How to giddy up with GoDaddy to make a simple yet elegant homepage in no time
Whipping up a website isn't as hard as you might think. That said, there's websites and there's websites, isn't there? If you're new to the online game and you're hoping to build something that will be seen as “stylishly minimalist” (rather than the actual rudimentary first attempt of a rookie), then GoDaddy has the power to pull that illusion off.
No halfway serious business venture can expect to flourish without at least a basic homepage. However, you'll find that a lot of your more foolish competitors will try to go without regardless, because cobbling a site together can be costly and time consuming. This is especially true if you don't hit the ground running with the right tools.
If you're looking to take the initiative over those backwards luddites, the GoDaddy Website Builder can get you designed and uploaded to a server in record time. This is novice user stuff that champions the old familiar drag 'n' drop approach. You won't get bogged down in the borax of multiple coding languages. All that being said, if you can bring a little bit more technical nous to bear, GoDaddy can make your site idea bloom from a templated affair into something a bit more unique.
Before we dive into how to get started with GoDaddy, let's look at some of the platform's pros and cons.
GoDaddy pros and cons
While GoDaddy isn't the only game in town when it comes to knocking together websites in no time, it's definitely in the top ten out there. (For those of you wondering about alternatives, its closest competitors are Wix, Squarespace and Webflow.) GoDaddy may not be the undisputed patriarch of what it does, but what you're looking at here is a website builder with a low barrier of entry and tons of templating options that will allow even a newbie to produce slick results.
Along with an easy-to-use interface that's bristling with customisation options, GoDaddy also boasts a decent array of walkthrough materials and 24/7 expert support via phone, email or a ticketing system.
Speaking of, GoDaddy's team of server gnomes will apparently work around the clock to ensure your site remains online and serving visitors at peak performance. Their security team has even won some awards for their tireless dedication to minimising downtime, hackers and other security threats. End result: GoDaddy guarantees an uptime of 99.9%.
Even better, if you're a step up from “complete newcomer,” GoDaddy allows very simple means to enhance the functionality of your website via the installation of web apps. Basically, you're getting access to an industry standard administration panel known as cPanel, a convenient installer of common applications. We're talking no-fuss implementation of content management systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or even an ecommerce shop like Magento.
As for downsides, GoDaddy has a few technical limitations that may irk you as your website evolves. In recent times GoDaddy has added the ability for limited connectivity with Facebook, Google Analytics, and Pinterest, but it's just not at the level expected. There are many other website building concerns out there that gel much, much better with these all-important products.
Also, if you plan on using GoDaddy as a stepping stone to what will eventually be a bigger and better thing, just know that this is a foundation that comes with some restrictions. This being a hosted proprietary product, all your data is essentially tied up with GoDaddy.
All of those fascinating insights into what is and isn't working with your website simply cannot be exported, not like if you were running things on your own server at least. That lack of control may hold you back as time goes on.
Now that we've gone through the pros and cons of choosing GoDaddy for your website, let's jump into how to build your GoDaddy site.
Getting started with GoDaddy
First thing's first. Head to GoDaddy.com and create an account (email, username and password). Then decide if you're willing to put some money down...
GoDaddy plans and pricing
Along with a free trial period, GoDaddy offers four different subscription options based on what you want to accomplish with your website.
As a minimum, every plan will net you the following:
A secure website (SSL)
Connecting custom domains
Having a mobile-friendly site
Every plan also gets the same level of guidance and analytical support. Things like GoDaddy InSight™, tailored action plans and InSight score.
Basic ($12.95/mo): When it comes to expected features, the only thing this toe-dip plan lacks is GoDaddy's “Get found online (SEO)”. You can also forget about a chunk of GoDaddy's online appointment functionality. For the record that means the option to book recurring group events and classes, get SMS alerts for new appointments, email and text appointment reminders or the ability to accept online payments for services. All in all, it's not a bad option for personal use site.
Standard ($16.95/mo): This tier still lacks the above online appointment avenues and the SEO function. What has changed is you're allowed a total of three social media and listing platforms (Basic allows only one) and five social media posts / responses per month (Basic is a paltry one per month). You can also get some serious email marketing going on – 500 sends a month as opposed to Basic's 100.
Premium ($24.95/mo): This option folds in all of the online appointment functions that were missing in Basic and Standard. Even better, the socialites among you are now unfettered with unlimited (!!) social media listings / responses and a whopping 25,000 email marketing sends. There's still no access to the ecommerce functions, however, which is why we have a tier called...
Ecommerce ($29.95/mo): Welcome to the deep end. This is the God tier that includes all of the aforementioned plus a slew of selling options. We're talking the ability to add and edit product listings, set up flexible shipping options and sell products directly through your online store. You can also sync orders and inventory across channels and manage discounts and promotions.
Choosing your GoDaddy site
OK, that's enough theory. Let's get amongst it. During the sign up process for GoDaddy, you'll be asked two simple things. What is your site about and what are you gonna call it? Take the time to answer the former one accurately because you'll find that your template will pretty much self-populate with typography and other visual elements that will suit your specified field.
Next, GoDaddy will drop you into the visual editor and allow you to tweak whatever has been auto-generated for you.
Deciding your top goals and getting started
What you'll want to do first is click on the Theme icon in the upper right of your browser. With it, set the basic chroma of everything in a way that compliments your logo (if you have one). Select a font style that will resonate with your viewers, too.
For example: our generated font was way too classy and calligraphic for our site (a store that preys upon gullible new employees who've been sent on a fool's errand).
