Webflow Review 2022: Is Webflow for you?
Webflow is rounding off on the three pillars of software development: UI, Data and Business Logic. A Webflow review update to include groundbreaking new features, such as 'Users' and 'Memberships', (Webflow Memberships is currently in Beta) 'UI', 'Roles & Capabilities' and 'Logic' (Webflow Logic is currently in Beta), will be released once available.
What is Webflow?
Where is Webflow hosted?
Webflow does not have single hosting locations. Instead, Webflow hosting serves your website over many different servers worldwide. So, if you try to pull up a Webflow-hosted site, the server you'll see is the closest CDN access point to your location. This way, Webflow rapidly serves cached content closer to users worldwide.
Basic and CMS Site plans include the default CDN in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Higher Webflow site plans, including Business, Enterprise, Plus, and Advanced Ecommerce hosting, offer Global CDN with increased coverage for Asia and Oceania and leverage all Amazon CloudFront Edge locations. Webflow Support advises that they hope to add country or geographic-specific hosting options/abilities in the future. If you are inclined, you can subscribe to this Webflow Wishlist item to receive updates related to this feature request.
What does Webflow Include?
Webflow websites are broad and, in many cases, are primarily limited by the experience of the website builder rather than the platform. However, you can characterise Webflow as possessing the following core tools required to build a leading website:-
Visual Canvas - a responsive website builder canvas with Drag & Drop ease.
Elements - a broad range of elements to drag onto the visual canvas, including:-
Section, Container, Grid (CSS Grid), Columns
Div Block, List / List Item, Link Block, Button
Heading, Paragraph, Text Link, Text Block, Block Quote, Rich Text
CMS Collection List
Image, Video, YouTube, Lotte Animation
Form Block, Label, Input, File Upload, Text Area, Checkbox, Radio Button, Select, reCAPTCHA. Form Button
Background Video, Dropdown, Embed, Lightbox, Navbar, Search, Slider, Tabs, Map, Facebook, Twitter
Webflow Content Management System (CMS)
Webflow has a proficient CMS automatically available on live sites with the appropriate Webflow CMS level hosting package. The Webflow CMS runs on 'Collections', essentially lists that include standard and custom fields. A template page or 'CMS Collection List' delivers the collection's dynamic content, and the killer feature is that Webflow Elements can display it in various formats. So, for example, a 'Heading' can show the Collection 'Name', a 'Rich Text' block can include the main text (and images, lists and custom code), and an 'Image' can map to dynamic images. With these elements and others dynamically mapped, you can quickly build sophisticated list and detail page formats superior to most web builders. Creating a custom Blog with Posts, for example, is pretty elementary with Webflow Collections and templates.
A Webflow Designer & Webflow Editor
Webflow has a distinct 'Designer' and 'Editor', each with different layouts and functions. The Webflow Designer is primarily for the website's creator and includes the complete design arsenal and granular access to all the website layouts and settings. It has a preview mode that enables the creator to view the website as it appears, less custom code functions, as a live website. The Webflow Editor is for hand-off after the website build and allows WYSIWIG front-end access with content updates performed on the fly. This setup makes sense for a Website Designer and Client relationship, where the heavy lifting is by the web designer in the 'Designer', and then the client edits in the 'Editor'. The symbiosis usually works well to avoid unanticipated updates that can throw the site out. Nevertheless, Webflow is evolving role management to offer more granular edit and design control for the few instances where Editors need deeper access.
Modern Website Layouts in Webflow
Where Webflow excels is in the range of modern website design layout options. The ability to create flexible and responsive horizontal and vertical layouts with CSS Flexbox has been available in Webflow for years. Still, many other web builders are rolling this out while Webflow pushes the envelope further with CSS Grid. Make no mistake that CSS Grid support in Webflow is killer and a scarce addition on other Website Builder platforms. Wix Editor X is bridging this gap, but overall, Webflow feels more intuitive and easier to customise from a Web Development perspective. The Webflow inspector feels natural, like property panels in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, so layout adjustments at multiple breakpoints are quick and easy.
