page is fairly straightforward; just click once on the text and start typing. The markup buttons, however, those for bold, italic, alignment and so on, float somewhere along the top of the screen, seemingly disconnected from the text you are working on.

All elements are by default full column-width and one element can not be put inside another. If you want to include a YouTube video inside a block of text, you have to use 3 elements. One for the video, and one for each piece of text, before and after the video. Forget about letting the text run around the embedded video.

Weebly lets you embed YouTube videos into your site in two ways. A nice drag-and-drop element lets you embed the video without having to copy/paste HTML code, although this element provides only a few options to change the size and position of the video. Most users will probably find it just as easy to get the embed code from YouTube and use Weebly’s Custom HTML element to add videos to their site.

Weebly’s Google Adsense and product box elements seem to work better, letting you add banner advertisement and product sales boxes to pages with drag-and-drop ease.

Adding a forum to your Weebly site is a snap thanks the Tal.ki plugin.

Final words
Weebly’s price-tag of free and its drag-and-drop ease of use will appeal to those who are looking for a simple and cheap solution to create a website, though its limited options for customisation might make it less suitable for more demanding customers.

If you use or have used Weebly, we would like to hear your experience in the comments below.

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