Weebly vs. WordPress: The Ultimate Guide for Small Business

If you’re looking for the ideal website builder for your blog, business website, or ecommerce store, you’ve no doubt run across the names Weebly and WordPress. Both of these top-rated e-commerce platforms stand out from the rest by delivering a free starter website alongside a wealth of tools for budding entrepreneurs and growing businesses.

However, that’s where the similarities end. Weebly and WordPress differ greatly in terms of ease-of-use, flexibility, and even cost as your needs expand. This guide pits Weebly vs. WordPress in a head-to-head matchup so you can pick the winner for your unique business needs.

Weebly vs. WordPress: An Overview

Before we dive into the details of the Weebly vs. WordPress comparison, here’s a quick rundown of what each platform has to offer for specific needs and users, plus some notable drawbacks.

Weebly Wins Big for Ease-of-Use

Weebly is perhaps the simplest and most startup-friendly website builder platform on the market. Its intuitive website design tools make it the hands-down winner over WordPress for ease-of-use. In fact, it beats practically every other website builder that you’ll find in terms of quick setup and overall simplicity. 

However, don’t let the term “simplicity” fool you. You can create highly professional websites in Weebly and use them to run an array of online and multichannel businesses, including:

  • Online stores
  • Online and mobile sales channels for retail businesses
  • Local business websites
  • Restaurant websites
  • Online services
  • Digital sales
  • Simple blog websites

Weebly has another claim to fame—a direct integration with the top-rated Square payment and business management system. Weebly is owned by Square and is part of their powerful suite of small business tools. If you use Square for retail or in-person sales, you can seamlessly connect a Weebly store to your Square POS system in just a few clicks. 

In fact, every Square user gets a free built-in Weebly online store in their suite of sales tools. With it, you can streamline all of your in-person and online sales, products, customers, and marketing within one convenient portal. 

However, Weebly falls short of WordPress in overall expandability. While you can create a variety of websites that support all kinds of sales and marketing needs using Weebly, you can only tap into the features that the Weebly platform supports. 

Most notably, Weebly’s blogging features, ecommerce sales options, and payment processing choices can be limiting as your business grows. We explore these and other factors that impact your website builder choice in detail below. 

WordPress Wins Big for Versatility

WordPress is infinitely expandable via thousands of third-party add-ons that let you transform WordPress websites into anything imaginable. It’s no wonder that WordPress powers over one-third of all websites worldwide. WordPress websites drive everything from powerhouse brands like The New York Times, Tech Crunch, and Disney, to millions of small business websites, online stores, and personal blogs. 

Versatility is the driving force behind WordPress’s success; however, versatility comes at a price—and that’s ease-of-use. You have to learn a fair bit about the platform to build and launch a WordPress website. If you’re willing to put in the time, WordPress lets you create a website that can grow your online presence or business in any direction, including:

  • Influencer blog and websites
  • Affiliate income blogs and website
  • Specialty or high-volume online stores
  • Multichannel retail brands
  • Ecommerce marketplaces
  • Online academies
  • News outlets
  • Entertainment destination websites
  • Digital streaming services
  • Community portals and social networks

That’s quite a list of possibilities, and the real beauty is that WordPress puts all of this power within reach of any small businesses—including shoestring startups. WordPress websites can be extremely economical to build and maintain, another reason for their extreme popularity. Thanks to inexpensive hosting options and thousands of free and low-cost store design themes and feature plugins, it’s easy to run a WordPress site for little to nothing. 

However, these same elements make up WordPress’s biggest drawback—its complexity. Even the simplest WordPress website requires many moving parts. You need to select a hosting service to house your WordPress website, then explore, demo, select, and install your store theme, and that’s just the beginning.

After that, you need to add various plugins to add key functionality like website security, online marketing, website optimization, and even ecommerce sales. You also need to keep themes and plugins updated to ensure your website runs efficiently. 

In contrast, all of these functional bells and whistles are built-in on Weebly, constantly updated for you, and easy to enable in just a few clicks. 

Weebly vs. WordPress: In-Depth Review

In the quick comparison of Weebly vs. WordPress above, Weebly is the clear winner for ease-of-use and a seamless integration with Square. WordPress takes top billing for overall versatility and expandability. However, that’s just the part of the story. Here are other key considerations to help you decide the victor for your unique needs.

