Webflow Review: A Website Builder for Website Designers
A few years ago, web design platforms that we now think of as more traditional like Drupal and WordPress were flying high. Then their hegemony was usurped by free and eminently accessible website builders like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. Then Webflow came along, a brilliant compromise between modern and traditional. It’s a website builder, sure, but it brings levels of power and customisation usually reserved for those platforms suited only to reasonably accomplished web designers, like WordPress. That makes Webflow perfect for users who don’t have the time or knowledge to get into the code at the backend but still need a platform that can be fully tailored to their needs.
There are two ways of using Webflow:
- Designing and hosting your website on the platform, and using Editor to update it
- Designing your website on the platform, then exporting the code and hosting and editing it on your own server space.
Most users choose to design and host on Webflow, simply because websites built on the platform are more reliable when hosted on its own servers. They’re also easier to update, because you have access both to a CMS and to Webflow Editor, neither of which is available when you self-host. Those who do choose to export the code to their own server space tend to be professional website developers, experienced and confident in updating and editing via code rather than via a CMS.
Webflow: key features
- Multiple payment options including Stripe, PayPal and Apple Pay
- Parallax scrolling, and a whole host of other multi-step animations and microinteractions
- Automatic tax and VAT calculations at the checkout, saving you hours of time inputting different tax brackets and amending VAT costs
- Facebook Store and Instagram Shop integration so you can cross-sell between your site and your social channels, as well as run smarter marketing campaigns
- SEO control, not just giving you basic capabilities like creating image alt text, targeting keywords, and editing metadata, but also enabling you to autogenerate sitemaps and customisable 301 redirects
Webflow: user experience
Once you’ve completed the easy-to-understand tutorial and chosen a template, you enter Webflow Editor, which is packed with design options. The platform usefully breaks the process down into what Webflow calls the box model: think of every element of your site as sitting in its own separate box, and then all the boxes are stacked on top of each other to create the final layout. This makes it easier to visualise what you want.
Webflow comes with over 100 templates, 40 of which are free, so you’re sure to find one perfect for your brand. You can preview designs before making a decision, and explore which support dynamic content. Every template is fully responsive, automatically adapting to different screen sizes, and comes with a description outlining what type of site it’s best for and what design options are available to you. Premium templates range from $19 to $149. All of Webflow’s templates, free and premium, can hold their own against those of Squarespace when it comes to aesthetic, responsiveness and customisation.
Backups and security
Webflow provides automatic backups so you can restore your site to the last save point if something goes wrong. It also comes with a free SSL certificate, which helps protect your site, and shows visitors they can trust it with their personal data.
Help and support
Webflow doesn’t enable you to contact help directly. There’s no phone number or live chat—the only way to get in touch is via email. That being said, Webflow University is an online resource stuffed with guides on how to use the platform. There’s also the community forum where users can seek help and advice for specific issues or just share their experiences. No matter your difficulty, there’s almost certainly someone who’s gone through that problem themselves—and resolved it!
Webflow isn’t perfect—but it surpasses the needs of its specific target audience
Webflow isn’t the easiest platform, but it most certainly stands out when it comes to design. It feels simultaneously advanced and accessible, because there’s no end to your customisation possibilities, and yet you don’t need to be a coding maestro to fully leverage its capabilities. Webflow’s templates are well designed and fully optimised for mobile, and cover a range of industries—although you may need to draw on some third-party integrations to get it looking exactly how you want. With total control over every aspect of your website’s design and access to stunning animation effects, you’re well positioned to manifest the site of your dreams.
Webflow isn’t suitable for beginners, who would get much more out of intuitive and easily accessible website builders like Divi and Elementor, which still leave a lot of leeway for creativity. But it’s ideal for web designers looking to build detailed sites without need for coding expertise. It’s also great for users who have previously only used builders like Weebly but now want more control over the look and feel of their site.
Ultimately, of course, no matter what website builder you end up choosing, just make sure you’re confident in using it. Utilise all the guides and resources on offer, tap into the potential of the community forum, and watch as many tutorial videos as you need to get conversant with your new platform!
What’s possible for your brand?
We’ll help you find out. Simply fill out our no-obligation enquiry form below, and we’ll be in touch to discuss what growth could look like for you
You might also be interested in these...
Shopify and WooCommerce are two of the world’s most popular eCommerce platforms, between them boasting 5 million users who generate billions of dollars a year. But with key differences between the platforms, which is right for your eCommerce business?
There are so many website builders to choose from, but most of our clients use either Webflow or WordPress. Despite having similar functionality, they’re markedly different products—which is why today we’re comparing the two so you can see which is right for your business.