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Powered by one of the biggest web hosts, the new-and-improved GoDaddy Websites + Marketing tool has its pros and cons. Other site builders might still have better templates and more advanced apps and plugins, but GoDaddy excels for its ease of use, personalized guidance, and responsive customer support.
GoDaddy, one of the biggest names in web hosting and domain registration, has recently released a new update to GoDaddy Websites + Marketing. Butdoes the new platform really do anything better, or are you better off with an alternative website builder?
Well, the rebrand was certainly enough to make me curious, so I decided to put the builder to the test. I discovered some pros, but there were also a few cons that might make you think twice.
GoDaddy now offers a free plan, which might be enough for you, depending on your needs. But before you invest any time in building a website, you should read on to see what I found out.
Versatile and Attractive Themes, but Limited Variety
The new GoDaddy Website Builder offers about a hundred variations of 22 main themes. All templates are mobile-responsive, and you can preview them on desktop and mobile as you edit.
When you get started, GoDaddy suggests a template for you. The site builder even pre-loads your template with relevant stock photos based on the industry you’ve selected. For the fake pet grooming business I used in my test, I got a slightly-absurd-but-adorable dog in sunglasses.
You can stick with the suggested template or apply a new template at any time, even after you begin editing your site. GoDaddy templates vary in terms of layouts, fonts, and colors.
Packed with Features to Build (and Grow) Your Website
GoDaddy Websites + Marketing offers some interesting features to help you get found on search engines, engage your site visitors, and make more sales. Let’s take a closer look.
A Simple Editor with Hundreds of Preset Sections
There are hundreds of ready-made Sections in 25 categories. These are essentially different types of content blocks you can add to your webpages.
The real issue with GoDaddy’s templates and content sections is that you get very few options for customization and personalization. Where other website builders give you the complete ability to edit every element of your page separately, GoDaddy only lets you choose a primary and secondary font and accent colors for your entire site.
Here are a few standout features you can add to your page from the Add Section menu:
Private pages – Make certain pages visible only to members with subscriptions.
Appointment booking – Allow site visitors to schedule one-time or recurring appointments.
Calendar – Display a public calendar by linking to any calendar with an iCal URL (e.g., Google and Office 365).
WhatsApp chat button – Let site visitors send direct messages to your phone through WhatsApp.
External reviews – Display reviews from sites like Facebook, Google MyBusiness, Yelp, and Yotpo.
Editing on the Go
Another new feature of GoDaddy Website Builder is the GoDaddy App.
Available for iOS and Android, the GoDaddy App lets you edit your website from any mobile device. A few fine-tuning options aren’t available on the app, but most of the website customization options and settings are.
Some Built-In Integrations, but No App Market
Instead of offering an app market like Wix, GoDaddy Website Builder has a few built-in integrations to enhance your site’s functionality:
Restaurant reservations through OpenTable
Online food orders through ChowNow
MLS/IDX real estate listings
Posts from your Instagram Business Profile
Reviews on Zillow
The plus side here is that you don’t have to worry about dealing with any third party integrations. That said, other website builders (like Wix or WordPress.com) have many more advanced apps and plugins available for live chat, forums, and other useful features.
Guided Tools for SEO, Marketing, and Social Media
GoDaddy Website Builder comes with an impressive suite of tools to help customize your website.
GoDaddy Insight™ and Custom Action Plans
GoDaddy Insight analyzes your industry and website goals to provide specific recommendations for improving your site. Just select a few business goals, then wait for your custom action plan to be generated.
In addition to this to-do list, you’ll get a numerical Insight scoreto show how you’re doing in terms of site usability, visitor engagement, outreach, and social media presence.
I found the customized Insight suggestions to be helpful, and I think beginners would benefit from them. This tool won’t do the work for you, but it tells you where to start.
Search Engine Visibility Tool
Another tool GoDaddy offers is Search Engine Visibility. Included with all four plans, this walk-through wizard helps optimize your site’s keywords, site title, meta descriptions, and header text.
Every plan includes a number of email marketing messages per month. The cheapest plan includes 100 emails per month, while the most expensive one lets you send up to 25,000. If you have an existing subscriber list, you can add them manually or import a CSV file.
Other Business Tools
Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll also get access to a few other useful tools and add-ons:
A free business email for one year (through Microsoft Office 365)
Social-media platform listings – sync your site to Facebook, Instagram, or Yelp and create posts straight from your GoDaddy dashboard
Free ad credits for Microsoft, Google, and Yelp
Google Analytics and Google AdSense (in the US only)
E-commerce: Selling Products on Your Site
Building an online store with GoDaddy Website Builder is incredibly easy, though you’ll have to choose the most expensive plan to do it. (The monthly cost is comparable to e-commerce plans on other popular site builders like Wix and Weebly, though.)
