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- Date Established
- Palo Alto, CA
- Easy to use
- Advanced features
- Generous free plan includes eCommerce
- “Personalization rules” are helpful & innovative
- Impressive eCommerce
- Multilingual sites
- Limited customer support (no live chat or phone #)
- Blog feature is limited
- Expensive paid plans
Duda is a fresh website builder that emphasizes mobile-responsiveness and a definite suitability for the small- to medium-sized business. In 2010, Itai Sadan and Amir Glatt, entrepreneurs and devotees of The Big Lebowski, founded a company dedicated to mobile-optimized websites. They named it Duda as an homage to The Dude. Personally, I’d have named it “Is This Your Website, Larry?”
Based in Palo Alto, Duda was named number 185 on Inc. 500’s 2014 list of fastest growing companies and has hosted over five million websites. Initially just offering DudaMobile, a mobile-only website builder, Duda later launched DudaOne, a responsive site builder for building desktop and mobile sites alike. This product is now simply referred to as Duda. With its clean, fresh presentation and concerted efforts to project cultural values congruent with its intended audience, Duda is a compelling presence in an industry crowded with faceless look-alikes. And because eCommerce is offered even to free subscribers, Duda kicks off in a consumer-friendly direction.
Read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
Say what you will about the tenets of the freemium business model—at least it’s an ethos.
Duda offers its responsive website builder in three tiers: Free, Business +, and Business + eCommerce. The pricing and feature information is laid out here.
- Natively Responsive Website
- Website Personalization Tools
- Limited Analytics and Tracking
- Web Hosting on Amazon Cloud
- Community Support
- Branded Duda Domain
- Duda Ads
- 10 Product Store
- PayPal, Stripe & Global Gateway Payment Providers
- Two Product Categories
- Order and Customer Management Tools
- $14.25/month (annual plan)
- $19.00/month (monthly plan)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- Full Analytics and Tracking
- Email Support
- Custom Domain (no branding)
- No Ads
- Secure Connection (HTTPS)
- Site Backup
- Chrome Push Notification
- Developer Mode
- Multi-Language Website
Business + eCommerce
- $22.50/month for 100 Product Store (annual plan)
- $29.00/month for 100 Product Store (monthly plan)
- $36.75/month for 2500 Product Store (annual plan)
- $46.00/month for 2500 Product Store (monthly plan)
- All of the Above PLUS:
- 30+ Payment Providers
- Unlimited Product Categories
- Product Reviews Integrated with Facebook
- Generate Coupon Codes – 2500 Product Store Only
- Sell Digital Products – 2500 Product Store Only
What’s more, Duda offers a lifetime subscription to their Business + plan for a one-time payment of 299 bones or clams or whatever you call them.
Duda plans can be paid for using your credit card (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover, Diner’s Club, JCB, Carte Bleue), or with PayPal. Sorry, no personal checks.
Web-hosted or Licensed
Duda is cloud-based, in the parlance of our times.
All that is required of you is a computer, an updated browser, and an idea.
Business Types Supported
All you Business Achievers out there should find a good portion of Duda’s 78 contemporary, mobile-responsive templates to your liking. Though “Restaurant” is held out as a separate category, the remainder of the business-oriented templates aren’t further categorized. In looking through them, I found templates suited for medical, dental, fitness, photography and travel purposes. I liked that I was able to preview each template’s look in desktop, tablet and mobile configuration before selecting one.
Ease of Use
If you’ve used website builders before, Duda’s interface should look familiar to you. Options to save your work, publish your site, upgrade your account, and undo/redo edits are laid out in the bar along the top, while options to edit your website are placed in the column along the left side of the screen. What you might not notice at first is the extent of the flexibility you’re given in fine-tuning your website.
