I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been putting off this Duda review for almost two weeks now.
You see, when I first tested it, I had trouble wrapping my head around exactly who Duda would suit best.
Now I’ve come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes, I’m really glad I did!
Note: Just before we get started, I’d like to point out that this review is based on DudaOne (the general website builder) and not DudaMobile.
Duda Overview – For Those In a Hurry!
1. Templates – Modern & Mobile-Friendly
One of the first tasks before getting stuck in will be to choose a template for your website.
Duda gives you over 100 themes to choose or if you’d rather, you can start from scratch with a blank template.
They’re filed away into categories such as business, restaurant, portfolio, one-pager, store, and blog and they all come with sample text and images which you can quickly swap out for your own.
For example, my test site came with a home about, services, and contact page all ready to go which is a great time-saver for people like me who about as far away from a professional designer as you can get!
Regardless of which template you choose, it’ll automatically shrink-down to fit phones and tablets and you can view how they’ll look on said devices at any point from the main editor screen.
Good news if you’re a beginner as you’ll have a fair amount of freedom to customize your site on the front end including fonts, colors, background, and layout.
For more advanced users, Duda allows you to tinker around under the hood by giving you access to your sites code (HTML and CSS). This feature is available on the Business+ plan.
The only thing to be aware of is once you’ve chosen your template, you can’t change it. Although a little annoying, it’s fairly common practice amongst other platforms I’ve reviewed.
2. Ease of Use – Maybe It’s Just Me?
The website editor was the main reason I decided to leave Duda alone at first before coming back to it.
When I first stepped inside, I thought wow! The editor’s well laid out and the main admin panel sits on the left-hand side of the screen as you can see in the image below;
You can edit the existing text and upload your own images directly on the page. It’s also easy to add new pages, text blocks, image galleries, maps, form, and buttons all from the main control panel.
But the more you dig, the more options you’ll be met with and I don’t mind admitting I found it a little overwhelming at first.
I also had a tough time trying to align certain elements like my website title and images on my test site.
In fact, you could even say I got a little frustrated!
The situation wasn’t helped when I decided to go and check out other professional Duda reviews to see what people thought and to my surprise, most said how easy it is…huh?
However, when I came back to it and actually read some of the very helpful tutorials (that’s what they’re there for right?), I quickly got to grips with it and turns out it isn’t that difficult after all!
It’s just like anything in life, easy when you know how and Duda reminds me a little of Squarespace in that sense.
3. Creating Your Website – The Basics
In this section, I wanted to give you a quick overview of how Duda’s editor works to save you from the same frustrations that I had.
Rows: Your website pages (including sample content) are made up of “rows” that take up the width of the page. You can add and delete as many rows as you wish.
Columns: Inside each row, you have “columns” which is where you can add widgets such as text blocks and images. You can have multiple columns in each row.
Sections: “Sections” are premade pieces of content such as menu’s, testimonials, features etc which can be added to a particular row and can then be edited to save you having to create them from scratch.
4. Tools & Features
Personalize your visitors’ experience: Duda has a cool feature called the Personalization Tool. It’s something I haven’t seen anywhere else and I love it! It allows you to set different rules for certain visitors. For example, you can set a rule so that a welcome message or video pops up for visitors from the US only. Another example, you can have a click-to-call button pop up for anyone visiting from a mobile device. There are 16 pre-set rules or you can design your own.
Contact form: You can create anything from a simple contact form making it easy for people to get in touch, or you can customize the form further for quotations or even surveys.
Social Media: You’ll find all of your favorite follow and share buttons for a seamless integration between your website and social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Oh, and they’re customizable to boot!
Customer reviews: If you have existing Yelp reviews you can drag over the Yelp widget and display them on your page. Failing that, choose one of the great looking Testimonial sections (below) and manually edit them.
Bookings/appointment scheduling: Unlike Wix, Duda doesn’t have a native platform where clients can schedule their own appointments directly through your website. You can, however, add a third-party application using the HTML widget (which can found in the main menu). I was told by customer services that they recommend Calend.ly.
Newsletter: As with bookings, there isn’t an in-house email newsletter solution. What you can do is, create a great looking opt-in form (using the standard form builder) to capture your visitor’s email address and connect the form with an external email marketing provider such as MailChimp or Constant Contact.