Keep in mind that the e-commerce features aren’t available everywhere quite yet. Right now, they’re pretty much in just the English and Spanish-speaking markets (including most of Europe).
A few stand-out features GoDaddy offers for your online shop include:
External sales – List your products on marketplaces like Amazon.com, Etsy, and eBay.
SMS notifications – Get text alerts for each sale you make.
Abandoned cart emails – Send automated emails encouraging customers to complete their orders.
Product reviews – Enable Yotpo to collect and display reviews on product pages.
If you already have products associated with a Square account, you can also import them directly with a CSV file. The current limit for products is 10,000.
GoDaddy has some of the lowest industry transaction rates thanks to its partnership with PayPal. Plus, it doesn’t take sales commissions. You will only be charged the standard transaction fee from your payment processor.See full list of features
Ease of use
Beginner-Friendly, from Website Building to SEO
GoDaddy Website Builder is one of the easiest-to-use builders I’ve personally tested. Even as a beginner, chances are you’ll never run into a feature that you won’t manage to figure out yourself.
Simple Point-and-Click Editor
To edit your site, just click into any element to customize it, and all additional changes (color, alignment, and so on) will be shown in the right-hand editing bar.
Each page is divided into sections for easier customization. You can make large-scale changes to entire sections by clicking the Layout button. For instance, in the About Us section above, you can choose from six preset layouts.
Automatic Backups to Save Your Changes
Building a new website always involves some trial and error, and even experienced web designers make mistakes. That’s why I like GoDaddy’s automatic backup and Site History tab.
You can restore previous versions of your website by clicking Settings and then Site History. You can manually back up your site and even rename your back-up files to easily remember which version is which.
Trust me, this safety net will make your entire website building process much less stressful.
Streamlined Account Management Through Your Dashboard
Managing your website is just as easy as building it. All of your account information is shown on your dashboard where you can make edits to your website and manage everything else, including sales.
You can also buy a domain through the dashboard. If you want to connect an existing domain, just click “I already own a domain” and follow the step-by-step instructions.
24/7 Phone and Chat Support, Plus an In-Depth Help Center
You can contact GoDaddy’s customer support through phone or live chat, and there’s also a Help Center on the website. I’m a bit disappointed there’s no email option, but you can’t win ‘em all, I guess.
I tried all of the channels to test the quality of the support. My interactions were all in English, but GoDaddy offers country-specific phone numbers for more than 50 locations around the world.
The Phone Support Was Awesome
I called GoDaddy customer support a couple of times, and I found the support agents to be polite, clear, and helpful. They felt more like actual support professionals rather than salespeople, which is always what you hope for…but not always what you get.
Wait times vary drastically, as the first call took nearly 20 minutes of waiting, while the second took only two. If you start from the live chat box, GoDaddy gives you a fairly accurate estimate of current wait times.
Despite my lifelong dislike of talking on the phone, my experience was surprisingly pleasant. And, trust me, I asked a ton of questions on these calls.
The answers I received were clear and non-salesy. The second agent, Michael, was particularly upfront about when GoDaddy wouldn’t be the right solution for my e-commerce shop. His example: “If you’ve got over a thousand products and hundreds of shoppers a day, you’ll want a less restrictive environment. Most people at that point move to WordPress.”
Live Chat Was Not as Great
Unfortunately, my rave review for the phone support doesn’t extend to live chat. My biggest issue was that GoDaddy claims to offer 24/7 live chat…but nine times out of 10, the live chat was “offline.”
When I called customer support, I asked why live chat never seems to work. Michael’s response was that it was just my browser. I did some snooping online and easily found that many GoDaddy users have had the same problem…so I’m a little skeptical about his response. Turns out that chat is currently only available to English speaking US customers, which didn’t help me in Mexico.
Once I finally got a hold of someone on chat (Anshika D., to be exact), I found her answers friendly and professional. Compared to the phone call, though, they seemed much more copy-and-paste and sales-oriented.
For example, I asked about “social media listing platforms,” which is advertised as a feature on all GoDaddy Website Builder plans. The first response was an upsell about GoDaddy’s separate (and paid) social media management.
I did eventually manage to get a clear answer, but it took a few minutes and it wasn’t the most seamless experience.
GoDaddy has an informative Help Center with FAQs, a blog, and the GoDaddy Community forum. When searching the Help Center, choose the dedicated section for Websites + Marketing.
GoDaddy also has a How-To section unlike any other website builder I’ve seen. On this page, you can watch video tutorials grouped into comprehensive, stand-alone courses.
