There is one website builder that is significantly better than the rest when it comes to design capabilities.
The best website builder for designers is Webflow.
Trust me - nothing can come close to it.
That's because Webflow can do 99.99% of what can be done in CSS, plus it has a super powerful animation interface. All of these features are in an easy-to-use and quick-responding interface.
There are two main criteria when judging the best website builder for designers:
- It's the ability to accomplish what can be done in code (CSS & HTML)
- The quality of the website builder (few bugs, fast, intuitive)
Why trust me?
- I'm an absolute pro at using raw CSS and HTML, so I have a comprehensive understanding of everything that can be done in code.
- I've used most website builders and platforms on the internet.
- I like finding the limits of the platforms I use.
Webflow is bangin'! Here are the highlights:
- Comprehensive editor (all CSS properties are adjustable in the UI)
- Highly customizable, intuitive, and powerful animations
- Speedy editor
- Comprehensive set of keyboard shortcuts (score)
- Powerful and dynamic CMS with 100% customizable layout capabilities
- Inexpensive hosting options for individuals and agencies
There is no direct competitor to Webflow. Any business would be dumb to pursue something that, at best, would be the same. You can't get better than Webflow.
If you are a designer that wants to make anything but cookie-cutter, then I 100% recommend you check out Webflow - the BEST website builder for designers.
Check out this study I did to gauge the abilities of other best website builders for graphic designers.
Building the Google Homepage on Each Website Builder
If you checked out any other articles on this same subject, you'd find many of them recommend Squarespace.
I think their authors:
- Are on crack
- Don't know what they are talking about
- Are affiliate marketers for them
In this test, I built out the Google homepage on four popular websites builders to see how close the result was to the actual design.
The results were shocking.
Here's the target (if you haven't seen Google before):
Notes on the creation:
- I built for desktop only
- I didn't fine-tune (80/20 rule)
- No custom CSS is allowed (I'm testing the builder, not CSS)
- I used free website designers not paying for pro/paid features
Note, If you're not familiar with the 80/20 rule, it says that 80% of the results come from 20% of the efforts. I would have to put in a significant amount of time to fine-tune. I consider fine-tuning as setting hover styles, mobile designs, and getting alignment down perfectly.
Webflow = 10/10
With Webflow, you can make an exact replica of the Google homepage. It's an entirely visual website builder or, in other words, a no-code/code-free website builder.
Building Google on Webflow was the easiest and most capable.
Webflow is hands down the best website builder for designers (and it's free to use until you go live!). It has a bit of a learning curve, but the more capable something is, the more learning you'll have to do. Therefore it is the best custom website builder.
I'll continue to show you other platforms. They are not necessarily the best platforms for designers.
Duda = 7.5/10
I like to think of Duda as a lightweight version of Webflow. It has some CSS styles exposed in the UI vs. Webflow having all.
Duda and Webflow are my two main platforms of choice. While Webflow is more capable, Duda has its own advantages.
Here are some highlights:
- Premade sections and templates
- Flexible row and column tools
- Popular CSS properties exposed in UI
- Great for managing a portfolio of websites
- Makes assumptions about the webpage (can be good or bad)
WordPress/Elementor = 5/10
WordPress doesn't come with a page builder. They come with a blog builder, which doesn't achieve multi-column layouts and a lot more necessities.
You have to find your own page builder. I'm not saying Elementor is the best one, but it's very capable. Unfortunately, without the pro version, there was only so much I could do.
After using Duda and Webflow, I've grown to prefer having the website builder integrated into the platform.
When using a third-party tool, you enter a different mode when designing pages. For example, when you go to a page, you have to open the designer, which hides all of WordPress and only allows you to design.
One downside of this is that when you switch pages, you have to click around a lot, whereas there is a page switcher built-in on the integrated ones.
Designers can make excellent designs on Elementor and WordPress, but there's a lot of baggage that comes along with it. I try to stay away from WordPress unless there is specific functionality that requires it.
Squarespace = 3/10
Crack addicts, where you at!
It's mind-boggling that this platform comes up for searches related to "designer website builder". It's not flexible.
It's probably a great platform if you're flexible. This means you can't design freely - you have to work within the constraints of their system.
And there are a lot of constraints.
Highlights of Squarespace:
- Easy to use
If you're looking to build a website with little experience OR build a website where you're okay with working within their designs, this platform is good. If you want to design freely and do things like have different color buttons, then stay away.
- Highly creative people will love the Webflow website builder
- Go for gold, go for Webflow
- Go for silver, go for Duda
Happy website building!