February 4, 2020
There are a lot of tools out there for building websites. At Foreword, we’ve been using Webflow and love it.
So... what is Webflow? Webflow is a website builder sort of like Squarespace, Wix, or even Wordpress in some ways. It’s a WYSIWYG (visual interface) that allows users to build custom websites without having to type up front end code. It requires a bit more HTML/CSS knowledge than using one of those other tools would, but in turn allows for much more customization.
We've been using Webflow for over a year now as our main website building/delivery tool. There are a lot of reasons why we love it - here are a few of them!
- It’s fast. Webflow allows us to quickly and effectively build a quality, custom site. We can usually pull things together a lot quicker than writing up code from scratch - especially when it comes to animations!
- It’s quality. Speed doesn't have to be a trade-off for quality here. There's some intentionality required while building to ensure you're still structuring sites well, but we're generally impressed with the code output of these sites and love that we can export the code too.
- The CMS. We've been really pleased with the flexibility of Webflow's content management system (CMS). The interface itself is easy to navigate, and it's straightforward to structure content however is needed. We particularly love the ability to create relationships between data types.
- Ease of use for our clients. Webflow's content editor is fairly straightforward and easy to use. We've had very few issues with clients not being able to update their content sucessfully. We can usually provide them with a basic walkthrough and they're good to go!
- Security. Most of this pertains to sites that are actually hosted with Webflow (which we usually do.) SSL certificates are included with every site. Webflow is using AWS servers. And we don't have to worry about near the same amount of vulnerabilities that we would with Wordpress, trying keep with updating plugins and whatnot.
- SEO. Out of the box, Webflow has a lot going for it here. Some of the things that have already been mentioned- semantic code, SSL certificate - help out with SEO. Besides that, it's easy to set up any necessary 301 redirects, customize an XML sitemap, and add alt tags.
- The community. The Webflow community is growing, but isn't as massive yet as the Wordpress community for example. But - there is a loyal, active group that is regularly engaging with others and helping troubleshoot issues. Instead of turning to Stack Overflow, there's a Facebook group of over 6,000 Webflow designers/developers that we're regularly following and engaging with.
Webflow isn’t going to be the perfect tool for every project or every team - it has its downsides too. But for the types of websites our shop builds and the talents of our team, Webflow is our absolute favorite.
(P.S. Webflow didn't ask us to write this and they aren't giving us anything for it. We just really love them, and think others might benefit!)