By: Duda Inc.
Duda is a website builder built specifically for the companies and agencies. It is thus different from traditional personal website builders. It allows various features such as team collaboration, website building and much more. It allows many prebuilt templates as well as drag and drop editor to create a perfect business website.
Never a day goes for modern folks of the 21st century without visiting even a single website. Every day, we go through tones of the site, be it reading the news, blogs, political, travel blogs, e-commerce, and search engines like Google, Yahoo, DuckGoGo, etc.
Seeing all those fancy and super interactive webpages inspire us to create our own websites. We may use it to convey any of the purposes as discussed above. But for ordinary folks, knowing to build a website from scratch is a cumbersome task and most likely results in giving up on their idea or a costly hire.
With so many web spaces on the internet, the services of website building are available on almost most platforms. That is why it is possible even for a non-geeky person to build a fantastic webpage from scratch.
Now to build the right page, you need to know either any website coding language or you can directly use many fantastic tools available online – Mostly known as ‘Website Builders.’
Duda is one of the tools that provides you much more features than merely building a website. It is primarily a tool to make a responsive website, that can adjust its layout automatically over switching devices like from a PC, Laptop, mobile, etc.
With “The Dude,” from “The Lebowski” film as their mascot, they surely maintained the characters traits, and they always brag it as- “the dude abides.”
Started mainly to aid the small-business groups to cope up with the increasing demand for mobile websites, it has become one of the leading webpage builder tools.
From basic header editing, builder box or general HTML coding, Duda has come up with one of the most interactive ways to explore, customize and publish a website, client management tool and team collaboration too.
As a part of the Go Mo initiative, Google encouraged the site owners to optimize their websites for mobile devices by providing free hosting for it. Duda joined this initiative with Google to provide mobile optimization for businesses.
The exciting part is that they also offer a freemium plan in which the user can access the trial version for free over 30-days and later can still edit and may choose to renew his website’s subscription.
With offices located in the US, London, and Tel Aviv, Duda has expanded its reach over the internet and now has a partnership with web marketing platforms like Hibu, DexYS, UOL, etc.
This tool has all the modern amenities that must be present in a webpage making tool. Besides, it also provides SEO support, secure pages, cart facility and many more.
As we go further in this review, we are going to see every aspect of this tool and conclude if the tool is really a subpar product or not.
First and foremost, to create a website, one must plan out the goals to be achieved by it. Then decide what reader base or customers you want to target. Either you want an e-commerce website to sell your products, or want to write a blog, or maybe just show your style!
Once you have decided this motto/goal part, create a rough doodle on paper to see how you want your website to look. This step will determine what kind of template you can select from the available list and minimize the work of rebuilding it from scratch.
Now, create a Duda account and then you will see the main account dashboard from there. It will prompt you to start building a website, click on it and select the template you like and fulfills the goal of your webpage.
From here on, just edit the boxes in the page as you want them to be. The users can select either different images and upload it via their device or search for in the Duda image finder.
The users now have to decide a proper domain name they wish for their page to have. Make sure this domain name is unique and is in accordance with your websites’ purpose. Duda also offers white label or custom branding since your domain will be not personal but provided by the company.
Finish whatever things you want to add like a cart, art gallery, product info, etc. Once done, click on the publish button on the top right corner.
Wait! Did you check how your webpage will look when published? There is a preview button here, and you can anytime use it to visit your website before publishing and make any changes beforehand if necessary.
The good part is they do not take any sort of commission when providing the cart facility for product selling websites. The only drawback for free users is that only ten products can be added in their E-store. But It is unlimited for premium users.
Overall, the steps to create the websites were quite simple. We did not find any trouble adding any static or dynamic elements to our page. The cart function was smooth too. Most of the templates they provided were already equipped with all essential details a page should have along with making an about us or contact us section.
Now as you have seen all basics steps of website building using Duda, we now move on to see some of the essential features they have given and review them if they are worth spending time and trouble.
When it comes to building a great website or at least a decent one, choosing the correct template is a very critical step. Do not judge from the fancy looks of some models but choose based on what content your page will have and then select the templates.
