This article is for you if creating an ideal website for your business or brand is part of your 2022 bucket list. The first step in building your online site is investing in an excellent hosting platform.
Choosing the ideal website builder depends on your personal or business goals. Whether you’re focused on blogging or eCommerce, picking the best platform can help you ace your growth milestones.
Both Weebly and Shopify feature varying capabilities even though they are no fuss, easy to use, drag-and-drop website builders. Weebly’s core focus is on small businesses and personal portfolios, while Shopify is your go-to choice if you’re starting on selling online.
This article takes an in-depth examination of Weebly and Shopify and compares their most common features. We are confident that you’ll be able to pick the best website builder for your online store by the end of this article.
Weebly vs. Shopify: Pros and Cons
Related: Weebly Review 2022: What to Expect
- Simple and stunning customizable templates: It offers its users many exciting themes. You can also “import” and upload your unique themes. Weebly gives you access to dozens of both free and premium stylish themes, and the sheer variety gives you the creative freedom to tweak your site design at any moment.
- Simple Editor: Once you select your template from the variety available, transfer it into the drag and drop editor. To build your site pages, you have to drag objects from the toolbar and drop them into your page. You can use the various elements to customize your site – no additional downloads or ridiculous loading times to get started. The layout is also simple and easy to use, making Weebly an excellent choice for beginners who want to create a basic site.
- Convenient Mobile App: The Weebly Mobile App allows you to build and edit your site at the comfort of your mobile device. The mobile app is optimized to run on iOS and Android devices so that you can access your site via your iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone, and Android tablet. You can track your data, leverage insights to boost performance, and have a bird’s view of all your sites.
- Functional app center: The App center provides several add-on options to boost your website’s capabilities. It features five main categories: Communication, Marketing, eCommerce, Site, and Social tools.
- Organization: Weebly keeps its business section and add-on functionalities separate to ensure a clean interface.
- Reasonable Pricing: When looking to create a website, the cost is the first thing that pops up in your mind. Weebly allows you to build a site, publish and sell online with its free plan. Additionally, if you’re not using your domain, you’ll get free hosting services.
The website builder’s premium plans are reasonably priced, and you’re allowed to own multiple sites for different businesses.
- Limited Drag-and-Drop Customization: If you want to customize your website a lot or add some advanced features, you’ll hit a glass ceiling quite fast with Weebly. The themes are structured, so it offers limited creative freedom and professional designs.
- Minimal eCommerce features: Weebly is not the best solution if you’re looking for long-term eCommerce growth. Yes, you’ll get your store up and running via Square Online but with limited e-commerce features compared to other platforms. You’ll need to upgrade to a higher pricing plan to take advantage of the few eCommerce features available.
- Bloggers might stay away: Although you can still blog on your Weebly site, the platform is a work in progress. Here’s why:
- Your blog post doesn’t display your name
- The blog layout is fixed – you cannot make any modifications to the layout
- Content sharing is limited to only Twitter and Facebook
- Migrating your blog content to other service providers is difficult- there’s no copy function on your blog
- Basic content management and comment control system.
- No Backup: Regular site backup is crucial, especially for a sizeable site. Weebly allows you to back up your site in a downloadable zip file. However, you cannot upload the backed-up site on any other platform, including Weebly. So, you’ll have to build your content from scratch in case your Weebly site is deleted, or you lose your content. If you’re using Weebly, you’ll need a local backup copy to store your content.
- Exceptional Marketing and SEO tools: Marketing is a crucial aspect of eCommerce, and Shopify helps you boost traffic and grow sales. It has built-in marketing tools to help clients build, manage, and evaluate their marketing campaigns. Shopify also provides impressive SEO tools that can help your website rank higher in search results so customers can find you.
- Robust security: A core benefit of using Shopify is working on a secure and reliable platform. It guarantees vendors 99.8% uptime which is essential for an online store’s reliability. Each store features SSL certificates for enhanced security and trust.
- 24/7 Support: Shopify boasts of an impressive and dedicated support team. Live chat, phone and email are available for reaching out to customer service. You can also read books, watch webinars, explore the help center, and get involved in the community forum to understand more about the platform.
