This is the article I wish existed when I first heard about Webflow. By the end of this Webflow review, you will know if Webflow is right for you or not. It’s taken me four years of experience with the platform to write down everything I know about it in this article.
On a windy night in 2017, three cups of coffee deep, I found myself banging my head trying to figure out how I could create a custom website using HTML and CSS.
Website templates weren't cutting it for me, and I wanted to build a fully custom website — without having to learn how to code.
After a few Google searches, I came across Webflow for the first time. Excited, I signed up.
But soon after, I realized this wasn’t your regular site builder. Flustered with the learning curve, I gave up.
It wouldn't be until almost a year later, when I was working at a marketing agency, that I would find our creative director building our clients’ websites with Webflow. Her enthusiasm about the platform intrigued me, and I decided I should give Webflow another chance.
This time, I would attempt to transfer this very website you’re currently on from WordPress to Webflow and see what would happen. Four years later, I haven’t looked back since.
I actually fell so hard for the platform that I ended up working on the marketing team at Webflow for several years, but that’s a story for another time.
However, I am fully aware that Webflow may not be for everyone.
So, in this post, I’ll give a comprehensive (and juicy) review of what Webflow really is, the direction the company is headed, if it's actually right for you, and what it’s like to build websites with this platform.
I’ll also go over my complicated relationship with the platform and the true reason as to why I decided to give it another shot.
This might be a bit different than the regular Webflow review you read online. Mainly because I had the chance to work internally at Webflow, so I may have a different perspective than your typical website review blogger.
If you're honestly serious about learning more about Webflow, I encourage you to read this article to the end. Yes, it's very long. But I spent days putting it together so I could leave no stone unturned. It's the article I wish existed when I first learned about Webflow.
Here are some things we'll go over in this article, it’s a lot:
- What is Webflow?
- Is Webflow actually good?
- Is Webflow good for web developers?
- Is Webflow good for web designers?
- Is Webflow good for SEO and marketing?
- 6 different types of websites you can build in Webflow
- How it works: The Webflow ecosystem explained
- The Webflow product feature set
- All the Webflow resources
- How much does Webflow actually cost?
- Workspace vs site plans
- Who should use Webflow? Is Webflow right for you?
- Is Webflow hard to use?
- How to learn Webflow quickly
Are you ready, kids? Aye Aye Captain!
What is Webflow?
Webflow is a visual web development platform that allows designers to build fully custom, professional websites in a Photoshop-like interface — without needing to know how to code.
If I were to explain it in plain English, imagine if Photoshop and WordPress got frisky and had a baby — that’s Webflow. You get the design freedom of a platform like Photoshop, with the CMS and website capabilities of a platform like WordPress.
While it may look like Webflow came out of nowhere in the past decade, the CEO, Vlad Magdalin, originally had the idea back in the early 2000s. He had attempted to start the company multiple times while raising a family and working a day job.
But it wouldn’t be until 2013, where Vlad would partner with two others and the three co-founders would apply to Y Combinator to get their first round of investment. A pretty impressive and inspiring feat.
Sure, there were platforms like Adobe Dreamweaver or Muse, but none of them came close to the flexibility and clean W3C compliant, semantic code that Webflow offered.
For the first couple years, the Webflow product was just the Designer (we’ll get to that later). It wasn’t until 2015, where the Webflow CMS would launch. This became a game changer.
With the addition of a CMS (content management system), you could now design with real data in Webflow — no more creating only simple web pages. You could now create a blog, directory website, or any site that required dynamic content.
Here's their video ad for Webflow CMS from 2015:
Fast forward to today, and Webflow is the leading no-code builder with a multi-billion-dollar valuation — equipped with ecommerce functionality, logic, and user memberships.
Webflow is on its way to becoming a platform where you can create software without knowing how to code. Right now, you can literally rebuild web apps like Airbnb in Webflow.
Unicorn Factory, a freelance marketplace, is currently built entirely with Webflow, so that should say something to the power of this platform.
Is Webflow actually good?
