Some business owners have problems with modern website builders because they all want to be the same thing. That “thing” is overly simple, often forgoing features in exchange for simplicity. While this isn’t awful, it leaves a vacuum in the world of page-building technology.
Webflow could be the answer to that vacuum.
Webflow has gained a reputation for being a popular website builder because it takes a few pages from WordPress’s book. Namely, the site builder has more customization than most. But, if you’ve read our reviews on GrooveFunnels or KickPages, you know being too means you might end up over-committing.
So, does Webflow overcommit, or is it the perfect mix of simplicity and power? Let’s find out in this review.
What is Webflow?
- Alt: Webflow home page
Webflow was founded in 2013 by Vlad Magdalin, Sergie Magdalin, and Bryant Chou. The company went through Y-Combinator’s startup accelerator, which is known for its high competition. Since its founding, the company has earned $335 in funding.
As of March 2022, the company was evaluated at $4 billion, coming on the cusp of earning $100 million in revenue. Much of this came from a demanding focus on their company values and mission. According to Forbes, new investors (during the early days) must agree to a social contract to put Webflow’s mission above its profits.
The founders also have some notable business history. Vlad Magdalin is known for creating Intuit Brainstorm (a tool for employee idea sharing). Also, Bryant Chou is the former CTO (chief technical officer) of Vungle Inc. Sergie is the one who took the most significant jump, as they were a web designer for a longboard company.
It’s important to note this because Webflow is transparent. While other website builders, like Carrd, have less proven talent behind them, Webflow doesn’t not. This transparency and focus on an overall mission give the company greater staying power.
But, more funding doesn’t always result in a better product.
Who is Webflow best for?
Webflow is good if you are a solopreneur or small business who wants to build an eCommerce or subscription-based site and is tired of other builders that do too much or too little. Webflow has a robust set of tools that make it ideal for anyone willing to learn the system.
Despite having a higher learning curve, it’s not as complicated as it looks. The most complex part about it is navigating the page builder. Given the high number of features it does have, the learning curve is higher than most.
Webflow pros & cons
- Experienced professionals run the company
- Free plan for testing out the platform
- The in-depth guide teaches you how to use the platform
- View-based page editing features are beneficial
- Builder is potent and has many customization options
- Element trigger and page trigger let you create unique design effects
- Simple to create membership sites
- eCommerce builder will help calculate your product taxes
- Tools for eCommerce are simple
- Offers automatic versioning so you can view past versions of your website
- A small handful of automatic emails to automate your eCommerce and membership site handling
- A/B testing support through Google Optimize integration
- A vast number of integrations
- The free plan isn’t usable for long-term purposes
- Limited form submissions can be frustrating
- No freeform editing
- Pricing can get expensive fast
- Navigation and use of the builder are pretty complicated
- CMS tools are convenient, especially when creating squeeze or eCommerce pages
- Need to search for pages to restrict them from membership settings
- No text editing on product description through eCommerce builder
- Lack of eCommerce templates means you need to design your pages
- Email customization features are weak
- No email marketing or automation features
Webflow pricing and plans
Webflow offers two different types of site plans. The general set of plans can help you launch sites where you don’t plan on selling products, while the other plans are for eCommerce businesses. You also have the opportunity to pay for extra workspaces, which we will cover throughout this section.
- Alt: Webflow general plans pricing comparison
There are five plans under the general offer by Webflow.
Your first option is a free plan, which is ideal for learning WebFlow. It has 1 GB of bandwidth and 50 form submissions (to keep you from getting too much use out of it). You also get 50 CMS (content management system) items, which refer to content items (image and text) you create using Webflow’s design tools. So, you can’t use it for anything too valuable, just learning the platform.
Your entry-level plan is the Basic Plan, which costs $18 per month or $168 annually. You get 500 monthly form submissions, a custom domain, and 50 GB of bandwidth. However, the basic plan does not include CMS features. So don’t expect to be able to go through advanced editing.
