WordPress vs. Duda: Which platform offers more value to design agencies?

If you’re just setting up your web design agency, you have to make the difficult choice about which platform to work on. It’s relatively easy to switch platforms at the beginning, but once you’ve set up all your workflows and permissions and invested time creating custom templates and themes, moving to a different platform isn’t so simple.

There are a lot of features to consider when you’re picking a web design platform, including collaboration and multi-site management tools, the range of themes available, and SEO power. You might also want bonus features like white-label options and built-in site performance optimization.

You can’t ignore WordPress, as it’s one of the biggest names in web platforms. It’s the CMS of choice for 33.9% of all the world’s websites, including big names like New York Post, TED and Airstream.

But Duda gives WordPress a run for its money. It’s an all-in-one web hosting, collaboration, development and design platform that was built especially to address the needs of web design teams, and it was chosen as PCMag’s Editors’ Choice website builder of 2019.

To help make your decision easier, we put WordPress and Duda through a head-to-head comparison, to discover which offers more value for web design agencies.

1. Intuitive user interface

Both WordPress and Duda score highly. The two platforms offer an intuitive editing dashboard that’s easy to use without compromising on powerful content creation and web design capabilities.

Image source: https://www.codeinwp.com/blog/gutenberg-replace-page-builders/

While Duda might have had the edge before WordPress rolled out its Gutenberg editor last year, WordPress now offers native drag-and-drop page building, so usability-wise, I’d say the two are pretty comparable.

2. Collaboration tools

When you’re running a web design agency, you need more than one person to be able to work on the same website at the same time.

With WordPress, this is tricky. WordPress does have five different levels of user permissions, but the access rules can’t be adjusted according to your agency’s needs. Since only Administrators can change code and install or delete plugins, you’d need to make everyone an Administrator to permit them to change the layout, or themes of the website, which defeats the whole point of user permissions.

With Duda, you can fine-tune user permissions so that colleagues can work side by side on the same section without treading on each other’s toes. You can even give client-side team members access to certain content editing rights and not others, for example.

Duda also offers easy “website comments” messaging threads pinned to specific design elements so that you don’t lose track of your discussions or forget assigned tasks. This makes it easy to discuss what color a CTA button should be, or get a client’s opinion about the font for banner text, without having to conduct the conversation on a separate channel.

3. SEO optimization

No matter what type of site you’re building, you need to include full SEO optimization. As a CMS, WordPress shines when it comes to SEO. There are numerous plugins that do a great job of simplifying many aspects of SEO for WordPress sites, including meta data, site maps and server caching.

And even without plugins, WordPress was built with SEO in mind, and it’s also easy enough to the platform’s native “permalinks” settings to create optimized URLs.

But for the most part, WordPress is a bit of an SEO blank canvas. If you choose a poorly coded theme or a slow hosting service for it, for example, then you could be harming your own efforts.

Duda takes SEO to a new level, with several impressive technical onsite optimization capabilities built in to help you and your clients rank high in the organic search results. Mobile-friendliness and site speed are paramount to Duda, both of which are key factors in Google’s ranking algorithms.

Here are some of the game-changing SEO solutions that come baked in to every Duda-powered website:

  • Hosting built on top of Amazon’s best-in-class AWS platform
  • Image size and file type optimization
  • SSL certificates enabling HTTPS connections
  • Lazy loading of style sheets and images
  • CDN for large media files

It’s true that all of these capabilities can be unlocked on WordPress as well. But that requires a lot of configuration and sourcing from expensive multiple third-party vendors. With Duda, it all comes built in.

4. Range of themes

WordPress is justly famous for offering thousands of different themes and templates, making it easy to find an appropriate theme for every client.

The Envato Elements marketplace alone, just one digital goods site for buying and selling design files, lists nearly 1000 WordPress themes.

That said, because it’s an open-source platform, not every WordPress theme reaches the same high standards. Some of them aren’t compatible with certain plugins, or have serious security vulnerabilities, and many look very similar to each other.

Duda offers serious competition in the form of three whole libraries of content templates, themes, widgets, and other design elements that help speed up the web design process.

What’s more, you can create your own custom templates and save them in the Duda library, so that other designers on your team can quickly pull them out and apply them to a new site.

You can even aggregate old content to your new themes without entering the drag-and-drop editor, since Duda’s “connected data” capabilities make headless, API-driven website creation simple and scalable.

