What is Webflow?
Webflow is a software program that does an excellent job of closing the gap between development and design. However, no software package is without its own inherent challenges. Never expect any software tool to completely make up for any lack of coding skill, knowledge, or judgment. Imagine if a company claimed their golf clubs could elevate a weekend hacker to the level of pro!
Without question, the “Holy Grail” of website design would be a software product that automatically codes any and everything without the slightest flaw. That may not be within the realm of reality. However, there is a tool that can help lift designers with an understanding of coding and a desire to enhance their design skills to the next level. The question of “what is Webflow” is no longer a mystery.
There are definite benefits to realize when working with Webflow. You can drag clean code from the Webflow interface directly onto a canvas. The code is clean with HTML elements that are fully responsive. The feedback is instant and visual. This allows designers to work at a much faster pace as well.
1. Fast Prototyping
Designers can quickly send their clients and stakeholders a website that is fully functional. The days of having to send static mockups are over. Stakeholders can quickly experience how their design will interact with phones, tablets, and desktops. This is impressive technology and a powerful selling tool that can animate clients.
2. Responsive Design
The design is responsive. The product is ready to go for tablets, smartphones, or smartphones in portrait. This speeds up the process of design and delivery in a major way.
3. Coding Automation
Webflow also enables designers to build out their automations with the same software that facilitates all their Web design work. The software eliminates the need for coding tedious coding.
4. Easy Content Management System
Another important plus for using Webflow is that its content management system enables those who write, edit, and market to completely and instantaneously update content across an unlimited number of websites. As developers and designers think in terms of design, writers and marketers think in terms of search results. The need for content never stops.
When it comes to being able to change text or media on a page, Webflow takes the prize. Webflow ‘s CMS enables operators to edit blog posts, ongoing projects, and website content at will. The user creates a collection, or content type, and sets the settings to add items such as lists or individual pages.
The Webflow editor allows for new content that benefits the efforts of website creators, collaborators, and clients. The website finished product is fully functional and includes both static and dynamic content that stakeholders can easily edit. Easily edit blog posts, projects within a portfolio, and other elements without the need for any plugins.
5. Fast Hosting and Deployment
Webflow makes it easy to create a website and publish it to a live URL. Designers can click the “corresponding button” located at the top of the designer screen for a drop-down menu of options. These options include a webflow.com subdomain which designers can use for testing. There is also an option for a custom domain. It is the designer’s choice to publish their work to either domain without any further worry. Webflow processes everything automatically.
Webflow makes it easy for those who want to test the wates first before jumping in. Individuals can start building their website for free with an option to take it live later. Webflow enables the creation of two static pages on a Webflow subdomain. Individuals can easily connect to their own domain name when upgrading to a Webflow hosting plan. Plans range from $12 to $36 per month. An annual billing plan is also available.
Webflow is all about providing users with integrated solutions. The product can make a major difference in how websites perform and how designers and developers plan and implement their workflow.
6. Quality Customer Service and Support
Customer service can be a selling tool within itself. Members with hosting plans can get in touch with company staff members Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST. Simply use the online contact form. Members with a hosting plan can also make a featured request through Webflow’s Wishlist page on the website. Webflow does not offer consulting services.
However, the company maintains a list of experts who are on standby to handle any emergencies on your end. You can also access help and support with the help of agencies or freelancers. The level of help depends on things like your location, assistance needed, scope of your project, and your team’s size etc.
Customers like the idea that Webflow offers one of the most comprehensive self-help sections of any website building program. Webflow University stands out and offers numerous videos that include an introduction to Design, Elements of the Web, and major SEO fundamentals.
You can dive as deep as you want into any specific course or topic.
There is an ultimate course for Web design, along with Webflow 101 that introduces users to the program. Also, make a note that the community of Webflow supporters provides a forum where you can share ideas and get answers to any questions. The support is there for the offering.
