GoDaddy is a huge international company with plenty of great things going on for it. The biggest ICANN domain registrar on the planet and one of the biggest names in web hosting, this corporation is synonymous with all things internet. However, when it came to website builders, GoDaddy was always strongly behind its biggest competition.
Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace have been dominating this market for many years now - and millions of users seem to prefer a simple website builder over a simple albeit more powerful web hosting option. So it came as a surprise to no one, when in 2017, GoDaddy refreshed its website builder, named it GoCentral and attempted to fight against the established leaders of the business.
In this GoDaddy website builder review, I will look into GoCentral, the company's newest attempt to woo the masses with an easy website building interface.
How did it do? Stick around and find out!
GoDaddy Website Builder Pricing & Plans
Unlike some other website builders, GoDaddy doesn't bother with the free plan - instead, you get a 30-day trial during which you can try out many of the platform's features. Any plan has a separate trial option - it's actually way better than getting a trial for the best plan and then becoming disappointed when you opt for a lower-tier option. Interested in what all of the GoDaddy website builder plans offer? Here's a list:
- Personal - a regular plan with core features, unmetered in both data and bandwidth.
- Business - includes all Personal features and adds SSL, SEO, and basic eCommerce capabilities.
- Business Plus - all of the above and adding email marketing + social media integration.
- Online Store - plan, featuring all of the features mentioned earlier and fully focusing on serving a powerful online store.
If this kind of an explanation doesn't quite cut it, here are all of the plans' features, put in a table form.
|Personal||Business||Business Plus||Online Store|
|How many website templates?||8||8||8||8|
|Can you connect your own domain?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|How many websites can you make?||1||1||1||1|
|Are email addresses included? (how many?)||1, free for 12 months||1, free for 12 months||1, free for 12 months||1, free for 12 months|
|Are there builder’s own ads on your website?||No||No||No||No|
|E-commerce available?||No||Yes (PayPal)||Yes (PayPal, appointments)||Yes (full)|
|How many add-ons?||Only GoDaddy's own||Only GoDaddy's own||Only GoDaddy's own||Only GoDaddy's own|
|Choice for server location||No||No||No||No|
|Free automated backups||No||No||No||No|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days for annual plans, 48h for monthly.||30 days for annual plans, 48h for monthly.||30 days for annual plans, 48h for monthly.||30 days for annual plans, 48h for monthly.|
And here are the prices you would have to pay: for each plan and each period (extra taxes may be applied to certain purchases).
|Personal||Business||Business Plus||Online Store|
There's not much to talk about - in many ways, that's a good thing. The plans are mostly differentiated by their eCommerce capabilities - that's the stuff that will set you back the most money.
Some good things come free too. For example, every GoCentral paid user gets 1 year of email (free of charge), and SEO/email marketing tools not only don't cost anything, but they're also easy to find and use.
Therefore, to sum it all up, I can say that the existing features won't blow your mind. The ones that are there, however, are well maintained and easy to find. The lack of custom templates (8 in total) is not great either but we'll talk about it later.
The prices may seem big, but we need some context to understand where they come from.
A full online store experience can only be received by paying $30 every month. Free domain is not included with any of the plans either, so that's one bonus missing.
This price is very comparable to Shopify's cheapest eCommerce plan - which has fewer features. Of course, that still may seem to be quite excessive, and there are plans that are way cheaper.
The cheapest, $5.99 plan falls in between of Weebly and Wix/Squarespace in terms of expense and there are no data/bandwidth limitations in any of the plans anywhere. For plenty of basic users not planning to sell online, "Personal" is seriously a good option which is not going to cost a fortune.
So there are two sides to this coin. If you want to big, it's expensive. If you aim to go simple, it's somewhere in the middle.
Creating a Custom Website
What is the point of all the fancy features and low prices if you can't put them to use and make a brilliant website?
That's what I thought, so in this part of the GoDaddy website builder review, we will see how good GoCentral is in building a custom website. Points will be rewarded for accessibility and ease of use.
There are not many designs to choose from. Although in the GoDaddy website you can see an incredible amount of different templates (over 300). They are all made from 8 key templates you can choose from.
Not very diverse - but those websites do the job.
Now, let's have a look at the building process. When you first start, you get asked the two main questions: what is the website about and how do you plan to call it.
You can choose from hundreds of different topics - even the ones I thought to be too niche, GoCentral already had in mind.
And so, the editing can begin. From what I gathered, the topic of the website is only used to choose a fitting stock background picture. Name of the website is used to offer you a domain (and give a subdomain) and to put a nice stock title on the front page as well.
The website editing is done in two ways - by using a sidebar on the right with three options (Theme/Pages/Site Settings) and by clicking on each element on the website and editing them as they are.
This is how the three options look like when you click on each of them.
The "Theme" is the real template of this website. Each theme has a slightly different structure which you then can adjust to fit your needs.