- Design Editor: The first menu item on the left, Design, brings up a thorough set of options for customizing the design of your site as a whole. Choose from one of the color palettes available for your template or design your own. Customize the text (font type, text size, line height) used in every possible heading type throughout your site. Adjust the navigation to your precise specifications. You can even individually specify the navigation style of your site on tablet or mobile devices (which is great if you want to, say, create a navigation column that pops in from the left on your mobile site while retaining the navigation bar of your original template on your desktop site). Customize the buttons on your site and specify what happens when you roll over them. Set the background image/color, either for every version of your website at once or individually for each version (desktop/tablet/mobile) of your site. Customize your header background and header logo. Essentially, do whatever you want. This powerful set of design editing tools stands in stark contrast to the limited options available in most website editors and should get your creative juices flowing. Unless you’re the laziest webmaster in Los Angeles County. Which would put you high in the runnin’ for laziest worldwide.
- Adding Elements: Want to add an element to your site? Click “Add Element” along the left of the screen, and you’ll be presented with every element Duda provides, available to drag and drop where you wish. Simple and easy.
- Pages & Popups: As you may suspect, this button, third one down on the left, lets you add pages and pop-up elements to your site. The following page and popup types are addable:
- Blank Page
- Photo Gallery
- Matrix Page
- Page URL (adds a page pointing to an existing URL)
- Restaurant Menu
- Complex Page
- About Us
- Landing Page
- Contact Us
- From Your Site (import content from an existing URL)
- Promotion or Sale
- Online Scheduling
- Like Us On Facebook
- New Store Item
- Contact Us
- Send Feedback
- More Info
- Newsletter Registration
- Visit Us (contains a map)
- Undo/Redo Buttons: Along the top bar, you’ll find Undo and Redo buttons, which, as the sharper of you will have surmised, let you undo and redo edits you’ve made. Unfortunately, there’s no History button that lets you go back to any point in your editing history. However, Duda customers with premium subscriptions will be able to save backup copies of their site and restore them at any point, a feature missing from many competitors.
- Preview Mode: Duda’s Preview mode lets you preview the look of your website on computers, tablets, mobile devices, or all three at once. Even outside of Preview mode, you can view and edit your site in any of the three viewing modes, which is a good thing if, say, you’re putting together a site with a specific focus on the mobile version.
Duda provides its users with a plethora of handy, customizable features. Let’s explore them, shall we?
- eCommerce: Duda provides a solid eCommerce package that can be used even by free users (albeit with a 10 item limit)! Most website builders are stingier with eCommerce, reserving it for premium subscribers, so kudos to Duda for taking ‘er easy for all us sinners. Duda’s eCommerce setup walkthrough is helpful and thorough, walking you through the shipping and payment options and illuminating your path to an attractive eCommerce site. The end result is a functional and attractive online store for either physical or digital goods. And as a free eCommerce solution, it’s probably the best I’ve seen.
- Blog: Duda’s Blog tool will see you creating a basic blog in no time flat. You get some decent options for changing your blog’s layout, and you can even save backup copies of all your blog posts. Nonetheless, it remains one of the more bare-bones features of Duda. For example, you can’t add video to a blog post. And what fun is having a blog if you can’t post YouTube videos? I felt let down at this omission. I found myself in a glass case of emotion. (Wait, wrong movie.)
- Image Editor: Duda lets you edit the photos on your site with some basic editing options. Adjust the brightness, add text or stickers, pick a frame, and the like. Compared to many Duda features, it’s fairly rudimentary, but it’s nice to have nonetheless.
- Personalization Rules: One thing that sets Duda apart is its inclusion of personalization rules. This feature allows you to create elements which appear only when certain conditions are met. For example, you can create a box that plays a video, triggered only to pop up the first time a visitor comes across your site. Alternately, you can set a special message to display only to repeat visitors to your site. You can also set up a contact page that displays different contact info depending on the time of day (perhaps a “click-to-call” button during business hours and a contact form during non-business hours), or have your bowling alley’s website display a message on Saturday reading “Closed for Shabbos.” It’s a feature that introduces a level of dynamism and adaptability not often seen in this field. The fact that Duda offers it in its free plan is truly remarkable. (It was once offered as a premium feature.)
- Contact Form: Duda brings a highly customizable contact form to the table. Add as many fields as you want, and customize each one by selecting from ten different field types. Build the contact form of your dreams!
- Multi-Language Websites: One newly-added Duda premium feature is the ability to create multi-language websites and add additional languages to your existing website.