Sophisticated Webflow Interactions
We've all visited websites where you wonder how the designer achieved interactions and animations on page scroll, item click or when a particular component enters the canvas. With Webflow, such interactions are now available to the masses with in-built and custom interactions. Webflow interactions can be initiated by 'Element triggers' like mouse hover/click, an element scrolling into view, or page triggers like page load or scroll. Interactions like hover events can be relatively basic, like changing the background colour or increasing and decreasing an element's size or entry method. But this can be taken to higher levels with multiple chained interactions to create a more immersive website experience. These interactions are part of the Webflow array, but always remember to use responsible motion design as with the diverse options available, it's easy to get carried away.
Having worked tirelessly on a website, the last thing you need is to lose it after being hacked or your webspace deleted. Thankfully these are not ailments of Webflow, which has a complete automatic backup versioning system akin to Apple's Time Capsule. So with Webflow Backups, your content is safe, and if you make a hash of your website layouts, you can revert to a point where everything is back in good order.
Is Webflow No-Code?
Who does Webflow suit?
There is currently anecdotal evidence suggesting that traditionally Webflow adapters tend to be web professionals and more savvy website builders transitioning from other platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Wix, Weebly and Square. However, Webflow is not a closed platform of experts and, with the ease of 'No-Code', is seeing a surge in users with little or no prior experience building websites. The underlying reasons are numerous, but overall Webflow users like the simplicity and utility of the visual canvas in the Webflow Designer and the knowledge that, should they wish, they can go further with advanced layouts, custom code and Webflow CMS API connectivity. So Webflow suits an array of users, from novices to seasoned front-end developers.
How easy is it to build a Webflow Website from scratch?
Users with no prior website coding or design experience could find starting with a blank canvas and multiple styling permutations somewhat overwhelming. It helps to have a grounding in web basics such as Divs, CSS, Classes, IDs and fundamental web interactions if you want to be a competent Webflow website builder. So there is a low-medium learning curve for novices, but once you get the hang of elements, styling and responsive layouts, Webflow will rapidly make sense as a powerful web authoring tool. If you face a Webflow overwhelm, head to Webflow University and seek out the Webflow 101 Crash Course. After running through the 41 free lessons, you'll feel more confident building with Webflow.
Does Webflow have templates?
Webflow has a range of over 500 business, portfolio, and blog templates, customisable via the Webflow visual canvas for those learning or looking to build faster. Many of these templates are high quality and represent stellar value for money. However, it's important to note that Webflow templates cannot be added retrospectively and are a practical starting point rather than a way to enhance an existing Webflow site. Also, Webflow templates do not use a Master and Child relationship like WordPress. Therefore, once you've started editing a template, those changes become a core part of the new website and can only be rolled back with a backup which negates any updates. This loss of template versioning isn't a deal-breaker for most, as you are not dependent on the Theme author to roll out updates. With Webflow templates, you build on the template foundations, enhance with the tools at your disposal, and deliver a more individualised website experience.
Should I use Webflow Templates?
Templates are always a great starting point, especially for new starters or those on a tight timescale, but experienced Webflow users should be looking to build from the ground up. A key reason is that 3rd parties have their unique style and adaptation of Webflow design and layout, and these nuances can necessitate a site overhaul which can be timely and counterproductive. For example, one designer/developer may use 'CSS Flex' layouts in standard divs, whereas another may use a more evolved 'CSS Grid' layout. Both Webflow website design approaches are valid and have positives and negatives. Still, if you have a Webflow template using one or the other layout formatting and prefer the alternate method, you'll need to update it. Another motivation, of course, is the more gratifying uniqueness of design and layout that arises from a design process from start to finish that you won't get with a template. However, using a Webflow template ultimately rests on experience, preferences and ownership rights (see below).