The CMS Plan costs $29 per month or $276 if you pay yearly. You get 2,000 CMS items, 1,000 form submissions, 200 GBs of bandwidth, and three guest editors. This level is ideal if you have a small team to run your website with.
The last plan we can provide accurate pricing on is the Business Plan, which costs $49 per month or $468 per year. It supports 10,000 CMS items, 2,500 monthly form submissions, 400 GBs of bandwidth, and ten guest editors. It’s better if you have a more complex site.
We aren’t looking into the Enterprise Plan, which is entirely custom. Of course, the more you need, the more it will cost. So expect this to be more than $500 annually if you pay upfront.
The most frustrating part of all this is the limited form submissions. This limits the use of Webflow for lead generation, making it less useful for marketers.
The other type of site plan Webflow offers is exclusively for online sellers.
eCommerce site plans
- Alt: eCommerce site pricing comparison on Webflow
Unlike the basic options, eCommerce plans don’t have a free version. Instead, they have three paid versions we will break down below.
The Standard plan for eCommerce costs $42 per month or $348 per year. It includes 500 eCommerce items, a 2% transaction fee, and support for up to $50 thousand annual sales volume. It also consists of all CMS plan features (which include 2,000 CMS items)
The Plus Plan for eCommerce costs $84 per month or $888 per year. The price jump is justified with 5,000 eCommerce items, no transaction fees, and support for sales volumes up to $200 thousand annually. It also comes with all the features of the business plan and 10 thousand CMS items.
But if your business s massive, you’ll want the Advanced Plan for eCommerce, which costs $2,544 per year and has no monthly alternative. You get 15 thousand eCommerce items, 10 thousand CMS items, unlimited sales volume, and business plan features.
Webflow also offers another set of premium plans known as their Workspace, which is helpful for collaborators.
- Alt: Workspace plans and pricing comparison on Webflow
Workspace plans are for collaborators, which might be helpful if you are setting up a team. The free starter package only has one seat and two unhosted sites. It also comes with all the other plans.
The Core Plan costs $28 monthly or $228 yearly. It gives you three seats, ten unhosted sites, custom code access, and code export abilities. The code editing features can work on one site or across multiple sites.
The Growth Plan costs $60 per month or $588 per year. It gives you nine seats, unlimited sites, and publishing permission on what team members can share from those sites.
The Enterprise plan provides custom pricing based on your needs but adds advanced security and better customer support. You can also pay for this plan if you have multiple coders working on different areas of the website simultaneously. We won’t be taking a look at this plan.
This pricing data shows that Webflow tends to be more expensive than other website builders, especially if you have a team. Thankfully, guest editors can help drive some of this cost down. However, larger groups will need to pay for a workspace plan.
Getting started with Webflow
- Alt: Screen after creating an account – getting started with Webflow
Getting started with Webflow is easy, especially if you have a Google account. You don’t even need a payment card.
The account creation process starts with a series of questions and then shows you some templates(see above). The questions seem to have no bearing on what templates appear.
You have a choice to choose between both free and premium templates. Thankfully, there is a wide range of free templates, but they are slightly less stylish than the premium ones. However, they seem to have no free pre-built templates for eCommerce businesses.
Once you pick a template, you get an overlay tutorial.
- Alt: Webflow overlay tutorial using website building tools
The tutorial gives you a good idea of how their creation tools work. The tutorial is built assuming you’ve never used a website builder before. But the tutorial doesn’t prepare you for everything that shows up once you get to the genuine website builder.
Navigating the site-building tool
- Alt: Navigating the Webflow designer for your page creation
Once you get to the template you chose, you should see a screen like this. The screen will give you a checklist of things to do using the site builder. It also adds more than a few items on these navigation bars.
The left-hand navigation bar covers a vast range of things that include everything in this order:
- Adding elements
- Adding overall website components
- Navigating between different website sections
- Switching between different pages
- Accessing your CMS collections
- Letting you add users and manage user accounts
- Turning your website into an online store (Webflow eCommerce)
- Managing your digital assets
- Adjusting your site settings
- Performing an automated site audit
- Using a built-in “find function”
- Accessing video tutorials and a help feature
Compared to the first tutorial, there’s a lot to go through. But the included tutorials at the bottom might help. To keep things simple, you might follow the available checklist.
