Weebly Versus Squarespace – Which One Will You Choose?
We pit 2 of the best website builders against each other in this Weebly vs Squarespace review.
Weebly may have things their way in terms of current subscriber numbers, but Squarespace is certainly a force to be reckoned with.
As you will see from our comprehensive section comparisons, the website builder that best suits your needs will very much depend upon your niche and what you are trying to achieve.
Before we dig deep into our Weebly, Squarespace review let’s take an overview of each platform.
Depending upon which statistics are viewed you will find that the Weebly platform has been responsible for the construction of between 40-50 million websites. That certainly places them in the premier division when it comes to website builders.
While the platform may seem huge, things are not stopping here. Weebly have recently been acquired by Square who are ecommerce experts.
Since this acquisition things have been fairly quiet on the web builder front, but one would expect that this ‘marriage’ should work to enhance the all-round web building / on-line store offering from the platform. Let’s hope this turns out to be the case.
Note: Square should not be confused with Squarespace – They are very different companies.
Initially launched in 2004, Squarespace began life as a blog hosting service. It has come a long way since then.
How far can be seen in the fact they actually took advertising space during the Superbowl. That is NOT cheap!
While the company do not release subscriber figures, they claim to have “millions” of users.
Similar to Weebly, Squarespace are a ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) website builder. This means that for a fee, they provide everything required to build and maintain a website.
It should be noted that there are 2 versions of Squarespace. The ‘standard’ version is by far the most popular, the ‘developer’ version is for those with development knowledge. We will be concentrating on the ‘standard’ offering.
In-depth comparison sections of Weebly versus Squarespace will shortly follow, but a quick plus and minus of Squarespace:
Plus: High quality template graphics are yours.
Minus: No free offering.
Side by side comparisons:
Here are side by side comparisons in various important areas. We hope this detail will go towards distinguishing whether Weebly or Squarespace is the platform that best meets your needs.
You will note that we have given a ‘Verdict’ at the end of each section.
|Ease Of Use:|
|It should first be stated that you will go a very long way to find an easier ‘drag and drop’ website builder than Weebly.
To create your website, it is a simple case of clicking on an element from the prominent sidebar and dropping it where you please.
You will need to get used to the fact that the templates offered by Weebly are specifically structured, but this should not necessarily be seen as a downside.
By availing of the comprehensive support and assistance available while creating your web presence you are following good business practice.
Developers can take things a stage further as Weebly allows code access.
A final plus has to be in the fact that you can switch templates down the line. Some other ‘drag and drop’ website builders do not allow this.
Verdict: In the Weebly vs Squarespace “Ease of Use” category Weebly is much more intuitive – Weebly Win!
|Squarespace is also a ‘drag and drop’ website builder. While it is fairly intuitive, there is also a lot more to initially contend with.
Your learning curve with Squarespace is certainly steeper than that of Weebly.
We say this because the minimalistic interface mean that site building will take time and patience.
Having said this, those who persevere will most certainly benefit from the experience.
It should also be said that anyone with a creative bent who is looking for a particular look and feel of their website will also find the Squarespace platform particularly appealing.
To be fair to Squarespace you can also switch templates down the line.
When choosing your website builder this is a point that should not be underestimated. What may seem like the perfect template when you start out may not always remain so!
|Templates & Flexibility:|
|When considering Weebly, Squarespace templates, the former offers less. You will find more than 50 industry specific Weebly templates to choose from.
These are of good quality and the majority of users should find something that fits with their design aspirations.
If this is not the case it is possible to import an external ‘premium’ template.
Taking this route will mean “Premium” = “Paying for it”.
Touching back to anyone with coding experience:
The Weebly template code is accessible. This means you will be at liberty to totally individualise your template.
|Squarespace offers ‘families’ of templates with variant themes and a very wide choice.
These templates are professionally designed, sleek and look very appealing. They are sure to appeal to the more artistic/those wishing to get a portfolio out there.
It is possible to find ‘premium’ external templates, but to install these, code insertion is required. This will incur additional cost unless you have coding experience.
The fact here is that the majority of Squarespace users will find the platform templates more than sufficient.
Verdict: This is a close call, but we feel Squarespace just edge the Weebly versus Squarespace ‘Templates & Flexibility’ section.
|It goes without saying that any web building platform you go for should be fully mobile responsive.
Weebly templates major on this factor. That means a good customer experience should be had for visitors to your site.
A good customer experience will greatly increase the chances of that visitor coming back time and again.
It should not need saying, but a poor customer experience will have the opposite effect with visitors quickly exiting and looking elsewhere.
You can also take advantage of the Weebly mobile editor. This allows for website changes to be made while you are on the go or from your chosen mobile terminal.
|Squarespace templates are also designed with mobile responsiveness in mind.
This has to be seen as a positive. It means that your chosen template will adjust size automatically to the visitor’s viewing device.
