In today’s world, you don’t need special coding skills to create a professional looking website by yourself. Besides WordPress, which is pretty easy to use in it’s own right, there are a number of other user-friendly website building tools that are quite affordable.
Certainly there will be no “loser” at the end of this comparison. Both of these are excellent options if you need something that is simple to use and produces outstanding results for either e-commerce or a more locally focused small business.
If you’ve already decided on one or the other, then we don’t recommend you switch – both platforms are good enough. Also, we’ve got guides for both Squarespace SEO and Weebly SEO to help you hit the ground running with your search optimization efforts on both platforms.
For instance, each one will have you start by picking a theme as the design of your site. By default, all themes for Weebly and Squarespace are mobile-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about how your site will look on smaller devices.
Weebly has more themes in total, but some of them are a bit dated looking. They’ve added quite a few newer, modern themes recently so you still have a couple dozen viable options. Here is a look at the Weebly theme page:
Squarespace has less themes overall, but all the ones you see are very sharp looking and modern. They do a fantastic job with the visual side of things. Here is a look at a few Squarespace themes:
With both tools, you can change themes at any time and it takes just a moment to do.
Along with choosing a theme, you’ll also choose a name for your site and get walked through the initial setup process so you don’t miss anything. You can also connect your own URL with both Squarespace and Weebly, so if you already have your website name and want to change your site management to either tool, it won’t be a problem.
Once you’ve done the basics, you can then move onto using the site editor to customize and create your site.
In both cases, you can take the “out of the box” themes and customize the CSS to get a look that is all your own. This can be done by yourself, or you can hire a designer that is familiar with the platform to do it for you.
Speaking of what is possible, here are some real small business sites built with Weebly:
Here are a few that use Squarespace:
Weebly vs. Squarespace Editing
Now let’s compare the site editor in both Squarespace and Weebly. Both are pretty user-friendly, but they operate differently.
In Squarespace when you edit a page, you’ll see little teardrop-like icons appear on the left side of your content. These represent the places you can insert a new content element:
When you click on the teardrop, you get a menu asking what you want to put there:
There are more available than shown in my image above, you just have to scroll down to see different choices like inserting products, calendars, maps, buttons and more.
Once you do insert a “content block” like a text area, you’ll be able to customize accordingly:
Since you start their theme with a bunch of “dummy” content already in place, it’s very simple to clone the pages you see and start changing out images and text, assuming you like the layout of all the content in the theme.
If you don’t, you can simply add new pages and get rid of the existing ones to start from scratch and add the content you want.
Weebly’s editor features a drag and drop interface, where you select content elements from the left and click and drag them over to the page into the spot you want. The editor will look something like this:
Perhaps it is best demonstrated in this 1 minute intro video which shows the Weebly editor in action:
Weebly themes don’t come with demo pages and content already in place, so you are always starting from scratch.
Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you to decide.
If you have a pretty good idea about where your content is going to go and what it will look like, then having a clean starting point may save you some time.
Weebly vs. Squarespace SEO
I won’t cover every detail here, but I’ll point out the key similarities and differences.
In both cases, you have complete control via the advanced settings of each page’s title and description. This is important because when you are targeting specific keywords with your content, including those keywords in your page title and page description are a good idea for your on page SEO.
Besides SEO, controlling the meta description and the title give you an opportunity to let your content stand out in the search results. You can write copy that will interest the searcher and hopefully increase the likelihood that they will click on your page instead of the other 9 results listed by Google.
For image optimization, you can obviously control the name of your images prior to uploading them. It also makes sense to use an image editing tool to reduce the file size before uploading. Minimizing the file size will help your pages load faster, which is a plus for your SEO efforts.
Google and humans like websites to be fast.
Once you’ve done all of that, you’ll be able to customize your alt text in the settings in both site builders – but the process is a little less than intuitive in Squarespace.
Key SEO Difference
While both Weebly and Squarespace give you a decent amount of control and allow you to do quite a bit of customization, there is one glaring difference that I uncovered while doing my SEO guides mentioned above.
For blog posts, Squarespace doesn’t allow you to edit the meta description. Perhaps one day they’ll fix that, but for now any blog post will get an automatic meta description shown in the search results. If you’re not clear on this, below is an image from Moz that shows what a meta description is:
If you like everything else about Squarespace, this isn’t a deal breaker. However, if you’re going to be following a strategy of targeting different long tail keywords with your blog content (like we recommend) then having control over the blog page description would be really helpful.
Weebly certainly gets a bonus point for this.
As mentioned earlier, if you need a more in-depth look at what you can and should do from an SEO perspective in either of these tools, click here to see my guide to Weebly SEO and then click here to see my guide to SEO for Squarespace.
Weebly vs. Squarespace Pricing
The good news is, both Weebly and Squarespace let you start for free. So don’t worry about making a commitment upfront, you’ll have plenty of time to test dive your site before paying any money. In fact, Weebly lets you have a free account forever if you’d like – you just have limited features and “Weebly” branding in your site footer.
Here is a look at the pricing of both Weebly…
In both cases, if you are a business that sells products on your website then you’ll want the business package. The price is $25 per month on Weebly and $24 per month on Squarespace.
In both cases, you can sell an unlimited amount of products and there is no transaction fee charged when you sell. You will, however, have to pay the fees and percentage charged by your payment vendor.
Speaking of payment vendors, Squarespace uses Stripe exclusively. Weebly also gives you Stripe as an option, as well as Paypal, Authorize.net, and Square – so there is some more flexibility if you already have a preferred credit card merchant.
As for the ecommerce tools themselves, adding products and getting setup is as simple as using the built-in editors of each system. They’ve both done a nice job of making this experience feel very similar to the normal page editing process.
For businesses that do NOT sell goods online, here is a breakdown of what you need to know for pricing:
The Weebly Pro package is $8 per month, and includes virtually everything you’d get with the business plan minus the enhanced shopping cart features and other e-commerce specific items. So for $8, you can build a site with an unlimited amount of pages and no size restrictions, while having access to all the design and page elements that Weebly offers.
For Squarespace, the biggest difference in the $8 and $16 per month plans is the limitation of having only 20 pages on the $8 plan. You can create an unlimited number of pages, blogs, and galleries on the $16 per month plan.
If you are building a small site with not much content and don’t plan on adding to it, the $8 deal may work for you. However, if you plan to build out a site with an information center with articles and other resources for your customers, then 20 pages will go really quickly. So in that case, you’d need the $16 plan.
I’d say for the average local small business, you’ll end up needing more than 20 pages. In that case, you’d be paying $8 per month on Weebly and $16 per month on Squarespace for similar functionality.
What To Do Next…
If this website is for your business, making this choice is a pretty big deal.
You want something that looks professional, but is also easy for you and your team to keep updated and fresh. Both Weebly and Squarespace can do that job.
What you don’t want to do is keep reading posts like this for months into the future and never make a decision!
If it were me, here’s what I’d suggest:
Start by going to Weebly and creating a free account. Then, you have an unlimited amount of time to test it out and start building your website to see what you come up with.
If you like it, upgrade to the Pro account and go live.
If you aren’t completely sold, then I’d head over to Squarespace and start my 2 week free trial. You’ll have to rebuild some content, but in the end if you’re happy with the site then you can set up your domain name and go live with a site on Squarespace.
Once you are up and running, it’s time to get traffic to your site. Click here to read more about how we find out what topics blog about, no matter what your industry, so you can increase your natural search engine traffic.
Best of luck in your decision!