Yes, Webflow is one of the best tools on the market for designing and building fully custom, dynamic websites in a drag and drop interface.
The great thing about Webflow, and what sets it apart from most website and landing page builders, is that it’s a community-led platform.
From the start, Webflow has listened to its customers and added features to the platform that came straight from their wishlist.
The Webflow Showcase (more on that later) is also full of web designers creating different Webflow components. In the showcase, you can find different design assets that you can clone and use in your own projects.
Webflow has one of the strongest communities out of any software company out there, making it easy to find a plethora of website templates, UI kits, and resources on how to use the platform for different use cases.
On top of that, many big name companies have started using Webflow — Upwork, Discord, Metamask (over 12M visitors/month), Adobe, Michael Kors, and Chipotle just to name a few.
It’s safe to say that Webflow is trusted by some pretty big websites.
Towards the end of this post, I’ll mention what resources you can use to learn Webflow as fast as possible, and I’ll give my little secret on how I personally learned how to use Webflow in just one weekend.
Is Webflow good for web developers?
Webflow is great for web developers because if you already know how to code, you can build much faster. It’s a lot quicker to use a drag and drop interface than coding the same design by hand, regardless of if you know how to code or not. You can also avoid potential bugs in your code caused by human error.
Many front-end web developers that use Webflow use it for its speed of production, its ability to easily integrate with custom code (and other tools), and how accessible the website code is.
You can also easily export the code that Webflow generates to use elsewhere if you’d like.
Is Webflow good for web designers?
Webflow is made for the web designer. It’s currently the best tool on the market for designers that want to build fully functional, custom websites.
Webflow gives a familiar interface like Photoshop or Figma, making it easy for designers to quickly get their way around the tool.
So if you don’t know things like the box model or how web pages are fundamentally built on the web, there will be a learning curve (we’ll dive a bit deeper into this later).
If you are more technical, then you’ll be able to pick up Webflow in just a few hours (or less).
Is Webflow good for SEO and marketing?
Webflow is great for marketers because it allows you to create custom landing pages at scale, all while having full control over SEO settings.
Webflow SEO is shockingly powerful. As someone who used to be a WordPress fan for SEO (search engine optimization) reasons, I was quite skeptical about other web builders that advertise themselves as being SEO-friendly. However, after I migrated this website from WordPress to Webflow, I actually saw a boost in rankings. Other websites have seen similar boosts as well.
During my time at Webflow, I was actually leading SEO initiatives internally. The Webflow website was (and still is) built entirely on Webflow, so it was a great way for me to see how powerful the platform really was.
With a team of talented writers and editors, we were able to grow SEO traffic to the Webflow Blog from 25,000 visitors/month to over 250,000 visitors/month — so that should say something to how Google views this platform.
And between me and you, Google’s own growth fund, CapitalG, is an investor in Webflow (and an investor in companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Snapchat, Robinhood, Lyft, and more). So Google is very much aware of the premium status that Webflow websites bring.
If you want to know how Webflow can be used for marketing teams and SEOs, I recommend checking out a couple of Webflow’s blog posts. This post goes over how marketing teams can utilize Webflow for their marketing campaigns, and this post goes over all the SEO features of Webflow (written by yours truly).
There are also tons of built-in SEO tools that allow you to edit your sitemap, add schema markup, and edit meta data on any page on your Webflow site.
6 different types of sites you can build with Webflow
With Webflow, you can build almost any site you can think of. From online stores to personal portfolio websites, you can do it all in one place.
Here are a few (but not limited to) different types of websites you can build with Webflow:
SaaS and business websites
This is probably the most popular type of Webflow website out there. Some of the best SaaS websites such Jasper (formerly Jarvis), Pipe, and Ramp are using Webflow to power their entire SaaS content marketing operation.
If you want to check out more Webflow business websites you can view them in the showcase here.
Media and blog websites
Webflow’s CMS (content management system) allows you to build media sites that can scale and are loved by Google. With flexible content management tools, it’s pretty easy to build robust blogs and niche media sites.
Living Cozy is a Webflow media website in the furniture niche that gets over 150,000 visitors a month just from Google SEO alone.