When selecting anything under your to-do list, the same tutorial from before appears, but on your website. So, the tutorial is convenient across multiple stages. For more guidance, you can also take advantage of Webflow University, the company’s knowledge base.
The top of this page-building tool lets you do most page-building basics. This includes using the undo/redo buttons, previewing your site, publishing your site, and sharing your site. You can also export the site’s code from this page.
One of the more interesting features of this top navigation bar is the ability to switch between multiple views. This includes everything from high-resolution desktops to mobile views. As a webpage designer, you’ll find this tool to be immeasurably helpful, as there are some slight differences as a site increases or decreases in resolution.
Any edits to your pages will also affect all views going down but not up. This means any changes you make in the mobile view won’t impact your desktop or tablet view. But any changes you make in your desktop view will affect the smaller views. Again, a very thoughtful feature for page designers.
Finally, the right side of your many is for different style elements, designs, and action triggers. You’ll find out more about triggers a bit later.
Navigation is a bit overwhelming but very useful.
Using the page-building tools
If you want to make original-looking websites using Webflow, you can do that. However, you’ll find out quickly that Webflow isn’t for online business owners who want to throw a template up and start selling overnight.
The tutorial draws attention to the “add” tab on the upper left. This is where you add your site containers. The containers hold other site elements (like your buttons or headers). So, you’ll start by adding a new layout type and follow it up by inserting different things into the layout.
Once you add those things, you can click on them to edit them. The style editing tools appear on the right side. You’ll see an example of what heading editing looks like below.
- Alt: Editing page elements using Webflow
You get another red box to the right if you click on a container. When you click the box, it opens up a grid editor, which lets you insert more columns and rows and adjust the width and height of each of those areas.
This puts Webflow on par with other grid-based website builders like ClickFunnels. The lack of a freeform editor means that a designer can be more precise. So, this appeals more to those with a specific taste in design. But it might not be great if you prefer freeform editors.
- Alt: Grid-based editor of Webflow
Another area worth noting is the “class settings,” found in the upper-right on the screen above. These allow you to easily apply style settings to multiple page elements without needing to adjust them individually. In creating consistent designs, they are convenient.
Alternative website builders have similar methods but tend to apply them to your entire website or hide them under your style settings. Because Webflow isn’t your average website builder, it puts those style settings right up front.
The style manager, which you can find under the three raindrops in the upper-right corner, lets you adjust those style settings individually. The builder interface makes it easy to spot most of what you need once you get used to it. You can even apply multiple classes to a single website element, creating a multi-class system.
You can also repeat design elements through reusable components, which you can find under the cube icon in the upper-left corner. For example, you can place a pre-built announcement component, often appearing above the navigation bar.
More advanced design features are under the interactions tab, letting you animate the page elements as you move your mouse. For example, you can make your scrolling unique by creating a timed animation with it. You can also make your letters jump when you hover your mouse over them. These are just a few examples.
While it’s easy to design an original website, there are fewer templates than the average website builder. Even if you stick with the default templates, you are wasting a lot of the payment that goes into what makes Webflow useful.
Using the CMS Collection editor
- Alt: Creating a new CMS collection using the page builder
The CMS, or content management system, is a way to create content collections. For example, you can collect blog posts, songs, shows (like videos), and other categories.
When you create CMS collections, it makes a new URL. That URL will contain multiple sub-URLs that provide links to each content piece. Each URL will go to a different blog post if you create a blog collection.
If you sell eBooks, you can use them to host your collection. Then, your page would look something like this:
- Alt: eBook management using Webflow CMS
When you create different URLs, these aren’t direct download links. Instead, they create a page based on the template you choose when creating your account. The pages look something like this:
- Alt: Webflow CMS – page template view
Each URL is a squeeze page for the book you want to sell. Customers get access to the item behind it when they fulfill whatever requirements you set on your created page. For example, the button link you have in the URL can exchange a valuable piece of content for their email address.