- Powerful App Store: Shopify has 1000+ apps to help you automate your tasks and customize your store so you can focus on more crucial goals like improving marketing or sales. The cloud-based platform is a fully outfitted hub for all kinds of plugins, from customer service to inventory and eCommerce. These plugins work to grow your business and enhance your customers’ experience.
- Lucrative choice of themes: Shopify is home to some of the most stunning storefront themes. You have countless ways to customize your website for a stylish and professional finish. The platform provides merchants with a variety of free themes and premium themes categorized into industries such as Food & Beverage, Art& Photography, Jewelry & Accessories, Sports, and more.
- Steep pricing: Owning a Shopify website doesn’t come cheap. The transaction and subscription fees are pretty steep. Shopify plans range between $29 and $299. You’ll still need to cater for extra expenses when selling online or using the in-built apps. If you live in a country that uses a third-party payment gateway (such as Amazon Pay, PayPal, 2Checkout, etc.), you’ll have to pay extra charges. This fee can be anywhere from 0.5% to 2% per transaction.
- Limited Customization: Although Shopify comes with a wide variety of themes, they can be challenging to customize. The themes are built on a unique Shopify Liquid setup which is quite technical for first-time developers to understand. Also, Liquid has some learning curve to help you workaround, even if you have coding experience.
- Unfriendly exit strategy: It is not news for users to migrate to other platforms. But, migrating from Shopify is a challenge. The platform has a lock-in feature that limits you from shifting your store to another platform. If you close your eCommerce store, you can only leave with a CSV report of your product details. Plus, you are likely to lose some of your stored data when migrating.
Pricing and Value for Money
Weebly and Shopify have different pricing plans to suit their various clients. We’ll go through each pricing plan and the services on offer in this segment.
Furthermore, we give you a bird’s view of the price comparison between each site builder.
Weebly vs. Shopify: Monthly Pricing Side-by-side Comparison
|Most expensive plan||$38||$299|
Weebly Pricing: Closer Look
Weebly users can choose from any of these five pricing plans. Each plan is straightforward and features a unique mix of services to suit your website’s needs.
- Free Plan: $0 per month
- Connect Plan: $5 per month
- Pro Plan: $12 per month
- Business Plan: $25per month
- Business Plus Plan: $38 per month
It’s worth noting, these prices are only valid if you make an advance payment for 12 months. If you wish to make monthly payments, there’ll be a slight increase in prices for each plan: from $5 to $8, $12 to $18, $25 to $35, and $38 to $46.
We don’t recommend the free and connect plan for good reason. These plans offer minimal storage space. Plus, we find the Weebly watermark display on your site intrusive. The only good thing is that both plans offer you a free domain name anywhere from $20 to $100 in credit to get started on Google ads. However, the top premium plans are free from these limitations and allow you to sell online.
For $12 a month, you receive:
- Unlimited storage
- Zero Weebly ads
- Ecommerce functionality
- Complete site-building features including HD video, site search, and memberships.
However, we don’t advise using this package due to the extra 3% transaction cost. Apart from the subscription charges, you’ll be giving Weebly a chunk of your proceedings for doing nothing.
This plan will cost you $25 per month and is a suitable option if you’re selling online. There are no additional transaction fees, and you have access to extra eCommerce features (like coupon codes, item reviews, gift cards, etc.) and eCommerce insights and statistics.
Business Plus Plan
The Business Plus plan will set you back $38 per month, but you’ll enjoy a generous serving of eCommerce services like a real-time shipping calculator and abandoned cart emails and recovery. The in-built email marketing feature is a nice extra if you want to stay in touch with your leads.
Shopify Pricing: Closer Look
Shopify allows users to choose from three pricing plans including;
- Basic Shopify: $29 each month
- Shopify: $79 each month
- Advanced Shopify: $299 each month
You’ll need deep pockets to use Shopify, but it’s worth it. Each plan features a comprehensive selection of tools for your website.
Unlike Weebly, there’s no free plan but, there’s a 14-day free trial for each plan which you can use to test the platform’s features.