Duda has given many templates ranging from an e-commerce site to personal blogs, repair shops, gardening, restaurants, café shop, musicians, architects, fashion dresses, etc.
All these templates have pre-designed kits, and the builders can edit/delete any of the page elements they want. You can add additional elements via the widget option.
You can also choose a dead blank theme if you want to build everything from scratch. This feature is only recommended for advanced clients. Advanced users can also choose to utilize coding function in HTML and CSS mode.
In our review, we used the online store template to sell our non-existent honey. It was easy to set the dynamic elements like the picture of products swapping on, hover effect when you move the cursor over a product, etc.
We also tested the other templates and did not find any trouble using them. However, the builder does demand a bit of work out, but once you are familiar with what function each command can do, things will go pretty smoothly after that.
Also, these templates will automatically fit on mobile or notebooks. All the templates have a responsive feature and change their fit/appearance, as per device type. Users can also manually select each element on the page and choose whether to display it on other devices or not.
The template once chosen cannot be changed to other without deleting the entire page. So choose carefully, and if you have a premium account, you can back up the critical element of the page and later insert them into the new template. Apart from this issue, we did not find any trouble in using the templates.
There are many steps in making a perfect webpage and relying only on templates is not going to help you. Most website builder tools have numerous useful features added in them to aid users.
Since we have already discussed about the templates above, we now move on to some of the essential function that Duda has provided.
The main tools to build a basic webpage are present in this section. Most of the functions are pretty easy to use here.
The drag and drop editor offer you to change the element located on a page by dragging it directly. You can also right-click any component and get more options to edit it like change font, color, formatting, etc.
The builder has the option to view how your website will look on various devices. This option is on the top bar of the editor.
There is also a global design option on the sidebar. Using this option, the users can change the settings like the background image, text colors, headers, buttons format, etc. across all pages. Remember that this function will change the elements across all pages, so be careful.
There is also a favicon function. The users can put it across the elements such as a product, art, food items, etc. and get customer response from it.
There is also a 404 page not found the option to be customized. Just put some sad emojis, or confused pup photo here in case a page goes missing or is inaccessible by viewers.
Another good function here is Image Optimization. In this option, the user can edit, replace, or find an image file to be displayed on your page. They have an inbuilt image picker in this editor, from which you can search the web for an image, buy it from Shutterstock or any other premium platform.
The widget feature works great for modern day websites. Without pop-ups, sidebars, clocks, timer, purchase counter, etc. many sites will fail to create a live interaction with the viewers. Other widgets like Live chat, contact us, map location, etc. can be added too. The users can modify these widgets or create their own using HTML, CSS, or XML scripts.
There is also a comment widget available. Most of us would love to have a visitor review regarding the products or any content we display. The comment widget can be personalized for any element over any page.
You can get Email or phone notification for every comment. All comments are displayed and logged in a unique location, so it's easier for you to organize them and reply/delete them from one place.
The main turning point in Duda’s popularity was the GoMo initiative by Google. Many websites had their rankings crashed due to no support for mobile devices. Also, the webpages you visit on PC devices have much more scripts and elements, some of which would not be supported in mobile devices.
To solve this issue, separate mobile webpages were made. These pages were optimized as per phone screens. Buttons were customized to fit on the screen, interact with touch function, etc.
Mobile editing or on the go editing is similar features like any other application having different platform support. The client can edit his sites from any supporting devices. This allows user flexibility of work and time. The editing dashboard on mobile and tablet devices was easy to use. Even widget functions were available on it.
How often do we see pop-ups on many sites and sometimes land ourselves in some lucky offers? Such interactive triggers that can be unique for each visitor is called website personalization.
Website personalization gets triggered when a pre-set rule is activated. This rule is merely an action trigger like IP location, new account login, event announcements, birthday wishes, etc.
Also, we can activate this trigger based on location; like any visitor passing nearby our shop, say within 20km range will be prompted with “come visit us” and get some % discount on a few purchases.
Other triggers like poll count, live voting, surveys, new year countdown can be added too. These rules can be customized to be triggered on a particular date/time.
You can also add new rules and add some java scripts or flash plugin elements. However, this will require some programming knowledge else just use the pre-installed scripts.