There’s a great deal of flexibility in these creative tools. This might get overwhelming to someone who is looking for something a bit more obvious. However, those who can get over the higher learning curve will find something handy here.
My one criticism is including blogs here. Given how central content marketing is to a strategy, having a dedicated blogging tool might be handy. Having it buried here saves space, but it takes away from the experience of a more direct blogging tool.
Creating membership-only content on Webflow
- Alt: Adding users and account access on Webflow
One less advertised feature of Webflow is the ability to create membership systems. The screen above shows you different user accounts, access groups, and the steps needed to get that done.
You can control what different access groups can see on your site. For example, your “free users” list might not be able to access the eBooks or blogs you made. You might leave those to users who sign up and verify their accounts.
You can also restrict entire URLs, creating a member’s section of your website.
Your user accounts can be automatically registered by creating a sign-up system or manually added. But you’ll need to create a sign-up page, which you can find by clicking on the “steps” link.
- Alt: Webflow sign-up creation tool
if it weren’t for the step-by-step approach, creating an eCommerce website would seem unapproachable. But, thanks to the tutorial, it’s far more approachable than you might think.
The only problem with this tool is you need to search for pages to restrict them within the accounts. This means you’ll have to remember the URL of your page and not rely on a drop-down menu.
You can use this tool to gather email addresses in exchange for fee content or offer paid membership services. To create a membership site people have to pay for, you’ll need to set up your eCommerce settings.
Using the eCommerce tools
- Alt: Using the Webflow eCommerce toolset
Webflow CMS and eCommerce combine to let you make a powerful store management experience. Like through the membership site builder, you get a step-by-step process to bring you through.
The setup process is pretty detailed, even starting with business address settings to help you with accurate tax calculations. You’ll need to provide this and your currency settings to get started.
Next, you’ll provide information on your shipping settings. Your shipping options can include a flat, percentage, or quantity rate. You can also offer free shipping, which your customers might prefer if you sell digital products.
If you want, you can also integrate your shipping process with Shippo. This integration lets you connect with third-party shipping providers, which can simplify the process.
Speaking of integration, you can also inventory sync with Facebook and Google, letting you maintain inventory tracking systems in one area through the three platforms. So, they have some pretty handy integrations here.
Once you get through the initial setup, you can add your first product
Adding a product
- Alt: Adding a product to your online Webflow store
Adding a product s also a reasonably straightforward process.
First, you’ll select your product type. You can choose between the following:
Advanced products might include multi-faceted offerings, such as both digital and physical products. You might also have a coaching package or other services (depending on what you sell). The complete design of whatever product you want is pretty handy.
There are also different shipping settings, one-time or multiple payments, inventory tracking features, and downloads (if applicable). The bottom of your product settings also lets you add product variants, which might be helpful if you have multiple product versions or if it comes in different colors or sizes.
The way to create a product is straightforward. Those familiar with Shopify’s system will see some similarities. However, because this is a feature of Webflow’s eCommerce tools, it does have less power than other eCommerce platforms.
The main weakness is in the way you can customize your description. There’s no text editing available here.
Once you get through product creation, you can create categories to house those products. From there, you can worry about payment gateways and other vital features.
Designing your eCommerce pages and adding checkout details
The remaining sections of the eCommerce tab deal with design, setting up for payment, and setting up your email (which we will revisit later).
Designing your eCommerce page uses the same tool. You can build the page using predesigned templates from your other pages.
The problem with this is that unless you get a premium template, you’ll need to start with a blank page. The premium templates are often a one-time payment of $100, which are pretty expensive. If you don’t want to pay for the template, you’ll need to do some work to make a custom product page.
The remaining thing you need to do is set up your payment provider. There are two payment gateway options: Stripe and PayPal. Both are fine but can be somewhat limited for those who like flexibility in their providers.
