Webflow is rapidly becoming one of the leading website builders, as sites built with this service are fast, responsive, and SEO-friendly. In the hands of a professional developer, Webflow becomes a truly powerful tool.
That said, Webflow can be used by less experienced individuals looking to build a quick and effective site without the frustration of learning to code. They can start building from scratch or use one of the highly-customizable Webflow templates to speed up the process.
In the following article, I will give an overview of how to build a simple Webflow site.
Bear in mind that this is mainly aimed at beginners looking to start their Webflow journey. If you want to build a complex, powerful, and business-driven site, you will have to consider hiring Webflow professionals.
Building Websites with Webflow
One of the main reasons why people choose Webflow is the clean underlying code written automatically as you’re buildisur site with a visual builder.
This means you can technically build a site without using code. In reality, however, knowing how to code or having an engineer by your side is definitely going to help you unlock Webflow’s full potential.
Clean code makes the site fast and approachable to search engines. In case you need a coder to step in and further improve a site, they will be happy to work with the existing code on the site.
But Webflow’s full scope is visible after you complete building a site, as it features a robust CMS with a range of other capabilities that allow non-technical persons to maintain and update thei r site.
In other words, even if you have someone else build a Webflow site for you, you will be able to continue working on it on your own, provided you receive proper training.
That’s why Webflow is widely regarded as a powerful marketing tool — it puts websites into the hands of marketers who don’t have to rely on developers for every single change on the platform.
Webflow is a comprehensive service that streamlines the whole process of building and maintaining websites. Some of the essential tools are:
- Designer – Webflow's Designer tool is the core feature that allows users to develop and customize their website's layout, typography, colors, and images. It provides a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to create and edit web pages.
- CMS – Webflow's Content Management System (CMS) tool allows users to create and manage content for their website. It provides features like dynamic lists, collections, and templates that make it easy to add, edit, and organize content. Think of it as an intuitive database that is convenient to use and apply while building a site.
- Hosting — Webflow's hosting provides reliable and fast hosting for websites created on the platform. It includes features like SSL certificates, CDN, and automatic backups to ensure that websites are secure and always available.
- Interactions — Webflow's interactions tool allows users to create animations and other interactive elements for their website. It provides many options for creating hover effects, scrolling animations, and other dynamic interactions.
Steps to Building a Website with Webflow
In the following section, I will provide a guide on how to build a Webflow website. The process differs slightly depending on whether you want to start from scratch or use a template.
Both guides are simplified versions of the site-building process, meaning you’ll have much learning to do as you design and develop your online experience.
How to Design a Website from Scratch and Build it in Webflow
First, let’s examine how building a site from scratch looks like
- Create a Webflow account — Go to the Webflow website and sign up for a free or paid account.
- Start a new project — Once you're logged in, click on the "Create new project" button and select a blank template to start designing your website from scratch.
- Plan your website's structure and layout — Use the Webflow Designer tool to plan your website's layout and structure. Create your pages, add sections, and define the navigation menu. This is the part where you’ll have to start learning some theory, especially on how to design a website layout.
- Design your website — Use the Designer tool to customize your website's typography, colors, images, and other design elements. You can use Webflow's pre-built design assets or create your custom designs. Use Webflow’s free tutorials to learn how to do each of these things. Moreover, consider that you’ll probably have to use other web design software in combination with Webflow.
- Add content — Use the CMS tool to add and manage your website's content. Create dynamic content templates, add collections, and create dynamic lists to display your content.
- Add interactions — Use the Interactions tool to create animations and other interactive elements to make your website more engaging and user-friendly. This is where things get a bit tricky. Even though you can use just the Designer and CMS to create a simple site, the Interactions make it vibrant and interesting, so make sure to study this feature carefully and explore available tutorials to learn the basics.
- Test and refine your website — Preview your website and test it on different devices and browsers to ensure that it works well and looks good on all platforms. Make any necessary changes and refine your design as needed. Webflow is created with responsiveness in mind, meaning you’ll have no trouble adjusting your elements to make them look great on different screen sizes.
- Publish your website — When you're ready to launch your site, use Webflow's Hosting tool to publish your website. Webflow offers several hosting options, including custom domains and SSL certificates.
These are the general steps to creating a website from scratch using Webflow. Depending on your project's complexity, you may need to add additional steps or modify these steps as needed.
If you’re building a simple site (such as a single landing page for your portfolio), you will likely be able to create and publish it by yourself, but you’re still required to do some learning along the way and be a bit tech-savvy. More complex projects, on the other hand, will likely require external help.
Building a Website with a Template
If you want to create a website using a Webflow template, here are the steps you can follow:
- Choose a Webflow template — Go to the Webflow website and browse the available templates. You can filter by category, industry, or website type to find a template that fits your needs. Flow Ninja also offers great templates specialized for a range of different industries.
- Preview the template — Once you've found a template you like, click on it to preview it in the Webflow Designer. This will give you an idea of how the template looks and functions.
- Purchase the template — If you decide to use the template, purchase it by clicking on the "Buy Template" button. Prices for templates range from a couple of dollars to $100+.
- Open the template in the Designer — After purchasing it, open it in the Webflow Designer by clicking the "Edit Template" button. This will open the template in the Designer, where you can customize it to fit your needs.
- Customize the template — Use the Designer tool to customize the template's layout, typography, colors, images, and other design elements. You can also use the CMS tool to add and manage your website's content.
- Add interactions — Use the Interactions tool to add animations and other interactive elements to the template to make it more engaging and user-friendly.
- Test and refine your website — This is the same as the seventh step in the previous section, meaning you’ll have to test your site on different devices and make it function well and look good on different screen sizes and browsers.
- Publish your website — You can launch your site using Webflow’s Hosting options.
By using a template, you can save time and effort by starting with a pre-designed layout that can be customized to fit your needs.
Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Website with Webflow
Here are some mistakes newcomers often make, which can result in a poor-performing website (along with difficulties in building it).
- Not planning your site structure — Plan out the structure of your site and the pages you will need to avoid confusion and make it easier to build your site in Webflow.
- Using too many fonts — While Webflow has a wide variety of fonts, it's best to limit yourself to just a few fonts. Using too many fonts can make your site look cluttered and unprofessional.
- Not testing your site — Once your site is built, test it to ensure it works properly on different devices and browsers.
- Ignoring SEO — Search engine optimization (SEO) is essential for driving traffic to your site. Optimize your site's title tags, meta descriptions, and content for relevant keywords.
- Overcomplicating your design — While it's tempting to add lots of flashy animations and effects to your site, it's important to keep your design simple and easy to navigate. Overcomplicating your design can confuse visitors and make it harder for them to find what they want.
- Neglecting mobile optimization — Be sure to test your site on different mobile devices to ensure it looks and works properly. Webflow has gone the distance to make it convenient to make your site responsive and accessible on various devices.
Create Your First Website in Webflow
You can think of Webflow as the next logical step in the world of web design and development. Even though it’s not easy to learn, it makes the job for designers and developers much easier, allowing them to focus on exploration and innovation while streamlining the grunt work.
As a newcomer, you can create a simple site using Webflow’s features, such as Designer, CMS, and more. However, if you want to harness the true power of Webflow and build complex, fast, interactive, and results-driven online experiences, get in touch with our team of Webflow professionals.