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Web builder comparison: Weebly vs Jimdo vs Webnode

Web builder comparison: Weebly vs Jimdo vs Webnode

on May 24, 2013 | 10 comments

You could say I’m a somewhat frugal person: when it comes to spending money I’m pretty careful, especially if the return on investment is unclear. I will usually thoroughly research my options, and if there is a free alternative available, I will check it out.

That’s how I got started with Google Sites. I even created a few websites for paying customers with Google Sites, but I quickly found out that implementing even the most basic features, such as a contact form, picture slider or image gallery, was way too hard. I might have been saving some money, but I was losing a lot of time!

So I decided to move away from  Google Sites for any serious project  and started looking at other possibilities. I wanted to find a web building tool that was easy to use,  full-featured and all-inclusive (not requiring a separate hosting account or installation).   I ended up with Weebly, Jimdo and Webnode.  All of them offer user-friendly solutions in the “cloud”.  All three also offer a free entry level so you can try it out risk-free, but to get access to all of the features and make your site unbranded and ad-free, you’ll need to pay up eventually.

weebly vs jimdo vs webnode

Common features

These features are present on all of the platforms discussed (but not always included with the free version). Basically, all three platforms offer a user-friendly, easy interface that put website creation into the hands of everyone with basic computer skills.

An easy drag and drop interface

Working on your website on these platforms is as WYSIWYG as possible. Editing and formatting is very similar to working with a word processor. Need an extra paragraph, form, image or video? Just drag and drop the appropriate module onto your page.

Some standard modules that you won’t find on Google Sites are: a contact form, an image gallery and an image slider. Setting these up on either Weebly, Jimdo or Webnode only takes a minute.

Beautiful templates

As user-friendly as the backend may be, chances are you’ll want a great looking, easy to navigate website first and foremost, so your visitors get the (hopefully correct) impression you’re a professional. These web builders all come with a great selection of professionally designed templates. You can easily change the colorscheme, logo and images to personalize any of the themes and HTML/CSS editing is also available if you have the skills (or want to hire a pro to work on your site).

Visitor statistics

If you want to improve your website, you need metrics. What pages are being visited, how long are people staying on a specific page, how are people finding your website? Detailed statistics are included on the platforms we discuss. Personally, I go over the stats at least once a month to see what I’m doing right (or wrong) and where to improve.

Using your own domain

If your website is used for professional purposes, you’ll need the option to register your own domain name and then link it to your website. You can on all platforms and, even better, you’re not forced to register your domain name with Weebly, Jimdo or Webnode. (Registering the domain name elsewhere is usually cheaper.)

Mobile friendly

With more and more people using mobile devices to view your website, it’s smart to use so-called responsive templates, that scale gracefully to whatever resolution is available on the viewing device. Google Sites has this too, by the way.

Hosting included

Self-hosting your website may be more flexible and professional (and it’s what I do on most of my sites), but it’s also more difficult and it means you’ll have to deal with downtime, server loads, updates and so on. On these all-in-one solutions on the other hand, all of the technical stuff is taken care of.

My thoughts

Read on for my notes on each of these platforms.  This is by no means an in-depth review, but rather a list of things I like about each platform. It may help you decide which platform is best suited for your needs. In the end, I think all three offer a quality service and great value for money so there are no really bad choices.

Weebly

Weebly  is probably the best-known service amongst the three solutions we talk about in this article. According to their own information, millions of customers have started a website on Weebly.

weeblyI really like the interface on Weebly. It’s both extremely easy and flexible enough to achieve the look you want.

If you create websites for clients, Weebly offers a designer platform, which allows you to manage all of your client sites easily and from one dashboard. You get billed monthly for any active sites you have. Billing your clients is something you will have to do yourself, which allows you to charge a little extra if you so choose (and I would definitely recommend you to do so, because you will be the first person the clients contact!). If you don’t want to charge an extra, you’re better off creating the website on a separate account and providing the client with the account details when the job is completed, explaining he’s now in charge of updating and managing his website.
All in all, I like the Weebly designer platform, but it is a little expensive, especially compared to what you get on a regular Weebly account.

Jimdo

jimdo

Unlike Weebly and Webnode, who are hosted on American and European servers respectively, Jimdo has three different server locations around the world and will serve your website from the most appropriate location, depending on the location of your visitors.

Like Weebly, Jimdo offers about 100 free templates to build your site, but I think the Jimdo templates generally look more professional.

If you want to build an online store, check out the JimdoBusiness with it’s built-in e-commerce support.

Webnode

As you might expect from a European company,Webnode fully supports multilingual websites and makes it very easy to set up such a site. On Weebly and Jimdo multi-language sites are only possible by creating two (or more) versions of the site and then linking between them.

webnodeWith their mini package, Webnode offers the cheapest payed option of all three platforms. The amount of storage and bandwidth offered on this package is most likely sufficient for a small business website, allowing you to get started at a very low cost.

Conclusion

If you decided Google Sites is not professional, flexible or easy enough for your website needs, you’ll enjoy working with one of these all-in-one drag and drop solutions. Picking one over the other mostly comes down to personal preference and your location. In the end, you’re getting a lot of value and all platforms offer a free option that can help you get your feet wet. I’m confident you’ll be swimming in no time!


Do you have any experience with one of these platforms? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

    10 Comments

  1. hey there,
    nice post! i think you should try also imcreator.
    i don’t know if you heard about it, but it’s also a free website builder with drag&drop system. very easy to handle and it has many templates.

    tom

    June 4, 2013

    • Thanks for the advice, I hadn’t discovered that one yet.

      Admin

      June 7, 2013

  2. Thanks for the information. We currently have a website company who is monitoring it but am looking to switch over due to high cost. Since we are a CPA, CFP office, I’m trying to get something professional looking but easy enough so I can get it started and have a company help with monitoring it later on. Which of these 3 do you think would be the best for our company. We would only need for it to be American and not European. Thanks for anyone’s info

    Sue

    June 26, 2013

    • Weebly is probably best suited if you’re only targeting an American audience. They also have the so called designer platform, where a web developer can host and manage sites for multiple clients. However, if you first create a site under a personal account, the only straight-forward way of letting someone else manage it, will be giving them access to your username/password.
      Another option you may consider is using a self-hosted copy of WordPress.. it is relatively easy to use, free (except for hosting costs) and likely more future-proof as your company’s needs grow.
      I have used WordPress on several sites, with the Elegant Themes pack (which I’ve written about before on this blog).

      Michael

      July 4, 2013

  3. I’m most active on Jimdo, but I have two Weebly sites also.
    Mostly for my own entertainment and self teaching myself.
    I’ll check out Webnode just for grins

    Wally

    November 8, 2013

  4. What do you think about SquareSpace? How would you compare it to the options you wrote about?

    Barbara

    January 3, 2014

    • I have no experience using SquareSpace so I can’t really comment on it. I’ll definitely add them to list of services to check out “someday” :)

      Michael

      April 30, 2014

  5. We built our site using Jimdo. I really like it although Weebly looks as if it might offer more customizable options, especially if one doesn’t know much about coding.

    Xenis

    February 5, 2014

  6. I had no web building experience at all, I tried building a website for the virtual golf club I belong to on both Weebly and Webnode. I just found that Webnode was easier for me to get my head around so carried on with them.
    Any queries I had were very quickly sorted out by customer services who have been brilliant. I still have a couple of glitches to sort out but am happy with the end result. My one complaint is that solutions to problems are not easy to find, they are obviously somewhere on the site as CS send over a link to enable me progress. So not a great problem just a short time to wait for their response.

    Frank Wheeldon

    July 14, 2014

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