When I first decided to start blogging, I had no damn idea what I had to do. SEO, search intent, content strategy, backlinks, guest posting— what the fuck are those? Zero idea. Nada. Zilch. But I knew one thing for sure: I needed a stellar website.
There’s no sense in blogging if I can’t publish them in a space I could call my own.
So I found a website builder. And here are the specific steps I took:
- I googled best website builders.
- I burned through the entire first page of Google.
- I didn’t get jackshit.
Take note that this happened way back in 20XX. Content writing was a relatively new field then. All I could find were generic reviews, sleazy landing pages, and obvious PR and marketing stints. It was a waste of time.
I didn’t want to wing it either. I could choose any website builder, but I wanted to be more deliberate with my options.
Not all blogs and websites work the same. Some are highly customizable, while some are driven by actionable content. Some have a simple drag-and-drop interface, while some require terrifyingly full-blown coding.
Setting up a website takes a lot of work and switching from builder to builder is just not sustainable (or smart). On top of that, there’s budget, blogging goals, and my limited skill set to consider.
Fast forward to 2021 and I’ve made it as a blogger after years of trial and error. I’ve got a website that suits my needs perfectly! For nostalgia’s sake, I’m writing this piece for my younger self. And, of course, all the other blogging newbies out there.
In this blog, I’m going to focus on two popular, but completely different options: Weebly vs WordPress. I’ll be digging deep into these features:
- Customer support
- Maintenance and safety
Stick around ‘til the end to make a decision that won’t make you want to quit blogging. No joke. The wrong website builder will make you want to rip your head off. So let’s hop into this rabbit hole, eh?
Check your Options
|Pricing||Has 5 pricing tiers ranging from $0 to $38 per month, but they’re all billed annually.||Software itself cost 0 bucks, but there are extra costs for hosting and premium features that range from $1 to $150 monthly.|
|User-friendliness||Has a drag-and-drop interface with an all-inclusive, centralized tool set. No coding needed.||Comes with a learning curve and needs setting up prior to building. There are plugins that make this easier, though.|
|Customizability||Has customizable pre-loaded themes and designs, but can only customize within the rules of Weebly’s game.||Has 55,000+ free plugins that customize tools and aesthetics. There are page builders that make customizing easy too.|
|Customer Support||Has free chat & email support, 24/7 phone support for more expensive plans, a robust knowledge base, and a community forum.||Has no one-on-one support and relies on a volunteer-moderated community.|
|Maintenance and Safety||Has frequent updates, all handled by Weebly.||Has automated and one-click updates from plugin extensions.|
Weebly and WordPress are both DIY website-building solutions, but that’s where the similarities end.
Weebly is an all-inclusive site builder made easy. It’s stood the test of time, existing for almost 15 years now. Obviously, it’s gone through tons of updates and optimizations over the years.
What’s even better is Weebly was acquired by mobile payment company Square to make “one cohesive solution” for entrepreneurs. It’s safe to say Weebly is going to get even more all-inclusive.
WordPress.org is a popular open source platform. It’s where people of all stripes host their sites. In fact, WordPress powers a whopping 40.6% of the websites found online.
It’s also worth noting that this blog will talk about WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. There’s two WordPresses? Yes. It’s fucking confusing, I know.
Just think of WordPress.org as a place where you can host your own site. This isn’t possible with WordPress.com that takes care of all that complicated stuff at the expense of freedom.
Now, on to the feature-by-feature comparison of this Weebly vs WordPress faceoff:
Let’s talk money first.
Weebly has five pricing tiers that range from $0 to $38 monthly, indicating that it’s rather considerate of different business sizes and needs. But each tier is billed annually, which sucks ass.
- Free – This tier is perfect for the broke, new blogger type. It’s enough for a humble portfolio website and already gives SSL security, 500MB storage capacity, and a Weebly.com domain name. The catch is the annoying pop-up ads.
- Connect – This tier costs $5 per month and is ideal for a static website. It gets you a custom domain, email & chat support, as well as access to the Weebly community.
- Pro – This tier is at $12 per month and is the best plan for mid-sized businesses. It comes with professional site features like password protection, video backgrounds, unlimited storage, Weebly ad removal (thank god), and versatile internal search tools. This also syncs with the Square app and makes accepting payments seamless.
- Business – This tier costs $25 per month. It’s usually for bigger businesses wanting to scale up and establish an online presence.
- Business Plus – This tier is at $38 per month. It comes with email marketing and advanced ecommerce features like sorting inventory and setting product variants.
WordPress, on the other hand, is open source. This means that the software itself is pretty much free for use along with its basic support, themes, plugins, and updates. Nifty, huh?
Web hosting and premium support, themes, and plugins will cost though. Hosting itself can cost as low as $1 or as much as $150 monthly, depending on the hosting plan and chosen provider. It’s easy to get lost in a maze of gibberish plans and providers, but I have a quick fix.
I have to recommend Bluehost here. It has three plans and all three include unli websites, unli domains, unli subdomains, unli web storage, and no traffic limits. The sky is the fucking limit!