In our page, we added the 25% discount sale to first-time visitors. The delayed loading can be a bit of issue sometimes contrary to Duda’s claim that it will not slow the site. Overall, we found this feature working great which many sites do not offer at all or are way too harsh than this.
Worried about the content of your site or cannot manage so much data on your own? Worry not! All your data, be it custom, imported or from builder tools can be saved on their servers. This data is accessible at any time to be used on your website.
The content import function can directly import any content from any of the client websites. The content collection form gives all the necessary instruction to your client for uploading all the required files on the given URL.
The API feature also helps to link all content and later updates it when any changes go live on the website. Similarly, all of your client data can be managed at one place using web accuracy feature.
All such data collection can be a big mess unless there is some way to organize it. For this, Duda has a feature called content collections.
The user can categorize each content here and save them in separate groups for easy identification. The users can store all image library, form responses, any other files of your clients in a unique location.
Want to open your own online store? Duda has all the features that you can add to an online store. From simple things like products list, shopping cart, price list to more detailed info like sales info, transaction data, form data can be integrated into the page.
E-commerce pages not only need detailed info about listed products but must also include the shipping details, warranty terms, chat, or ticket support.
In the case of a restaurant or café, online seat availability and their pre-bookings can be displayed via various widgets in the e-commerce section. The limit option allows you to restrict the number of same items stored in cart or seats in a hotel.
There is also an automatic tax calculation option. This is only limited to US, Canada, UK, and some nations in Europe. The owner can also count the number of items in stock, input it and later generate an alert for low stocks.
The shipping option lets you add shipping locations, the shipping rates and time of shipping. Most of these features are a necessity in any online shopping site.
We also used the above features to sell our honey (from the bees). Honestly, we would like to see more e-commerce features like live reviews/ratings, order tracking, auto-generating discount coupons for long term customers or bulk buyers, etc.
What is bad is that the free users only get to add ten products in their marketplace with no inventory tracking, no tax calculations, other payment gateways from PayPal and Stripe and many more such features available only in the premium version.
With so many topics and emotions over the internet, hardly there is anyone who does not think of starting their own blog. Duda has a feature called blog listed in the setup page.
This feature is used to create a blog. The link to this blog can be added on your website to attract more readers. ATOM and RSS feeds are available with every recent blog post you make.
Also, the users can view entire blog statistics like many visitors, clicks on links, audience type, etc. via the stats viewer inside the blog feature.
If you had written a blog before and want to import all the content of it, you can use the import function from the menu displaying blog options. Import your entire blog or specific images, videos, texts, etc.
You can also backup your blog anytime and save all your hard work.
The blog feature is just an additional reward and will not offer something extraordinary in it, compared to many free alternatives like a blog post, WordPress, etc. And honestly, if you do not have plans to introduce more aesthetic blogs or want out of the box templates, then you can always choose the free versions like Google’s blog post or WordPress.
Another feature is Multi-language support. In this, you can customize every page of your website to a different language and can also input the google translator tool.
Are you tired of regularly using the web portal for small adjustments to your websites or to want to work offline too? For this, there is a solution called Progressive Web App.
PWA is browser-based support, mostly for mobile devices, which enables to view specific sites like a separate mobile app, giving the users an app like and even offline functionality.
Many of the websites are indulging in this feature since it enables the users to save their data and let them access the content while offline. Websites like online reading, books, wholesale stores, developers’ sites, etc. can benefit the users the most giving them an app like functionality.
In Duda, you can do the same via the PWA option in the settings menu, on the main editor page.
The users need to input some minor details like App Name, Short app name, App icon, and App background.
This feature is beneficial for customers who need to add many items in their cart for wholesale purchase and need to access the site offline for this.
The feature is quite easy to use and worked smoothly on our phone.
As a part of team collaboration, there can be many people involved in website building. It is essential for all of them to have some access to the builder tools and to use which they can modify the elements they are assigned to do. Not only that, the exchange of some of the information, data is critical as a part of teamwork.
For this, sharing asset feature is provided to the premium customers. The feature allows you to save and share either the entire page or separate sections, thereby saving time for your teammates or clients.
