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If you’re a freelance designer or work in an agency, chances are that you’ve heard of Webflow. As an alumnus of startup accelerator Y Combinator, this San Francisco-based company is backed by some serious funding. In fact, they recently secured $140 million in Series B funding - on top of a previous injection of $72 million - helping them to grow their user base to over a million users worldwide.
So what makes Webflow different from other website builders? While other platforms tend to be marketed to users who are less technical, Webflow is in the rather unique position of offering a product that targets designers. They do this with a solution that’s powerful enough to convert high-spec designs into a fully functional website - with no coding required.
It’s for this reason that Webflow has drawn a lot of comparisons to WordPress over the years. However, they claim to have many advantages over them - among these, more creative freedom, better site security, and greater ease of use.
As longtime WordPress users, that certainly caught our interest - so, let’s see if Webflow really can rise to the challenge.
Webflow Review: Summary
Webflow is not your average website builder. For one thing, it completely cuts out the need for designers to hand-off website designs to developers. It’s therefore ideal for designers and advanced users who want to create a site on their own, but require more design freedom than traditional site builders like Squarespace or Weebly can offer.
The product itself is like a fusion of a website builder with a CMS. You have complete control to design and build fully-responsive websites, while also being able to customize the mobile versions (unlike with most website builders). You can make sitewide changes directly within the visual editor, without needing to install any plugins.
In that vein, Webflow’s approach is similar to that of Wix Editor X, although we find it to be a little more complicated. Still, Webflow is a lot easier to use than WordPress, and is miles more intuitive.
Another key difference to WordPress is that Webflow can host your site for you. So, you don’t need to use your own hosting provider (or use the more limited WordPress.com).
Also unlike WordPress, Webflow places great emphasis on customer support, offering lots of helpful resources in their Webflow University, including courses, video tutorials, articles, and a user forum.
Who should use Webflow?
- Designers, users with advanced technical skills, or those that like to roll up their sleeves and take the time to learn a slightly more complex system
- Users who want more customization options than what’s available with a traditional website builder, but still need a bit of assistance
- Teams that need to collaborate with others, or with clients. Webflow lets you create Team areas in your account, so you can share your website project, and give permission to others to view/make suggestions or edit the content
Webflow Pricing (Account plans)
Create up to 2 website projects. No code export.
You can create up to 10 website projects and export your code.
The best plan for freelancers or designers, as you can create an unlimited amount of projects. Extended features.
Prices shown are monthly costs for yearly subscriptions of Webflow’s Account plans. You can also find more info on Webflow’s Site plans and Ecommerce plans here.
Webflow’s Pricing Options
Webflow’s pricing can get a little confusing, but it’s useful to know that they offer two different types of plans, depending on your needs:
- Their Site plans are geared to users who need just one site and allow you to connect a custom domain
- Account plans are designed for agencies or freelancers who need multiple sites, but don’t come with hosting or a customized domain
Their Website plans start at $12/month for the Basic plan and go all the way up to bespoke, enterprise-level pricing. If you need an online store, eCommerce plans are also available.
A free version is available with the Starter Account plan, allowing you to build two projects. However, for advanced features, like embedding custom code or exporting your website, you’ll need one of their premium plans, which start at $16/month (Lite plan).
Pros and Cons of Webflow
Lots of freedom to customize your site and access to your code
Webflow gives you full control over your website’s design – layouts, responsiveness, styling, and interactions; seriously powerful stuff! Furthermore you can embed your own HTML code and export your website’s code. You’re never locked in!
Great for client-work
Ideally suited to create websites for clients. The Account Plans even allow you to bill your clients right through Webflow and also add a markup.
Plenty of support materials
The tool isn’t exactly self-explanatory – which is why Webflow provides a great range of resources through their own Webflow University, in the form of courses, videos, articles and a user forum.
Guaranteed Uptime of 99.99%
Unlike any other website builder, Webflow guarantees a very high uptime via their Service Level Agreement (SLA). That means if they don’t reach it they’ll have to refund you.
