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GoDaddy launched GoCentral, a mobile friendly website, ecommerce and marketing platform aimed at small businesses

Web hosting company and internet domain registrar GoDaddy has released a new platform which combines a website builder, ecommerce tools and marketing capabilities in one package.

With the new GoCentral platform, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company is aiming to become a one stop shop for small businesses building an online presence. 

The new service enables users to design a professional looking website in under an hour and is specifically designed with mobile devices in mind.

GoCentral, Based on a 'Smart Learning System'

Normally when a company claims to “enable anyone to design a professional website in under an hour,” particularly a mobile website, it's setting itself up for failure. However, after a briefing with GoDaddy executives, it's clear it can be done.

GoCentral comes equipped with 1,500 designs broken down by categories and industries. Businesses select the appropriate industry and are then presented with a near-complete responsive website design, pre-filled with relevant sections and professional images from Getty.

The company built the solution to provide rapid, responsive web design for businesses with small budgets or without the human resources for a web design team, but need to trade or communicate with their customers online.

“We started with this notion of having a customer journey, of having a smart learning system that would travel with the customer on their website project,” Lauren Antonoff, general manager and senior vice president at GoDaddy told CMSWire.

“So we started with a smart learning system that looks at the pattern that makes successful websites and helps our customer through as we go.”

Designing an ecommerce site with GoCentral

A Focus on Ease of Use and Mobile

Antonoff sees the platform's ease of use as a big selling point.

“We did some research with our customers and we saw the same thing. Customers would be excited about the templates [website builders] provide initially, but when they customize them, when they try to get them to reflect their own business it was really hard,” Antonoff said.

“Not only was it difficult, but people were spending a lot of time trying to get things on the right position on the page and not spending time  thinking about how they would get traffic to their site.”

This, she said is the wrong approach to designing online retail stores.

“Many small businesses struggle to attract visitors to their sites, and the little traffic they do get is largely coming from mobile devices. We’re changing the approach by creating a mobile friendly experience that lets customers focus on achieving their goals, rather than worry about site designs,” she said.

Antonoff noted when they started the project over a year ago, 30 percent of the traffic on its customers’ websites was coming through mobile. At the time of release, that figure was 50 percent and rising.

GoCentral is designed to reflect this shift, with responsive design ensuring proper display on mobile and desktop, and a smartphone accessible website builder — meaning you could, in theory, build your website entirely from your phone.

Supporting Businesses, After the Website Launch

The final driver was to provide a product to help businesses attract customers.

“The last thing we tried to do was to focus on helping customers get results. The goal is not just a page, it’s getting people to that page, getting them to do something, getting them to contact you, or buy something from and thinking beyond just getting thing up and running,” she said.

GoCentral's marketing features include SEO tools which help business users boost their search rankings on Google, social media integrations and email marketing campaign tools.

The platform provides recommendations on improving traffic based on activity and engagement levels.

An integrated shopping cart, with secure payment options (including PayPal and Apple Pay integrations), inventory management and shipping configuration round out the ecommerce side.

GoCentral offers competitive pricing on four tiers, from $5.99 a month for the personal plan to $29.99 a month for the online store plan. 

Designing a GoCentral website

GoDaddy is pushing GoCentral hard with a marketing campaign that includes a 30-second ad scheduled to run during the 2017 Super Bowl. 

Today's limited launch in the US, UK and a few other locations will be followed by a broader international roll-out planned for later this year.