Born in 2013 out of San Francisco, California, Webflow has burst onto an already competitive market looking to be the next big thing. Their unique selling point is a very user-friendly backend designer that allows the website builder to visualize all the code without writing a single line of it.
Essentially, Webflow is a site builder, and they have many templates to choose from, some paid some free, but the user interface is like no other.
On one side of the window you have all the bigger picture items, such as elements panel, pages, navigator, assets, and your settings.
On the right-hand side, you have all your CSS from margins to overflow to the font. It’s easy to set an element class, and you can see where and what properties they’re inheriting.
When publishing the site to your custom domain, you’re given the option to ‘minify’ CSS and HTML. This makes the code much cleaner and easier for your browser to read, therefore making it much quicker than alternatives like WordPress. Another feature that keeps things fast is the fact that you can’t install plugins directly onto the site, unlike WordPress. They also give you the option when publishing to add an SSL certificate to gain trust from customers purchasing from your site, so the padlock appears in the address bar to reassure customers that you take data security seriously. Webflow has the option to add their build-in option free of charge.
I’ve built a handful of sites on Webflow already, and they are an absolute pleasure to make. The way you can feed through all the CMS collection items with a few clicks and quickly set up different styles does make it (my personal favorite and) a front runner in the no-code chest of tools.
If you make websites on behalf of clients, you’ll already know how often their minds change. Webflow understands our pain and has created a solution: the editor. With the editor, you can invite your clients to take the responsibility of updating content, changing images, etc. They’re able to make changes and publish them all on their own. The editor is also where shop staff can find products, orders, and collections.
CMS can be the entire core foundation that websites are built upon, and Webflow’s CMS is as powerful as they come. It’s incredibly easy to pull information through from your collection item (Webflow jargon for CMS items such as blog posts). When I’ve built e-commerce stores on Webflow at first thought, it was daunting to think about the logistics of how to get the product image to show on the shop page, but once I started experimenting, it was soon clear that it’s far more simple than I had thought.
There are so many great features that Webflow has to offer that they’ve created in-depth guides in navigating around the user interface and methodology on how to create beautiful components for your website. Webflow University has so much valuable content on creating game-changing websites that are constantly being added to, and I’ve not seen any other platform have anything like it. I’ve spent hours watching and implementing components that otherwise I’d be searching days on Stack Overflow for.
Interactions can take a website to another level, and Webflow’s are cutting edge. The interactions panel has such a clean and easy user interface that it’s far easier (and more fun!) to use than any other platform. It’s never been easier to make elements move on scroll and disappear on hover, which means websites are only going to get more exciting to use.
Some may argue that the e-commerce features are only of a smaller store, and while I can somewhat agree with that, they’re certainly moving in the right direction to having larger stores come to them for an e-commerce solution.
Webflow allows you to build an incredibly beautiful website and then export the entire project for you to potentially host elsewhere such as Bluehost. You do need to purchase a site plan to have access to the export feature, and any CMS features will cease to work. Form entries will continue to work as normal, and the idea of code export is a very exciting option to have that no one else seems to be offering.
As I’m writing this article, they’ve just released a new update which includes a brand new feature called ‘Audit.’ This allows you to double-check you’ve not left any links empty, forget to add alt text to an image, and more.
You can probably imagine from reading this article that I’m a huge fan of Webflow. Their commitment to continue bringing out new features and creating mini-courses on Webflow University means that I can’t see myself moving away from it. So if you’re not happy with the platform you use currently, I strongly recommend you try out Webflow and see how they can change your websites.
My name’s Brett Hudson and I run a small web agency called Brudson Media. We provide smaller businesses with a big business website and help them get higher in search engines with our Search Engine Optimization packages. Not surprisingly, our websites are built on Webflow and hosted with them, so we have lots of first hand experience with them.