Increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting GoCentral

GoDaddy’s WebsiteBuilder was in it’s 7th version and had become a rather clunky drag-and-drop editor that was in dire need of an aesthetic and usability overhaul in order to compete with Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. The replacement for WebsiteBuilder and OnlineStore, dubbed vNext and later branded GoCentral, was developed to unify the two product offerings, conquer website creation on mobile devices, and include a suite of tools to empower small business owners online. My job was to get users into the product as effortlessly as possible.

The Problem

How do we guide users through the site set up process and get them to publish faster?

The Goal

Get users to publish their site at the same rate as WebsiteBuilder v7 or better

The Process

I generated a competitive analysis of how Wix, Wix AI, Weebly and Squarespace onboarded users before checking out really great non-competitor experiences (shoutout to Canva!).

I mapped out the journey that depicted the stages, actions, emotions, and touch points that current users encounter during onboarding to highlight areas of friction and create an organization-wide vision.

Exploration of the current WebsiteBuilder onboarding process identified areas of friction and delight via unmoderated in-person user interviews and examined existing quantitative data on drop off and publish rate.

The biggest pain points were:
  1. Not allowing the user to try the product before they buy
  2. Forcing the user through a long account creation and payment flow
  3. Providing too many templates and not having a way to switch that template afterwards without losing all their content
GoCentral onboarding flows
User flows for MVP onboarding

I worked with the PM and Engineering lead to identify business needs and technical considerations and whiteboarded out possible user flows.

Wireframes showing three simple questions in onboarding: 1) what's your site about? 2) what's your site name? and 3) where are you located?
Multiple wireframe variations were tested to get feedback on the following questions:
  • Do users want the ability to choose a design during layout? If so, how many design options are enough to feel satisfied?
  • Are users able to easily answer the question “what’s your site about?”
  • Will providing a location be a deterrent?
GoCentral onboarding
After selecting a category in InstantPage, high quality stock images related to that vertical would appear in the background.
User testing to determine best layout for design gallery in onboarding. [InVision Board]
User testing proved the following:
  1. Users did want the option to choose a design during onboarding and were satisfied and felt they had enough options when shown 25-30 designs.
  2. When shown more than 30 designs, users wanted to see all the options and took significantly longer to choose one and complete onboarding.
  3. Answering the question “what’s your site about?” was confusing to some users as they didn’t understand they were essentially picking a category and would enter their site or business name.
  4. The benefit of adding their location wasn’t clear to users and many were reluctant to as they didn’t have a storefront or address they wanted to make public.
Exploration into adding colors in onboarding
Exploration into color selection in GoCentral Onboarding [View InVision board]
onboarding animation
Landing page animation
Onboarding landing page with new branding applied
Landing page reskinned in new GoDaddy branding

The Solution

A no credit card required free trial removed the previous barriers of a long account creation process. Users were quickly onboarded by answering two simple questions that would provide 30 unique, dynamically created designs with stock photos and color recommendations related to their category.

Step 1: Tell us your site name
Step 2: Select a category
Step 3: Choose a design
Fullscreen view of design

You can view this project live by visiting and starting a free trial of GoCentral.

The Takeaways

Lesson #1: How you speak to your users is pertinent in onboarding to get them to provide accurate details. We observed this issue with the “what’s your site about?” question which is still an issue today that we’re working on making more clear along with the functionality of the accompanying combobox and categories.

Lesson #2: Users feel dissatisfied when given less than 6 and overwhelmed with more than 30 design choices. Breaking the pattern of having users select a theme during onboarding didn’t test well and no matter if the designs are dynamically created or curated by a designer users still regard them as templates.