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An Open Letter to Webflow

Not responding opens the door to speculations. That’s never a good sign.
So.
Maybe there in the process off selling the company? Cash in en walk away!

Point taken. I have a couple of sites on the pages limit (more flexible than single template CMS) but my use of collections as been minor. As soon as I know I will need lots of dynamic data I build off Webflow as I find the lack of structural nesting a real SEO barrier.

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@jhiggins

So wouldn’t that make us the exact group of people to be listening to? You know, people who have actually used Webflow for years, thoroughly kicked the tyres and understand it? There would easily be 1000’s of combined Webflow site builds of experience between the people giving feedback here. If I was a newcomer I would take that over marketing spin any day.

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@jasondark @webdev I agree with both of you. But I was just concerned that someone who is just entering in might overvalue the problems. That fact that we’re all on the webflow forum, bustling about these things is evidence in itself.

Overvalue? Maybe I’m reading this wrong.

Designers coming to Webflow are probably going to want to know their time learning it is going to be an investment that keeps giving; and isn’t going to hamper their growing along with their client.

A landing page client could turn into one needing something more robust BUT definitely what should easily be within the realm of WF. I mean some of the items mentioned here and others are so fundamental to other CMSs, it’s baffling why they still haven’t made it here.

The collection item limits is concerning. It’s like the infrastructure is being taxed and it needs reined in so it can a accommodate the load. Also, the responsiveness of the app suffers as the DB grows. I work with another CMS where one million pages plus (with complicated nesting of data structures) is handled with remarkable efficiency.

I’d love to see feature freeze for two years in order to nip the fundamentals.

Oh, and there’s a very real possibility that WF as built, when it was in its infancy, made sense. But it may not get better no matter how much money they throw at the current stack. That’s a different story but so fundamental to how responsive we see the app and it’s ability to get out of our way so we can get our work done.

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@fuzenco I got an email from a Webflow product manager today asking me to fill out a survey they are running investigating adding logic flows to Webflow. It would seem that the priority list in Webflow HQ does not include resolving any major underlying issues, rather adding nice to have functionality that I’ve never heard anyone ask for. There is no sign of improvement, it’s almost funny at this point :joy:

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Agree with this! I have fast internet and a brand new macbook pro. Sites seem fine until they hit about 30 pages and then get slower and slower and slower. We don’t even build huge websites, but with landing pages, legal pages etc along with all the standard inner content pages we typically hit around 50-60 in total. It makes it start to become painful to make little changes for ongoing website maintenance once the website is live.

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Yep, I can’t figure it out. It’s like they’re tone deaf. Can you imagine the thunderous applause if the asset manager alone got some love :thinking:

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I think Webflow has to comment on the numerous complains/issues. Hopefully @Brittni_at_Webflow can give us some perspective as to what steps Webflow is taking to address these issues. I honestly never had any issues with Webflow and support has always been fast and reliable. I’m fully aware though, that as Webflow grows more and more issues would arrive. I think it is just fair for Webflow to get back to the community, that has helped Webflow grow so much, with an answer or at least with an action plan.

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It’s strange. I have a client with 2500 CMS items and a lot of custom code. Every couple of months the editor halts to a grind and it becomes impossible to change anything. So I contact Webflow support and send them the read only link. I never get a response but the website becomes responsive again out of nowhere. Fast forward another 2 months, and I have to rinse and repeat. Hosting is dirt cheap now. Why are we paying 40+ usd per month for sub par performance that can be fixed with a click? Can’t they just elastically give us more resources as the site gets bigger? Why even have a 10k CMS plan?

The past 3 months, I’ve started building on webflow and then had to tell the client that what they want is not possible halfway through development and that we need to move to a different platform with no cost. Webflow is literally costing me money now. I’m also using it for my portfolio site and I export that and host it on Netlify for free. And I’ve been here since 2017.

Logic flows? Why? Just another half assed trendy feature. Fix the CMS updates UX, fix the performance issues, talk to your clients who have spent thousands on the product through the years. Ugh.

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Just taking a lead from square rather than stripe would be very useful.

