Duda vs WordPress: #1 Expert Analysis
I've built countless websites on WordPress and Duda. And pushed the limits on both. Let's see which platform comes out on top in this Duda vs WordPress comparison.
Man, are you asking yourself a worthy question, "Duda vs WordPress, where should I build my website?".
I was eager to find an alternative to WordPress that also fit the needs of my website builds.
Now, if anyone is promising you that a single platform is the end-all be-all website builder - don't trust them.
I say this because a single platform can't serve the vast requirements of website builds. Often where it shines is a double-edged sword. For example, WordPress is open source and self-hosted - a trait that enables a massive plugin library but causes headaches in keeping it up to date and working (i.e., plugin updates break shit).
So, you can't have your cake and eat it too.
The question in comparing the Duda and WordPress website builders is what features are important to you. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.
And btw, I have pushed both platforms to their limits and extended them even further. It's a knack I have. 😋
Check out a summary of the comparison:
Duda offers a 14 free trial if you want to check it out.
I've broken down this Duda vs WordPress comparison into the following categories:
- SEO - inherent capabilities as well extendable ones
- Build Time - which platform is faster to build on
- Maintenance - how much time goes into maintaining them
- Functionality/Flexibility - what type of features and app/plugins can be added
- Platform Trajectory - where the platform is headed in the future
- CMS - content management capabilities
- Learning Curve - how much effort it takes to learn
- Multiple Websites - what it's like managing multiple websites (agencies)
- Support - what support options are available
- Designer - how capable and intuitive is the designer
- Price - cost to run the website (not build it)
Let's explore so you can confidently choose the best platform for your needs! Whether you are building your own websites or websites for your clients, this comparison is for you.
In another post I wrote, I break down the best website builder for SEO and compare five platforms. The Duda Website Builder came out on top.
In summary, there are things the platform can do to benefit SEO and there are things that aren't platform-dependent.
For example, you can obtain backlinks on any platform.
The five things a website builder does that search engines love are as follows:
- A Secure Website
- Website Speed
- User Experience
- Image Optimization
Duda does all five! WordPress does zero out of the box, however, you can achieve most of them through plugins. The challenge then becomes finding the right plugins, paying for them, and maintaining them. Even at that, WordPress can't touch the speed of Duda.
Check out this chart that pulls real-world data (the same data Google uses) comparing the Core Web Vitals of actual Duda websites and actual WordPress sites (sites that get enough traffic to get this data).
Over HALF (64%) of Duda websites are passing Core Web Vitals (which are Googles metrics to measure performance and usability and play a role in SEO). 28% of WordPress websites are passing CWW.
To be fair, work can be done on those WordPress sites to make them faster. But it's very difficult to do and only so much can be done to make WordPress faster. My Duda websites are always faster than my WordPress ones.
Search engines love Duda! There are plenty of built in SEO settings built in and plenty of SEO magic done for us!
When comparing Duda and WordPress SEO, Duda wins (by a lot).
Let's explore how long it takes to create a website on each website builder.
The WordPress setup looks like this:
- Determine which server you want to host the site on
- Optionally tune the server to work best with WordPress (or use a server that is already tuned)
- Install WordPress
- Go through the WordPress setup (create admin user, set site slogan, etc.)
- Arrive at a platform that is ready to blog on
- Go to the plugin page and find a page builder (plus all the other plugins you'll need)
- Go to Google and figure out which page builder is best for you
- Pay for the page builder (Elementor, WP Bakery, or one of the many others)
- Search through WordPress templates and purchase one (optional)
- Start building your website
- Switching between pages takes a while because you need to leave the page editor, go to pages, click into the page you want, then click into the designer
I can keep going, but I am trying to paint the picture that WordPress is not conducive to efficiency. If you've used WordPress then you probably already know this. But what you might not know is how Duda knew this and decided to fix it all.
Here's what building looks like on Duda:
- Click "Create a Responsive Site"
- Choose from many very professional (and free) website templates or choose a blank one (like I usually do)
- Start building your website as everything you need is out of the box ready!
- Switching between pages is a breeze with the page switcher
- Copying and pasting rows between pages is super easy
- Getting feedback from others is super easy with the built-in comment tool
Duda looked at every stage in the website lifecycle and built something that nurtures it. Some agencies report a 50% reduction in build time! I have for sure seen a serious decrease in build time.
The winner for build-time is... Duda! Also by a lot.
This is a big category for me. As someone who's managed a lot of websites, I strive to create the most maintainable solutions.
There is a huge difference between Duda and WordPress when it comes to maintainability.
