So you want to build a website, but not sure where to begin?
Or have you already built a site but are unhappy with how the whole exercise is playing out?
Navigating the pitfalls of having an online presence is indeed a challenge and trying to sort out whose best among the scores of providers can be even tougher.
This search is especially important as you work your way to a relevant website, desperate to avoid the pit of misery that is zero traffic, no page views, and an unsold stock of hilariously funny t-shirts.
If this sounds familiar, don’t fret. We all have experienced this confusion a time or two. While it may not be a pit of misery, make no mistake, building a website is not a small task. Creating one to stand out from the crowd that is also wildly successful is an even taller order.
Getting off to the right start all comes down to one thing: choosing the right platform.
Thankfully there are multiple website builders that offer simple, all-in-one solutions to help you create an effective and successful website.
But whose service is right for you?
Two platforms, in particular, Wix and Weebly, specialize in easy to use interfaces that make website building an amazingly easy endeavor. Today, we’re going to put them to the test and see if there is a clear winner for your next website building project.
Meet Our Contenders
Both companies have seen tremendous growth in that time, though Wix has been the far more successful of the two. From pretty much every numbers standpoint, Wix outshines Weebly.
The publicly traded Wix reportedly has over 100 million users worldwide with approximately 90 million websites that stretch into 190 different countries. Add to that their $425 million in revenue in 2017 and it easy to see Wix as the industry leader.
Weebly, on the other hand, is a private company and though their numbers are harder to discern, reports show them behind close to 40 million websites that boast more 325 million unique visitors per month.
While this doesn’t tip favor in any one direction for a specific platform, it does highlight Wix’s hyper-aggressive growth over the past 12 years. It may not mean much in the bigger picture, but as of today, Wix is by far the more established group.
As of this writing, Wix stands above all of the other providers and dominates in overall market share. Weebly is in third but has gained ground on Squarespace who has sat comfortably in the second spot for some time.
As we said though, company growth and stability can only extend so far, and Weebly, for its part, is by no means a pushover. Their trajectory has tracked positively for quite some time and doesn’t show any signs of leveling off.
They may still be considered an upstart, but they certainly don’t act like one.
Building and hosting websites is far more than just a numbers game, and now that you’ve met the players let’s see what each one is bringing to the table.
What They’re Selling
At first glance, the Wix and Weebly website builder platforms seem very similar. And though that’s true for the most part, there are clear indicators that explain the market disparity we alluded to above.
What they do share is the approach of their platforms. Throughout this article, you’ll hear us reference the term drag and drop a lot. There’s an excellent reason for that.
Wix and Weebly have distinguished themselves amongst the web builder crowd by offering simple and straightforward solutions to the puzzle that is creating a website.
Drag and drop editing.
There are plenty of other options in the marketplace, several of which are also drag and drop based models. Wix and Weebly though have separated themselves thanks to their uncomplicated interfaces.
Both platforms cast themselves as easy for the novice and useful for the more seasoned techies looking to build a website. On both counts, they do get it right, although the former point of helping the less technically inclined is really where both services shine.
There are also quite a few intangibles that each one offers, which, depending on the aim and goals of the end user, can have very different appeals.
First, to get our comparison underway, let’s look at their pricing and features. You may think that two companies offering similar services can’t be that far apart, but what you pay and what you get in return for your investment is where clear divisions start to emerge.
Pricing and Features
You’re probably accustomed to the pricing getting buried in comparisons like this, but we think it’s important to get a feel for the value of a service right from the top.
Wix provides five different price tiers along with a free option, which gives you a healthy amount of choice. Weebly has four paid plans and a free basic offering as well.
For the most part, the plan levels for each platform are similar though some subtle differences can highlight what’s more important to each provider.
The free options for both Wix and Weebly are reliable but limited. We consider both to be a good way to test each platforms capability. As would be expected, neither one is going to provide you a broad set of options, but they do give enough tools to get a presence up on the web.
The biggest drawback to the free service from both providers is that your final product displays each company’s respective ads. By no means obtrusive, they do lessen the professionalism of what are otherwise okay no-cost websites.
Once upon a time, Weebly did have a $4 per month Connect plan. This amounted to connecting a domain you already had possession of and building a site with little more than the free features. Thankfully, they only seem to offer this in select situations, if at all anymore.
