Top 10 Things I Love About Duda
Duda deeply understands all the pains of owning a website and have solved so many of them. Having built over 20 Duda websites, I've compiled a list of my favorite things about the platform.
Whether you're a digital marketing company or a company seeking to hire someone to build you a Duda site, there are plenty of reasons to love Duda.
If you're not familiar with the platform, it's an all-in-one website builder/platform that let's you focus on creating an amazing digital presence. It does this by giving you the tools you need to succeed and managing all the other things that shouldn't be on your plate, like keeping an SSL certificate active.
Duda deeply understands all stages of having a website and provides you with the tools to enable your success.
Having built over 20 Duda websites, I've compiled a list of my favorite things about the platform.
Watch my video covering these 10 items or read ahead below for the written version. If you're ready to learn Duda, dive into my Duda Website Builder Tutorial.
1. Completely Managed
Ever use just about any other website platform out there (looking at you WordPress)? If so, then you can relate to the following:
- Paying for an SSL certificate (even though they are free)
- Dealing with an expired SSL certificate
- Updating plugins/modules/apps because there are bugs or security issues
- Dealing with broken websites after updating plugins/modules/apps
- Updating PHP
- Dealing with custom servers and keeping those up to date
- Staying up to date on the latest best practices and implementing them
- Paying high hosting fees
- Setting up backup functionality
Drum roll, please…
Duda handles all of this for you, at an excellent price.
With the click of a button, your SSL certificate is installed and never touched again.
Without having to do anything, your website, server, apps, and any other backend maintenance are kept up to date and running with best practices.
According to Duda, website speed is the 4th most important Google ranking factor. Want to crush your competition? Make sure your website is fast, so visitors get content right away.
Note, a large amount of visitors bounce off a website if it doesn't load within 3 seconds. Google has taken note of this and made performance a factor in ranking your site in the search results. Google wants to give users great content and also a great experience.
Most of our websites score high 90's out of 100 for desktop on the Lighthouse test (the gold standard for website speed tests and the one Google uses).
After launching a website, my company did an internal performance study by comparing our mobile speed and desktop speed to the top 20 websites for a related keyword we were focusing on. The results were very impressive. Desktop scored in the 99th percentile, and mobile scored in the 95th percentile.
The speeds we can output on our websites make it so competition can rarely touch us.
Duda is continuing to find ways to improve the page load time. I know this because there are two items on their backlog (must be logged in to Duda to view) that address ideas they can implement to improve how fast Duda websites load.
3. Comment Tool
Built into Duda is a very handy feature that allows you, your team, or your clients to point, click, and enter comments on the website.
These comments make it very easy to communicate changes and suggestions across your team or clients.
Whether you are a solo designer and want to leave a note-to-self, a team that wants to communicate to other people on your team, or are in a client-agency relationship and need to communicate both ways, this tool is for you.
Providing feedback is a necessary step in any website build. It's about time a platform includes this very effective tool.
As a developer who can fully realize the potential of code and a web browser, I was always skeptical of drag-and-drop editors. How can an editor possibly do all the amazing things you can do with custom code?
Very quickly after using the editor, I found it was not only very intuitive, but very capable. Tasks that would take me 30 minutes in custom code can be accomplished in 2 minutes (add up all the saved time and we are building websites faster than ever).
The editor makes it very easy to add rows, columns, widgets within those, and design these elements out with ease. Plus, they have a saved color palette so you can stop copying and pasting your hex codes all over.
Here's my favorite feature of the editor: it's very easy to edit mobile styles and desktop styles.
Using custom code, or many other editors out there, when it comes time to make your mobile or desktop site look good (depending on which one you started with), it's a lot of two steps forwards, one step backward. Each mobile edit you make seemingly screws up desktop and vice versa.
There are amazing Duda websites that have been built on this editor. There are so many possibilities.
There are nifty icons across the editor that show you which device you're impacting.
Duda's editor can't do everything, and so they give you the easy ability to edit CSS for the more advanced changes.
All in all, Duda's editor is very impressive, responsive, and time-saving.
5. Prebuilt Sections and Templates
Duda has a team of professional designers who create full website templates and individual section templates and makes them available to all Duda editors.
These templates are beautiful, time-saving, and inspirational. Even if you don't use the template exactly as it is, it's a great starting point to modify them to your liking.
They take the components most frequently used on websites and make them available to you within many variations.
Displaying a list of logos on your site? Try one of the 5 prebuilt sections, plug in your logos, and you're good to go.
Showing off your team? Try one of the 12 prebuilt sections and make them shine!
