Accessibility and Weebly

Two items that make a site easier to use for people with various needs is

  • A “Skip to the main content” link (good for people using screen readers like JAWS and ZoomText)
  • Tab sequences on forms and chunks of text (good for use with screen readers and for people with mobility difficulties such as arthritis, carpel tunnel syndrome, or quadriplegia)

Unfortunately, we have to report that Weebly doesn’t offer either option. In fact, this is what the Support staff say about tabs on forms:

Currently the contact form [lets you]…tab up to down, left to right, there is not a way to change that at this time but we do appreciate feedback like this….

It is possible to add the “Skip to main content” link and tab sequences to a page if you’re comfortable going into the HTML. But the point of using Weebly is that you don’t have to get into the code.

Wix doesn’t seem to be any better, but Squarespace has a help topic on accessibility that includes information on structuring text to make it easier for screen readers to move through the sections on a page; ALT text for pictures; and transcripts for audio and captions for video.


How to add attributions to photos in Weebly

If you use one of Weebly’s photos, the attribution is added automatically.


If you use your own or a friend’s photos and want to add an attribution, you should be able to do so by using the Caption option. This box appears when you click on a photo that you’ve added to the page already. To find the Caption option, you have to scroll down a bit.


The Caption box appears. Type the caption and credit you want:


When you move off the picture, your caption should appear below the picture.


However, if you want to use an ALT tag for the attribution (in other words, the attribution appears only if you hold your cursor over the image), you’re out of luck right now. There is an ALT option under Advanced in the same dialog box as shown above, but the ALT text doesn’t show up. Maybe Weebly will fix this eventually.



Can you create a customized 404 page in Weebly?

A 404 page is the page you see if you ask for a page that no longer exists (or never did) on a website. This happens when a page that you had bookmarked is deleted or moved, or if you type in a page URL wrong.

The advantage of a customized page is that you can be more polite than the standard 404 page and also offer the reader some options for finding the right page.

Here’s the Fast Smart Web Design 404 page, for example:

A sample customized 404 page.

A sample customized 404 page.

In the last workshop, someone asked if you could create a custom 404 page on a Weebly site.

It doesn’t look like it. However, readers do get a Weebly 404 page that has a link taking them back to the home page:

The Weebly "Page Not Found" page

The Weebly “Page Not Found” page

Can you add an external shopping cart to Weebly?

Weebly offers Google Checkout and PayPal shopping carts, but if you already have another shopping cart, can you use that one instead?

The answer is yes, as per this article in the Weebly support center: Other Shopping Carts. “Any cart will work so long as the vendor allows you to create embeddable product listings / add to cart buttons.  Any such embeddable options can be added to you site via our custom html element. “

How Secure are Free Websites?

Protecting Your Relationship with Weebly

Here’s a section from the Privacy Policy that describes their approach to security. Note that their SSL encryption only protects you in your relationship with Weebly.

Confidentiality and Security

No data transmissions over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure. Consequently, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to us and you do so at your own risk. Once we receive your transmission, we make efforts to ensure security on our systems.

  • We use physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect personal information about you.
  • Your account information is password-protected. Additionally, your account’s password is stored using a salted, variable work factor, one-way hash algorithm.
  • In certain areas, Weebly uses industry-standard SSL-encryption to protect data transmissions. However, please note that this is not a guarantee that such information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed by breach of such firewalls and secure server software.

Protect Your Customers’ Information

If you collect credit-card information, you want very strong security protections. The easiest way to secure your shopping cart is to contract with platforms like  Network Solutions, Amazon Webstore, Google Checkout, Shopify, and so on, with the security options already built in. Weebly’s shopping cart uses PayPal, which has  strong security options, to manage all financial transactions.

You can set up a simple store (a few items with fixed prices) using PayPal directly. See Meals on Wheels of Staten Island’s donation page for examples of PayPal buttons.

If you collect personal information (medical records, for example), consider buying SSL encryption. Network Solutions offers a variety of options. See for their information.

Other large hosting companies offer SSL certificates as well. If your host doesn’t, you might want to change hosts.

Protect Yourself against Spam

If you want to prevent spammers from sending garbage forms, use a CAPTCHA. See Meals on Wheels of Staten Island’s volunteer application page for an example.

How do MailChimp and Weebly make money?

This was a question at the last Website 101 workshop: How do free services like Weebly and MailChimp make money?

Here’s an article about MailChimp:

With freemium, MailChimp thrives where many others fail

It turns out that MailChimp was a paid service first, and figured out how to make money from their program, and only then created a free version. The free version promotes the paid version.

The article mentions a rule of thumb: For every 10 free users, you get one paid user. MailChimp had 450,000 users in 2010, so about 45,000 should be paid users. Rates run from $10 to $240 a month, depending on the number of subscribers.

Here’s an article about Weebly, and how it makes money.

Weebly, a simple web page creator, launches AdSense feature and pro accounts

In this model, the Weebly developers make money from their “Pro” users and by making it easy to add Google AdSense advertising widgets.