You’re ready to start building out your website, and you want something that’s easy to use and powerful. But there are so many choices.
Do I go free and self-hosted? Or do I go with a full-featured hosted solution? Do I need support? Or can I really do it myself? Unfortunately, the bad news is, we can’t answer all of that. But the good news is, we can tell you whether to use Duda or WordPress (which is probably why you’re here).
In previous articles, we compared several different hosted solution, including Wix and Weebly, as well as Duda and the hosted version of WordPress. In this article, we will zoom in and focus on Duda vs WordPress (both the hosted solution, and the self-hosted option).
For this article, we spent almost 100 hours testing every aspect we could think of in WordPress and Duda, in order to see what worked best. From ease of use, to design, to performance, to support, we did it all. And the result is… well, you’ll have to wait until the end of the article to find out.
Before we get started, here’s the table of contents in case you want to skip to a particular section of this (long) review.
Table of Contents
- 1. What are Duda and WordPress
- 2. What we’re comparing
- 3. Duda vs WordPress: Comparison
- 4. Duda vs WordPress: Ease of use
- 5. Duda vs WordPress: Quality
- 6. Duda vs WordPress: Pricing
- 7. So what’s the best value?
- 8. Conclusion
Phew…now that that’s done, let’s get started with the actual review.
WordPress is the most well known of all content management services, and it’s in use by an estimated 25% of all of the websites on the Internet.
WordPress has two different forms. You can install the open source platform on your web server, or you can go to WordPress.com and build a site online. The latter is a direct competitor to Duda, while the former is an indirect competitor.
In this article, we will look at both of them, and compare them to Duda. Each form of WordPress is different, so we will distinguish the two by calling the hosted version WordPress.com and the open source version WordPress.
Duda is a tool that was built to create mobile websites from desktop sites. It has two options: responsive mode and mobile website mode.
Mobile website mode creates mobile websites from standard sites. In this mode, you enter the website URL, and then Duda attempts to access the website and convert it to a mobile-friendly version. The degree of success varies, and we will explore this in more depth later.
Another mode lets you to create a beautiful, responsive site by selecting a template and then adding widgets. This is the mode that more directly competes with WordPress, and it’s the one that we will look into in this article.
|Try it||Try it||Try it|
|Available themes||~280||tens of thousands||~150|
|Free plan||Multiple free vanity URL options (note, you need to buy a business level plan to remove their branding)||N/A||Available only during trial period|
|SEO Functionality||SEO tools for business plans only||Plugins available, some paid||Basic SEO built in|
|Import options||Self hosted WordPress, Medium, Wix, Squarespace, Blogger, more||Plugins available for most platforms||Imports (some) content from website|
|Export options||Basic data export||Plugins available for many platforms||Available on some plans|
|Google AMP||Automatically supported, editable||Supported via plugin||Not supported|
|No branding on website||Only for business plans||Can be removed easily||For all plans|
|Reporting, analytics functionality||Basic analytics built in via JetPack||Supported via plugins, some paid||Basic analytics built in|
|Google Analytics||Only for business plans||Supported via plugins||Fully supported|
|Social media integration||Post to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, more||Plugins available for most platforms||Automatically pull FB, Twitter, Yelp etc. feeds and comments|
|Storage||6-13 GB for personal plans, unlimited for business||N/A||Unlimited|
|Support||Email, live chat*||None||Email, chat, phone*|
|Plugins||Several hundred plugins available; can upload additional*||Tens of thousands available||~20 “rules”, 17 3rd party plugins for eCommerce|
|Comments||Full featured comments built in||Built in||Must use third party (Facebook, Disqus)|
|Membership||Available via third party plugin||Supported via plugins, some paid||Not available|
|Project management or collaboration tools||Available via third party plugin||Plugins available, some paid||Included on certain plans|
|Booking functionality||Available via third party plugin||Plugins available, some paid||Scheduling via vCita built in|
|Marketing tools||Available via third party plugin||Plugins available, some paid||Can connect email service, social media marketing built in|
|Advertising||Adwords available via third party plugin||Supported via plugins||Facebook, Google Adwords supported|
|GDPR Compliance||Some GDPR tools, cookie consent widget available||Some GDPR functionality included, more via plugins||Tools: privacy page, cookie notifications, IP masking, opt-in notification for forms|
* Available on certain plans
|Try it||Try it||Try it|
|Adding products||CSV, Manual, Plugins to import from many other products||Import via WooCommerce plugins, some paid||Manual entry, import from CSV, XCart, LiteCommerce|
|Shipping options||Plugins for UPS, Fedex, etc. Some have additional cost||Basics built in to WooCommerce, others via plugin||Automatic rates from UPS, USPS, manual rates|
|Payment processing options||Hundreds supported, some cost extra||Supported via WooCommerce plugins, some paid||Square, Paypal, Stripe, and several more|
|Buyer customization options||Basic, additional features available via plugins||Supported via WooCommerce plugins, some paid||Multiple variants, customize products|
|Inventory management||Available via plugins, some cost extra||Supported via WooCommerce plugins, some paid||Track inventory*|
|User reviews||Built in||Supported via WooCommerce plugins, some paid||Not available|
|Additional sales channel options||Available via plugins||Available via WooCommerce plugins, some paid||Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Google*|
|Transaction fees||Just the processor fees||Depends on plugin and processor||Just the processor fees|
* Available on certain plans
Users won’t stay on a slow loading page…and Google knows that, so they use the page loading speed as a factor in search rankings. You need to make sure your site runs as fast as possible — and much of that comes down to the platform you run the site on.