Don’t be deceived. There’s nothing basic about this plan. So, what can you expect?
- Multilanguage site features
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Gift creation
- Discount codes
- Point-of-sale (POS) capabilities.
However, the transaction fees get pretty complicated. When you use Shopify Payments, you’ll need to pay Shopify a transaction fee of 2.9%+30¢. But, using a different payment channel will have you paying the credit gateway’s transaction fees + 2% to Shopify.
The Shopify plan costs $79 per month, and you start with a good deal. The transaction fee is cut down to 2.6%+30¢, and Shopify charges for using a different gateway is 1%.
Furthermore, you’ll enjoy an upgrade of eCommerce features such as;
- 88% discount for shipping via USPS, DHL, or UPS
- Option for increased or decreased pricing for your international clients
- Support for 5 inventory locations and 5 staff accounts
The most beneficial aspect of this plan, is upgraded eCommerce features such as;
- Fifteen employee accounts and eight inventory sites
- Third-party calculated shipping rates
Shopify further reduces its transaction fees to 2.4%+30¢, and if you use a different gateway, the fee is reduced to 0.5%.
Ease of Use
For your site or online store to succeed in the digital world, people need to find it easy to navigate. You cannot afford to ignore the importance of building a solid internet presence, whether you’re a novice or a bonafide pro. The slightest glitch or lag in your website can cost you an audience or even a sale. Read on to find out which platform guarantees a seamless onboarding and website building experience.
Signing up at Weebly is painless and straightforward. First, you’ll have to complete a section where you choose between a business website with Square Online and a personal Weebly website. Then, you’ll choose a template and proceed to the website editor, which has pre-designed sections and editing tools.
Weebly gives you the creative freedom to design your site as you want. Drag each element and place it wherever you want within the grid. Although the editor is easy to use, its capabilities are limited.
Shopify welcomes you on board with a brief interview once you register on the platform. You’ll need to answer a few personal details before proceeding to the Shopify dashboard. You then gain access to useful information, including guides and tutorials on running an eCommerce store.
The site editor is simple, intuitive, and detailed, but unlike Weebly, it offers minimal design freedom. There are different sections for each purpose, such as text, displaying products, testimonials, images, and more.
You can tweak the elements in these sections to suit your website or create your custom sections. Remember to save your results after making changes to avoid losing hours of work since Shopify doesn’t have an autosave function.
Building and Running Your Website
Both Shopify and Weebly offer users a seamless experience when building and testing their websites. The platforms are easy to use, and you don’t require any technical knowledge to begin.
Weebly is a great website builder if you’re starting out or if you need a basic site. The web host gives you access to a simple drag and drop feature and seamless customization tools. Unfortunately, it comes with its limitations which boil down to one thing: flexibility.
Although Weebly makes it easy to build an online site, you’re restricted to what’s available in the drag-and-drop builder.
On the other hand, Shopify allows you to dig as deep as possible. Its selection of widgets, themes, and plugins is enviable. You’ll get almost everything done on the platform – and if not, you can use the custom designs to make changes. However, its quite clunky editor divides its building tools between a frontend and backend editor.
Weebly offers its users 61 themes which are categorized into 7 classes with 15 themes designed for online stores. The themes are impressive, eye-catching, and mobile-responsive. However, there’s no demo version to know what a site will look like with a specific theme.
The platform also has a variety of professionally designed templates and 100+ Drag and Drop elements to design your website as you want.
For Shopify, you’ll find more than 70 stylish, intuitive and responsive eCommerce themes, of which 9 are free, and 64 are premium themes ranging anywhere from $100 to $180. Each theme includes;
- Social media icons
- Free theme updates
- Built-in color palettes
- Search engine optimization
- Mobile-optimized design
- Drop-down navigation function
Shopify allows you to re-design your store to create a unique site using the theme editor. If you want to make changes that the theme editor does not cover, you can edit the theme code with CSS, HTML, and Liquid.
Weebly Theme Gallery
The website builder has clean and stylish designs but nothing too impressive. The designs are structured in grid layouts and extensive image backgrounds, so you don’t have the design freedom to customize your site.
