Godaddy may not be the first place online you’d think about when you want to build a website but they actually provide everything a small business might need to get online. Domains, web hosting, SSL certificates and yes, a website builder.
In the past year, they upgraded their website builder and rebranded it as GoCentral to compete with the likes of Weebly, Wix and Squarespace.
I’m a fan of WordPress for building websites and would not use any of these to create anything but not everyone thinks that WordPress is as easy to use as I do.
I took a look at GoCentral, tested it out and now I’m writing this review to share my thoughts on Godaddy’s website builder and how it compares to SiteRubix, the WordPress based website builder I use almost exclusively.
Getting Started with GoCentral
To get started with GoCentral, you can use your existing Godaddy login if you have a Godaddy account or you can create one. You can also connect with your Facebook account which is easier.
You do not need to input your credit card info to get started. There is a 30 day free trial after which you’d have to choose from one of their 4 plans – Personal, Business, Business Plus or Online Store.
The pricing ranges from $5.99 per month billed annually on the Personal Plan to $29.99 per month ($359.88/year) if you want to use the Online Store Plan.
GoCentral promises an easy to use website builder for building a beautiful, mobile responsive website for your business. In the following promo video for GoCentral, Godaddy highlights what you can do with the website builder.
To get you started with your website building, Godaddy greets you with a wizard when you first log in, that asks two things of you – pick a topic (what’s your website about) and pick a design based on the topic you chose.
From what I saw, GoCentral has about 8 templates that are used for all the designs but they’re only varied by the stock photos that match the topic you chose for your website. You can further vary the designs by changing colors, fonts, using your own photos, and adding/deleting sections from your design.
GoCentral Ease of Use
I found GoCentral very easy to use. Godaddy makes it easy for a novice to get their website up by guiding them through the web building process right from the beginning.
Then they let you edit different aspects of your website, from the theme to the content through easy to use editing forms alongside an always visible live preview of your website.
You can easily add and delete different elements on the page, change images, add buttons and SEO optimize pages to complete your website.
Embedding a video or adding a signup form for collecting subscribers are just some of the things you can do by adding a “section” to any content area. You can also add a section that lets you input custom HTML.
I found myself asking “can it do this” quite often only to find that you can easily do a lot of things by adding sections or going through the site settings.
There was however one thing that bugged me and this to me was the deal-breaker. You cannot add a blog where you can post content to.
A blog is very important to your website building for a number of reasons – for keeping your website fresh and updated which lets the search engines know that you have a relevant website and to keep building traffic by adding new keyword focused content.
To find that GoCentral doesn’t have a way to add a blog to your website is just one of the cons of Godaddy’s website builder offering.
I did find a section that lets you add a blog but on trying it out, it lets you add an RSS feed for any blog from a different domain. That is no good.
Features Available in GoCentral’s Website Builder
GoCentral does have a lot of features that are essential to running a website and I’ll just run then down here so you can see what’s available.
It lets you:
- add a custom domain name
- search engine optimize your pages
- add links to your social media accounts with buttons
- track your traffic through Google Analytics
- translate your website in multiple languages
- add a favicon
- backup your website and restore backups
- monetize your website with Google Adsense
- let visitors schedule appointments
- add a photo gallery
- add a menu or price list
- collect email subscribers
- display a calendar of events
- add a contact page with maps and opening hours
- add Paypal buttons
- create a download page by attaching files
- add an online store with shopping cart
- embed video from YouTube or Vimeo
- embed audio from Soundcloud
- accept reservations
- add a logo section (like a “featured on” section)
What I found is that GoCentral is more geared towards small business type websites than a website builder for affiliate marketers who will most likely find it a bit restrictive.
With plugins, widgets and multipurpose themes and just having the ability to extend your website and easily grow your traffic through blogging, marketers would feel more at home with WordPress. You can find almost any plugin to do all the things GoCentral allows you to do and more.
If you just need a simple website for your offline business, then GoCentral might just be the website builder to use but if you plan on doing more you might find it a bit restrictive.
- simple to use
- has a lot of essential features
- websites look great on desktop and mobile
- live preview is great as you build
- populates your website with images
- easily switch between designs
- easily integrates social
- you cannot add a functional blog
- too few templates to work with
- not many third party applications to extend your site
- a little too restrictive
What About Support?
Getting lost while trying something new is no fun. Having a support system to lean on helps to ease your frustrations.
GoCentral offers a couple of options in terms of support if you’re looking for help building your website and they do a good job of reminding you along the way.
I got an email about a week into building my test website to remind me of these options for support.
The first one is a phone number you can call for 24/7 support.
Then there is an online Help Center which you can reach from any page on the Godaddy website by clicking “Help” at the top of the site and navigating to the GoCentral product.
I found this to be very helpful with a number of tutorials which included step by step instructions with pictures. Also included was community help where you could ask questions and get answers in a forum type setting.
Then there is a third option where you can let the Godaddy team build the website you want which to me defeats the purpose but some might consider this is they’re not making any progress. However, this would not be an option for me.
So the support system is definitely in place and if you’re using GoCentral to build a website, then you should be OK if you run into any obstacles.
Final Thoughts on GoCentral Website Builder
To be honest, I liked GoCentral. I haven’t played around with anything other than WordPress since my early days on the internet.
After using WordPress to build a website around 2008, I haven’t looked back for the simple reason that a huge percentage of websites on the web are using WordPress. It is easy to use, has a large community of developers, can be extended with the use of plugins and design-wise, there are thousands and thousands of themes.
I didn’t like that GoCentral doesn’t let you add a blog. Any website product in 2018 should let you do that without even having to ask. For this simple reason WordPress will beat GoCentral any day as most affiliate marketers will want to keep adding fresh content to their website on a regular basis and let people interact with that content. It’s great for all types of websites too, even the ones GoCentral lets you build.
For me, I’ll stick with SiteRubix, which is built on WordPress, and has a lot of great addon features. Best of all, if you know nothing about marketing on the internet, SiteRubix comes with marketing training and a community of marketers who are down to help each other build their businesses.