Wordpress, Wix, Shopify, Squarespace, and BigCommerce—there are tons of website builders out there and they work fine for average non-technical users looking to quickly get a personal website up and running. But for businesses and anyone looking for something resembling professional use, there's a better solution.
Enter Webflow. You may not have head of it, so you might be skeptical of its reputation compared to its mainstream competitors. Webflow is a newer (founded in 2013), modern website platform that's changing the industry for designers and site owners. It's based on data driven design, not templates or plugins, and doesn't require any code.
You're probably thinking to yourself that some other platforms don't require any code as well and you're absolutely right. Designing and building a website with or without code is one facet of a platform. The ease of use, development, the level of flexibility, customization, and user experience are additional facets that contribute to your satisfaction or dissatisfaction in using the platform.
This is where Webflow shines. It's a platform that gives you limitless design freedom and complete control over your business website design. It has a simple and intuitive editing experience that makes it easy to add and update content. Change text, blog posts, and pictures, right on your site without relying on a developer.
Design freedom without code
Professionally and personally, I've used Wordpress, Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify. They are platforms that allow different levels of customization, but they're terrible to edit, can be sluggish, and require code for extra features. Webflow is a visual designer where you can drag and drop web elements and adjust any parameter of those elements, all without code.
This presents an unmatched ability to design and customize anything at will. Want custom interactions and animations? No problem in Webflow. Achieving this same level of customization in Wordpress or Shopify will require coding. If you are not an experienced developer, you'll have to hire one.
Users of template based platforms are often restricted by purchased templates and customizing them requires adding plugins or manually editing underlying template files. This is treacherous territory for non-developers. Webflow isn't based on templates or plugins, so you can design everything the way you want.
Creating responsive layouts that are seamless across multiple devices is a breeze in Webflow. This is a feature that is severely lacking in Wix and Shopify, which only allow you to design for desktop and mobile portrait (nothing in between).
Compared to traditional coding methods, Webflow sites can be developed 5x faster. This saves you tremendous time, and time = money. In contrast to notoriously bloated markup produced by Wordpress and Shopify themes, Webflow's code is cleanly written behind the scenes and can be instantly deployed.
Easily edit CMS content directly on your site without compromising its design
Have you ever had to contact your designer/developer every time you wanted to make an update to your site? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could edit the content yourself and see how it looked right away? Webflow allows you to do just that; no need to navigate through convoluted dashboards, FTP, or cPanel, no need to worry about breaking your site.
This capability is thanks to its user-friendly CMS (content management system)—adding new blog posts or products is as simple as editing a Google doc. Webflow's CMS is visual, allowing you to customize the structure that your content needs, as opposed to fitting your content to a premade CMS template. You won't even look at a single line of code.
See how easy and straightforward it is to edit content right on the site in Webflow:
No plugins = no frustration
For those of you familiar with Shopify or Wordpress, you know they rely heavily on third-party plugins. With that comes a plethora of ways for your site to break because they are being updated left and right and different plugin versions may be incompatible with others. Managing these plugins is extremely frustrating.
You can kiss that frustration goodbye with Webflow, because there are no plugins. No plugins to slow down your site, no setups or system installs to worry about, and no database errors. It still integrates with common free and paid services, such as Mailchimp, Zapier, Facebook, and Google, and you get free SSL security. Backed by Amazon's infrastructure, you can bet your site will be secure and quicker to load.
The cost of a Webflow is on par with Wix, Squarespace, and Shopify. A single site subscription can be as low as $12/mo. or $29/mo. for ecommerce. Integrating with leading payment providers such as Stripe and PayPal are free. There's no need to purchase templates or additional plugins.
Webflow provides more long-term value
Since discovering Webflow, I have never looked back and couldn't be any happier. Maintaining websites is a breeze, and my clients and I get to design without restriction. Whether it be a custom checkout experience or a business portfolio, Webflow is the most flexible, instantly scalable, and a great time saver.
I'm passionate about website platforms because I'm a designer dedicated to building healthy relationships and delivering longterm quality products to my clients.
Webflow has exceptionally powerful features. If you want to give Webflow a try, I advise you to start with their free-forever plan. I must admit, they have a higher learning curve, but they've got great step by step tutorials that will help you build professional websites in no time. If learning to build is not your thing, you can always work with a freelance Webflow designer or agency.
If you're a small to medium-sized business owner looking to leverage Webflow's professional features, contact me below. New ecommerce projects receive complimentary product photography!