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The Difference Between Webflow's 'CMS' and 'Basic' Templates

Webflow offers a variety of templates to help designers jumpstart their projects. Two of the most common types of templates available on the platform are 'CMS' and 'Basic' templates. These templates might look identical at first glance, but they have some significant differences in functionality and use-cases. Understanding these differences is crucial to maximize the efficiency of your Webflow projects.

What are Basic Templates?

Basic templates in Webflow are static, meaning they are ideal for creating websites with fixed content that doesn't need to be updated frequently. They are perfect for simple, informational websites that require minimal interaction from the users. When using a basic template, updating any piece of information means you will have to manually change it on each page where it appears, which might be time-consuming for large websites.

What are CMS Templates?

On the other hand, CMS (Content Management System) templates are designed for dynamic content. These templates are driven by 'collections' which are essentially databases that allow you to easily update and create various parts of your website, such as a blog, product listings, or news articles. The dynamic nature of CMS templates means that when you or a teammate creates or changes content in the CMS, it instantly updates on all the pages where it's referenced, saving you a lot of time and effort.

Limitations to Consider

It's important to note that projects with CMS items cannot have basic hosting. You can find more information on this subject and other limitations on Webflow's pricing page and on the project settings page.

Which Template Should You Choose?

The choice between a Basic and a CMS template largely depends on the nature and requirements of your project. If you're building a simple website with static content that doesn't change often, a Basic template might be the best choice. However, if your project involves a blog, a news site, or an eCommerce store where content needs to be constantly updated or added, opting for a CMS template would be the more efficient option.

Both Basic and CMS templates in Webflow offer a solid starting point for your projects, providing pre-designed structures that you can customize to fit your specific needs. Just remember to choose the one that aligns best with your project's requirements to ensure a smooth and efficient design process.

Pro Tip: Leverage the Power of Webflow's CMS even in Basic Templates

Did you know that even if you're working with a Basic template, you can still harness some of the power of Webflow's CMS capabilities? It's a little-known fact, but one that can significantly speed up your workflow.

Here's how: You can create a 'dummy' CMS collection for content that you frequently use across your Basic template website. This could include things like company details, team member bios, or frequently asked questions. Once you've set up the CMS collection, you can then link this data to your Basic template pages using a Webflow feature called 'collection lists'.

With collection lists, you can design a layout once and then have it automatically populated with items from your CMS collection. This means you only need to update your content in one place (the CMS collection), and it will be updated across all instances on your website. Pretty neat, right?

You can check out this Webflow guide on using collection lists to learn more about this powerful feature.

Note: While this method does not make your Basic template fully dynamic, it can still save you a lot of time when dealing with frequently used content. Just keep in mind that projects using CMS features are subject to different hosting requirements and pricing.

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