Wix vs Webs vs Weebly – let’s do a comparison
If your business is meant to look established and legit or maybe you’re just starting a new business, you’ll need a website. This can get quite expensive unless you look for a cheaper service. But keep in mind the adage – you get what you pay for – it’s VERY true when it comes to a website. But I’m sure you’ve heard the TV commercials or radio commercials for one of the so-called “Free Website Services” you can get from companies like Wix, Webs or Weebly. But are they really free? Are they worth the time or effort? Read the actual review of my experience trying to use these sites. I actually created “Free” accounts to try each of these site builders. Here’s my take:
Keep in mind this is a review by a professional web designer with over 15 years experience creating websites from scratch, so I might be a little faster than the average user on one of these sites.
Let’s Review Wix –
I was able to create an account in less than one minute. Right away I was presented with an industry list to choose from to help streamline templates choice. They looked very outdated – like something you’d make in microsoft word. It seems like they even know this about their themes because all of the “nicer templates” are NOT free. Once I selected a theme I quickly decided it really didn’t meet my needs – here’s where it got frustrating (6 minutes into the project). I couldn’t figure out how to get back to that industry screen to change my template. (realized later that they had opened a new window – there was no back button) About fifteen minutes later I was done. I couldn’t figure out the slideshow images and every time I wanted to try a different theme, I lost all of my work!! Uggh! I even had to Google how to delete my Wix account because even that is not intuitive.
Let’s Review Webs –
Again – I was able to create an account in less than a minute. Webs is a company created by Vista Print… you, like millions of others, have probably purchased business cards from this company. Why ask a business card printing company to help you develop a website? I’m all about being fair though – So, I made an account with them.
My first complaint is going to frustrate you too. The template concepts presented are so tiny you can’t really tell what they offer or how they really look. You have to choose from these tiny templates to even get started. Then you’ll have to give them your domain name – here they allow you to use a subdomain for free… That’s HORRIBLE for SEO! You might as well not even have a website. Every search engine will struggle to list you. So already to use a regular domain name – you’ll be paying something. NOT FREE
They do have a tutorial for you to watch that helps you somewhat better understand how to use their website builder, but unlike Wix, as soon as you load that template it’s completely empty. You don’t see any example text or ideas for what to do – so you are left with “What the heck do I do now?” Their system is a drag and drop interface that seems to be pretty simple, but again you’re really left to your own ideas and very limited with how or where to put content.
I lasted longer with their service, but realized that the site I was able to build in about an hour was still VERY ugly and cheap looking. (But they did send me a coupon for 50% off their premium packages in my first email – smart marketing)
Let’s Review Weebly –
This site allows you to login with your Facebook account. Not too sure why you’d want to do that though, because you’re probably building a business website – not a personal website. Already though, this layout and process seems very simple. Their templates are big and easy to see / select. Scrolling over them allowed me to select different colors too – that’s nifty. Overall – I’m pretty impressed with how easy their system is to use, but I still think their free templates are ugly and very boring. Now I want to go deeper and see how simple it will be to really complete a working website that will perform well for search engines.
Going into the site’s settings gives me an area for SEO – one site description and one area for keywords. Each page could have their own as well, but Google looks for more things like Header Tags and these just aren’t options for someone. Things like this could add up to keeping you from being listed in the search engines. One of the major benefits with hiring a web company is that they should help you get better results for your investment.
I did complete my website with Weebly, but I thought it looked like a website from the 90’s… very outdated 🙁 and I used Photoshop three times to even get my graphics to fit into their limited spaces.
Serious Flaws with “Free” Website Builders
- FREE is never really FREE! If you ever want to do anything cool or upgraded for your website – you’ve got to pay.
- Most of the time your website will have an Advertisement for FREE WEBSITES in the footer area… that just makes your whole company look cheap
- If you ever leave their services – you lose everything!
- Some “free” tools limit your ability to increase your traffic using SEO methods that are highly important.
- You’ll pay for more pages, bells and whistles. While this is a common practice in the web design world – there’s no reason why you should pay for more pages when you’re the one developing them and adding all of the content yourself. You’re Paying them so that YOU can do all of the work? That’s not right!
- Some of these sites also SPAM your customers. So let’s say they come to you to buy one of your products. Well, for the next few days or weeks all of the ads on any other website they visit will present your competitors to them… This is spamming your customers. You can lose revenue very quickly.
- You’re more than likely going to still need some sort of photoshop editor to get your logo designed the correct size and to re-size (web optimize) all of your images
None of these “free” website builder hide the fact that you can upgrade to premium accounts and pay for all sorts of features… but they forget to tell you that you can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars over the year and if anything happens where you want to leave them – you’ll lose it all. Not one bit of your investment belongs to you! That’s HUGE!
All of this said – is there ever a time when a FREE website is a good thing? Yes. I’m sure that sounds weird coming from a web design company – but it’s true. If you’re a non-profit struggling to raise funds – If you’re an artist just trying to be known – If you’re a total grass roots effort trying to save every penny possible to make your dreams come true – a free website might serve its purpose, but remember that if you’re needing search engines to find you and you’re going to rely heavily on SEO then you’ll need to invest in either being trained how to handle your SEO or Social Media Marketing when using one of these “free” sites. They are quite limiting and you might just learn at that point how valuable a custom-made website can be for your organization or business.
Our best suggestion is to find a web company like ours that will help Non-Profits with a discount, or raise the money in one of your first fundraiser events to build a dynamic website that brings legitimacy and even more avenues to your group to help with revenue or sales. You get what you pay for – nothing is truly free… That couldn’t be more true with websites. But do they have to cost tens of thousands of dollars? How much should a website cost?