Every month or two when I open up Duda, I get a product update saying so and so template is now available, or new video sections have been added. Thanks Duda!
Duda probably knows me at this point. Having worked on many Duda sites and pushing them to the limits, I frequently am in contact with Duda's support team.
They are professional, highly knowledgeable, friendly, and don't make me feel bad for reaching out. They encourage it.
Duda offers callbacks (9/10 times my phone rings within 10 seconds of submitting the request), live chats, and leave a message.
All three of them are very useful. Phone calls can make it easy to discuss things that are otherwise hard to communicate via text. Live chat is swift and effective. I often upload images to help communicate and we are always on the same page. I occasionally leave a message when I know the thing I’m asking about will need time to research or coordinate with the development or quality assurance team.
My requests are always answered, bugs are always addressed, and support is always very helpful.
It’s hard to grasp how they are so knowledgeable in every aspect of the platform.
10/10 for Duda's support team.
7. Different Sites for Mobile and Desktop
This is a unique one. In fact, I don't know of any other platform that does this.
You may have worked with other visual editors that allow you to hide elements on mobile or desktop. For example, don’t show the desktop menu on mobile and don't show the mobile menu on desktop.
The mechanism for hiding these is usually a CSS style that goes like this: "display: none;". The ways this works is the mobile browser goes to a URL, the server servers up the webpage, and the mobile browser digests the code and displays it to you. When the browser reads the previously mentioned CSS style, the browser hides that element from showing. The key here is that the browser still downloads that part of the website, causing a delay in load time. Now a menu isn’t very heavy, but other elements are and it all adds up.
One more technical note before I move on to "The Duda Difference". These other systems know it's mobile because the web browser has access to the screen width. There are conditional statements in there that say if the browser is under 500px (for example), then show the mobile menu.
Okay, on to this awesome feature.
On Duda this is what happens…
Your phone goes to a URL, the server sees it's a phone (through something called a user agent - every device has one), and because it's a phone, Duda will only serve up your mobile elements. They won't serve up the desktop menu and hide it. This is huge for performance!
With significant granularity, you can design mobile and desktop sites that serve up their own elements.
8. Duda Idea Board
The way companies succeed is by providing value. The more value they provide, the more money they make.
Duda has the "Idea Board", which allows customers to submit feature requests and vote up other feature requests.
The more votes, the more attention it gets, and therefore the higher priority it gets.
Beyond this, they tag each feature request with what stage of the process it is in. Has Duda accepted this feature request? If so, the tag is updated to "Backlog". Have they started working on it? Duda updates the tag with "In Progress" so we know where things are at.
Duda actively engages with this board, and it's a tremendous display of how in-tune they are with their user base.
9. Compartmentalized CSS
This is on my 10 top list because of the value I place on maintainability. Having worked on many sites, and inherited many sites from other people, I've developed a focus on ensuring whatever I build is maintainable for years to come and for other people (just in case I get hit by a bus).
Here's the typical chain of events that leads so many websites into a hard-to-maintain state.
The website is developed, some features are added, then removed, then more are added, then other stuff is removed, and it keeps going. What typically isn't removed is the CSS (the design code) that applies to each of these features. As a result, a typical website has a bunch of unused CSS. It's a bunch of code that doesn't do anything but occupies space and confuses other developers.
Duda makes it so that CSS you apply to a certain section is attached to that section, so if you remove that section, the CSS gets removed too.
It keeps the website fresh and maintainable.
10. Integration With Webhooks and Zapier
The last item that made it on my list greatly extends the functionality of a Duda website through a service called Zapier.
Forms have a bunch of purposes on a website. They can sign people up for your newsletter, to contact you, and the list goes on.
Duda has prebuilt integrations for Constant Contact and Mailchimp so your subscribers can get added to your newsletters. While that covers most use cases for their user base, it doesn't cover them for me.
What if I want to send a Slack message to my team when a new contact form comes in or add submission information to my CRM?
This is where Webhooks and Zapier come into play.
Zapier is a service that allows you to easily integrate platforms across the web. It's amazing and very quick to use.
In this case, it allows you to connect Duda forms to just about any service on the internet.
This functionality is a key that I look for in my platforms, especially if they don't have otherwise built-in features.
Duda is the best!
While Duda has limitations, and so do all platforms, they have built and continue to build the website platform that is disrupting the internet. Watch out, WordPress! (JK it's too late) Also, these are my top 10 reasons I love Duda, with an emphasis on top. There are many more reasons I love Duda. There are also other great platforms out there.