Weebly Review: The Best and Worst of Weebly Websites

Richard Feehan

09/27/2016 22:55 PM
Total Views: 47847

Weebly is one of the pioneers of do-it-yourself website building tools. It provides a web editor that allows you to design and build a website without having any knowledge of coding or HTML. Weebly offers a variety of customizable templates, along with a well-integrated storefront for product sales. 

Weebly offers services for free and is a good solution for creating a homepage with products -- it can be a good complement for selling products on sites like eBay and Amazon.

Similarly, Ocoos is a website building platform that helps business owners solve common sales and marketing problems. Ocoos let you create a homepage with an array of business interactions and operations abilities in an easy-to-use platform. A website can be created in 20 minutes, and will be optimized for search and across browsers. Also, if desired, Ocoos's concierge service will build the customer's website for him or her.

While Weebly is a strong solution for building a homepage, beyond that, its functionality is sparse. Ocoos, on the other hand, offers a menu of functionalities, and is great for business owners who don't have a lot of time to put into building a website -- allowing them to focus instead on … their business.

Before we evaluate website building tools, particularly those with ecommerce solutions, you have to understand how a website is supposed to “work.”  A website should:

  1. Communicate basic business information: list a company's services, location and contact information, and business hours, as well as relevant background information. It should also be visible to search engines, such as Google.

  2. Implement customer engagement: ecommerce tools for selling products and services, appointment schedulers, forms to capture customer information, analytics tools, and visible partner connections to build trust.

  3. Integrate front-end of business operations: The site should offer a central place for client contact information and sales information as well as a front-end database to drive future marketing.

  4. Offer services, support and fair cost: the site should integrate additional business services, as well as necessary support at a fair price.

Here's a closer look at Weebly and Ocoos:

Homepage Development

Weebly: Homepage development has been Weebly's primary focus, and it offers a large number of good templates. Weebly's templates are customizable, but if you're not careful, tackling your own customization can lead to a website that doesn't work well for users and is not optimized for search engines or various mobile devices. 

Weebly also has the ability to publish web pages publicly as well as privately, based on password control. Newsletters, maps, and public calendars are available through third-party creators, which means you'd have to deal with multiple vendors and be aware of their varied support for the tools.

Ocoos: Ocoos lets business owners customize a core website design that is optimized for search engines, works across various mobile devices, and is easy for customers to use. Tools that drive website traffic, like maps and newsletters, are supported by Ocoos, and the company's B2B recommendation engine allows small businesses to work with similar enterprises, building a circle of trust and crowdsourcing marketing efforts. 

For example, a hairdresser might recommend a nail salon or tanning salon on its website. If that website drives traffic, the other businesses will benefit, and vice versa. Finally, Ocoos also lets you publish web pages to be public or private, based on password control.

Customer Engagement

Weebly: Ecommerce solutions on Weebly websites are offered through third parties, including PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. A built-in discount manager is available if you upgrade to a paid plan, and appointment scheduling and built-in messaging are available through third parties. Weebly allows PDFs to display for an additional fee, but complex transactions -- like paying a partial deposit -- are not available.

Ocoos: Ecommerce support is part of the Ocoos package, which has built-in merchant account capability and access to PayPal and Square. Ocoos supports complex transactions, like a "deposit" model, and a "Quote/Payment" functionality that allows customers to request a quote and pay when the work is finished.

The Ocoos discount manager lets you create discount codes, and the platform supports scheduling for classes or appointments. The scheduling tool can also sync with personal calendars, be published to a homepage calendar, or allow limited numbers of participants.

Customer interactions can be tracked outside of email and integrated with a CRM (customer relationship management), and Ocoos also includes the ability to show PDF documents, which can be attached as a receipt or used to publish complex information.

Business Operations

Weebly: Hosting for your website is available through Weebly, and you'll have sales tracking for products only, otherwise, it doesn't offer much in the way of business operations. Neither client management functions and flexible security for web pages are available.

Ocoos: Website hosting is offered by Ocoos. CRM abilities allow for sorting and analyzing data, and can connect to a POS portal within Ocoos and Square. Data from the sales tracking database can be sorted, analyzed and exported to tools like Quickbooks, or imported from POS tools like Square. Flexible security allows you to make certain web pages accessible only via passwords.

Support and Cost

Weebly: Because Weebly is sold directly and through distributors such as Endurance International, getting direct support for the product can be challenging. While Weebly does offer a free version of its tool, realistically, most small business owners would need to upgrade to its $25 per month option.

Ocoos: Both telephone and online support are offered through Ocoos. Plus, its concierge service will build your website for you with different levels of customization. Ocoos's service is offered at $35 per month. The cost of the concierge is based on customization level and generally includes a higher maintenance fee.

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