One of the biggest players in domains, hosting, and websites is GoDaddy. Around since the late 1990s, they have arguably become one of the most recognized names for people wanting to launch a website. But they aren't the only option and they’re worthy of a comprehensive review before you commit.
We're taking a closer look at the GoDaddy Website Builder and their auxiliary suite of services to help you comparison shop.
With professional service providers and small businesses in mind, we examine what GoDaddy does right and where they are lacking.
What is GoDaddy?
GoDaddy is one of the world's largest domain registrars and web hosting companies. It’s best known as a source for domain name research and purchasing, but it also provides website design and marketing services.
Launched in 1997 by the original CEO, Bob Parsons, the company began its journey under the name Jomax Technologies. It is now one of the longest-standing website hosting firms, serving over 20 million customers and supporting 84 million domain names globally.
In the last decade, GoDaddy has come under fire for its unethical business practices, including highly salacious advertisements, as well as some of the personal antics of its higher-ups.
But with new management, GoDaddy has matured from its problematic marketing strategies and executives. Today, the company aims to be a one-stop-shop for people worldwide to buy, host, and build websites.
What features does GoDaddy include?
First and foremost, GoDaddy is a domain registrar. But, over its 25 years of existence, it has evolved to support entrepreneurs with a broad menu of services.
GoDaddy Inc. is an internet domain registrar. You can research domain names through this service to find unique, affordable options.
Advanced services include a domain name generator, value appraisal, and investment opportunities. You can even use its "Find a Domain Owner" service to discover who holds onto specific websites.
A simple do-it-yourself (DIY) website builder walks you through the entire process, from choosing a template to adding content and going live.
GoDaddy's websites are built on one of its hundreds of possible templates. The platform supports advertising and measurement services for better business insights. The builder also has built-in tools for managing your SEO, social media, and email marketing efforts.
Website design services
For business owners who don't have time to tackle website design themselves, GoDaddy has a custom website service. They currently offer four distinct packages:
- Standard Website
- Premium Website
- Standard Web Store
- Premium Web Store
Each package includes a set number of pages (4 to 10), basic SEO setup, advanced features like videos and image sliders, essential and optional cookies, and free SSL certificates for security.
Unfortunately, no prices are available online for GoDaddy’s website design services in the US. You have to contact their sales team for a quote. In Australia, all custom websites require a one-time build fee (starting at AUS $1,200), and an ongoing monthly service fee (starting at AUS $15).
Web hosting company
Another one of GoDaddy's core offerings is web hosting options. Options start with a small "Economical" plan and range up to the "Maximum" plan that ensures maximum processing power and loading speeds.
Every plan includes an SSL certificate for security, daily backups, worldwide data centers, and access to over 150 free apps including Joomla, WordPress, and more.
GoDaddy Inc. lets you send and receive emails from your own domain name, plus backend office support through Microsoft 365. Email can be purchased separately or in combination with Microsoft 365. All email plans come with storage and the option to add email security and backup services.
Digital marketing suite
GoDaddy has built a digital marketing dashboard to simplify online marketing for small businesses. It can create and manage online ads, social media (Facebook included), emails, and reviews.
The GoDaddy digital marketing suite has the following features:
- Built-in SEO
- Analytics and reporting
- Content creator and templates
- Up to 25,000 emails a month
To streamline content creation for entrepreneurs, the GoDaddy Studio App is a template-driven service that helps produce customizable posts for all social channels. This still requires your custom copy but helps kick-start the process with a predesigned template.
The Studio App provides templates and stock images for logos, Facebook, and Instagram, among others.
How much does GoDaddy cost?
You'll quickly notice that a lot of GoDaddy's messaging revolves around the statement, "Start for free." But let's be clear, GoDaddy isn't a free website builder.
The "free" is followed by "trial." You can start experimenting with a draft website for free, but live websites and custom domains require you to pay.
The following is a summary of typical costs you can expect to pay for the platform's most common offerings:
Domains: $20 average / annually.
Domains are charged annually, often with a signup bonus. Of course, there is a considerable variation in price point depending on the domain (.com, .cloud, .cc, etc.), the market, and the contract length.
*Free websites are not live and are hosted on a godaddysites.com domain.
Unlike other website building services, which we found confusing to navigate between all the service options like (LinkNow Media), we can give GoDaddy credit for a straightforward menu.
But, according to customers, hidden costs often get packed on top of their advertised plans. If you aren't careful, you could find that the deals and free trials applied during checkout automatically renew for a sizable sum.
