Weebly iPhone App Review
Some Websites Made with Weebly
(But definitely not using Weebly on an iPhone)
The price is the same but the completely different capabilities of one app on iPhone and iPad is confusing
Weebly have two apps in the app store, Weebly and Weebly Classic. This is a review of Weebly, but it could be a review of Weebly Classic. I’ll try and explain. When you download Weebly on an iPhone you get a completely different app than when you download Weebly on an iPad. What you get on an iPhone is more or less indistinguishable from Weebly Classic. I think it’s confusing and disingenuous to have done it this way. Ok, so that’s how I feel about the app. The overall offer of Weebly, which applies to Weebly desktop, is free websites or one of several packages offering more flexibility and features, including being able to use your own domain, removing the Weebly link, more pages, Premium support, and so on. Packages range from just over $4 per month to $25 per month for the Business plan. You will not be able to use many of the features and capabilities of Weebly with the iPhone app, though, as we’ll see below.
Begin and edit some features of an online store and blog
Weebly for iPhone is nicely designed as you’d expect from the company who’ve created an exceptionally well designed desktop website builder. It’s quick and easy to use and there is appropriate and nicely introduced guidance to the features. The weakness is compatibility with Weebly desktop, with the iPad version of the app, and with some websites that you may have already created with with older versions of Weebly.
Incompatible with Weebly for desktop and iPad
Must everyone have a computer, an iPad and an iPhone?
I tested both methods of starting Weebly for iPhone; opening a previously created site, and starting a new store/blog. When I imported a previously created site I didn’t get far, as that site was neither a blog nor a store, and almost none of it’s content was viewable or editable using the app. When I started a new store I was able to add some of the necessary content, but it’s not possible to complete what you’ve started because information like shipping and tax rates have to be set up in Weebly desktop. Weebly for desktop can do pretty much anything. Weebly on iPad can create sites and edit pages but not stores or blog posts. Weebly on iPhone can create and edit, although not complete, blog posts and product pages. Must everyone have a computer, an iPad and an iPhone?
Useful articles on website creation but nothing on the iPhone app
Weebly’s support site has useful articles on creating web content, which would be better served if linked to from within the app. There’s nothing on the iPhone app. What could they say?
Email support is accessible very quickly from the app.
An aid to managing an online store or blog.
Weebly for iPhone is extremely limited as a website builder. It’s main function is to allow users to manage their online store and blog a little. Almost none of the features of Weebly for desktop are present. Weebly’s app store description states that users can start a blog and create blog posts on the go. This may be true, but without using Weebly for Desktop you cannot edit many of the elements of blog posts, or edit pages, or create or edit a homepage for your site.
Also, a site made only a year ago with Weebly was incompatible with the app. I could import the site, but not edit it or change the theme.
Text editing in the app is straightforward with basic options such as bold, underline, italic and bullet lists. Link creation is also simple. Nothing beyond this.
Images can be uploaded from your iPhone camera roll, or you can take photos and apply one of Weebly for iPhone’s inbuilt filters. The in-app camera works fine, but the upload of photos from camera roll doesn’t either automatically resize or offer any resize of the images, and so uploads whatever the original file size is. This can mean that both upload and page loading is very slow.
In the store area products can be added with prices, product codes and options. Tax control and inventory tracking are features of Business Plan only, and tax and shipping rates have to be set up in Weebly for desktop. Integration with the Stripe payment system is easy. If you already have an account you can just login, if not, you can create one from within the app.
When trying to create a blog post I received an error message with no explanation or solution offered. The problem was that I needed to setup the blog first, which could have been in the error message. In blog posts you can add text, images, videos and quotes. You can also enable visitor comments, set categories for posts, include share buttons and enable auto-post to Twitter and Facebook.
Contacts received via a contact form can be viewed and responded to from within the app, but you cannot create the contact form in the app, you have to use Weebly desktop.
Site visitor and product order statistics are viewable in-app.
All of the other features of Weebly for desktop, too numerous to list here, are unavailable.
Vastly Improved Themes
The new themes are varied and beautiful. A great improvement.
Weebly was once weak in the design of its themes. The new themes, most of which appear to be available in the iPhone app, are varied and beautiful. They’ll be enough for most, but if you want an even more fantastic theme you can buy and install a premium theme from DivTag. Though, again, not using the app.
Multi language is only possible via the desktop version
It is not possible to create multi-language sites using Weebly for iPhone. You can only do this using the desktop version.
Weebly’s support site has many good articles and even live training webcasts on SEO and other aspects of website creation. It would be better if this information was linked to from within the app, but most of the information applies only to what you can do with Weebly for desktop, and to a lesser extent Weebly for iPad.
Weebly is available for many devices but works differently on each
On the face of things, Weebly looks to be fully multi-platform. Weebly is available for Desktop, iPad, iPhone and Android devices. The problem is that each application has a different set of features from all the others, and only the browser based desktop version has all of the features. Weebly websites, at least with the newer themes, many of which are responsive, look good on all screen sizes.
Not a Website Builder
At Web Builder App Review we look at website builders. It might seem unfair to review an app which is best described as a companion app, to Weebly for desktop, as a website builder. However, the iPhone app is bundled on the app store into the same package as the iPad app, which IS a website builder, and quite a powerful one. The first line in the app store description, which is all we get to see without clicking on the “more” button, is “Weebly brings website creation to life with a beautiful new drag & drop experience that gives you the freedom to share your ideas with the world from any device.” And so if anyone is to be blamed for the iPhone app being reviewed as a website builder, and trashed as one, Weebly is. Honestly, though, this is not a website builder.
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