I’m not on a webflow plan yet but my company is running currently on shopify and I want to switch to webflow due to more freedom in design. However, I still fell a hold back due to the limitations and a huge wishlist that seems to mould away. Some features in the wishlist are hanging there for years now (like customer portal that got announced as ‘coming soon’ years ago)

I feel like that webflow is missing out on a tone of real estate regarding e-commerce. I would love to see progress on e-commerce and make it a strong option against Shopify, but reading and being in contact with current weblfow users makes me think.

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In a nutshell - this is Webflow’s future path. Don’t say your customers were silent all these years

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Webflow’s official reaction: Approved by @callmevlad

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Lots of reading above,
but here’s mine as a long-term Webflow Pro and Team user.


Problem 1: Webflow’s support is bad, really bad.

  • No or super slow response (to paying customers).
  • They like to tell people go to the forum for answers or post on the wishlist.
  • If not, model answer: This is a design question. Sorry.

How to be better:

  • Come on. Hire more CS people.
  • Find some CS professionals to lead the team and support workflow.
  • Instead of ignoring questions and refuse to answer, CS should answer by pointing out why a question is not a Webflow problem, or a simple hint / direction to solve the issue.

Problem 2: Webflow should improve faster

  • There are many updates throughout a year, but not enough really… especially real significant new features and enhancements. See: Latest updates and features | Webflow
  • Many seemingly basic and commonly needed features are missing: https://wishlist.webflow.com
  • Take a look at how long it is needed for a “Wish” to come true.
  • Still, still, no customer account feature for e-commerce. Years…

How to be better:

  • Roll out faster, improve later.
  • Invest more in development.

Problem 3: A lot of weird limitations

  • See: "► [LIST] Feature Availability & Limits "
  • Limit to 5 items for nested collection list… 5…
  • Still no search function in the CSS class list, seriously?
  • Worst and weakest “Rich-text Editor” ever.

How to be better:

  • Um, just remove the limitations pls…
  • Unlock more limitations with business hosting.

Problem 4: Clients refuse to use Webflow

  • Clients commonly refuse to use Webflow after they investigate themselves.
  • The client thinks their site will need more custom functions in the future. Webflow does not look like it is future-proof.
  • Data-security, controls, compliance, ownership, etc…

How to be better:

  • Webflow’s marketing should be able to show that many serious corporates are using Webflow, but not only how people and creative agencies can create their portfolio with Webflow.
  • Much more robust API.
  • Webflow: Don’t convince me, ( help me ) convince my clients.

Problem 5: Poor in collaboration

  • Easy to have conflicts when Editor(s) and Designer edit at the same time.
  • Webflow “Designer” cannot work together on the same project. ( I understand this is difficult. )

How to be better:

  • Simple locking mechanism and warning similar to WordPress.

Problem 6: Webflow sites are not accessible in China

  • Visitors in China cannot access Webflow website.
  • Huge drawback in Asia, as China is a super huge and important market in Asia.

How to be better:

  • Not expecting a fast connection, but sites could be accessible in China, and it is actually not too difficult. Options such as:
    1. Allow us to turn off Cloudfront CDN, at least an option to remove the cdn jQuery src link.
    2. Detect China visitors, and automatically turn off CDN.

I mean Webflow is truly a great product. I love using it so much.
That’s why I have higher expectations.

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Btw, for those who may not know, multi-lingual is an extremely complicated feature. It is wiser to use 3rd party services no matter it is a simple site or a professional site.

And Weglot is not the only option that works with Webflow.

Hi everyone,

Thank you all for sharing your candid experience and perspectives with us. There’s so much to respond to, and so many issues to tackle, that I have honestly been feeling stuck in how to let this community know that we’re truly listening and are taking your input very seriously to change course – so I’ve decided to just write personally from the heart even if we don’t yet have detailed plans to share with you on how we’ll address each of your concerns.

At Webflow, one of our core behaviors that we strive to live by is “start with customers” – and it’s hard to argue that our actions have matched our intentions when it comes to actively engaging with our loyal customers and addressing really core needs like scalability and performance.

First of all, this has become my personal ongoing priority #1 as CEO now to solve in a sustainable way. Not just a bandaid to show we did something and move on, but to truly show our community that we’re listening and engaging with you on things that affect your livelihood, adoption of Webflow as a core part of your work, and confidence that we can scale with our community’s needs into the future. (I recognize that it should have never stopped being my top priority, and for that I’m truly sorry.)

