Webflow Review

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Date Established
2013
Location
San Francisco

Overview

Webflow is more than just your typical website builder. Most builders these days focus on making website creation as easy and painless as possible for the masses by giving you prefabricated blocks of content to arrange like Legos. Webflow, on the other hand, is a sophisticated web design tool geared towards professionals who, individually or in teams, design websites for their clients (though individuals can certainly take advantage of Webflow to create their own website).

Launched in 2013 by Vlad Magdalin, Sergie Magdalin, and Bryant Chou, Webflow is based in San Francisco. Webflow touts itself as a visual CMS that combines professional, code-free (though the code can be freely edited) design tools with the user-friendliness of WYSIWYG website builders. In this respect, Webflow sets itself apart from the likes of Weebly and Wix. Instead, this builder’s Photoshop-flavored approach to web design places it in the company of such services as Webydo.

With over 500,000 users accumulated thus far, Webflow looks to be an exciting and forward-looking website creation tool. Read my review to see if Webflow lives up to its billing.

Pricing

Webflow offers three sets of paid plans: one set (Hosting Plans) geared toward people needing one website for their own use, one set (Designer Plans) for designers/freelancers anticipating multiple projects, and one set (Team Plans) for teams/agencies looking to collaborate on designing websites. Webflow’s plans are detailed here:

HOSTING PLANS

Starter

  • FREE
  • Publish to Webflow.io Subdomain
  • 2 Static Pages
  • 500 Monthly Visits
  • 10 Form Submissions
  • 50 CMS Items
  • Rate-limited CMS API
  • Community Support

Basic

  • $12/month (annual plan)
  • $15/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • Connect Your Domain
  • Free SSL Option
  • CDN
  • 100 Static Pages
  • 25,000 Monthly Visits
  • 500 Form Submissions
  • Email Support

CMS

  • $16/month (annual plan)
  • $20/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • 100,000 Monthly Visits
  • 1,000 Form Submissions
  • 2,000 CMS Items
  • CMS API Access
  • 3 Content Editors

Business

  • $36/month (annual plan)
  • $45/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • 1 Million Monthly Visits
  • Unlimited Form Submissions
  • 10,000 CMS Items
  • 10 Content Editors
  • Priority Email Support

DESIGNER PLANS

Starter

  • FREE
  • 2 Projects
  • Unlimited Hosted Projects
  • Client Billing
  • Free Staging

Lite

  • $16/month (annual plan)
  • $24/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • 10 Projects
  • Enhanced Staging
  • Code Export

Pro

  • $35/month (annual plan)
  • $42/month (monthly plan)
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • Unlimited Projects
  • White Labeling
  • Site Password Protection

TEAM PLANS

Team

  • $35 per person per month (annual plan)
  • $42 per person per month (monthly plan)
  • Includes everything in the Pro Designer Plan PLUS:
  • Team Dashboard

Large Team

  • Contact Webflow for Pricing
  • All of the Above PLUS:
  • Bulk Teammate Pricing
  • Bulk Hosting Pricing

Webflow accepts payment via credit card/debit card only, including:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • American Express
  • Discover
  • JCB
  • Diners Club

Web-hosted or Licensed

Webflow is web-hosted.

Hardware/Software Requirements

Use of the Webflow platform requires either Google Chrome or Safari.

Business Types Supported

Webflow gives you 149 templates to work with, though of these, only 19 are free to use – the rest are strictly Premium and must be purchased separately. Both the free and Premium templates are quite classy and attractive, though. These templates are divided into the following categories:

  • Event
  • Blog
  • Business
  • Entertainment
  • Nonprofit
  • Personal
  • Portfolio
  • Other

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Webflow’s templates are adaptable to just about any sort of business.

Ease of Use

With a design platform as sophisticated as Webflow, you’re likely going to need some assistance. Anticipating this, Webflow makes 31 tutorial videos available within the editor, and given the complexity of the tools available, you’re probably going to need them.

In testing the editor, however, I was pleasantly surprised to see aspects of Webflow that gave me a sense of familiarity—aspects that wouldn’t be out of place in a simpler DIY website builder. Adding elements to your page doesn’t require a degree in web design. You simply click the Add Elements button in the top left corner, select your element, and give it the ol’ drag-and-drop onto your page. Similarly, the device view options along the top of the screen let you both preview and work on your site in desktop, tablet, and mobile (landscape and portrait) mode. Webflow’s smart approach to mobile-responsiveness is apparent here: Style edits made to your desktop site will carry over to your tablet and mobile sites (adjusted for screen size of course), whereas style edits made to your mobile site will not carry over in the other direction, giving you the freedom to customize the look of your mobile site independent of your desktop site. Furthermore, with every element you place, you can specify the devices on which the element will appear. Webflow handles mobile-responsiveness and device-specific editing as well as any builder I’ve seen.

