weebly vs squarespace

Weebly vs. Squarespace: Two Powerful Site Builders For Two Different People

Weebly and Squarespace might seem similar at first because they both offer drag-and-drop website builders and are best for people who want detailed websites without knowing code and without doing hours of design work. However, they serve very different clients despite their similarities.

While they have a similar number of overall templates, Weebly is best known for its free service and pretty good templates while Squarespace is the more expensive of the two but it has the best templates you can find. Both are good, but it largely depends on what you’re looking for from your host.

Here we’ll go over the pros and cons of both hosting provides so you can determine which is better. There’s no clear cut winner here, so you really have to consider what matters to you with a host. We promise to help distinguish the two so that you’ll know which one is best for you.

siteground

Weebly

Grade: B

Love

Templates and Styles:

  • Weebly contains many different templates to choose from and they are always adding to the list. There are currently over 100 templates available with your plan, plus there are many third-party premium Weebly themes that you can purchase to add to your website.
  • The Weebly templates are more minimalist, which is very different from the Squarespace templates, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re looking for a simpler website, then this could be a benefit.
  • While most of the websites don’t emphasize images, there are plenty of areas to add pictures.

Simple Template Changes:

  • You should change your design at least once a year to keep your website fresh and Weebly makes it simple
  • All templates are made with pre-defined areas (I’ll talk about that in a second), and it seems like these areas move from one template to the next. This ensures that your website has all the same features regardless of which template you choose.
  • Changing a template often takes a few minutes and that’s it. Just click the new template, make sure the tools are good and that’s it.

Pre-Defined Area:

  • Some might view this as a con because it can make the template a little limited, but it’s good for newer users or those who don’t know how to balance their website.
  • Each template has certain areas that you can change. You can add forms, buttons, images and so on, ensuring that you have all the tools you need for a fully functioning website.
  • Adding the elements is easy. It’s all drag-and-drop, just drag the tool or file to the area and that’s it.

Coding Customization:

  • You can access the template’s source code at any time and alter it. Specifically, you can change both the HTML and CSS.
  • While you will need knowledge of these languages as bad changes can destroy your website, this makes each template very flexible.
  • Want to export your HTML and CSS so you can use the coding on another host or service? No problem. You’re free to export the coding at any time.

Blogging and Ecommerce:

  • Blogging is simple and the editor is very simple. Plus, all the elements from your other pages will be here on the blog page, which is great.
  • You can also create an ecommerce website. Sell physical or digital products, use Stripe, PayPal or Authorize for your payment gateway and easily manage inventory with CSV files.
  • On top of all this, Weebly has advanced SEO features to improve the odds of showing up in the search engines.

Free Plan:

  • Want to try Weebly without paying a cent? There’s the free plan to take advantage of.
  • While the free plan requires you to use a subdomain and it doesn’t all have the tools of the paid version, you can still get a hands on look at the interface.
  • The website builder is basically the same with the free version, you just lose out on some premium tools, but that’s to be expected.

Hate

Few Updates:

  • Weebly doesn’t do that many updates, which is strange when compared to other similar website builders.
  • This doesn’t mean that there are no updates, just that they’ll often be one or two a year.
  • The updates are public and they talk openly about what they are changing, which keeps you aware of the changes, but often these are small and infrequent updates. New tools and features show up here and there, but overall things will stay the same.

Mobile Designs:

  • Also known as responsive designs, these are websites that automatically resize for smartphones and tablets. The design is often simplified as well to make better use of the mobile interface.
  • While Weebly’s newer templates are usually responsive, they have many that aren’t. They’ll look OK on a smartphone, but they won’t be as good as a responsive template.
  • There aren’t any specialized tools for mobile users. Plus, Google prefers responsive websites for mobile users. If a smartphone user is looking for a website, there’s a lower chance that your website will show up.

Root Access:

  • Root access refers to being able to access the server via FTP. FTP makes it easy to upload or download files, which is essential with larger websites.
  • While Weebly allows you to access and change the source code, you have no access to the server. That can be a major turn off for some people.

Hierarchy Issues:

  • Hierarchy determines how the pages go in order. For example, you’ll need to set this to know which page is first, second, third and on. Consider this your map and how the website will be navigated.
  • Weebly has as Pages function that helps you set hierarchy. While you can easily move the pages around, the tool itself is unwieldy. This is especially true as your website grows because managing all your pages requires more work.
  • This isn’t bad if you only have 10 pages or less, but it can be hard with blogs or other large websites.
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Squarespace

Grade: B

Love

Templates and Designs:

  • Squarespace is best known for having elegant, modern templates that are very beautiful. If you’re looking for a flashy website that looks truly professional, then you’ll love what you get here.
  • There are close to 100 templates and Squarespace is known for adding more as time goes on. Each one retains the high level of quality, ensuring that they all look amazing.
  • All aspects of the template can be changed, ensuring you can truly personalize the website to match your needs. This includes the header, social icons, images and so on. However, I suggest you don’t get too crazy about the changes as that might detract from the original design. Sometimes less is more, but if you want to make lots of changes you can.