More people than ever before are using mobile devices to view websites. Make sure that whichever website builder you choose that their templates and services are fully mobile responsive.
We will touch on the Squarespace mobile editor in the Apps Availability section below.
Verdict: In the Weebly vs Squarespace ‘mobile responsiveness’ section, we deem this a Draw.
|Features & Tools:|
|Weebly offers some very solid features & tools that will allow you to set-up, run and advance your store as you become more established.
You can sell digital as well as physical products, offer services and a ‘voucher’ (coupon) option can be put in place.
In this respect Weebly also offer shipping options as well as allowing the option of customers collecting their goods from your bricks and mortar store.
Those who are intent on attracting local customers should find this very handy indeed.
Individual user logins cannot yet be created (see the Squarespace comparison why this can be useful). However, Weebly have said that this is a feature to be offered in the future.
One other thing to keep an eye on:
We mentioned at the beginning of the piece that Weebly have been acquired by Square.
Square are a major e-commerce platform. This means that as the services integrate you should expect to see far more e-commerce tools being introduced. This in turn should see a far more flexible set of selling features made available.
Having said this, we have seen nothing significant in that area to date.
Verdict: Weebly or Squarespace in the Features & Tools section? We put Weebly as winners. If/when they allow user logins this will push them further ahead.
|All of the Squarespace features and tools are designed in-house. They come built-in and are accessed via the editor.
As with Weebly, you can sell digital and physical products and there is the ability to establish user logins.
The user login feature is particularly useful if you are targeting repeat orders from regular customers. For many, repeat clients can be their ‘bread and butter’, so this is a feature that should not be overlooked.
Whichever platform you decide to go with it is important to understand that any available statistical tools should be used to your advantage.
In this respect using Weebly or Squarespace will not disappoint.
Statistical analysis allows you to see what parts of your store are working well and which ones need improving.
One important Weebly, Squarespace differential gives Weebly the advantage.
It relates to the import/export of products data. This can be achieved on the Weebly platform using a .csv file.
Squarespace does not offer any product data export feature.
This means that bulk changes cannot be made. You will need to complete such changes in smaller chunks.
|The Weebly apps store is the place to go for add-ons. You should find there is something to solve your needs.
We say this because there are over 300 available.
While the majority (250+) are ‘premium’ apps – i.e. you pay for them. The 50+ free apps do offer certain solutions that will suit the needs of many.
It goes without saying that we lean quite heavily on social media these days. In this respect Weebly do not let you down. They offer 17 social media plugins- The “Facebook Like” app being a good example.
It is also important to understand the importance of user reviews.
These can have a significant impact on the success of your site. Weebly offer this service in the form of an easy to complete ‘star’ rating format.
Verdict: In the Weebly versus Squarespace ‘Apps Availability’ category, Weebly come out on top.
|As such, Squarespace do not have an actual app store. They have taken the route of building all available apps into their offering.
If you do need ‘more’, Squarespace do have available is a good selection of 3rdparty plugins.
You will find some free to access, although being the nature of the world, the majority you will need to pay for.
Those with larger budgets can also avail of the services from a developer who majors on the Squarespace platform.
By going this way, you will be able to customise any installed applications that are particularly important to your website needs.
We have already touched on the importance of mobile devices. Those who wish to use smartphone apps to manage their website will find apps available for both iOS and Android devices.
Using these apps allows the management of different aspects of your Squarespace web presence from your chosen mobile device.
|Any website intending to be recognised (and, after all, isn’t that the point?) needs to make the most of SEO.
The good news is that using Weebly or Squarespace offers good, basic SEO features.
They both offer flexibility when it comes to such things as Title, Descriptions and URL editing.
Due to the challenges of SEO you can take advantage of the Weebly ‘ultimate SEO’ guide. This will certainly help in your SEO efforts.
Something that is missing with Weebly SEO is the ability to utilize Headlines (think H2-H4 etc.). There is a workaround – You need to install an additional plugin.
Verdict: Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses in the SEO category. We therefore deem this section to be a Draw.
|When it comes to Squarespace SEO features there is a reasonably comprehensive ‘SEO Checklist’ to follow and they do offer some neat videos on the topic.
Title, Descriptions and URL editing can be achieved similar to Weebly and there are a few Squarespace SEO features that Google definitely like.
These include its mobile-friendly approach, sitemap.xml file generation and clean HTML markup.
Something that may initially confuse Squarespace users is the fact that the important ‘Alt-text’ feature is known as ’file name’ on this platform.
It should also be noted that dependent upon the template and context you are using, such things as captions, extracts and descriptions may be visible on page – Not what you want.
|Back Up & Restore:|
|Being a managed service means that Weebly automatically back-up your data on a daily basis.
In the event of an issue this should minimise any losses to the actual day of the problem.
If you do delete any data in error, you will not be able to restore it without the assistance of the Weebly technical team.
