Do you have a brilliant idea and you want to build a startup, but the only thing that stands in your way is the fact that you can't code, and your financial situation is not the best one?
We have good news for you!
Time, money, or coding knowledge are no longer barriers to building web applications. Using no-code tools, you can go from idea to fully-fledged digital product in less time than it would take you to find a technical co-founder and for a fraction of the cost of outsourcing your development.
No-code tools simplify the design, development, and deployment of a web app, making it easier and faster to get your idea off the ground.
We’ve all heard success stories about those startups that began in someone’s dorm room and went on to become billion dollar companies.
We love hearing about underdogs rising up and winning. Today’s no-code tools allow businesses to be the underdogs — enabling them to build and launch without the need to write code.
But with all this choice and such a high quality of no-code platforms to choose from, how can you be sure you go with the best no-code tool for your needs?
To avoid confusion — and help you steer clear of analysis paralysis when faced with too many tools to choose from — we’ve put together this list of the top 10 no-code tools used by both the Pensil team and community.
We know these tools inside out and our community trusts them too, so you can be sure they’re among the best out there.
-- Disclaimer: this list was compiled using a survey and listening to our community. It's not definitive, and there are way more than 15 top tools in the no-code space. We'll be continuously adding to this list! --
From launching websites, building workflow automations, and developing apps, no-code platforms can help startups quickly build and launch.
Here are 15 no-code solutions to help startups, freelancers, and small businesses create without having to write code.
Webflow is a favorite no-code website builder of startups, indie makers, and fast-growing companies. You can build professional, responsive, and custom websites in a beautiful visual way with no code.
What makes Webflow different is the ability to have full customizable control over the content, layout, functionality and, crucially, the design of a website. This removes one of the biggest pain points traditionally experienced between designers and developers — no more waiting for a front-end developer to implement a designer’s wishes.
Webflow is an ideal no-code platform for early stage startups or SaaS companies that want to build an advanced website for their services or products. The visual design and code are not separated, which makes it a powerful in-browser design tool to launch your idea or product with a very neat and professional look.
Easy to use and intuitive, Webflow has a CMS-based database functionality. You can create everything from landing pages to ecommerce stores, and it offers a wide range of integrations with third parties.
If you are looking to launch a website for your business that can evolve easily as you grow, and you don’t want to be limited by design functionality, Webflow is definitely a contender of choice.
No ‘top no-code platforms’ list would be complete without Bubble. It is without a doubt one the most advanced no code platforms currently available.
With Bubble you can create and launch almost any kind of website or app, including SaaS platforms, marketplaces and CRMs, all without code.
The learning curve is a bit steep, but once you’ve mastered Bubble, the possibilities are endless. It allows full freedom of design and capability, and Bubble’s drag-and-drop functions will enable any creative ideas to come to life.
It includes full database functionality and, unlike Webflow, Bubble offers a complete range of back-end possibilities — which makes you feel like a coder, without being one!
If you’re looking to build complex web apps or extend your apps with external APIs, Bubble is the best and most complete no-code choice.
⭐ Shopify (for eCommerce)
Pensil is a community building tool. It offers a forum-based platform where you and your community can digitally meet, exchange and grow together.
Pensil goes beyond the standard forum format, though — you can create different spaces for private or public discussion, interest groups, and exclusive spaces for your premium members, if needed.
Pensil can be white-labeled too, so whether you run memberships, courses, coaching, podcasts, newsletters, or you have a brand or startup, you can make your community forum slot perfectly into your website or other current online experience.
What’s more, if you’re a Facebook group owner or manager of a community on another existing platform, you can easily migrate your people to Pensil for a better organized space to turn them into lifetime fans.
And if you're looking to start your own community from scratch, this tool will help you.
Founded in 2012, Airtable has cemented itself as one of the top sheet-based no-code tools.
It’s essentially a very advanced version of Google Sheets (with some special sauce thrown in).
Typically, spreadsheets can quickly become disorganized and messy, and keeping a tight hold on all your formulas can be a challenge. Meanwhile, building databases from scratch can sound (and be) daunting, and often requires knowledge of coding languages like PHP and MySQL.
This is where Airtable comes in: it is a spreadsheet-database hybrid that helps you create and organize databases with the same functionalities as a spreadsheet, but the power of an easy-to-use online platform.
CEO Howie Lui aims to make Airtable “software’s version of Lego, providing blocks to let any business build do-it-yourself custom software cheaply and quickly.”
Once you’re in Airtable, you organize your data in rows and columns just like in a spreadsheet. But you can use and compare that data just like in a database — best suited if you need to organize large amounts of information.
As mentioned above, what makes Airtable even more powerful is the release of their Blocks feature. With Blocks, you can add on modular apps to further your workflows beyond just sheets.
If your projects contain database information, and you’ve yet to unlock the power of Airtable, we highly recommend you give it a go.
The notion is the latest no-code app builder that combines all of your daily work apps into one. It’s a one-stop shop for you and your colleagues.
In Notion, publishing a page to the web is as simple as clicking a button. You can create stunning web pages without the help of a professional. In fact, you can also publish them yourself.
Truly, Notion’s entire goal is to provide teams and departments with the freedom and collaboration they require both in and out of the office. Your team can collaborate, set projects, track processes, and much more using Notion.
Notion is best described as a data management powerhouse. It is amazing for spreadsheets, databases, documents, and projects. It allows for note taking and wiki making all in a collaborative environment.
Buy Me a Coffee is a great way to create your page code-free and get it up and running instantly and start making money.
It’s a wonderful platforms for creators to get support for anything they may be sharing with the community, such as valuable content, resources, etc or in fact offer to “Buy me a coffee” if offering free talks on essentially anything.
