It appears that website builders cost an ounce of gold these times. To be honest most of them are abysmal.
Sure, they’ll work right for the average user who wants to quickly have a personal website online … however, for anything that even remotely resembles professional usage it’s best to look for something else.
Webflow is a unique exception to the rule. It was designed using an “code-first” concept, Webflow is an all-in-one web design tool that lets users to create, design and then launch responsive websites visually.
After using Webflow for a long time over the last year, and also having tried other options, I am certain this: Webflow is without doubt the most effective site builder available today.
Does it look perfect? Absolutely not. There are a few things I’d like changed regarding the software if I could, and I’ll list some among them in the following.
However Webflow is an amazing tool to help designers make their mockups come to life without having to engage the assistance of a front-end designer or use low-quality DIY software.
What is Webflow?
In 2013, Webflow was founded as a grad of the Y Combinator accelerator for startups Webflow was launched in 2013 as a drag-and-drop tool to build fast and responsive websites without the need for code.
It aims to fill in the gap that exists between DIY software, such as Wix and Squarespace and more traditional systems for managing content (CMS) such as WordPress and real Web development that is front-end.
Here’s how it is able to accomplish all that.
Designer and Editor
Webflow Designer is a web-based interface that Webflow Designer is an interface that resembles Photoshop. It lets users automatically create semantic markup by dropping and dragging HTML components onto canvas as well as creating styling CSS properties.
Contrary to the widely horrible markup created by DIY website builders and all-in-one WordPress themes such as Divi, Webflow exports W3C-compliant code that is immediately installed as-is or passed off to developers to further customize.
The Designer interface can be a bit complicated particularly for users who have no prior experience in fundamental development. But , getting over the initial learning curve can be extremely rewarding due to the lessons it can offer users.
For example, designing Webflow is a good example. Webflow demands (and it encourages) thinking less as a graphic designer, but more like an experienced front-end developer.
Instead of “absolutely placing” the elements on a blank piece of users design and elements that create CSS classes and use modern layout tools such as grid and flexbox. All of this is done using a visual WYSIWYG editor.
This is why designing using Webflow together with the great tutorials available on Webflow University — could be a great way for designers seeking to get into front-end development.
Furthermore, the platform also includes an editor that is stripped-down and allows users to make simple edits to their websites … with out destroying the structure of the website during the process!
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While creating a blog using Webflow may require more initial work than an native blogging platform, such as WordPress but the end result will be well worthwhile.
Because WordPress despite all its strengths, hasn’t been able to top itself in terms of the ease of use or customization.
The majority of users are stuck with their themes default templates and styles. So, modifying certain elements, like post fields, require the use of third-party plugins, or manually writing the template files.
Webflow CMS however claims to be “the world’s first-ever visually-based content management software” that lets designers define the style and structure of their content without tinkering with plugins PHP or databases.
The content can be created by hand by hand, or transferred from an .CSV file or added using the Webflow CMS API.
Users can then build Collections or templates that can be reused to create dynamic content types. For instance, a site could include collections of blog posts, authors, customers products, projects categories, and more.
It’s as if you could enjoy all the advantages of using a databasebut without managing a database on your own!
I think this is probably the most exciting feature Webflow has currently to offer … regardless although it can be one of the most frustrating.
But, you can still create amazing animations using this program, if you are willing to study the process. (Just look at the landing page for Interactions 2.0!)
Hosting and deployment
Webflow hosting is offered by the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing platform, and is supported by an international media distribution system (CDN) that is powered with Fastly as well as Amazon Cloudfront.
The result is lightning-fast page loading and peace of mind with not worrying about server maintenance or updates to PHP.
All hosting plans come equipped with free SSL certificates, HTTP/2 compliance, site search, form control, password protection, an automatically-generated sitemap, and automatic backups.
The major drawback of this? Webflow’s hosting costs aren’t affordable, though it’s still lower than the cost you’d spend with other managed hosting providers such as WPEngine or Kinsta.
“Basic” or “Basic” Hosting plan costs you $15 per month, and it includes the majority of available features. However, in order to utilize Webflow CMS, you’ll have pay an additional amount of cost of $20 per year for the “CMS” hosting package.
It’s a good thing If you decide the following strategies are suitable for you (or even if you don’t have the amount) It’s not a problem!
The most recent — and most anticipated update to Webflow’s suite, Ecommerce was released as the public beta in November the previous year.
Separating itself from the comparatively restricting platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce Webflow Ecommerce allows the full customization of every aspect of the design of an average online store.
This covers galleries, product pages, and categories webpages, carts for shopping as well as checkout page. The Webflow platform lets you be not restricted to any type of already-designed Ecommerce structure!
To achieve this degree of personalization with an application such as Shopify requires spending thousands of dollars each month on the Shopify Plus plan and then making the effort to familiarize you with Shopify’s Liquid programming language.
The platform also offers an easy solution to manage complicated administrative tasks like the definition of shipping areas in addition to calculating taxes and managing fulfillment and inventory.
Since it’s still in beta, Webflow Ecommerce is still lacking some essential features which are expected from a fully-featured Ecommerce solution. For instance, PayPal support isn’t there yet for instance.
However, this is being considered. Other developments in the near future are assistance for products that are digital, customers’ accounts, subscriptions and a variety of product variations.
The Final Verdict
It stands out from the multitude of inferior DIY design tools currently available in the market, Webflow provides a powerful solution that is suitable for the majority of professional website design and design requirements.
These features, such as such as Webflow Designer, CMS, and Ecommerce let users easily create fully-featured, efficient websites without having to be able to code or work with developers.
It does have negatives, including an interface that isn’t intuitive for animations as well as a lack of Ecommerce features. Yet it’s the most effective design platform available on the market, and worth your time and attention.
This is the case regardless of whether or not you’re a professional graphic designer or an owner of a business looking for a stronger customized, flexible, and reliable solution for your online presence.