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An Open Letter to Webflow

What has become of Webflow ?

Let’s start by saying this : I love Webflow !
When I was looking to start my business, back in 2016, I took a lot of time to select the technology I would use, and when I stumbled upon Webflow, I had no doubt : this is it !

Although it was a bit expensive compared to Squarespace, Wix and others Web design tools, its users friendly UX allowed me to create websites with advanced design features in an easy manner for me, as I’m not a technical person. I still remember a Tweet from @callmevlad (or @thesergie I’m not sure anymore) back then illustrating his vision : allowing people who don’t know code to create websites via a super user friendly visual interface, as it was done for photo editing, video editing, but not yet for Webdesign. #Nocode

This vision is what made me believe that investing time to learn how to use Webflow in detail and grow with this product was a good bet. Although it was still in its early stages of its development, the quality of the product was good and its disruptive enabling power was a great asset. Plus important releases were happening (dynamic content, custom interactions, etc.) and the roadmap was filled with good features, prioritised by the–led Wishlist…
This bet, paid off. And I’d forever be grateful to Webflow for enabling me to start my agency.

However, this was 4 to 5 years ago…

Fast-forwarding today : many things happened - but not everything went in the direction expected.
There are 3 main issues that are now plaguing Webflow, and making it more difficult to use everyday:

1 - The customers voice is being ignored in the dev process.
How can a company be credible and trustable if the main functionalities requested by its users are not being developed ?
Customer Account and multi language have been requested for 5 and 4 years now respectively. I’m mean, this is not getting something exotic done, these functionalities are completely standard and everywhere else.
Sure, there’s ecommerce now. But without customer accounts, does it really make any sense ? And at that price ?
Those are the 2 main requested features, but there are so many more not being looked into…

Webflow’s strategy clearly evolved form creating a great NOCODE Webdesign tool, to relying on expensive 3rd parties to cover their short comings, or Finsweet, a partner agency, to provide custom code to enable the functionalities ? Look at the top wishlist requests, and some of the most standard features on Websites, with the current existing solutions:

  • Customer Accounts : Memberstack (paid addon)
  • Multi-language : Weglot (paid addon)
  • Real time sorting and filtering : Finsweet (custom code)
  • CMS powered slider : Finsweet (custom code)
  • Previous Next CMS items : : Finsweet (custom code)
  • Etc.

But instead, features are released like the Audit tool. It’s a nice tool to be honest, and the devs working on it did a nice job. But who asked for this ? Is it critical to your customers ? A bigger priority than the above features or any of those in the Wishlist ?
To me it seems more like you’ve created a business interest with this 3rd parties and you’re putting them ahead of core development.

2 - Webflow is becoming slower, laggier and buggier
The performance of the designer is getting terrible, and it crashes regularly !!! I mean, I can’t even run the designer in a normal Chrome window, it must be constantly in Incognito mode. And the amount of time I need to restart my computer completely because adding images a Collection becomes impossible insane…

3 - Customer support give a damn
I’ll let you check this one out directly in the forum. their are so many comments about support lack of service it’s shocking…

So for these reason, I’ve taken the decision to no longer bring new web projects in webflow’s. Any site not yet validated will be released on a different plateform.
This, for me, is sad. I feel part of the Webflow community, I’ve worked over 4 years on Webflow, and I feel part of it. However, following the announcement of the Multilanguage feature, my trust is gone. I don’t believe in your roadmap anymore and I don’t want to take the risk to go more year without getting any additional key functionalities

This is not yet goodbye, as existing projects will remain on Webflow for the time being, but it does feel like it anyway.

Hopefully, the needs expressed will become realigned with your product strategy at some point. When this happens, I’ll probably be here. But in the mean time, be aware that competition didn’t stay still in the past years, and theire offering is quickly becoming better.

KR

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Thank you for this message. As someone just starting a company utilizing Webflow it is helpful.

As far as issues with the designer… never had an issue and never ran in incognito. Do you find it’s with all your projects or just the larger ones?

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Need to re-up this.

We have hit no less than THREE “Page Unresponsive” errors in the past 24 hours. It’s unacceptable. 50 pages, 500 collection items. We cannot be the only people who run complete websites on Webflow, right?

It’s only gotten worse in the past two months: just what is going on at Webflow’s HQ? If people’s heads aren’t on fire by the many customers suffering these issues, what on Earth has happened to our sites in the Designer?

I feel like I’m a paid beta-tester, now two short years into the Webflow ‘experiment’.

Webflow1
Webflow2
Webflow3

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I’m happy to live with Webflow’s feature limitations. At least we can find out about them - there is a whole post on these forums that spells them out in black and white. If a project is better suited to another platform then so be it. Not a biggie.

However what I can’t live with are the performance issues. These have derailed so many projects I’ve worked on. As projects grow larger, the designer becomes unusable a large portion of the time. It’s infuriating to work with. This topic has been discussed at length on these forums for years, with no response from Webflow. See my linked comment above where @TG2 complied a list of these posts. I gave up hope of Webflow addressing this a long time ago.

