GoDaddy Launches New Onboarding Experience for WordPress Customers

Over the past year, GoDaddy has been pursuing the WordPress market more aggressively. In addition to its recent acquisition of ManageWP and new initiative to hire full-time WordPress core contributors, the company has just launched the third edition of improvements to its onboarding experience for new WordPress customers.

According to Gabe Mays, head of WordPress products at GoDaddy, the company onboards thousands of new WordPress users every day and the majority of them are small and medium-sized businesses.

“Many of our customers are using WordPress for the first time,” Mays said. “They have heard about WordPress from a friend or at their Chamber of Commerce meeting and want to see what it’s all about. WordPress is powerful, but it can be overwhelming to new users. Our goal is to help these new users navigate the complexity of WordPress to succeed in building a website as great as their ambitions.”

The new onboarding experience streamlines the process of installing WordPress and setting up a theme. As seen in the demo video below, the user begins by filling out some contact information, adding links to social profiles, selecting a theme, and customizing it with a user-friendly walkthrough.

GoDaddy has created a new parent theme called Primer with nine child themes for customers to choose from. All of the themes will be submitted to the directory next week, although it may take some time for them to move through the review process. In the meantime, they are all available on GitHub.


Each theme is seamlessly integrated with Beaver Builder and some of its commercial modules, along with additional layouts that GoDaddy provides. The company formed a partnership with the page builder plugin to give its managed hosting customers access to more site editing tools so they can quickly make changes to the themes without having to touch the code.

GoDaddy collects information on the user’s vertical/industry during the setup process and uses it to automatically add relevant stock images during theme setup. The website is dynamically generated with these images, the customer’s chosen theme, and social media and contact information. The themes, plugins, and UI used in the onboarding process are all automatically translated into every market GoDaddy serves (30+ languages). This is all done on the fly and then provisioned to the live site once the customer is happy with how it looks.

The new onboarding experience also incorporates a plugin that gives customers free access to thousands of high quality, royalty free images searchable by category in the WordPress media library. This makes it easy for GoDaddy’s target audience (small to mid-sized businesses) to set up sites with everything needed for a basic web presence already available in the admin.


Mays said he believes hosts have an important role to play in the general onboarding process. As GoDaddy is a port of entry for millions of new WordPress users, his team is working hard to offer a good first use experience.

“I don’t see it as a marketing push – it’s just the right thing to do as a member of this community,” Mays said. “As hosts we benefit more than anyone from the amazing WordPress ecosystem. We hosts need to start giving back more.”

During the past year, GoDaddy has been building a team of people who understand the WordPress community and its unique culture of giving back.

“As a company, we haven’t been the best member of the WordPress community in the past,” Mays said. “We just didn’t ‘get’ WordPress and it showed. Things changed when Jeff, Blake and the new leadership team came onboard. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made, but we still have room to improve so we’re making massive investments in our infrastructure, support and tools.”

The new onboarding experience is already in place at GoDaddy and is available in its Managed WordPress hosting plans. The host plans to add the stock image library and other improvements to existing customer accounts this week.


19 responses to “GoDaddy Launches New Onboarding Experience for WordPress Customers”

  1. The onboarding process seems very slick and looks like Beaver Builder is one of integral part of GoDaddy’s offering.

    Being a part as Beaver Builder ecosystem as I’ve developed commercial as well as free add-ons for Beaver Builder, this news is very interesting…

  2. I onboarded with GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting in July and offboarded by August after constant admin and ftp failures. None of the GoDaddy “support” techs I worked with were of any help. All followed similar scripts which ended in “we’re working on it”. One “tech” had the gall to tell me the issue was my site and db were not optimized when in fact it was a base install of WP with no plugins. Request to change servers was refused. Retention encouraged me to move to their cPanel plan. Spare me.

    GoDaddy’s onboarding has never been a concern to the WP community. GD always shoots for low hanging fruit (general public) knowing they can pull the wool over their eyes. There’s a reason devs loathe GoDaddy. Read the comments about the ManageWP merger to see how well that’s gone over with MWP’s loyal user base.

