GoDaddy Website Builder Review
Web design is the art and science of making an immersive, usable website that can grow. It would be best to have a website builder for functional web design, such as GoDaddy’s. It provides you with suitable website templates, where all you have to do is pick one and fill in the blanks with your information. In addition, GoDaddy helps you find a domain name and market it when you make a website. But, is the GoDaddy website builder good enough to make websites that can satisfy the modern internet user? Read the review and find out!
Ease of use
Value for Money
Starting from: $6.99/month
Pricing Model: Subscription
Yes, has free trial
Yes, has free version
- Four pricing plans
- Clean, simple website templates
- Built-in add-ons and tools for social media
- Baby’s first website builder
- Churns out samey websites
- Limited feature set across plans
- Inaccessible options buried in menus within menus
- Small business
- Medium business
- Large enterprises
- Cloud, SaaS, Web-Based
- Desktop - Mac
- Desktop - Windows
- Desktop - Linux
- Mobile - Android
- Mobile - iPhone
- Mobile - iPad
GoDaddy – Free website builder
GoDaddy is a UK-based internet services platform. It has a massive product catalog, offering 50+ products that cover three distinct areas of web design:
- domain names
- website building
- marketing tools
In theory, you only need the GoDaddy website builder to have a functional website. However, in practice, you will have to use at least a dozen products across all three areas to learn how to make a website that is barely passable. In addition, you’ll likely have to use external tools to overcome GoDaddy’s limitations or even hire web design experts to help you out. It just so happens GoDaddy offers bespoke website design. That will surely come in handy if you happen to get frustrated by the GoDaddy website builder’s limitations.
A catchy, easy-to-type domain name is worth a fortune, especially if it can be turned into a verb. When you do think of a fine name, GoDaddy will likely inform you it’s already owned and offer a couple of closest alternatives. Still, you can bid for a domain name or register up to 500 web domains at once. You can also buy and resell domain names for a profit.
A website that looks clean on the surface is typically messy behind the scenes. The more advanced technology it uses, the more effort it takes to make and maintain it, which is a 24/7 type of ordeal. GoDaddy Website Builder’s selling point is that it provides access to advanced technologies while taking care of the messiness for you. The goal is to help you focus on website design.
Marketing is making your product or service the most popular in the niche. Most customers go for whatever everyone else is already using, regardless of quality. Without marketing, your website can have the best quality globally and still wane in the dark. GoDaddy offers plenty of resources on creating a website that attracts traffic and generates a positive buzz, no matter the niche.
What is GoDaddy Website Builder?
The GoDaddy free website builder is a foolproof template editor spread thinly over a writhing mass of features and options. It won’t let you make mistakes, but it won’t let you experiment or tidy things up on the back-end either. Seemingly simple, the GoDaddy website builder will ask you to wade deeper and deeper into it to fish out the few gems hidden somewhere inside. Unfortunately, there’s little automation and few shortcuts to speed up the tedious parts of web design; making a website on GoDaddy feels a lot like hard manual labor. As someone used to work on the keyboard, I was surprised to find zero keyboard shortcuts. Everything is done by mouse clicks, which requires maximum attention at all times. There isn’t a way to undo either. However, your work is automatically saved, so it only takes one distracted click to send it down the drain.
How to create a website with GoDaddy?
The entire process of making a website comes down to two steps:
- choose one of five offered niches or type in your own
- type in the name
Within 30 seconds, the website is ready to be published, but you can hammer away at each page until it is slightly more to your liking. However, there is a catch — finding the GoDaddy website builder is anything but intuitive.
How to use GoDaddy website builder?
Once you log in to your GoDaddy account, you’re automatically redirected to the product dashboard. I scoured all the options here but couldn’t find a way to make a website. This is because GoDaddy assumes you’ll be buying a little bit of everything; this dashboard comes in handy then.
I realized that I needed to log in and visit the GoDaddy home page by typing in the website address “godaddy.com” in the browser’s address bar. Once there, click “Websites” on top of the page and then “Website Builder.” A created website will appear in the dashboard, so you only have to do this process one time for each website.
Your websites that appear in the GoDaddy dashboard have their dashboards, which in turn have drop-down menus and options galore. Click on the cover image of your website, and you’ll get sent to its dashboard, with a detailed overview of options and handy checklists to help you fine-tune them. It’s very easy to get lost here, so click the GoDaddy logo at any time to get back to the top dashboard.
Anyway, once you’re inside the website builder, clicking the “Preview” button on the top left shows what your website looks like on desktop and mobile devices. The free GoDaddy URL is accessible right away, though there isn’t much to do on it. Clicking the “Publish” button shows three options:
- on a domain I already own
- get a new domain
- free GoDaddy URL
The first option is when you’ve already got a domain name. The second option is buying a domain name from GoDaddy. The third option is your website name attached to the GoDaddy domain.