Even this website, Marketer Milk, is a curation website that is built with Webflow. The homepage updates every weekday with fresh marketing news, resources, and guides.
Shameless plug: If you want to become a better marketer, consider subscribing to our weekly newsletter. Every week, we send you the best marketing content curated from around the web.
If you want to check out more Webflow blog websites you can view them in the showcase here.
Webflow Ecommerce can be very powerful. But it can also be very complex because of its powerfulness (is that even a word?).
If you’re a mom-and-pop shop looking to quickly build an ecommerce website with minimal backend management, you’re probably better off using Shopify (at the moment).
Webflow Ecommerce is a viable option for sites that need totally custom solutions. From design, to shipping logistics. Unlike Shopify that gives you a full backend, Webflow Ecommerce backend is pretty barebones and requires you to integrate with third-party tools like Shippo or Shipstation.
For some large ecommerce stores (think hims, Curology, or Depop) this is a good thing, but for smaller businesses this can be a hassle. It all depends on your use case.
It’s also possible to use both Webflow and Shopify at the same time. Check out Udesly for more.
Where Webflow Ecommerce currently shines is with digital products. Here’s an example of a digital goods ecommerce store made in Webflow.
If you want to check out more Webflow Ecommerce websites you can view them in the showcase here.
Membership and marketplace websites
Webflow recently announced that it is bringing logic and memberships to their platform. This means that you can create complex websites with gated membership access.
Whether you’re creating a marketplace, an online course, digital product website, or a Substack-like newsletter, you’ll be able to do it all in Webflow.
Prior to Webflow announcing the ability to use logic and memberships, you could use platforms like Zapier (for logic) and Memeberstack (for memberships). Many websites still have this setup.
In fact, many Webflow websites that are essentially web apps currently run via Webflow (the main platform), Zapier (logic), Airtable (database), and Memeberstack (user logins).
But pretty soon, all you’ll need is Webflow.
If you want to check out more Webflow membership websites you can view them in the showcase here.
Portfolio and personal websites
There are two very popular website types that are built in Webflow — business websites and portfolios.
Portfolios in Webflow are so popular that Webflow University released a very popular course on the subject (that’s a lot of popular).
There are some amazing web design and photography portfolios built with Webflow. In fact, many of them have won awards on the web design website Awwwards — a reputable website award site (that's a lot of awa... never mind).
If you want to check out more Webflow portfolio websites you can view them in the showcase here.
You might think that landing pages aren’t a “type of website.” But I decided to make this its own section because Webflow is a very impressive tool for building landing pages at scale.
With Webflow CMS, you can create a landing page design system (think template) that you can reuse over and over again.
This is very powerful if you need to create landing pages for different product use case, category, or audience pages. Whether you need landing pages for ad campaigns or to capture more keywords for organic search, building landing pages in Webflow is quite underrated.
There's a really interesting article on the Webflow Blog on how Upwork uses Webflow CMS to build incredible landing page experiences. I highly recommend checking out.
If you want to check out more Webflow landing pages you can view them in the showcase here.
How it works: The Webflow ecosystem explained
Webflow is really big. It can be hard to know everything that the platform, and company, has to offer.
Here, I’ll break down everything you need to know about Webflow as a whole, from product features to resources created by the company and community.
Webflow product feature set
At its core, Webflow is an extremely robust and flexible website builder. There are different parts to the platform, shipped at different points in time, that allow users to build really complex websites.
The Webflow Designer is at Webflow’s core. The Designer refers to the interface in which you build and design responsive websites in Webflow — it is your canvas.
In the Designer, you have access to your elements panel, symbols (pre-built layouts), navigator, ecommerce, CMS settings, and style panel.
The Designer lets you drag and drop HTML elements onto the canvas. From there, you can view your elements in the navigator (on the left side of the Designer).
Once you have your elements on the canvas, you use the style panel on the right to style using CSS.
The Designer is basically where all the website designing happens. I'll dive a bit deeper into this when we get to the "how to learn Webflow quickly" section.