    GoDaddy merging with ManageWP was the equivalent of Automattic including BlueHost on their preferred hosting providers. Devs know better.

    • I onboarded with GoDaddy Managed WordPress hosting in July and offboarded by August after constant admin and ftp failures.

      Ok. So you don’t have any relevant experience with the NEW onboarding process.

      How is your experience in any way related to the topic of this post?

      Quick answer – it’s not.

        • Again, not relevant to the topic of the new onboarding.

          More like sour grapes from a disgruntled former customer.

          Every story has 2 sides and I get the impression from your attitude, you were less than nice to them.

          Anything that helps newbies with the overall adoption of WP is a good thing. They can graduate to better hosting if they choose to later. Right now they barely know what hosting is.

          Anything that makes it less frustrating for newbies is also a good thing. Just because installing and editing a new site is easy for you (and everyone else reading this – you’re not special here) does not mean it’s easy for someone that has never even heard about WP except from a colleague at a Chamber of Commerce meeting.

          Every host has haters. GoDaddy is not unique in that category. I can also find you 1000 good reviews of their hosting as well.

          You just seem content to belittle as many companies and people as possible with your little rant though. Sorry to rain on your little parade.

        • Ron, you make a lot assumptions. Given that, I’ll just assume you work for GoDaddy.

          Bottom line is if GD hosting doesn’t work for many as it didn’t for me and countless others than the newbies we’d both like to help will never even get through step 1. They’ll face frozen admin panels and FTP sessions, call GD support and get the run around.

          Contrary to your snarky assumptions, I was patient with GoDaddy techs to get things working properly for three weeks with multiple support techs all of which followed the same script and none of whom got things working. The retention guy said it all by suggesting I just go with a cPanel account.

          I’ll see your 1000 good GD reviews and raise you 10X that amount in bad reviews.

          Sorry to demote you to deputy wannabe but you’re not in charge here.

  3. The number one reason I have moved clients away from GoDaddy’s Managed WordPress Hosting is that you do not have control over updating WordPress. I have two clients still on it and have seen it take several days to a week to get WordPress updated, even when the update was an urgent security release. To me this is a deal breaker, no matter what the improved on-boarding experience may be.

    • Greg,
      We keep WordPress very up to date @GoDaddy. For example, 4.6.1 was updated <24 hours after it's release to every one of our Managed WordPress customers. We're over 1/2 a million sites now on our Managed platform so this causing it to be a bit slower than we want. We will be releasing some changes soon that will make updates even faster.

      If you want direct control, you can manage it yourself as well, which many customers do using our control panel.

      We're incredibly excited about our partnership with Beaver Builder. Coupled with the awesome work going on in the customizer, we expect to see a huge improvement in new customers ability to publish a completed site.

  4. Nine child themes with one parent theme. It seems it will take some time to get all themes live in WordPress theme directory. From TRT weekly meeting on August 23, 2016 author upload limit has been started. It means author cannot upload new theme until one that is in the system is live or closed.

  5. Worked a great deal with WordPress and Godaddy’s Managed WordPress hosting services since they first started offering ‘managed wordpress hosting’.

    I work with a lot of others as well. I generally come to Godaddy when my client’s are already here, or when budget prevents a client from being able to afford one of the better ones. Overall Godaddy has made huge strides and progress. I do recommend them in the right situations….

    That said, today, I’m looking at a new client’s site. They just signed up for Godaddy, used the Ascenscion child theme with Beaver builder and the onboarding has them loaded with a number of services they likely do not need.

    More importantly Beaver Builder is not functioning correctly. The site is bare bones, running some of those default stock images and Beaver Builder sticks, stops responding in both safari and chrome (different ways each browser).

    I’m not writing this to fall into a sour grapes flame war like above.

    I am writing this to see if others have experienced this difficulty and what if any solution there might be.

    I’d like to short circuit the troubleshooting process for this new client.

    I have successfully used other page builders (Divi for example) on Godaddy’s Managed WordPress setups without running in to problems like this.

    I have run into many issues with the Godaddy cache system that often causes problems with several different plugins (especially ecommerce related stuff).

    Thoughts, experiences? Solutions!??? :)


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