By Michael Benninger
You may GoDaddy from its attention-grabbing television commercials or its fame as the world’s largest domain registrar, but did you also know that this company can help you create an online presence that you’ll love?
Here’s an overview of my top takeaways from this GoDaddy website builder review:
Sports many modern features and is easy for novices to use
Provides affordable plans that offer plenty of storage and bandwidth
Can be relentless when it comes to upselling unnecessary products and services
Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Arizona, GoDaddy has been the world’s largest domain registrar since 2005. To complement its domain registration services, the company offers a variety of website-building tools for individuals and small-business owners of any skill level. The service is not perfect, but most GoDaddy reviews are generally positive and praise the platform for its strengths—especially when it comes to the small business arena. The Small Biz Trends blog even nominated GoDaddy for the Small Business Influencer Award in 2012.
Curious to know more about what makes this website builder so great? Find out for yourself when you sign up to use the GoDaddy website builder today.
This builder is a valuable resource for anyone who needs a website, but especially for small-business owners seeking a strong Web presence. But why is GoDaddy good? I found that the platform offers a menu of solutions to fit almost any set of needs.
If you want to start building a website with GoDaddy, it’s easy to get up and running in under an hour. If, on the other hand, you’d rather skip using the site builder, you can hire the company’s professional designers to create a site for you. Before doing that, though, you might want to test out the website builder to see just how easy it is to use—even if you have no previous design or coding experience.
After deciding to use this builder to create my site, one of the first decisions that faced me was selecting a theme. Website themes, also called templates, serve as a starting point upon which to build a website, and they create a consistent look and feel from page to page.
GoDaddy website themes are free with the builder and come in 50 different styles for users on the Personal plan, and 300 styles for those on Business and Business Plus plans. The GoDaddy templates are organized into nearly 20 categories, ranging from Education to Entertainment and Restaurants to Real Estate.
After spending a few minutes browsing through my template options, I found one I liked and selected it for my site. Though it is possible to switch GoDaddy Web templates at any time, users will have to rebuild their existing sites from scratch if they decide to do so. That can translate into a big headache for business owners who have a lot of content on their site, so make sure you’re thrilled with the theme you select before proceeding.
Is GoDaddy good for first-timers? Website builders have evolved to a point where anyone a basic understanding of Web browsing can create a professional-looking site in less than a day. But is GoDaddy easy to use for someone with absolutely no experience with Web design?
When it comes to usability, this builder falls in the middle of the pack compared to other top builders. It’s much more functional than some platforms, but nowhere near as intuitive as others. The learning curve is just a bit steeper in comparison to some of the best tools out there.
It took me a few minutes to become acquainted with the GoDaddy personal website builder, and within an hour, I had built a solid framework for my site. The drag-and-drop, what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWIG) editor is relatively easy to get the hang of, but some of the deeper features are trickier to use.
When it comes to GoDaddy’s pricing for their do-it-yourself website building services, paid plans come in three types: Personal, Business, and Business Plus.
The Personal plan, which is available for GoDaddy’s cost of $5.99 per month, gives users their choice of 50 themes, along with one gigabyte of disk space and 150 gigabytes of bandwidth.
The Business plan, which costs $9.99 per month, lets users choose from 300 different themes, and includes a mobile version of your website. This tier also offers 10 gigabytes of disk space and 500 gigabytes of bandwidth.
The Business Plus plan costs $14.99 per month and includes everything from the Business plan, plus search-engine optimization and social-media management tools, plus one year of SSL Certification, which ensures secure ecommerce transactions. This premium plan additionally offers 50 gigabytes of disk space and one terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of bandwidth.
The Online Store plan costs $29.99 per month and is designed for businesses that want to sell products online. The package includes responsive mobile design, website hosting, 24/7 customer support, and unique services like text notifications when orders are placed.
But although GoDaddy prices are often the cheapest in the industry, the company has a notorious reputation for attempting to sell customers products and services that they likely don’t need. So be sure to keep an eye open for that when purchasing anything from this company.
With more than half of all Web traffic originating from mobile devices, it’s more important than ever that websites look good on smaller screens. When you’re first figuring out how to build a website on GoDaddy, it’s important to keep in mind that most visitors to your site will be viewing it on much smaller screen than that which you’re designing it on.
Though all GoDaddy websites include mobile versions, the templates aren’t truly "mobile responsive." That is, they don’t dynamically reflow Web page content based upon the size screen the visitor is using. Rather, GoDaddy mobile sites are automatically optimized—according to GoDaddy’s standards, anyway—to display well on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Customers who sign up for GoDaddy’s Business or Business Plus plans, however, have more control than users on the Personal plan when it comes to how their sites look on smaller screens. With either of these Business plans, webmasters can use the GoDaddy mobile website builder to customize their sites to their liking. With the Personal plan, you’re stuck with whatever design GoDaddy’s software determines is best.