5. Content collection tools

Duda outstrips WordPress by a long way here. WordPress doesn’t offer any tools to streamline and speed up the often time-consuming process of content collection, but Duda has plenty.

Duda automates the task of scraping data from your client’s existing digital presences, and also provides an automated “Collect from Client” form to request the data and assets you need to complete your work, importing them directly into your account’s libraries.

What’s more, thanks to Duda’s specialized user permissions, you can safely invite your client to add content directly to the site, without risking them accessing and potentially altering sensitive areas of code or design.

6. Multi-site management capabilities

Even if your web design agency starts off small, you’ll quickly find yourself designing and maintaining dozens of client sites. WordPress offers WordPress Multisite to help you manage them all. It permits you to install and manage themes and plugins, grant permissions, and accept software updates across multiple WordPress sites.

The drawback is that it only works on a very high level. It’s basically made for brands that manage multiple publications as part of a network – not for agencies that manage multiple properties on behalf of unrelated businesses.

With WordPress Multisite (WPMS), you have to implement changes to all sites at once; you can’t change one site at a time. It also doesn’t enable content creation through the multi-site dashboard. To input or alter content, you’ll have to log in to each site separately, then log out and log in to the next site, and so forth.

In contrast, Duda has a true multi-site management dashboard that allows you to make changes to the content, design, or code of each site individually from within the dashboard.

It saves you time logging in and out of multiple sites, and improves your project management and ability to keep track of changes across numerous sites.

7. White label option

When you use WordPress to build a client site, what you get is a site built on the WordPress brand. There’s no white label option, unless you want to invest in having a coder replace all traces of WordPress branding from the backend.

But even that strategy could be a major mistake, since you’d have to repeat the process every time there’s a new version of the WordPress source code released, or you’d risk getting your clients’ sites hacked.

Duda, on the other hand, offers a white label version for you to use with your own agency branding, as well as an open API. This helps you look more professional and assists you in associating your agency with a sense of value in your clients’ minds.

You can also use the API to create fully self-service website building platforms for your clients to use on their own. This is exactly what top hosting platforms like Checkdomain and 1&1 Ionos have done.

The verdict: Duda wins for web design agencies

WordPress has many positive features that make it an ideal platform for individuals setting up a business, blog, or eCommerce site – including an outstanding user interface, massive libraries of plugins and templates, and top SEO tools. However, the accessibility and simplicity that make it well suited for individuals make it a runner-up for web design agencies.

Duda offers a unified, all-in-one solution with stand-out functionalities like content collection automation, in-platform communication, and user permissions that you can fine-tune according to your agency’s needs. When you add cutting-edge capabilities like a multi-site management dashboard and white-label versions, it makes it every web design agency’s first choice.

Must-Follow Responsive Web Design and Branding Tips for 2019

A responsive web design should be your uppermost priority in this digital world if you want to keep your online business on the top of the competition. Not only this, a responsive business website helps you expand audience reach, boosts the conversion rate, keeps users happy and most importantly enables you to appear in more search engine results.

Responsive web design makes a website that can adapt to the screen size of a device that visitor is using to access the website. It optimizes the users’ web browsing experience by presenting them with responsive web pages that fit on all screen sizes.

Have a look at the following essential benefits of a responsive web design that will excite you to turn a non-responsive business website into a responsive one.

A Well-Branded and Seamless User Experience

For every website and business in the e-commerce industry, having a website that appears and feels the same across different mobile devices is necessary for excellent user experience. A responsive design prevents your users from zoom in and out to see the information or details they need. In short, a responsive website designed for a Watch Company will show all the details and information about its products like rolex hulk in a best possible manner without getting the users distracted. You can see how this is all in motion through the screenshot below.

With all of these elements in place it ensures the layout of a website fits properly on different screens to provide users with a seamless web experience. Enhanced user experience is one of the essential business benefits of responsive web design. It will not only keep them engaged on your site but they will come back again and will also tell others about your business or brand. Responsive design also improves brand perception by reducing the bounce rate.

Using Vibrant Colors that Represent Your Brand

If you are going to create a responsive and custom site for your brand or business, you need to make sure it not only has a fancy design, but also one that represents the branding of your logo, messaging, and existing online identity as well. The best accomplish this, it’s important to understand the power of colors in branding and how they each play a role in the consumer emotion and decision process.

For example… have you ever wondered by brands like Coca-cola, Puma and Diesel use red in their design? Here are a few highlights on why.