Shopify Theme Gallery
Shopify’s entire catalog of themes is designed for selling online. So, if you’re looking to grow an eCommerce store, this is the perfect place for you. You have access to free and premium stylish themes ranging between $100 and $180 one-off payment.
This is essential in designing the right website for a brand or business. The best website builder should provide flexibility, ease in designing, a wide variety of options, including changes in the background, size, and color.
Weebly uses a simple drag-and-drop tool to help you customize your theme. All you have to do is click on the element you want to move, then drag and drop it where you want it in the grid. You won’t require any technical skills, and you’ll have your website running within minutes.
In contrast, Shopify features a clunky editor that splits into two. You enter data in the backend, which is processed at the storefront. You can tweak your storefront design to suit your needs. Please remember that the task is quite intensive and you have to pay for it.
Both Shopify and Weebly offer a variety of marketing tools to help grow your business. However, Weebly takes the lead with its detailed beginner-friendly SEO tutorials, built-in email marketing tool Weebly Promote, and comprehensive blogging tools.
In terms of SEO, you have more control over on-page SEO via title tags, custom URLs, meta descriptions, and more.
Shopify comes close with its vast range of marketing integrations, third-party marketing apps, and international selling options tailored to suit your marketing strategy. However, Weebly brings on board excellent blogging tools, social bookmarking, and an archive feature.
Furthermore, Weebly offers unlimited storage space at a lower price, and users on the professional plan and beyond get a free domain.
In this section, we’ll look into what Weebly and Shopify offer in terms of eCommerce capability. We’ll explore what Square Online has to offer since they merged their products with Weebly in 2018.
Square Online is a low-cost, no-stress eCommerce site builder that is ideal if you want to start selling online quickly.
It is ideal for early-stage small enterprises as it offers a decent range of eCommerce features such as inventory management and tracking, coupon access, payment processing, and advanced reporting, among others.
On the other hand, Shopify stands out with its dedicated eCommerce platform. If you want a robust online store with an extensive product catalog and long-term growth, Shopify is the best choice.
It boasts of many tools to help boost your sales online, whether you’re running a startup or an established business. You have access to limitless solutions, including;
- Automatic tax calculations
- Abandoned cart recovery
- Multichannel integrations
- Hundreds of payment methods
- Customizable check out
Even better, Shopify’s advanced inventory system is easy to navigate even with an overwhelming number of products.
Apps and integrations
Weebly app store features a healthy selection of about 400 free and premium options. Some of the premium options have trial periods to get you started. When you visit the app center, you can search through the categories to find what you want. They include Communication, Marketing, eCommerce, Site, and Social Tools.
Alternatively, you can search for an app based on goals, including boosting traffic, getting social, or spiking sales.
The tools in the Weebly app are already integrated, so you don’t need any coding skills to use them on your website. So, you can install these apps into your editor with a click of a button.
The good thing with Weebly apps is they are more intuitive and immersive than Shopify, so you can find the tools you need a lot faster.
However, Shopify takes the lead with over 6000 apps and integrations that fully cover all business-related niches from sales, store design, customer support, financial management, and productivity. For instance, there are about 1300 apps on marketing which is four times what Weebly offers.
If you’re wondering how you’ll find whatever you’re looking for in this sea of options, Shopify’s app store allows you to filter by price, category, or popularity. Alternatively, you can use the search bar to find a particular app.
App prices also tend to vary in Weebly and Shopify. Weebly apps tend to be cheaper, costing between $3 and $300+ every month. On the other hand, Shopify’s premium apps can cost up to $1500 per month. So, keep your budget in mind while browsing through the Shopify app store.
Performance and Security
Both Weebly and Shopify take measures to ensure your personal and financial data is secure from unauthorized access. They include SSL certificates and DDoS systems in all their plans to ensure all data, from login credentials to payment details, are encrypted. DDoS framework safeguards your site from cyber-attacks.
You can also create password-protected pages to restrict access so only authorized visitors can view your site.
