WordPress is, of course, the open-source blogging platform that hosts an incredible number of different sites. Statistics show that over 25 percent of the top 10 million websites worldwide are built on WordPress. Not bad for a formerly small project with no real commercial focus. And for GoDaddy, the hosting platform, WordPress already has a big footprint. Over 50 percent of GoDaddy’s hosting customers use the platform.
But setting up a WordPress site, while not rocket science, is still relatively complex. This is especially so for small and mid-sized business (SMB) customers who lack the technical resource and time to do the work. To this end, GoDaddy has brought together a nice cohesive set of tools and offerings to tap this market.
If it were simply WordPress hosting, GoDaddy would be joining virtually every other hosting company on the planet in having something WordPress-specific. but GoDaddy has thought deeper and built a menu of offerings that fit together nicely:
- An exclusive WordPress Quick Start Wizard
- Free access to thousands of high-quality images
- A Visual Page Editor (with drag and drop functionality)
- GoDaddy’s optimized WordPress hosting platform, which handles technical hosting tasks (WordPress installation, speed tests, confirmation that a website is ready to scale for high traffic, software updates and free daily site backups)
I host my own blog on WordPress and have often bemoaned the fact that there appears two be two distinct camps. On the one hand are the designers and developers who build WordPress sites, tailor themes and ensure plugins work as specified. On the other side are the hosting platforms that are designed to offer safe and reliable scaling for WordPress. I have an issue with this approach, especially when it comes to SMB customers who need a “single throat to choke.” SMB customers want to rely on a single service provider that can help them create their site, make sure it is secure and help it scale.
It seems to me that by combining the themes, the visual page editors and the image service, GoDaddy is actually ticking off the main requirements that SMB customers have. As the company says in the announcement, it developed WordPress websites for small business owners who want a professional-looking WordPress website but may not have experience with website development. This goes beyond a super simple website builder such as Wix, however, and leverages the far greater functionality and flexibility of the WordPress platform.
In terms of the special pieces GoDaddy has developed for this offering, the Quick Start Wizard allows small businesses to get started with a choice of themes and layouts that include essential pages and features (e.g., blog, photo gallery, contact form, social integration with Facebook, Twitter and more) and access to a library of free images.
From there, the Visual Page Editor allows them to edit text, drag and drop columns and rows, and insert images directly onto their page. As business needs grow, a small business’ website can also expand in functionality via the installation of free feature plugins on WordPress.org where 45,000-plus plugins are available to extend website capabilities to include the likes of online reservations, ticket sales and discussion forums.
This package of tools seems to be delivering benefits to customers. During the beta release, more than three times as many customers were successful in publishing a website, and the average time to publish a site decreased by 73 percent. This offering has several additional features that build on GoDaddy’s experience and breadth:
- Email signup form integrated with GoDaddy Email Marketing: Users can create mailing lists with a built-in email signup form, then send promotional campaigns and newsletters to drive sales and build influence. Additionally, GoDaddy provides the first 50 sends for free, and on GoDaddy’s Up & Running and GoDaddy Pro plans, users can directly convert WordPress blog posts into email newsletters.
- SEO Wizard: GoDaddy’s Search Engine Visibility is included with the Deluxe and Ultimate plans. This fully integrated, step-by-step SEO instruction prepares your site to get found on major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.
- WP 101 Lessons: The videos allow users to learn the basics of WordPress website building.
- A sweetener “Get Online Package,” which Includes a free domain and Microsoft Office 365 email for a year
In terms of pricing, the offering has three options:
- $7.99/month Basic: 1 site, 10 GB storage, 25,000 monthly visitors
- $9.99/month Business: 1 site, 25 GB storage, 100,000 monthly visitors, SEO wizard, a site to test changes before publishing
- $14.99/month Ultimate: Up to 2 sites, 30 GB storage, 400,000 monthly visitors, SEO wizard, a site to test changes before publishing, Malware removal, SSL certificate for secure communications and transactions
Bringing the different aspects of building and running a WordPress site together is a really valuable tool for customers, especially those of SMB size. This is a smart move by GoDaddy that should pay real dividends.
By Ben Kepes