The Webflow CMS is where all of your content and data is stored. If the Designer is your physical body, your content management system (CMS) is your brain.
Here you can write, edit, and update content to your site. You can also use the CMS to create different content structures, whether you need blog posts, author pages/bios, cooking recipes, directory pages, landing pages, and more.
Whatever you create in the CMS, you can bind to your designs in the Designer.
So if you’re designing a blog post page in the Designer, you can link your CMS collections list called "blog posts" to your design. That way, when you publish a blog post in the CMS, it populates in the article page design you made in the Designer.
To make it a bit clearer, take this page you are currently on. This is a CMS template page I created in the Webflow Designer — specifically made for blog posts. I only created this article template one time and then told Webflow that for every blog post I add to the CMS, have the blog post populate inside of this CMS template page.
You can access the CMS straight inside of the Designer, or you can use the Webflow Editor (which is just a more user-friendly way of editing content for different team members, like marketers and content editors, that aren’t actually designing a website in Webflow).
Webflow Ecommerce is what you use to create, you guessed it, ecommerce websites.
There’s not much to say here besides that Webflow Ecommerce is a very flexible tool for creating totally custom ecommerce solutions. You still design everything as you normally would any other website, in the Designer.
The only thing that changes is that you need to specifically be on an ecommerce plan that gives you access to product listings, inventory, and orders. We'll talk about pricing plans later.
If a platform like Shopify is the whole car, Webflow Ecommerce is kinda like the car frame + engine. You have mostly everything you need to drive the car with Webflow Ecommerce, but you’ll need to pair it up with third-party tools to get it really going.
For larger ecommerce brands that don’t use Shopify, this can be a plus. Because they can most likely continue to use their own custom fulfillment and shipping logistics, but now have the freedom to create a totally custom site tailored to their brand — from product page to checkout page.
For smaller websites, or dropshipping stores, you might want to stick with Shopify. Although, if you are dropshipping with Printful, you can use Webflow — there is an integration specifically made for this use case.
At the time of writing this review, Logic is not currently available to the public. But, it is coming out in 2022. Logic will allow users to create more custom workflows inside of Webflow.
Say you have a job board website built in Webflow. When someone posts a job, Logic will then take that submission and turn it into an actual job listing on your site — without you needing to manually do it. Of course, you can set rules and customize things to fit the exact workflow you need.
You can actually do this right now with tools like Zapier or Integromat, but pretty soon you won’t need those third-party tools.
In fact, I use Zapier for this website specifically for creating logic on the site. For example, when you submit a resource to Marketer Milk, that submission is sent to a database via Zapier. So, Logic will be a huge improvement to how people build in Webflow.
This is one step closer to building full web applications using just Webflow.
Webflow Memberships is another feature that, at the time of writing this, is currently in private beta. It should be available to the public this year, 2022.
With Memberships, you will be able to create user logins on your Webflow site. This will allow you to create gated content and specific pages to your website that are only accessible to those who sign up and are logged in to your website.
Just like with Logic, you can currently do this via a third-party tool like Memberstack. But pretty soon, you will be able to do it all in Webflow.
I guess creating software without knowing how to code may not be that far away after all.
And last but not least, to put everything together, we have Webflow Hosting.
Webflow Hosting is Webflow’s own web hosting service. In fact, Webflow Hosting was a big reason why I ended up migrating to Webflow as my website building platform of choice.
Built on Amazon Web Services, Webflow Hosting is used and trusted by some of the biggest websites out there. You don’t have to deal with admin dashboards, FTP’s, cPanel’s, or complex domain setups.
But the biggest selling points for me personally are the speed, traffic scalability, free SSL, and enterprise-grade security.
Just knowing that a website like Metamask, that gets over 12 million visitors a month, is hosted on Webflow makes me confident knowing I won't run into any bandwidth issues.
Here are a handful of different resources that are produced by Webflow and the community:
Webflow University is a completely free resource for learning how to build websites in Webflow. There are amazing Webflow University reviews as it's also a great place to learn about web design in general.