Wix, on the other hand, still has their Connect plan, and frankly, we’d like to see them eliminate it to simplify their price structure further. Without really knowing if a connect plan is lucrative for the company offering it, from the surface they appear as useful as a fish with a bicycle.
So with that out of the way, let’s discuss each provider’s actual entry-level offering.
For the entry-level comparison, we will take a look at Wix’s $11 a month Combo and Weebly’s $8 per month Starter option.
The first tier of premium pricing is usually the hardest from which to get a good read. These are basic sites, with limited features that often function best as a personal web page or blog. Weebly gives you more storage and bandwidth than Wix’s Combo package but at $3 less per month.
Weebly gets the nod here not just for the extra space, but for also offering some ecommerce functionality. Limited as it may be with a cap of ten items and a transaction fee for each purchase, it’s still a rare thing to see at this price level.
We’re calling these the popular options since in most instances this is where each service pulls in most of their users. For Wix, this means their $14 per month Unlimited plan with Weebly offering a $12 a month Pro option.
Much the same as at the entry level, the better value here goes to Weebly. They offer more standard features like unlimited storage and bandwidth (Wix still has a cap in place), a site search, and limited membership sign-up feature.
Plus, the Weebly Pro increases the strength of the ecommerce option with more products to sell (although the transaction fee remains firmly in place). It’s hard to argue against extra functionality at a cheaper rate.
Moving up a tier is where we get into the real ecommerce capacity for both platforms. What’s interesting at this price point is that Weebly now becomes the pricier of the two with their Business plan coming in at $25 per month.
But you get a lot with that price. Digital goods, inventory management, shipping discounts and coupons all come with the Business plan. The pesky transaction fee is gone too.
Wix on the other hand still holds back, but at an affordable $17 per month, their ecommerce package includes an online store with an inventory tracker, shipping and tax rate customization, and the ability to offer discounts and coupons.
For the price, we still think the Weebly offering is the better choice, but Wix does contribute an option that’s worth strong consideration.
At this level, we get into solutions for larger businesses or volume sellers, and both of the platforms provide adequate support for each. Again, Weebly outpaces Wix in price, this time by a wide margin.
The Weebly Performance package runs $38 per month and doesn’t offer too much more in the way of function versus their Business offering. It does, however, include some robust marketing tools and adds the all-important abandoned cart feature. That alone can easily justify the price jump.
Wix, on the other hand, seems to recognize that ecommerce is not the main reason users buy into their ecosystem. Their VIP plan is priced at a modest $25 per month and focuses more on providing an improved customer service experience for their client than anything else.
If it seems Wix is a bit stingy with their feature list, you’re not too far off base, especially where the two ecommerce packages are concerned. Wix more than anything else recognizes they are a web builder. As we’ll see later, there are ways to fill in the necessary gaps, and Wix certainly knows it.
Weebly, on the other hand, is more feature rich with competitively priced packages at each level. The fact they toss in some limited ecommerce functionality with their standard website tier is a nice touch as well. They do have much higher priced ecommerce packages, but the features do fit the asking price.
Overall, when it comes to price and feature set and general initial value, there isn’t a lot to separate the two. If we had to give the edge to someone at this point, it would be Weebly with their more advantageous offers up front.
Now let’s turn our attention to the themes and designs that each service provides.
Themes and Design
As the backbone and starting point for your web build, few things are more important than choosing the right theme for your website. These templates primarily serve as your baseline design and with functionality varying from option to option you’ll want to select one that fits your needs.
Both providers tick all the boxes when it comes to producing varied options from which to choose, but Wix gives you more.
By more, we mean a lot more.
With over 500 templates in their stable, no other provider in the market comes close to what Wix offers. They do not suffer from an issue of quantity over quality either. Each theme provides a dynamic range of features, and the functionality of each is second to none.
The setup of their theme store is equally intuitive and makes sorting through the options a relative breeze when one considers how many are available.
The only drawback and really the only thing keeping this from being an absolute slam dunk for Wix is that you cannot freely switch your templates. If you start editing one theme and it’s not to your liking, you’ll have to start your content build from scratch as nothing will carry over from your original effort.
It’s an industry standard that most other providers let you work with different templates, and we explain later the possible reason for it. Hopefully, it is something they are working to improve.
Weebly does let you switch templates while carrying over your current work; you’ll just be doing so with a much smaller, and far more lackluster set of theme options. Currently, they offer fewer than a hundred choices.
