What No-Code Software to Use When Building Your First Website

By Paul Presberg, Co-Founder of Boulevard
June 06, 2020
What’s up, Everyone. This is Paul Presberg and I’m one of the Co-founders of Boulevard. One of my jobs at Boulevard has been building our websites, which I have done despite not knowing how to code.

Navigating the many no-code site-builder tools out there is a lot and making sure you use the right one for your project can be the difference of using your scarce time and resources correctly or not. 

The ultimate goal of this review is to make sure you’re able to identify which service will enable you to build the website you want in the easiest way possible.

I’ve personally used each of these services for a variety of projects. So for this review, I’ll be speaking mainly on personal experiences backed up by feedback from others and research as well.
Think About What You Need
First - think about what your site really needs. Below is a breakdown of the most popular website builders and best use cases for each of these softwares.
Squarespace is best for simple blogs, image displays, and informational sites. 

If you need to post something online to your own site, such as a blog or a portfolio of work, Squarespace is a great option. They let you build an entire website by dragging and dropping your content into pre-made templates that give you customization over fonts, sizing, and colors.

However, many people find their templates restricting if you are trying to customize every aspect of your website. If you have a very specific vision for how you want your site to look and work, squarespace may prove to be frustrating. 

Review Breakdown: 

   • Great for getting a site up quick
   • Very easy to use
   • Their templates are made to be aesthetically pleasing  

   • Restrictive templates - not able to build whatever you want
   • You have to pay for the full year upfront

$12/mo for a personal site
     $25/mo for Business
    $40/mo if you would like to sell online.
Webflow is best for custom sites where you want full control over design and user experience. With Webflow, most designs and functionality you see on sites today is possible - you’ll just have to take on extra work and learning if you want to utilize this very custom site builder. 

Webflow takes more upfront work to learn the software since you can truly customize every aspect of your site, but once you learn it, it is a very powerful tool. 

Important: If you choose Webflow, make sure to check out Flowbase.co to find projects you can clone and use as a starting point as you build your site.

Review Breakdown: 

   • You can build a super customized site
   • Great community, so it is fairly easy to find someone you can pay to help you build           parts of your site
   • Large database of tutorial videos (https://university.webflow.com/)

   • Takes more time/effort than the other site builders
   • You’ll have to start building and seek tutorials when you inevitably hit roadblocks 
   • Slightly higher rates if you prefer to pay monthly compared to annually

$12/mo for simple site
   • $16/mo (purchase if you are looking for blog capabilities)
   • $29/mo for ecommerce capabilities (this plan makes you purchase for the whole year upfront)
   • $36/mo for big businesses that see very high traffic

NOTE: All of these prices are slightly higher if you prefer to pay monthly. Also, if you are looking to sell online, based on these rates, it would make the most sense to use Shopify. 

Lastly, if you are trying to sell a product online, use Shopify.

Shopify is used by major retail brands such as Allbirds, Fashion Nova, and thousands of others. 

The most impressive part of Shopify is how easy it is to receive payments and display your products for sale. With no coding experience you’ll be able to get a site built and products listed for sale within hours.

Similar to Webflow, Shopify has a great community.  If you run into any issues, there are a ton of articles and youtube tutorials that will help you solve your problem. 

Review Breakdown:

   • It is very easy to set up your site with Shopify
   • Shopify handles all of the cash for you (if someone purchases from your Shopify site, the cash will go directly into your bank account)
   • Strong community of apps that you can integrate into your site if Shopify does not offer a service you would like (e.g. referrals, reviews, etc.)

   • The process of knowing when to send out items requires some integration of apps if you do not want the purchase order to only go to your email 
   • You need to integrate third party apps for custom design pages, unless you are willing to buy a template with a predesigned template 

$29/mo + 2.9% credit card fee on each transaction + 30 cents on each transaction. 
   • The $29/mo version should be all you need (I know brands making well over $30MM a year using this plan)
   • $70/mo if you believe you need more capabilities such as more collaborators and advanced reports.

With the help of this article, you should now quickly be able to figure out what software you need and get right to building your new website. If you have any questions or need any help with these tools, please do not hesitate to reach out (paul@1boulevard.com).

Important Point: You will need a domain before publishing your designed site on your own webpage. I personally use google domains (https://domains.google/) and Name Cheap (https://www.namecheap.com/). There are videos you can find with a simple google search to publish your designed site to your new domain.