The trade-off for having such a powerful and versatile tool is that you really do need to have some technical knowledge to be able to master it (or else, the time to dedicate to learning it).
With so many different plans and options, it can be hard to know which is the right plan for you. It can also get pricey if you need a bit more advanced features with e.g. a business site or blog.
Limited built-in functions and integrations
Some features, such as a multilingual website and user logins, aren’t integrated yet, but you can put them on a wishlist.
Ease of use
The editor looks similar to Photoshop and includes a lot of functions. It’s therefore a bit more complicated to use than other website builders. Beginners (and even advanced users) may find it overwhelming at first. However, Webflow provides a lot of support material, like video tutorials, articles and a forum, to help give their users the smoothest start possible.
Choice and flexibility of design (templates)
There are free templates available; however most of them need to be purchased (similar to WordPress or Shopify templates). Even then, there isn’t a huge selection available, although they are for the most part modern-looking.
Of course, with Webflow your options aren’t limited to just using a template. You can also use a preset or build a site from scratch, and customize it as you like. The customization is way harder than with most website builders though.
|There is an ad in the lower right-hand corner of your website when you have a free plan. Premium plans are ad-free.|
The interface is available in English. A multilingual website is possible, although it takes a bit of technical work (more info here).
Your own domain name (e.g. .com or .net)
You can purchase a domain via Webflow or connect to one from an external provider. This is possible from the Basic plan ($12/ month) onwards. SSL is also included. Email hosting is not directly available, but you can integrate with an external service like Google Workspace or Zoho Workplace.
Depth of navigation
You can save subpages within folders to organize pages on your site, and create a dropdown menu in your nav bar. There are usually no restrictions unless the amount becomes extremely excessive. If you host your site on Webflow, you can, depending on your plan, add up to 100 static pages and up to 10,000 dynamic pages. If you need more than 100 static pages, there is a work-around by creating CMS collections. It’s a bit more complicated though.
Widgets (small tools to add extra functionality)
As their focus seems to be more on manual, do-it-yourself customization, they don’t really offer built-in widgets (other than a few social media integrations). However there are instructions on how to add some integrations (e.g. with PayPal, calendar tools etc).
No mobile app is available, and it’s not possible to edit your site through a mobile device.
Webflow offers an online store feature that’s directly integrated into its editor. You can determine some settings with the free version, however if you want to start selling, you’ll need to purchase one of their eCommerce plans. Features include automatic tax calculation, PayPal and Stripe payments, and the ability to sell digital goods, although this feature is currently in beta.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The SEO options with Webflow are good. Aside from being able to edit title, URL and descriptions (and even insert dynamic text), you can also perform advanced functions such as set up 301 redirects, generate a sitemap, and edit your robots.txt file (more info here). For inexperienced users, adjusting these settings might be a bit difficult though.
It’s possible to set up a blog with Webflow, but aside from creating the design, you’ll also have to manually integrate any additional features – media, comments, social sharing etc. In the end, this also gives you a lot of freedom regarding customizations, but it’s also quite a bit of work.
You can integrate Google Analytics to keep track of your visitor statistics.
It’s possible to create fully customizable forms with Webflow via the editor – you’ll have complete control over fields, design and behaviours. These can also integrate with third-party tools like Zapier.
Password protection & member areas
You can protect one page, single pages, collections (content types) or even your entire website with a password. It’s even possible to change the design of your password protection page. Internally, you can add a “Teams” area in your Webflow account to collaborate with other team members; however, it’s not possible to create user logins for visitors as yet.
There is no newsletter tool included, but you can integrate with external email marketing services like Mailchimp, GetResponse etc.
Add HTML code
Absolutely, yes! Users can add HTML code via the embed feature in the editor. Be aware that this is only possible with a paid plan, though.
