by leopoldo pirela

What I wish I knew before I jumped into WebFlow

It has been two years since I first signed up for Webflow and gave this incredible platform a try to build a website. Today, I am using it for developing websites of all kinds, rapid prototyping and even user testing for web and mobile apps.

I knew Webflow existed for quite some time now, but I never knew it had the capabilities that it actually has. Maybe it was poor marketing or messaging, but I thought it was a drag and drop that designers used to create their portfolios. I can imagine, many of you also thought this at first.

As I began to work on Webflow, and developed websites for agencies, newsletter templates for Mail-chimp and even features, that in Wordpress will just be too difficult, I think I have been able to experience the strength and benefit of this platform.

So here is what I wished I knew about Webflow before I got started.

It is a not a drag-and-drop platform

Webflow is not the basic page builder like the ones found on many Wordpress themes. I have learned that it is more like a blank canvas, that allows you to customize every aspect of your website with your own codes, classes, and styles.

And even though some people may use it as a drag-and-drop, those who understand the importance of a clear website structure will use it to create their own. It has features that allow you to drag and drop elements such as a slider, but if you look at the codes generated, you will see how clean they are.

They have templates that you can purchase for $75+, but what makes them different from Wordpress templates, is that you can re-create everything in them to suit your needs. But most likely if you are a website designer, or have a designer working with you, you will not need to buy a template, as you can build the exact design into Webflow

You can build any type of website with it

If we fast forward to present day, I have a saying that goes like this 'If I can design it in Adobe XD, I can build it with Webflow.'

See, when I first heard about Webflow I thought it was for designers only. I thought only portfolios or small websites can be built with it. But the reality is that with so many tools and support, if you can design it, you can build it.

Having worked with Resorts and Agencies websites, there is nothing that limits what can be built. Well, except a few limits such as code character limits, that can easily be hosted elsewhere and called to your website with a few lines of code.

So, if there is a website or web application you had in mind, you can definitely build it with Webflow. And you can take it even further, if you have your own development team and a host provider, you can export the codes and integrate them with your own back-end to have a complete experience.

SEO is not a problem AT ALL

In many of the Webflow and Web development groups on social media, everyone says that SEO is bad with Webflow. Some even argue that the reason behind it is because Webflow doesn't support plugins like Yoast and Rank Math.

However; these plugins do not rank your website. They just simply help you understand what is happening on your website, so you can fix it and then rank better.

What I have found with Webflow is that it actually is better for SEO. Here is why:

  • Since it is your own code and structure, you can control it better.
  • All the technical elements of SEO, can easily be done in the Webflow's dashboard.
  • Schema markup can be added without an issue, and you can even go further and add it to sections of your website, because you have access to every code on your website.
  • Because their hosting is so powerful, your website's speed will be amazing. And as you know speed is part of what makes a website rank.
  • If you export your codes, you can even take it further and do more enhancements.
  • Creating Sitemaps and redirects is as easy as it can be.

So with that being said, the SEO myth is out of the picture once you keep your structure and the technical SEO aspects in place.

It saves many hours of my time

I have been developing websites on Wordpress since 2011, and found that maintenance and trying to figure out plugins has always been time consuming.

I would prefer not to have to worry about this, or the security issues as well. But with Wordpress, it is a bit difficult as we always have to be making sure everything is up-to-date and all the plugins and elements of the website are working properly.

And let's not talk about the number of spam and login attempts.

With Webflow, I have been able to spend more time building websites, instead of time updating plugins, themes, or fixing anything else that randomly goes wrong. See, I love Wordpress as well, but as a designer and a creative business owner I do look for solutions to make my lives and customers lives much easier.

The CMS... This is game changing

The CMS just changes everything.

See, in Wordpress you have to code the CMS options you want to create. Except those options like blog posts, will most likely be built in.

But let's say you want to add a CMS for team members or testimonials. Well, you either have to look for a plugin, or build the CMS option with PHP.

With Webflow, this is part of the past. In this platform you can fully create all your CMS items, and list them on your website with your own design style. So if you can imagine it, you can create it in a lot less time.

Today, I can probably go for hours talking about Webflow. To be honest, when I first heard about it, I was quite confused about what it was. And their messaging and marketing was mainly aimed at designers; it felt as though it wasn't the right direction for the websites I have built.

Today, it is one of the platforms I strongly recommend for every project. And I love working on it, trying to figure out how other designers and creatives made their websites.

The only downfall I have seen with it is the hosting part of it, which many of my clients and people who reach out to me find extremely confusing and weird that they cannot have access to emails or a cPanel. But, you can always export your files and use them in your very own hosting account. The only issue with this is that you cannot export your CMS content, and this makes perfect sense as that content is stored in a database.

What were your thoughts about Webflow when you got started, compared to now? I'd love to hear it, drop your answers in the comments section.

If you want to learn more about Webflow and build fully customized websites with it, I strongly recommend you to check out Ran's Segall Webflow's Masterclass. You will learn everything you need to learn to get started there. Also, Webflow's university does a really great job on creating educational videos on their platform, so make sure to check it out.

That is it for today! 👋

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