It’s been a few years since Weebly first announced a new product enabling leading hosting companies to incorporate its powerful drag-and-drop website building tools into their own hosting plans.
Since that time, a number of both big-name brands and niche web hosts alike have taken the San Francisco company up on their offer.
With some, ‘Weebly for Hosts’ can be found among the numerous web building tools available through their regular hosting dashboard, whist other companies have packaged Weebly up into its own distinct package.
On the face of it, this certainly good news for customers, presenting as it does a number of options to those looking for a quick and simple solution to creating a website.
Yet on the flip side, it also poses a problem of its own; deciding whether to use Weebly’s own platform, or take out a hosting plan with Weebly for Hosts built-in.
If that’s the kind of quandary you’re now faced with, we’ll go through some of the most important aspects of choosing where to build your website (such as price, features, and scalability) and weigh up the pros and cons of both options, helping you decide whether to opt for a Weebly.com website or a hosting package offering Weebly for Hosts.
The budget you set aside for your new website will likely play a large part in deciding where to build your new website, especially if you’re launching your new website on a shoestring and find yourself tempted by the promise of a free Weebly.com website.
Whilst it’s certainly true that you can launch a site using the platform without paying a penny, it’s not necessarily recommended if you really want your new business to succeed. After all, opt for the free plan, and you’ll be left with a yourwebsite.weebly.com domain name, Weebly’s own branding on your otherwise professional looking site, and lackluster SEO results.
To attach your own domain name to your site and remove the Weebly branding, you’re looking at £9 per month for the company’s Pro Plan, plus the cost of buying that domain name, which should set you back no more than £2 – £3 per month.
Of course, you can get a free domain with many top shared hosting plans, and often at a cheaper rate than Weebly.com. With iPage for example, you’ll have full use of Weebly plus a domain name for around £1.50 per month.
The downside, however, is that this only lasts for a first term, after which you’ll be looking at paying around £8.99 per month.
Verdict: Price-wise, a shared hosting plan with Weebly included will set you back much less than a Weebly.com website for the first twelve months, after which, both are pretty evenly matched.
For the most part, both Weebly.com and Weebly for Hosts offer exactly the same features, meaning this shouldn’t play too big a factor in your decision.
What may do, however, is the fact that new Weebly features are introduced to the .com platform months before they’re rolled out on the version you’ll find with your hosting company.
If getting your hands on the latest new tools, templates, and add-ons first is important to you, then there’s no doubt about it, Weebly.com wins this round.
If, on the other hand, you’re prepared to wait a little while, you’ll still find all the essential web building tools at your disposal if you sign up to a hosting account.
Verdict: Both options are relatively well-matched, though Weebly.com wins out for offering the latest new features months before they’re available through a hosting company.
Room to Grow
Here’s where Weebly.com once again comes into its own. Whether you opt for the free plan, Starter package, or one of the more expensive options, the platform allows you to create unlimited pages, making it the ideal option if you’re planning to build a site that will grow over time.
Using Weebly with a web hosting company however, you’ll find that you’re limited to just six pages unless you hand over around £20 per month to upgrade to a higher-level plan.
Verdict: Again, this comes back to cost. If you’re creating a small site and don’t imagine ever going over six pages, Weebly for Hosts provides a better deal in the short-term. If you’re building a site with more than just those six pages, Weebly.com is absolutely the way to go.
Whilst Weebly.com customers may benefit from being the first to use new features on their unlimited pages, there are a few key factors that make a Weebly for Hosts account a much more attractive proposition.
Take email for example, a critical component for any successful business.
Opt for a Weebly.com plan, and you’re left with the additional cost of taking out a dedicated email solution with the company you purchased your domain from, or -worse still- using a free email address such as those provided by Google and Yahoo!, again, nothing that exactly paints the most professional image for your company.
Go with an unlimited hosting plan such as the aforementioned iPage, and you’ll not only have access to Weebly.com, but as many domain-based emails as you need, not to mention lots of other useful tools such as website analytics, SEO support, advanced security and marketing tools.
Verdict: Hands down, a hosting account with Weebly represents better value for money when you start to incorporate extra features such as email and tools that can really help you to grow your business. If you’re serious about making an impact on the web, this may well be the way to go for you.
If on the other hand, you really only need a basic website -albeit one that looks impressive and doesn’t take long to create- Weebly.com is likely the right choice for you.