What's the best technique for building your next Webflow site?

sour note

Who is this article for?

  • You have web designing experience using other platforms and now want to learn how to use Webflow.

  • You have watched Webflow University’s videos but you are struggling with how to adjust and style the design responsively.

  • You have built a few sites in Webflow and looking for a more efficient and elegant way to build your next Webflow site.

If yes to any of it, keep reading. If you’re a web pro with no hand-holding required, have a nice rest of the day!

What are Wizardly and Client-first?

There are two popular web development methods specific to the Webflow ecosystem. 

“Wizardry is a responsive technique using EMs that scales like VW but with a max-width.”

“Client-first Webflow Style System: One naming convention for every person, for every project” 

(Let me know if you know more!)

Why should you use these building methods?

Unless you have extensive frontend development experience or you’re a battle-tested WordPress warrior of a sort, your formal website building experience is probably just watching a series of Webflow University. If you’re just interested in buying a template and editing some texts, that may be fine, but you already know that’s not enough if you want to actually build a site from scratch for professional use. 

You need a reliable guideline made by Webflow industry leaders and you need them showing you how to build an effective site that you can actually charge a good amount of money. Having used both of them for my client projects, I can say that both Wizardly and Client-first are great development tools for people without a technical background in Web development. 

But which method is better for YOUR next project?

Startup or Enterprise: Which is better for your next Webflow build?

The best web development practice for Webflow is very similar to your preferred career path. There is no one right answer. It all depends on your personal choices. 

As you know, a website is made of thousands of divs. The divs are like your employees. You can tell them what to do. "Hey, Div! Why don't you expand 100% in width? There, have a margin of 13 px to the top. Also, hold an image, please. And trigger a JavaScript-based interaction too." That’s a lot of multitasking for a single div but fortunately, the div is very competent and executes it flawlessly. 

Imagine you have to do the same. Like having to design a product, do accounting, lead a marketing campaign, while taking care of legal aspects of a business. In a big corporation, you get to specialize in each field but in a startup, you’re expected to do them like the hard-working divs. The divs are perfectly adept at carrying out 100% of your orders, but how well can YOU do those things outside of your area of competency?

I’m telling you all this Startup and Enterprise metaphor for a reason. 

Wizardly is like a startup and Client-first is like an enterprise way of building a Webflow site. 

That is because Wizardly treats divs like co-founders who are expected to have an entrepreneurial mindset and do everything they need to do to get a job done. You have more freedom in how to structure your site but you are also expected to take more risks. On the other hand, Client-first treats divs like specialists who are expected to perform within their job description. You have a more clear guideline as to how to structure your site.

What could happen if you choose a method that’s not right for you?

You’d not want to give too many roles and functions to one employee, right? That would confuse the hell out of a normal employee. You can be a very skilled developer and use those multi-functioning divs everywhere throughout the site but if you’re not a maestro, your orchestra may suffer in the future. If you change a couple of things in one section, you could end up with broken designs on other pages. 

So, should you Wizardly or Client-first?

As I said, there is no one right answer. But if I could go back in time and advice myself just starting out with Webflow, I’d recommend Client-first, first. Even though I’m a paying customer of the Wizardly community (and I’m very grateful for Tim’s work!), the newbie Webflow user that was myself would’ve benefited more in sticking to the guideline. 

Also, if you need to hire a Webflow developer, I would need to exercise more caution evaluating the developer using the Wizardly technique because the greater freedom creates more margin of error in building a site. You can get lucky to see a beautifully made site inside and outside, or, you can inherit a pretty messy site inside (like some of my previous builds!) and that could be much harder to manage in the future.

Conclusion: Build it your way. 

Just as you have to manage your own career path, the web development style also boils down to how you manage your fellow divs. Next time you name the divs with classes in the top right-hand corner of the Webflow Designer screen, imagine hiring new employees and assigning a fresh role to them. We the developers can tell divs what to do and we give them titles like account executive for “margin” or designer in charge of “animation.” Hopefully, you can find a management style that suits you well so you can soon build your Webflow site like a real boss :)