Can I create e-commerce websites without CMS dynamic content?

Hi. I am a Webflow beginner and planning to build some e-commerce websites for my portfolio only. Obviously I don’t want to pay for their hosting because they will be only for portfolio showcase, so I found out already that I can host them outside of webflow for free, but the thing is it’s turns out that it’s not possible to host websites with CMS data outside of webflow. So for that reason I want to build e commerce website manually, without dynamic CMS content. So I have a few questions regarding this:

  1. Is it possible that I fill the product page manually and everything will still work as if it was e commerce site? or some functions will be disabled?

  2. Despite this will be a portfolio website, I will probably still want to add a cart and payment options and connect it to Stripe or Paypal just to test how it works, because I want to learn the process, so will I be able to add a cart and payment options, connect it to Stripe? Process payment to my own card just to test how it works?

  3. If some functions will be disabled its still OK, since my main goal is to just showcase e-commerce example of my work to my potential client without paying for a hosting, for the site that will not be active.

Thank you for your reply!

When you export a site, all Webflow-hosted features need to be re-engineered with solutions you can host externally. That includes the CMS, form submission handling, Ecommerce, Logic, Memberships, etc.

You can create a pretend site for portfolio purposes but it wouldn’t actually work, e.g. shopping cart, purchase, etc.

If you’re trying to build something functional but with lower-cost hosting options, look at Foxycart or Paypal Lite’s buy now buttons ( $9 usd/mo ).

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OK. Good to know that I can still create “pretend e-commerce website” for a portfolio. Purchase options are not very important because like I said it’s just for a showcase purpose, so no need for anyone to buy anything. If someone will click “buy button” I will just create a pop up window saying “site currently under maintenance and online purchases are not available” or something like that, maybe. The only thing I am wondering now is if I should lie to the potential client (who can hire me) that this is a real website or tell him the truth that this is just a concept website for a portfolio. I think both cases have it’s own advantages and disadvantages?
Thanks for your help

Yeegs I’d never lie, for a bunch of reasons.

One of them is that there is a lot to learn about Webflow’s E-com solution, and its capabilities and limitations before you even recommend it to a client. If you’ve “built a site” using it, you’ll be clueless about the critical things.

A better approach is…

  • Build your portfolio / practice sites as fully as you can, but just under the Webflow.io domain. You’ll stop at the limits, but you’ll be able to demo legit work and legit functionality.

  • With that, get some free/cheap projects that you can cut your teeth on that let you fill in those knowledge and experience gaps.

It will take you building a full 3 sites at a bare minimum to become decently proficient with Webflow, enough to commit to projects professionally and deliver on that promise. And that’s assuming you already have a solid foundation of HTML & CSS.

Don’t rush it, don’t overpromise, don’t overcommit, you’ll just get migraines, pissed off clients and possibly a lawsuit or two.

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Thanks for suggestions. I just wonder how much it will cost for me to build 3 fully functional e-commerce websites with webflow plan+hosting+domains+Stripe or Paypal or what else? and have annual subscription for each. Around 1000 usd annually for 3 websites that will not be active? I think it’s possible when I find a permanent job, but until that I am not sure.

The first one should probably be your own site, and I’d pay for hosting on that one so that you see and get the full feature set experience. As a designer, it will be an important business card but also it’s where you’ll be testing new ideas continually.

You second site, you’ll probably build for nearly-free, but it will be for a client who is ok with mediocre work and has a low budget. Animal rescue centers are a good place to start, they need a lot of features like a CMS, good SEO, the ability to update their site, but have very low budgets. Do a great job, in exchange, get a referral and links to your own site.

Your third site, push it a little further, and so on.

Should be virtually zero out-of-pocket costs for you if you play your cards right. But you’ll be investing a ton of time and effort in the skills-development process.

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