The left-hand side hosts the work area in the website builder, where a teal border appears around whatever you’re pointing at with your cursor. Click the left mouse button, and you’ll get options to edit the section inside the teal border. This ranges from selecting one of five font sizes to changing text formatting and choosing a new image.
GoDaddy Website Builder Features
On the right-hand side in the GoDaddy website builder, there are three tabs:
Each section is intuitive and holds a wealth of buttons and toggles. There are nested menus here, where each change should prompt a “Done” button to pop up. Clicking it takes you back to the default view of this tab. If it doesn’t pop up, click the name of the tab, and you’ll return to its default view.
Having the website builder open in multiple tabs in your browser may cause them to refresh as you use them, wasting a few seconds. If you create a couple of websites in the same niche, the GoDaddy website builder adds tiny variations to look different but recognizable.
Here you can add, remove or reorder pages. They are all linked to the Home page. To add a new page, click the “+,” select the page type, enter the page title and click “Create the page.” To link to it, you need to click one of the existing sections with an action button, click “Action Button,” and choose it from the “Page” drop-down menu.
Clicking on the header lets, you enter a different text, change the cover image or upload your logo. Clicking on icons in the “Website Add-ons” section opens up the corresponding section in that website’s dashboard:
Note that some actions will create a pulsing button, which seems like part of the page, but it’s a GoDaddy prompt. If clicked, this button takes you out of the website builder and back to the website dashboard.
You can adjust your website’s colors, fonts, and buttons here. Clicking the “Try a new look” button takes you to a page of themes, which are slight variations of the template you’re already using. The “Colors” button opens a menu to input your custom color and even change its brightness.
“Fonts” opens two drop-down menus, one for the primary and the secondary font. There are 51 fonts for the text, with no option of uploading your own. The font is chosen at random at website creation, with plenty of serifs and sans-serif variety. They all seem to be Adobe-family fonts. Theme color presets range from beige to brown, and even when you do spruce them up, they have a negligible impact on the page.
Finally, “Buttons” lets you set what the builder calls “primary” and “secondary buttons,” used for dominant and supportive actions. These are stylistic variations of the buttons, such as rounded corners or buttons with a background shadow.
All the technical tidbits related to your website are found in this tab. For example, you can put in the basic info so that search engines can categorize your website. You can also link up your social media accounts, and the website will automatically set up the links. The cookie banner is controlled from this section, too; luckily, you can turn it off.
There’s the option of making a backup of your website, though you can’t download it. Whatever you make through GoDaddy’s website builder stays on GoDaddy for good.
From the GoDaddy home page, click “Marketing Tools” on top of the page and then “Content & Photo Creator.” This takes you to GoDaddy Studio, a dedicated drag&drop graphics editor. It’s pretty, useful, and accessible. You can also undo and redo your actions here! Upload your images or use stock photos and edit them to your liking. There are 11 effects at your disposal, such as blur, shadow, and blend. If you add more objects, you can move them to the background or the foreground. You can inspect each layer separately by clicking the stacked squares icon in the top right corner. Users can download finished images by clicking the “Export” button next to the layer icon.
GoDaddy Website Builder Cost
GoDaddy payment plans are a bit confusing, so bear with me. There are four payment plans:
- Basic — $6.99 a month
- Standard — $10.49 a month
- Premium — $13.99 a month
- Ecommerce — $14.99 a month
The renewal length goes from one month to 5 years, though there is no discount beyond the one offered for plans over one year. Even then, the wording on the discount implies it’s only for the first year, which I’m sure is buried somewhere in the fine print. You can make a new GoDaddy account by logging in through Gmail, Facebook, or with any e-mail address. Your free 30-day trial automatically activates when you create a new website.
Godaddy website builder pricing plans
You are automatically assigned to the “Standard” plan when you make a GoDaddy account, though this is not shown in the dashboard. Instead, it shows your websites are on the “Websites + Marketing Standard Intl.” After the free 30-day trial expires, you’re asked for your payment details to continue working on the website. All plans of 12 months or more have a 30-day money-back guarantee. Plans lasting less than 12 months have a 48-hour money-back guarantee.
The difference in features between the four plans is massive. The Basic and Standard plans have a pathetic feature set and only offer core functionality. They provide no e-commerce capability, and neither does the Premium plan, which is restricted much more than I would expect.
The Premium plan allows sending only 25,000 e-mails a month. It’s only the Ecommerce plan that raises an eyebrow in a good way, letting you set up an online store as you would expect it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find which web design features, if any, are unlocked after buying Premium or Ecommerce plans. Those two plans state, “Content creator with templates, fonts, and graphics: unlimited features,” but I have no clue what that means.