While we don’t yet have a detailed plan to share with you all, in the interest of time I wanted to let you know directionally what we’re doing to address many of the broad themes brought up here – most notably customer voice, performance and stability, and customer support.

1. Customer voice. We’re working on funding and staffing a dedicated team of customer advocates and Webflow experts that have lots of influence and visibility internally and whose main charter will be to dramatically increase transparency and engagement in this forum and on the wishlist. This will increase our monetary investment in full-time staff on the forum by over 10X, and as we ramp up this team you should expect to see a huge difference in engagement and transparency from dedicated Webflow Staff here.

2. Scalability and performance. We’re forming a new targeted engineering team around scalability and performance (with a heavy initial focus on CMS slowdowns and limitations), whose charter will be to dramatically improve the experience of working on Webflow projects as they grow and scale. We also have a team-wide effort in progress right now with most of our engineering team focused on application-wide foundational core architecture improvements that will improve scalability, performance, quality, and the pace of future feature development. This work doesn’t result in new features shipped to you faster today, but we believe is absolutely critical for the long term success of Webflow to serve more complex customer demands. (It will also unlock the ability for developers to create a wide range of 3rd party extensions to Webflow.)

3. Customer support. We’re more than doubling our financial investment into growing our customer support team so that we can reach 24/7 support.

In the spirit of openness and honesty, we’re committing to share an update on each of these areas every 90 days going forward, regardless of whether we’ve met or exceeded the expectations our community has for Webflow’s progress. I’ll be personally accountable for driving this, and I genuinely look forward to getting feedback about how we’re doing.

As JZ mentioned in her recent post, we’ll have our first Community Business Review in early April, where we’ll share much more with you all on what our team is focusing on and how things are going. This includes an update on our active work towards our #1 requested feature – user logins and membership functionality!

These steps won’t happen overnight, and have reliance on hiring new staff and onboarding them. They also won’t solve every issue raised here, and won’t lead to every feature request prioritized the way that some would prefer – but I know they will lead to meaningful change that will help restore the tighter bond we had between our company and this community in our earlier years.

I also want to ease any fears that the company is somehow driven by some shadow shareholders driven by profit motives, or some desire to flip/sell. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Webflow is overwhelmingly owned by people who work here full-time and are driven by our mission to empower everyone to create for the web – and the investors we’ve brought on to help us expand faster share the same mission. Similar to Walt Disney’s ethos of “we don’t make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies”, our business serves to fuel our mission to bring the power of software creation far beyond the <0.5% of the world who knows how to code today.

That’s a long journey, and you are seeing some of the growing pains of us collectively trying to reach that vision. We appreciate your patience, but also don’t want to rely solely on it – that would be unfair to this community that has helped bring Webflow to where we are today.

Thank you for reading, and from the bottom of my heart thank you for investing in us and believing in us – I wholeheartedly believe that Webflow will rise to the occasion to ensure that you can rely on us to scale with you into the far future.

With gratitude,
Vlad

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I think it’s important for everyone to know that @callmevlad 's last post was 9 months ago and had a very similar tone: Webflow has secured $76m in funding, are we going to see any improvements in your dev team? - #136 by Siton_Systems

That post largely addressed the stagnancy of the wishlist, and I quote “we will do a better job of providing updates on what things are in flight on the Wishlist.” Here is what the wishlist looked like in April of 2020 (reminder: 9 months ago) when this post was made (https://web.archive.org/web/20200425022243/https://wishlist.webflow.com/):
Screen Shot 2021-01-29 at 4.17.58 PM

Here is what it looked like over two weeks ago (I took this screenshot when this post was made (So has The Wishlist been abandoned? - #18 by Jiaona_Zhang):
Screen Shot 2021-01-13 at 9.22.00 AM

I’d post what the what it looks like today but it would be a repeat of the above screenshot. The only response in the wishlist was a handful of admin updates on random top items saying “yeah, we’re not gonna do this.”

It’s great that you are “listening” to us. Back that up with action, not idle talk. It’s great that you “appreciate our patience”. It’s becoming abundantly clear many of us are running out of it.

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@jmkriz That is perfectly valid criticism, and I know that only our actions will speak louder than words.

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TBH, that is the whole point.

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