No-code website platforms have finally reached maturity and the results are awesome. Much like a frozen pizza, no-code sites are an excellent solution when quick turn-around and affordability are top priorities.
Because of their ease of use, no-code development tools have exploded in popularity over the last five years. The underlying concept is alluring: an individual with no knowledge of coding can quickly build a website. To a certain degree that sales pitch is true. Almost anyone with baseline knowledge of the internet can assemble a site. But as we will read later, there are certain skills that can’t be automated that make a big difference in the performance of your site.
The key selling point of no-code sites is that much of the design and development work is done for you. A user simply selects from a provider's templates, plugs in content, and the site comes to life.
Another key feature of many no-code platforms is the inclusion of hosting. This class of website tools are referred to as SaaS (Software-as-a-service) which are native to the cloud. This allows the site to go live immediately after it is constructed and a domain name is chosen.
However, the biggest drawback is that most individuals that start building a website with these tools don't know how to structure their content or, don’t have content. Many don’t have the design touch that makes a great website stand out. And many don’t have the time or patience to truly leverage all of the tools available to them within the no-code platform. It isn’t uncommon for inexperienced users of these tools to begin with a well conceived template only to have the design degrade as they populate it. That’s where THOR can help.
But first, here’s a rundown of some of the basics.
Some of the Providers and Our Thoughts
Webflow: The newest of the no-code platforms, Webflow, is the favored no-code platform of the THOR team. It delves several levels deeper into the development process than other tools giving users full control over styles and layout. It even provides a basic content management system (CMS) which elevates the capabilities of the platform immensely.
UPSIDE: Customization is what sets them apart. Webflow strikes an outstanding balance between out of the box sites that often provide a cookie-cutter outcome and custom CMS-driven sites that are complex and costly to build.
DOWNSIDE: It has the steepest learning curve.
Squarespace: Squarespace's website builder is one of the original no-code providers and is known for a particular modular approach that results in a clean and polished aesthetic.
UPSIDE: They are known for providing high design templates that deliver modern design for a great price.
DOWNSIDE: Their offering is rigid and hard to customize.
Wix: This company has typically been at the back of the pack of the no-code world. They've recently upgraded by mimicking much of Squarespace's design aesthetic.
UPSIDE: Recently revamped aesthetic.
DOWNSIDE: Clunky design and a questionable management interface.
Shopify: This company has been around for ages but came into their own during the pandemic. They are the go-to source for individuals trying to stand up a digital business with a lean budget.
UPSIDE: They are the established leader in affordable ecommerce sites.
DOWNSIDE: The platform can be cumbersome to customize.
Basic Budgeting for a No-code Website
The base-level price points for accessing these platforms are incredibly affordable. Most providers have a basic tier of service that starts at $20-30/mo and scales with your ambitions. The top tier pricing generally stays under $300/mo.
Webflow has a slightly confusing pricing system that breaks its fees into a 'designer' charge and a 'hosting' charge. Squarespace and Wix are more straightforward with a single bundled cost. Shopify has a much larger price range, starting around $50/mo and increasing up to tens of thousands of dollars with their Plus offering that grows in step with the amount of ecommerce business being conducted.
Our Services in the No-code World
While no-code tools provide the basic building blocks of site construction by bundling web hosting, design, and development into a single package, the need for professional content, graphics, and development customization is still a key component of successful site creation. THOR has worked with many clients to build sites with Webflow. These engagements generally land in the $20-30K price zone depending on the available assets and the integrations that are required. Our team can walk you through the process of establishing a site within the system, generating a plan of action for developing and assembling content, constructing a sensible site architecture, integrating often overlooked backend infrastructure such as SEO and analytics, and executing the design and deployment of the site at the web's highest standard.
How to Get Started
Contact us to talk through the options, implications, and the methods we employ to make your no-code site a reality. We’re available to walk you through the platforms and discuss the specific details of your project and how it aligns with the no-code tools we’ve outlined in this article.