Finally, you’ll probably see an option to add hosting, which you’ll only get if you haven’t paid for an eCommerce plan. The non-commerce plans from Webflow don’t support you in selling products.
You can also add discounts and track your orders from these pages. Those two features are handy, but we won’t spend too much time focusing here.
You can get your eCommerce site up in a couple of hours with a template. But, if you need to take the time to build a custom page, it will take a few more hours.
The back-end builder does leave a lot of options for customization. So among eCommerce site-building tools, Webflow does a pretty good job.
Important features found under settings
The settings menu holds a lot of various features. Below is a quick breakdown of what those features do:
Once you pay an upgraded plan, Webflow will automatically index your site on search engines. You can also read their guide if you need manual work, such as removing sites from indexing.
Alt: Webflow’s automatic backup feature
Webflow makes it easier to view your past work, giving you a version history under the backup menu found in settings. The backups happen automatically during any changes, and you can make a new backup anytime you click the button. When you add a site plan, you’ll see more backups.
You can click on the three-dot menu to the right to rename or restore your backups. Renaming might be necessary in case you are testing significant feature changes. This removes one major hassle of development, as you won’t have to worry about marrying yourself to unwanted changes.
Email settings and design
- Alt: changing your email design in Webflow
Webflow has settings that give you complete control over customer emails and how they look. This includes some design basics, but most of the templates are there to make things easy.
You can change your brand logo alongside accent and background color at the very top of these settings. You’ll be stuck with Webflow’s branding in the footer if you don’t pay for a plan.
These settings refer to your basic email types. For example, forgotten password, order confirmations, and failed payment emails. All of these are basic and don’t give you too much opportunity with creative control. Instead, all of their design tools went into the site builder.
Webflow also doesn’t have any proper email marketing features. You’ll have to use third-party integrations to create your email list.
What are some different Webflow integrations?
We’ve already mentioned some eCommerce integrations through PayPal, Stripe, Facebook, and Google. However, there are a few more integrations worth mentioning.
First, the tracking integrations include all of your standard choices:
- Google Analytics
- Google Maps
- Facebook Pixel
Webflow also has a custom API, which supports webhooks and other authorized applications.
One of the unique applications they support is Google Optimize, a special tool for A/B testing. Given it’s built on Google, the data that comes from it is better than other A/B testing software, which won’t have as much data.
Webflow University will provide you with instructions on the other integrations they support. This includes essential email marketing software like MailChimp or Get Response. However, the list of available tools is massive.
- Alt: Webflow integration list and types
What do users say about Webflow?
Webflow tends to have primarily positive responses across most review platforms. Both G2 and Capterra give it a 4.5 (or higher). Meanwhile, Trustpilot is far more critical, averaging 2.3 out of 5 stars.
Positive reviews appreciate the clean, well-written code with each website. The code export tool makes it simple to move code between websites. These positive reviews also think it is a good balance between technical and straightforward.
The common complaint is that it’s a bit too technical, with menus that feel like a labyrinth of options. Since people seem to explore it as an alternative to WordPress, they also complain about a lack of plugins. But these plugins are replaced by a vast library of integrations.
Trustpilot also attracts a decent number of people with customer service complaints. But given fewer reviews here than in the other two places, they balance each other.
Is Webflow worth it?
Whether Webflow is worth it depends on your priorities.
If you are looking for a page you can release in a couple of minutes, you probably won’t find it here. The page-building navigation is somewhat complex. Plus, that’s not where Webflow’s natural talent is.
Instead, Webflow gets fantastic if you need to build advanced sites. Things like membership sites and eCommerce sites can thrive here. It’s much easier to build eCommerce sites here than on many other platforms.
That being said, building other kinds of websites isn’t as easy. Both Wix and Squarespace beat Webflow on that front. Other simple website builders, like Carrd, make the job easier while maintaining similar features and less cost.
Webflow isn’t the most complex site builder, but it isn’t easy. By leveraging Webflow’s powerful educational resources, you can make an excellent site to help you make money.