+1 for this, I’m in the same boat. In fact I deleted my personal subscription because I didn’t feel that Webflow was providing me with value for money. I don’t even care about the multi-language thing personally, I’m happy that Webflow has come out with the truth about it. Right now I’m still bound to Webflow through all the projects I’ve done in the past through agencies so can’t see myself escaping just yet.

What disappoints me is that there has been zero follow through from this statement from Vlad in April last year. In fact Jiaona’s first post ever in these forums was just the other day to carry out damage control on a Webflow feedback thread. Despite the Webflow forums being full of paid users, I guess Webflow’s VP of Product talks to users of the product somewhere else?

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@Dave_Birnie @TG2 I have issues even on a 2 pages site I’m building right now. It’s for a photo professional, and I’m stuck regularly adding items in the Collection for its portfolio. The “create” item button just remains greyed out when I want to validate a new item… And I had this with other projects as well.

I also have customers complaining about similar issues with the Editor. Raised many many times to the support team with the slowest follow up on earth (we’re talking weeks here !!!) and no solution.
I swear, support team’s feedback is 90% of the time “this is a problem with your web browser and it’s extensions, all is fine on our end”. But I’m working in incognito with all extensions blocked all the time :thinking:

Overall, the communication from Webflow has become really poor. Just look at the wishlist thread regarding multilanguage : Multi-language sites and CMS fields | Webflow Wishlist. Dozens of customers voiced there disappointment and the only ones who came to the rescue of the backlash were:

  • Weglot’s CEO. And he’s simply defending his product
  • Someone who looks like he’s a Weglot and Webflow affiliate
  • Finsweet’s CEO Joe Krug, who defends Weglot as currently the best option for multilanguage, and thus clearly didn’t understand that the point of this wishlist was to have a native solution build so there’s no need to rely on a paid 3rd party as the best solution

Not a Word from Webflow… 3 years ago, something like that had happened, @callmevlad would have jumped on the thread. Now nothing…

Things like that would have happened at Tesla, Elon Musk would be all over the place… I even remember reading about Steve Jobs firing its Head of Product on the spot after the disastrous release of Apple Cloud. And there are many examples out there.
Why do these companies thrive ? They first listen to their customers, not just the Shareholders who are only buttering you up for an IPO and make a huge return on their investment. Don’t get me wrong, It’s ok for them to get that return. They put their trust and money in the company, and business is business. But @webflow should keep the bullsh*t MBA talk for them, not for their customers. And I do have an MBA, so trust me, I know what it is…

Regarding the limitations, I guess it’s ok if you’re producing simple websites for small companies, with just the minimum functionalities…
For me, this is not really the case, or at least not anymore. My main customer category are hotels and restaurants, so they need to communicate in several languages, sell vouchers, etc. None of which can be done 100% in Webflow. I mean for ecommerce, we’ve had to go for @foxy as they deliver the functionalities at a much lower price than Webflow. But then, the setup is a bit more complex…

And also, pushed by the pandemic, the market has quickly changed. Businesses looking to get a website want a proper ecommerce solution, customer accounts to manage orders and CRM, etc. etc. and all this at an affordable price. Webflow could have been at this stage today. But now it’s getting too late. And others are rushing in to take their place.
Have you seen the speed at which EditorX is improving ? Did you notice they are cheaper ? They capabilities are not a match yet, but Webflow’s product team needs to wake up and smell the coffee.
The company raised over $200M ? Well done and deserved. But the honeymoon is over guys, you gotta roll stuff out now and not pour all the investment in fancy video ads.
Before starting my (tiny) agency, I was a Head of Marketing, in startups and also in bigger companies ($2billions in yearly turnover big) and I can tell you that if I had let the product development direction go so far south from the needs of my customer, it would have been a blood bath.

Someone shared this great article about InVision’s downfall. I can’t believe how close this feels to what is happening with Webflow: https://uxdesign.cc/the-rise-and-fall-of-invision-dc2d58c65534

Anyway, what can I do. I’m probably too small and this rant is probably going to be ignored, like many others… Hopefully this relationship can be saved, we’ll see. If not, there will be others…

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We are sadly experiencing the same with webflow was great at the beginning.

We thought the features on the wishlist would someday be released but simple things like assets management or the gallery feature took them almost 2-3 years before it was released.

If you want to sell webflow websites you need a lot of custom code or 3rd party tools to make a normal website.

Also the last 2-3 years the editor becomes slower laggier en buggier. Some of the big websites we build in webflow are almost uneditable in the designer and editor.

The thing that sucks the most is webflow is completly sillent.
The only thing you hear from support is ye we know but i cant give you a timeline for that…

We really feel as some testdummies and people to pay the development for webflow once they are done im not sure if they still want us on the platform or only the big enterprises…

really sad feels like something is wrong with webflow so we stopped selling untill webflow start working on their communication and be more transparant.

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Just to illustrate my previous point. This is costing me hours…

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Honestly… I do believe this is an issue with the user/hardware or more likely your internet. I have 3 laptops I use web flow on, 1 Mac purchased in 2012, a Lenovo purchased 2 years ago, and a low-quality Dell. I have never had issues loading, saving, or anything across any of them in the designer, editor, or on the site.

