Drag and drop website building platforms like Squarespace and Wix aren’t necessarily the most popular tools in the tech community. But the reality is that these sites are how the majority of internet users, who aren’t necessarily technically savvy, can create and maintain a web presence for themselves or their business.
So it’s actually a pretty important industry. And while some competitors have definitely made more progress than others, the industry seems big enough to support multiple long-term players – evidenced by the fact that there are dozens of different platforms that all let you easily build a site.
And now GoDaddy, a company that first found success by making it easy for anyone to buy a domain, is doubling down on the website creation space. GoDaddy GoCentral is their new product, and it’s a combination of both a website builder and a set of marketing tools that make it easy for someone to design and maintain their own site.
The service will replace GoDaddy’s previous website builder tool (which definitely lagged behind the competition) and supplement the company’s service to design and build custom websites for people O.K with spending a little more money.
I had a chance to play with the product before launch, and was most impressed by the speed at which you can go from idea to site – which can take just a few minutes depending on how intricate you want your site to be.[gallery ids="1443036,1443037,1443038"]
You start by choosing a category for your site – but while most services limit these to pretty broad categories and make you customize it yourself, GoDaddy will support over 1,500 different site categories and industries at launch. Think detailed categories like “soccer coach” or “swimming instructor”, instead of a general sports category that other sites may offer.
After typing in your industry, GoDaddy will pull in all the sections they think are relevant for you – which you can of course add and subtract to.
The company also have a deal with Getty Images and other vendors to automatically pull in stock images associated with your industry. And, if your industry isn’t supported, GoDaddy will use machine learning to find the closest match, and also work on adding it to the database as an officially supported category.
The site builder is also fully functional on mobile devices, meaning you could theoretically build out an entire site from your cell phone – and all sites created are responsive to look good on desktops or mobile devices.
The platform has a few pricing tiers – stating at $5.99 per month for the personal plan and going up to $29.99 per month for an e-commerce option that will let you sell goods on the site. Notably these prices all include hosting for your site – which is a pretty good deal, considering GoDaddy charges anywhere from $3.99 to $for 7.99 per month just for a Linux server (if you wanted to host your own site).
The move is big for GoDaddy because it signals their continuing focus on expanding beyond just providing domains, which is important if the company wants to please its long-term investors. Domain revenue is typically reoccurring but only once a year. On the other hand, GoDaddy can bill monthly for services like a site builder – which will under their “web presence and hosting” division. This division made $174M in revenue in Q3 2016 – equaling 37% of the company’s total revenue that quarter, and was up 15% year over year.