Cost

Both Weebly and WordPress offer free sales-enabled starter plans—something few website platforms provide anymore. This is a great perk for personal blogs or startup ecommerce websites looking to launch with no upfront costs. However, most businesses and serious bloggers need the features and professional branded image that the paid Weebly and WordPress hosting plans support. 

You have to subscribe to Weebly to access their system. Once you’ve set up your Weebly account, you can choose from four plans, ranging from their free starter website to the $26-per-month ecommerce plan, detailed below.

weebly vs wordpress

Weebly offers four plans and you can sell products and accept online payments on each. Image source: Weebly.

WordPress is a free platform, but you have to host it somewhere. Unlike Weebly’s all-in-one website service, you have many WordPress hosting options, including services like BlueHost, WPEngine, and GoDaddy. WordPress.com is another top-rated hosting provider and it offers something most others don’t—a free WordPress hosting plan.[1]

weebly vs wordpress

WordPress.com is one of many WordPress hosting options, but one of very few that offers a free starter plan. Image source: WordPress.com.

You’ll find that the free and lower-tier plans offered on Weebly and various WordPress hosting services are limited. You have minimal storage space and access to very few sales, design, and marketing tools. Free plans only support subdomain URLs, too, so you can’t connect your own domain name. Plus, they run ads on your website, which tends to look unprofessional. Naturally, higher-level Weebly plans and WordPress hosting packages offer more features, such as your own domain name, more storage capacity, and added marketing perks. 

However, free plans aren’t a bad place to start and are very handy for test-driving both platforms to see which you prefer. When you’re ready to tap the tools needed to expand, you can always upgrade your plan without disrupting what you’ve already built.  

Ease-of-Use

If you’re planning to build and manage your own website, ease-of-use matters—especially if technology isn’t your strong suit. Here, Weebly knocks WordPress out of the ring. Weebly’s all-in-one website builder packs website hosting, design tools, and business management features into one convenient, nearly foolproof system. 

When you sign up for a Weebly account, it walks you through a quick-start setup based on your specific needs. 

weebly vs wordpressWeebly guides you through a quick setup based on your website needs. You can sell items on basic blogs and websites or start out with a storefront-style site from day one. Image source: Weebly.

In just a few clicks, you’ll have a foundation website that you can make your own using Weebly’s simple drag-and-drop website design tools. From account sign-up to pressing “publish,” launching a basic website on Weebly takes just a few minutes. If you need a website up and running fast, Weebly lets you get it done in no time.

weebly vs wordpress

Weebly’s dashboard is a picture of drag-and-drop design simplicity and you see all of your edits and customizations in real-time. Image source: Weebly.

In contrast, WordPress has a distinct learning curve. After setting up an account with your WordPress hosting service, you must:

  1. Install and set up a website theme to drive the overall look and functionality.
  2. Set up headers, footers, pages, and categories.
  3. Create your navigation menus for your website.
  4. Add various plugins to support features like search engine optimization (SEO), performance and analytics, ecommerce functionality, and more.

Here’s what you see when you set up your WordPress hosting account. Clearly, there’s a little more work to be done before you’re ready to go live. 

weebly vs wordpress

All WordPress hosting services provide at least a few starter themes with free or entry-level plans. Image source: WordPress.com.

Hosting services like WordPress.com provide a few basic starter theme choices. However, professional websites like online stores or news outlets generally need WordPress themes that provide added display features and several plugins for overall functionality. 

Website Design Options

WordPress takes the win on website design options because, truly, the sky’s the limit. You can explore the universe of WordPress themes—there are thousands to choose from—to get an idea of what’s possible. Once you understand how all the parts come together in WordPress, you can create stunning websites that do anything. Again, it just takes time and experimentation to get it all right. 

weebly vs wordpress

ThemeForest is the premier marketplace for highly customized, and customizable, WordPress themes. Or, explore free theme options on WordPress.org. Image source: ThemeForest.com.

To simplify WordPress customization, you can pair most WordPress themes with page builder plugins like Divi, Beaver Builder, or Elementor. These offer drag-and-drop design control similar to what you get with Weebly. However, these premium plugins also add costs and are another element in your learning curve.  

Though WordPress is tops for unlimited potential, Weebly is no slouch when it comes to design options and freedom. Like WordPress, Weebly themes let you apply an overall design to your website, then customize it as needed. You can choose from over 60 beautiful, modern, and mobile-friendly themes, and all are conveniently pre-loaded in your Weebly dashboard. 

weebly vs wordpress

You can scroll through Weebly’s theme library and test out different website designs on your new or existing Weebly website any time you wish. Image source: Weebly.

