GoDaddy Website Builder Review
GoDaddy has been in the web business since 1997, specializing in domain sales and hosting for small and large businesses alike. GoDaddy is probably one of the most popular platforms around, so since they’ve got a free tool for building a site, it’s worth looking at.
GoDaddy is most notable for being the most used domain registrar, with a market share of around 16%. As popular as their domain services are, they also have a wide range of hosting services that come with cPanel for installing WordPress, Wikia, and tons of other services.
Given their track record as a provider, we’ll have to see how GoDaddy’s website builder stacks up against the competitive market. Do they have the ease of use that Squarespace has? Do they have the flexibility that Wix.com promises? Let’s dive in and find out.
When you first start your website, you’re asked to put in the category and name. The category changes what starter template you have, which gets you designing right away.
GoDaddy provides nearly 2 dozen templates for your chosen site category. The photography category was used in this example. While the templates that GoDaddy provides are more than adequate for most users, it would still be nice to bounce out of that theme and look at other templates that may contain cleaner layouts or ones more favorable to a user.
Wix.com, for example, doesn’t restrict your template based on your category. You can select whatever appeals to you the most, regardless of whether or not it falls in your template category.
GoDaddy populates your site with images and text based on the selection you make regarding your business type, using Artificial Design Intelligence (ADI). That starter content is useful for helping you see how information looks on both your full-size and responsive sites.
You’ll get the option to choose a primary color for the theme, but the platform locks in that color as the selectable across all aspects of your site.
You can select a base color and then choose various shades within a submenu. If you’re a bit pickier, the website builder has a Hex editor beneath that shade submenu to hone in on the exact color you want.
GoDaddy has laid out their selection of fonts, and you can view them here. You’ll see pairings and size from this basic menu. The interface here is pretty intuitive and allows you to preview how the fonts pair up before you make a selection, which is a great option.
From the editor menu, you can adjust your pages and what shows up on the navigation bar. You can also change the layout of each page’s sections. You decide what order they appear in, and you can style them separately. This is where GoDaddy’s platform works the best.
GoDaddy’s Website Builder breaks pages down into “sections”. Those sections are further divided into “section groups”. This hierarchy determines how your content is displayed.
You can use the carats at the top right of each section to move them up and down. You can also use the + button to add sections above or below the currently selected one. GoDaddy makes these sections easy to edit and gives a fair number of options for content flow.
You can edit the content in your section either by clicking directly on it or by clicking on its “section group” (shown above). Here, you’ll notice that GoDaddy provides left-and-right carats instead of up-and-down ones. If you’re familiar with the concept of “flexboxes”, then you’ll already understand why GoDaddy does this, but it’s a bit confusing otherwise.
You can also add call-to-action buttons to your section groups or images and videos, though videos will need to be uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo. GoDaddy won’t let you upload videos straight to your website.
You can also change the layout of the sections to further customize your look. There are a number of options GoDaddy provides that can adjust the visual weight of your section and shift your section groups around. There are two-column options like the one show above, as well as fully-horizontal setups that work great for showcasing employee photos.
There are a ton of sections you can add, such as:
- Menu / Pricelist
- Online Store
- PayPal Button
And there’s a lot more.
Adding audio sections requires a SoundCloud account; likewise, adding video requires a YouTube or Vimeo account. You can’t upload audio or video directly to your site.
The editor has some powerful features but leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, it seems to take a lot of control away from the user, where design is concerned.
For instance, if you’re looking at the header here, you’ll notice only 3 colors: pink (from the earlier screenshot), black, and white. There’s almost nothing you can do about this except to change your site’s “primary color”, and that’s a huge option to take away from users.
GoDaddy allows you to add a section called “HTML” if you want a bit more direct control.
GoDaddy provides a dashboard, where all of the other parts of your web presence get taken care of. You’ll use this to handle email marketing and E-commerce.
From the dashboard, you can check your analytics, connect your social media accounts, and do anything you could do on the Settings page in the editor.
If you scroll down the main page, you’ll see a few cards under “Other ways to grow”, and this is a good set of tasks to complete if you want to improve your SEO.
All-in-all, while the options on the dashboard and in the editor amount to solid control, they’re not laid out intuitively. GoDaddy will need to work on the UI and improve usability before the Website Builder can be competitive and accessible to most people.
That’s a bit of a shame, considering the breadth of options that users are given. However, it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t find what you need.
The SEO options are interesting, and GoDaddy’s platform provides a handy method for complying with some of the more basic aspects of technical SEO.