7. Built-In Ecommerce Platform
Webflow also offers coursework in e-commerce. Some users go on to develop a full online shopping website. Familiarize yourself with inventory management, custom cart creation, endpoints, and checkout. You can also take control of customer emails. You can customize your store fully with every detail that allows an e-commerce store to compete for success.
Add to the list of features your ability to add discount and coupon capabilities. You can also download digital products to your online store. There are more features to come as well that will boost your e-commerce abilities even further. You will be able to integrate your store with Amazon and offer customer accounts as well.
8. Webflow University
Webflow University covers design, CMS, e-commerce, project setting, hosting, account and billing, and integrations. In addition, users can learn to connect custom domains, use and customize Navbar, and much more. Of course, there is a learning curve for some. As mentioned, it helps if a user has a working knowledge of coding.
1. Learning Curve
As with any new platform, there will be a learning curve to get used to Webflow's system.
While it does have great user reviews on ease of use, for those used to hand-coding or designing in Photoshop, Webflow's system will be a hybrid of both, with some nuances.
2. Can't Import Existing Code
Let's say you're a web developer, and you've already coded up the site, now you want to bring it over to Webflow to take advantage of their platform. Is that possible?
According to Webflow:
“No, existing code can't be imported to Webflow.”
There you have it, you have to start from scratch on their platform, which is a huge bummer for a small percentage.
3. Pricing and Plans Can be Confusing
Webflow has two levels of types of pricing plans: Site Plans and Account Plans.
Then after that, you can dig into multiple variations of each. That's confusing, and one downside. Let's jump into details on their pricing and plans to make some sense out of it!
Webflow vs WordPress
You're likely comparing Webflow and WordPress and wondering which direction to go in.
- Those without extensive coding experience may need a WordPress plugin to aid in visual design. There is also the challenge of having needed access to available templates. Webflow makes available more than 100 templates. Designers can begin with a blank canvas and visually customize everything.
- Code quality is critically important. Writing code for WordPress can be a challenge due to having to rely on plugins. Webflow enables semantic code that is clean from the start.
- Webflow websites are constructed and built with today’s Internet in mind. Google reward those sites that are mobile-friendly. Remember, it is all about making the customer’s experience the best one possible. WordPress requires a plugin to customize.
- Webflow’s content management systems offers ease of editing with minimal dashboard engagement. WordPress offers a lot of options that are beyond the use or command of many clients.
Overall, if you're already comfortable with WordPress, it makes sense to stay with it if you're not frustrated by the platform. That being said, you should spend a day with Webflow testing it out to see if it's a workflow improvement.
If you're brand new to website creation, I'd highly recommend starting with Webflow. The main advantage is that it's a controlled platform that is hosted for you and guides you in the right direction. You won't need to worry about your site crashing and you'll have customer support whenever you need it.
Webflow vs Wix
Wix spends millions on TV ads and jams it down your throat. Have they spent as much money on their core product, or is Webflow truly better?
- Webflow offers a trusted and reliable service that features an easy-to-use CMS and website builder. Webflow places the power in the hands of agencies and designers to quickly create complex websites that offers an assortment of full features for clients. Wix is also convenient but is not the ultimate selection for websites with over 30 pages. Its navigation menu has difficulty in accommodating complex sub structures. Its depth of navigation is limited.
- Webflow creators developed their software knowing the exact needs with designers and developers in mind. There are lots of features and tools to use that enable users to implement their own design ideas. These features include HTML/CSS website editor and plenty of customization options. Wix makes it somewhat difficult to implement your own ideas for design. Starting the design process is easy for many, but once underway some designers find it difficult to give the project a particular, tailored, touch.
- If you desire to move content from one Webflow site to another, or a website to a different platform, Webflow makes the process simple enough. Anyone who understands the process should be able to easily accomplish it. Click “Export” and prepare for a quick download. Wix can challenge designers if they should choose to move their work to another platform. Designers would have to manually copy and paste all content and data to the new website.
I like Webflow because it's a newer platform with strong, positive leadership. Wix has been around so long, that there's legacy code slowing things down.