A word of caution on Webflow Templates
Before you proceed with a Webflow Template, you should be aware that a template is attached to a Webflow Website in perpetuity. This template link, shown as the first point in Webflow backups, means that even if you make a complete set of template changes to create a website with an absolute difference, it is still ultimately the outcome of that licensed template. The Webflow system will also view no difference between CMS or E-Commerce templates or a Components template, which can further pose problems. For instance, if you want to transfer the website, then only one template license is transferrable, and if you want to use it as a base for a new website, you'll need to buy another version of the same template. On this basis, don't even consider using a Webflow template as a template for a new Webflow template, even if it's technically different, as that's a non-starter. And concerning Webflow Components templates, you are strongly advised to create a separate base site and copy & paste in the Webflow Components and assets you require. Using just a few components and then creating a site based around those components on the associated template will open up a whole can of worms regarding rights. So, take heed that if you want to own the Webflow Website you have created, with export rights, to sell as your template or to use without limitation on the Webflow CMS, then it's best to avoid Webflow templates on the site(s) you are developing.
What websites work well with Webflow?
Webflow is equally suitable for small and large websites powered by enterprise-level hosting on Amazon Web Services & Fastly. When coupled with a solid website builder and CMS running Webflow Collection Lists, you could build a single-page website or scale up to a corporate website presence on Webflow. However, the applicability of Webflow ultimately depends on the scope and functionality of the website requirement. Webflow is cloud-based, and as a closed environment, there are limitations. Webflow is perfect for static and many dynamic CMS website cases, but now, Webflow is not a fully-fledged web application platform. So you cannot currently extend Webflow with highly customised client interactions, functionality and user experiences that would be more akin to Bubble.io.
Which Websites work well with Webflow?
Brochureware websites - websites that primarily market products and services
Websites based on ''lists' and 'detail' pages - websites such as Blogs
Launch Websites - websites focusing on a new product or service
Portfolio Websites - websites that showcase creative work
Personal Websites - websites that focus on an individual's passions and persona
SaaS Websites - websites highlighting Software as a Service
Landing Pages - high converting personalised pages to collect consent and highlight a business
Ecommerce Websites * - websites that sell a product or service
Other Websites that promote without the need for high-level native custom functionality
Which websites don't work well with Webflow?
High functional specification websites - websites that incorporate high-level web apps and CRM functions struggle in the Webflow environment.
Membership Websites - websites that include a login, gated content and membership functionality are limited in Webflow.
NB, this memberships functionality gap is closing with Webflow Memberships currently in Beta.
Directory Websites - websites that incorporate listings and searches are possible in Webflow, but 'Collections' and 'Nested Collections' parameters have set numerical limits. Webflow's limited result filtering and core functional extendability (including user logins) mean Webflow directory capabilities are not currently up to par.
Is Webflow Ecommerce good?
Webflow Ecommerce Alpha launched in Feb 2019 and is an established component of the Webflow stack. Since its inception, some welcome incremental updates have been in areas such as improved 'Web Payments' options (adding Apply Pay & Google Pay to Stripe) and order fulfilment in the Designer or Editor. Still, it has not significantly progressed to equal the breadth of features of leading eCommerce-centric platforms such as Shopify. So if you're looking for an advanced online store with coupons, subscriptions, abandoned cart emails and extensive customer management, then Webflow Ecommerce may not yet fit the bill.
Webflow Ecommerce excels in the same area as Webflow core, with its intuitive Collection List functionality and unrivalled flexibility in design and layout. Therefore Webflow is brilliant for stores primarily based on design and aesthetics (say a boutique fashion label) that don't require the Ecommerce bells and whistles in the back-end. But if you're looking for a feature-rich, heavy-duty Ecommerce store, the current advice is to look at other options rather than try and build in functionality that doesn't yet exist within Webflow. If you absolutely must stay within the Webflow ecosystem, then Privy, Omnisend, Proof, Sendinblue, or Zapier zaps are good places to start extending Webflow Ecommerce.
Is Webflow SEO good?
Webflow has the essential on-site and off-site SEO tools that you need to rank highly in Google and other search engines. The Webflow SEO toolkit includes 301 redirects management, comprehensive meta titles and meta descriptions, auto-generated sitemaps and image alt tagging within clean semantic code for fast search engine spidering.