GoDaddy Website Builder Alternatives
The five biggest alternatives to GoDaddy’s Website Builder are:
WordPress has been chugging along and changing the web publishing world in its wake, a humble titan in the web design space. Note that WordPress.com hosts a web design platform while WordPress.ORG hosts software used in making a self-hosted website. So we’re talking about the former.
Logging in is done through a Google or Apple account or by using an e-mail address. The gist of WordPress is that you use a blogging template and then expand its functionality through plugins. They are free or paid bits of functionality that massively improve your WordPress website, such as by checking SEO or helping with e-commerce. You can make your plugins and, once you upgrade to a Business plan, you can use them on your WordPress website.
Click on “Add new site” in the sidebar and then:
- type in the name
- choose a template
- choose the features you need
- pick one out of five plans
There are severe limitations if you pick the free plan, and WordPress will show ads next to your content. You do get 3GB storage, though.
Squarespace is the easiest website builder to get started with — visit SquareSpace.com and click “Get Started” in the top right corner. Making your website goes like this:
- pick one out of 21 categories
- pick one or more out of 14 goals
- select the website design stage you’re in
You’ll get up to a dozen template matches for your website idea and, once you click one, be prompted to log in with Google, Apple, Facebook, or any e-mail address. Past that, you’ll be able to fiddle with the page in the Squarespace editor on a 14-day free trial.
The sidebar is smooth and well animated but suffers from the same accessibility issues as GoDaddy’s website builder — there are no keyboard shortcuts. However, it is decently packed with features, some of which are paid.
Squarespace offers four pricing plans at $12–40 a month when billed annually or $16–54 a month when billed monthly. An interesting offer is the ability to buy add-ons from SquareSpace partners. One add-on drew my attention; Unfold is a marketing company specializing in Instagram stories so you can make a custom marketing campaign for cheap.
Visit Weebly.com, click “Websites” and the “Start for free” button. Fill in the forms and make an account. You’ll be asked if you need an online store or just a website. The process differs a bit, but the gist is that you choose a fitting template and start editing.
The editor is a slick but ill-conceived drag&drop interface. You can swing the elements around and rearrange them, but only as the editor allows, which can feel like threading a needle in a tornado. For example, a text box can only be moved within an area that the editor feels is appropriate.
Going against the editor’s wishes angers it greatly. It pauses for a second and violently snaps the element back to its old position, interrupting my train of thought and the creative process. However, However, I did find a way to break free and escape the editor’s tyranny. Dragging an image placeholder or a text box from the work area to the right edge infinitely expands the page. This is by far the jankiest website builder I’ve seen. Of course, there is no right-click menu, keyboard shortcuts, or undo.
Weebly payment plans are $5–38 a month when billed annually, or $8–46 billed monthly. The cheapest plan gives a whopping 500MB of storage, about 15 minutes of 1080p video content. All plans are on a 30-day money-back guarantee.
This is a Houston-based web design company. Unfortunately, the website builder isn’t accessible unless you subscribe to one of three pricing plans. They cost $2.75–5.25 a month if paid three years in advance and only on the first invoice. According to a help article, HostGator’s website builder is a lightweight program that uses templates.
GoDaddy Website Builder vs. Wix
Both GoDaddy and Wix are do-it-yourself web design platforms. They share several features:
- hosted online
- foolproof website builder
- automatic website optimization
- quick setup and minimal time to launch
The difference is that Wix is much more hands-on, providing you with analytics reports, access to the app market, and other goodies when you log in. Apps function much like WordPress plugins, with some offering a free trial. Pricing plans for the website range from $4.50–17.50, with the cheapest one displaying ads on your website.
Wix charges separately for a set of marketing and business tools called “Ascend.” These are charged up to $49 a month, with their selling gimmick being that you can have an entire team on Wix. There is a free Ascend plan, activated by default. After that, a 14-day money-back guarantee covers all plans.
Website building is done through the “Edit Site” button once you’re in the dashboard. After a bit of loading, you’ll be greeted by an advanced website builder. Here you can code your website as you’d like. There are even keyboard shortcuts and the undo button!
GoDaddy Review Conclusions
The GoDaddy website builder offers bare-bones web design at a premium price. It feels like an afterthought, a product made to fill the gap between domain name sales and marketing tools. Its usability is poor and accessibility horrendous. Your hands are tied when you’re using it, even on a paid plan, unless you fork out for the most expensive pricing tier. I can’t recommend the GoDaddy website builder because, though it can create one for you, it can’t teach you how to make a website.