Not only that, but you can directly duplicate the copy of any team members’ page and modify it for your use. The users can also exchange widgets and share templates directly with this feature.
The team collaboration dashboard displays information like sections built by your teammates, editing options like a duplicate page, change privacy levels like private, staff and public, and many more.
The team sharing feature also allows the user to modify the access to different members of staff. The client and team permissions can be accessed from the top menu bar. Remember again that this feature is only for premium customers of DudaPro.
The permission feature includes many accessibility options like allowing customers to edit the site, access developer mode, e-commerce, SEO, reset site, etc. Be careful when you assign permission and clarify the customer's knowledge and qualifications in editing the site.
The staff management feature allows you to create separate groups for your team members like admins, blogger, designer, sales, and store manager.
Edit the permissions as discussed above based on their qualification. You can also create internal groups inside each of these categories.
This feature is handy in separating the roles in the team and reducing the load on a single member. However, the disappointing part is that only customers with DudaPro can access it. Once the trial period is over, you cannot access it. Otherwise, we would recommend buying it if you want to divide the workload across your team and distribute the tasks as per individual capabilities.
Most of the time you create the website will have a unique address under Duda’s domain. To display your own domain, brand the webpage with your own company format and logos, you can use the custom branding option in white labels feature.
The white label primarily contains options like custom domain, custom branding, and communications.
Custom domain allows the users to create a separate domain for their page, which can be customized for PC sites, mobile sites, or preview page. The users can add a different domain for their clients or mobile devices.
Custom branding tool allows you to customize entire pages like dashboard page, editorial page, preview page, login page, etc. with your own logos and your company’s color schemes. This custom branding allows you to create a separate editor page for your clients and will enable you to make it look like your editor.
You can use your own sender email, signature to the client via communication option in white label feature. This can also be used to send emails like site data, statistics, and guides to the customer.
As we discussed earlier, Duda also has a client management system. There are times when we need to give access to other company members or workers to resolve an issue or complete some job.
For such situations, we cannot afford to give unlimited access to anyone except the main owner, to ensure the safety of the site and to avoid any unnecessary blunders by the third person.
For this, users and permission section is given on the top menu on the main dashboard. The users can assign various teams here viz. admin, blogger, designer, sales, and store manager.
From the above roles, the owner can assign it to any employee or hired person. Duda has already assigned the permission according to the client’s access level. Someone like admin will have almost all rights, akin to the owner, while someone like store manager and blog manager will have the least access based on their work requirements.
The owner can edit these rights too. You can create custom groups too and edit the rights as per that. The next tab on the same page consists of client email addition and access control.
SSL certificates are by default available for any white label changes you make in the website.
API access is only available as a paid feature and allows the customers to access the website, its tools, and other functions into third-party applications, and they can use it to edit, find statistics, or publish the sites.
One of the most fundamental features to be included for any website builder, is to provide a smooth e-commerce experience for the customers, is having your own E-commerce control panel.
E-commerce panel provides various details related to your online store and helps manage it. The panel should display all sales information like items sold, total sell, profit received, returns requested, shipping orders, etc.
Duda also a fantastic e-commerce control panel. The drop-down menu can access this on the main dashboard beside the list of your websites.
The main tabs of this panel are My sales, Catalogue, marketing, reports, sales channel, payments and shipping, settings, and App.
The main dashboard of this panel shows store setup status and guides the users to create a perfect store. You can also connect the store to Storefront mobile app for on the go management.
The My Sales tab will display the info of all product sales like the number of orders, abandoned carts, customers who bought the products, and the order editor (only pro version) to manipulate current orders, their quantity and customers addresses.
The Catalog tab will help you to list out all the products, their quantity, their availability, in-stock status, price, taxes, SEO, and related products. This is the most crucial inventory management feature of this e-commerce panel.
The Marketing section is used to advertise products across various internet platforms like Google, Facebook, or any other internet market place. This also includes following up of abandoned carts, newsletters, discount coupons, etc.
The Reports tab generates a report on all sales and analytics. The Sales Channels will display all the product sale platforms like Amazon, Yahoo, Google, eBay, etc. Similarly, the Payments option can configure various payment methods like on Square, PayPal and many more.
