GoDaddy is one of the most popular platforms for website building, with nearly 20 million users and more than 75 million registered domains. Along with a website builder, GoDaddy also offers web hosting, web design, secure sockets layer (SSL) security, and more, making it a convenient all-in-one option for various web services.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to build a website on GoDaddy. While creating a new website might sound overwhelming, we’ll break it down into a set of simple tasks that you can complete surprisingly quickly. Since GoDaddy offers a nearly comprehensive suite of website management services, you can set up a new site from scratch without having to work with any other providers.
The GoDaddy Website Builder
The GoDaddy website builder is designed to streamline the process of creating a professional website. After starting from one of many preset templates, you’ll have the opportunity to customize nearly every aspect of your site’s design. The website builder also comes with various secondary features, including SEO, marketing, social media integration, and e-commerce tools for online stores.
GoDaddy website builder subscriptions start at $9.99 per month (billed annually) for the Basic tier and go up to $24.99 for e-commerce. While you can technically use the platform for free, paid users can gain access to a much deeper set of features. The table below covers some of the most important differences between GoDaddy subscription tiers.
|Price per Month |
|Templates and Design Tools||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Customer Support||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Business Email |
Pros and Cons of the GoDaddy Website Builder
While the GoDaddy website builder is a good option for simple site design, you might also be interested in another platform like Wix or Squarespace. Different providers offer various unique features, so it’s important to find a website builder that matches the kind of site you’re interested in building.
For example, GoDaddy only accepts payments through PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Square, Stripe, and credit cards. Those options might cover most users, but you won’t be able to include cryptocurrencies or other, more obscure payment methods. Of course, this is just one example — with so many website building tools available, it’s impossible to offer a perfect recommendation for every use case.
Before Building Your GoDaddy Website
You may want to go straight to picking a template and customizing your new site, but there are a few steps you’ll need to take first. Once you find a web hosting provider, register your domain, and set up an email address, you’ll be ready to start designing your website.
Get Web Hosting
The GoDaddy website builder will help you create a functional and professional website, but you’ll also need web hosting to get your site online. Once you upload your site’s files to the web host, it will be available for access over the internet. Web hosting arrangements come in a variety of forms — shared hosting, for example, lets multiple websites share resources from a single server while dedicated hosting gives each website full control over its server. You can learn more about web hosting here.
GoDaddy website builder subscriptions include free web hosting, so you don’t need an additional subscription to host your new website. You won’t be able to use any other hosting service with the GoDaddy website builder.
Meanwhile, you’ll be able to create your site with another website builder with a stand-alone subscription for GoDaddy hosting. In other words, you can use GoDaddy hosting with another website builder, but you can’t use the GoDaddy website builder with another hosting provider.
Register a Domain Name
Your web hosting provider will make your site’s files available online, but you’ll need to register a domain name to make that website accessible to visitors. The domain name connects the server that’s hosting your site to a particular public URL that anyone can use to visit.
GoDaddy is the largest web domain registrar in the world, so there’s no need to look for a domain from any external providers. Of course, you don’t need to get your domain from GoDaddy if you’d rather go through another service — Domain.com, HostGator, Bluehost, DreamHost, and Namecheap are just a few of the top domain registrars for 2021.
Get an Email Address
While an email address isn’t strictly necessary for your new site, it can help you stay in contact with your visitors. Dedicated email addresses also make life easier for businesses by allowing them to keep their work and personal messages separate. Furthermore, custom addresses will add to your brand image — an email address @ your domain will appear more professional than one @ Gmail or another email provider.
GoDaddy’s email features integrate with Microsoft 365, and you’ll get a free year of business email access with any paid GoDaddy website builder subscription. After that, you can continue to access your website email accounts with a separate GoDaddy email subscription.
Professional Email plans start at $1.99 per user, per month, for the Essentials tier, which comes with 10GB of storage plus shared online calendars and automatic syncing across devices. Plus and Premium are available for $3.99 or $8.99 per month and introduce several additional features like increased storage limits, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance, and access to the Microsoft 365 suite.
Determine Your Website Goals and Plans
Some aspects of website building are similar regardless of the kind of site you’re working on. However, it’s critical to consider the goals you have for your site before you make any concrete design decisions. If you’re creating a site for your business, for example, you’re likely going to use a different design philosophy than someone who’s crafting a personal blog.
In the next section, we’ll talk about some factors to keep in mind depending on whether you’re building a business, personal, or announcement website. Of course, there are many other types of websites that we won’t be able to cover — the most important lesson is that what works for one kind of site may not be as effective for another.
Business websites cover everything from online stores and catalogs to lead generation. The GoDaddy website builder will automatically populate some fields based on your company’s industry, and you can edit its template as needed.
If you’re planning to sell products through your website, keep in mind that you’ll need an e-commerce subscription to access GoDaddy’s vendor tools. Product listings, payment processing, social media listings, shipping options, and promotions are just a few of the features limited to e-commerce users. The e-commerce plan costs $24.99 per month when billed annually.
Like business websites, personal websites come in many forms, and it can be tough to categorize some personal sites. For example, you might be creating a website to host a crowdfunding project or a blog to share your thoughts online. Again, your specific intentions are the most important thing to consider in your approach to site design.
While higher subscription tiers offer a deeper set of features, the GoDaddy Basic plan should cover most users who are interested in developing a personal website. The tools that come with more expensive plans are generally designed for business clients. If you’re not planning to sell anything, you may not be interested in SEO, payment processing, or other e-commerce features.
