Website builders are a more affordable alternative to web designers. Not everyone can afford to pay a professional to design and create their website. Besides, nowadays, technology has made it so easy for almost anyone with basic computer skills to create a site in just a few clicks and minutes.
What are your options when you want to build a website by yourself?
The most popular tools for building a website today are website builders. They are programs that help you create websites without entering codes. Instead, you usually have a drag-and-drop editor and you add your site elements with just a few clicks. Website builders offer plenty of templates to choose from, and depending on the site builder, they are less or more customizable.
There are two main types of website builders you can choose from, depending on their deployment: online builders and offline builders.
Online builders pros:
- They also come with hosting and site maintenance (sometimes free domain names, too)
- They are very user-friendly, you don’t require any HTML, CSS skills to be able to work with them
- They offer flexibility; you can use them from any device, as long as you have access to the internet
- Most of them offer mobile apps as well, so you can use them with your smartphone/tablet
- Most of them help you get a site up and running within minutes
- You also get customer support
Online builders cons:
- They are not as customizable as offline builders
- It is a bit difficult to transfer your website to a different hosting provider
Offline site builders pros:
- They are more complex than online builders, they allow you more freedom when it comes to design
- You don’t need to be connected to the internet in order to work with them
- You can transfer your site to another web host easier than in the case of online builders
Offline site builders cons:
- You need to take care of hosting, maintenance by yourself
- Not everybody can work with them, you have to know CSS, HTML
- They are more expensive than online builders
- You can’t use them from several devices
Duda initially started as DudaMobile, a mobile website builder. DudaMobile was released in 2010, by a company based in California.
Over time, DudaMobile became simply Duda and nowadays is a very popular online website builder, with plenty of useful features on board.
Duda offers 4 plans: Basic, Team, Agency and Custom.
Basic is their most affordable plan and it is priced at $14/month billed annually and $19/month, billed monthly. The plan includes 1 website, ecommerce tools (up to 10 products) and support only by e-mail.
Team is your next option and it costs $22/month billed annually and $29/month billed monthly. The plan includes email, live chat and phone support, white label builder, preview tools, team and client roles and permissions and more.
Agency is the next available tier and has a price of $74/month billed annually and $99/month billed monthly. The plan includes not 1 but 8 websites, widget builder &API, priority email, chat and phone support.
The most expensive and complex plan is Custom. This plan doesn’t have a fixed price, you’ll get a quote when you contact Duda’s customer support and they’ll make you a customized offer, based on your needs. The Custom plan includes account management, training and development assistance to partners with a high volume of customers, an unlimited number of team members and more.
Duda offers a 30-day free trial, too, which includes the benefits in the Team plan. In order to start the free trial, you have to fill in their online form and input your full name, business email, company website URL and phone number. There are no credit card requirements.
Duda has some impressive features to it, included even with their cheapest plan. For instance, the ecommerce tools (you can add up to 10 products for an online store). All plans also include multi-language websites, meaning your website can be translated in more than 50 languages.
The drag-and-drop editor allows you to easily design your site using widget-based modules. However, for the tech-savvy who wants to go into deeper customization, there’s also the option to choose the Developer Mode and work with HTML and CSS.
There’s a preview function, you’ve got Redo and Undo buttons and dozens of mobile responsive templates to choose from, based on various categories such as restaurant, travel, business, events and so on. You’ve got over 50 fonts, as well, and the option to change colors, customize the header and more.
In case the 10 free products included in their cheapest plan are not enough for your needs, you can always buy more. 100 products will cost you an additional $7.25/month and 2,500 products will cost you an extra $19.25/month. Another noteworthy ecommerce feature is that Duda offers more than 30 payment options, including PayPal, Stripe and many others. There are no transaction fees either, which is good news. You can sell digital goods, you get inventory management tools, you can make promotions and design coupon codes and more.
There’s an impressive number of widgets included with Duda, such as: contact forms (they can integrate with MailChimp, Constant Contact), click to call, click to email buttons, coupon codes, maps, accept PayPal donations, social sharing, upload files and more. Duda integrates with all major social media platforms. These widgets act as predefined modules to help you design your site even easier. The only problem with the widget builder is that it is only available with their Agency and Custom plans.
Duda gives you all the basic tools for making a blog, including a comment section, videos, images, RSS feed and more.
In terms of SEO features, you have social media integration, image alternate text, you can customize metadata.
All plans come with HTTPS encryption.
When it comes to customer support, it depends on the plan you sign up for. The Basic plan only includes email support, while Team adds chat and phone support. The Agency plan comes with Priority Email support and the Custom plan benefits from dedicated support.
All in all, Duda is quite rich in features and does offer all the basic tools needed to create a decent website even with their most affordable plan. There are however some annoying discrepancies between the 4 plans and the features they include, such as the customer support, the widget builder and others. Other than that, Duda is easy to use, mobile responsive and the multi-language feature is definitely a big plus, as is the fact that is scalable, so you can upgrade as you go, according to your needs.