My brother told me about weebly.com and here I am.
Of course, everyone wants something for nothing, especially on the internet. You can get something for nothing, but there's always a drawback.
Wordpress is well established and I know of a great many sites, personal and professional, that are built on wordpress and look and work great.
- It's established. Even if you don't spring for a custome URL, having eruch.wordpress.com is easy for all to remember.
- When blogging or adding text content, there are a lot of options I'm now missing as I fiddle with weebly's minimalist text interface. A lot of formating options are available in worpress and it's easy to switch between html and their interface, which can be helpful.
- Worpress communities are large and in one blog post I had a few people I didn't know show up to follow the page. Not tons, but I only experimented with one post.
- But when I wrote my first blog post, I noticed that there was a giant video link embedded right at the end of my blog, and people thought it was part of my post. Ugh! Not cool. Turns out it costs $30 / year to remove ads. Just that one thing. Come on! Is this Russia?
- Or pay $99 per year for "Premium" wordpress, which "Includes a domain name of your choice or domain mapping for an existing domain, VideoPress, Custom Design, 10GB Space Upgrade, and No Ads." (Basically, it's $100 if you don't want to be annoyed. e-commerce is more expensive than that.)
- I found it very hard to do simple customizations in Wordpress such as creating a different header image for each page. I could choose a single unique image OR a slideshow of their choosing. You pay to customize, and that's annoying.
Squarespace is upfront that it's not free so they don't seem to jerk you around with ads either.
- Domain name included in the cost of membership, which is very cool.Many people don't want to have to also deal with annual renewals and username / passwords for yet another company (especially if you loose track of this info and let your site.com lapse, you will probably lose it for good.)
- Elegant designs of templates and there seem to be a fair number of minor tweaks possible even when you place title boxes and line breaks and decide to change how large everything appears.
- There are no free plans. You have only around 2 weeks to completely build your site before you pay or it goes away.
- You must fork over around $90 for a year's worth of the cheapest plan...(This was before I knew if I even wanted it and certainly before I had time to really get the hang of the interface.)
- has a similar drag-and-drop style of web element insertion and design, which is very cool and basically upends the notion that you must have a web designer crafting your website from scratch. If these options existed 10 years ago, my business sites would have been a lot easier to create and maintain.
- Easy to move, rename, and change the layout of existing pages. Also can make pages invisible with one click.
- Blogs can automatically post to Facebook and Twitter accounts, which saves some time.
- Slidshows, videos, columns, pictures, and text can be easily inserted and arranged. The sheer amount that one can do with the column size, quantity, and what you add to them, really gives a visually minded person plenty of options to ma
- E-commerce sites can be easily set up, even for the semiliterate user. Not all the bells and whistles a custom site might give you, but my brother and I made this site relatively quickly after Ancient Sun's old host site became so difficult to use, we decided to abandon it after 9 years. See the new weekly one: http://www.ancientsunnutrition.com/index.html
- Weebly wants to nickle and dime you for registering a domain through them at a cost of around $40 / year, which is just under 4 times the going rate. If that came with a free something to offset the cost of the cheapest non-free membership plan, I might have done it...but no luck. I say avoid registering domains via Weebly.
- Blog posts and text editing in general is very very basic. You can do what you need to do, but not much else. Font color, bold, italic, underline, text size/style, justification can all be changed. Also bullet points and numbered lists are easy enough. To create indented text, you have to drag and drop a "block quote" box and insert or type your info there, then add another "text" box below that.
- For ecommerce, the shipping options are not as robust as I'm used to. You can't just link up to USPS or Fed Ex and have the computer calculate realtime shipping costs. No, you have to create your own rules based on either weight of each item or on dollar amount AND by territory (country, state, region or whatever subcategory you want.)
- There is not an easy "Sign up for my blog newsletter" button or field. There is a way to do this, but it required searching the help articles, creating complicated google accounts, and copy/pasting some html into the sidebar of my blog page.
So which is the best?
After looking at the numbers of these three sites, for my needs (an author site with a unique domain (i.e. eruchadams.com), the winner goes to weebly.com, with a caveat. If I purchase the domain name myself for around $11 per year, and purchase a year's worth of the weebly.com standard plan for $4.08 / month, that still breaks down to just under $5 / month for a versatile website that's easy to build, maintain, rebuild, and add content to. I notice, there are often coupons available for weekly as well, so do a search on that before spending.
Try signing up and creating a free site before you decide. http://www.weebly.com/link/iAfRdH
I'd love to hear what sites others are using, for what reason, and how they like it (value for the money).