Red evokes a feeling of passion, intensity, and urgency, with various shades conveying different versions of that feeling. Bright red can invoke feelings of passion and energy, while dark red can be used to give a feeling of authority and luxury. Generally, red commands attention, so it should be used carefully and judiciously.

  • Positive Connotations: It gives a feeling of energy and passion and is very eye-catching.
  • Negative Connotations: Can be seen as overtly bold or aggressive.
  • Suitable for: Food and/or beverage companies. Companies that have a sexy, yet sophisticated, image.  

Mobile Usage and Boosted SEO

As quality content is vital in search engine optimization to rank higher in search engines, responsive web design is important too in order to make your online business appear in more search results. Google recommends business owners and webmasters have a responsive web design in place because Google wants to provide its users with the best user experience possible. That is the reason; a responsive website can boost your SEO efforts to help you chase search engine marketing goals more effectively.

You can learn more about how Google looks at websites differently if they are responsive or not in this article. Not only will Google see and rank your site differently based on these results, they might also penalize your site or keep it lower in the rankings if your site appears differently on various devices. Google also offers a wide range of tools for site owners to check their site structure to make sure it passes all of Google’s viewing requirements.

Fast Loading Webpages are Crucial to Performance and SEO

According to experts, mobile users tend to skip web pages that take more than 3 seconds to load properly because they have short attention spans. And if a website is not optimized for mobile devices, it will take too long to load its pages in full that can cause a higher bounce rate in return. That’s why; responsive web pages are designed with latest performance techniques such as quick caching and responsive image display to make them load quickly on all screens.

If you don’t think site speed is that important, just take a look at these key statistics compiled by Kissmetrics, and how just a few seconds in loading time can make a huge different for a business:

  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in two seconds or less.
  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
  • 73% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that was too slow to load.
  • 51% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
  • 38% of mobile internet users say they’ve encountered a website that wasn’t available.
  • A one second delay in page response can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions.
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a one second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year.

Increase Sales, User Analytics and Scalability

As online shopping is becoming popular day by day, security conscious people are confident while making purchases online by using their mobile devices. According to research, almost 80% of users use their smartphones for online shopping and this number is expected to grow more in years to come. It shows that a website designed for mobile devices can help a business secure more sales than a less-responsive website. When users find a website responsive, they stay longer on the site that will hopefully bring more sales on the way of a business or brand.

Worldwide eCommerce Sales 2014 through 2021 (Image source: Shopify)

At the same time, in this era of digital marketing, it is most important for businesses to know the actual traffic sources and how people spend time on your website. Such information and data can help businesses develop fertile marketing campaigns tailored to the user experience. Having a highly responsive business website significantly simplifies the data monitoring and analytical process for a business. Even analytical tools like Google Analytics can also provide details and data of a site into a single report. In results, a business is better able to see how the different elements of the site are performing on different screens.

The last factor to consider, is that responsive web design offers business various opportunities to support different technologies and screens in years to come. Responsive sites are made with a feature to scale up or down as needed to best fit in the screen of a device the site is accessed from. It also makes it easier for a business or brand to make necessary changes in the web design as per the latest web development trends without spending much.

Adapt to Responsive and Super Fast Speed or Die

Responsive web design is something that became a huge discussion a couple of years back, but there are still millions of websites and blogs that have yet to adapt, or are still lacking in the full optimization of their site and content.

If you feel your site is lagging behind and missing out on lost traffic and higher rankings, be sure to run through each of the factors we mentioned, and have them corrected or improved as soon as possible.

On the flip side, if you have the basics of responsive site design and loading times under control, head on over to our seo marketing site tips to further improve how your site ranks in Google and see if you have all of these SEO optimization and marketing methods in place.

Benefits of Shared Web Hosting and Customer Service at CoolHandle

The backbone of any good website is solid web hosting. It doesn’t matter if you have a blog, a forum, a social network, an online store, a SaaS offering or anything else. If the web hosting isn’t up to snuff, nothing else is going to matter because visitors won’t be able to access the site in a fast and reliable manner. At the same time, it’s not just about choosing a great hosting provider, it’s also a matter of making sure your site loads fast and that your host has the necessary tools, servers and hosting capabilities in place at all times to make sure your site is running at peak performance.

This is why it is important to exercise some care in selecting the right web hosting provider for your websites. And the overwhelming majority of website owners will and should gravitate toward shared web hosting until specific needs arise beyond what shared web hosting can provide. Because shared web hosting offers a host of benefits if you subscribe to the right hosting company.