A compelling SEO feature in Webflow is mapping Webflow CMS collection fields to Webflow Collection template pages. This ability means that every dynamic template page can have specific custom meta titles and descriptions, making for effective, targeted landing pages. The Webflow Designer also provides an effective on-page SEO audit of your content structure to ensure that you have used appropriate heading levels and good SEO, including image alt text. Uncontroversially, Webflow does not include Keyword meta tags, and that's because you don't need them. With the flexibility of Webflow, you can add them manually between the head tags, but content and structure should be the driver of your SEO and not stuffed keywords.
A tip for those looking to delve deeper into their SEO is planning and writing articles out of Webflow and doing additional in-depth SEO work with SEO tools like SEM Rush, Surfer SEO, and WriterZen. Once you've polished the content for good SEO and polished Grammar in Grammarly, bring it back into the Webflow Designer or Webflow Editor for publishing to the world. Sticking to tools that excel in their respective areas will give you the best of both worlds.
Does Webflow have a Free Trial?
Webflow does not have a specific 'trial'; however, you don't need one as you can use Webflow for free, with no time constraints, on the Starter Site Plan. This plan gives you a complete design and CMS control across two projects and, while limited to 2 static pages and 50 CMS items, is plenty of bandwidth to get to grips with Webflow. This sensible approach means that with Webflow, you won't get hit with an ended trial period just when you are reaching a pinnacle of learning or preparedness. You only need to pay for Webflow when you want to add more pages or functionality, such as the Webflow CMS, Webflow Ecommerce, or indeed to go live.
Does Webflow pricing represent good value for money?
It's challenging to look at Webflow's pricing on a like-for-like comparison, but all things considered, Webflow represents a fair price for a platform superior to many competitors. However, Webflow pricing is often cited as a determining base-level factor when simply looking at price vs price comparisons. With Webflow, you get what you pay for, so viewing Webflow in the round is recommended rather than just focusing on price factors.
Webflow has Site Plans for individuals, starting at a very affordable Basic plan at $18pcm per site ($14pcm when paid annually) to CMS at $24pcm ($19pcm when paid annually) and levelling up to business $49pcm ($39 when paid annually). For Ecommerce, Standard plans start at $42 ($29 when paid annually), Plus $84pcm ($74 when paid monthly) to $235 ($212 when paid annually) for 'Advanced' Ecommerce needs. So there is a clear jump between standard Webflow site plans, but the intermediate site plans incorporating the Webflow CMS will tick most boxes. And for the price-conscious, there is a clear advantage in paying upfront annually so that that mode average price point would be a very affordable $14pcm.
Webflow Enterprise contracts begin at $15,000 - $50,000 per annum for corporations and those with more than 1M visitors per month. These Webflow Enterprise Contracts come with state-of-the-art web application security practices (Webflow is SOC2, Type I certified as of December 2020), 10s of millions of views/mo (and thousands of requests per second), and an SLA with 99.99% uptime guaranteed and a Master service agreement. While these contracts pertain to a specific area of the Webflow business model, they show that there is not much Webflow can't handle.
There is an additional pricing tier for 'Workplace plans' for those building multiple sites. Beyond the free 'Starter' plan for 2 unhosted sites on 1 seat, the most popular option is the 'Core' plan, which costs $28pcm ($19 when billed annually) for building up to 10 unhosted sites with up to 3 seats. Webflow Design Agencies would invariably require a Growth plan of $60pcm ($49 when billed annually) for building unlimited projects with enhanced staging and features. And then, for those at the top-end of the Webflow community, there is custom pricing for the 'Enterprise' Workspace plan.
An important consideration is that for a site hosted on yourdomain.com and not yoursitename.webflow.io, you still need to add 'Site Plan' even when you have an Account Plan. Therefore you would pay for the Workspace Plan + Site Plan 1, Site Plan 2 etc. Previously those client sites could offload billing by setting up 'Client Billing', which permitted direct end user billing with markup, but regrettably, Webflow is retiring this feature. From now on, it's best to keep client Webflow Websites within a separate Workspace with direct billing.
How do I sell Webflow & Webflow Pricing to Clients?