This means the cheap website builder or web host you signed up for starts costing you hundreds of dollars more than you expected.
The GoDaddy business model is designed to sign customers up for a multi-year contract with a steal of a deal in the first year. Then, prices go up significantly. Unfortunately, these annual rate increases aren't transparent, only appearing in the fine print.
Who is GoDaddy best suited for?
GoDaddy is a massive multinational company working for a very generalized audience. It aims to please everyone, from authors starting a personal blog to ecommerce companies pulling in millions of dollars a year in sales.
It appears that GoDaddy tries to serve everyday entrepreneurs looking for a simple DIY solution. They offer easy-to-use tools that fit just about any budget.
But for anyone where budget is a concern, GoDaddy's annual rates aren't transparent enough to support accurate forecasting. The price you pay in year one will not be the price you pay going forward. As a business, you need a future-proofed platform that gives you predictability and stability, not one that you'll have to migrate from in a year.
It's also worth noting that the primary GoDaddy service model is a build-it-yourself one. Unless you invest in the custom Website Design Services option (and there are no costs listed for this in the US), you are responsible for working with the template, updating the copy, and getting it online.
What are the pros and cons of using GoDaddy?
How good are GoDaddy's pre-built website templates?
Hundreds of templates are available inside the Website Builder, with many available for preview before you click the Buy Now button.
As GoDaddy focuses on a very general audience (think large corporations, everyday entrepreneurs, and personal bloggers), you'll find more than 13 categories to browse through, like:
- Fashion & Beauty
- Home Services
- Online Store
- Professional Services
- Personal & Blog
Their pre-built website designs are professional and much more contemporary than the templates available through other builders like LinkNow Media and CPA Site Solutions. There are some restrictions to note, however, like the SEO functionality.
Yes, the templates come built on a good SEO foundation, but there is little you can do to customize or optimize further. GoDaddy provides limited in-platform analytics access, which means you can’t dive into who is visiting your website.
Does GoDaddy offer copywriting, design, or technical support?
GoDaddy offers custom copywriting and design services, but these are hidden within their Website Design Services packages. These packages are only available following a consultation. Prices aren't posted online, at least in the US.
If you are paying for GoDaddy Studio or the Website Builder, there is no option to bring in an expert to help design. There is also no ad hoc copywriting support available.
As a business owner, with a dozen or more urgent tasks on their plate, this isn’t ideal. You may be the best-in-class service provider in your area, but you likely don’t have the design expertise, or experience with writing compelling, conversion-oriented copy.
GoDaddy provides 24/7 technical support, available online as well as by phone. However, as many reviewers have noted, the customer service team often seems inexperienced, even with GoDaddy products.
In some cases, customers have reported that tech support tries to upsell GoDaddy products, even in the face of urgent technical issues.
What are some GoDaddy alternatives for small businesses?
Are you frustrated by the lack of transparency with GoDaddy prices? Other website builders with similar technologies are just as intuitive and user-friendly but without the confusing price tag.
A few options for the entrepreneur looking to build a DIY website include Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace.
But what if you need more business tools and customizations? Or help getting your new website across the finish line? B12 is hands down the best website builder for professional service providers.
Powered by AI, we make website creation simple and efficient. B12's supercharged software pulls in designers, copywriters, and SEO specialists to help you launch your mobile-friendly, search-optimized website in 30 days. You can then update it any time using B12’s simple Website Editor and access business tools like online scheduling, intake forms, and payments.
Plus, there are no hidden fees. B12 has simple, straightforward pricing for every stage of business.
GoDaddy review summary
GoDaddy is the largest domain registrar in the world. On top of its domain services, it offers a diverse menu of services. From bloggers to business owners, the platform aims to work for just about anyone, anywhere in the world.
But this highly generalized approach is one of our criticisms of the platform — especially for small business owners and professional service providers.
The GoDaddy model doesn't have the right customer management tools, schedulers, or invoice plug-ins you need to manage your sales funnel.
We also take issue with the confusing pricing. Their pricing is not transparent, especially after the first year.
As a business, you need to know how much your website will cost now and in the future. There should be no surprises and your bill in year two shouldn't be substantially more expensive than what you signed up for in year one.
This is a major reason why we've taken a different approach. B12 supports business owners with clear, upfront prices on all our services. Our websites are affordable and don't come with any second-year surprises.
B12 makes it easy to attract, win, and serve your clients online. Our intuitive website builder and design experts help you grow your business, engage with clients, and streamline business operations.