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.
With WordPress.com, it’s pretty simple to get started. First, you go to the WordPress.com website and register, then you answer a couple of questions.
There is a step-by-step process to build your site, starting with choosing a domain name (it’s free with the paid version), and then selecting icons, taglines, and other basics.
The last step is where things get hard. You start seeing code (WordPress shortcode), and you’re supposed to set up a contact page with it.
For people with no technical experience, that can be daunting. And things don’t get much better afterward, since you get dropped into the editor interface with very little explanation about what to do next.
The biggest problem is that the editor interface for WordPress.org isn’t even the same as the one for the open source version of WordPress, so you’ll have trouble finding help online.
Here is an introduction to WordPress:
Building a store with WordPress.com
WordPress doesn’t actually have a built-in eCommerce solution, but it does have WooCommerce, one of the most popular eCommerce packages available.
That’s both good and bad: you will always be able to find help on any problems that you have, but WooCommerce is an incredibly complicated piece of software, so it can be difficult to get started.
WordPress Open Source
WordPress is by far the most stable and tested product on our roundup. You really can’t go wrong if you use it.
But the quality of the site you create is nearly 100% up to you — and the plugins and themes that you use.
With WordPress.com you get access to full repertoire of themes and plugins available for WordPress. So you are bound to be able to find a nice looking site design that meets your requirements.
Unfortunately, by default, WordPress themes generally have most of the nice images and designs removed, so you will need to do a lot of configuring to get them to look good. You can bypass some of this with a one-click importer, but there’s still a lot of fiddling around required.
You also have access to most of the plugins available on WordPress.org, so you can customize your site to do anything, from selling ride shares to project management.
But again, in order to turn these plugins and themes into a beautiful, usable site, you will likely deal with significant technical issues, from incompatibilities to configuration problems.
Here’s a site we built in 5 minutes using WordPress:
WordPress store functionality
WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin offers significantly more functionality than Duda in the area of eCommerce. However, that comes with a price. Setting up WooCommerce, and making it look like the rest of your site can be a huge nightmare for a new user.
What really sets Duda apart from the others is its ability to create a beautiful and functional site with little work on your part.
While Duda has a tiny fraction of the themes available for WordPress, its themes are very clean and well designed. In most cases, you will be able to find a theme that fits your business/organization niche.
Duda uses HTML5 and CSS really nicely, to make its sites look and feel up to date. It also has plenty of widgets built in, including a scheduler, menus, social feeds and even Yelp reviews.
Although WordPress has all of these features available via plugins, they aren’t seamlessly integrated as they are with Duda. As soon as you add widgets to your Duda site, they are styled to match the rest of your site.
Other features provided by Duda include built in analytics, website scraping, social integration, and even white label options.
Duda is designed for teams and agencies, so there are plenty of multi-user and project management features available. Most of us will never need to use them, 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 basic eCommerce features built right in. You can build a store without using any add-ons or plugins. 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.
Prices are per month, billed annually, unless otherwise noted.
|Try it||Try it||Try it|
|Most basic paid plan||$3/mo
||Free to install, must pay for hosting||$14/mo
|Lowest priced plan for a usable business site||$25/mo
||(see above)||$14/mo (see above)|
|Lowest priced eCommerce plan for an average-sized store||$45/mo
||(see above)||$22/mo + $19.25/mo eCommerce package
So what’s the best value? Well, it depends on the kind of site you’re creating and your technical experience.
If you’re building a blog site, WordPress.com can be a great choice. It’s cheap, and it includes a free domain and enough upload space to handle a blog. Unfortunately, you will still have the WordPress branding.
If you’re trying to build a small business website, you should definitely consider Duda. Duda is an excellent value, with plenty of beautiful themes and high end features. It also contains all of the eCommerce features a small business would need.
If you are building an advanced site, the best choice is still the open source WordPress. It offers countless plugins and themes, and it’s infinitely customizeable. However, we would suggest that if you do use the open source version of WordPress, you hire a technical person to set it up and manage it.
|Best value for a basic blog||WordPress $5/mo
|Best value for a small business site||Duda $22/mo
|Best value for experienced site builders||WordPress (open source) free