Announcement websites are another broad category. An announcement site generally is designed to host information about an event, product, or some other point of interest without accepting payments or taking on the functions of a business website.
Some of the most common announcement websites provide information about weddings, product launches, and media events, but you can announce almost anything on a Squarespace website. The platform’s simple yet thoroughly customizable templates can be edited to fit virtually any aesthetic.
Develop Your Website Content
Finally, you’re ready to start developing the content for your new website. It’s critical to invest some time in the content before you begin placing it in a site template. In short, you want to have some of your content ready when you start working in Squarespace.
You can always add to and edit your site later, but developing key content forms, such as contact pages, “About Us” pages, and product pages (if you’re creating a business site) will give your site a strong foundation. While you might have ideas about how to organize the website, you shouldn’t spend too much time on formatting or web design until later on. It will be much easier to make those adjustments once you upload what you have into a Squarespace template.
Include Some SEO in Your Content Planning
With that being said, you should have SEO principles in mind from the beginning of the content development process. SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to strategies that help websites rank higher in results for relevant keywords on Google and other search engines.
If you sell iPhone cases, for example, it’s crucial to show up on the first page when someone types “iPhone cases” or another similar keyword into Google. Search result rankings play a major role in determining traffic and sales for e-commerce businesses.
First, consider what search terms you want to target. From there, you can look for ways to work them into your copy and content. Google and other search engines will penalize you for spamming keywords, so keywords must fit naturally with the sentence they’ve placed in. It’s usually better to miss a few SEO opportunities than to incur search result penalties from the major engines.
If you’re creating a business website, your content should mirror the journey you expect customers to make from their initial visit until their first order. For example, you might eventually want to include a landing page, an email subscription form with a lead magnet, links to your social media pages, and a page for each product you’re planning to sell. A rough content plan is sufficient at this point — you’ll be able to finish fine-tuning the site structure later on.
Design Your GoDaddy Website
With your basic content ready, it’s time to enter the GoDaddy website builder and begin crafting your new site. That said, we’ll start by walking through the process of researching other websites to help you find inspiration for both content and style. At that point, you’ll have the ideas you need to develop a sleek design that matches your goals for the site.
Research Other Sites
Looking at competitors in your niche is the easiest way to get ideas for your site. While GoDaddy makes it easy to set up a basic design, its templates may not be specific enough to meet your needs. Researching other websites allows you to see what worked for them, giving you a foundation to build on when you start working on your site.
As mentioned earlier, SEO is a vital consideration for any business website, and you should always keep an eye on your competition’s SEO practices. You’ll need a separate SEO tool for deeper analysis, but a quick search test will determine which sites rank highly for the most relevant keywords in your niche.
Build Your GoDaddy Website
After opening the GoDaddy website builder, select a category and enter a name for your new site. You can change the website title at any time, so don’t worry if you haven’t yet decided on the right name.
From there, GoDaddy will walk you through some of the platform’s basic features, including templates, page management, and site add-ons. Click on an element of your site to edit it as needed, then select the Preview option at the top of the screen to see how it will appear to visitors.
If you signed up for a free trial, keep in mind that you’ll need to upgrade to a paid subscription to maintain access to your site after the trial period ends. A premium subscription is also required to connect your site to a custom domain as free sites are limited to domains at .godaddysites.com.
Once you select the Website tab on the right side of the screen, GoDaddy will display a list of pages on your site. By default, our website only contained three pages: Home, About Us, and Contact Us. To add a new page, click the plus sign in the upper-left corner next to Site Navigation.
After you select the plus sign, GoDaddy will ask whether you want to create a new page on your site, a link to an external website, or a drop-down menu. You’ll also have the opportunity to give your page a name, make it public or private, and select other options.
Your new page will be empty at first, but you can get started quickly by clicking Add Section and browsing through the collection of templates. You can see some of the options in the screenshot below. If you select Blog, for example, you’ll be able to choose between a slideshow format or a list with one or two columns.
While you can edit various aspects of these templates later, it makes it easy to get started by providing an easy foundation for different types of pages. The website builder also comes with a button for duplicating pages, which is extremely convenient when you want to use the same template for multiple pages.
Click on the Help Center button in the upper-right corner if you experience any technical issues or have any questions about the website builder.
Publishing Your Site and Next Steps
The Publish button is at the top of the website builder, and you can publish your site at any time. While GoDaddy allows users to publish during the free trial, your site will only stay online until the end of the trial period unless you upgrade to a paid subscription. After upgrading, return to the Publish menu and select Choose a Domain to connect your website to a dedicated URL without GoDaddy branding.
Don’t forget to take advantage of the Preview function before putting your site online. Preview enables users to visualize their site on both desktops and smartphones and a quick review will help you identify any typos or other errors.
Publishing Through Another Website Builder
If you’re only using GoDaddy for hosting, you’ll need to follow the publishing instructions of whatever website builder you’re using. GoDaddy hosting comes with one-click installs for WordPress, cPanel, Drupal, CloudLinux OS, PHP, Python, Joomla, and MySQL.
Growing Your Site
Publishing your site is just the first step. You’ll need to leverage social media, email, and other marketing channels if you want to reach an audience. All paid GoDaddy website builder subscriptions come with some site analytics plus social media and email marketing tools. At or above the Standard tier, users also get access to a deep SEO toolkit.