That may be a bit harsh, but Weebly has lagged behind Wix, Squarespace and many others in this category. The design and functionality of the templates are adequate and certainly will do their job, but they clearly do not measure up to the overall depth of Wix’s catalog or stand close to the design acumen offered at Squarespace.
To Weebly’s credit though, they have been working to correct this with recent offerings gradually increasing in quality. Also on the brighter side of things, they do have a couple of positives that work in their favor.
You can also farm out the design or purchase something from a third-party designer to load into the Weebly platform. It may defeat the purpose of using an all in one provider, but it does provide you some freedom if that’s something you’re wanting.
It’s not a complete runaway, but Wix gets our recommendation when it comes to themes and their usefulness within the respective platform. The inability to switch between the templates is a moderate knock against them, but Weebly still has plenty of ground to cover, and that singular inconvenience is not enough to impact the overall standing.
If selection and dynamics of themes matters most to you, nobody does it better than Wix.
Ease of Use
The advent of drag and drop editing has opened up web building to the masses. Pick your theme and customize it by dragging and dropping in (or removing) elements that will most serve the vision you have for your website.
Actually, it is. And both Wix and Weebly do their part to make it incredibly so.
Wix offers up two solutions. The first is their peerless and just plain cool website building AI (artificial intelligence), Wix ADI. This really has no equal in the website building community. You inform the ADI what you want in your website, and it produces the site for you. Simple, no fuss, ready to go.
While it’s about as simplistic as it gets, the ADI is pretty rigid, allowing for only minor tweaks on your part. Still, though, there is something great about creating a website in little to no time using forward-thinking AI.
For the more hands-on approach, Wix has a standard editor that is very easy to figure out and work through. There are remarkably few limits on where you can place your content within a given template. This translates into a more free-form experience and allows you maximum flexibility with your creativity.
We also think this is the main reason why you cannot switch templates within Wix. Once you start to build your site, it will take on its own uniqueness, which doesn’t transfer easily between the themes. Still, though, they created an AI editor, so don’t be surprised if they eventually come up with a solution for this too.
Weebly does not have an AI editor, but their basic editing platform matches up well with Wix’s standard interface, and may even be easier to use, albeit with limitations.
The Weebly editor is still a drag and drop affair, but it restricts where you can place content. This means it is an uncomplicated program to master since the parameters are defined, but you cannot work outside those guidelines.
Put another way; if the Wix editor is an open field, where you could build anything anywhere, the Weebly platform already has the street and utility grid laid out and built, so your construction will need to work around what’s already in place.
It’s easy to see where the appeal is for either platform and though we tend to favor the open end nature of the Wix editor, the Weebly system will be simpler to learn and yields a faster site build.
To expand upon a reference we used in an earlier review of the Wix platform, if we had to equate the above editors to coffee, Weebly’s is your easy, anyone-can-do-it scoop up your pre-grounded java and push the button on your coffee maker version.
With Wix, you get to grind your own beans, and maybe even mix in a few other flavors before pushing the button to brew.
The Wix ADI is pretty much akin to K-Cups. Pick a flavor, close the lid, done.
Both services also offer app functionality if you need a little extra help to upgrade a particular element or fill in some gaps if a theme doesn’t possess everything you need.
As we noted above, this is where Wix makes up for their slightly sparser primary functions. Their app store is massive with numerous options to help you build out your website.
Weebly also has the requisite app market, but it really only serves to help to improve a sites basic functionality. Much like their theme offerings, they continue to expand the current footprint, but it’s still nowhere near the size of the Wix store.
For ease of use, we’ll go with Wix. Two editor options, the flexibility their standard interface offers, and the massive app capabilities they provide to help further flesh out your project, are all too much to pass up and help take Wix’s platform to a different level.
That said, Weebly’s straightforward approach is hard to dismiss and is an excellent choice if you are looking for something a bit more stripped down.
We’ll first start by saying that neither the Wix or Weebly platforms are Shopify and they will not have the depth of online store features that the ecommerce juggernaut possesses.
However, you can build effective online stores with both platforms, especially if you’re a small to mid-level seller who doesn’t require a ton of bells and whistles.
The Wix platform offers you all the basics you expect including the sale of physical and digital goods, extensive payment options, including one for customers to make purchases offline, and an easy interface for adding and managing your product inventory.