Maybe try and uninstall your chrome and reinstall.

After having built countless sites in Webflow since 2016 on different machines and different internet connections I can tell you categorically that it is not a hardware or internet connection issue. It’s an issue when sites reach a certain size or level of CMS complexity.

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Ditto on all the comments here. I saw the writing on the wall years and years ago. I stopped developing on Webflow except for the occasional front-end design, which I designed in Webflow and then connected to my other CMSs. It’s felt for some time that WF was getting high on its own success. To this day a far less limiting way to handle CSS rules has still not seen the light of day. It’s been over 8 years. How can a company be reliant on such an integral partner if the basic necessities are not addressed?! I love the vision of WF and your marketing is spot in, but after the sizzle we want meat and potatoes.

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I do truly hope webflow read this post and take it to heart as a true wake-up call.

Otherwise somebody please release a program that covers their current great functionalities along with the other basics that everyone is crying out for.

Surely after now having received such a huge funding (and bragging about it to all the subscriber list), you can find 5 employees to spend 5 short weeks to create the 10 highest hits on the wishlist!

If you don’t listen to your customers, your $2Bil value could very suddenly become -$2Bil.

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I’m with you on a lot of this.

My personal bette noir is asset management; an area that is only just being addressed after years of complaints, despite the fact that it was very high up the wish list. How ecommerce was introduced before this is beyond me - evidence: read the comments of people on Webflow forums asking about selling online and being recommended Shopify…

I was with another web company a few years ago and I remember how it all went wrong when they got their new investment - stacks of new features, instability everywhere…

Please don’t let it happen Webflow.

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I was and still happy with Webflow, but it has been going in the wrong direction lately.
It seems as if the company focuses mainly on its shareholders and no longer on it’s prof. users.
No answer’s to support questions. Slow, expensive and an increasingly unstable platform.

What is a good alternative? Or should I go back to Drupal? Was always time-consuming, but with version 9 coming up maybe a good choice again?

And the Webflow wishlist? I think it’s just up there for the show.

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That’s precisely what I was thinking when I said

Shareholders care about quick revenue increases, and the easiest and cheapest way to get that is by increasing “revenue per user” from your existing users base.
I’m a marketing professional and know this well : recruiting new users is more expensive than increasing revenue from existing ones (like 6x more expensive on average). So if you get existing users on new paid products, let’s say for example WeGlot maybe :thinking:, and you get a share of that revenue, that’s more money coming in at very low expense for the company.

It’s smart and an easy win, nothing wrong with that.

Whats wrong is disregarding customers open request of native solutions. Considering this example, they should think of Weglot as a premium automatic translation solution that users buy instead of paying professional translators. But it should certainly NOT be the only solution to have a proper multilingual site. Especially when you consider the amount of requests you have for this…

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I’ve been considering adopting WebFlow for some of my clients, so this thread is very informative.

Thanks!

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@rmanke keep in mind these are concerns from people who have been using webflow for a long time. These are insider baseball concerns. My guess is that if you were to ask everyone on this thread, most of them would still choose Webflow hands down. This is in-family fighting:)

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John, I would not trivialize what people are sharing here. Webflow has some serious issues that show up frequently on medium to large sites.

When people come to Webflow they don’t benefit from knowing what will work and what won’t. Frank discussions about limitations and shortcomings are necessary since Webflow chooses not to confront them directly instead of relying on marketing to minimize the potential impact. When you know where the mines are, you can avoid stepping on them.

Support seems to be entirely behind the eight-ball at this point and that matters. I just deployed two sites to Shopify and needed help three times. I got it on chats and a call with almost no wait time during off days and weird hours. Issues resolved and moved on with no wasted time. I also deployed a client site to WIX because the API is feature-rich and robust. Webflow is an excellent fit for many sites (mostly marketing types IMHO) and not a right choice for others. The thing about tools is you have to choose what meets your needs and works NOW. Not what might in the future. I had been saying that about multi-language features countless times. Finally, Webflow mentions that they won’t be doing anything for the foreseeable future in the Wishlist of all places. It should have been a post right in these forums. I had hoped with the last round of funding that they would have sprinted on all the major wishlist items they “planned”. It did not happen, and they burned through the previous financing and, for the looks of it, on marketing. So they went to the well again. Waiting to hear what the new plans are, if any.

Clients come in all sizes and with different needs. Matching them up to the right solution at a price they can afford is of the highest importance. Let the light shine. Companies become better or die.

I would like to see more support from Webflow in the forums since the staff has mostly gone silent. It’s like a ghost town now.

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The complete silence (once again) is what’s most concerning for me. They pop their heads in like once every three months, then go completely quitet, trickling out some arbitrary functions no one wants and perhaps a smaller wishlist item every six months without tackling some of the many pressing issues. What are they doing? Why are they so slow? Why are they not communicating? I feel like we have this dance and spiel every year.

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Even on small ones to be honest. Like 5 pages, 3 Collections, 80 CMS Items small if you take my previous example…

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