comparing two leading site builders

Wix vs. Weebly

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At some point, you're going to need to decide which of the most popular website builders (Wix or Weebly) to use for your own small business website.

Wix and Weebly are two of the best website design tools on the market today - accounting for around 40 million personal & small business websites between them.

Which option is the right one for your new blog or small business website depends on a number of things like pricing, hosting, performance, SEO, mobile support, ease-of-use, community and support.

This article will review all the major features of each site builder in order to help you choose the right one for you.

Wix

Wix holds the lion's share of the hosted website design market with over 25 million users. It's popular because of the slick, template based drag and drop design interface that also allows for eCommerce integration.

One of the major distinguishing features of Wix is that it supports HTML5, which allows for a far superior browsing experience for your visitors.

HTML5 offers superior multimedia handling, amongst many powerful new features, and this makes Wix a good choice for anyone looking for more than a plain blog or content website (i.e. text & images).

It also has good hosting facilities (which we often take for granted on hosted Web solutions), 24/7 customer support, and is free to use.

One of the best features about Wix is the App market, which allows anyone to integrate cool third party services into your website. For example, you can add live chat, group chats, form builders, eCommerce features, and even appointment booking.

In terms of page design, performance and search optimization, Wix scored a Grade B average (usually in the low 80s) for a small site or blog YSlow analysis.

This is pretty good. Although, by comparison, is obviously nothing like the SEO & performance you would get from a custom Web design (like SME Pals, which scores Grade A at around 96 on YSlow).

Wix also supports the development of mobile website elements - something that is vital to the ongoing success of your website as the Internet migrates to mobile over the next few years. Although, it doesn't offer full responsive design as yet.

Wix also offers a range of specialized Web solutions and it's worth checking out their photography websites and Facebook websites.

Weebly

Weebly is a well respected online site design tool that was named one of Time's 50 best websites in its founding year.

It is backed by some of the tech industry's most knowledgeable and successful investors, including outfits like Sequoia Capital and Y Combinator. This pretty much ensures that they offer some seriously cool features - regardless of whether you are allergic to technology or not.

Like Wix, Weebly also sports an elegant drag and drop design interface, based on a wide selection of themes.

In addition, Weebly comes with plenty of cool features built-in - so it's likely that you can implement all the features you want for a standard website without having to purchase additional plugins or apps.

Weebly allows you to purchase your own domain name from the them, or point an existing domain to your Weebly hosted website, free of charge. This means you are free to find and purchase a super cheap domain without being tied in to higher costs (that is the trademark of many hosted Web solutions).

I also like Weebly because it allows you to design your webpages using drag and drop (perfect for people with little to no Web design experience), plus it also allows for complete control over your HTML and CSS (perfect for anyone with a bit of Web design and SEO experience).

There is eCommerce support for Weebly, so it is possible to sell products - although, eCommerce features are limited and you may prefer to go with a leading eCommerce website builder instead.

Weebly offers complete, automatic mobile support so responsive Web design is not something you have to think about. That's a serious plus. Here's a few screenshots of a demo Weebly store in different screensizes:

Standard

Weebly responsive theme design - standard
Nice open layout with menu in the left sidebar.

Tablet

Weebly responsive theme design - tablet
As the screen shrinks, the layout changes to place the menu above the page content, and gracefully resizes the images to fit.

Smartphone

Weebly responsive theme design - smartphone
As the screen shrinks, the menu position changes to the left and the images resize to improve user experience on the smaller device.

In terms of SEO and performance, Weebly claims to take extra care over their search optimization features, and an inspection of several Weebly demo sites confirm that their YSlow SEO performance weighs in, on average between Grade B and Grade A.

What's nice about Weebly is that they offer a focused range of Web design solutions like church, school, real estate and small business sites.

Comparing Wix & Weebly

We can take a look at the comparative popularity of these two platforms in Google using a trends graph:

As you can see, Wix got an earlier start than Weebly, but Weebly managed to stay with Wix up until 2015, where Wix managed to put a bit of daylight between them. By this metric, Wix is by some measure the most popular.

But, again, Wix does not offer responsive themes for mobile support. It does support mobile devices (so you will be able to cater to visitors using tablets and smartphones), but not in one seamless responsive template.

So which solution is the best?

My conclusion is that Weebly is the better option for anyone looking to create a website with standard features. If you're looking for a high performance, cleanly coded, responsive Web design with great SEO, Weebly is the right choice.

However, Wix is by far the larger project, and offers a greater range of features, and ultimately, more support for customizations and more advanced features. With the glaring exception of responsive themes and templates, Wix also leads in development and upgrades, so if you are interested in creating multimedia sites, or something a bit out of the ordinary, Wix is the right option.

Soon mobile traffic will eclipse PC Web traffic entirely, making mobile first, responsive designs a mandatory feature. There is little point in creating a website that is not responsive - even Google includes it as a factor in the search ranking algorithm.

Weebly wins due to the fact that Wix offers no responsive themes & templates.

Do you use one or both of the above website builders? What are your experiences building websites with them? In particular, how did you find the design interface? Was it easy or difficult to use?

Share your Web design tips and advice in the comments, and help others make the right choice when it comes to building their own website.

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Hosted shopping carts, like Bigcommerce, offer a quick and affordable way to build an eCommerce site without requiring any technical or Web design skills.

Bigcommerce provides cutting edge Web design with great SEO (Search Engine Optimization), mobile support and plenty of integration with 3rd party platforms (like eBay) to help drive sales.

In addition, Bigcommerce has already handled over one billion dollars in eCommerce transactions so you can be sure of a safe and reliable platform on which to build your business.

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Because it's important for an online venture to become operational as quickly and cheaply as possible, Shopify undoubtedly represents the best solution for small to medium sized startups.

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