In order to test performance, we ran Google’s PageSpeed test suite on Duda, and WordPress.com. The open source WordPress can vary significantly in load speed depending on where you host it, so we didn’t include it in this particular test.
To ensure a fair test, we chose the basic sites offered with each product. We chose a template at random, and then immediately published the site, and ran the page speed test on it. We did this multiple times, using different templates, and took the average scores.
Clearly, this test is not an exact measure of how fast your particular site will run. Nevertheless, it provides a reasonable baseline to determine how well you can expect a site to perform.
Both Duda and WordPress.com did very well on the performance test — unlike some of their competitors. WordPress.com received the highest score, but part of that is because WordPress.com theme options tend to be less graphical (and less attractive) than Duda.
Duda was surprisingly very close in performance, even though its templates and designs are much more graphical, and filled with animations, widgets, and CSS transitions.
|Try it||Try it||Try it|
|Speed score Higher is better||87||Depends on host||72|
|First paint Lower is better||2.6 sec||Depends on host||2.9 sec|
|Time to ready Lower is better||4.3 sec||Depends on host||6 sec|
Building and deploying a beautiful site is simple with Duda, although there are some things to be aware of when using the platform.
As stated before, Duda has two main options: one is to create a responsive desktop/mobile web site using a simple step by step wizard. The other is to build a mobile site based on a desktop site that you already have. As stated previously, we focus on the former option.
When you start building using Duda, you first select a template. Duda offers 150+ templates that you can select from. Besides consumer templates, there are business templates for a lot of industries.
After you choose your template, the system automatically builds a beautiful site for you — which you then can customize using the editing tool. The tool is much more graphical and functional than WordPress’. For anyone familiar with PowerPoint, you will quickly learn the interface and be able to use it to build something nice.
There are some neat features that we should mention as well: For instance, if you have a restaurant, you can enter the business name and the system will find and populate your menu. In our tests, this worked well.
Watch the Duda build process here:
Creating a store with Duda
For ecommerce, Duda allows you to enter your products or import them, and after that, Duda does much of the rest. Duda also includes multiple payment options, such as Square, Paypal, and Stripe, as well as automated shipping calculation.
Duda stores connect with Facebook, Instagram, Google, and even Amazon, so you can sell on those marketplaces — if you have the right level plan. Duda offers reasonably good analytics for free, though you will need to install a paid app to get complete ones.
WordPress Open Source
Where do we begin? Self-hosted WordPress and ‘ease of use’ don’t mix. To deploy WordPress yourself, you will need to configure PHP, MySQL (or MariaDB or whatever it’s now called), and Apache, .htaccess, and much more.
Getting started with WordPress.com is really simple. You go to the WordPress.com website and register, then you enter a few questions.
From there, you’re asked to choose a site URL, and at that point you’re asked to sign up for a paid version, which allows you to get a free domain name.
Once your site has been created, you will see a sort-of wizard that helps you get your site published. The wizard will walk you through choosing an icon from the site, and adding a tagline.
Up until this point, the process is as easy as writing your name, but here is where things get more complicated.
The final step in the wizard is creating your contact page, where you’re immediately presented with some confusing code, and no real instructions on how to proceed. At this point, the least technical of our testers gave up:
The rest of our testers ignored the code (it’s a contact form) and continued on creating their page.
However, once you have completed the contact form section, you’re set out on your own at the main page…and it’s very unclear how to continue from there. And unfortunately, the interface isn’t the same as that of the open source version of WordPress, so even people with WordPress experience may experience some confusion.
