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GoDaddy Website Builder review

Create basic to moderately complex business websites with ease

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(Image: © GoDaddy)

Our Verdict

The customisation features aren’t as expansive as some of its competitors, but GoDaddy Website Builder provides a vast number of tools to help you create good-looking business sites, including scheduling appointments and selling online, while taking care of all the complex back end operations for you.

For

  • Easy to use
  • Vast array of simple customisability
  • Complex features are all taken care of for you
  • Free for a month

Against

  • Lacks customisability for more pro-needs
  • Preview options are pretty poor
  • No permanent free option

GoDaddy is an extremely well known domain name and web hosting provider, but you might not be aware of their Website Builder service, so let’s explore this side of their business…

Getting Started

Click on ‘Start for Free’ and your month’s trial will begin (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Getting started

The first great feature is that you can start right away: you won’t even be asked for any credit card information. Just click on ‘Start for Free’ and you’re good to go.

First Questions

The first couple of questions will determine the stock photos used to set your site up (Image credit: GoDaddy)

You’ll be asked a few basic questions like the type of industry you’re working in, and the name of your business (with the types of features this service offers, it’s really aimed at small businesses and self-employed people).

You’re then offered the ability to change the default theme - most look similar, with a few minor changes here and there, but for the not design-mided among us (ie, most of us) it’s great to just pick and choose a style that looks good to us, without having to worry about how to create it.

You get to select your site’s main complementary colours (from a limited palette) and also have a list of 50 fonts to choose form, along with four font sizes.

Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to get into personalising your site properly.

Choose a Theme

Choosing a theme is the beginning of the customisation process (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Personalize your site

GoDaddy has already created a few sample pages for you which can all be seen in the menu at the top of the page.

The interface is very simple to use and understand: to edit a page, simply mouse over a section. As it highlights, click on it.

Text boxes have a little pop-up toolbar so you can change the font size, turn the text into a numbered or bulleted list, link to a URL, or bold or italicise highlighted segments.

You can even create a banner to advertise a specific service or promotion. To make it fun, there are options to add seasonal decorations to it - winter gets a couple of snowflakes, spring has shoots, summer, leaves, autumn, falling leaves - and it’s even possible to activate little animations for those decorations.

It’s by no means a crucial feature, but it’s a fun little add on nonetheless.

Other customisation options include adding a logo top left of your pages. Depending on its size, it’ll either automatically increase the size of the menu bar so the logo fits within its borders, or if it’s too big, the logo will extend across menu section and the rest of your page.

Every feature can be accessed from the sidebar on the right which alters depending on which setting is selected. That’s where you can change your theme again (you’re thankfully not locked in when you choose one at the start).

Link to a URL

Text editing has all the basics, bold, italics, linking to URLs, etc (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Add pages and sections

The ‘Pages & Sections’ menu is where you can add additional pages (there doesn’t appear to be a limit), or add a new section to a currently selected page.

By default new pages appear in your navigation menu. If your site is small, there’s no issue with that, but the more complex the site becomes the more unwieldy this menu will get - and you can’t create submenus to compartmentalise your pages. Thankfully you can choose to have a page not appear in the menu.

Placing links to pages in the Footer is also an option, and so it making a page private - this means that only specific people which you invite can see those pages.

If a page isn’t in either the navigation menu or the footer, it can be linked to easily: highlight a section of text for instance and click on the traditional-looking link icon. The sidebar changes to offer you choices: you can link to one of your pages or a section within the current page (the list for both is accessed from two separate pull down menus). Of course, you also have the ability to link to an external URL.

Pages and sections can be reordered by dragging their title in the sidebar to change their order.

Stock Media

Adding photos is easy and you even have access to a vast library of stock media (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Adding a gallery is a very easy affair: choose it from the ‘Sections’ pull down menu, select the look you prefer, and GoDaddy automatically populates it with stock media based on the business description to typed in when you set up your site.

Obviously you can customise this, either by adding your own photos or choosing different stock images.

Gallery Creation

Adding a gallery to a webpage is a easy as creating a new section for it (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Each image can be individually captioned. The only effect you have at your disposal is to set photos to black and white, and crop them. If you need to edit them more extensively, you need to do this outside of this service.

It’s basic, but is works and it looks good.