When it comes to ecommerce, GoDaddy has two options for users—unfortunately, none of them are part of the Personal, Business, or Business Plus plans. In fact, if you want to sell products on your website, you’ll either have to pay GoDaddy $1,499 to create an online store for you, or use an altogether different Online Store builder to create the site yourself.
If you’re interested in checking out the Online Store builder, you can test it out with a 30-day free trial. Beyond that, the plan costs $29 per month plus a separate hosting fee. The Online Store plan includes coupon codes, secure checkouts, and smartphone-ready stores among many other ecommerce options.
The GoDaddy Web builder has a lot to offer to business owners interested in a setting up shop online, but this service has its disadvantages as well. Here are a few of the most frequently cited pros and cons of GoDaddy’s website builder:
Storage and bandwidth plans are among the most affordable on the market
Impressive photo-editing tools surpass offerings from most other builders
Customer support is amazing and among the best in the industry
No free trials of its core website builder, so there’s no way to test it out
Lacks some of the bells and whistles of more full-featured platforms
Not possible to change your website theme without starting over from scratch
I would say that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks of GoDaddy’s service, but that still doesn’t mean that this is the right builder for everyone. Consider your options carefully, make sure that one of these plans offers all the features that you’re looking for.
If you happen to need some help during the course of your website-building project, you’ll be pleased to know that GoDaddy support is among the industry’s best. The friendly customer service representatives and tech support specialists are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have. Not a fan of speaking on the phone? Let your fingers do the talking and take advantage of the award-winning GoDaddy chat support. Also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the live chat is a great way to get your problems solved without having to pick up the phone.
Knowledgebase and Tutorials
GoDaddy also features an unparalleled knowledge base with step-by-step instructions of how to carry out hundreds of functions. Many of these help pages include video tutorials. In addition, GoDaddy features webinars on various topics aimed at helping teach business owners about various aspects of improving their digital presence.
Along with support articles, GoDaddy's Help section features the community forums, which consist of content written by users. You can ask a question about how to carry out a certain function, try to troubleshoot or get information on best practices, and community members will provide answers. You can also search through previous forum threads to see if your question was already answered.
What good is having a website, if it doesn’t appear in Google or Bing? That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes into play. As far as GoDaddy’s SEO services are concerned, the company has options for those who use one of its website-building tools, and for those who’ve used a different builder but still host their site on GoDaddy’s servers.
With the Personal, Business, and Business Plus plans, the SEO wizard can identify weaknesses in the way a site appears to search engines, and provide advice to increase your visibility. But if you didn’t use GoDaddy’s builder to create your site, you can purchase a separate SEO service for a little as $2.69 per month.
When you sign up for the Personal, Business, or Business Plus plans, GoDaddy website hosting is included at no extra cost. If, however, you use the Online Store builder, or hire the company to create a website for you, Web hosting costs extra.
Web hosting with GoDaddy also comes in three primary plans: Economy, Deluxe, and Ultimate. These plans cost $4.99, $5.99, and $7.99 per month, respectively, with more storage space and email addresses offered from tier to tier. The company also has a variety of additional hosting plans that differ based on your needs and the type of software you’d like running on the server. In general, though, with low costs and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, GoDaddy is among the most affordable and reliable options on the market.
When it comes to your email options, GoDaddy offers three primary solutions for you to choose from: Email Essentials, Online Essentials, and Business Premium. Each of these options are are powered by Microsoft Office 365, so they’ll work with Outlook, Apple Mail, and many other popular email clients. Alternatively, you can check your email via the GoDaddy webmail interface.
I found GoDaddy’s email setup to be a relatively simple and straightforward process, and didn’t experience any problems sending or receiving messages. And for those that may have used the old GoDaddy Workspace email services in the past, the company now provides options to migrate to Office 365-powered email, which is far more reliable.
If you’ve see some of the strange GoDaddy commercials that have aired over the past decade and a half, you may have wondered, "What is GoDaddy used for?" While GoDaddy packages are available in both the do-it-yourself and do-it-for-me varieties, the brand’s core of business actually has to do more with buying and selling domain names.
A majority of GoDaddy Web builder reviews are positive, though there are definitely better builders out there. But with such low costs, and such amazing support, GoDaddy might be the best builder for those who don’t want to pay a lot, but who also want someone to talk to if they get stuck.
Unlike some of the other top builders, GoDaddy free websites aren’t offered as an option unless you purchase something else from the company, such as a domain name. On the other hand, when you purchase a website-builder plan, you get free email services, a free domain name, and GoDaddy free hosting—all as part of the deal. I think that’s a pretty solid offer considering how competitive the company’s rates are. And if you spend a few minutes before checkout searching the Web for coupon codes, you can often increase your savings even more substantially.
So compared to the competition, how good is GoDaddy’s website builder? It’s a surprisingly functional tool, considering that the company’s core business is selling domain names, not building websites. In my honest experience, using this website builder was easier and more fun than I first thought it would be. The tool is mostly modern and the company offers tons of options and outstanding customer support if you happen to need website builder help.