They have courses ranging from Webflow tutorials, freelancing tutorials, and the basics of web design.
Webflow TV is Webflow’s curation platform that brings together all content related to Webflow and web design in one place.
The content on Webflow TV is a combination of videos created by the community and fans on YouTube. It also houses a docu-series produced by Webflow called Generation No-Code.
The Webflow Template Marketplace is your go to place for premium Webflow website templates. All of the templates in the marketplace are designed by professional Webflow developers, and each template goes through a rigorous quality review process before it is distributed on the marketplace.
The great thing about Webflow is that every website is totally customizable. So that means even website templates are fully customizable. If you don’t like a certain aspect of the template, you can easily change it up yourself.
You can even copy and paste elements from other templates to mix and match and create something totally new. I've complied a list of what I personally believe are the best Webflow templates right now.
The Webflow Showcase is full of user generated content and Webflow assets. Designers building in Webflow can showcase their projects in the showcase, allowing others to use their projects or find inspiration.
You can find tons of "cloneable" projects in the showcase. Some designers decide to give back to the community by submitting a wide variety of UI kits and templates for other Webflow designers to use for free.
If you need to find a certain section to a website, such as a social media feed, contact page, or cool button animation, chances are there are a few cloneable projects you can copy and paste into your own Webflow website.
Sometimes you'll even find some people straight up post complete website templates for others to clone for free.
However, unlike the template marketplace, anyone can post to the Webflow Showcase — with no official quality control. So you’ll want to double check the quality of design for some cloneable projects.
If you don’t have the time, or expertise, to create your own Webflow website, you can have a Webflow expert do it for you.
Webflow Experts is a great way to find freelance Webflow designers ready to build you the exact Webflow website you’re looking for. Just like the template marketplace, every designer on Webflow Experts goes through an application process that is reviewed by an internal team at Webflow.
The Webflow Forum is a great place to find answers to very specific questions about Webflow. You’ll most likely come across the forum when you’re deep in a Webflow project build and you get stuck on something and end up Googling it.
When I personally started learning how to use Webflow, the forum was a great place to find solutions to specific problems I had, especially around adding custom code to my projects.
If you have any questions that you cannot find already answered, you can simply ask them in the Forum and someone from the community, or customer support, should respond.
The Webflow Blog is a blog about responsive web design, Webflow, and all things web design inspiration.
Webflow posts a lot to their blog. If you need to find resources for inspiration, it’s on the blog. If you need to find company news, it’s on the blog. If you need Webflow tutorials, it’s on the blog. You get the point.
Webflow Updates is where you can find updates on any new features that are released to the Webflow platform.
From product releases, improvements, and bug fixes — it's all on Webflow Updates.
Webflow Wishlist is a place you can go to request certain features for Webflow.
Historically, Webflow has used the wishlist as a way to gauge demand for new feature releases.
For example, the top request on the wishlist has been about bringing user memberships to Webflow, and now that feature is in beta!
If you want to see what features others have requested, or there’s one you want to request, be sure to check out the wishlist.
Webflow Customer Stories
If you want to see how other companies have used Webflow, customer stories is a great place to look.
There are a handful of case studies on the Webflow Blog as well, but the customer stories page is where you’ll find more official information.
And last but not least, Webflow Community. Webflow Community is a great place to get involved with all things Webflow. Here you can subscribe to the Webflow Newsletter and be updated for when different Webflow events are happening.
If you want to stay in the know for all things Webflow, this is a great resource to check out.
Webflow also has a pretty active social media presence, whether it's on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn. If you want to stay the most up to date about anything Webflow related, I'd recommend following at least one of their social media accounts. Twitter will most likely be the best one IMO.
How much does Webflow actually cost?
Webflow offers many different pricing tiers. For some, Webflow pricing can seem a bit confusing. Hopefully I can break it down in simple terms.
You can think of Webflow as having two different paid plans — workspace (formerly known as account) plans and site plans. However, you need both of them to make it work.
I’m going to explain the difference between each plan, and what they do below. But if you’re more of a video person, this is a great resource to check out:
You can think of an workspace plan as your main plan for your Webflow account.
