Weebly vs. Squarespace – Two Site Builders With Plenty to Offer
Building a new website in 2020 has never been easier thanks to platforms like Squarespace and Weebly. These all-purpose website builders can help you set up a site in no time and with very little effort. And we’re not just talking about a simple blog either. Whether you want to build a professional-looking website to display your work portfolio or a full-fledged online store, you can bet that both Squarespace and Weebly can get the job done with no problems.
Having said that, these two builders aren’t exactly identical so choosing the right one for your website can be a bit challenging, especially if you don’t have any previous experience working with these types of platforms. Don’t worry, though, because in this comparison we’re going to weigh the pros and cons of Squarespace and Weebly in order to help you figure out which one of the two builders is more suitable for your needs. But before we delve too deep into the nitty-gritty let’s take a quick look at what these companies are all about, just in case you’re not already familiar with them.
Squarespace has been around since 2003 but the company mostly flew under the radar until fairly recently. Just a few years back, the company started investing heavily in marketing in an attempt to gain mass appeal. While Squarespace remains less popular than Weebly, its SuperBowl adverts and marketing campaigns starring Keanu Reeves, among other things, have helped the platform achieve a fairly high level of popularity over the years. It’s hard to say how many people are actually using the platform in 2020 but Squarespace itself claims to have “millions of users.”
Squarespace is probably best known for its beautiful designer templates, all of which are available for free if you subscribe to the service. On the flipside, Squarespace is infamous for having some fairly expensive packages, and therefore, a higher barrier of entry. Squarespace is more expensive when compared to direct competitors like Weebly, Wix or WordPress, though most of its users would tell you that the price is well worth it.
Weebly was founded in 2007 and although it’s a younger company than Squarespace, it managed to surpass it by a very significant margin in terms of popularity. Unlike Squarespace, Weebly doesn’t shy away from being a bit more transparent when it comes to its user base. Although we don’t have any exact figures for Weebly either, the company states that it powers over 40 million websites as of 2020. By comparison, Squarespace is believed to power only a little over 1 million websites at the moment.
Weebly is clearly the more widely used platform in this comparison, however, it’s worth noting that the company offers a free version of the builder while Squarespace doesn’t. That certainly gives it an edge when it comes to acquiring new users. In addition, Weebly is also known for having a lot of powerful apps, which Squarespace doesn’t. However, Weebly has a lot fewer themes than Squarespace and many of them aren’t quite as interesting as the templates offered by its rival.
Navigation and Ease of Use
One of the most appealing things about website builders like Squarespace and Weebly is how easy they are to use. And not just in terms of actually creating a website, mind you. Web hosting, free domains and a few other useful tools and features are also included in the price of most plans. Thanks to the fact that both platforms offer intuitive drag-and-drop editors, you don’t have to worry about coding either because that’s entirely optional.
Squarespace’s builder looks clean and fairly minimalistic but hides a lot of complexity underneath the surface. Most of the available menus and buttons tend to lead to additional options so it can take a little while to learn your way around the platform. The learning curve here is a bit steeper when compared to other builders, including Weebly, but it’s ultimately not that hard to figure out where everything is and the learning process can be a lot of fun for some users. There are some helpful tooltips here and there but, for the most part, you’ll have to figure things out on your own.
The editing process is fairly straightforward thanks to the drag-and-drop functionality, though you will need to keep in mind that Squarespace uses a block-based system. This makes the builder feel a little more limiting compared to Weebly, however, you still have the option of dragging elements almost anywhere on a page. One area where Squarespace clearly outshines Weebly is in the creativity department. The builder is famous for offering users a wide range of creative tools that anyone can use to make their site look like it was designed by a professional.
At first glance, it may seem like Weebly has more buttons and menus to worry about but that’s actually not the case. Unlike Squarespace, Weebly gives you a more complete overview of the available tools right off the bat. You don’t need to worry about fumbling around the editor to find anything because there are few hidden buttons and icons. Overall, there aren’t as many options to work with at first, however, you can add a lot more complexity and functionality by grabbing some of the tools found in the app store.