1. Most Affordable Web Hosting Solution

Let’s be perfectly honest with one another. As much as we may talk about finding the best features and benefits, at the end of the day, just about everyone is going to shop with the price being one of the biggest determining factors. We can’t blame them (or us). If something is incrementally better but costs astronomically more, not too people are going to choose it.

Yes, if you have a much larger budget, you might shop around for a dedicated server with infinite configuration options, but that’s not where most website owners are going to start. Instead, they want something affordable, reliable and reasonably easy to use. And that’s why CoolHandle focuses primarily on offering world class shared hosting.

At the end of the day, shared web hosting always has been and always will be the most affordable web hosting solution. You can get started for as little as $3.95 a month, about the cost of a small latte at most coffee shops. That’s a very small price to pay considering how much you get. Even at that introductory level, you still get to leverage unlimited bandwidth and plenty of storage.

2. Expert Management and Configuration

Some people might argue that VPS hosting and dedicated servers offer you much more control over your web hosting. That might be true to some extent, but it also introduces many more opportunities for frustration and headache precisely because you are left to manage more hardware and configuration considerations.

Shared web hosting is advantageous for a greater number of users because most people don’t want to find themselves elbow-deep in all of the finer technicalities. When you subscribe to a shared hosting plan, the hosting provider takes care of all of that for you.

Indeed, in the case of a company like CoolHandle, you get access to servers that will “load lightning fast without [needing you] to reconfigure your cache” and you gain access to a global content distribution network to further improve the user experience on your site. The servers are all expertly managed, updated and upgraded, so you don’t have to worry about any of that.

And when you want to get into more of the finer intricacies, you can do that through a simple dashboard with a user-friendly interface.

3. Integrated Tools and Convenience

Another great advantage of the shared web hosting service by CoolHandle is the accessibility to a convenience series of integrated tools and solutions. If you want web hosting that has been specifically optimized for the best WordPress performance, for example, they have a series of plans for that. This is definitely something to keep in mind if you are running a WordPress site, as not all websites and blogs have the same needs.

Beyond this, they will gladly help to transfer your existing website over from another web host completely free of charge. This can sometimes feel like a daunting and even overwhelming task to undertake, which is why it’s such a relief that you can leave it to the experts. This includes website transfers, domain transfers, MySQL transfers and more.

Not prepared to handle the technicalities of installing scripts on your hosting plan? CoolHandle has over 50 free scripts that can be installed on your account and these are included with each hosting plan. You also get access to such features as Webalizer server log analysis, password protected directories, SSH access, cron job scheduling, support for Ruby on Rails and Python, and so much more.

4. All the Support You Need

Whether you’re just starting out for the first time or you’re a seasoned veteran who is intimately familiar with all the jargon and lingo and technical details, you want to know that you’ll have the support you need when you need it. And this goes clear across the line with everything you might want to get out of your hosting provider.

In the case of CoolHandle, this is a big part of the reason why the $8.95/month Pro shared hosting plan is worth considering even if you don’t necessarily have “complex sites with heavier traffic.” It’s only a few dollars more than the other plans, but one of the big additional features that you see here is “priority support.”

While all plans come with around-the-clock support, getting your request bumped to the front of the line can mean a world of difference, particularly if you rely on your website for running your business, as would be the case with a content-based site like a blog, as well as with online stores and online businesses.

Many people may automatically associate “support” with front line technical support, which is certainly important, but you also want access to more advanced technical support for when issues become more complicated and need a more advanced level of technical expertise. Similarly, you want customer and billing support to be on point as well. Remember that a big part of the appeal of shared web hosting in the first place is that it’s fundamentally seamless for the end user (i.e., you).

5. Grows With Your Business

With a traditional brick and mortar business, it is a monumental pain in the butt when you need to move locations because you’ve outgrown your original location. The logistics involved can be positively astronomical, especially if you’ve invested a lot of time and money into furnishings, decoration, equipment and all the rest of it.

The good news is that with an online business and with shared web hosting, moving to a “bigger office” only requires a couple quick clicks of the mouse. You can certainly start out with a smaller monthly plan and when you find that your needs outgrow what that plan can provide, you simply upgrade to the next level up. Shared web hosting can scale alongside your business and the transition is absolutely seamless.

But it will always start with hosting is fast, secure and reliable.