I’ve never been a fan of sites that offer uber-simple, drag-and-drop website creation and free web hosting. Inevitably, the websites that come out of those places are horrid, amateurish sites that have no business existing on the web at all. Weebly created sites fall in that category, with a few very interesting exceptions.
If you explore sites out there created on Weebly, you’ll see what I mean. You will come across sites with horrible color schemes, mismatched fonts, unprofessional headers and more design gaffes. They just look like the sort of websites that were created back in the 90s, before we had widespread use of CSS formatting and easy to program page scripting.
Some Weebly Websites are Okay
Instead of focusing on the negative, I wanted to try and scour the internet for any Weebly sites that stand apart from the plodders. The best Weebly sites are well structured, aesthetically pleasing and could possibly pass as well-designed.
Don’t believe me? Look at the selections below, and let me know what you think.
I admit that I have a soft spot for struggling entrepreneurs. Meet Dr. Colleen Georges, a career coach in Piscataway Township, New Jersey who helps people draft their best resumes, and assists them with finding a job. Most people who run such a business need a website, and Colleen turned to Weebly to create her site Colleen’s Career Creations.
In the Weebly user group forum, Colleen writes that she used Weebly to create this website, however unlike most Weebly users, Colleen invested in her own domain to host it.
“I recently started a Resume Writing & Career Coaching business, and thanks to Weebly, my business has a website! I’ve had a lot of fun creating the site and developing the business thus far. I’m also enjoying checking out all of your sites. Hope you check and mine too!”
Colleen clearly also invested a lot of her time in the design of her site. It features a professionally designed header image, logo and title, a well formatted menu bar, and even a functioning contact form, a guide’s store with a PayPal cart system, and embedded videos of her talks and interviews.
There are still minor design flaws. Mismatched font styles and sizing, a blog link that sends users off-site to an entirely different domain, and a horrid bright red background with fine-print black text in the footer that hurts the eyes to try and read. Nonetheless, this is probably one of the best Weebly-created sites that I’ve seen on the Internet.
Pixel Fix is a New Zealand based business run by “Richard” (no last name provided on the About Me page). He runs a photo restoration business, and an eye for graphics does shine through with the creative, and well-patched together backgrounds used throughout the website.
The main page features a well-implemented slider with customer testimonials, a small image gallery of past image enhancement work (complete with a non-intrusive pop-up of before and after shots), a free quote pop-up form, and a really neat full-page embedded map at the footer.
Some small mistakes include an “order form” that simply downloads a PDF file, links in the menu that don’t go anywhere but simply scroll down to the section of the main page with that information, and the map starts resizing once you scroll to the bottom of the page and your mouse wheel automatically zooms the map out.
Even with those flaws, it’s a pleasant page to browse and explore.
One thing that Weebly is probably pretty good for is creating a profile or bio page for yourself. That’s exactly what the Christopher Wiles site is all about.
Christopher Wiles is a British painter and art lecturer. He created this page, under his namesake domain.
The main page is extremely simple. Nothing about it really jumps out as being any better than the commonplace profile sites folks have out there. It passes muster as a decent site even though it was built on Weebly’s drag-and-drop platform. The gallery page provides the same interesting photo-zoom pop-up feature as Pix Fix uses, so it’s likely a widget offered within the Weebly toolset. Not bad.
Chris’ CV page is not a download, but an actual well-formatted CV right on the page, and his contact form is embedded and well-done. Other than its simplicity, there isn’t a whole lot to fault about this website.
Another decent site created by an artist is Shelly’s Creative Side. This was a site that I had spotted years ago when I wrote about Weebly, and the site is still here many years later.
The design is very simple just like Chris’ profile site, but in this case the simplicity really does add to the beauty of the page. It has a well-scripted drop-down menu for navigation where Shelly offers a peek into her photography, Photoshop work, hand-crafted jewelry and even her sculptures. The header is a cool font apparently drawn by Shelly herself. The floating box has a nice frame to it that gives it a professional touch no matter how large or small you size your browser window.
Another site I spotted years ago, and which still exists, is a real estate agency called Kanata Homes.
The site hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years, except they fixed the misspelled title that I had pointed out back then.
The title font and text color over black background is neat, the header image is professional, and the menu is straightforward — it highlights with a header bar that points to the active selected menu item. Pretty sweet!
Another interesting site is A Banned Cribb. This site is the creative product of what appears to be a decent comedian. He created an avatar that looks like a mix between Leisure Suit Larry of Sierra fame and Elvis Presley.
The site is infrequently updated – the last post was in 2011. However, his writing is quite funny if you’ve never read the content there. He’s kept the site alive over the last five years despite no updates, but still the site design is a decent example of what’s possible with Weebly, using clean colors, headers and fonts that blend well and look good.
The best use for Weebly is probably to create either a personal profile online, or a virtual portfolio of your work — especially if you’re an artist. This use is best exemplified by Bibi’s Art. The site is a portfolio of the hand painted artwork and murals created by the artist known as “Bibi”. Unfortunately, there is no other identifying information on the site about the artist!
However, the header features wonderful artwork, the menu is professionally done and works well. The site is just very clean and simple to navigate. The whole purpose of the site is to show the artist’s work, and it accomplishes that goal.
When I was scouring the web many years ago for the best Weebly sites, the website Stick and Strum was my favorite. Today, many years later, it isn’t my favorite, but it’s still at the top of my list.
This is a site created by Shane Nicholas who has been teaching guitar, drums, piano, and even ukulele to students for over 8 years.
Here, Shane features his students, shows highlights from his student recitals, and provides information to existing and prospective students. I like the theme — the header image floats over the dark blue backdrop and the background blends from dark to white as you move from left to right. There’s also a photo slideshow on the first page and a decent store embedded on the site. Very cool stuff.
Magnolia Visual Arts is a photography site that seeks out clients for modeling shoots, family portraits and even pet portraits. It looks minimal and professional.
The main site features a slideshow portfolio of some of the model clients. Links at the bottom take you to samples of landscape, pets, and other photography samples. A parallel blog site showcases more stunning examples of the photography captured by the artist behind Magnolia Visual Arts.
Look through other Weebly based sites on the internet. You’ll see how hard it is to find sites like the ones I’ve listed here. Quality isn’t usually a word you would use to describe them…
The sites above may not be the best sites on the web. But within the painfully inadequate world of Weebly web design, these web designers performed some impressive feats considering the limited tools offered there.
Have you ever made a Weebly site? Do you know of any that are good? Share your own thoughts in the comments section below.
Image Credit: Guenter Albers via Shutterstock