If you're familiar with WordPress, then you are familiar with:
- Updating plugins
- Updating WordPress
- Updating the server
- Obtaining an SSL
- Dealing with broken plugins
- Dealing with all the moving pieces
It's time-consuming, frustrating, and shouldn't be our job as website builders in the 2020's.
*Enter scene Duda*
Duda is managed on their servers (technically AWS). The platform, the servers, the apps, the SSL are all managed for us. When we work with Duda, our time goes straight to value-adding activities... building web pages!
The winner is obvious for which is easier to maintain - Duda!
Functionality / Flexibility
How flexible is the platform is a question you should ask yourself when deciding if a platform is right for you.
WordPress is the winner here! This is for two reasons.
- WordPress is open source (meaning the code is available for anyone to extend which is how plugins are created)
- WordPress has been around a lot longer
Duda has an app store that is impressive, but very small. The apps that are available are fully integrated with the platform and approved by Duda. They are also automatically kept up to date.
Both WordPress and Duda have free and premium plugins.
Web developers can extend WordPress and Duda. But the ability to extend WordPress is much greater due to backend access. Need to create a social community website? Boom, there's a WordPress plugin for that. There's almost a plugin for everything.
WordPress's massive plugin library and the ability for developers to make necessary tweaks means that WordPress is the clear winner for this category.
It's important to make sure you are "future-proofing" (a terrible term because you can't do that on websites) as much as you can.
So let's look beyond where the website builder is today and figure out where it's heading into the future!
WordPress was started around 2000. Since then, the platform hasn't gone through a major rewrite of the platform. Countless upgrades and improvements have been made as you can see on the WordPress history page. But, no rewrite.
As I developer I know what's under the hood in WordPress, and it's not good. It's done well but it is time for something new with modernized code structures and best practices (or even decent practices).
This passage is from Stack Overflow and is very well written (and probably gibberish to most):
"WordPress is a mix mess of procedural and OOP with the worst development practices added in (global variables, no separation of concerns, echo()'ing from anywhere, bad database modeling, etc). Do NOT under any circumstance learn from the WP way of doing things, except as a bad example."
I concur. It's bad and needs to get rewritten. A similar platform to WordPress (Drupal) went through a complete rewrite which took YEARS and was released around 2015 (I also have a Drupal vs WordPress article). They benefited immensely.
The problem for WordPress is part of its popularity comes from its massive plugin library and support docs online. If they rewrite the platform, all of that will be outdated and those plugins won't work. So all the plugins need to get rewritten. Many of them won't get rewritten because their maintainers don't have the time or don't need that plugin anymore.
Drupal's community is very dedicated which made the platform rewrite possible and many of the plugin/module maintainers rewrote their code so the ecosystem is alive and well!
Okay okay, lots of backstory, but that's all to say that WordPress does not have a bright future. More upgrades on shitty code. Not a good look and not somewhere I prefer building.
Duda is different. The platform has modern code that is flexible for them to continue updating with best practices. They are constantly releasing new features and have plenty on the backlog. I have full faith in the future of Duda.
When looking into the future, I see Duda heading in the right direction, not WordPress.
Content Management System
If you need content management capabilities beyond a blog, listen up! The concept here is there is one place to manage data and one place to create templates making the data dynamically display on the page. Both WordPress and Duda have blogs built-in (which are technically a form of CMS) but I'm really looking to compare how extendable the systems are.
What happens when you want to create team members or a portfolio?
WordPress doesn't have anything extendable out of the box, but with plugins, you can achieve this.
Duda on the other hand does have an extendable CMS built-in.
I use it a lot, but there are definitely limitations. It has basic field types and layout options. The main limitations are no conditional rendering, building custom overview grids, or adding relational content. While Duda provides more CMS capabilities out of the box, WordPress can go further. But for most use cases, Duda's CMS is very capable!
Because WordPress has many plugins that can extend the CMS abilities, WordPress wins, but not by much.
Let's look at which platform is easier to learn.
Duda is easier to get set up. With a click of a button and a selection of a template, you are ready to build. With WordPress, you have to find a server and go through a setup that's not streamlined.
Once you set up your site it's time to build. Duda has all the tools you need to build ready to go. WordPress does not. You have to find a page builder. Duda's interface is built for building websites while WordPress's doesn't feel that way.
Plus every WordPress site is a little different so if you familiarize yourself with one website then inherit another, it's going to be a bit of a learning curve as they may be using a different builder or plugins.
Because Duda has all the tools you need to build a website, the winner goes to Duda. WordPress is not difficult to learn, but because there are plugins you have to find and learn, I'd say it's slightly harder than Duda.
