Welcome to my GoDaddy website builder review aka, GoCentral.
According to their TV and radio ads (which I’ve pretty much now memorized word for word), GoDaddy makes it quick and easy for businesses to get online.
Maybe you’ve seen or heard these ads too and that’s why you’re here?
Before we see if that’s true, I’d like to point out that GoDaddy started it’s life offering domain names and hosting and that’s still the main focus of the business today.
So is GoDaddy’s website builder a serious contender?
Let’s go and find out.
GoDaddy Summary – For Those In a Hurry
1. Templates – Choose From Over 300 Professional Designs
After starting your free trial, the first thing to do is to choose a template which will give you a starting point for your site.
GoDaddy offers you a wide selection to choose from, over 300 actually and while that may sound daunting, they’ve filed them away into categories making it easier to find the right template to match your industry.
I’ve listed just a small selection of industries covered below;
- Home services
- Food and drink
- Real estate
For the purpose of this review, I decided to create a site for a fictional bakery.
I was then presented with a website containing high quality, bakery related stock images which helped to bring my test site to life.
One of the best thing about the templates is that the layouts are pre-designed making it quick and easy to swap out the content for that of your own.
It Certainly beats working from a blank page if you don’t have the first clue about design (like me!) Having said that, I was a little disappointed with the lack of customization options available.
You see, you have to work within the confines of your chosen template. While you can edit the basic, overall color of your site, text, and images that are already on the page, you can’t just go adding text or images where there aren’t any already.
2. Ease of Use – Simplicity is What GoDaddy Does Best
The good news is, GoCentral was designed with simplicity in mind and so you won’t have to spend days trying to figure things out.
Your chosen template will come filled with sample content which you can swap out for your own.
To make changes, you just have to click on the image or text that you wish to edit and then make your changes in the panel on the right-hand side of your screen. This is also the place where you can add pages, change the basic site color, and access your settings.
You can also add “Sections” to existing pages or it’s a great way to quickly build new pages.
These Sections are pre-made pieces of content and include about, contact, image gallery, calendar, services, and once in place can also be edited.
You can add as many sections as you wish to a page and re-order them to fit above or below the other sections. If you no longer want a particular feature, you can simply delete it.
3. Mobile – Ready To Go on Phones & Tablets
You won’t have to worry about creating a separate version of your site as GoDaddy automatically does this for you so there’s no need to give it a second thought.
Having said that, I prefer to get stuck in and move things around to give people using a smartphone or tablet a more streamlined experience.
While GoDaddy doesn’t give you very much control over how your site looks on mobile devices, you do have the option of excluding certain sections if they aren’t relevant to people on the move.
Okay, so this exclusion feature isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it does give you more control than some of the other website builders out there.
4. Tools & Features – A Little Thin On The Ground
Most of GoDaddy’s business and marketing features come in the form of sections as we touched upon above and can also be added from the main menu. These include price lists, menus, opening hours, Maps, and a PayPal button.
Let’s take a look at some of the main features that you may need when creating your new site;
Contact Form: You can add a contact form to your site and have the message emailed to an address of your choosing. While it does the job, it’s very basic. You can customize the field names but you can’t add additional ones such as “subject” or “phone”. There’s also no way of adding dropdowns or radio buttons which means it’s no good for other types of forms such as quotations or surveys.
Social media integration: To add social media follow buttons to your site, you simply have click on the “Social Section”. Icons include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube, linkedIn, and Yelp. You have a choice of 3 background colors but you can’t change the style of the icons themselves.
Customer reviews: I thought I’d find a section dedicated to customer reviews & testimonials which could be edited but no such luck! The only thing to do would be to adapt another section that you like the look of. There’s also no way of displaying existing reviews from others sites such as Facebook or Yelp.
Online bookings: GoDaddy has a booking form which can be integrated with your calender. An essential feature if you’re a service-based business and want your clients to be able to schedule their own appointments directly through your website. I should point out that this feature is only available for US customers and I haven’t personally tested it (Wix also has a native bookings platform that’s also available to people outside of the US)
Newsletter: GoDaddy has created an in-house platform to help you get started in the world of email marketing. You do this by adding a sign-up form to your site (or Facebook page) which allows you to keep in touch with subscribers and let them know about your latest offers and promotions.
Members Login: There currently isn’t a way to create any type of membership site or password protect your pages (Weebly’s great for membership sites).
Multilingual: While you can use GoDaddy in a variety of different languages, you can’t create a bilingual or multilingual website (Duda’s one of the best for multilingual sites).
Seach Engines: GoDaddy gives you access to most of the important stuff to help search engines understand your site such as page names, descriptions, and they automatically create a Sitemap which you can then submit to Google and Bing. I love the “SEO WIZARD” that actually walks you through the process of choosing the right keywords for your website (below). However, I decided to add an image gallery to my site and found that I wasn’t able to add descriptions to my images (ALT tags).