Here is an introduction to WordPress:
Building a store with WordPress.com
WordPress doesn’t actually have a built-in eCommerce solution. Instead, it allows you to use WooCommerce with a one-click install.
For those of you who don’t know, WooCommerce is the most widely used WordPress eCommerce plugin. It’s used by hundreds of thousands of sites online, from small sites to enormous ones, so you’ll always be able to find help and support.
However, there are downsides to WooCommerce. The plugin is not easy to use, and it takes quite a bit of experience to get everything set up and running properly.
Regardless of whether you use WordPress, Duda, Wix, Squarespace, or Weebly, you’re bound to get a great quality website. However, some of these services produce slightly higher quality sites than others.
Which product creates the nicest designed sites? Which offer the most functionality? Let’s take a look.
WordPress is by far the most stable and tested product on our roundup. You really can’t go wrong if you use it.
With WordPress.com you get access to the humongous library of themes and plugins available for WordPress. That means you can choose nearly any theme on Siteturner, or any of the major theme markets, and you should be able to use it for your site. The WordPress community has countless gorgeous themes available that fit any niche possible.
This extends to plugins, as well. You have a huge selection of plugins that you can use with just a quick installation, but you can also install the vast majority of open source WordPress themes on WordPress.com.
In all, this gives WordPress users near infinite customization, and the most features of any of the products in this review. However, doing any of this requires significant technical experience and knowledge of WordPress. If you have that, you likely host your own site, instead of using one of these services.
There are other downsides to using WordPress. We found the design quality of the built in themes to be a bit less impressive than some of the competitors. The themes available aren’t as eye-popping as Duda or Weebly, and there isn’t quite as much cohesion of design as there is on the other platforms.
There are also nowhere near as many widgets available on WordPress than there are on other options, like Wix. There are mostly standard blocks, which you are responsible for styling yourself.
Here’s a site we built in 5 minutes using WordPress:
WordPress store functionality
Because WordPress uses the tried and true WooCommerce plugin for stores, it has by far the most functionality of any of the products on this list. However, that comes with a significant cost. You will have to learn to set up and use WooCommerce, which is not for the faint of heart.
Moreover, WooCommerce forms will have to be styled separately, and likely won’t look good out of the box with the standard templates.
What really sets Duda apart from the others is its ability to create a beautiful and functional site with little work on your part.
Although it has fewer themes than some of its competitors, all of the themes fill a niche, and they’re extremely attractive. You’re bound to find a theme that fits your particular type of site. Each theme has beautiful transitions and tasteful CSS animation.
Duda has a bunch of cool widgets built in to the platform. These include an online scheduler, Yelp reviews, menus, social feeds, and much more. When you add any of these widgets to your site, it is styled to match the section of the site you add it to, meaning you won’t have a mismatch of fonts or colors.
There is also a lot of support for editing and/or inserting your own HTML code, if you want to modify the design in a way that is not supported by the editor. Of course, this is for advanced users only.
Duda has a lot of great functionality built in, so even though it doesn’t have a third party app market like the rest of the products here, you won’t miss it. There is excellent support for social media, including automatically syncing content. And it can even pull in content automatically by scraping your existing website.
Some of the other features you get include built in analytics and Google Analytics connectivity, and even white label functionality (if you’re an agency, and you want to resell the site builder).
Duda is designed for teams and agencies, so there are plenty of multi-user and project management tools. Most of us will never need to use those features, but they’re there in case you do.
Here is a screenshot of a site we created in 5 minutes with Duda:
Duda store functionality
Duda has everything you need for light eCommerce stores built right in. You don’t have to worry about plugins — it’s all integrated. And each theme is designed to seamlessly provide eCommerce functionality, like shopping carts and checkout forms.
There are several features that Duda has bulit-in, which no competitor has, including automatic marketing on Facebook, Google Shopping, eBay, and Amazon.
Weebly, like Duda, allows even the least artistic of us to build a gorgeous site. The themes that Weebly offers are of extremely high quality, although there are not as many of them as we would have liked.
Each Weebly design is extremely crisp and clean, and the elements are laid out in a way that is intuitive, so your end user won’t have trouble with your site design. When you add additional widgets to your site, they are laid out well, and they never seem to look like they’re out of place.
In our opinion, Weebly does the best job of ensuring that you can’t mess up your site design. Whenever you add widgets, they are styled (colors, fonts, shape) to look proper on the section of the page where you place them. The Weebly editor arranges content very nicely, and when you add a widget, other widgets are moved accordingly, and the margins and padding are set so that everything looks like it belongs.
