Hi there! Europe here.
As an absolute beginner in building webs I was wondering if someone could help me to answer some doubts I have.
I am an experienced print designer who wants to learn building professional looking websites without coding, blank canvas. I read a lot of reviews and tried several wysiwyg webbuilders and so far Webflow is the one I liked most, although not the most easy one to start with. At first glance products like Wix, Sitebuilder, Sparkle, etc. offer me more or less the same tools but as I understood from reading those programs will be limiting me (and my clients) quiet soon, especially in SEO. From design point of view (freedom) I did’nt experience much difference though.
First doubt: Am I right, is Webflow really is a better option/starting point for me? Why?
Second doubt: How much time does a beginner need to get confortable with Webflow and able to build a simple but professional looking website? Is a month reasonable? I want to start with building a simple website ( 5 pages plus CSM Blog) for a small company.
Maybe some users among you that followed the same learning process can share their experience to help me start? It would be very appreciated!
I started using Webflow with no code knowledge at all. It might seem confusing at first, but you’ll get the hang of it fairly quickly.
If you want to make unique sites from scratch this is definitely the right option for you, I’ve seen no product out there that comes even close to what you can do with Webflow. If you really want to learn and spend a few hours a day on Webflow you’ll probably get the hang of it in a month or so.
I totally recommend that you choose Webflow because it provides the best ratio between scope and ease. It is not the easiest thing to learn, but it is the best bargain in terms of what you get as web design possibilities for your efforts.
Of course Webflow is far from ideal product - it has its limitations which are waiting on the roadmap to be overcome and its interface, while quite good does have some flaws (in terms of usability) here and there. Unfortunately Webflow has been deteriorating as a service, in many respects lately. I would not recommend you to build a business around it. But nevertheless, it is great for starting and for using it as a prototyping tool to serve as a bridge between you and developers.
How long would learning take for you? Given that you are already acquainted with Photoshop and the like, I’d say, it’d take you about two months of dedicated learning with somebody to guide you around. Your first site won’t be perfect in terms of code (I mean you’d probably build your pages in much more complicated ways than they could ideally be built) but still you’d achieve a decent web site.
I’ve been teaching Webflow to people of either no design background whatosoever or pure graphic designers like you. I’ve summarized what I think is an efficient learning plan here:
It is based on the priciniples of starting from what is familiar and easy towards what is advanced but new and difficult. It is aimed to follow the logic of the learner and not the logic of html/ css. For example the first things in this plan are to learn how manipulate text and images because virtually everybody has experience with manipulating text and images in MS Word and Paint at least.
Did you learn coding by using Webflow?
I did! Before I found Webflow I tried learning it at https://www.codecademy.com/ but quickly learned that coding wasn’t for me. But then when I found Webflow it made it so much easier. I didn’t have to memorize how to type it, it’s all visual and way easier to understand. I highly encourage you start using Webflow as well
Thanks for your extended answer!
No problem if my first web is not perfect in terms of coding as long as it is possible to improve it along the way.
You gave me 2 months to learn it with a guide. Is this forum/and videos guide enough? or do you mean a teacher?
Why you do not recommend to build a business around it?
Well, I “gave” you around two months. It depends on a lot of factors, such as how much time you can dedicate, your personal aptitude for (visual) coding, whether you have immediate guidance (a tutor, that is) when you get stuck or not, etc.
The forum can be very helpful when you are looking for the solution of a specific problem. The videos are nearly useless IMHO - they do cover a lot of topics but since they are videos and not text, you cannot go through them at your own pace.
Having a tutor at hand is very important, I dare say, especially at the beginning. This is how I started myself. I had the luck to have a friend of mine (a programmer) to guide me. (He actually convinced me to go for Webflow in the first place (the dilemma was between Webflow and WYSIWYG site builders)).
Of course it is possible to start on your own, using the forum and html/ CSS tutorials, but it might be unnecessarily difficult.
In all cases, I strongly recommend that you try following the learning flow suggested in the screenshot in my post. It is the easiest method I have come up with so far.
I do not recommend you to build a business around it for three main reasons:
- development of new features is taking far too long for Webflow. There’s plenty of essential functionalities lacking and plenty of Webflow’s UI usability glitches which are not only lingering for years, but there’s hardly any hope they’d be addressed in the coming year or two;
- pricing is poorly structured so as to be equally cost-effective for both parties (users and Webflow) and a lot of things in it contradict reason; on top of that, the way it is presented is confusing; billing is yet another nightmare. This has been the situation for all the time so far. Obviously Webflow lack competence in building their pricing and are unwilling to admit that and to listen to feedback (you can check the forum on the “pricing” search phrase to see what I mean);
- the new features introduced lately came with some glaring usability issues. Those have not been fixed to this day and may never be. I can see a trend of Webflow not only delivering innovation at a slower pace but also not at the quality seen before. It is also common to see new features come half-baked, lacking the complete range of useful functionalities.
I have the suspicion that the Webflow team are either too exhausted already or they have reached the ceiling of their competence and as a result they would be either abandoning enthusiasm about the product, letting it vegetate in mediocrity or they would sell out.
I just watched the ‘Webflow office tour and interview’ on YouTube. Cool stuff!
Very clear, thank you!
I will take your learning flow as a guidance and see if i can find a tutor around here. It will speed things up for sure.
@DharmaNode - making interaction requires the logic behind js, doesn’t it? Plus, when you build some interactions and export your site, they go in the js folder of your export zip? Or am I at mistake here?
Oh I wouldn’t know, i don’t know js. I did find interactions easy to learn though, much easier than js.
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