[ This is a sponsored post on behalf of Duda ]
Website builders are a hot topic nowadays. But most of these builders focus on bringing web design to casual users who are just looking to build a simple website for personal or small business use.
Duda offers a different approach with an agency-focused website design platform that’s built to help your agency scale and more easily deliver and manage awesome websites for your clients.
Like many of those other website builders, the core of Duda is its visual, drag-and-drop website builder tool. But on top of that, Duda tacks on helpful features for team collaboration and client management that agencies will love.
In our Duda review, we’ll give you a hands-on look at how Duda works, as well as single out some of the specific features that make it a great option for agencies or busy freelancers.
Duda Review: How It Works And What It Offers
Before we get into the hands-on section of our Duda review, we want to first give you a quick overview of the various features that you get with Duda. First, let’s start with the website builder. Duda lets you build your site using a visual editor and simple drag-and-drop layout controls.
Want to edit some text? Just type on the page and format it like you would a Microsoft Word document. Want to move an image? Just drag it to the new location.
By default, all your designs are mobile-friendly, with best-in-class page load times, and you can also choose from 100+ templates to act as the base for your website if you don’t want to start from scratch. If you want, you can even get your hands dirty and make your own code edits using a full HTML/CSS editor.
Once you go to publish your website, Duda will host it for you on AWS with a 99.99% uptime guarantee. Duda will also add a free one-click SSL certificate so that you can keep your clients’ data secure, and you can even create progressive web app versions of your clients’ sites at no additional cost.
Beyond the website builder, Duda also sets you up with:
- Detailed user roles and permissions to assign to team members or clients
- A fully white-labeled interface for your clients
- Content import tools to help you collect content from clients or automatically import it from other places (like their Facebook profiles)
- Detailed stats and analytics, including white-labeled reports that you can automatically email to clients
And it’s all backed up by expert support with two-minute average wait time for phone calls.
Now, let’s go more hands-on, and we’ll show you how it all comes together.
Hands-on With The Duda Website Builder
In this section, we’ll give you a basic look at how Duda’s website builder works. Then, we’ll dig into some more specific features that make Duda an especially great option for agencies or freelancers.
When you first sign in to your Duda account, you can jump straight into the experience by creating your own site (or converting an existing site into a mobile-friendly design):
Choosing Your Website Template
Duda comes with a variety of pre-built website templates so that you don’t have to build your website from scratch (though you can do that if you want).
What’s nice is that these templates are divided into different niches. And they also have clear names so that you know what type of business a template is best for.
For example, if you’re building a website for a tattoo studio, the Tattoo Studio template probably makes a good starting point! It’s the same for that Personal Coach template, as well as all of Duda’s 100+ templates:
Duda has done a great job spreading out their templates over a variety of niches. So no matter what type of business you or your client have, you can probably find a template to help you get started.
Once you choose a template that you like, Duda will launch you into the site editor.
Using The Duda Site Editor
The Duda site editor uses a drag-and-drop, grid-based interface. You’ll build your actual design using objects, sections and sidebar widgets. And you can easily add new rows and columns for layout control, as well as new elements for design control. And re-arranging any of the existing elements is simply a matter of drag-and-drop:
From the Widgets tab, you can view all of the available widgets. Duda gives you a good selection to choose from, as well as a unique twist that opens up infinite possibilities (more on this in a second!).
Beyond the basic building block widgets that you’d expect (text, images, buttons, etc.), Duda also offers more niche widgets like:
- Click to call
- OpenTable integrations
And if you need more flexibility, Duda actually lets you create your own widgets to use. This both adds flexibility, and lets you save time in the future, because you can create a custom set of widgets for your agency that you can easily reuse for all your client sites in the future.
Global Design Options
To control how your site looks at a global level, Duda’s Design tab gives you global style controls for:
This saves you time by letting you manage important style options for your entire site from one location.
Individual Widget Options
Beyond the global style controls, Duda also gives you detailed style and functionality controls for every object, row, and column.
To access these settings, you just need to click on the element in question, which will open up a popup with functionality and design tabs.
The actual options vary for each element, but you get a good amount of depth no matter what:
Responsive Design Options
By default, all of the websites that you create with Duda are mobile-friendly.