Webflow has many previously outlined features, but the inherent benefits that Webflow provides should make it an easy sell as a SaaS website builder platform. The benefits include reducing complexity with ease of design and rapid editing, secure enterprise-grade hosting to deliver a website that can handle stacks of traffic, reduced development costs, time to market and overall effectiveness that puts money back into the business. The main takeaway is that Webflow works seamlessly in the background to deliver a robust website presence. Therefore, you should sell Webflow plan pricing as an investment rather than a cost, and any pricing concerns should evaporate.
Does Webflow offer Webflow Promo Codes?
There is pretty much zero availability of legitimate Webflow Promo codes online. The advice is to be discerning with your choice of provider as many promo codes tested have turned out to be bogus with 'Coupon not found'.There are other ways to save on Webflow, and the most obvious is to pay annually to save a considerable 20% on Webflow hosting. You can also save with the free templates that Webflow offers or invest in a premium template to save time and money. Better still, if you are an eligible student (including those on specific online courses) or educator, you canget Webflow for free, and you can't get better than that.
What are the best Webflow alternatives?
Webflow is excellent, but if you are, for whatever reason, not yet sold, then here are some alternatives to consider:-
Zyro is a hidden gem and is well worth considering before other Webflow alternatives if you are price sensitive or looking to get great results without being overwhelmed. Zyro delivers with a flexible grid-based responsive Website Builder, Templates, E-Commerce, Hosting, SEO & Analytics, Integrations and AI Business Tools. The interface is 'essential' in a good way, so building a Website with Zyro is quick and easy. At a stellar price point, Zyro is well worth a look. Read more about Zyro Website Builder and grab significant Zyro promo savings on our website.
Wix & Editor X
Wix is ubiquitous in the website builder market; for a good reason, they have been top performers in this space for some time. Oddly though, it's taken them a while to pivot to a more professional web design & development platform. The kicker has been that Wix has focused on ease of creation over responsive web conventions grounded in 'absolute', drop anywhere layouts over 'relative' content positioning that places items that correspond to other elements' positions. This anti-mobile responsive setup means that, unlike fully responsive Webflow layouts that adjust seamlessly as the page size reduces, you have a Desktop and Mobile version of a website and nothing in-between. The standard Wix platform has still not addressed this pervasive issue; however, the Editor X version ticks the boxes and is impressive on many levels. So if you are looking at Wix and want to keep abreast of things, go straight to Editor X, and you'll have made a sound decision.
Squarespace is another top-performing Website Builder platform and is well known for high-level contemporary designs. Onboarding is smooth, and as expected, there are many quality template starting points from which to choose. However, adding elements to a page seems lost in translation, and Squarespace feels more geared to incremental updates to original template content. So, Squarespace is great for rapidly creating a single page or smaller website, but it's not for those looking to spend time building a website beyond boundaries. Perhaps novice, rather than web professionals.
WordPress still runs 42% of the web and has been the foundation of many successful websites. The problem with WordPress, though, somewhat paradoxically, lies in its previous success. The first issue is that people love hacking WordPress sites, and the second is that WordPress and WordPress plugins need continual attention and updates. These are not prevalent issues on Webflow or other closed cloud-based Website Builder platforms, which explains the move away from WordPress. We must, however, give WordPress its dues. WordPress remains a fantastic platform for building websites that are still out of the reach of most Website Builders. WooCommerce, the most popular WordPress Ecommerce plugin, is also tremendous and still rivals ecommerce centric offerings like Shopify. You can probably achieve it on WordPress if you think of it, but you'll still probably need lots of plugins and custom code to get there.
Shopify is a market leader in Ecommerce and hosts more than a million stores worldwide. Shopify offers high functionality online stores, point of sale, buy buttons and sales channels for social media, online marketplaces and more. Shopify has drag-and-drop store builder ease, responsive themes, and the ability to host on a custom domain and embed products on Squarespace and WordPress. If Webflow Ecommerce doesn't offer a sufficiently high-level Ecommerce spec, then Shopify will cover all your Ecommerce functionality needs.
Other Webflow Alternatives
Also, consider the following Webflow alternatives for your needs.
Bubble.io is the Webflow alternative for better integrations and web app functionality within a no-code platform.
Duda is a very proficient professional website builder with loads of features. If you can get past the name, it's worth your attention.
