Looking to dive into the world of no-code but don’t know where to begin?
Start here: with our guide to the 17 best no-code platforms across the entire tech stack - from the website to the database to payments to internal tools, there’s now a way for you to build it without code. We've curated the tools and platforms that we think are best-in-class, and give our thoughts on the types of businesses and use cases they're best suited for.
What we think: Webflow is a big name in this space -- and for good reason. Its dual-layered approach means anyone can build websites using templates and the visual designer without code, while also allowing those with the technical know-how to go under the hood and add custom code and functionality. Webflow truly allows you to do anything, but with this flexibility comes a bit of a steeper learning curve than other such platforms. Luckily, Webflow has some of the best educational resources to help assist. Ultimately, we think Webflow is a great choice for any businesses who may need the added freedom and customization that it provides, and have some technical or developer resources to fully take advantage of its power.
What we think: Squarespace stands out for its huge library of beautifully designed website templates. We liked that they had a variety of options for all kinds of sites (blogs, portfolios, ecommerce) and every template is responsive. Squarespace’s biggest advantage is that it's geared towards the less-technical audience - using pre-designed templates means it’s lightning-quick and easy to set up, and customization options are simple. However, this also means it’s a bit more limited in what you can do. While you can add your own code, the implementation is not as flexible as what you’d find in Webflow. In the end, we recommend Squarespace for businesses that want to go truly no-code and don’t necessarily have (or want to hire) technical resources.
What we think: 1-page websites are all about simplicity, and that’s what Carrd offers. Carrd uses templates, like Squarespace, but it's even faster to set up, as the 1-page format trims a lot of the fat. While it doesn’t have as many templates as Squarespace yet, it does boast responsive design and the ability to embed capabilities like Stripe and Paypal. Perhaps the thing we like the best is the pricing - you can build up to 3 sites for free and the pro plan is just $19/year. We think Carrd is a great choice for businesses with simple website needs or are just looking for a starting point for something more full-fledged later on.
What we think: Of course, this is us -- we can’t help it, it’s our blog, after all ;) But allow us to re-introduce ourselves: a robust and easy-to-use platform to build the internal tools your business needs. Internal is great for nontechnical teams who want a no-code solution, as you can build on top of spreadsheet data and connect easily to business apps like Stripe and Salesforce. You can also build on top of an existing database, even if you don’t know how to write SQL. Internal is also great for engineering teams, as you can write code to work with any API or pull write SQL queries. We built Internal for businesses that want the ease of no-code but with the option to get technical. If data security and controls are a priority for you, Internal’s also a great choice, as it comes with built-in roles, permissions, and logging -- so you don’t have to spend time adding it yourself.
Mobile & Web Apps
What we think: Bubble is a popular choice for those who want to build their own web app - it has a simple visual drag-and-drop builder and enough capabilities that you can build just about anything. Bubble can handle and host the infrastructure for your web app, which can make things a lot easier if you’re operating without devs. Bubble also features a great set of educational resources and a large library of integrations. One thing to note: Bubble doesn’t do native mobile apps, so if you’re looking to get into an app store, you might want to check out a different platform.
What we think: While you can use Adalo to build websites, it’s definitely a platform that focuses on being mobile-first. Like other app-builders, it provides a visual way to build an interface, add logic, and connect data. What we like most about it is how it uses “spreadsheet databases”, providing an easy and familiar structure to work with your data, and how you can start from a template to save time. It also lets you publish your app on iOS, Android and mobile web easily. We recommend Adalo to any business that needs to create a mobile app quickly.
What we think: Thunkable lets you build a mobile app that’ll work across iOS, Android and mobile web. Compared to other mobile app-builders, it has some unique capabilities (such as offering a speech-to-text component) and visual animations that you can use. The standout feature for us is the way Thunkable lets you build your logic in visual “blocks”, making it much easier to see and manage the flow of how things work in your app. Thunkable is a great choice for businesses who need a mobile app with a lot of logic or unique capabilities.
Automation / Connector
What we think: For a connector platform, the number of integrations is key, and Zapier has over 3000 integrations across most popular B2B and B2C software. “Zaps” can be set up to interact with multiple systems, have multiple triggers, and do multiple actions. Zapier has a lot of options, but this can make it a little trickier to learn for some folks. We recommend Zapier to businesses that have more complex needs for automation and are operating primarily with B2B systems.