- Build – This plan is normally charged at $29.99 but is currently at $19.95 monthly. It comes with an all-in-one marketing center, daily scheduled backups, email marketing, social media tools, malware detection and removal, and a shitload of more good stuff.
- Grow – If the Build plan is already good, Grow makes it better. This baby costs $39.99 but is on sale at $29.95 monthly. It has all the features in Build plus Bluehost SEO and review tools, Jetpack Premium and ads integration, etc. It’s perfect for growing an audience.
- Scale – This plan is for ecommerce people and comes with awesome stuff like Paypal integration, elastic search, and unli backups and restore. It’s normally at $59.99 but right now costs $49.95 monthly.
My Verdict: For this Weebly vs WordPress section, there’s no clear winner in terms of cost, but my personal favorite is WordPress. It’s highly customizable and there’s tons of plans and pricing options to explore if you’re up for it.
Weebly’s cool and convenient, but it has a lot of ecommerce features that a blogger doesn’t really need.
It’s a no-brainer. When you’re new to the scene, ease of use is definitely a factor worth looking into.
Weebly is website building made super, duper easy. It’s like an ‘explain like I’m five’ reddit thread, but visual.
With its drag-and-drop interface and centralized tool set, anyone can build a website from scratch. It’s like those online games that were popular in the 2000s. Or Canva, but for websites.
In a matter of minutes, you can move text boxes, resize images, and do other basic actions. No need for learning that HTML mumbo jumbo or outsourcing coders. It’s a dream come true for newbies.
WordPress is… different, to say the least.
There’s a huge learning curve and it needs some foreplay, ergo, setting the mood:
- Buy website hosting and domain name
- Install WordPress
- Configure a theme
- Find plugins
All these need to be done before even starting to build.
The core editor is not in a drag-and-drop interface. But the good thing is there’s a lot of page building plugins out there that simplify the WordPress process with a drag-and-drop approach. That is, if you know where to look.
To be fair though, WordPress gets easier with practice. Others say it’s like email formatting in Gmail, but hey, to each their own.
My Verdict: Weebly wins this round. There’s no need to look further or learn tech. Everything’s already there, spoon fed and easy. WordPress has a lot of setting up to do and it can just be intimidating for those new to the art of website building.
There’s thousands of blogs up in the Internet. And more keep popping up. There’s lots of competition, lots of people vying for attention.
While SEO is the best visibility tool, having a unique blog design will help keep it memorable. It only makes sense for a blogger to want some customizability to make their blog stand out from the crowd.
Weebly has customizable pre-loaded themes and designs, but how customizable these are is up to the website builder. We can’t ‘play’ or customize outside the playing field that Weebly sets up. This means there are some features or functions that can’t be tinkered with.
It’s possible to customize more stuff with HTML and CCS know-how, though.
WordPress is way more versatile, both for tech pros and novice bloggers. The platform has over 55,000 free plugins that help customize the look and feel of your website and even how your tools operate. Visual page builders like Divi also have drag-and-drop interfaces that make customizing easy.
With coding knowledge, one can basically play God.
My Verdict: In this episode of Weebly vs WordPress, obviously, WordPress brings home the bacon. I don’t even need to say anything more.
Website building is a complicated process and things can turn south, real fucking quick. Enter after-sales service.
Weebly has an impressive centralized support system. There’s free chat & email support plus Community Forum access for all plans. Pro and Business plan users also have the convenience of 24/7 phone support for all those late-night bugs and road blocks.
Weebly also has a knowledge base with hundreds of guides on website building, domains and emails, and practically anything that involves Weebly.
As for WordPress, people mostly go to its volunteer-moderated community forum for help. The user community is known for being an enthusiastic, highly responsive bunch. The downside is one-on-one support is not accessible without a premium solution.
My Verdict: Weebly’s customer support covers all the edges and is extremely robust. It’s better by a long shot, compared to WordPress. Technically, I can’t even credit the community’s success to WordPress. It’s the volunteers that moderate it, not WordPress itself.
Maintenance & Safety
Picture this. After days of rigorous website building, an unhealthy number of coffee cups, and maybe a mental shutdown or two— a stellar website is born. But it crashes to the point it’s beyond repair.
This is a very real possibility with shit maintenance and safety capabilities.
Thankfully, Weebly updates frequently to fight against persistent malware, slow performance, and assholes we call hackers. It handles everything, so just sit back and sip on your piña colada.
WordPress has automated and one-click updates from plugin extensions too.
My Verdict: Honestly, they both win.
Weebly vs. WordPress: Who wins?
Let’s recap. We pitted two DIY website builders against each other. We looked into their pricing, user-friendliness, customizing capabilities, customer support, and maintenance and safety.
While the two were definitely not created equal, both have solid capabilities on different ends. WordPress is more versatile with pricing, while Weebly is easier to use. WordPress is super customizable, while Weebly comes out on top in terms of customer support. And both have impressive safety and maintenance features in place.
It’s not really a matter of who wins at this point, but a matter of what fits.
What fits your budget, goals, and skillset?
Think about it.