More complex options

A photo gallery is just one of many options you can choose from in the Sections pull down menu. They range from simple content, calendar, individual video, or a PayPal button, to a price list, blog, even an online store. However if you were to choose some, like a store or a blog, GoDaddy’s Website Builder would actually create a new page for you specifically designed to handle this more complex request - if one didn’t already exist. The newly added section will showcase part of such a page, but obviously not all of it.

Sell Products

GoDaddy Website Builder comes with an easy to use online store (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Shopping

The e-commerce section looks pretty simple to use. If you’ve got a Square account, you can import your inventory from there, which would be an excellent time saver.

But if you don’t, adding a new product is very straightforward. There’s a place for photos, a description, inventory, and shipping cost.

We do appreciate the option to sell both physical and digital products in this way.

When it comes to accepting payment, GoDaddy offers you three options: PayPal, Stripe or Square, with very clear descriptions as to which service offers what. PayPal is selected by default when you create a store. There’s also an ‘offline payment’ option (cash/check/bank transfers), should you prefer.

Blogging

Unleash your creativity with a basic yet nice looking blog (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Blogging

The blogging section is quite nice, and if your needs are simple, you’ll be very happy with this feature.

Writing is the most basic of features in a blogging tool and everything you need to do this is right there: adding headings, URLs, bold, italicise, bullet points or numbered list, you’ve got it.

You can add images within your post and even choose how to align them - to the left or right of a paragraph or on its own. You also have the option to add a caption and crop the image (by zooming into it). Sadly there doesn’t appear to be a way to resize the image so it sits better within your page.

Videos can also be inserted just as easily. You can upload them just as you would an image, or paste the video’s URL (although that last option doesn’t work for every site - it worked for us for YouTube, and Vimeo, but it didn’t for DailyMotion or Facebook links for instance).

Subscribe Feature

Grow your audience with a built-in ability to subscribe to your blog (Image credit: GoDaddy)

GoDaddy offers visitor the ability to subscribe to your blog by default to help you build your audience. You also have a choice of three simple layouts to customise the look and feel of your online presence.

Appointments

Schedule appointments and classes, all from the confines of your website (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Appointments

There’s a very clever feature to GoDaddy’s Website Builder and that’s Appointments. This allows you to set up and schedule client meetings, one-off classes and recurring courses.

Everything can be done online, even payment taken via either PayPal or Square (unless you prefer face-to-face payment of course, which is selected by default).

Clients are sent email reminders automatically, and you can set up when you’d like those reminders to be sent. Additionally, text messages can also be used - but this feature could incur a cost.

Preview

The preview feature is a little too basic (Image credit: GoDaddy)

Preview and publish

When it’s time to check your work, there’s a ‘Preview’ mode which allows you to see what your site would look like either on a computer or a phone. You have one side that shows your page full width, and an area on the right represented by a vertical representation of a phone which shows the same page on its smaller screen. There’s no way to resize the page manually to see how the text and images would flow, or even turn that phone on its side. It’s a pretty limited preview to be fair.

When it’s time to publish, your free options continue since GoDaddy will host your site for you and give you a [yourbusinessname].godaddysites.com URL. If you want to connect your site to a specific domain name however, you have to pay for the privilege.

Pricing

GoDaddy gives you a full month to try out its offering, which is pretty generous (many limit this feature to one or two weeks), but it may be a testament to how confident that are of their service, and that everything works.

Yes, it may be basic in many areas, but the vast majority of what most would need is there, and the back end services are all taken care off for you seamlessly.

After that month, you need to choose a plan.

If you pay annually, the prices are slightly cheaper, and at the time of writing ranged from $10 to $25 per month.

It’s a tiered system with the next level including all options from the previous tier while introducing additional ones.

For instance the Basic plan ($10/month), others you all the features you need to design and build your website, but limits your social media and marketing interactions.

Standard ($15/month), boosts the social media features and adds SEO tools to your arsenal.

Premium offers ($20/month), a beefed up Appointments section (the lower tiers only allow you to set up one-time appointments - no email reminders, online payments, or classes).

And finally Ecommerce ($25/month) lets you create an entire store and sell your wares online (both physical and digital).

Final verdict

If you’re on the lookout of a service that allows you the flexibility and creativity to design your own web presence, with a flexible layout that will look good on any screen, you should definitely take a look at GoDaddy’s web builder offering.