People won't find your free starter website on Weebly as easily as a purchased one

For new clients who want to create a new website on Weebly, I'm now going to ask them if being found through searches (like Google searches) is important. If it is, I'm going to recommend that they avoid the free website plan (mysite.weebly.com) and purchase a domain and a paid plan instead (mysite.com).

 KerryAThompson.com Blog: People won't find your free starter website on Weebly as easily as a purchased one

According to Weebly's own guide and confirmed by other research I've read, a website built on someone else's domain (in this case, Weebly's) is not going to do as well in searches. Here's the relevant section from the Weebly document about Domains:

Free Subdomains vs. Custom Domains

A free subdomain (mysite.weebly.com) can be helpful when you’re just getting started, but will carry less SEO weight versus a custom domain (www.mysite.com). You can’t be serious about your SEO until you have your own domain. A free subdomain will always limit your SEO capabilities, Google and other search engines recognize these domains as starter sites and SEO metrics don’t roll up cleanly. With a custom domain name your content, links and SEO signals will all be collected and focused to your site and apply directly to SEO growth. With a free subdomain these metrics are spread to Weebly and not maintained as clearly to your site.
— www.weebly.com/seo/domain

SEO is certainly something to consider if you're designing your own site. Not everyone needs to have excellent search results; if they're already well-known or they're just starting out and not ready to really "go into business," then the SEO results may not be a big deal. But now that I know this, I'll make sure clients know about this tradeoff if they want to go with a free starter website on Weebly.