The second way you can customize your website is by interacting with the sections on the display. When you click on the title, for example, you get to edit it as well.
There are also plenty of little things, such as promotional banners. While they are not overly useful for many blogs or news websites, these are great for online stores looking to make sales.
Editing options are fairly limited though. For example, you can only choose from a handful of fonts and there seems to be no easy way to upload your own.
The good news is that this editing platform is so simple and so well-optimized, you can actually do it all on your mobile phone. No app, no specific software is needed. A full, 100% editing experience was fully available in the palm of my hand.
Hosting.Review Recreation Experience
In this part of the review, I'll attempt to fully recreate this very website - Hosting.Review, using only the stock, easily accessible tools given by the GoDaddy website builder.
As you may imagine, it didn't go very well. After all, the pages are predetermined. You can change the colors, the images, the menu items but you can't completely change a website - as you can with some other platforms.
Although I managed to get somewhat close.
Who wore it better?
In the end, all I can say is that GoDaddy website builder is not meant to recreate specific website designs (sorry, phishing experts). There are options for recreating - GoCentral is not the one. There are tools, sure. But they simply too limited.
GoCentral Website Builder Performance
What have we gathered so far? GoCentral website builder offers a very simple, multi-platform editing experience but severely lacks in customization options. Pricing goes all the way from "reputable" to "questionable" but you get free email for a year and can start working with SEO and mail marketing straight out of the box.
Now, it is time to check on one of the most important things for every website builder. That is, of course, performance. For a couple of weeks, we have been testing two very important things that help define the quality of the service:
- Website’s response time
- Overall server uptime
As our history shows, website builders got fairly quick throughout the 2017. Early spring last year, we were glad to find builders with response times below 800ms. Now, below 500ms is the norm.
Expectations of overall server uptime haven't changed though. 100% is ideal, under 99.9% is unsatisfactory, everything in the middle is circumstantial.
So let's see how good is the GoDaddy website builder performance - and how it stacks up:
Really not bad. 100% uptime is literally perfect - it's a great showing.
Another great thing is just how stable the speeds were. In a randomly-selected 24h period only once there was a 2-second performance bump. All the other time, the performance was stable and great. Response times go hand-in-hand with the good web hosting companies and even improve on the actual GoDaddy hosting! (around 400-500 ms there)
Combine speeds and the impeccable uptime - they paint the picture of this website builder being optimised for terrific performance. No worries here.
You can choose from two types of customer support - GoCentral is a GoDaddy product - therefore, you share the same support the hosting clients do. In some ways, this is a great thing, in some - not so much. I've already done a review of GoDaddy support performance a few months back. But this is a new review, so I ran the paces once more! Here are my main takeaways:
- It's 24/7! Full 24/7 with no exceptions! Many website builder providers have their "off" hours, despite even having their support offices all around the globe. GoDaddy understands that its client base is global, therefore, the support follows suit.
- Chat support doesn't take much time to pick up, too. It's lovely to see an estimated time remaining when you start each session. This way you know whether you're expected to be glued to the screen or can go and make yourself a cup of coffee.
- The agents attempt to be friendly but the answers they put out are not always clear or contain full information. More often than not this is a case of the company not having a good internal knowledge base.
- The phone support, on the other hand, is great. GoDaddy has a well-deserved reputation for having terrific phone support which takes no time to pick up and hires knowledgeable agents. Simply put - I was unable to find a hole in their knowledge. Anything related to making a page, managing a page, or using various tools, was completely simple.
At the end of this evaluation, I can't really give GoCentral support a clear mark. I think it needs a separate group of professionals working actively to help people avoid any confusion. If GoDaddy is to take its website builder seriously, it should help its agents out in chat requests and phone support. For now - it's decent. Just simply could be better.
GoDaddy Website Builder Review – Conclusion
GoCentral website builder comes with loads of promise. It's a new, intuitive, 2017 system, backed by one of the service giants and it actively aims to replace a lot of the clunky, difficult to use website builders. Sadly, simplicity is actually what's currently hurting it.
You can't even blog on the thing! Instead, you can create a frontend to an external platform. You can't add custom headers, titles, buttons and so on. Everything is constrained and I feel like the platform could be a lot more powerful even without sacrificing the amazing usability.
It's an incredibly easy-to-use builder you can edit even with your mobile phone. GoCentral is ready for SEO and email marketing and is capable of giving businesses a great online facelift with no coding knowledge required.
If you want your websites to look a little bit better? You may choose Wix or Weebly. Do you want a simple platform with 24/7 support on both phone and live chat? GoDaddy blows everyone out of the water here.
- 24/7 phone and chat support is something none of the major competitors can do.
- Terrific uptime and response times.
- Very easy to use. Easiest out of the entire competition.
- Lack of customisation options.
- Only 8 main templates to choose from, some would be considered outdated.
- Not many features, domain name not included with any of the purchase.