Finally, it's time to fill in the basic mission statement of your site. Click back on the Website tab (next to Theme) and the visual editor will shift focus back down to the individual elements of your page. To edit the stuff that's already there, simply click on the bounding box of the element and get typing. All your basic word-processing stuff can be done here (bold, italicising and text alignment) and the bounding boxes will auto-expand to accommodate lengthier chunks of text, too.
In the (very likely) event that the auto-generated layout isn't to your taste, it's time to do some deeper meddling...
Editing your GoDaddy site
We're just getting started! Now it's time to fine-tune that GoDaddy site of yours. For example, we can swap out that hideous hero image for something of our own design.
Simply click on the image and then the little camera icon that layers in over the bottom right of the box. Next, click on Upload From Device and find the replacement image on your computer. After a short period of uploading it will populate under Recently Added. Just click on it and then on Insert in the bottom right of the window.
Don't skimp here. Be sure to fill in the Describe This Image field as well. The more info you provide, the more Google's search engine will love you. This will translate into more customers and, of course, more revenue from clueless object seekers.
Images too static for you? Well you can simply click on the Video tab to look into using a short clip instead. Unfortunately, you're limited here to a small collection of GoDaddy provided vids.
What if you wanted to keep the hero image and slot in the video as well, after your mission statement? Easy. Adding in new chunks of content to your page can be done in no time at all.
Everything on your page is divided up into Sections that are denoted by a blue horizontal line. Simply mouse over one of these lines to cause a '+' symbol to appear. Pay attention to the other icons that sprout up to the right as well – they'll allow you to shuffle sections upward and downward. You can even chop whole sections out too with that trashcan icon.
For now, click the '+' button to make the Add Section menu slide in from the right. Try going with a Photo Gallery. Populating it is basically the same process as what we did with the hero image. Piece of cake![Image 9]
Adding more pages and posts to your GoDaddy site
Now that we know how to slide our own content into a site, let's kick things up a gear and learn how to tackle navigation. Crafting a sub-page and interlinking it with your landing page is an absolute cinch. You also won't need to worry about losing any changes you've made so far, GoDaddy basically auto-saves anytime you affect a change.
With the Website tab clicked in the upper right, click on the drop-down box that says Home. Click on Add Page to, well...add a page.
Fill in a basic description of what the page is in the Page Title field (in our case: GIVE US YOUR MONEY). Then click on Create Page to set things in stone. GoDaddy will automatically add the page to a navigation bar that will now reside at the top of your site.
Try it. Give HOME a click now. Then GIVE US YOUR MONEY. As you can see, everything is perfectly linked up and navigates as it should. All you need to do now is populate this new page you've created. Once again, this will require the use of the Sections function that we're already very well acquainted with.
Congrats! You've now learned what it takes to make a more than halfway decent website. It's all that simple, but it's also just the beginning. Where you go from here is all up to you. We've covered the basic “sections” that can be used on the GoDaddy site. Let's now take a quick look at what else may be bolted onto your fledgling creation...
Now that we've made a simple, functioning site, let's look at some of the tools GoDaddy offers to help manage and make it better. All of the below features reside in the Settings option at the top right of your screen.
Social Media Links
This allows you to interweave your site with many of your favourite time-waster apps. You can connect a Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, your YouTube channel or an Instagram business account.
Search Engine Optimization
Your GoDaddy account includes Search Engine Visibility, an easy-to-use tool that lets you streamline your pages to gel with Google. Basically, you'll include keywords that describe what your site is about to help people find you easier.
This delicious sounding option will pose your visitors with a question: can I please place analytics cookies on your browser to learn more about your habits and to track my website's performance? Will this be invasive? A little. Is it also an invaluable tool to grow one's business? Absolutely, so it never hurts to ask.
With Google Analytics, you can track how and when your customers are browsing your site. All you need to do is enter your tracking ID and GoDaddy will do the rest!
Taking your GoDaddy site to the next level
You've done it! What we've built here today is something presentable enough to be put on a server. The skills that you've learned along the way will also serve you well when it comes to flesh out these bare bones of your site. It's always in your interests to shoehorn in yet more interesting content and customer seizing opportunities.
To allow your GoDaddy site to thrive in the hyper-competitive online marketplace, you really ought to enlist the help of some professionals. Freelancer is filled to the gills with classically trained experts who can take your functional website framework and polish it into something truly amazing.
An SEO expert
can drive insane amounts of traffic to your GoDaddy site. Yes, you entered all the fields like we told you, but SEO is an artform that requires a great deal of marketplace study and keyword nous.
An email marketing expert
can help you take that expanding address book of yours and turn most of the people on it into new revenue streams.
A graphic designer
can use their trained artistic eye to make your site look ultra-professional, or they can fashion a completely fresh GoDaddy template for you.
A web developer
can implement custom functions to run on your GoDaddy site, and can make sure the existing stuff you've cobbled together is actually working and earning you money as it should.
Finally, a freelance writer
can create copy for your site that can turn an otherwise straightforward product or service into a fascinating must-buy opportunity. Never underestimate the power of words. Also the occasional number. Or a brilliantly placed emoji.
GoDaddy isn't the perfect option for every website. In the grand scheme of website builders, it leans a little too simplistic in the visual design area. Be that as it may, if you want to give birth to a fairly classy looking website on a budget, and you want user-friendly tools to help you manage your online business, GoDaddy is a darn good place to begin.