Should you decide to move your Weebly website to another host, this is possible.
While it is possible, it needs to be understood that by doing so there could well be limitations in your ‘drag and drop’ functionality.
Another point on possible transfer relates to moving away from the Weebly platform and then returning at a future date.
While transfer is possible you also need to be aware that once your data has been moved you cannot restore it if you decide to return to the Weebly platform.
Verdict: While we cannot stress strongly enough how you should make your own back-up provision, in terms of the Weebly, Squarespace Back Up & Restore offering, we place Weebly as the winner in this section.
|While Squarespace is also a hosted offering there are some things you need to be aware of in terms of back up and restoration.
The platform is responsible for site security and maintenance, however when it comes to backing up and restoring your Customer Management System (CMS) data and other elements, Squarespace clearly put the onus on the customer. This is your responsibility.
Squarespace also have a content monitoring service in place. If they deem you are posting content which conflicts with their ‘acceptable use’ policy they can remove such content without any dialogue.
Should that ever happen you will be limited as to exportation of your data to an XML file. You may also find that certain types of content cannot be exported.
For those using Squarespace we would strongly recommend that other back-up and restore options should also be pursued.
An important point on back-up:
Regardless of which web building platform you use it is strongly recommended that you make it good business practice to make your own back-ups of data.
|Help & Support:|
|The importance of help & support cannot be underestimated. This is particularly the case if you are new to the web building world.
Weebly do well in this area. Email support is a given. They also have social media support channels and a very convenient live chat option.
We will get into ‘costs’ shortly, but for Weebly users on higher price plans, telephone support is also available.
The available online tutorials are good and the ‘Weebly Community’ is an excellent free resource made up of other users who will help resolve any issues you encounter.
|Do not expect any telephone support from Squarespace. They have taken the decision not to go down this route.
What they do offer is a very helpful and proactive live chat function.
In terms of email response. Their policy is to respond to all emails received within 1 hour of receipt.
Tutorial wise, there are extensive online resources available from their ‘Knowledge Center’ and the user forum is worthy of participating in.
Real -life issues are dealt with and examples of how resolution is achieved can be obtained from here.
Verdict: In the Weebly versus Squarespace ‘Help & Support’ category, we place Squarespace as the winner
|There is no doubt that pricing is a crucial factor when deciding which platform is for you.
We will explain the basics of the Weebly, Squarespace plans here, but we do encourage you to look at further in-depth analysis by clicking here for Weebly(insert link to Weebly pricing details here?).
The good news is that Weebly has a free, (without time limit) plan. As would be expected, there are limitations. A major one is that this comes ‘with ads’.
Note: Figures in brackets are for those who pay one year up front.
Their starter (Connect) plan (for websites) is ad-free and comes in at $8 per month ($5 if 1 year paid up front).
This is good for small websites but still has limitations.
The ‘Pro’ plan comes in at $18 per month ($12), but for those in search of ecommerce solutions the following two plans are most appropriate:
Weebly Business – Good for smaller ecommerce operations. This costs $35 ($25).
Larger online stores will want the full suite of services offered by the Weebly Business Plus plan. This comes in at $46 ($38).
|There is no free plan with Squarespace. You have 4 monthly price plans to consider. These are:
• ‘Personal’ at $16 per month.
• ‘Business’ at $26 per month.
• ‘Basic Store’ at $30 per month.
• ‘Advanced Store’ at $46 per month.
If you decide to pay the annual fee up front then reductions in the above come in at $12, $18, $26 and $40 respectively.
For a comprehensive breakdown of Squarespace pricing and what you get for your money please click here (insert link to Squarespace ‘price structure’ of Squarespace article).
IMPORTANT – Free trials from both platforms.
Before deciding on Weebly or Squarespace you should take advantage of both free trials offered.
Each platform offers free 14-day trials.
This should be ample time for you to ‘test drive’ each platform and aid a final decision.
Verdict: If you are after a free plan then Weebly win (Squarespace do not offer one!), but anyone serious about promoting their web presence and expanding into business need to go for a paid-for plan.
Cost-wise they are similar. For this reason, we deem the pricing comparison on Weebly vs Squarespace to be a Draw.
Weebly versus Squarespace? The decision will be based on your specific needs. We feel that Weebly is an easier platform to get to grips with if you are a beginner, although Squarespace is perhaps a better fit for those with artistic/portfolio intentions. It is also a better fit for bloggers.
Having said all of this, we would give the Weebly versus Squarespace title to Weebly due to the overall benefits those looking for an ‘all-round’ website builder and online store are after. This is reflected in the number of ‘wins’ our verdicts above show.
Don’t forget; You can try both platforms for free before committing.
Being a veteran in the website building and eCommerce game definitely has its benefits. Richard has long been in the industry with more than 10 years of experience with building websites and constructing eCommerce platforms for clients. He’s also a bit of a whiskey connoisseur.