The Shipping and Pickup will set up the shipping details like order shipping location, in-store pickups, handling fees. The users can also restrict the shipping location via zones button.
The users can also configure the store for automatic tax calculations, cart and checkout page, legal pages, product tracking, E-mail tracking, invoice details, etc. via the General Settings tab.
There are also major e-commerce apps like Codisto LINQ, StoreFront, DataTrans, FB and Google retargeting, SEPA online payments, etc.
Overall, most of the features explained above were all used by us, and we did not find any trouble configuring any e-commerce settings. All the procedures are carefully set up, and most novice users can handle it on their own, except one must consult for taxes and other legal stuff. This feature passed with flying colors in our test and is on par with top products like Wix, Site123, etc.
Just like in the modern world, infrastructure is key to development. Similarly, website infrastructure is also an important feature and includes functions like looks, operations, traffic, DNS, security, SEO, etc. of a page.
Duda’s websites are hosted over Amazon’s AWS servers and are provided with SSL certificates with one click.
The GDPR compliances are essential steps for data processing in a company and Duda provides all necessary steps to integrate these compliances with ease.
Duda has its own Global CDN (content delivery network). This helps in faster data distribution across various locations and reduces the loading speed of the webpages. Also, Google’s page speed is inbuilt in the platform and further helps to improve the website loading speed.
Overall, it is noteworthy that Duda has assigned a separate option for every website architecture tool.
Can a website survive without getting any viewers or a good ranking? No matter how good your content or services are, not indulging in SEO tactics can cripple the rankings of your website and eventually lead to business failure.
That is why SEO is a crucial step in website architecture. It is a critical component of any website and can cripple or lift the traffic of a page. Duda has given SEO settings and can be accessed in settings menu at the left sidebar of the website editing page.
They do not claim to improve the SEO magically but assure you to guide and improve it. SEO is significantly impacted by web URL, the content keywords, site descriptions, meta keywords, etc.
For that, users need to access the SEO option in the main editing bar on the left under the settings tab. In this option, users need to input site title, site description, and site keywords.
Remember that these are under global tag so they will be applicable for all pages. If the users want to edit SEO settings for individual pages, they need to go to the pages tab and access SEO via small settings icon on the side of each page title.
The SEO option for individual pages also contains anti-crawling options to avoid web search engine to inject crawlers into your website. You can also add a password to access that particular page and define custom headers/scripts for it.
Not only that, but they also support the Open Graph to improve SEO on social media. The 301 redirects help to redirect the old pages to the new updated page.
For many website owners, one of the concerning facts is the statistics for their website. These can include daily visitors, daily buyers, primary traffic sources, etc.
All these statistics can be found either by using the analyze function in the builder itself or using third party tools like Google Analytics. The data provided by all these analysis tools can help customize your content on the website to suit your audience better and improve their experience.
The users can access the statistics page on the main dashboard by clicking on stats on the top menu bar.
This will display all crucial info about the page like site visitors; their geolocations, device used, InSite shows any script engagement and other such data. All this can be imported as .pdf too.
The Content Data tab shows individual page view data and which content was accessed by the users the most.
The Engagement tab will display information about any scripts accessed like most clicked products, most coupons used, number of times the call support is used, etc. This can help device better product strategy for regular customers.
Apart from that, the Traffic Sources option yields you information on the way the site is accessed, like via search engines, other websites, direct URLs, etc. Geolocation function informs the owner of the traffic locations and their preferred content to maximize their efforts in giving better performance for the consumers.
Plugins and third-party integration may be needed for some website builders since integrating everything can make the builder clunky and slow the response speed of the editor.
Most website builders today prefer to focus any extra task other than editing and publishing to third-party sources to provide a hassle-free editing experience. However, Duda has limited third-party plugin as most of the required features are available separately in it.
They have also allocated the WHMCS plugin, an automatic web billing and hosting platform. This plugin helps to integrate many functions for a website to edit, publish, SSO, reset, etc.
Duda has inbuilt platform integration for various plugins for social media like FB, Google+, Instagram, Disqus, Reddit, etc.
