Duda is a website builder that can do a lot of different things. It can be used to create elaborate desktop websites while its InSite triggered-customization feature can be used to push your website to the next level. What makes it one of the the best in the business is its mobile approach to website building. You can either convert an already existing desktop website, or you can build one from scratch with the most qualified mobile website builder.
Alongside the Business+ and the Business+ eCommerce plans, there’s also the Free plan which is perfect for testing this website builder out.
Duda are an all-purpose website design company offering a variety of services. For the purposes of this review, however, I’ll be looking specifically at the Duda mobile website builder.
With this tool, Duda are mostly targeting one specific section of the market: people who have a desktop version of their website, but don’t have a mobile version. For these people, they have two options: either convert your existing desktop site into a new mobile version, or simply create a mobile website from scratch.
It’s a fairly unusual approach, but could this actually fill a significant gap in the market? Find out, in my Duda mobile review!
(Note: my Duda mobile website builder review is entirely based on my own experiences.)
As soon as you’ve completed the swift Duda signup process, you’re given two choices with regards to mobile website creation. You can either enter the URL of your existing website, which will then be converted into a mobile version, or you can make a brand new website (with the option to pull your business’s details from your Facebook page).
Regardless, I had more success with my second attempt (a WordPress website). Here, the Duda mobile service did manage to import my content successfully, and lay it out in a simple but effective format. It also did a good job of following the same colour scheme that I had on the existing website.
Next, I tried creating a mobile website from scratch. After selecting a template, I was presented with a standard website builder screen; one which would be familiar to anyone with even the slightest experience in web design, but it would also be easy to get to grips with for beginners. Adding content is easily done through a drag-and-drop system and editing existing elements is equally simple. Even though you’re having to work with a relatively small mobile screen, this is still an extremely easy-to-use website builder.
If you’re importing an existing desktop website, Duda will effectively create a template for you. If, however, you’re building a website from scratch, there are a variety of Duda mobile templates to choose from.
There are 27 options in all, plus six templates which are void of content, but do have basic layouts in place for you. It must be said that the themes are not particularly attractive or modern-looking. They are well laid-out, however, with a good range of menus and pages set up for you, and they cover all the basics in which website creators are likely to be interested: hotels, cafes, restaurants, and so on.
It’s true that, for the most part, the Duda mobile website builder looks very much like a standard, desktop tool. That being said, there are actually several mobile-specific features which are very much welcome.
These features are generally designed to make the whole experience of using your website easier for people on their mobiles. There is a ‘Click to Call’ button, for example, allowing users to contact you immediately using their phones. There’s also a button that allows users to enable push notifications.
It’s great to see that the Duda mobile website builder solution has clearly been specifically designed for mobile websites, rather than just using the same feature set as a desktop website builder.
The Duda mobile e commerce offering is actually surprisingly robust. There are a variety of elements that contribute to this, including one that takes payments directly through your mobile website via PayPal, and another that creates coupons, which your customers can use.
The Duda mobile website builder doesn’t seem to have its own dedicated blogging features. It is, however, extremely easy to add a blog section which you then link (with Duda’s help), via an RSS feed, to a pre-existing blog. It therefore actually takes very little effort to add a blog to your Duda mobile site.
Fairly recently, Duda did make the move to add SSL security to their standard, responsive websites. It is unclear at this stage, however, whether or not this carries over to the mobile-only websites, which you can create.
The Duda mobile website builder might not have the largest range of integrations, but the ones that it has offer an outstanding opportunity to enhance the feature set of your website.
I’ve already mentioned the ecommerce options, which include integrations like PayPal and the coupon creator. In addition to this, there’s a seamless Google Maps element (particularly important on mobile sites, if people need help trying to find your business premises), and OpenTable integration, which immediately gives restaurants and the like an easy reservation system. Aside from these, all of the usual social media integrations – including Facebook – are present and functioning.
To gauge the typical performance levels of a website created using Duda’s mobile website builder, I ran five example websites through the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. Typically, I’ll do this for both desktop and mobile versions of a website, but for the purposes of this Duda review I’m obviously only interested in the mobile versions.
The five mobile websites I tested received an average score of 56/100, which obviously isn’t great. It’s worth pointing out, however, that the scores ranged from 7/100 to 90/100, indicating that – if you take the time to do it right – you can make a website with Duda that performs excellently.
Duda’s mobile website creator comes with a decent range of basic SEO tools. You can alter the metadata of individual pages, including the description and keywords, and you can also directly link your website to Google Analytics through the ‘Settings’ section.
The Duda mobile pricing system is nice and simple. There are only two options: Free and Premium.
The free option is pretty generous, giving you access to the majority of the features, a mobile-only domain, and web hosting on Amazon Cloud.
In order to utilize the more powerful features, however, including several important widgets (such as the aforementioned ‘Click to Call’), you’ll need to upgrade to Premium. It’s pretty cost-effective though, costing $7.20/month if you join for a year, or $9.99/month if you prefer to pay monthly. Alternatively, you can buy a ‘site for life’ for $159. You also get to add a custom domain, and Duda ads are removed from your site.
The level of customer support you get from Duda is very much dependent on how much you’re paying them!
If you’re a ‘Duda reseller’ (the most exclusive type of customer), your queries get prioritized and you get access to live chat
As one of Duda’s mobile customers, you only get access to email support, and even that’s only available if you’re a Premium customer. There have been numerous reports online of Duda customers failing to receive responses within 24 hours, and unfortunately this was also the case in the test enquiry I sent for this review.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first: the level of customer support you get, as a Duda mobile customer, is insubstantial. The templates you’re given to work with are also pretty flat and take a fair amount of work to get looking as good as you’d probably want them to.
Fortunately, as far as criticisms for my Duda mobile review go, that’s about it. Of course, most of the best website builders nowadays include mobile versions of websites as standard. If yours doesn’t, however, or if you simply want to design a website that is specifically designed for mobile devices, then the Duda mobile website builder is a great way to go.
If you’ve used the mobile side of Duda’s toolset, or have another mobile website builder recommendation, I’d love to hear it in the section below.