Coding Access:

  • Squarespace allows you to change some of the coding. This can be done with all templates.
  • You are allowed to change the CSS of the template, which gives you access to the colors and other design elements. While you can’t change the overall formatting with HTML, being able to change the CSS can be great.

You will need the Business plan, the entry-level plan doesn’t give you access to CSS.

Support Methods:

  • If you’re looking for conventional support for technical questions or help with the interface, you can contact the support staff via email 24/7. Live chat is Monday through Friday and there is also 24/7 Twitter support.
  • There is a large forum community here where you can ask questions and often get a very fast response. Plus, this gives you a lot of content to read about editing your website.
  • Squarespace has many workshops for getting started with the website builder, making an online store and so on. If you’re looking for advanced support, this is great.

Easy SEO:

  • Squarespace is good with SEO and follows Google’s best practices for SEO. This ensures that your website is ready to be found by search engine spiders without you doing any extra work.
  • This includes your website have all the proper meta and alt information to ensure the SEO is as good as possible.
  • Feel free to add to the titles or keywords to improve the SEO even more. While Squarespace does most of the work for you automatically, you do have some input which allows you to make the SEO even better.

Interface:

  • This is polarizing, so be sure to check the Hate section for the flip side of this opinion.
  • The Squarespace interface is clean and uncluttered. Not only that, but it’s very easy to navigate, ensuring that you can quickly find the tool you want to add to your website.
  • Everything is section based. Instead of being able to put whatever tool you want wherever you want, you can add specific tools to specific sections. Some people might dislike this, but it ensures that your website functions as one cohesive unit.

Hate

Interface:

  • This is not made for beginners. While the interface is easy once you learn it (really, it’s even better than the Weebly one), there’s a steep learning curve.
  • Many newcomers give up immediately because the interface doesn’t make much sense initially. If you do choose Squarespace, I suggest you research the video and have their forum page open. You’ll be sure to have questions and you’ll need fast responses.
  • The wording of certain tools can be peculiar. Sometimes you’ll have no idea what each tool does without doing some research. It’s a little stressful initially, but it’s great once you get it.

Customer Support:

  • Seriously, no phone support?
  • Squarespace is good with their support channels, but it seems crazy that there’s no phone support. Everyone is handled through live chat or email.
  • While you can often get a fast response, I highly dislike the lack of phone support.

Blogging Interface:

  • Adding a blog is easy enough, but it’s all handled by the same interface as everything else.
  • This makes it difficult to learn initially, and I’m surprised there isn’t a blog-specific editor. You’ll find that this can be clunky at times.
  • Creating a post is easy enough, but it doesn’t feel nearly as intuitive as WordPress.

Limited Apps:

  • Weebly has many apps for polls, live chat and so on. While Squarespace includes apps, there’s a major difference between the two.
  • While Weebly has hundreds of apps that you can use, even with the free plan, Squarespace has a very small number of third-party and official apps. This means that you must rely on all the tools from the interface.
  • This means your website may not have one or two tools that you really wanted.

Ecommerce Issues:

  • Squarespace has ecommerce templates, which allows you to sell physical and digital items, which is great.
  • However, you cannot import or export CSV files. This isn’t a problem when you just start, but you’ll quickly notice how big a problem this is when you have 100 or more products.
  • Instead of being able to make bulk changes to the CSV, you’ll have to change each item individually.
  • Squarespace also lacks some of the payment gateways of Weebly, but you do get Stripe and Paypal, which is nice.
  • No tax calculator, that can be a massive issue for some shops.

Final Thoughts

Neither Weebly or Squarespace come out as a clear winner since they both serve very different clients. If you want an easy-to-use interface along with plenty of templates and even more third-party templates and apps, then Weebly is the best. Not only that, but they offer a free plan that allows you to see if you like the Weebly system.

Squarespace on the other hand offers some of the best templates you can find. They look beautiful and they’ll make your website look very professional. While the interface is hard at first, it truly is one of the best once you get used to it.

So, what do you think? Which one is best for you? Overall, Weebly is more accessible and more people will likely gravitate towards it, but Squarespace has a lot to offer and definitely deserves your time and consideration. Just consider what you need and you’ll know which one is best for you.

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