The drag-and-drop editor is a bit more flexible in this case but you’ll still need to work within the limitations imposed by the template you’re using. Weebly’s user interface looks less flashy when compared to that of Squarespace but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Weebly was designed to be practical above all else so expect the builder to be fast and responsive at all times. Don’t worry if it seems like Weebly doesn’t feature as many individual elements as other builders because you can easily compensate for this by adding some apps.
Ease of Use – Most users shouldn’t struggle with either of these builders because both Squarespace and Weebly are very intuitive and easy to use. However, Squarespace does have a bit of a steeper learning curve and figuring out how everything works can take some time. Weebly doesn’t struggle with that at all as the builder is remarkably simple to work with right off the bat and regardless of your level of experience.
Templates and Design Flexibility
Just because a website builder is easy to use that doesn’t necessarily make it a great pick, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a veteran webmaster. One of the other important things you need to take into consideration is the amount and quality of templates at your disposal. Just as important, perhaps even more so in certain situations, is the level of customization afforded by the builder. After all, it doesn’t make much sense to create a website that looks identical to dozens of other sites. While creating something truly unique is difficult with any builder, the platform you choose should allow you to make a website that stands out from the crowd, at least to a certain extent.
Squarespace easily outshines Weebly and most other builders when it comes to templates. While it doesn’t have nearly the same level of variety as Wix or WordPress, all of Squarespace’s templates are very pretty and extremely well made. The company brings to the table around 90 templates hand-crafted by professional designers who put a lot of love and passion into their work. Squarespace could have easily split its templates into free and premium like some of its rivals but instead, the company decided to make all of them available for free to its users, which is always nice to see.
All of the templates are very flexible, with users being able to customize pretty much any element ranging from headers and text blocks to icons and navigation spacing. This allows skilled users to create truly impressive websites, however, there is a downside to the customization as well. Templates are beautifully designed by default and feature lots of high-res images. Replacing the images with ones of lower quality or messing around too much with the original design has the potential to ruin the template’s overall style. This is especially true for beginners who are still experimenting with the platform.
The good news is that you can freely modify or switch between templates without losing any of the content. Unless you purposely delete it of course. So even though it’s possible to ruin the original templates while you’re trying to customize them, new users can freely experiment without having to worry about permanently breaking anything. Veterans, on the other hand, can go all out with the customization because Squarespace supports CSS code injection and features special blocks that allow you to add HTML code. However, these options are not available with the basic package.
Weebly can’t really hold a candle to Squarespace when it comes to templates but the company does make an effort to compete. The platform offers around 40 templates and even though they’re not quite as impressive as those offered by its rival, they are of very good quality nevertheless. Just like Squarespace, Weebly sorts its templates by categories such as Business, Portfolio, Blog or Online Store. This makes it very easy to find a template that’s suitable for the type of website you want to build. Strangely enough, though, there’s no search function while browsing templates and you can’t preview how templates look on mobile/tablet screens here, so those are two areas where Weebly could certainly make some improvements.
Weebly is a bit behind Squarespace when it comes to editing flexibility. While you can edit various elements, there aren’t nearly as many options to work with and some elements are a lot more customizable than others. On one hand, this makes it more difficult to create a site that truly stands out because you’re working with the same limited set of options as everyone else. But on the other hand, it also makes it more difficult to mess things up too badly because the editing process is more rigid.
As far as custom editing is concerned, Weebly offers the same opportunities as Squarespace. Namely, you can inject your own CSS or HTML code in order to enhance your site and add very specific features that may not be available by default. The only difference is that Weebly allows all users to edit code regardless of which plan they’re using.
Templates and Design Flexibility – Squarespace is the undisputed king of good looking templates so it should come as no surprise that the company wins this round hands down. That’s not to say that Weebly’s templates are bad (far from it) but Squarespace’s are simply better and you have a lot more of them to work with.
Plans and Pricing
A lot of people want to build their own website or blog but many don’t go through with it because they think it’s too expensive. That can certainly be the case if you decide to hire a professional designer. If you try to do it yourself, however, you’ll find that creating and managing a website can actually be pretty cheap. Using a website builder like Squarespace or Weebly is very affordable, especially if you opt for the entry packages. Granted, you need to do all the heavy lifting yourself but, as mentioned in the previous sections, the building process isn’t too complicated.