Members login: While you can choose to password protect certain pages of your site, there isn’t a way to create any type of membership website.
Multilingual: While most website builders simply tell you to use Google Translate (which is hardly ideal), I’m pleased to say that Duda offers one of the best ways to create a bilingual or multilingual website that I’ve come across so far. It’s both user & search engine friendly and covers all of the main languages.
Search engines: Access your SEO settings on a sitewide and page-by-page basis. You’ll be able to edit page URL’s, titles, descriptions, and Duda will automatically create a sitemap which you can then submit to Google and Bing. Your website will come with SSL security (the little green padlock in your visitor’s browser) for their piece of mind and you can add alt descriptions to images for your visually impaired visitors. All of which can help give you a little bump in the search results.
Visitor stats: The in-house tools will show you how many visitors you’ve had and which pages they visited on your website. Alternatively, you can use Google Analytics.
Blogging: Once you’ve created your site, you can add a blog in just a couple of clicks from the admin panel. The platform’s easy to use and you can add an author name, date, tags, and share buttons to your posts. There’s a recent posts widget, search box, and you can backup all of your content. Personally, I’d like to be able to categorize and schedule posts, as well as have a built-in comments platform as you currently have to use Facebook comments or Discus.
eCommerce: In a word, Duda’s store is powerful! You can create a store right off the bat and use one of their dedicated eCommerce templates or you can add a store to your site down the road to sell your physical or digital products. You can even sell up to 10 items as a free member which is something you don’t see every day. All of the basic features you’d expect are there such as product variants, SKU’s, weights, ability to offer discounts and accept credit cards, PayPal, phone order, and cash on delivery. In addition, you can display real-time shipping rates from carriers such as UPS and the tax rate will automatically be set depending on the customers’ region or country.
5. Customer Support – Great But Not Instant
Duda has plenty of easy to follow, detailed tutorials available in the knowledge base which will be your first port or call should you find yourself in need of a little guidance (I know I did!).
Failing that, you can get in touch with the customer support team via email. I’ve contacted them a couple of times now and received replies in less than 10 hours.
As I touched upon earlier, there isn’t currently a way to get instant help such as phone or live chat and I for one would love to see at least one of these added in the not too distant future.
6. What Do Others Think of Duda?
You’ve listened to me ramble on for long enough about Duda so let’s take a look to see what others think;
Professional review site Merchant Maverick scored Duda a solid 4 out of 5 stars and said…
Having recently reviewed a string of uninspiring, weaksauce website builders, I found Duda to be a breath of fresh air.
When it comes to customer reviews, they can sometimes be a very fickle thing. Many people don’t tend to leave them unless they have a complaint so imagine my surprise when the majority of the 53 reviews I sifted through on G2Crowd were overwhelmingly positive and Duda achieved an average score of 4.3 out of 5.0.
What people like: Many customers who left reviews were part of an agency and praised Duda for their supportive and forward-thinking staff. They also like that you have enough tools to manipulate your website to meet your specific needs.
What they didn’t like: Many people said that they couldn’t find anything negative about their experience. After digging a little further, one customer said they’d like to see a “map” of all the menus and submenus. Another user said that there’s a learning curve involved (which I definitely agree with). Others said it was lacking membership features, calendar/scheduling tool, and one user was disappointed as they didn’t have access to their site’s database.
7. Pricing – Which Plan is Right For You?
It’ll only take you a minute to figure out which plan you need as there’s only 1 free plan and 2 premium plans.
The free plan, although it contains ads and you won’t have access to some features such as site languages, it’s still fairly flexible and you can even sell up to 10 products.
Premium plan 1) Business+ – Multilingual capability, SSL security, remove ads, designer mode, website backup, sell up to 10 products.
- $14.25/month (annual plan, billed upfront)
- $19/month (month-to-month)
- $299 site for life
Premium plan 2) Business + eCommerce – Full range of eCommerce tools and sell up to 2500 products.
- $22.50/month (annual plan, billed upfront)
- $29/month (month to month)
They’ll also throw in a free custom domain name (yourwebsite.com) for the first year with an annual plan (approx $15-$20 value).
8. Final Verdict
As I said in the intro, it took me a little while to get my head around Duda but now I have, I think it’s just moved into my top 5 personal favorites.
Don’t let that fool you though, if you’re creating your first website then there are easier platforms out there to help you achieve it.