How do you do web design with no code?
Table of Contents
Simple website builders: Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify
More complicated website builders: Wordpress
Newer website builders: Webflow
Simple Website Builders: Squarespace, Wix and Shopify
When I say “simple”, I’m really referring to a drag-and-drop, easy to use interface. Squarespace, Wix and Shopify fit the bill.
Squarespace was created in 2003 by a 21 year old Anthony Caselena in Baltimore, MD. At the time, there were very few options for building websites with no code. He built a website building tool himself. It’s now grown to where it is today.
I started using Squarespace in 2013, switching from the free platform Blogpost at the time to document my study abroad experience during grad school. I love Squarespace. It’s one that’s near and dear to my heart because of its simplicity and minimalism. It’s very easy to use and best suited for someone who is being first introduced to building a website. It’s easy to figure out on your own.
My only caution with Squarespace is the customization limits. This shouldn’t concern most newbies but if you’re looking to do very specific things or add very specific design elements, you will be frustrated with the platform over time. I always point beginners to Squarespace. Check out Squarespace.com.
Wix was founded in 2006 by Israeli developers Avishai Abrhami, Nadav Abrahami, and Giora Kaplan. It did well because it’s very functional and has a large number of options available. It is very popular. I find it to be easy to use but…easy is relative, right? I had a client that struggled to make changes to her Wix site and I at times found simple tasks not to be very intuitive. However, I would still consider this easy to use.
I’ve also seen many beautiful sites built on Wix. (Check out Shameless Maya’s website.)
Wix is low-cost but if you ever decided to add on functionality, you’ll end up paying for more than you anticipated. I had a client paying for basic features that are included with other builders. Keep this in mind. Visit Wix.com for more info.
Shopify gets a special mention from me even though it’s not suited for service providers. It’s best for online stores. It was founded in 2005 by two guys (Tobias Lutke and Scott Lake) trying to open an online store for snowboarding equipment. Back then, there were very few ecommerce platforms on the market so Lutke built his own and launched in June of 2006. I love Shopify. It is a tried-and-true, battle-tested ecommerce platform that has a ton of big companies using it. What you are truly paying for is Shopify’s back-end such as inventory management, analytics, keeping track of customer orders and repeat customers, etc. It’s a great place to start if you’re selling anything. The one thing to consider is that if you ever switch off that platform, it won’t be easy. Keep this in mind. Check out Shopify for more information.
More Complicated Website Builders: Wordpress
WordPress is used by 70% of all websites. It’s free and open-source. None of the other platforms I mention can say that. Due to its popularity, finding a WordPress developer isn’t hard. In fact, this website was built on WordPress with Divi. WordPress also has its own ecommerce feature called WooCommerce. It offers the ability to sell items on your WordPress site. Since WP is free and open-source, you would truly own your store. The one thing I can say about WordPress is that the user interface is outdated and a little clunky. In this day and age, it shouldn’t look the way it does. But it’s maintained by the design community and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Newer Website Builders: Webflow
As you can see, all of the other website builders I mentioned were launched in the early 2000’s. Webflow was launched in 2013 in San Francisco as a better website builder for building a professional website with “no-code”. My personal website was built on Webflow. You can check it out here. There’s a small learning curve to it but you can make magic once you get a groove.
The UI for Webflow is really nice. It looks modern, clean, and is simple to navigate. There are many options for customization. Much like WordPress, Webflow has a vibrant and active community of designers that contribute their designs and help each other. You can find really nice templates and clone them for your own use, called cloneables. You can check them out here.
Even though you don’t need to code to design on Webflow, I feel you need a basic foundation of web design to use it well. I’m talking HTML, CSS, knowing what classes are, etc. Luckily, they offer a Webflow 101 course to get acclimated. Websites also run much faster with Webflow since it’s less bloated. You can also export the design for your site off Webflow. Webflow is looking to be the future but time will tell.
Conclusion for how to do web design with no coding
All in all, there are many website builders out there. If you’re starting off, begin with Squarespace or Wix. If you’re up for the challenge, try WordPress. You’ll have a bunch of themes and plugins available. If you like a newer platform and UI, definitely check out Webflow.
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