What we think: Although IFTTT (if this, then that) has less integrations than Zapier (~600), it caters to a different crowd. It’s integrations are mainly within the B2C space, and works a bit better with social media & consumer apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Spotify. IFTTT is a bit simpler to use but doesn’t provide the ability to do multiple triggers or complex actions. It’s also priced more affordably, making IFTTT a great choice for businesses with simpler needs or who want to connect consumer platforms.
Spreadsheets / Databases
What we think: Airtable blends the ease of use and familiarity of spreadsheets with the powerful functionality of a relational database. For the no-code audience, this means Airtable can serve as a data source for you to build on top of. Airtable’s automation means you can trigger actions from Airtable, which can help you build a lot more functionality on it. We like how we can set up different views of data in Airtable as well as the many pre-built apps and templates that you can get started with. For those who aren’t familiar with databases, there can be a slight learning curve to making the most out of Airtable, but overall its mix of functionality and usability make it a great choice for almost any business.
What we think: Excel’s cloud-based, more collaborative cousin, Google Sheets has been ubiquitous in the business world for over a decade. Used for everything from tracking inventory, charting sales, or recording customer issues, Sheets can do a lot, and its collaborative features can let you edit and share as a team. If there’s any strike against it, it’s that Sheets is still just a spreadsheet, and it doesn’t serve well as a database. However, it’s free and it’s incredibly useful, making it something we recommend for small and mid-sized businesses who aren’t working with enormous amounts of data.
What we think: Tadabase is a unique take on the no-code database, essentially letting you create your own business database custom to your needs. You start by defining your data and relationships, and then you can build simple pages to interact with your data. We like its unique components, like calendars and kanban boards, which can give your users a much different database view than usual. However, the page builder is a bit limited currently in design flexibility, and there aren’t many integrations as yet. We recommend Tadabase if you want to build your own powerful, relational database for your business but don’t need many integrations.
Notes / Documents
What we think: Notion is a powered-up note-taking app with a lot of great features, like a kanban board, customizable layouts, and team collaboration tools. It can be everything from a personal notebook to an employee handbook to a team wiki / knowledge base. One of our favorite things about Notion is that you can embed just about anything in your notes, and create subpages and structure throughout your Notion workspace. One negative is that we found the way Notion groups text into blocks was a little clunky and took some getting used to. Notion is also a complex product with some learning curve, but we think it’s best-in-class if you need a note-taking app that wear a lot of different hats.
What we think: Coda presents a unique mixture of documents, spreadsheets and connected apps within a single place. We love its flexibility and how you can freely customize the size and position of the elements you’re placing within Coda. It’s very easy to create something that matches closely to your team’s workflow. Coda alleviates the bouncing back and forth from a spreadsheet to a document to a presentation that’s typical for many workers, and makes collaboration extremely easy as well. Because it’s such an open canvas, Coda does have a learning curve and figuring out how to fully incorporate its functionality can take some planning ahead. Coda’s tables also don’t exactly behave like spreadsheets, and you might miss features like cell-based formulas. On the whole though, Coda is a very useful tool, especially if you have many scattered documents and spreadsheets in your typical workflow.
E-commerce / Payments
What we think: If your business needs a website and an online store and a payments solution, Shopify is a great all-in-one solution. We think it’s great on the design end, with a number of pre-built templates or the option to code your own. It also works with almost any payment option you can think of and comes with an inventory management system for your shop. On the downside, all of its features mean it can be less intuitive than simpler platforms, and Shopify charges transaction fees on payment channels, unless you use Shopify Payments. For these reasons, we think Shopify is a great pick for any business that wants to quickly get both a website and store online, and especially those with physical inventory.
What we think: Although Weebly started out as a no-code website builder, its acquisition by payments giant Square and its subsequent focus on e-commerce have made it a strong alternative to Shopify. Weebly has modern templates, is super easy to get started with, and lets you sell digital goods easily. What we like best though, is Weebly’s lower costs - they don’t charge any additional fees on transactions, and its overall pricing is more affordable. On the downsides, we found customer support to be not as responsive (when compared to Shopify) and the platform’s simplicity also means there’s less customization features available. Overall, we recommend Weebly for businesses who want to get an online shop running quickly and easily and at low cost.
Since this primer can only cover so much, we wanted to share some additional sites for you to continue learning more about no-code. Both of these sites feature a list of no-code tools, as well as educational resources and a helpful community of builders. Check them out!
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