For example, on my personal website (dansiepen dot io), I have “Buy Me a Coffee” button where I get visitors donating money through Paypal to say thanks for offering content and wanting to organise a call, in exchange for buying me a coffee.
It’s a very cool concept and has taken off in the maker world. Rather than always just building an email list, this may be a good option to explore :)
With Glide, you can create an app from a Google Sheet in just a few minutes, with no code! It converts spreadsheets into beautiful, easy-to-use apps offering a clean and simple user experience.
Something to note: unlike some other mobile and web app builders, Glide isn’t a drag-and-drop editor. It reflects only what is in your spreadsheets, with a library of templates to choose from or the option of a blank slate. However, if you already have your data and you’re looking to launch an app quickly, Glide should be your tool of choice.
Glide is the perfect no-code tool if you want to build simple apps quickly for a project or build a prototype. You will be able to launch the app on iOS and Android, and even accept payments through your app.
What’s more, Glide has one of the lowest learning curves of our no-code tool list.
Zapier is, beyond any doubt, one of the world’s most well-known no-code tools. If you’ve ever used tools on this list (or one of more than 3,000 others), chances are you’ve come across Zapier to synchronize tasks between them.
Described as “the glue of the web”, Zapier allows you to automate any tasks between tools, saving you hundreds of hours of manual and repetitive work.
They claim more than 1.8M individuals and businesses and integrate with more than 3,000 apps. That means that you can connect and automate almost anything, having your operations on auto-pilot 24/7.
This is personally one of my favorite tools. If you need to automate your business and/or make your tools work flawlessly with each other, Zapier is the first tool that should come to your mind!
Mailchimp is one of the world's largest marketing automation platforms to grow your business.
The grandfather of EMS platforms (founded in 2001 — time flies!), Mailchimp can sometimes feel a little old school, especially if you’re well-versed in more modern no-code tools. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a reliable and robust tool. It’s also easy to learn and use, even for the most non-technical email marketers.
Mailchimp offers all the basic features you need for emailing, and more — such as landing pages and pop ups to capture leads. It is really good for ecommerce (the Shopify integrations are superb, for example) and has one of the highest number of integrations with other tools on the market.
If you are new to emailing, or if you want to have a solid marketing tool to build a relationship with your audience — including reporting and analytics — Mailchimp should be your go-to no-code tool.
The pricing model is based on the number of contacts in your list however, so you should consider whether it is financially the right fit for your business.
If you’re a writer, then you must learn more about Substack. This online tool allows you to build paid newsletters with very minimal effort, so you can focus on doing what you do best!
Most writers want to send out quality content to their viewers but want to make sure they can somehow monetise it. Of course, you can already do this but it’s not that easy to subscribe to a newsletter subscription service which has very good UX.
Substack allows you to build a paid email service through which you can send newsletters to your clients without any trouble.
Substack is growing fast and have heard nothing but great things. So if you want to build a newsletter business, the Substack is one of the best platforms to use.
You may know a little bit about what no-code can do but want to learn more. Maybe you’d like to create something, but don’t even know if anything out there can help you. Makerpad has tutorials, tools, case studies, new apps, and other resources to help anyone find a solution for what they want to do.
Along with these resources, Makerpad has paid services that offer education, implementation, and support to startups and entrepreneurs with no-code solutions.
If you’re looking for an extensive collection of all things no-code, Makerpad has so much to offer.
Design interactions and animations without code
Build complex interactions and animations without even looking at code.
Used for building ‘people-friendly forms and surveys”, Typeform has overhauled the traditional, bog standard form and turned it into an experience that’s “made for humans”.
Using slick designs and an interface that’s pleasing to use, Typeforms helps you create forms that encourage higher engagement and completion rates than typical survey software. There are advanced features on offer too, such as conditional logic — which displays questions based on respondents' answers.
You can use Typeform to build quizzes, surveys, forms, and polls, or to get feedback, do research, and generate leads. What’s more, with the recently added VideoAsk integration — which helps you create polls and forms through videos — creating a unique and interactive experience has never been easier.
If you’re looking to impress, and/or enjoy higher engagement rates on your forms, Typeform is where it’s at.
One of the most important features of e-commerce platforms is accepting payments. You need to have an error-free payment option to ensure a smooth experience and credibility among your users or customers.
Whilst platforms like Shopify, Squarespace and others are great with their payment options, what happens if you don’t use any of these platforms? What happens if you’re a creator just wanting to sell one item and provide a frictionless UX?
You can do this now by using Gumroad.
This tool allows you to build simple payment options for your website without any coding. Anyone can use this tool and has very affordable pricing solutions.
There’s been many creators who have processed over thousands and thousands of sales without the need of complex setups or huge transaction costs compared to some platforms out there.
Figma is a fantastic collaborative design tool. It has great support for design systems, as will as grabbing code snippets for styles used on any element.
If you want to build a website, apps, logos, and much more without writing a single line of code, Figma is your best bet. The app is a boon for UI/UX developers as it helps build great UI’s and embed them into projects in a short span.
No-code doesn't mean anti-code. There will always be a place for developers and their expertise. But not knowing how to code shouldn't stop people from being able to launch their ideas, build businesses, and follow their entrepreneurial aspirations. It's exciting to see so many no code development platforms out there opening up the gateways for non-programmers to create.
Do you have your own favorite no-code tool that we didn’t mention? Feel free to share in the comments below.
A monthly round-up of the latest features, fixes, and finesse we’ve added to Pensil
A monthly round-up of the latest features, fixes, and finesse we’ve added to Pensil
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