There is actually no limit when it comes to storage space. Restrictions could only take place if the amount of data was excessive, which, according to Webflow’s support, usually doesn’t happen, though.
Backups & Restore
Webflow has an integrated backup function, so you can save and restore an older version of your website. With the free Starter plan you can save up to 2 backups, while the Premium plans allow you an unlimited number of backups.
Webflow offers a great variety of video tutorials, detailed step-by-step guides and courses/lessons via the Webflow University. You can download eBooks on relevant topics for free. Pretty awesome! There’s also a forum, where questions seem to be answered pretty frequently. However, the only personal support they offer is via email, and this is only available Mon-Fri.
Whether or not you’ll have fun with this website builder depends on your level of expertise (or endurance). Experienced users will very likely appreciate its flexibility and customization options. Beginners on the other hand need some time to figure out how the editor works. It’s great they provide a lot of helpful material though.
Webflow is an excellent tool that combines powerful CMS features with those of the more classic website builders – offering a wide range of possibilities. It can be a facilitator for experienced users and professionals wanting to move away from WordPress to a more straightforward solution. However, inexperienced users may be put off by the sheer amount of work required to get a site off the ground.
Is it user-friendly enough for me?
To get the most out of Webflow, you would ideally have a good level of technical knowledge. That means knowing your way around a typical CMS, and understanding CSS and HTML, as you’ll be accessing these when building your website.
However, we have to say that Webflow does do a decent job of offering you the help you need, no matter your level of experience. They do several ways – first, this by providing an interactive tutorial based on your proficiency level (which they’ll ask you about at sign-up), and through their Webflow University, which offers stacks of resources (lessons, videos, forum etc).
How-to videos are also directly available from within your editor, so you can watch them as you’re making changes to your site. So, while Webflow can be challenging to use as a tool, the plus side is that you receive more help than you would with many other platforms.
Templates and customizations: How to dress up your website
There are three different ways to create a website with Webflow:
- White canvas – Starting from scratch
- Using a template – You can choose from over 100 different templates. Some are free, but most need to be purchased (prices start from $19)
- Using a preset – This is essentially starting with a “skeleton” layout that you can customize as you like.
However, if you have an existing WordPress site, there’s also an option to import your website directly into Webflow. It is a bit of a complicated process that you can read about here.
Webflow Review: Conclusion
If you find yourself limited by traditional website builders, but don’t want the hassle of development-heavy platforms like WordPress, Webflow could be the right tool for you.
Offering the best of both worlds, it’s ideal for those who want more options for customization than you’d get with the likes of Wix and Weebly. And although it’s loaded with features, we still find it to be a more intuitive solution than WordPress, thanks to the fact that changes are made via a visual editor, rather than through code.
Where can they improve? We’d love to see more out-of-the-box features integrated, such as multilingual sites and user logins. And their pricing could be spelled out a little clearer.
So, while we don’t think WordPress’s limitless range of themes and plugins will be rivalled any time soon, we do feel like Webflow offers a simplified yet capable alternative – and some pretty strong competition.
Is Webflow the right website builder for me?
You’re a designer, developer or marketer who needs the powerful features of a CMS presented in a visual editor
You want to professionally create websites for clients
You want to try an alternative to WordPress
You need a lot of customization options, without the need to fully code your site
You’re an absolute beginner looking for an easy-to-use website builder
You want access to an app store/market
You need a wide variety of already built-in extensions
Squarespace targets a similar user group. It’s more user-friendly and also features a great solution for professional bloggers. Another advantage is the very advanced ecommerce store. However, Webflow provides a far better solution if you want to create websites for clients. Learn all about the differences to Webflow here.
Is it possible to monetize my Webflow site?
It’s possible to embed custom code to use Google Adsense. On paid plans you can also build ads within Webflow itself.
Latest Review Updates
17 Dec 2021 - Mobile app rating added.
30 Jun 2021 - Chat support no longer offered.
26 Nov 2020 - Webflow video review added.