GoDaddy Site Builder

Date Tue, June 17 2014

Although I have been a GoDaddy customer for years, I have only used the service for my domain name needs, using another service to actually host my website. It wasn’t until I was able to try out the sitebuilder thanks to BzzAgent that I tried another product from them.

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For this review, I was able to try out the sitebuilder for one year. The Business Plus plan comes with enough space for the five included pages and images or other media you’d like to add. I also got a free domain name, and the sitebuilder comes with integrated SEO services.

Obviously, I am not quite the target user here. I have manually installed, fixed and moved multiple blogs over the year. I am comfortable with PHP and savvy with HTML and CSS. It has literally been over a decade since I’ve used a page builder, and that one was on Geocities! LOL However, this also puts me in the position to talk about how this compares to doing it yourself or hiring someone else to create you a customized Web presence.

So let me talk about how easy the sitebuilder is to use. After buying the Business Plus plan with my included domain name, it immediately became accessible with GoDaddy’s “Coming Soon” message. Upon logging in to my account, I saw a link to the site builder, so I clicked.

I was then able to choose from a variety of themes based on subject. I went with the domain name Been Around The Blog and looked for a writing-related theme. There was one, but it wasn’t to my liking. I think I wound up choosing one for lawn care. While there are plenty of themes, you may have difficulty choosing one based on your website’s specific focus, and you have to choose from one of those. It would be nice if the sitebuilder had a couple super-generic blog or portfolio type layouts for those cases. The theme options are designed to be compatible on both desktop and mobile.

GoDaddy's Sitebuilder Module Options

GoDaddy’s Sitebuilder Module Options

Once I chose a layout, I was led to a pretty standard WYSIWYG editor. You might know this as a drag and drop editor. As I mentioned, you get up to 5 pages with the builder, so you start with suggested pages and can edit all the text, images and other content on each page. You can click on any exiting element to change it or select  an element from the sidebar to add. These include maps, social media links, slideshows, navigation, forms, videos, your own HTML code and RSS feeds, among others.  There are also “apps” you can install, which include the ability to display real estate listings, sell products via PayPal and show company reviews from Yelp. Technically, you can display almost anything if you add custom HTML, but whether it shows up nicely depends on your theme (more on that below).

When it comes to text, there are specified styles for each theme to keep it uniform and attractive, but you might have issues getting things to look “perfect.” This is one of the downfalls of WYSIWYG editors — it’s nearly impossible to replicate styles and position from page to page. When I had tried the writing theme, I ran into this problem. The index had a texture behind text, and I couldn’t figure out how to replicate it on other pages. I think I’ve done a decent job on Been Around the Job, but I really bristle at the lack of options.

For me personally, that’s the downfall of sitebuilders like this one from GoDaddy. I know I can do so much more and I know how, but starting with a sitebuilder isn’t the best way to do it because of limitations. Ultimately, while GoDaddy provides plenty of options, you have to do some digging to find them. It would take less to use WordPress or manually write a page for me, and people who are less tech-savvy might find the digging frustrating. You can contact GoDaddy at any time through email or over the phone, though.

For example, I was unable to edit an element. As is turns out, it was locked on a layer behind another element. Locking and choosing Z-index (stacking elements) is nice, but it is less awesome when you’re not sure how to use it. Some sort of walk through overlay would be a great way to learn how to use this.

Some things are easy enough, though. The sitebuilder has “forward” and “back” buttons to undo or redo changes. You can save and preview, and most changes occur only on single pages, which you can switch between. You’re able to rename pages and links with a few clicks of the mouse.

However, I think many people will generally be able to create a small functional website that exists mostly to provide information. The sitebuilder isn’t going to create the most immersive or interactive website if that’s what you’re after. In fact, if you know that, I would recommend hiring a Web developer with experience.

On the other hand, if you want a simple website with a low cost, GoDaddy might be a good option. One thing I did like was the SEO options. Search engine optimization is super important if you want people to find your website, and GoDaddy knows this. The SEO wizard walks you through optimizing every page on your site by asking for focus keywords and making sure you use them in meta data, headings and page titles. This is an easy way to optimize your website for search engines and learn how to use SEO in the future. If your options are between making a few pages in static HTML or using the pagebuilder, the SEO options alone make it worth your money.

The last feature, which I did not use, is the ability to customize your social media profiles to match your new website. After you connect your Facebook and Twitter profiles, they can edit your cover photos and user images.

For people who need a website right now who have a relative understanding of computers but lack the time, money or knowledge to either do it themselves or hire a professional, GoDaddy offers a third option. You can try GoDaddy’s sitebuilder for $1 for the first month with code cjc30wsb5.


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GoDaddy’s Sitebuilder Module Options

Date Sun, June 15 2014

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