But if you want to get more hands-on, you can use the Desktop, Mobile, and Tablet edit modes at the top to quickly switch between different design previews:
But these different modes are not just about previews – they also let you make changes that apply specifically to that version of your site. For example, if you edit an element while in the mobile or tablet preview mode, the changes that you make will only affect that device:
This is a really simple and convenient way to control device-optimized designs of the sites that you build with Duda.
Easy Access To HTML/CSS
If you ever want even more control than the visual Duda site editor offers, you can quickly switch to the HTML/CSS view with the click of a button (or by using the CTRL + ALT + C shortcut):
Clicking this button opens a full code editor where you’re free to make direct changes to your site’s HTML or CSS:
Essentially, you can use the visual editor to build 99% of your site and then dig into the code to finish out that last 1%, if needed.
It’s also quite helpful for making your own CSS style tweaks, as you have full access to your site’s CSS via the editor.
Simple Website Personalization
Finally, one last thing that we want to highlight about the Duda site editor is its easy personalization features. Using the Personalize tab, you can build rules to personalize your site’s content based on the actual visitor who’s looking at the design.
Duda comes with a variety of pre-built rules for common actions (like a popup, notification bar, etc.). Or, you can always build your own rules from scratch for full control:
Once you’re finished with all the settings, you just click Publish to start the process of pushing your site live!
Again, Duda handles hosting for you using AWS. And all of Duda’s sites come with a 99.99% uptime guarantee.
Five Reasons Why Duda Is Especially Great For Web Design Agencies
Above, we gave you a general look at how the Duda site editor helps you rapidly build a website.
Now, we want to dig into some of the features that specifically make Duda a great option for agencies or anyone else building sites for clients.
1. White-Label The Entire Dashboard
If you plan to give clients access to backend admin tools, you can completely rebrand the Duda dashboard so that it’s a 100% unique system for your agency.
You’ll be able to have a white-labeled:
- Client login screen
- Client dashboard
- Website builder
- Template gallery
- Website preview
Everything will use your own logo and colors – the Duda branding disappears.
2. Control What Permissions Clients Or Team Members Have
You’ll probably run into situations where you want to give clients or team members backend access to manage a website, but you don’t want them to have full control to make any change they want.
To help, Duda offers a detailed roles and permissions system.
You’ll be able to do things like:
- Ensure clients only have access to their own site (not any of your other clients’ sites)
- Let clients edit widget content to add their own content, but lock the actual widget positioning and styling so they don’t mess up the site layout.
- Control access to HTML/CSS editing, or whether or not a client can publish their own site
Waiting for clients to give you content is a pain… Duda helps you avoid wasting time on content collection with a few different features.
First, Duda lets you send a Content Collection form so that clients can easily upload all the relevant content/information and you’ll have it right in the Duda website builder.
Not only is it convenient for clients, it’s also convenient for you, because you don’t need to waste time uploading files after you receive them from the client.
But beyond that, Duda can also help you bypass clients altogether with a feature that lets you automatically import a client’s information and images from another platform (like their Facebook page).
4. Send Automated Emails To Clients
Once you finish building the site, Duda also helps you automatically manage your ongoing client relationships.
You can send your clients regular white-labeled analytics reports that let them know exactly what’s going on with their site.
5. Build Your Own Widgets (As Mentioned)
We already covered this when we showed you the site editor, so we won’t go into too much detail.
But by building your own widgets, you’re able to create a widget once, and then use it across all your client sites as needed via the visual Duda site editor. That means easier scaling as you no longer need to manually add that same custom-coded solution to each client site.
You can see some examples of custom designed widgets at this page.
Final Thoughts On The Duda Website Builder Platform
Duda’s core feature will always be the website builder. What’s great about this builder is that it manages to give you simple, drag-and-drop editing, while also not limiting you if you want to get your hands dirty with features like the full HTML/CSS editor and the option to create your own widgets.
But Duda isn’t just a website builder, which is why it makes such a great option for agencies.
The team collaboration features make it easy to clearly delineate different roles for members of your agency.
And Duda’s client management-focused features can save you time all while offering a more custom, white-labeled experience for your clients.
Plus, the fact that your clients’ sites are hosted on AWS gives you the reliability and scalability of Amazon. And the 99.99% uptime guarantee means you won’t ever have to put out fires from angry clients wondering why their website is down.
Duda offers a free trial with no strings attached, so give it a try and see if it’s right for your needs!