That’s not to say building your website is going to be a walk in the park. I had a rough time just trying to create a simple photo gallery. If you’re not a tech whiz, expect a formidable learning curve.

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Fortunately, Webflow’s backup feature gives you some margin for error. You get the usual undo/redo buttons for cycling through your recent edits. This is where many website builders stop in terms of letting you go back in time, as it were. Webflow automatically creates a backup of your site with every 20th auto-save performed. Backups can also be manually created by pressing Ctrl+Shift+S (⌘+Shift+S for you Mac users).

Features

Positioning itself as a visual CMS and blogging platform for professional web designers, Webflow doesn’t have a great deal of ready-made widgets/apps for you to plop down. Notably absent is any kind of built-in eCommerce solution. Let’s take a look at the features that are made available by Webflow:

  • Blog: Launching a blog is no simple matter with Webflow. While most website builders offer some kind of basic blogging feature, Webflow’s blogging is backed by the weight of a full CMS. This means that the learning curve is a lot steeper than with most competitors, but the result is a blogging solution well suited to teams of contributors working on professional projects. Webflow’s CMS lets you not only manage and arrange your blog posts — you can also determine what fields will appear when one of your designated authors creates a new post. There’s a lot to learn here, which is why Webflow created a half-hour walkthrough detailing how to create a blog using their CMS. Once you’ve figured out all the odds and ends, you’ll have a blogging system in place that rivals WordPress.

webflow

  • Form Builder: Webflow’s form building tools give you the precision you need to create forms that meet your exact specifications. Start by plopping down a Form Block, which is a container that will hold all your form elements. You can then create your form using labels, input fields, text areas, checkboxes, radio buttons, drop-down menus, and Submit Form buttons. You can elect to receive notifications whenever a visitor submits a form. You can also go into your Site Settings to view all forms that have been submitted, as well as export all your form data as a CSV file. Not too shabby.

Webflow’s blogging and form building functionality outpace most of the competition by a long shot. Sadly, you won’t find much else in the way of fully integrated features and widgets. You’ll find a slider and a Lightbox link (elements that are not terribly intuitive to use, sorry to say!) for displaying images, Google Maps, and social media tools (Facebook, Twitter, and Google+).

I hope Webflow puts out some kind of eCommerce solution in the future. I can see an online store that integrates with Webflow’s CMS being quite a powerful tool indeed.

Web Design and Editing

  • Templates: Webflow’s templates are professional, well-designed, mobile-responsive, and — for paying users — plentiful. Most Webflow templates are designed to connect with Webflow’s CMS.
  • Desktop Editor: Webflow’s website editor is intricate, powerful, and not for the timid. If you have a designer’s eye, you’re probably going to like what you find. Ditto if you have some web development experience. Beyond that which I’ve already covered, one key feature of the editor is the ability to export your website’s code, freeing you to do whatever you want with it. With most website builders, your website is inseparable from the builder’s servers, so this is a major plus for Webflow. Note, however, that you can’t export elements of your site that are specific to the CMS at this time.
  • Mobile Editor: Webflow doesn’t have any mobile apps for editing or for any other purpose. While you won’t be doing any editing of your Webflow site from your smartphone, the editor gives you a high degree of control over your mobile site so you can customize it independent of your desktop site.

Integrations and AddOns

Webflow isn’t big on third-party integrations. You’ll get a map from Google Maps, Google Analytics for SEO, social media links, and that’s about all.

Customer Support

Webflow’s customer service includes email support, a knowledge base, a series of tutorial videos, and a community forum. My email query was answered after two days- not the fastest response time in the industry. I found the community forum to be promising, though. One sure-fire way to determine the viability of a website builder is to check the recent activity on its user forum. If you find an empty or near-empty forum, that’s an unmistakable warning sign. Webflow’s forum is full of activity. The product is attracting the attention of users. This is a good thing.

Negative Reviews and Complaints

Reviewers have sounded mostly positive notes on Webflow, though there has been some criticism:

Positive Reviews and Testimonials

Webflow has been well-received by reviewers, receiving plaudits for the following:

Final Thoughts

Webflow isn’t for absolutely everybody. If you find yourself overwhelmed by Adobe products like InDesign and Photoshop, or if your interest is in simply creating a static site for yourself or your small business in as little time as possible, you may want to look to website builders of the Wix/Weebly/Squarespace variety.

However, I couldn’t help but be impressed with Webflow. Its potent combination of web designer-friendly site creation tools and advanced CMS features makes it an attractive option for bloggers, designers, and businesses alike. What features Webflow lacks, such as eCommerce, can be manually added with a bit of know-how. Essentially, what you get here is a website builder capable of the sophistication and utility of Webydo, but with affordable plans (comparable to those offered by much less sophisticated DIY builders). It’s a killer combination, and Webflow looks well-positioned to continue expanding on into the future. Four and a half stars.

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can't eat raisins.
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