Visitor stats: You can connect your website to Google Analytics (free) to keep a check on how many visits you’ve had and people’s behavior while on your site.
Blogging: If you have any existing blog, then you can easily hook up the RSS feed and have it display on your GoDaddy website. However, there isn’t a way to create a new blog with GoDaddy (these four website builders all offer a blog).
5. Website Security – You’re in Safe Hands
I don’t usually add a whole section dedicated to security but I felt like, in this case, I had to.
You see, when you have a business website you want piece of mind that both you and your customers are safe when browsing your site.
Most providers make little mention as to what security measures they have in place. In fact, I’ve contacted some of them and asked directly and have been simply told “We have a full-time security team in place”.
Er, okay, thanks for that, whatever that actually means!
It’s quite obvious that GoDaddy takes security seriously and explains in plain English exactly what measures they have in place.
Piece of mind for your customers; Have you ever noticed the green padlock that shows up in your browser when you visit certain websites?
This only shows up on your site if you have an SSL security certificate installed.
At one time it was only important for online stores, but these days, it’s common practice all types of websites and blogs.
This feature is available on all premium plans and higher levels of security are available (at an additional cost) depending on your requirements.
Piece of mind for you; GoDaddy performs regular website scans to keep malware and viruses at bay. If somehow your site does get infected, the team will fix it which should help you sleep a little easier at night.
6. eCommerce – Sell Products Through Your Website
While only available on the most their most expensive plan (pricing further down the page), GoDaddy offers you the tools to begin selling online.
*Note: At this point in time, there isn’t a way to sell digital products such as ebooks or music.
Also, while you can import products from a spreadsheet, there is currently no option to export them should you wish to move platforms in the future.
With that said, setting up your store is a painless process thanks to their “do this and then do that” setup.
When you create a store you’ll be able to;
- Add product images and descriptions.
- Create variations of each product such as color and size.
- Assign product categories and unique item numbers.
- Manage inventory.
- Set up shipping methods such as flat-rate or weight based.
- Allow customers to purchase online with PayPal, major credit cards (through Stripe) and Apple Pay.
7. Customer Support – There When You Need ‘Em
GoDaddy is renowned for their great customer service and you can get in touch with them by phone or live chat. They also have a community forum packed with previously asked questions and answers.
Not being one to simply take other peoples word it, I decided to jump on live chat and ask the operator if there was a way to allow visitors to schedule appointments through my website.
In my experience, chat operators can usually answer the basics, but get a question like this and they usually pass me over to another department, or simply copy and paste a link to a written tutorial or video.
I was very surprised when the operator on the other side of the screen asked me if I was logged into my account as she took the time to walk me through the whole process step-by-step!
It’s nice to know the support team is there should you need them.
8. What Do Others Think?
GoDaddy has thousands of glowing reviews online for the domain and hosting side of their business.
Unfortunately, the reviews aren’t quite as flattering when talking about their website builder GoCentral. In fact, they’ve obtained fairly consistent 2 and 3-star ratings from other professional review sites which is mediocre at best.
For example, Steve over at SiteBuilderReport scores them 2 out of 5 stars and says…
Website Builder 8 is a step backwards for GoDaddy
Finding customer reviews isn’t quite as easy because as I mentioned above, the majority of them don’t actually relate to the website builder itself. However, I did find 23 of them on FitSmallBusiness which give a fairly balanced view and an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars.
One user tells of how he has been with GoDaddy for six years and it’s perfect for his needs due to the pricing and it’s simplicity. He also goes on to praise GoDaddy’s customer service.
Another user wasn’t quite as happy and described the website design as the worst that they had experienced and criticised the poor customer service.
Note: Reviews correct as of 22/03/18
9. Pricing – Which Plan is Right For You?
The first thing to note here is that GoDaddy doesn’t offer a “free website” option. You can’t blame ’em, they are a business after all.
Instead, you’ll be able to bag to a 1-month free trial where you can test things out and decide whether it’s a good fit.
After the free trial, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan if you wish to continue with your website. You can see the prices below;
- Personal Plan $5.99 per month: Best for hobby sites and local clubs and sports teams etc.
- Business Plan $9.99 per month: For basic business sites with SSL security and search engine optimization features.
- Business Plus $14.99 per month: For businesses who require social media integration and email marketing capabilities.
- Online Store Plan $29.99 per month: For those who wish to sell products online.
My Two Cents…
Before committing to a premium plan, I advise taking the 1-month free trial.
If you’re creating a site for your business, it’s probably worth choosing the Business Plan once you’re trial ends. If you then find that package doesn’t offer enough flexibility, you can always upgrade again to Business Plus.
No sense in jumping into to a higher priced plan straight away unless you’re sure that you’ll need those features right?
If you wish to sell products through an online store, you only have one option which is the Online Store Plan. The good news is, you can test it out first with the free plan first before deciding to commit.
10. Final Verdict
Well, I guess this is the part where I tell you if I recommend GoDaddy or not so let’s put it this way;
If a close friend or family member approached me and said…