Website builders can offer a simple, clean way to create a static front page to post information. Godaddy’s new Website Builder (formerly Website Tonight) claims to be fast, easy, mobile and complete. But fast and easy really shouldn’t be the highest priorities in developing a website for a business, especially when that business is a law firm.

Godaddy says:

Most people looking for goods or services start on the Web. Unfortunately, many small businesses can’t afford to pay someone else to build their website. That’s where Go Daddy comes in – we can show you how to create a website for yourself.

Design your own website fast to ensure your customers find you early – while they’re still shopping around. In this fast-changing Internet age, there’s no time like the present.

Don’t have a business? You’ll want a website to connect with family, friends, and others who share your passions. Luckily, it’s easy and inexpensive to make your own website.

My thoughts:

If you can’t afford to pay someone else to build your website, use WordPress. Pay for a custom theme.

Don’t design your website fast. If you want a website to connect with family and friends, use Facebook.

Godaddy Website Builder Packages

There’s no doubt, the Website Builder packages are pretty affordable. And you get what you pay for. For example, with the Deluxe package (which is purportedly ideal of businesses) you get a 10-page website. 10 pages…

And if you click on their disclaimer:

Number of Web pages is limited to 999. Performance may begin to slow at varying numbers of pages depending on potential physical and practical constraints, including (but not limited to): system architecture, system capacity, system load, end-user Internet connectivity and end-user computer configurations.

So, the most you can get at any package level is 999 pages and your site is likely to be slow.

Godaddy Lawyer Templates

Here are a few of their “gorgeous, professionally-designed” lawyer templates:

If you decide to use one of these templates, switch out the stock images for professional photography.

Somewhat surprisingly, Website Tonight (the previous name for Website Builder) is listed as one of the most commonly used content management systems by builtwith.com:

Which means that it’s likely that there are many Website Builder sites that look the same.

Using Website Builder

Web designer Steve Benjamins shares some of his frustrations using Website Builder:

Website Builder Code

One of my biggest gripes with “website builder” tools is that they tend to generate ugly code. Here is some source code for an example site from Godaddy:

The example code is actually not horrible. The pages appear to contain title tags, descriptions and even contain open graph meta tags.

If you build your website with Website Builder or any other static site builder, check your code. Make sure that it:

  • Generates descriptive URLs
  • Page titles
  • Meta descriptions
  • Headers

Website Builder Support

Godaddy offers an online support forum for Website Builder users. Here is rather concerning entry at the forum at the time of posting:

hi, I was pleased to see a new feature – mobile web site – a couple of weeks ago. It looked good on my iPod Touch. Then, this morning, I checked out the site on iPod touch and get a page that says “site not found.” It won’t even let me go to the classic site view as before. So now I have NO web presence with my site on a mobile device. YIKES!

I’m not a huge fan of static website builders. Can these platforms create affordable sites in a short amount of time? Yes. But the money and time you save usually ends up having a hidden cost in terms motivating prospective clients to contact you.

Sites built on these platforms typically don’t meet the basic threshold of professionalism needed to persuade users to initiate contact. Is that entirely the fault of the platform? No.

Nonetheless, their affordability and simplicity often encourages do-it-yourself’ers to crank out stock, template sites that don’t help lawyers put their best foot forward online.

Godaddy Website Builder
Reviewed by Gyi Tsakalakis on .
There are better ways to get online.
Godaddy’s Website Builder might be fast and affordable, but there are many much better ways to build a website.
Rating: 1.5