As we stated in the price section, Wix is not necessarily driven to be a significant ecommerce provider, but they are nonetheless an effective one. And again, their wide selection of apps can also turn a basic store into something far more significant.
Weebly’s solution is quite robust with more fully developed tools like automatic sales tax and shipping cost calculations. But even then, they are not without their limitations.
The payment options are not as wide-ranging as you would expect and their overall pricing is more expensive, though probably not enough for someone looking for a few extra features.
Weebly gets the call here, but it’s really an either-or decision. Again, you’re not getting Shopify level quality with the pre-set ecommerce options offered by Wix or Weebly. What you will get are functional and nicely adequate stores that will serve most e-retailers very well.
For search engine optimization or SEO, it can be challenging to get a good grasp on what’s going to be effective and what isn’t. First and foremost, current, quality content is key to getting your website recognized by major search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing.
Beyond that, you’ll want to have effective meta descriptions, titles, and URLs and both Wix and Weebly include functionality to help you achieve all three.
Wix though, by virtue of their deeper platform, does offer a one-time SEO optimization tool that can help you create a baseline for your search engine efforts. They also include a nifty search engine view feature that will show how your site may look in a given search.
Weebly does not have those two capabilities, but their meta tag and description editing (as well as keywords and titles) are effective and easy to change or update.
Ultimately, both services offer the basics to help you build out some of your SEO efforts, and neither is a wrong choice if that’s your primary concern. But as we stated, your content (and the promotion of that content through social networks) will drive your website forward and be the determining factor in how people find you.
With both platforms casting themselves as a service where novices and the less tech-savvy among us can be comfortable building and managing websites, it should come as no surprise that each has incredibly stout support structures.
Wix, in particular, has a wide array of solutions that range from the question mark help icons built directly into the website editor to their broad list of help topics and forums laid out in their help center.
Another highlight of their service commitment is basing their top subscriber tier around dedicated and priority one on one VIP service, including phone support. We should also note this same phone support is available with their other plans too.
They do fall short however by not offering an online chat feature, which these days should be standard for any tech organization.
Weebly, as the overall simpler system to use, does not have the same overall breadth of Wix’s help structure in place, but they have more than enough to satisfy and resolve any potential concerns.
The Weebly support is consistent across all price tiers minus their entry-level offering not providing direct phone help like the other three premium plans.
Although it would be easy to nitpick the minor exclusions on both sides, the fact is that if you run into any problems, both Wix and Weebly have more than enough resources to resolve any issue you may encounter.
Hosting and Back Up
Part of the convenience of the all in one solution is that you do not have to worry about finding your own hosting as you would with a service like WordPress. Both Wix and Weebly handle this part of the web building equation with relative ease.
Both platforms take care of the backend obligations ensuring your site is always up and running, visible, and any support upgrades, like security, are addressed on a regular basis. This is part of the understood service regardless of your price plan.
One distinct difference though is that Weebly allows you to back up and save your entire website as a ZIP file. This is really helpful in ensuring you always have a fallback version, or should you outgrow the Weebly platform, and need to load your content into another provider, the aforementioned WordPress for example.
As a closed system, Wix does not allow this and loses a few points for the lack of flexibility.
Considering the overall support services practically mirror each other in every other aspect of hosting, we give this one to Weebly, based solely on the ability to backup your content.
Wix and Weebly are similar enough that both will serve you exceptionally well, whatever your website hosting and building needs may be. Because of that, it really comes done to what’s most important to you.
Overall, we recommend Wix.
The scope and dynamics of their platform mean they have solutions for almost any type of website requirement. But they also keep the core interface and usability of the system at a level where anyone can create a highly professional presence on the web.
Plus, and maybe more so than most other providers, they seem committed to pushing the envelope and stretching technology as far as it can go. We anticipate this commitment will continue to expand an already feature-rich ecosystem for the end user.
Weebly, for their part, is a strong entry-level platform that anyone would feel comfortable in using. We mean that as a huge positive. You don’t have to be the most technologically advanced provider to be an effective one.
Weebly fits this description perfectly.
There are some areas where Weebly excels and easily trumps the Wix platform, but if you are looking for the most complete platform, Wix is the clear choice.
Regardless of which one you do end up choosing, it’s essential to pick the platform that best serves your needs. We can articulate all day about the better overall system, but your set of requirements are unique to you, and those will be the most important factors when it comes time to claim your piece of internet real estate.