When you first sign up for Webflow, you are essentially creating one of these plans for yourself.
This plan houses all of your Webflow projects/websites. (I use the term "websites" and "projects" interchangeably. They are the same thing.) It will make more sense when you have multiple Webflow websites, but this plan is important because it’s what determines how many websites you can have linked to one Webflow account.
For example, you could have a personal website, your side business website, a website you're working on for a client, and a bunch of templates or websites you cloned from the Webflow Showcase all under one email/account — your Webflow account plan.
When you first create a free Webflow workspace, you are automatically subscribed to the Starter account plan. This is a free plan that allows you to have two projects linked to your account.
If you need more projects, you’ll need to upgrade to a Lite plan (up to 10 projects), or a Pro plan (unlimited projects).
Pricing for these account plans are as follows:
- Starter: Free plan that gives you up to two websites
- Lite: $24/month ($16 paid annually) plan that gives you up to 10 websites
- Pro: $42/month ($35 paid annually) plan that gives you unlimited websites
So to recap, you are limited to two website’s on a free account plan. If you want to have more than two websites/projects then you will have to upgrade to either a Lite or Pro plan.
And remember, this account plan is ONLY for the number of projects you have linked to your account. It has nothing to do with how you use those projects. That is where the individual site plan comes into play.
Individual site plans are hosting plans for each individual website/project you have. By default, when you create your first Webflow website, you have both a free account plan and a free site plan (on your new website).
The free site plan allows you to build a two-page website in Webflow and publish your website to the internet using a “.webflow.io” subdomain.
If you want to use a custom domain, have more than two-pages on your site, or even use the CMS to create a blog, you need to upgrade your website to a paid site plan — essentially a web hosting plan.
Pricing for site plans are as follows:
- Free: Gives you a free two-page website on a webflow.io subdomain
- Basic: $15/month ($12 paid annual) for simple websites that don’t need a CMS
- CMS (most popular): $20/month ($16 paid annually) best for regular websites with blogs
- Business: $45/month ($36 paid annually) for larger, high trafficked websites and media blogs
- Enterprise: Custom solution that will require you to contact sales at Webflow
Each project/website needs its own site plan. With the account plan, you only need one account plan. But if you have multiple websites under one account, you need multiple site plans (one site plan for each individual website).
Chances are, you’ll probably need a CMS plan if you plan on creating your typical website with a blog. The CMS plan will also give you access to a handful of other Webflow features like site search, not included with the Basic plan.
There are also separate Ecommerce plans that are treated just like site plans. These will run you a little more in price compared to standard site plans.
So to recap, an account plan is a plan for all of your websites/projects, and a site plan is web hosting for each individual website/project.
Who should use Webflow? Is Webflow right for you?
Professional web designers or creators looking to build fully custom websites, while eliminating the need to become well versed in programming, should consider using Webflow.
If you’re a freelance web designer, web developer, or agency, Webflow can seriously be a game changer for you.
I’ve seen freelancers and web design agencies make multiple six and seven figures just from providing Webflow development services. This space is growing really fast, and I see the growth continuing to rise for the next few years.
If I could compare it to anything, Webflow today is like what Shopify was back in 2015. If that doesn’t get you excited about this platform then I don't know what will.
But besides just Webflow being for web designers and web developers, it’s actually a very powerful tool for marketers. It’s really easy to tailor things to your brand, ship new pages on your site quickly, and optimize for conversions and SEO.
It's pretty much your typical WordPress website replacement.
And yes, I am fully aware I’ve been sounding biased in this article. Webflow did not pay me to write this article. But I talk a lot of good because I have faith in Webflow. I've seen its power, and I've seen so many mind-boggling websites being built with it.
But, in an effort to not be so biased, I’m about to tell you who shouldn’t use Webflow.
The biased version of me wants to say that no matter how small the project is, just start it in Webflow. This way you’ll learn the platform sooner than later, and you won’t have to worry about going through the battle of migrating over from a different platform in the future.
