How to get a Weebly template designed

With some clever coding you can push through the limitation of Weebly's drag and drop builder. We show you how to do it with a web designer.
Jun 18, 2020 • 7 minute read
Edward Kost @EdwardKost
Technical Co-pilot
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Learn how to customize your Weebly template like others can't

Weebly's intuitive drag and drop website builder empowers anyone to build a stunning website without any coding knowledge. But can you customize Weebly templates beyond the drag and drop limits? If you're a clever cookie, yes you can.

To learn how to break free from Weebly's design limitations to make a website that outshines your competitors, read on. 

Why you should get a custom Weebly template designed

Weebly gives users an impressive bandwidth of control over a template's redesign. But like all drag and drop website builders, it has its limitations. While these limitations won't stop you from creating an impressive Weebly website, your website will be just a few element arrangements away from every other Weebly website design.

If you want your business website to look like it's been completely custom built from the ground up, you need to reach down into the depths of its coding and start fiddling around. If you're not a skilled coder, that's ok, we'll show you how to work with one to get your Weebly template redesigned.

How customizable are Weebly templates?

Since Weebly is built for web design neophytes, all of its intimidating behind the scenes coding is hidden beneath a pleasant user interface. When you drag and drop widgets into place, you're actually generating lines of code in the backend to describe the placement and appearance of all your widgets. So you're actually an experienced coder after all, you just didn't know it!

But to have real customizing power, you need to be able to inject your own coding. Weebly offers a portal into its code base, through its code editor.

Weebly's code editor accepts HTML and CSS coding, so you can change the appearance of your website but not its functions (Javascript coding affects the functionality of a website).

Here are some of the things you can customize through Weebly's code editor:

  • Adjust the position of elements / widgets

  • Embed third party content via Weebly's embed element 

  • Add third party widgets to embed different functions on a single web page to minimize navigation. For example, you can embed a class scheduling widget so that users can instantly book a class without having to load a seperate bookings page. 

And much more.

Should you hire a web designer or a web developer to modify your Weebly template?

So we've established that modifying a Weebly template beyond the limitation of its builder takes some coding know-how, but who do you hire to help you?

A web developer?

A web designer?

Wait a minute, what's the difference?

Web designers and web developers often get placed in the same category, but their roles are quite different.

A web designer codes up all the functions of a website. This includes how all of the elements interact with one another and all integrations with third party apps.

A web designer, on the other hand, codes up the aesthetics of a website. This involves things like the color pallet, the appearance of all elements and even the presentation of all the website's functions. That last task is super important. 

Google loves websites that are intuitive to navigate and web designers use visual cues to seamlessly guide visitors through a website's functions. This design strategy is known as user experience design (UX design). An amazing web designer will optimize the UX of your website so that visitors know exactly what you want then to do and how they should do it.

Web designers focus on how a website 'looks' and web developers focus on what a website 'does'

Because Weebly only allows you to edit its HTML and CSS coding, which only affects a website's appearance, you're better off hiring a web designer to help you. That being said, sometimes web developers are also skilled in these web design areas. You'll know whether this is the case by pursuing their listed skills.

You should look for the following essentials skills when hiring a designer or developer to design your Weebly template:

  • CSS

  • HTML

  • UX design 

  • Graphic design (to create custom graphics for your website)

  • Website wireframing

Even though Weebly doesn't allow you to modify its functionality, you should still implement UX design talents to optimize your site's visual composition. Every website has a purpose, and that purpose is reached through a series of well placed CTA buttons. An optimized UX design will guide your visitors through your sales funnel in the most enjoyable fashion. 

How to hire a web designer for your Weebly template

There are three options for hiring a web developer or web designer

  • Option 1: Hiring in-house

The average web designer salary in the United States is $52,691

  • Option 2: Hiring via an agency

The price of a simple custom website design by an agency ranges from $15,000 - $20,000.

Complicated custom website design pricing ranges from $20,000 - $40,000

  • Option 3: Hiring a freelancer

The average web design project on Freelancer is completed for $220.94 USD

The average web development project on Freelancer is completed for $294.06 USD.