If you’re aiming for the cheapest possible way of building a new website look no further than Weebly. The platform is overall a lot cheaper than Squarespace and even offers a free plan. Needless to say, the free plan comes with a lot of restrictions but it’s still a viable option for those who need a simple website or blog. Squarespace, on the other hand, is pretty pricey but you get very good quality in exchange for your money.
Squarespace offers four packages, ranging in price from $12 per month to $40 per month. The entry price is quite higher compared to Weebly and other website builders but you do get nice features in return like free domain, unlimited storage, SSL certificate, and more. The first package is good for small websites and blogs but if you’re aiming for something a bit bigger, you’ll want to go for the Business plan. This plan unlocks a lot of useful tools and features, including custom editing, premium blocks, marketing tools, and eCommerce functionality.
Those looking to open a sizeable online store will want to set their attention towards the final two plans. The last one, in particular, comes with a lot of features that make it excellent for medium-sized eCommerce platforms. Squarespace doesn’t come close to platforms like Shopify when it comes to eCommerce but the company does offer reasonably good support for online stores. And even though $40/mo may seem expensive, the price is actually almost identical to Weebly’s highest tier package.
In addition to the free tier, Weebly also offers four premium plans that range in price from $5 per month to $38 per month. Right off the bat, it’s clear that Weebly is the cheapest option in this comparison, however, it’s worth noting that the entry plan features non-removable ads and only comes with 500 MB of storage. In other words, this package isn’t really suitable for users who want to build a serious website. The first paid plan allows you to connect a custom domain but aside from that, it’s nearly identical to the free plan.
If you want to build a website that can be taken seriously you’ll want to aim at least for the Pro tier. Coincidentally, this costs the same as Squarespace’s entry package and comes with most of the same features and tools, including free domain, SSL certificate, and unlimited storage. Just like Squarespace and most other builders, Weebly’s final two plans come with advanced eCommerce functionality. Weebly isn’t really the perfect choice for hosting an online store either but, just like Squarespace, it can get the job done pretty well.
Plans and Pricing – Squarespace offers very good value for money but the entry price is nevertheless too high for a lot of people. Weebly is a much safer choice by comparison because the company not only offers a very cheap entry package but also has a free plan that’s perfect for new users who want to build their first website without spending a penny.
Key Features and Tools
There’s a pretty big difference between Squarespace and Weebly in this department. At first glance, it may seem like you get a similar set of features and tools regardless of which company you choose, and that’s certainly true if you look strictly at what’s included in the various packages. However, Weebly has a pretty significant edge here thanks to its app store, which contains many features and tools that are not available at Squarespace. Ultimately, though, this is a classic battle of quality vs quantity.
Having a catchy domain name is very important for any brand that hopes to stand out from the crowd. With Squarespace, you can register such a domain for $20 and then pay another $20 per year every time you want to renew it. If you don’t want to register a domain separately you can simply sign up for any of Squarespace’s four plans to receive one for free. The domain will remain free for 1 year and includes WHOIS privacy protection so there’s no need to pay extra for that.
Weebly is a bit cheaper but not by much. Namely, you can register a domain with the company for $19.95 per year. Just like Squarespace, Weebly doesn’t charge extra for domain renewals. One drawback of Weebly is that the company doesn’t offer a free domain with its first paid package, though this plan does allow you to connect a domain you already own. All plans starting with the $12/mo one come with a free domain for 1 year. The free plan does include a free domain but the caveat is that it will have the .weebly extension attached to it, which isn’t a very good look for serious brands.
Backing up your Squarespace website can be a huge hassle. The company doesn’t have an option that allows users to manually back up their websites from the admin panel so you’ll have to rely on the company’s automatic system instead. Either that or you can create a manual backup using an XML file but doing so will only allow you to save the content, not the layout of your site. Also worth noting is that Squarespace only keeps the automatic backups it makes for up to a month so restoring an older version of a site is next to impossible.