For business and e-commerce, platforms like PayPal, OpenTable, vCita, etc. are there for free users whereas for business/e-commerce paid a subscription, the payment processors are numerous.
They also have analytics plugins like Google and their own Insite, along with other plugins like YouTube, Google places, MailChimp and many more to integrate as many as features in the page.
What if your website gets hacked? What if the domain provided is too busy and results in very slow responsive site and takes much time to load?
All these risks are clearly a pain for both viewers and the owner of websites. Security is a significant concern for both parties involved and needs to be appropriately addressed.
Most website providers will have security features implemented in their website’s coding structure and to protect the sites for users who do not have resources for constant checking. Most builders have their own firewalls to stop any malicious attacks.
Users can always hire third-party operatives to check their website for any vulnerabilities. In our tests, we just checked for any harmful headers and got an average D result in a scan using Netsparker tool.
We asked the customer care to help us resolve this issue. The final reply they gave us did not help much in addressing the security header issues since they assured and said that their sites have never been hacked (overconfidence I guess) and said that they want Netsparker to provide help to resolve the header issues. Better deploy your own security measures since most site builders will not accept their security loopholes.
Talking of the average loading speed of the website over a fast connection, we were disappointed a bit. The site speed got a lousy score of “E” (which is terrible) on GTmetrix test. We asked the customer care again to help us resolve this issue and check if they will guide us in improving the loading speed. They asked us to be patient since they were going to implement some features to improve the loading speed.
Also, to make the main header with https status, users need to have their own domain or buy a new one. The SSL certificate is only available after that.
As we have explained most of the features of Duda above, we would also like to write about our experience in using this website builder tool.
Just for testing purpose, we had chosen to make an online purchase website that sells honey and its by-products.
First of all, the templates provided for the e-commerce website was good but was cluttered with many unnecessary things. It will be more user-friendly if they display some texts stating what we can put into the particular element.
The text editor was average and definitely needed many functions to be added. The color schemes need to be more user-friendly, and we need more variation in color schemes.
The UI is easier to use but the response time is slow as we have observed from day one of using the tool. Many times, the image loading time is too long and needs a full refresh of the page.
Another feature that can be helpful is the ability to drag certain items to any particular point in the element box. In the current case, it is based on the justify function.
Regarding the product list in e-commerce templates, they need to add a table where we can list all the products at once, attach individual images to them, rather than selecting an element one by one and editing them.
Another thing we tested, and it turned out mediocre, was the image finder tool. First of all, we do not expect results similar to a search engine, but many times, the search results were way off than the keywords. They can try to input the image search algorithm from any search engine and return us more accurate results. The premium image finder was good too, but that also had the same problem.
The site we made had the most basic scripts and elements. We did not try to tweak with the CSS or HTML coding much since most of the people are unfamiliar with them.
The website building tool across various platform differs and is adjusted according to the device type. However, we found the web-based editing to be better than tablet or mobile and later changed the elements accordingly.
The customer care is restricted to only ticket submission for free and trial users. You can use the Live Chat support only if you have a premium plan. The difference between the freemium and premium version is not that large, but one can miss many critical business features as a freemium user.
Honestly speaking, the subscriptions were quite costly, and the features provided were limited compared to other top products like Site123, Wix, SiteBuilder, etc.
As one of the esteemed brand in the website building industry, Duda has undoubtedly managed to earn good points in our book. Even though it was sluggish sometimes, it has enough features for design and management that it outmaneuvers its slow responsiveness.
In our experience, we found that the builder, even though easy to use, takes some efforts to be able to utilize correctly. Most advanced users can grasp the concept quickly, but novice users may need to learn it first. That is why as usual, our advice is first to make several sample websites, go through all tutorials and help sections and then target for making your final website.
The subscriptions may be wallet heavy for some users, but if used correctly, some of the features are worth it. Therefore, Duda is one of the best tools, for small or medium sized businesses, looking for an easy solution to build their websites.
Finally, we would say that you can try the trial subscription once before going for paid plans. If Duda reduces its pricing a bit and makes the editor less sluggish and fast, we would surely recommend you try out the premium plans from it.
Company Name: Duda Inc.