Reasonable Pricing and a Free Plan
In addition to its new free plan, GoDaddy offers four paid subscription plans: three for personal or general business websites and one for e-commerce shops.
Plans are available on a monthly or yearly basis, and you can save significantly with an annual subscription. You can pay with all major credit cards, PayPal, wire transfer, and other regional payment processors.
You have to select “start for free,” even if you want to sign up for a paid plan right off the bat. Otherwise, this is a good way to see if you like working with the editor. If you keep the free plan, your site will have a GoDaddy subdomain. You’ll have to upgrade before you can connect your own domain.
You can keep your site free forever, or upgrade to a paid plan whenever you want.
Cancellations & Refunds
You can request a refund within 30 days of purchasing an annual plan or 48 hours of purchasing a monthly plan. Watch out for one hidden cost: If you’ve purchased an annual plan with a free domain, the list price of your domain name will be deducted from your refund.
There’s no button to click to cancel your account – instead, you’ll have to contact customer support to process the request for you.
Good product overall, but very uneven and frustrating at times
In general, I was able to build an attractive website using GoDaddy's Websites and Marketing platform. That said, there are things about it that are extremely frustrating. First and foremost, the tool's text editor is horrible. There is no ability to set text left, right or center justified, and many of the templates automatically center text. While there's an option for bullets, they look unprofessional because they dangle out so far into the content fields. Case in point, the text field box for Terms and Conditions -- often 1,000s of words long, appears about 2 inches high and becomes impossible to navigate because of the length and complexity of the documents. Of course, no one reads those documents but if you care about your site looking professional even for the legalese, you're out of luck with GoDaddy. The Caption, Description/Alt Text fields for images vary by template -- and likely when and who developed them. There's no rhyme or reason to when a caption is visible -- and worse, some of the field with character limits lack character counters -- and when you exceed 100 characters jump to the 100th character regardless of where you're editing and begins deleting backwards from 100. It's maddening -- and just sloppy design and QA. GoDaddy doesn't provide style sheets for the various templates to guide you on aspect ratios for images. You can make it work, but only after experimentation. Again, this really only matters if you care about design and professionalism. The "technical support teams" really are salespeople gussied up to provide support. Their real training appears to be upselling, not truly helping users with technical issues. I've been GoDaddy customer for many years and am finishing my second site with them -- now on the Website and Marketing platform after years with an old WordPress site that was much more than my new business needs. I like the company, but when you use the tool for hours every day, you realize how good it could be if someone in GoDaddy's design, programming and QA teams actually tried to use the tools they develop.
GoDaddy's website builder is very useful - it's simple to navigate and you don't need any prior website building knowledge to use it. There's a decent template selection and a number of features to add to your site. The only downside I see is that it isn't the best option if you want to build a site to sell stuff. If that's the case, it is better to look elsewhere. But if you are looking to create a blog or informative website, it is a great option.
We have been GoDaddy clients for more than six years, and yet one sunny day our website went down. After four days of repeated calls to GoDaddy and hearing a bunch of rubbish in response, we are trying to get our files back - and they are telling me that there is no way. On the way to sue them... STAY AWAY!
This review incorrectly states GoDaddy has page level password protection, but as of July 2014 that is incorrect. Website Builder v.6 had this feature, but it was lost when they "upgraded" to v.7. This was a necessary feature for me building a website for a high school athlete to share with college coaches. Their tech support tried to help, but the problem is the poor software. Now I have to use Word Press, SquareSpace or Weebly. No wonder GoDaddy had hosting on sale for $1/month. :(
V7 is by far are the worst website builder I have ever experienced. I want to puke whenever I'd have to go in and use it. if they force and migration from v6 to v7, I'm moving to another company. I may go with square space, or 1 and 1. I think that we should all get together and sign a petition to let us keep v6.
GoDaddy Website Builder isn’t my top choice in terms of website templates or creative freedom. If you want more control over the look of your site, you’ll be better off with an alternative website builder, like Wix or Squarespace. But this platform really stands out for its convenience and ease of use. Thanks to the uncluttered, user-friendly editor, even total beginners can create a professional-looking website in very little time.
I especially like the personalized guidance that GoDaddy offers. From the step-by-step SEO wizard to the Insight action plans and 24/7 multilingual support, you’ll get the guidance you need to take your website to the next level. However, if you need advanced plugins, specific design customizations, or powerful e-commerce features, GoDaddy is probably not for you.
Andrea is an experienced content writer, copywriter, and editor with special interests in graphic design, sustainable development, travel, and literature. Originally from Texas, she has lived around the world and makes frequent trips to explore new places and visit family in Japan.