Known for its flexibility and extensibility, WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems, but it’s not the only available option. Beginners and people who don’t have coding experience often get confused while selecting a website building platform due to the availability of so many options.  Weebly is one of them and can be an excellent choice for people who want a solution that works right out-of-the-box. Although WordPress offers more flexibility and customization options through plugins, many users find it difficult to get around the platform. Gone are the days when building a website required programming and web development experience. Now anyone familiar with operating a computer can start building a website, thanks to free and paid website building solutions.

This guide aims to help you choose between WordPress and Weebly, which are among the most popular and widely used website development platforms.  Both offer their own unique set of features that allow users to create and manage their websites more efficiently. WordPress here means the downloadable, installable and self-hosted version of the platform available for free from WordPress.org. Weebly, on the other hand, is available as a monthly subscription targeting different users, including freelancers, pro users and businesses. Choosing the right package depends on your individual requirements, but the provider allows upgrading packages when needed.

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To make it easier for you to understand the key differences between the two platforms, this guide has been divided into different sections that briefly discuss advantages and disadvantages of each platform. Choosing the right solution depends on many factors, including ease-of-use, flexibility, price, extensibility and support. As a general rule of thumb, if you want greater flexibility and are dealing with complex projects, WordPress can be a great choice as the platform also allows you to easily move your website to another platform. Weebly works great for people looking for an easy-to-use platform that offers all the essentials to get things done.

WordPress

Initially founded as a blogging platform, WordPress transformed into a full-fledged content management system and now powers roughly 60-75 million websites.  The platform uses posts and pages in which users can add text, media and other elements that make a website. However, WordPress is not based on a visual or drag-and-drop editor, which means there is a steep learning curve and beginners have to invest time to learn the system.  Although users can use plugins such as Page Builder to make the whole process easier, there would still be times when they have to deal with code.

WordPress is available in two different versions i.e. self-hosted version available freely from wordpress.org and WP hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) available from wordpress.com for a monthly fee. The WP hosted solution is similar to Weebly, but we are not including it in the comparison since it’s not as widely used as the self-hosted version. So why pay a monthly fee for WordPress when you can also get the software for free? That’s because the downloadable version only means the platform itself as you have to pay extra for hosting, development and other fees.

The main advantage WordPress has over other platforms is that it’s open-source and backed by a strong community of developers. The platform offers all the tools users need to handle complex projects and works well for any site we could imagine. The source code is available to anyone, which is a big plus for advanced users who want to customize their installation according to their own requirements. Availability of thousands of plugins and themes (both paid and free) allows users to make the most out of the platform that is able to adapt to any design requirement. High level of customization, flexibility and availability of the source code makes WordPress ideal for bigger projects that involve a lot of complexity. By using WordPress you own all your content and can manage it any way you like, which is something most other platforms don’t offer and as they require users to abide by their terms and conditions.

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Weebly

Being a drag-and-drop website builder, Weebly has a clear advantage over WordPress and makes it easier for users to start building a professional-looking website right away. That’s why Weebly is considered as one of the most easy-to-use platforms and makes creating and managing websites a breeze. It comes with all the essentials required to create and manage a website, including hosting services, drag-and-drop builder and customer support. The managed hosting services take the stress out of website creation and allow users to focus more on the content. However, managed services can also prove to be a disadvantage. If you ever want to migrate your website, you’d have to do it manually, which can be a very frustrating and time-consuming process.

Unlike WordPress, Weebly comes with all the essentials and users don’t have to install different plugins and extensions to get things done. This can also be a disadvantage as it limits choice, but the approach works really well for beginners and non-technical users who want to get started quickly and do more in less time. But adding a new feature not already available can mean trouble as people unfamiliar with coding would need to hire services of an experienced developer, which can raise the cost significantly. Adding new features or plugins using WordPress is very easy and there is no shortage of powerful plugins that allow you to accomplish almost anything.

Although Weebly offers SEO tools for better exposure and discoverability, the platform does not rank as high as WordPress when it comes to organic search and you may need to put some extra effort into SEO. Compared to WordPress e-commerce, Weebly’s solutions are rather expensive and more geared towards small businesses. Choosing Weebly also means that you’d have very limited control over your data as it resides on their servers and you have to abide by their terms and conditions.

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WordPress vs. Weebly: The Key Differences

WordPress and Weebly both help accomplish the same goal, but their approach and execution is different. WordPress is open-source software and freely available to download, while Weebly takes a “walled garden” approach. Weebly is meant for people who want an easy-to-use site builder that takes care of most of the stuff, while WordPress works great for users who demand flexibility and want complete control over their website and data. The following key aspects make the difference clearer and help decide which platform suits you the most.

1. Ease of Use, Built-in Tools and Designs

WordPress

The open-source platform can be challenging to learn, especially for beginners who may need to modify code at some point. Although WordPress is able to deliver a lot more power and advanced functionality, it takes time to learn the system. People belonging to non-technical backgrounds such as photographers, designers etc. often do not have time to invest in learning new platforms.

Basic understanding of HTML and CSS is required to make the most out of the platform, while users also have to arrange hosting services and install additional plugins. This means that beginners may need to hire services of a professional developer who can do all the technical stuff, but that raises the cost considerably.