Once you’ve selected your Weebly website theme, you can customize every aspect using Weebly’s simple drag-and-drop tools. You can easily change fonts and colors; replace demo images; add new elements like images, text blocks, and shop sections; and even add new pages and links to your navigation menus in just a few clicks.

Blogging Features

WordPress is the most popular blogging system in the world. Millions of blog-based websites, from mega-brands to personal micro-blogs rely on WordPress. This makes sense when you consider that, at its heart, WordPress is a blogging platform that’s highly customizable via feature plugins and use-specific themes. 

You can create multiple sections, various types of posts and pages, and insert all types of engaging content wherever you wish. From text and images to videos, forms, members-only content, affiliate links, and products, no content is off-limits on WordPress. You can also have unlimited contributors to your website and categorize and display blog posts, pages, feeds, and other content any way you wish.

weebly vs wordpress

Here’s a multi-contributor WordPress blog that delivers thousands of pages to millions of readers via top-level categories. Image source: NewYorkTimes.com.

In contrast, Weebly’s blogging features are quite basic. You can easily add blog posts with text, videos, and imagery to your website, sort them by category, and display them in sidebars and page sections. However, it doesn’t begin to match the blogging and content management power of WordPress.

weebly vs wordpress

Weebly’s simple blogging tools let you launch a blog-based website or add a blog section to market your business website. Image source: Weebly.

Ecommerce Features

Both Weebly and WordPress offer a fantastic perk for side-gig sellers and shoestring startups—you can sell products on free starter websites. Most ecommerce website builders including Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and other top online store builders require paid plans to sell anything online. 

Of course, to tap advanced sales and marketing features, you need Weebly’s paid plan. Likewise, supporting a professional-grade store on WordPress generally requires a paid hosting plan. That said, it’s nice to know you can hit the ground selling without spending a dime upfront on either platform. 

However, the two platforms handle ecommerce very differently. Product and service sales features are built into Weebly, but you’re limited to the types of sales the platform supports. In contrast, WordPress uses plugins to add all types of online sales functionality, including products, services, memberships, subscriptions, and more. For many, this is the deciding factor in the Weebly vs. WordPress matchup. Let’s dive deeper into this comparison.

Ecommerce Options, Costs, and Features on Weebly

You can build an online store section directly on any Weebly website by adding products to Weebly and inserting them into a shop section. You can also insert them anywhere in pages and blog posts using Weebly’s simple drag-and-drop tools.

weebly vs wordpress

Weebly’s drag-and-drop tools make it easy to market products within your blog posts and website pages as well as a dedicated Shop section. Image source: Weebly.

You can accept online payments on Weebly by enabling Stripe, Square, and/or PayPal. Online payments can be accepted in any plan, including a free Weebly website, using Stripe or Square. However, PayPal can only be connected if you upgrade to a paid Weebly plan.

Square owns Weebly, so if you use Square to process payments, or already run your business with Square, you have three ecommerce options with Weebly:

  1. Add products to a free Weebly website: You can add products to Weebly and insert them anywhere on a free website and process payments via Square. 
  2. Use the free Square Online Store, powered by Weebly: If you want to combine online and Square POS sales, you can build the Weebly-powered Free Square Online Store within your Square POS dashboard, then sync products, customers, and sales in one place.
  3. Build a full-featured online store using Weebly’s ecommerce plan: Weebly’s highest-tier plan costs $26 per month and adds key ecommerce sales features like shipping label printing, ecommerce analytics, abandoned cart recovery, and item reviews. You can also integrate this plan with your Square POS.

Of course, Stripe and PayPal also work with the paid Weebly plans, but you only get the Square POS integration if you use Square to handle your payments. All three options charge the same amount: 2.9% + $0.30 per online sale. 

Like all things Weebly, their ecommerce sales features are amazingly simple to learn and use. You can sell products that ship or allow pick-up or delivery options. It’s easy to manage customers, orders, and marketing within your Weebly (or Square POS) dashboard. You can even integrate Instagram into any plan. Checkout is secure and mobile-friendly, too.

However, Weebly isn’t considered an ecommerce powerhouse. If you plan to ship more than 30 orders per day, or if you want to expand into multichannel sales on Amazon and Facebook Shops, you’re better off on a dedicated ecommerce platform. 

Shopify and BigCommerce are top platforms to consider, but you can also add powerful ecommerce plugins to WordPress to create all types of online stores. 