By far, the cheapest option is hiring a freelancer. Unlike the other options you don't need to pay them benefits and you're not obligated to keep them on board all year. Simply hire them when you need them, for however long you need them.

How to give web designers access to your Weebly website

To work with web design, you need to grant them access to your Weebly. Weebly lets you add multiple contributors that are then given their own unique login details, so you do need to relinquish your own (phew!).

Here's how you do it.

From the top menu, navigate to settings > editors > add editor

weebly adding contributors

Then, input the email address of your contributor, a brief message, and specify their role. 

Because web designers will be playing around with your website's coding, they need the highest permission level. So you need to assign them an Admin role.

weebly adding contributors

Then hit the green 'Save Editor' button and you're done! An invitation will be instantly emailed to them. 

Communicating your Weebly template requirements with web designers 

The first thing you'll need to do is list all of the design features you want to implement into your Weebly template. Create a spreadsheet with three columns titled 'Essential' 'Desirable' and 'Example' respectively. Then research the websites of your competitors and any other websites you admire. 

List all of your favorite design features in their respective categories. Everything that's absolutely necessary should be listed under the 'Essential' category, and everything that's not essential but a nice addition is listed under the 'Desirable' column. In the 'Examples' column, paste the URLs of websites that exemplify each of your listed design features.

By categorizing your design requirements like this, you'll ensure all of your essential features are implemented before you start devoting time and resources to your desirable design features.

With your design specs mapped out, you're ready to send them to your web designer. But communicating your design requirements is a pretty difficult process. You need to transform your mental image into text and then your web designer needs to transform your text into a mental image.

Instead of this complicated game of tag, it's a lot more efficient if you communicate your design requirements graphically to support your design feature excel sheet.

Web designs are usually communicated through a series of wireframes. There are two types of wireframes, low-fidelity and high-fidelity,

The purpose of a low-fidelity wireframe is to solely represent the position of all the web elements on a page and not their details. 

Here is an example of a low-fidelity wireframe:

low fidelity wireframe design example

As you can see, the symbols are very basic, and the elements they represent are quite obvious.

You should create a low-fidelity wireframe to communicate the intended structure of your Weeblty template. They can then modify it as you both fine tune the final layout.

Once you're happy with the intended template structure, your web designer can then move onto creating a high-fidelity design. A high-fidelity wireframe is an exact replica of your final Weebly template design. This is your opportunity to finalize its color scheme and all of the fine details of your design. 

Here is an example of a high-fidelity wireframe.

high fidelity wireframe example

To learn more about wireframing read this post.

Once you're happy with the high-fidelity wireframe design, your web designer can then begin coding it into your Weebly template.

The benefit of going through this wireframing process is that it makes your web designer's job much easier. Modifying a design by re-coding it is much harder than modifying its wireframe design. So by finalising your Weebly template design in its wireframing phase, you'll ensure your web designer time is most efficiently spent. 

Taking your Weebly template design to an elite level

You're not limited to just working with a web designer, you can leverage a range of expert talents to elevate every aspect of your Weebly website. 

And unlike the logistical nightmare of working with multiple businesses, you can manage your numerous projects and their associated payments under the one convenient platform, Freelancer.com

Here are some ways uniquely skilled freelancers can help you:

A web developer can test the functions of your Weebly website to ensure everything is set up correctly.

A content writer can bring your Weebly website to life with compelling content that tickles all the right emotions. All of your visitors have emotions, and they're just a few emotional triggers away from converting to your offering (let that sink in). 

An SEO expert will tailor an SEO strategy for you that will help you rank on the first page of Google for hundreds, and even thousands, of keywords.

An SEM expert will create optimized paid campaigns for you that will drive a tonne of traffic to your website at the highest ROI. 

A social media marketing expert will entertain all of your followers with highly engaging posts that will drive traffic to your Weebly website.

Final thoughts

If you create a Weebly website within its rigid design framework, your website will be just like every other plain Weebly website. But if you're serious about making an impact online, you should do what most can't, modify your Weebly template at a deeper, technical level.

Hire a web designer for your Weebly website today!

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