Weebly

Weebly is a lot more user-friendly platform than WordPress and probably the most easy-to-use platform out there. Weebly’s drag-and-drop interface makes site creation a breeze and allows users to manage everything without any coding experience. The platform is ideal for users who don’t have time to invest in learning new technologies and want to quickly get started.

The platform offers all the tools required to create professional-looking websites, without requiring users to install extra plugins or add-ons. The high-quality and mobile optimized designs allow users to create modern websites effortlessly. The platform makes creating websites as easy as editing a Word document and takes care of most of the technical stuff such as hosting and performance optimization. Native Android and iOS apps are also part of the package that help users easily create, edit and manage their website from anywhere using their mobile devices.

Winner: Weebly

2. Flexibility and Data Portability

WordPress

WordPress supports thousands of plugins that users can easily install to extend functionality, which makes the platform so flexible and customizable. However, not all plugins and tools are built equally well and it’s always recommended to thoroughly test them before implementation. WP is open-source software, meaning users have access to the source code and modify it according to their own requirements. This gives users a lot more freedom than any other paid service and provides them with complete control over their data. There is also no shortage of free tools, which is helpful for users on a tight budget.

Data portability (ability to migrate your website from one platform to another) is a very important factor often overlooked by users, which can turn out to be a huge problem down the road.  Data portability is another aspect that gives WordPress the lead over other platforms. Users get complete control over their website and data and can easily export it into different formats. Migrating a website built using WP is also easy, which is a big relief allowing users to switch between different platforms.

Weebly

Integrating non-Weebly tools into a website isn’t something beginners/non-technical users can easily do as the platform takes a “walled garden” approach. Users can edit HTCM and CSS code, but overall the customization options are limited. That’s also a good thing as Weebly ensures consistency of its tools and closely monitors them. This allows users to focus on their content as they don’t have to worry about the technical aspects of the website. The platform offers more built-in tools than WordPress, making it easier for users to start right away without having to install anything.

When it comes to data portability, there isn’t much Weebly offers and only allows users to download their website data as zip files containing pages (HTML) and images. The platform does not allow exporting blogs, sliders etc. It’s very hard to migrate a website to another platform once you have signed with Weebly, which can be a deal breaker for users who might experience growth difficult for Weebly to handle cost-effectively.

Winner: WordPress

3. Support

WordPress

Although WordPress is backed by a massive community support, there is no official support available and users have to post issues or queries on the forum. WordPress developers and users try their best to answer any questions, but it’s not their responsibility to provide support. Users are able to find answers to most of the questions, but sometimes they might run out of luck. Your question may also get ignored if it has already been asked in some other post, which requires you to dig through thousands of similar posts.

Weebly

Weebly, on the other hand, offers official support and a comprehensive library of guides and tutorials. Its website builder is very easy to use, but still, the support staff is always there to help in case an issue arises. Round-the-clock support means users can contact support anytime through email, while phone and live chat are also available during business hours. The “walled garden” approach pays off in this regard as tight integration of tools ensure a coherent user experience and ensures that everything works as intended.

Winner: Weebly

Pricing

WordPress

The downloadable platform is available at no cost, but users have to pay for hosting and other services. On average, the initial cost for an average website is around $150, while adding more premium plugins raises it further. The actual cost varies from one website to another and the plugins being used, but users get the freedom to choose the hosting service and extend the functionality of the platform as desired.

Weebly

Weebly is based on a SaaS (Software as a Service) model and users pay a monthly fee to avail the services. The free version is available for basic use, but it is not suitable for users serious about their website as it comes with ads and very limited functionality. The starter package costs $8/month (annual payment) and includes a free domain, unlimited storage and advanced site stats. The Pro and Business versions cost $12 and $25 per month respectively (annual payment) and offer more advanced tools for groups, organizations, small businesses and stores.

Winner: WordPress

Conclusion

Weebly is a better solution for users who don’t have any coding experience and time to learn new technologies. The platform makes it easier for them to start creating beautiful websites that also work well on mobile devices.

WordPress offers more freedom and flexibility and suits users who want complete control over their website and data. WP is also a better option for more complex projects and big eCommerce stores and allows users to create websites exactly the way they want it.

If ease-of-use and an all-in-one solution is your thing, Weebly is the way to go. For most other things WordPress works better by offering thousands of additional tools, freedom and ultimate flexibility.

Why Choose WordPress?

  • Open-source and free
  • A lot more flexible and customizable
  • Huge library of plugins and themes
  • Powerful eCommerce tools
  • Content versioning
  • Data portability and export
  • Deep navigation levels
  • Better SEO
  • Greater control over website
  • Richer snippets
  • Better multilingual support
  • More cost-effective in the long run

Why Choose Weebly?

  • Easy-to-use site builder
  • Dedicated support
  • Coherent user experience
  • Out-of-the box designs
  • Includes hosting and maintenance
  • Unlimited storage on all packages
  • Built-in site stats

About The Author

Oliver Dale is the founder of Kooc Media, an online company which has been working with WordPress since 2009. He has written hundreds of posts about WordPress in that time and founded two theme companies which provide free and paid themes to millions of users.

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