What Webflow Cannot Do
Webflow cannot help you avoid code entirely, and its feature set trails behind code-based development platforms. eCommerce, versioning, and multilingual support can hamper big projects. In addition, the CMS, asset, traffic, and webpage limits can restrict your scope and future scalability.
It may still be the right pick for you: Webflow’s strengths and limitations cater to a large, enthusiastic target audience but exclude many others. Getting as much as possible out of your low code tools and their alternatives requires knowledge of their weaknesses and how to circumvent them.
But first, let’s address a key strength.
Webflow Is Great For Marketing And B2B
Webflow is peerless for building highly performant, effective B2B and marketing websites. Establishing an online presence is crucial, and Webflow streamlines the process to create solutions:
● Publish in minutes
● Alleviate the burden from your DevOps team
● Forgo dealing with updating plugins and dependencies
● Intuitive user interface
Webflow produces websites that load in a single second, outperforming the competition and boosting your technical SEO metrics. Webflow opens up possibilities for website optimization to various ends intuitively, making it a clear choice.
Is Webflow ‘No-Code’ For Everything?
Due to the hype surrounding Webflow's drag and drop interface, many people think they can build their billion-dollar business using its drag and drop interface alone. In most cases, they can, such as the following:
● Service front-ends, especially B2B websites
● Selling courses and simple merchandise
● Personal portfolios and blogs
However, you won’t find what you’re looking for if you’re developing nontrivial web apps with no development process, fully featured ecommerce stores and platforms, or large-scale SEO and media projects. The customization and patching will eclipse the value of the rest of the environment quickly:
● Conditional animations can lead to heaps of spaghetti code
● The organization of random scripts becomes overwhelming
● Custom code exceeding 10,000 characters must be hosted remotely
When it comes to projects that push the restrictive boundary of no-code often, you will find that putting together a webpage from element templates using React.js or Vue.js is just as time-consuming as the equivalent process in Webflow. You cannot directly edit Webflow’s generated backend code for your website either.
There's no good way to avoid learning to code if you expect to need complex business logic and stateful interactivity.
Can Webflow Be Used For eCommerce?
eCommerce functionality is limited, and the payment system is inflexible. Features like product variants, checkout systems, invoice processing, and complex projects still need to catch up to big platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce. Subscription services aren’t supported out of the box and require third-party integrations of external services.
However, small shops that are just starting up or don’t plan to scale significantly will find that a simple drag low code platform like Webflow may be their best option. The platform allows for a lot of customization of the front-end design and product pages. The unfortunate downside is the lack of an adjustable checkout which requires coding.
Webflow's drag and drop interface is most appropriate for building a consumer-facing front for your business or web app. A website conveying your mission, products, or services is easy to make and maintain. Thus, separating commerce - creating a hybrid solution - can be much better.
We have experience addressing these shortcomings, using Webflow as the front end and Shopify to handle e-commerce. We used React to interface between the two layers, which does the job but adds complexity and requires careful maintenance. Customers without sufficient technical skills and no code developers unfamiliar with code are advised against modifying these parts of the website.
Does Webflow Have Limitations?
Webflow imposes various limitations on all the features, depending on your payment plan. Even with the top tier, non-enterprise plan, CMS (Content Management System) items (database entries) are limited to 10,000 per site. This restriction puts a roof on the scale of your web service, and many developers need to work around it with manual processes.
We found this limiting when building prototypes designed to scale beyond drag and drop Webflow. We patched our prototype with Vue.js scripts that queried Drupal instead, but this turned out to be dreadfully slow. In the end, we exported the website code, re-wrote it in Vue.js/Nuxt.js, and rendered it static HTML hosted on a CDN.
Webflow reports they are updating their CMS going into 2023. The system has been updated for speed and time-to-publish, which is excellent. However, they have yet to include it in their pricing plans which we are sure people with no coding skills are eagerly waiting for.
Can Git Be Used With Webflow?
You cannot use versioning software such as Git with Webflow. Webflow has said that they’ve launched versioning as a feature, but it’s only available to those paying for the enterprise plan, which is prohibitively expensive for most people.
While currently out of reach for most customers, we believe they will extend the feature to lower tiers. Furthermore, we’d love to see it made available for their Workspace Agency customers to help automate workflows.
Does Webflow Support Multilingual Websites?
Multilinguality is an ongoing issue with Webflow. Webflow has been offering a solution called Weglot, but it doesn’t perform well in SEO ratings. Instead, it can be detrimental.
So, at Karpi Studio, how are we addressing this? Currently, we duplicate the pre-existing pages and create a separate copy for each language. This brings some challenges with it.
How to set up a multilingual website in Webflow:
- First, create subdirectories for your website for each language code.
- Duplicate your website’s static pages and templates within each.
- Translate the content and SEO-relevant metadata for each language.
- Create a custom sitemap using rel=“alternate” and hreflang tags to facilitate listing.
You can do step 4 either per language or as a global sitemap, either of which helps Google index your website and avoid content duplication penalties.
Webflow is an impressive website development solution with no parallels where it excels and is the best no code platforms. Whether you’re a startup, B2B service, blogger, or small online retailer, Webflow can quickly get you off the ground. However, it can be lacking in other areas, and it would be advisable to use industry-standard web development practices and libraries for advanced projects.
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