Aside from looks, Weebly offers a standard set of features, with hundreds of excellent third party apps to complement them. Most of the plugins are either free, or have a free version available.
One gripe we have: the themes that are offered with Weebly don’t cover as many niches as those of their competitors. For instance, there is a restaurant theme, but there are no bakery themes. So you may have to use a theme that doesn’t perfectly fit your business.
Here’s a screenshot of a site we built in 5 minutes using Weebly:
Weebly store functionality
Weebly has the easiest store building features, and they’re extremely tightly integrated into the complete Weebly solution. All of the design is seamless, and everything works cohesively.
The feature set is spectacular, with tons of different options for importing content, and some excellent functionality (such as product customization and automatic rate calculation).
Wix gives you the most latitude to build what you want of all of the products we reviewed here. There are 600+ themes (if you use the advanced designer), and hundreds of apps that will allow you to do nearly anything (although their cost and support level may vary).
The huge number of themes means that you’ll always be able to find a theme that fits your business/site requirements. Looking to build a website for a baking class? They have a template for that. What about for a shaving equipment store? They have one for that, too.
Wix also has some cool features that the other products didn’t have, like an SEO wizard that audits your site, and provides you with a complete report on the SEO issues that you may face, and how to resolve them. Other cool features of Wix include a feature packed membership module, which essentially allows you to turn your Wix site into a social media site, with users, profiles, posts, messages, and more.
Recently, Wix included a complete third party analytics tool with every plan, so you get good quality analytics information, even if you don’t use Google Analytics.
There are some places where Wix lags behind the competition, however. First, there are no good import/export options, so if you build on Wix, you’re kind of stuck there. It’s nice to be able to import content from other place, and to export content if you outgrow Wix and want to move to a dedicated platform.
More importantly, however, is the design. Although the majority of the templates are really nice, there is a lot of room for user error in building a complete site. When adding widgets, the widgets aren’t designed to match the template, so you can just drag and drop totally mismatched items onto a page. The editor just inserts widgets wherever you drop them, so you can end up with overlapping elements, or just confusing design. And the fonts aren’t chosen to match the template, so your site can develop a mismatch of fonts.
For someone with strong artistic senses, none of this is a problem; however, those of us with terrible feel for design can easily end up with something looking like a 1990s teenager’s website.
Here’s a screenshot of a site we built in 5 minutes using Wix:
Wix store functionality
Wix’s store solution has an excellent feature set, including product customization and automatic rate calculation. It has the largest set of built in payment processors, and plenty of tools available. However, it’s not quite as easy to use as Duda or Weebly, and it’s not quite as functional as WooCommerce on WordPress.
Prices are per month, billed annually, unless otherwise noted.
|Try it||Try it||Try it||Try it|
|Most basic paid plan||$3/mo
|Lowest priced plan for a usable business site||$25/mo
||$14/mo (see above)||$12/mo
|Lowest priced eCommerce plan for an average-sized store||$45/mo
||$22/mo + $19.25/mo eCommerce package
So what’s the best value? Well, it depends on what you’re looking to build. The fact is, any of these tools are excellent. You can’t go wrong with any of them. That said, there are some that are better than others for certain requirements.
If you’re building a blog, your best bet is WordPress — especially if you’re looking to spend a small amount of money. For $5/mo you can get a free domain and plenty of storage. However, you will still have the WordPress branding.
If you’re trying to build a small business website without eCommerce, you are best off with Duda or Weebly. Duda offers a great value, and plenty of beautiful themes, as well as some high end features. Weebly includes a domain in its $25/mo plan, as well as $100 Adwords credit, so you can promote your site.
For eCommerce websites, Weebly and Duda are also excellent. Weebly has tons of eCommerce features, and is backed by Square, so it’s closely integrated with your brick and mortar payments solution. Duda is also an excellent choice for eCommerce.
Finally, if you’re building something more advanced, and you have some skill in building websites, your best bet is Wix. Wix has the most widgets, tools, and additional functions. And it has an excellent developer console. If you have some design skills, and understand website building, you’ll find Wix to be an excellent choice.
|Best value for a basic blog||WordPress $5/mo
|Best value for a small business site (without eCommerce)||Duda $22/mo
Runner up: Weebly $25/mo
|Best value for experienced site builders||Wix $22/mo
|Best value for eCommerce stores||Weebly $25/mo
|Best high end option for consultants/agencies||Duda $74/mo
Runner up: Wix $35/mo