Weebly is a lot better than Squarespace when it comes to backups. Users can create a manual backup of their site by visiting the Settings tab in the control panel. Once there, simply go to the ‘Archive’ section and type in your email address. A backup of your entire site will be sent to your mailbox as a.zip file that you can download and save to your computer. Restoring your backups is a bit trickier because Weebly doesn’t have an actual ‘Restore’ option at the moment. However, you can manually re-upload content from the downloaded archive back to your site at any time.
Squarespace users who subscribe to the Business tier or above benefit from a free G Suite account for 1 year. The deal is only available for new G Suite accounts that have been set up through Squarespace. If your domain was linked to G Suite in the past you won’t be able to redeem the offer, but you can pay a monthly or yearly fee to continue to use your business mailbox in conjugation with Squarespace. This sort of integration is possible with Weebly as well and it’s pretty much the only way of securing a business mailbox since the company doesn’t include one with any of its plans.
As mentioned earlier, both Squarespace and Weebly have dedicated eCommerce plans, so you can build an online store with either of these two platforms. Moreover, you get roughly the same features for roughly the same price regardless of which service you choose. Some of the key features offered by Squarespace and Weebly include abandoned cart recovery, no transaction fees, discount creation, multiple payment options, and shipping management.
Squarespace does get a slight edge over Weebly when it comes to multi-channel integration. The main benefit of this feature is the ability to sell products on Instagram. Aside from that, our two competitors are fairly evenly matched in the eCommerce department. That may change in the near future, though, as Weebly’s recent acquisition by payment processor Square seems to indicate that the site builder will put more emphasis on eCommerce moving forward. If you’re looking for a dedicated eCommerce platform in the meantime, we recommend checking out Shopify.
Blogging and Social Media Integration
The situation here is similar to the one we’ve seen in the eCommerce department. Namely, Squarespace and Weebly are very evenly matched, with neither company being able to offer something interesting that would allow it to outshine the other. In terms of blogging, you’ve got basic features like archiving, RSS feed, social bookmarking, category display, support for user comments, and a search function. As far as social media integration is concerned, both platforms allow you to display feeds from your social media pages on your website. You can also embed buttons from over a dozen social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.
Our two competitors have been mostly neck-in-neck so far when it comes to key features but in this area, Weebly easily takes the lead. Unlike Squarespace, Weebly has a dedicated app center where you can find over 350 apps that can help you improve your SEO, boost your social media presence, optimize your content, and more. Most of these apps come from third-party developers but there are also about a dozen or so that were created by Weebly themselves. That said, all the apps made by Weebly have average reviews so maybe stick with the third-party ones if possible.
The apps are sorted by category and there’s a search function that allows you to quickly find what you’re looking for. Although you can find some free apps in the store, it’s worth noting that most of them come with a price tag. The prices are overall fairly standard but there are some paid apps that should have been available for free if you ask me. One good example is the app that allows users to sell subscriptions to customers, a feature that comes for free with Squarespace’s advanced eCommerce package.
But whether we agree with some of the prices or not, there’s no denying that Weebly has a very impressive selection of apps. Squarespace, on the other hand, doesn’t have much to offer here. The platform has its own marketplace but it only offers a handful of extensions, most of which are aimed at online stores. Aside from that, tech-savvy users can take advantage of certain built-in tools to add widgets to their site via code injection but that’s about it.
Good SEO practices can make a big difference when you’re trying to make sure that your site ranks higher than the competition in search engines. For the most part, webmasters need to learn how to take care of the SEO on their own, however, there are certain tools that can help with that process. The SEO tools offered by Squarespace and Weebly are pretty basic but they can get the job done nevertheless. We found that the two companies are pretty much identical in this department, at least as far as the built-in tools are concerned.
Either of two platforms will allow you to edit meta titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and URL slugs. Nothing to write home about here since every site builder lets you manage those things. That said, Weebly does have an advantage over Squarespace thanks to its app center. The company offers several apps that come with advanced SEO tools but not all of them are free so you may need to fork out a few bucks if you need help properly optimizing your content.
Refund Policy and Free Trials
Weebly doesn’t have a free trial but that’s not all that surprising given that the company offers a free plan with no time limits. Meanwhile, Squarespace does offer a trial that lets you use the platform for up to 14 days for free. As far as refund policies are concerned, Weebly offers a 30-day money-back guarantee while Squarespace isn’t quite as generous and only offers a 14-day money-back guarantee.
