How to start building your GoDaddy website
GoDaddy has become somewhat of a household name over the years by offering affordable web hosting. But they also offer a very popular website building tool called—wait for it—“Website Builder.”
The big draw for GoDaddy’s Website Builder is that it is simple and user-friendly. If you want a quick and relatively painless way to create a professional-looking website in a matter of hours, this is likely where you want to be. That said—if you’re someone who wants to tweak and customize every aspect of their website…then you’d likely be better off looking at the Squarespaces, the Wixes and Wordpresses of the world.
Sidenote: Be sure to read our full run-down of GoDaddy pros and cons before you start your website build.
For the purposes of this post, we’ll assume you’re gung-ho for GoDaddy and ready to create.
First, you’ll be prompted to decide what kind of website you’d like to create. If your plan is to sell products online, pick the “Online Store Builder.” If you don’t plan to accept payments via your website (or run an online store altogether), go with the “Website Builder” option.
Just keep in mind that even if you decide to start off with a conventional website, you can always add the online store functionality later. However, for this guide, we’ll stick to showing you how to build a conventional website.
Start your free trial
Next up, you’ll start your free, one-month trial. It’s a nice perk—especially if you’re totally new to website building. We encourage you to learn, explore and take the time to decide whether GoDaddy Website Builder is right for you. To start your trial, click any of the “Start for Free” buttons on GoDaddy’s site. All that’s required is an email and password and you’re set to get building.
Pick a plan once your free trial is up
Once your free trial is up, GoDaddy offers four plans or tiers to choose from. You can read our full, detailed breakdown of key features, but we’ll recap each tier in brief for you here.
The “Basic” plan comes in at $12.99 per month and lets you connect custom domain names and gives you access to GoDaddy’s web analytics. However, there’s no search engine optimization (SEO) functionality at this tier.
Next, the “Standard” plan at $18.99 a month serves up all the “Basic” plan features plus built-in SEO functionality and a beefier set of social media marketing features.
Upgrading to the “Premium” plan at $23.99 a month allows you unlimited social media platforms for your business pages, unlimited social posts, and up to 25,000 marketing email sends per month. You also gain the ability to set up appointments and accept payments.
Last, we have the “Ecommerce” plan at $40.00 a month. Go with this option if you’re planning to create a fully-fledged online store so you gain access to product listings, payments, shipping and more.
Enter your industry and website name
After picking a plan, GoDaddy then serves up a screen asking you what kind of website you’d like to create. All you do here is enter your industry, be it marketing, music shop, real estate, etc., and then the name of your website, i.e., “Randy’s Vinyl Record Emporium.” As soon as you do this, GoDaddy will generate an example template page based on the info you’ve entered.
You can keep playing around with the industry and site name until GoDaddy serves up a template you’re happy with. Once ready, hit the “continue” button to move on.
Choose your theme wisely
The theme basically dictates your site template’s overall layout and design. Click the “theme” button and preview a bunch of different options. It should be pretty easy to find a theme that meets your needs! Also remember—the look of your theme isn’t set in stone. You can (within the Website Builder’s editing tool) pick colours and fonts, add text and images, adjust the layout or add sections and more.
Build out content and tweak your design
Upload and add photos
Your chosen theme will come pre-populated with stock imagery. To change these out for your own photos (or some of our Canadian stock photos), simply click the “update” button on the right-hand side of the image. This brings up a window where you can upload images off your computer, browse GoDaddy’s curated collection of stock images or even grab images from your social media feeds. After picking the images you want, hit “insert” to add them to your site.
Paste in your killer copy
Once again, your chosen website theme will come with pre-added stock text. Editing the text itself is simple—just click on the text box. However, you can’t drag text boxes around the page, nor can you add single text boxes. Instead, you’ll need to add a new section (which we’ll cover next) and edit whatever stock text is already there.
Adding sections to your pages
Want to add some more interesting elements to your page? Try adding sections (GoDaddy lets you add up to 20 per page). To do this, click on the blue-ish plus sign buttons above or below any of the current sections on your page. Then, choose the type of section from the long drop-down list that comes up. It’s definitely worth the time and energy to explore everything that can be added, from photo galleries and blogs, to calendars, menus, price lists and more.
Every section you add can be tweaked using the Website Builder menu bar on the right side, as well as by popping in text and images. You can also adjust other elements, like the section’s colours or alignment.
Add new pages
If you want to add a new page to your site, navigate to the Website Builder’s sidebar, click “pages and sections,” then “manage pages” and “add.” Here you can add a new website page, link to an external site or even create a dropdown menu. Be sure to give your page a title, like “about us,” and then hit the green “create page” button. This should automatically bring you to your newly created page, where you can then add sections and content to your heart’s content.
FYI: GoDaddy lets you add up to 50 pages total, which should be plenty for all but the most ambitious, sprawling websites.
Connect a domain and push your GoDaddy site live
Once your content is sorted out, we get into more of the administrative tasks that need to be tackled before your shiny new GoDaddy website goes live.
First, we’ll look at managing your site’s basic settings. Navigate over to the “site settings” section from the right-hand menu. There’s quite a lot there, but we’ll cover three of the can’t-miss basics. The site profile contains all the essential info for your website, including your email address, your business category and any other contact info.
Next, head over to the SEO tab in your site settings section and click “start optimizing.” This will bring up GoDaddy’s SEO Wizard and start the process of optimizing your site so that it can be more easily found by Google and favoured in search results. The GoDaddy SEO Wizard will suggest keywords, ask about your target audience (local or global) and get you to explain what your site’s all about.
Finally, you’ll want to connect a custom domain. Here, you’ve got two options.
Your first option is to transfer over an existing domain. To do that, you’ll need to first contact your current web registrar for instructions on unlocking your domain, then search for your domain using GoDaddy’s transfer tool. Next, you’ll be prompted to enter an authorization code to confirm the domain transfer. Within about five to seven days, you should be all set!
If you need an extra hand with transferring your domain, GoDaddy provides an in-depth set of instructions.
Your second option—if you’d like to start fresh—is to buy a new domain from GoDaddy. The good news is your domain won’t cost you a bundle. In fact, .CA domains through GoDaddy start as low as $2.99 (CAD) for the first year. All that’s left to do is search for and pick the perfect .CA domain for your site.
Before you go live, preview your website by hitting the “preview” button at the top of the page. If all is looking good hit the green “publish” button in the top right corner of your screen. Congrats—you’ve just built your first GoDaddy site from scratch. Hopefully we were able to guide you on the path to greatness!
Quick GoDaddy website build questions and answers
Is GoDaddy free to try?
Yes! All four monthly plans allow you to try GoDaddy free for a month.
Is GoDaddy easy to use?
For the most part, yes! GoDaddy Website Builder is geared towards those who want an easier, quicker way to build a professional-looking website.
Can you register a .CA domain on GoDaddy?
Absolutely! You can purchase .CA domains directly through GoDaddy…and we can help you get set up!
Does GoDaddy allow you to set up an online store?
Definitely. GoDaddy offers a $40.00/month e-commerce plan and a full set of tools designed to help you market your business.
How many pages can you add to your GoDaddy website?
GoDaddy supports a maximum of 50 pages.