The unbiased version of me would say that if you are thinking about starting a simple website, maybe just a couple pages or just one landing page, then go with something cheaper like Carrd. Once you decide to fully commit to growing your website, switch to Webflow.
I only say this because the difficult thing about Webflow for some, besides the learning curve, would have to be its price.
If you’re in a country that uses the US dollar, or who’s currency has a similar value to USD, Webflow’s pricing model is actually quite good for the value you get — an interface that lets you create a fully custom website, an amazing CMS, and web hosting that is pretty outstanding.
BUT, if you live in a country where the currency is valued a lot less than the US dollar, Webflow’s pricing can seem a bit inaccessible
I’m sure Webflow is aware of this, and there may be changes made to the pricing structure for different countries in the future. But until then, Webflow can be a bit expensive if your country's currency is not in USD (or of equivalent value).
In that case, I would look for alternative ways to get a website up and running. But, depending on your situation, I know Webflow has a few different discounts for students and startups. So, you can possibly leverage those.
Is Webflow hard to use?
The thing to remember is that Webflow is a professional web development tool. It’s not going to be as easy as creating a website with Wix or Squarespace. But that small sacrifice in ease of use is rewarded with the ability to have total design freedom.
The key word to remember here is “professional.” Webflow is a professional tool just like how Photoshop is a professional photo editing tool.
Webflow is to Photoshop, as Canva is to Squarespace — if that makes any sense.
As mentioned earlier in this post, I’ve had a pretty complicated relationship with Webflow. I first signed up for the platform with the intention to create a custom website that I could possibly export the code from. And yes, Webflow is the tool that can let you do that.
But my expectations for how quickly I could learn the platform were totally off.
To be totally honest, I decided to try Webflow after almost a year of giving up on it because I secretly wanted to be a really good web designer. I wanted a creative outlet.
I’m not at pro web designer status yet, but I have gotten substantially better — I made this entire website from scratch in Webflow. There are parts of it I'd like to make better, but I'm too lazy right now. Maybe I'll get to it when I have a sudden burst of motivation that seems to come out of nowhere, and never when I need it most.
But seriously, after I saw our creative director at the agency I was working at use Webflow with such ease, I knew that I could eventually get to that point (#GrowthMindset). I just had to be patient and actually want to learn.
In hindsight, I gave up on Webflow at first simply due to the fact that I had no idea how websites actually work. I was very impatient and had a “duct tape it together” mentality instead of doing things right — as many of us have. Shortly after I gave up, I built a WordPress site that I felt lackluster about.
If I could go back, I would have slapped myself for giving up too early.
The other thing was that, at the time, Webflow University wasn't what it is today. And all the content I was consuming online around how to create a website told me that WordPress was the only way to go. But now I realize all those blogs saying to use WordPress simply do so because of all the high-paying web hosting affiliate programs out there (don’t @ me).
That's why, while at Webflow, I made the Webflow homepage rank on the first page of Google for the search term "how to create a custom website" — to bring more visibility to this platform.
Because it’s human nature to be skeptical about new technologies that challenge the status quo, especially ones that claim they can do a better job than the current industry standard tools.
But I guess all industry standard tools go through this process.
They aren’t industry standard until they become industry standard.
It can take years, even decades, for really good products to become “mainstream.” Look at Apple, for example.
When it comes to product adoption, you’ll first have the innovators (Webflow users in 2013), followed by the early adopters, the early majority, and so on.
If we look at the graph above, I would say Webflow is just now entering the early majority phase. So if you think that Webflow might be the platform for your specific use case, I highly recommend learning it sooner than later.
That way you can tell all your friends that you knew about Webflow before it blew up. Just like that indie artist you followed when they had less than 10k followers on Instagram, but is now "mainstream."
And with that…
How to learn Webflow quickly
I’m not going to sugar coat it, if you’re not that technical, there will be a steep learning curve to Webflow.
However, I seriously think it's mostly a shift in mindset that needs to occur to really get to that “aha-moment” with the platform as quick as possible.
Failing to reach that aha-moment is why many give up. It's why I gave up.