Going to “Search Engine Optimization” > “Start Optimizing” under the editor’s settings takes you through a process to get your target keywords figured out. You’ll need to provide the following information to that wizard:
- Target customer location (international or local)
- Your location
- 1 – 2 words for the products or services you provide
- Selection of phrases out of a generated set
- Of those, the phrase that BEST describes the page
- Selection of the page title for search results
- Selection of the page title for search results
- Page description
After that, GoDaddy’s wizard will check the text of your main page sections and encourage you to rewrite them to include those key phrases, as shown below.
You can go through this process for each page on your site, and it’s very transparent and forward-facing.
However, GoDaddy makes you hunt for the ability to optimize your blog posts. You go through the same process, but you can only find this option on the dashboard. It’s not present in the website builder.
You’ll enter information similarly to what you’ll enter when optimizing pages. The wizard will ask you to edit the post title and content to include the keywords that it generates based on your input.
Keep in mind that these SEO assistance tools only help you with some of the technical basics. They’re not going to judge the content or guarantee great results on their own. You’ll need to make sure you have good content first, then optimize it.
Customer support comes in the form of “Help by GoDaddy Guides” up at the top of the page. The link directs you to a pop-up, where you can either browse a directory or try to get in touch with a representative.
Responding to the message in the “Contact Us” form generates a response, asking if you want to live chat or be called on the phone. This is a bit deceptive, as the layout implies that you’re already in live-chat, so it’s a little off-putting to explain your issue and then decide which avenue you’re going to take in terms of the support line.
There’s also a rich How-To section, but it’s not forward-facing, so you’ll have to grab the link from the bottom of that “Browse Help” menu, or just go to godaddy.com/how-to.
GoDaddy’s videos here provide quality information, and everything is laid out as a “course”. You go through the videos to get the information you need, and continue on to the others or get back to work.
All of GoDaddy’s Website Builder plans come with a free domain for one year as well as a free SSL certificate.
Renewal price varies based on the domain extension you get, but here’s a quick list of the renewal prices.
- .com – $17.99/year
- .net – $19.99/year
- .org – $20.99/year
- .co – $34.99/year
There are certainly other places to get brand-defining .coms cheaper than GoDaddy, but you could take advantage of the free year to put that extra bit of capital towards a month of your plan.
The Website Builder doesn’t get into the specifics of storage space, but it does mention upload limits per-file of 50MB. That eliminates high-definition videos being played directly on your website.
GoDaddy pricing is always pretty competitive for what their platform provides. Your trial plan will show you the services you’ll have under their “Standard” plan, so if you go for Basic, you won’t have access to the SEO options shown earlier. That’s about the only difference between the two, aside from the price point.
The prices shown above are billed monthly. Annual billing drops the prices considerably, as follows:
- Basic – $7/month ($84/year)
- Standard – $10/month ($120/year)
- Premium – $14/month ($168/year)
- E-Commerce – $17/month ($204/year)
The breakdown of the plans is right here!
|Connect custom domain||v||v||v||v|
|SOCIAL MEDIA & EMAIL MARKETING|
|Social media & listing platforms||1||3||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Posts & responses / month||5||20||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Emails / month||100||500||25,000||25,000|
|Free ad credits for Google, Bing, and Yelp||v||v|
|Book one-time appointments||v||v||v||v|
|Book recurring events||v||v|
|SMS alerts for new appointments||v||v|
|Email and text reminders||v||v|
|Take online payment||v||v|
All of the plans also get:
- Free SSL certificate
- 24/7 support
- Free Business email and phone for a year
- GoDaddy insight
- Tailored action plans
- InSight Score
The E-Commerce plan allows you to:
- Add and edit product listings
- Set up flexible shipping options
- Sell products right through your store
- Sell on Etsy, eBay, and Amazon
- Synchronize orders and inventory
- Manage discounts and promotions
GoDaddy’s website builder has a plethora of tools if you’re looking to use the site as a platform for blogging or E-Commerce, but the lack of design freedom holds it back from being a powerful all-around option, like Wix or Squarespace. A huge part of E-Commerce is establishing a brand image, and without total design control, that becomes difficult.
However, GoDaddy provides a lot of stats for your site that’ll help you track growth, sales, and more. The marketing tools available through the service are also a huge bonus.
- Great step-by-step SEO at page-level
- Mobile site is auto-generated
- Good blog and E-Commerce options
- Plenty of analytics to track performance
- Not enough control over the design
- Convoluted layout
- Some features are too well-hidden
- Support is deceptively designed as a live chat