Welcome to the fifth post of Evermore’s series on popular website builders. I’ll be taking you through Squarespace, Wix, Weebly, GoDaddy, and WordPress.com. While Evermore sites are powered by WordPress, we know that it’s not for everyone. This series will help you learn which website builder suits your needs today, and what you may want to look into as you grow. Let’s talk about GoDaddy!
How GoDaddy Stands Out
When beginning my investigation into GoDaddy, I was floored by the amount of stuff they offer. For one thing, GoDaddy offers hosting for open-source WordPress in addition to all the services they have around their own sites. I knew I would be getting into something interesting here. GoDaddy offers everything from a website builder (which will be the focus of this post) to professional services related to SEO. You can even pay GoDaddy to teach you how to optimize your site for search engine results (most other sites leave that up to a plugin, but more on that later).
GoDaddy’s Website Builder
The first thing to note about GoDaddy’s website builder is that it’s the only one so far for which I’ve had to enter credit card info to get my “free” trial. Now, the trial is free—I have until a month from now to cancel—but this is a remarkably different approach than the other builders have taken. Squarespace, Wix, WordPress.com, and Weebly all have a completely free tier. GoDaddy has no such offering.
From there, I set off on my usual course of setting up a photography portfolio. At this point, GoDaddy’s website builder reminds me the most of Weebly’s. Much like Weebly, GoDaddy takes “drag and drop” website building all the way. You physically move features from a menu on the left to the page in development on the right. Much like Weebly, you see the site take shape before your eyes. You know exactly how each feature looks without needing to navigate away from your build by pressing “preview”.
Familiar Issues with Looking Generic
The tier I paid for (that is: signed up to pay for after my trial ends) is GoDaddy’s middle tier, which costs $9.99/month. Most of the other website builders offer a wider range of layouts and, moreover, a wider range of customization at similar price tiers. The photography portfolio theme they have available isn’t nearly as modern and clean as the offerings from SquareSpace and Wix. I can’t even tell the difference between their “Lawyer” and “Consultant” themes.
GoDaddy’s Paid Features
Godaddy falls somewhere between Weebly and WordPress.com when it comes to getting what you pay for.
It’s cheaper to add video and audio on WordPress.com than Weebly. GoDaddy takes a somewhat different approach and allows you to integrate YouTube into your site even at their cheapest tier ($5.99/month). It’s a great way to get a video on the site, but you might not have the robust analytics WordPress.com provides.
Weebly does a bit of a better job helping you drag and drop your various features into place. My experience with GoDaddy was that I was placing features on my site that fell where they may and were hard to make visual sense with. This is a bad thing for my photography site and any small business or nonprofit site. GoDaddy repeats all over their wares that you can do the whole thing with no “technical skill.” This is a bit of a stretch considering how haphazardly their sites seem to come together.
GoDaddy Doesn’t Seem Focused on their Website Builder
I mentioned above that GoDaddy sells “SEO Services”, a field most of the other builders I’ve written about offer with a feature or plugin of some kind. Granted, GoDaddy offers just that on their highest paid tier.
The reason I note this is that the process of doing real SEO—not the magical kind so many people talk about—takes a ton of ongoing work. A widget you can configure inside your site builder based on your specific needs and your specific audience is important to keep real SEO top-of-mind. The fact that a tool is not available for this until the highest paid tier, but professional services are available for it at an additional costs is indicative of how GoDaddy seems to run their business. Servers, logo design, WordPress hosting, SEO services, even domain parking are all for sale at GoDaddy. GoDaddy’s business is in selling you the peripherals of your website, not the core functionalities. Even the highest paid SEO consultant is not going to be able to handle the ongoing work of following the industry that you know best. What good are servers when you’re looking for an introductory website for your small business? Because all of these things appear to be at the forefront of GoDaddy’s strategy, their website builder really doesn’t stand out in significant ways.
Key Takeaways about GoDaddy
GoDaddy reminds me the most of Weebly. Like Weebly, GoDaddy took the term “drag and drop” very seriously. Compared to Weebly, however, GoDaddy’s builder seems less intuitive, less foolproof. If you’re looking for a simple website solution, you probably need something that is going help you avoid mistakes, and GoDaddy doesn’t seem to be it.
It’s worth noting that GoDaddy’s website builder has no free tier; this is unlike every other we have looked at so far. GoDaddy has many extras they can sell you when it comes to building a site and a brand. However, when it comes to things like logos and SEO consulting, you’re probably better off at a boutique than at a big company like GoDaddy. GoDaddy is a good builder if you’re ready to jump in and stay committed to one platform. They have so much under one roof and so few options for customization, it would be hard to go elsewhere once you get started.