Instapage focuses on high converting landing page creation, so if your primary Webflow efforts concentrate on this area, perhaps it's time to switch to Instapage.
Best Webflow Resources
Best resources from Webflow
Jetboost - Jetboost's moniker is 'Your No-Code Webflow Sidekick', and in rapid time, that is increasingly well-earned. From initial Webflow CMS filtering, they now offer a full range of Webflow dynamic filtering, search, sorting, pagination and auto-archiving add-ons. These are premium Webflow add-ons, but if you want to save hours of development time, then jetboost.io is a great destination.
Webflow Templates - Choose from a selection of free and paid Webflow templates for Single Page Websites & Landing Pages, Webflow CMS sites and Webflow Ecommerce Stores.
Webflow University - learn how to use Webflow from the creators of Webflow. The Webflow University offers an extensive library of free lessons covering everything from layout and typography to Webflow interactions and 3D transforms. If you are new to Webflow, check out the Webflow 101 Crash Course, an excellent jump straight into Webflow.
Webflow Community - Webflow has a sizeable online community comprised of novices and Webflow experts with various social media groups. The official Webflow Community, contained within the Webflow website, has over 75k members, and here you can socialise and learn in online and face-to-face settings.
Webflow Forum - the Webflow Forum is a place to connect with the Webflow Community to ask and answer questions on all things Webflow. It's often quicker to get answers than Webflow Support, especially if you are not on Eastern Standard time.
Webflow Support - when you've exhausted all other avenues or have an exacting Webflow question, you can reach out to Webflow support. You can judge a good company on the assistance they provide, and the experience of Webflow Support is very positive, with timely and in-depth responses and follow-ups.
Best Webflow resource websites
Finsweet - Finsweet has earned a solid reputation within the Webflow developer community as bonafide Webflow Experts. They are also rightly keen to share Webflow tips and free cloneable Webflow assets for use on your projects. Popular Webflow resources include Cookie Consent for Webflow and a range of Webflow Hacks.
Elfsight - Efsight doesn't just focus on Webflow but provides an extensive range of 'widgets' to upgrade your website without coding. So if you don't have the time or inclination to develop website elements not yet part of Webflow core, such as Social Media feeds, Chats, Reviews, and YouTube Galleries, then Elfsight is packed full of ready-to-use solutions.
Privy - Traditionally, Privy is an Ecommerce marketing platform for growing Shopify sales with abandoned carts, exit-intent popups, and sending marketing emails and SMS. However, it also works with Webflow with just a few lines of pasted code. As we know, Webflow Ecommerce is a bit low on the ground with expanded customer-centric functions, so Privy is an effective and affordable way to plug some of those gaps.
POWR - POWR is another offering full of time-saving widgets to power up your Webflow or any other website. Popular apps include their Social Feed, Facebook Messenger Chat, Poll, Comments, and Sales Pop, all geared to engage and boost conversions.
Flowbase - Flowbase offers premium Webflow components, Webflow cloneables and Webflow tutorials of high quality. Club Access, which is now required to access premium components, exclusive freebies and customer support, is $39 per month, which is a bit on the high side.
In conclusion, should I use Webflow?
Webflow certainly ticks the majority of boxes and, as such, is the top choice for most website build use cases. Unlike many alternatives, Webflow is a professional-grade Website Builder used by seasoned front-end developers. And yet, it's also well within reach of web novices with accessible templates and extensive Webflow onboarding via the Webflow University and the growing and vibrant Webflow Community.
As we have identified, though, there currently are some limitations to the Webflow platform, which means it's not the right choice for certain types of Websites, particularly demanding Ecommerce websites. But if you stick to what Webflow does well, it's head and shoulders above the competition at a fair price point. It's also very pleasing that the Webflow team, under CEO Vlad Magdalin, have a plan and is working hard behind the scenes to level up Webflow into a full-stack development platform. It certainly feels like the right direction and makes it easier to put your faith in Webflow.
Webflow is a solid choice for creating a fantastic website, and you are encouraged to start building with Webflow for free and at no risk. When your Webflow site is ready, add a site plan to go live and show the world what you have created. And make sure you let us know your experience with Webflow and what you are building in 2022.