Key Features and Tools – Squarespace and Weebly are surprisingly evenly matched in many departments, including eCommerce, domain registration, blogging, and social media integration. Weebly has a better system for backups but loses when it comes to professional emails. Overall, though, Weebly still manages to come out on top thanks to its dedicated app center. Although the handful of extensions offered by Squarespace can be useful, Weebly’s app store allows users to enhance their sites in many more ways.
Performance and Reliability
It goes without saying that a fast-loading website makes a better first impression than a slow one. Although there is a slight difference between Squarespace and Weebly when it comes to loading speeds, both our competitors are known to perform pretty well. In the case of Squarespace, you can expect average loading speeds of around 624 ms, with some fluctuations every now and again. Meanwhile, Weebly sites have a loading speed of only 560 ms on average. Weebly sites are a bit faster in general, but not but much.
The situation is very similar when we look at the average uptime of our two competitors. Namely, Weebly’s uptime sits at 99.97% while Squarespace has an average uptime of 99.96%. We learned from previous comparisons that builders like Wix and Shopify have uptimes of around 99.99% so there’s clearly some room for improvement. However, anything above 99% is generally considered good you can definitely rely on both Weebly and Squarespace, though Weebly does perform slightly better overall.
Performance and Reliability – There is a very small difference between the two platforms when it comes to average loading speeds and uptimes. But if you’re a stickler for these kinds of things, you should probably go with Weebly because sites hosted on the platform do seem to perform a bit better.
Customer support is yet another category where Squarespace and Weebly are very evenly matched. You can reach out to Squarespace’s agents 24/7 via email or Monday through Friday via live chat. Weebly also offers phone support in addition to email and live chat, however, none of the channels are available 24/7. In short, users have the choice between a company that doesn’t have phone support and a company that doesn’t have 24/7 support.
As far as self-help options are concerned, Squarespace takes the lead. The company has one of the most comprehensive and intuitive help centers we’ve seen in a long time. The help center features not just articles but also many video guides and even a few webinars. In addition, you can also get in touch with members of the Squarespace community and ask for help via the forums. Weebly has a handful of useful guides and articles but its help center can’t really hold a candle to the one offered by Squarespace. Then again, the platform is easier to use so you probably won’t have to visit the help center all that often anyway.
Customer Support – Even though Weebly has phone support, we have to give this one to Squarespace just because its help center is so much better than the one offered by its rival. If you value phone support more than a good help center, however, Weebly is clearly the better choice here.
Weebly vs Squarespace – Down to the Wire
Weebly vs Squarespace is one of the closest races we’ve seen in a long time. Deciding between these two platforms can be very challenging because of how similar they are. Ultimately, though, I think Weebly is the best choice for most users. At the end of the day, Squarespace targets a fairly specific audience, mainly composed of artists, photographers and other creative types. Weebly, on the other hand, is a good fit for pretty much everyone.
We do have to give props to Squarespace for its extremely well-made templates and customization potential. There’s no doubt that you can create a very good looking website with Squarespace but in order to truly stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to invest time and effort in order to surpass its rather steep learning curve. The other major drawback here is the price, which is way above average when compared to other site builders. You do get good value in exchange but most people who want to build a new website don’t want to spend too much on it, which is understandable.
The fact that Weebly offers a free tier along with a very cheap plan gives it a major advantage in this competition. The platform also gets extra points for its ease of use, larger variety of features, and slightly better performance. The thing that really pushes it over the edge, however, is the app store. Even though some of the apps are pretty expensive, you can also find a lot of free ones that will help you greatly improve the functionality of your website. Squarespace may have better designs, but Weebly is slightly superior in almost every other department.
Overall – Weebly is a fantastic jack-of-all-trades that can be used reliably to build any type of website ranging from blogs to online stores and everything in between. Weebly is one of the easiest to use site builders out there and you don’t even necessarily have to pay for it, so what’s not to love? To top it all off, the platform performs better than many of its competitors and offers a comprehensive app store. Squarespace is definitely not a bad pick either, particularly for creative users, but we think Weebly is overall the better choice here.