A Weebly Review: Super Easy to Use, But Only One Viable Ecommerce Plan

The Weebly website builder often pops up into the conversation when you have a few online business owners who might be pressed for cash or they don’t want a system that is too complex. Top ranking sites are not known to use the Weebly platform, but it may just work out for young entrepreneurs or very small businesses who want to cut costs.

Let’s make it clear that although the Weebly interface is extremely easy to use, the ecommerce tools are pretty terrible unless you go with the Business Plan. However, that doesn’t rule it out completely for many folks, since the Business Plan is rather affordable and it has some quality features.

Keep reading to learn more about Weebly and if it’s right for you when selling online.

Weebly Pricing Options

Weebly provides four pricing options: Free, Starter, Pro and Business. The Free solution is the most economical, but it really is a bare-bones version of the other plans offered. Here’s a breakdown of each one and my thoughts for those trying to sell online:

Free Plan

The Free Weebly Plan has a drag and drop page builder, free hosting and unlimited pages–and that’s about it. Although it’s one of the easier to use website builders out there, you don’t receive your own domain name, which is often crucial for being taken seriously in the ecommerce world. It is surprising, however, that the free plan comes with some ecommerce support, allowing up to five products, a 3% transaction fee and a shopping cart that goes through the third party Weebly site.

If you want to test out what your site looks like, this isn’t a bad option, but I would never recommend it for seriously making money online.

Starter Plan

The Starter Plan also has ecommerce functionality, with up to 10 product uploads, a 3% transaction fee and the third party Weebly shopping cart. Once again, that’s not much in terms of ecommerce capabilities, but if you simply need a regular business presence, without a strong ecommerce module, $8 per month for your own domain, custom branding, stats and a favicon isn’t that bad for those on a budget.

Pro Plan

The Pro Plan goes for $12 per month, and you gain access to your own domain, everything that comes with the Starter Plan and tools for header slideshows, video and audio playback, password protection, site search and membership website building.

The ecommerce support goes up to 25 products, yet you still get hammered with a third party shopping cart and the 3% transaction fee, which is unacceptable.

Business Plan

The Business Plan is the only solution from Weebly that gives serious online companies a chance to sell products in a reasonable manner. For $25 per month you can post an unlimited number of products, pay no transactions fees and host the shopping cart on your own domain. This is the only plan I would recommend if you want to sell online.

In addition, the Business Plan offers support for digital goods, inventory management, shipping and tax calculations, coupon codes and SSL security.

Features You Receive When Going with Weebly

I covered quite a few of the features in the plan outlines above, but let’s dive a little deeper to see exactly what you receive when opting for a Weebly site.

These features are only available through the Business Plan:

Digital Goods

This is a nice touch from the Weebly team since you can upload anything from music files to eBooks and automatically send an email with a download link to your customers when they buy from your store.

Inventory Management

Check to see how many items you have in stock. If a product is out of stock, your store promptly indicates to your customers that this is the case.

Shipping and Tax Calculator

Set rates based on price or weight, and show your customers how much they are getting charged for shipping and taxes without having to do the math yourself.

Coupon Codes

I like this feature since it has several options for discounts including percentage based and dollar based discounts. Designate which products are on sale or available for use with coupons and change them around whenever needed.

You can find the following features depending on the plan you choose:

Website Themes

At the time of this article, Weebly has around 60 website themes for you to choose from, which isn’t terrible, but solutions like Shopify have many more. The good news is that the themes look modern and clean, and they aren’t that difficult to modify with the drag and drop editor. The themes are nicely categorized for the type of site you’re trying to build, so you can browse in the blog, business, creative, non-profit and online store categories.

Drag and Drop Editor

The drag and drop editor is one of the highlights of the entire Weebly system, since it lets you take modules and move them around your website for placing anything from images to maps, slideshows to social buttons. It’s ideal for those who don’t want to mess around with any code, but HTML and CSS areas are still included if needed.

Mobile Apps

Another strong point with Weebly is that you have the power to manage your site from the convenience of the Weebly app. Moderate your blog, post new products and talk to your customers while on the go.

Blogging Support

Blogging is a huge part of improving your SEO and interacting with your customers, and full blog support comes along with your purchase of a Weebly website. The ease of use is fairly simple, but I still enjoy systems like WordPress and Shopify since they provide useful plugins and apps to improve your blogging experience.

Weebly Ease of Use

Weebly has tons of videos and guidance tools when getting started. It asks if you plan on using the ecommerce tools so that only online store themes are presented to you. Once you land on the Weebly dashboard it’s almost fun to play around and learn, since it’s clean and easy to drag and drop elements and even to create a new product.

Adding a product is quick and easy, with areas for images, descriptions, pricing and multiple options. Coupons, orders and categories are all accessible from a single product modification page, making it one of the cleanest backend ecommerce platforms I’ve worked with.

Weebly Support

Weebly offers plenty of support resources such as a knowledge base, blog and video courses to expedite the site creation process. Submit a request if one of your questions hasn’t been answered in the past, and give the company a call or send them an email if you’d rather speak with a real person.

Conclusion

The standout areas for Weebly are the support and ease of use. I would never recommend building an ecommerce website with anything below the Business Plan, but once you get to that Business Plan you can find some handy tools for anything from a self-hosted shopping cart to coupon management.

You don’t get close to the amount of features as Shopify, but the Business plan is a bit cheaper than the Shopify Basic Plan, so if you want the simplest interface with unlimited product uploads, and you’re short on money, Weebly is a solid choice.


Originally published at ecommerce-platforms.com on August 17, 2015.