TL; DR: Modern site builders rely on drag-and-drop efficiency to speed up development time and improve turnaround. Duda delivers a platform with a rich visual web designer and offers a white-label version as an embeddable application. It provides APIs for dynamic data so agencies and SMBs can manage many client websites from a single administrative dashboard. Duda’s award-winning service and support team is now focused on delivering even more innovations to the platform’s speed and core web technologies.
Site building has evolved in phases over the last 25 years. In the earliest days of the web, people hand-coded HTML documents and uploaded them to FTP servers. That process eventually yielded to technologies including the oft-maligned Microsoft FrontPage. More robust platforms, including Adobe Dreamweaver, optimized for professional designers, appeared around the same time that themed content-management systems like WordPress became popular.
More recently, drag-and-drop visual designers aimed at those without a deep background in UI/UX or coding entered the market.
A decade ago, Duda launched as one of the earliest mobile site builders before expanding its reach to help clients build websites quickly.
“What started as a pure mobile website builder has evolved over the last five years into a focused and powerful professional tool for agencies and integration with SaaS platforms,” said Chris Carfi, Vice President of Marketing at Duda.
Modern visual site builders split into two branches — products designed for individual consumer use and those optimized for agency use with additional management tools. Duda’s platform falls into the latter category.
Although Duda is available for consumers, its APIs and under-the-hood technology make it an ideal choice for SMBs managing several websites or agencies managing sites on behalf of many clients.
“For those agency owners who may have been freelancers, but grew into a larger organization that’s doing a lot of sites for SMBs, it’s their secret weapon,” Chris said. “They can deliver great sites quickly and get a lot of reuse from the various sections and components on them.”
In addition to a website builder, Duda offers extra tools for agencies, SaaS providers, and hosting providers, including various client-management and team-collaboration tools, ecommerce solutions, and embedded apps.
Embedded Infrastructure Simplifies Website Deployments
A visual site builder is a complex suite of software. All of its tools perform the same basic task: They allow a person to paint a canvas of content and translate that content into a semantic structure of HTML and CSS documents and related assets. However, given the relatively weak standards of the web and the text-first nature of HTML, the process can prove challenging to pull off.
The value of a robust visual designer is twofold. First, it speeds up the development cycle by freeing user-experience and user-interface developers to focus on the final product rather than mockups. Second, it aids with client acceptance and turnaround because nontechnical clients can see the product in real time and collaborate with the designer for quick edits without the need to recode parts of the site.
For agencies and web-dev freelancers managing several clients, a visual designer optimized for multiclient development work is even better.
“When they switch to Duda, they’re cutting their site building times by 50% to 70% over what they had been doing with WordPress,” Chris said. “We are natively set up to do multisite management. So, as an agency owner, you’ve got a dashboard of all the sites that have been built, and there’s no need to worry about plugins.”
Duda’s designer is fully white-label, so designers and agencies always promote their own brand while using the service.
The company’s value proposition extends further with its software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering. Companies that use site builder capabilities in their larger service portfolios — for example, a comprehensive SMB management suite — can use Duda’s APIs and white-label framework to integrate that functionality as if it were a native tool.
“It takes a technical problem off of them so they can increase their revenue per account because they’re offering this additional valuable service,” he said.
SMBs also use Duda’s tools for visual design and embedded SaaS infrastructure. One use case lies with web hosts, which offer the tool as a value-add atop a shared-hosting service. The host delivers significant additional capability at a relatively low cost while not building or maintaining that platform independently.
Superior Service and Quality Recognized by Industry Peers
“In the last year, we’re now three quarters in a row on the G2 leader quadrant both for website building and content management, right next to WordPress, Wix, and all those folks.”
Duda’s goal, according to Chris, is to focus on long-term, low-churn customers. A big part of building that loyalty lies in upending the conventional approaches to support. Because so many customers are agencies or SaaS clients, a basic support script is useless. Its customers come to the table with a higher degree of competence than most individual customers.
The quality of Duda’s in-house team has been recognized across the industry.
“Our service and support team just won a gold Stevie Award as the best frontline service team in technology, period,” he said. “MailChimp won it the year before, and FreshBooks has, too. So we’re not going against unknown little companies.”
One reason the industry is bullish on Duda is the platform’s integration with dynamic data. That means an agency or a platform provider can manage several different sites with similar looks and feels, and similar data elements. For example, a property management firm with a dozen different properties can develop sites for each one with similar design motifs.
However, each property has its own list of vacant units. An administrative assistant at headquarters keeps a master spreadsheet in a Google Sheet, and the Duda platform automatically pulls from the sheet and dynamically updates the public-facing website. Duda helps everything stay in sync.
Duda: Award-Winning Support for Complex Visual Development
Visual site building frameworks deliver drag-and-drop simplicity that takes the coding out of web deployments. That can significantly speed up the dev cycle and reduce costs and complexity for both agency and SMB designers. For the last 10 years, Duda has been a major player in the site builder space, starting with mobile visual designers and now offering its comprehensive web-development platform.
Duda’s APIs facilitate white-label embedded visual designers and provide a value add for clients on the front end. The company’s service-and-support model, which has won industry awards, is also more complex than the typical script-driven ticket approach.
The next step for Duda is to concentrate on improvements to ensure that core web technologies are sound and that the speed and performance exceed customer requirements.
“We’ve got teams working on how we ensure that any site that gets built on the platform has everything stacked in its favor so it performs well,” Chris said.
Given the Duda architecture, all those enhancements will push to agencies or SMBs that rely on the underlying platform. They won’t need to make any changes or run updates; all improvements appear directly through the APIs. That means customers can focus on what they’re good at — site building — without manually administering toolkits.
“And it just works,” he said. “You can build sites without massive levels of coding. And if you do want to get into the bits and bytes, you can click through and get into developer mode as well.”