Arin Adamson
By Arin Adamson | Web Dev | October 14, 2014

Squarespace vs. Weebly: Which is Better?

In today’s fast-paced technological world, consumers surf the internet for a product or business before they make a purchase at a brick and mortar store. They want to ensure they are getting the best deal possible and they want convenience. This is why it’s important for every business to establish a web presence. However, not every business can afford to spend $5,000 on a website developer to create a site (that their employees then most likely won’t know how to operate). The easy solution is here and it is exploding in popularity: Squarespace and Weebly have developed a platform that businesses can use to develop and maintain a website with a user-friendly interface.

Main Features:

  • User-Friendly Interface
  • Mobile Ready
  • Basic Search Engine Optimization
  • Selection of Premade Designs
  • Affordable Websites in Minutes
  • Easily customized
  • Many content features
  • Integrated eCommerce
  • Website Analytics and Reports

Negatives of Weebly and Squarespace:

  • No Open Source Ability
  • Lack of SEO Fine Tuning
  • No Stylesheets access for tweaking designs (on select plans)

In particular cases the negatives might turn you away from either Squarespace or Weebly. If you require more than just a storefront and some text, then you’ll want to look elsewhere for a decent open source content management system. On the other hand, if all that you require is a simple eCommerce store, blog, or informative website, you have found an affordable solution. So what is the difference between the two?

Pricing

Square Space Logo

Squarespace offers 3 different pricing plans, all coming with integrated eCommerce ability, mobile adaptability, premade design, domain name and 24/7 customer support.

Their lowest offer starts at $8/month (annual billing) and allows you to create up to 20 pages, have 2 contributor accounts, 500 GB of bandwidth and 2 GB of storage for pictures. The negative aspect of this plan is that you can only sell 1 product (but they allow you to take donations).

Their next pricing plans are $16/month and $24/month annual billing) and come with unlimited pages, galleries, blogs, storage, bandwidth and contributors. In addition, you gain access to a developer platform, letting you edit stylesheets and html to tweak the designs of your website. The $16/month plan only allows you to sell up to 20 products, while the $24/month plan gives access to unlimited products. You also get extra features with the $24/month plan, including real-time carrier shipping, label printing via ShipStation and integrated Accounting by Xero.

Weebly Logo
Weebly starts off strong with a free package that lets the user build up to five pages and sell up to 5 products all hosted for free on Weebly. The free version comes with Weebly branding and not much in terms of site statistics or customer support, but it’s a good starter if you’d like to get your website up for no cost. If you are going to sell products on your website, you are still hit with a 3% transaction fee, which means that for eCommerce this isn’t truly a free pricing plan.

The starter pricing plan is $4/month. It removes the Weebly branding off of your website and provides a domain. This plan allows you to get a little fancier with your content and gives you more statistics than the free package. However, you’re still restricted to only 10 pages and 10 products and are still hit with the 3% transaction fee.

The pro pricing plan comes in at $8/month and adds content functionality. You can add sliders, HD video and audio players and password protect your website. Additionally you can add a search function to the site. With this plan you can have unlimited pages, but are still limited to 25 products and are charged the 3% transaction fee.

The business plan is Weebly’s all-inclusive package at $25/month, which gives you an SSL as well as improved store functionality. You can sell digital goods, manage your inventory, provide a shipping and tax calculator and offer coupon codes to your customers. This plan also removes the transaction fee and places the checkout system under your domain.

Pricing Conclusion

While Weebly offers a larger number of pricing options, their plans don’t include a lot of key content features until you reach the $8/month plan (which happens to be where Squarespace pricing plans begin). However, Squarespace limits the number of pages available to only 20 and sellable products to 1, while Weebly allows for unlimited pages. When we reach the top tier plans Weebly wins the pricing battle with the removal of their transaction free. Sqaure Space offers a third party payment gateway called Stripe, which charges a 2.9% transaction fee. Weebly offers better pricing structures, but does Square Space offer enough of a better service to make you want to pay a little extra each month?

Services

Weebly may have won the pricing battle, but that does not necessarily mean you get a better service. You get what you pay for, and that seems to be true in this case. Weebly lacks development abilities and customization features that Squarespace provides (beyond the first tier pricing plan). Having access to your stylesheets, html and developmental features may not seem important at first glance, but as you start to expand and customize your website, it becomes very important. Of course, you could migrate your website when you want to make the decision, but migrations away from closed-source content management systems are time consuming.

When it comes to the pre-built templates that both services offer, Squarespace wins hands down. Squarespace designs are not only more modern, but they are responsive. Responsiveness is an important feature for any website that plans to be around in the future. Responsive designs adapt to any screen size, which a Weebly mobile website won’t do. Responsive designs just look and feel more user-friendly across any internet accessible device.

Who Wins?

As a web developer, I would have to choose Squarespace. They provide a much better service, even though it is a tad bit more expensive. If you are planning on building a website for less than $1,500, this is your best option. It’s as simple as website building gets and may just be your portal to establishing a web presence.

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