So, the way to understand Webflow quickly is to come into the platform with the mindset that you’re designing with real HTML and CSS.
You are coding. But instead of writing the code by hand, you are dragging around elements onto a canvas, and Webflow is writing the code in the background.
HTML is the text and different elements you see on a web page. CSS is how HTML is styled. For example, a button is an HTML element. But the color and shape of that button is CSS. The text you are currently reading is HTML, but the font of this text is styled using CSS (Cascading Style Sheets).
The words are HTML. The font is CSS.
In the Webflow Designer, you drag in HTML elements from the left elements panel, and style them using the CSS settings on the right panel.
This means that you need to establish an understanding of how HTML elements are supposed to be placed on a web page.
And once you understand that, you need to understand the best practices for how you should style those HTML elements with CSS.
Here are some great resources you can use to get started:
- Webflow University: Webflow 101 crash course
- Flux Academy: Learn Webflow in 16 minutes
- Timothy Ricks: Intro to Webflow for beginners
Honestly, my favorite would be to start with the Flux Academy link if you’re pressed on time.
If you have more time on your hands, Timothy Ricks has some of the best content about Webflow.
If you don't want to watch a video, I wrote a blog post on the Webflow Blog giving you a basic tutorial on how to create a homepage in Webflow. It should give you a good idea of how to place HTML elements on a page and how to style them with CSS. You can check it out here.
However, the best way I found to learn Webflow is to build a project you have in mind that you want to build. If you get stuck, simply Google search your problems and the right forum post or resource will pop up to help you.
If you don’t have a specific project in mind, you can follow my secret way to learn fast.
You only truly learn through experience. The way I learned Webflow in just one weekend was to simply rebuild a template from scratch. On my laptop, I would have a blank Webflow canvas open. On my external monitor, I would open a free Webflow template, like Fitnesso, in preview mode.
From there, I would try to recreate a 1:1 version of the template. When I got stuck, I would look at the template (that was in preview mode) and see how the elements were placed, how the classes were named, and how they were styled.
“Did the template use Flexbox or Grid? Did they put a container inside of a section? Did they put this image inside of a div? Did they use padding or margin?” All of these questions would be answered by looking at templates in preview mode.
However, above all, come in with the mindset that it may take you some time to fully understand everything. Don’t get frustrated. I know, easier said than done.
But, I promise once you learn how to use Webflow, you’ll be so glad you tried. Ironically enough, you might even learn how to code by accident along the way.
If I were to relearn Webflow all over again, I would probably follow a process like this (in order):
- Watch a couple YouTube videos on how to build in Webflow (and possibly try to follow along)
- Attempt to rebuild a template (or parts of a template) using the 1:1 strategy
- Build a project you have in mind (like a portfolio or side hustle) and as you get stuck, Google for solutions or look at a template in preview mode
Hope that helps!
If you made it this far into the article, I am forever grateful.
I hope this review of Webflow gave you a better understanding of what Webflow really is.
This is a very powerful and complex tool, definitely one of the more robust and best website builders out there. It’s honestly like the Apple of website builders (can’t believe I just said that).
As someone who got a chance to see what goes on internally, I can tell you that Webflow is here to stay, and dare I say, take over. It will only be a matter of time before it becomes a household name like WordPress, and every blogger and their dog starts talking about it.
And if you’re wondering why I left Webflow, it had nothing to do with the company or product. As you can see I am still very much in love with the product, and working at Webflow was my dream job.
But I came to realize that creating useful stuff is what makes me the most happy. I want to be a Webflow customer and make cool websites.
It’s like working at YouTube, but deep down you actually want to be a YouTuber, if that makes any sense. Sure you can do both. But it’s pretty intense if I’m being honest. For example, I wouldn’t have the mental capacity to write a review like this had I been working another job. I know a lot of people that can do it, but I can’t.
I also really love marketing. And it’s why I created this website — to help make valuable marketing information more discoverable. If you want to learn more about marketing, it would be awesome if you subscribed to our newsletter — it’s totally free.
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