Ecommerce Options, Costs, and Features on WordPress

WordPress doesn’t come with built-in ecommerce features. You add online sales features via ecommerce plugins. How you sell online using WordPress and how you set up your online store all depends on the ecommerce plugin you choose. 

Some plugins support just certain types of sales, like online courses or digital products. Others, like WooCommerce and WP EasyCart, support all types of online sales, including physical products that ship, digital downloads, and even subscriptions and membership websites. 

Some WordPress ecommerce plugins are free, including the most popular store plugin, WooCommerce, which supports everything from single-product sellers to high-volume websites. You can pair WooCommerce and other free ecommerce plugins with free WordPress hosting for a no-cost startup.

weebly vs wordpress

WooCommerce is a free ecommerce plugin and you can use free or paid WooCommerce store themes to quickly launch all types of beautiful online stores using WordPress. Image source: WooCommerce.

WooCommerce also integrates with Square POS if you want to go that route for payment processing. Or, you can connect Stripe, PayPal, or your own merchant account—something you can’t do on Weebly. 

The main takeaway is that Weebly gives you a sound set of tools for marketing and selling products and services online, but WordPress does it all. Various ecommerce plugins let you build and run all types of online businesses. You can sell products and services, offer subscriptions and memberships, manage online courses, and much more. WordPress ecommerce plugins also support more payment services than Weebly.

Integrations and Expandability

In the Weebly vs. WordPress matchup, WordPress is the winner by a knockout when it comes to integrations and expandability. Tens of thousands of plugins, extensions, and themes make it possible to turn a WordPress website into anything imaginable. 

WordPress’s main drawback is that you need to shop around to find the best plugins, themes, and extensions to fit your specific needs. Then, you need to install and test them to ensure they don’t conflict with others that you use. Lastly, you need to keep them updated to work correctly. This can be a challenge since themes and plugins are made by third-party developers who occasionally go out of business or simply quit supporting their products.

In contrast, Weebly offers some limited expandability through services listed in their Apps tab, like the ecommerce apps shown below. 

weebly vs wordpress

Ecommerce apps that support dropship vendors, donations, and price charts are popular add-ons for Weebly stores. Image source: Weebly.

Weebly only offers apps supported by trusted developers, so you generally don’t have integration conflicts or update issues, unlike WordPress. Though Weebly’s app universe pales in comparison to WordPress, it does offer some handy add-ons for growing businesses.

Customer Service

Weebly also wins big over WordPress when it comes to customer service. This is because Weebly is a service that provides a useful centralized knowledgebase, detailed tutorials, and—best of all—helpful customer service pros who are available 24/7.

In contrast, WordPress is open-source software that doesn’t offer any centralized help. The way you learn WordPress is via online tutorials published by various WordPress hosting services, online “gurus,” and theme and plugin developers. 

WordPress hosting services provide assistance with basic setup and hosting issues, and plugin and theme developers offer support for their specific products. However, there’s no single support desk that can help you make everything run smoothly in WordPress. You either learn it yourself or hire a developer to put everything together for you—which can be costly, depending on your needs.

Weebly vs. WordPress: The Bottom Line

There’s a clear winner in each facet of the Weebly vs. WordPress matchup, but the deciding factor really depends on your unique needs and goals.

If you want a fast and easy way to build a website that you can maintain yourself, Weebly is a sure-fire solution. Likewise, if you’re a Square POS user looking for an easy and economical way to expand into online sales and marketing, Weebly’s direct integration with Square makes them the ideal choice.

However, if you want to build a powerhouse, no-holds-barred website that can do anything—and you’re willing to put in the time to learn the platform—WordPress doesn’t disappoint. 

The only tie in the Weebly vs. WordPress showdown is cost—both offer functional free websites and economical upgrade plans. Startups can launch and run on either platform with few to no costs. Or, you can test-drive each system as long as you wish to see which is the ultimate winner. 

Article Sources:

  1. WordPress.com. “Pricing

Krista Fabregas

Krista Fabregas is a contributing writer for Fundera.

Krista is an ecommerce pro sharing more than 20 years of hands-on experience with those looking to grow online businesses. Her expertise covers every facet of ecommerce as well as online lead generation, affiliate income, and content marketing. 

Krista has held senior positions at NASA, a Fortune 100 company, and several startups. She has been featured in Forbes, NBC, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, and other top publications.

 

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