There are many content management solutions to choose from when it comes to deciding how to build your website. Two popular packages we offer as a one-click setup on our managed hosting platforms are WordPress or Weebly. To better understand which option might be better for you we have broken down some of the features both solutions offer and how the two interfaces differ.
Both WordPress and Weebly are powerful website management tools which offer a variety of ways to create more complex content without the need for coding experience. Anyone can make a website in WordPress or Weebly, you just need to familiarise yourself with your preferred platform’s interface.
After setting up WordPress on your hosting package you will be given a set of login credentials and a link to your WordPress Admin area. Out of the box it looks a little like the image below. You will have a very basic website, as well as access to the WordPress Admin area where you can add posts and pages.
Most of the customisation in WordPress is done via the WordPress Admin area, in either the ‘themes’ menu, or the ‘plugins’ menu.
The themes menu gives you access to the WordPress theme repository, and thousands of ready-made designs you can download to your site. You can spend hours finding the theme which makes your site look exactly how you would like it to. There are themes tailored to specific needs – such as e-commerce sites or design portfolios. Simply select a theme you like and you can activate it all within the theme menu.
Similarly, plugins allow you to get additional functionality for your site. For example, out of the box WordPress will not have a ready-made contact form. But you can add one at the click of a few buttons. From within the WordPress Admin area you can select ‘Plugins’ and be taken to a similar repository as we saw with the themes section.
This section however lists thousands of plugins you can install. So if you want to be able to do something specific with your site, such as add a contact form, you can search here and find a variety of different plugins to suit your needs. There are usually several options to choose from, so select the plugin you like best.
Similarly to WordPress, you can install Weebly via the 34SP.com Control Panel in a few clicks. After setting up your hosting, you can login and select ‘Manage Websites’ from the 34SP.com Control Panel. Click on your domain, and there will be a ‘Weebly Website Builder’ option (for more details check out of KB article on ‘How to Install Weebly’).
You can select the ‘Basic’ package to get started and familiarise yourself with the interface. If you decide Weebly is the platform for you there are upgrade options to get more out of this powerful site creation tool.
When you have selected your Weebly package, you will be set up and will see a simple ‘Login to Weebly’ button in the 34SP.com Control Panel. This will take you straight to the Weebly admin panel where you can begin building your site.
Weebly offers a lot of the same options for site customisation as WordPress, however it offers them in a nice ‘drag and drop’ user interface, which many users find is easy to get up and running with straight away. You have navigation at the top of the admin panel which allows you to select a custom theme, create pages and manage your site’s settings.
When you have selected a theme, you can use the menu on the left hand site to drag content on to your pages. For example you can drag an ‘Image box’ and it will give you an uploader to add an image to the site. The same goes for adding text areas, forms or videos.
Overall the two interfaces offer a lot of the same options; it’s more a case of which solution you are more comfortable with. To get a better idea of this, here is how you would do some basic content creation tasks on both platforms:
Adding a Gallery
Both WordPress and Weebly offer the ability to create image galleries as soon as you install them. To add a gallery to a WordPress site you first need to create a post or page from the WordPress Admin area. To do this simple click ‘Post – Add New’ after logging in to your WordPress site.
From the page editor there is an ‘Add media’ button which allows you to upload images. Select that and you will be taken to a screen like this:
From the options at the side of this page there is a ‘Create Gallery’ option which allows you to select multiple images and make them into a WordPress image gallery. You can then save this and publish the post. If you want something a bit fancier you can use the plugin repository to add a gallery plugin with additional options and designs to the default one.
For Weebly, it is as simple as logging in to the Weebly admin area, navigating to the page you want to add a gallery to. Then using the side menu, drag and drop the ‘Gallery’ box onto your page.
From here you can upload all the images you want for your gallery and publish the changes when you are happy with them. The galleries will be mostly formatted to suit the theme you are using, so in most cases they should look pretty impressive.
Making a Contact Form
WordPress does not have customisable contact forms in its default installation. You can however find many plugins which will add this to your site. Two popular examples are the ‘Jetpack’ or the ‘Gravity Forms’ plugins, though if neither suit your needs there are many to choose from.
To add a contact form plugin you need to go to the ‘plugins’ area in your WordPress Admin area, and search for a plugin. If you type ‘Contact form’ in the search box you will see many options to choose from.
In the example of Jetpack, you can download and activate this plugin from the plugins menu. Follow the setup steps, then when you go to add a new page you will have a new ‘Add contact form’ button above your page editor. Clicking this gives you a simple form creation tool where you can create any kind of contact form you might need.
With Weebly, similar to adding any other type of content, adding a contact form is a case of navigating to the page you need, then dragging the ‘Contact form’ content type into your page. From there you will be given a basic contact form, and you can edit the fields by clicking the one you wish to change. Here is a screenshot of that process. We have dragged in the ‘Contact Form’ from the sidebar, and we can now click on the form fields to edit them.
Overall adding content might be that little bit easier in Weebly, but if you want more control over gallery or form creation and style customisation, you might prefer WordPress, as there are many different plugins and themes which can offer more freedom to you as you design your site.
WordPress vs Weebly – Is one better than the other?
For the most part it would be difficult to say that one solution is better than the other overall. Most features you would look for when creating a website are available through WordPress and Weebly. The only real deciding factor is which platform you are more comfortable with.
In some cases, Weebly is more suited to beginners who are setting up their first website, as it offers a straightforward drag and drop interface which allows you to see the changes you are making to your site instantly.
WordPress is also well suited to beginners, but WordPress is open source, meaning you can customise it yourself. You can create your own themes and plugins. WordPress is not subject to some of the limitations you might find on Weebly, and as your site grows and you learn more about coding and customisation, you will find you can do a lot more with WordPress in the long run.
34SP.com offers WordPress and Weebly one-click installation with our Professional Hosting platform. We also have managed WordPress Hosting for those who are looking to get the most out of their WordPress website. If you would like any more information or help getting setup on WordPress or Weebly, drop our support team an email and we’ll be happy to help.