Other Duda features include a full set of SEO options, a photo gallery, a YouTube widget, a map from Google Maps, a dining reservations app called OpenTable, social media feeds, a WordPress feed, a restaurant menu, a PayPal button, full HTML/CSS editing in Developer Mode (a premium feature), and a tool that displays Yelp reviews. Overall, Duda is formidably featured, offering a generous package of features for both individuals and small businesses (particularly restaurants).
Web Design & Editing
- Templates: Duda’s 78 templates aren’t quite as crisp and pretty as those of Squarespace or Wix, but they’re definitely above average. They’re also highly customizable. Most importantly, they’re mobile-responsive and will behave nicely on tablets and smartphones.
- Mobile Editor: Duda is a forward-thinking website builder, which is why I was disappointed to see that they don’t have a mobile editing app. It seems like the kind of builder that could easily accommodate one, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see one at some point in the future. Duda does let you hide any element on your site when viewed on a tablet or smartphone (or a computer), however, so you can customize the mobile look of your website to some extent. Furthermore, as part of a recent eCommerce update, Duda introduced a mobile app for eCommerce management. With this app, you can manage products, upload images, review orders, and more.
Integrations & Add-Ons
Unlike site builders like Weebly and Wix, Duda doesn’t offer an App Store with loads of third-party integrations. However, you will find features from Google (Google Maps and Google Analytics) along with a YouTube video player, a WordPress feed, Disqus comments, online scheduling with vCita, restaurant reservations with OpenTable, PayPal and Yelp integration, and a full set of social media tools. (inSite is a Duda service, not a third party one)
Duda’s eCommerce feature gives you a sea of choices when it comes to payment processing. For online payments, the free plan and the Business + plan offers PayPal, Stripe and Robokassa as payment processors, while the Business + eCommerce plan offers all of the following as payment processors, most of which I’ve never heard of:
- American Express
- Authorize.Net SIM
- Bancomer/eGlobal (Mexican payment gateway)
- Beanstream (Hosted Payment Form)
- Boleto Online
- e-Path / manual credit card processing
- First Data Global Gateway e4
- iDEAL (via Mollie)
- Innovate Payments
- Moneris SELECTplus (Hosted Paypage, Canadian accounts)
- MultiSafepay (iDEAL, credit cards, Giropay, DIRECTebanking, etc)
- Network Merchants
- PagSeguro UOL
- PayOnline System
- PayPal Standard, PayPal Express Checkout, PayPal Advanced, PayPal PayFlow Link, PayPal Payments Pro Hosted (UK)
- Paytrail (former Suomen Verkkomaksut Oy)
- PayU India
- Realex Payments / Global Iris
- Robokassa (Webmoney, Yandex. Money, etc)
- Sage Pay (Form integration)
- Swipe HQ
- Virtual Cart Services
- Any payment gateway that can emulate Authorize.Net API
Duda also allows payments via wire transfer and allows for offline payments as well (checks, money orders, phone orders, etc).
For support, Duda offers a very extensive knowledge base, and, for paying customers, email support. Sadly, no live chat or phone support is available. A number of users have found this level of customer service wanting.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
Professional reviewers have a few qualms with Duda:
In reviewing customer feedback, I found a number of complaints about Duda’s general lack of stability. These complaints are surprisingly numerous and vehement (I didn’t experience any instability). Some have complained about the usefulness of the customer service as well.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Duda has received more plaudits than raspberries from reviewers, who have seen fit to applaud the following:
- Great Mobile Responsiveness
- Very Deep Traffic Analysis
- Great In-Site Features
- Strong eCommerce
- Good SEO Management Options
Customers have expressed appreciation for the number (and quality) of features available with Duda.
Having recently reviewed a string of uninspiring, weaksauce website builders, I found Duda to be a breath of fresh air. With advanced features like eCommerce and personalization rules offered even at the gratis level, Duda deserves your consideration as a website builder. If user complaints regarding the stability of the software give you pause, give the free version a go. You’ll likely be surprised at the number of things you can do with it.
Duda’s crisp, mobile-responsive templates orient us in the direction of the future. For the startup, it might be just the thing to get your ideas on the ground running.
If you will it, dude, it is no dream.