Are you like me? Do you manage multiple websites? There's not a whole lot of synergy when managing multiple WordPress websites. Here are some of the WordPress struggles:
- Separate logins for every WordPress website
- Can't share assets between websites (maybe with a third-party plugin it's possible)
- No client management
- Possibly different hosting and server setups
- Can't quickly switch between your websites
- Adding team members must be done on each website
Duda recognized all these issues and created a solution. Duda is beyond awesome when managing a single website and they are just as great at managing multiple.
Here are some of the Duda highlights for this category:
- One dashboard for all websites
- One login for all websites
- Share assets (sections/templates) between websites
- Add team members with various permissions for all websites
- Client management features
- Add clients with permissions to specific websites
- View stats and conversions for all websites
- Managing billing on a single card
- Invite clients using an email or link
Duda markets itself to agencies and creates the tools necessary to manage it. WordPress is a single-site solution. There is nothing that brings multiple websites together beside your hosting company.
When it comes to managing multiple websites, Duda is the clear winner.
Duda is a company that has employees, revenue, and growth. WordPress is created by a community of volunteers and backed by a nonprofit with no salaried employees.
I say this to paint the picture of how Duda can offer support and WordPress cannot.
Duda's customer support team is top-notch. They are very knowledgeable and helpful. Their response times are super quick too!
On my agency tier, I can contact support three different ways:
- Phone support
- Chat support
- Email support
While WordPress doesn't offer support, they have a massive community and documentation. If something isn't working you go to Google and hope somebody else had the same issue and documented the solution online. Because WordPress has been around for so long and it's very popular, you are likely to find the solution online.
It's hard to pick a winner for this category. Maybe a way I approach it is by asking the question, "If I'm having a problem, how likely am I to solve it using support?". If we lump in online documentation as support then I'd say they are tied, if not, then Duda is the winner.
Let's talk about the ability to implement compelling designs that convert. And some other stuff.
WordPress out of the box does not have a page builder. Your "pages" consist of a title and body. Woohoo.
In order to bring design elements to pages, you must add a third-party website builder. Often paid for might I add. Plus, because it's not native to WordPress, it'll lack UX.
Here are some challenges with WordPress when it comes to design:
- No default page builder
- You'll likely pay for a page builder
- Each WordPress website you manage may use a different builder increasing the learning curve
- It's not easy to switch between pages (as the page builder is often a separate mode you have to click into)
- It's not easy or not possible to copy and paste between pages
- The page builder isn't always integrated with other WordPress features (e.g., custom fields)
- You need to find WordPress themes that's compatible with your website builder
Duda has an excellent page builder out of the box. It's also the same builder you'll use on every website which will make training people very easy.
Here are some highlights about the Duda designer:
- Included with Duda
- Fully integrated with Duda features
- Capable and flexible
- Copy and paste sections and pages
- Save sections and pages for reuse
- Makes designing for mobile and desktop easy
- Intuitive to use
- Advanced features like animations and flex
When comparing Duda and WordPress website builders, should I include using plugins?
With plugins, I'd say Duda slightly wins because their designer is integrated, free, and the same from site to site.
Without plugins then Duda clearly wins because WordPress doesn't have shit.
So far Duda is crushing WordPress. But do you have to pay a pretty penny for it?
Nope! It is cheaper.
Duda's pricing comes in several tiers with slightly different features and a reduced price per website. The price includes all the features, hosting, and backups.
WordPress itself is free, but to host it and use certain plugins it'll cost you. While you can find cheap WordPress hosting service out there, you are going to get what you pay for. I host all my WordPress sites on Pantheon which is feature-rich. It's not just hosting service, it's a website management platform.
Beyond that, there are usually some plugins I need that are "pro" meaning they cost. So figure in addition to hosting we'll need $0-$200 per year. And beyond hosting I typically purchase WordPress themes for over $50 (although there are free and paid themes).
For me, WordPress costs between $500-$700/year.
Duda is less expensive and better. What a winner!
The Big Questions
You've seen that Duda crushes WordPress in almost every category. But there are still specific cases where I need to use WordPress as my website builder.
My default choice is Duda, but I ask myself the following two questions to see if I need to use WordPress:
- What functionality do I need?
- What content management capabilities do I need?
While Duda is very functional, there may be a specific piece of functionality you can only find on WordPress. So get a clear understanding of the functionality you need before picking.
And two, while Duda has a CMS, your needs may surpass its capabilities of it. Understand your CMS needs before picking a platform.
Well, Well, Well...
We have a new kid on the block that is everything the old kid wasn't.
Duda crushes WordPress in sooo many ways. I hated using WordPress as my website builder and am glad that I have an alternative that makes building and managing websites enjoyable.
Happy website building! ✌️
Duda vs Wordpress (Video)