Furthermore, Shopify has been issued level 1 PCI DSS compliance. The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) secures your credit card information while making eCommerce transactions. The platform also holds SOC 2 Type II and SOC 3 reports that specify the scope of services they provide to users. SOC (Service Organization Control) reports are an evaluation of a company’s best practices including a solid security system.
You can take a look at Weebly’s performance and view its historical uptime- at the time of writing this article, Weebly’s published websites had an uptime of 100% over the past 90 days. Shopify claims that it has maintained a solid performance of 99.99% uptime during the last 90 days.
Uptime measures the operating system’s reliability across all online storefronts, Shopify POS, checkout, and Shopify Payments. These figures don’t include downtimes from;
- Errors as a result of theme customization
- Planned maintenance or downtime
- Natural events outside the control of Shopify
- Flaws from private and public apps
Performance comparison between Weebly and Shopify
|Average SEO Traffic||186||11717|
Shopify offers solid performance on desktop and mobile though slightly faster on desktop. Weebly also provides decent speeds through slower compared to Shopify. The platform is also faster on desktop than mobile.
Shopify once again takes the lead this round with an impressive loading time that’s half the period it would take Weebly to load. Shopify is the fastest loading platform compared to other site builders.
SEO is a significant area where Weebly is lagging. Though SEO support is available, much improvement is needed to ensure it attracts potential customers.
Shopify does a great job at bringing in organic traffic from search engines.
Weebly doesn’t have an efficient way of migrating or switching your website to another hosting platform. You will need to recreate your site entirely from scratch. Keep in mind that migration can be pretty overwhelming.
You can copy and paste the content from your old site or use a plugin. Even though manual copy and paste seem like a simple process, it can be tiresome and time-consuming if you have more than a handful of pages and posts to copy. In this case, a plugin will come in handy.
On the other hand, Shopify allows you to import your data, including products and customers, via a variety of options such as;
- Copy and paste content to the new site
- Manually transfer data using CSV files (this option can only migrate products and customers but doesn’t include customer passwords)
- Use migration apps available at Shopify App store
- Create (or hire an expert to create) an application that operates on the Admin API
Whichever option you choose depends on your resources and the amount of data you want to move. An app is not suitable for migrating a lot of content, while copy and paste are possible when migrating a few information like policies and shipping pages.
You can check out Shopify guides on migrating content from;
- Big Cartel
Help and Support
Having a reliable support system is crucial to keep your business afloat and clients happy. At one point or another, you’ll hit a wall while using any platform, no matter how great it is and will need extra assistance.
Weebly offers limited support options compared to Shopify because the platform is so easy to use. Phone support is limited to only users on the Pro or Business plan. If you’re on the free or connect plan, you can only access email and Help center support which doesn’t offer quick responses to your queries. However, there are many self-help guides to help you maneuver the site.
Shopify is an ultimate winner when it gets to offering robust customer support. You can access everything from phone to email, live chat, Facebook, and Twitter support. Help is available across all the plans. This kind of support will come in handy, especially when you’re starting with eCommerce.
Here’s a comparison between the support options available in Weebly and Shopify.
|24/7 email support||Provided||Provided|
|Phone support||6am to 6 pm PST||24/7|
|Live Chat||Monday-Friday 6 am to 6 pm PST; Saturday-Sunday 8 am to 5 pm PST.||24/7|
|Personalized support||Nil||For Shopify plus customers|
It is worth noting that Weebly lacks a personal backup option meaning you’ll have to contact the support team to restore your site in case of any system failure or hacked website.
Shopify users can install the Rewind app for as little as $3 per month, which backs up your data every day and restores information within minutes when disaster strikes.
Can I sell online using Weebly?
Yes, you can. Weebly allows you to set up an online eCommerce website via Square Online. The platform gives you access to various eCommerce features to ensure a seamless online selling experience.
Can I purchase a domain from Weebly or Shopify?
Yes, both Weebly and Shopify have customized domains to sell to their users. Weebly goes the extra mile to provide a free domain to users who use the Weebly subdomain.
Do I require hosting to utilize Weebly or Shopify?
No, you don’t. Both Weebly and Shopify can host your online store at no extra charge. You only need to choose a plan that suits your business needs.