Wix looks slicker than the other two, but it produces web pages that use Adobe Flash technology instead of more common (and expected) HTML. Now that Google can index Flash-based pages this may not be a big deal, but being mostly an HTML type of developer, I can't bring myself to embrace Flash as a web page medium. Call me old-fashioned or biased, but I think that for simple web pages, HTML is more appropriate than Flash.
Yola (formerly, Synthasite) and Weebly are very similar. They give you a web site builder to create web pages based on available templates (some templates are free, some are not). You pick a template (you can change the template at any time), then you add elements (such as two-column layout, heading, text, picture, hyperlink) to the page layout via available widgets. Widgets allow you to customize the page elements, but customization options are often limiting. If you need to add an element that does not have a corresponding widget (such as a table), you can use an HTML widget that lets you enter any HTML code snippet.
Once your web site is ready, you publish it to a subdomain under yolasite.com or weebly.com (e.g. mycompany.yolasite.com or mycompany.weebly.com), or you can use a custom domain (e.g. mycompany.com), which you can purchase directly from Yola or Weebly (for a slightly higher fee), or from any domain registrar, such as GoDaddy.
Yola and Weebly add their company logos to page footers, but the logos are rather unobtrusive.
Here is a list of problems I encountered when I worked with Yola and Weebly:
Yola: Web site builder requires Firefox (it did not work for me in Chrome).(This seems to have been fixed.)
- Yola: CSS customization is tricky (there is no easy way to define common styles, such as fonts, etc).
- Weebly: Cannot paste formatted text (say you paste text copied from a web page); it messes up formatting and does not let you correct it (the only way is to delete the element and recreate it).
- Weebly: Customization of a window title is somewhat limited (you cannot define an arbitrary title for a page title).
- Weebly: Cannot reference already uploaded images (e.g. you can upload an image and reference it on one page, but how do you reference it on another page?).
- Weebly: Some features of the resulting site work only in Internet Explorer (e.g. ALT properties of IMG elements only work in IE).
- Weebly: There is no option to preview changes before publish the site.
- Weebly: Customer support is sporadic at best (I got a response to one out of four questions I submitted).
- Both: Cannot specify title (tooltip) for hyperlinks (looks bad for image URLs).
The major limitation of both sites is their page templates. Although, they offer dozens of free templates, most of them look like they were designed in mid-90's for a high school project. I found one relatively decent template at Weebly (which I used for one site), but I had even less luck with Yola (I ended up building one site at Yola, but it's not something I would be proud to show).
If you need a simple and unassuming web site, give Weebly or Yola a try. They could be so much better, but even with current limitations, you can use either service to build online presence for a small business, create a personal or family site, and other simple applications.
If you can recommend another alternative (based on personal experience), please leave a comment (just make sure that this alternative does not use banner ads and supports other features offered by Yola and Weebly: custom domains, templates, site builder, custom CSS, HTML editing).
UPDATE (Dec 25, 2010): I recently published another site on Weebly, and while working on it, I appreciated the feature that let me easily find and incorporate free stock photos into the pages. Being able to select a different photo in the page header for each page was especially handy.