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Who are your clients?


#1

Last week I had an interesting conversation with a college of mine who was arguing that there is not a large market for webflow made sites.
His arguments:

  • it’s too expensive to host for most smaller clients
  • There are too many limitations (like you cant easily change your design compared with changing templates on wordpress etc)
  • as a client you are stuck with webflow hosting once you go this way (and if you decide to export the website you won’t be able to make any changes easily without a developer and forget about the CMS)
  • for most smaller clients squarespace and wix is the way to go – cheap, easy to create and edit, plenty of templates etc. For bigger clients Wordpress is the way to go – it’s well known, there are tons of plugins and features, there are many wordpress developers to help you with your website, you can host anywhere, including in the EU to be on the safe side with the GDPR.
  • Basically, Webflow is good for custom design websites. But how many people need it in 2018? Who needs to spend so much money on the design and then on hosting when you can have a nice looking website with wix/squarespace and a very advanced one with wordpress?

I didn’t find too many arguments for webflow, to be honest.

I would like to hear your arguments for using webflow. Who are your clients? Why do they opt for webflow?


#2

I think it really depends on the client and their needs. Webflow could improve the client handoff process and add more permission levels.

From a design perspective Webflow is much easier to come up with a great design and semantically it’s probably a bit better than Squarespace or other site builders like (Wix/Weebly). Webflow hosting is probably a bit more reliable as well. With Webflow it’s easy to create a custom CMS with custom fields.

The still need to improve things like Gallery and image cropping as well as more form handling options that you don’t have to zap. Or at a minimum have some way the client can have their own plan and let me sign in to design without needing a “seat” when I already pay for a design plan.

Squarespace does offer a number of tools that typical small business clients really like and use. But you do need to be careful on selecting a template and optimizing the site.


#3

May I ask you – who are your clients mostly?
I can see why most people still prefer to use Wordpress even though I use only webflow for all my personal projects. I am just finding it’s rather difficult to define a client who would be interested in a webflow custom design website.


#4

Your colleague is basically right. Webflow is kind of in no mans land. Not powerful enough to create most real world client sites, too expensive for lower budget brochure sites, its only really designers who can find a sweet spot in between.

That said it looks like Webflow is on the verge of something big. If they can add ecommerce without comprising on key functionality, pagination (really hard to believe it doesn’t have this, a CMS with no pagination???) and add user accounts (critical) in the next 12 months then its a whole new ballgame. Suddenly its a viable option over Wordpress.


#5

Pagination is an issue and there are other improvements that I think need addressed but overall it can still be a solid option over Wordpress. I think the dependability of the Webflow is one of it’s strong points. I’ve ran Wordpress sites for years without any major issues (knock on wood) but with Webflow it’s easier. It’s also possible to run Webflow sites without needing plugins for things like forms. And although I would like to see a better client handoff process or way to have a client have their own account (without needing a designer plan) that I could access for updates.


#6

jdesign
I totally agree that the dependability is a strong point. But for most European users issues like the GDPR and the hosting price is a huge minus. Here is a good german comparison between webflow and wordpress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7dJEDva5ek
The guy is pinpointing the problems with the GDPR (DSGVO in German) and the hosting prices by webflow.
All in all, I am still struggling to understand who are the main clients who want/need to use webflow over other tools. In your experience, who are the clients who could be interested in webflow instead of webflow/wix?


#8

On wordpress i want to add meta-title (The most basic idea ever) - no way hh. Download yoast (1,245 options for such basic task).

This idea true on WordPress 2008 maybe (For most users). Today most sites use builders like elementor / WPBakery (visual composer) or “mega-themes” like avada -or- X (No way to change Avada theme to X in one click (Maybe 20-30 hours)). In builders, it’s not so easy to change theme/design (No way for the client to do this anyway).

Themeforest top 5 themes:

  1. Avada (Fusion Builder)
  2. X theme (Cornerstone Builder)
  3. Enfold (Builder)
  4. Be (Builder)
  5. The7 (Builder)
  6. builder…7.builder until top 50-100 :slight_smile:

If all wordpress users like builders. Webflow is the best builder ever.


#9

Hey, Silton_Systems,
What types of clients you work with when using webflow? Small businesses, startups…?


#11

On Wordpress you pay for the hosting (In most Hosting companies the price increases after a year), Later you pay for theme Q (And for updates each X time), plugin X (SEO), Plugin Y (Slider Z), and for SSL and…and…and…

Webflow VS PHP CMS hosting (WP, Drupal, Joomla) VS WIX VS Webbly and so on - The total yearly price is relatively similar (No one could work for free).


#12

As mentioned its mainly designers, clients don’t usually want or ask for a specific platform, most have only ever heard of Wordpress, maybe Wix or Squarespace so Webflow can be a tough sell. Its designers that want to build without developers that sell the platform to their clients, thats the sweet spot. Wix and the rest are far too restrictive while Webflow is much more capable, so way better for custom design. I’m currently building a website for a musician for example and Webflow would be ideal because its promotional without much functionality but the client rejected it for Wordpress just because they haven’t heard of it.


#13

Are any of the Wordpress themes you listed actually any good from a developers perspective? I’ve never seen a Wordpress template that I can customise enough or like enough to use on a client project. Currently a developer is trying to convince me to use a template for a Wordpress build but I’m very sceptical because they all look so same same and I can’t really design the site and it ends up looking very average and uninspiring. I’ve always built with developers from scratch.


#14

I guess many people don’t want to get stuck with Webflow hosting. I guess Webflow could make some changes to become more Wordpress-like in a way people perceive it. When I explain to a non-technical person that a website with CMS can only be hosted with weblow they almost always don’t like it. Often it’s a no go for them.


#15

Couldn’t agree more with Brendon. Working with existing templates can be a real pain and very restrictive, especially when coding skills are not up to par for that, like mine. That is why I was so excited when I found Webflow. My current client, for example, doesn’t know much about webdesign and hosting at all. He tried putting a website together on a platform similar to Wix years ago but it took him way too much time to try and figure everything out and is super pumped when I showed him what can be done in Webflow. Wasn’t a hard sell at all. I guess we will see what the future customers will say. As far as my business strategy is concerned, I will simply present the powers of Webflow to potential clients, if they are not interested I will kindly suggest them to find someone who can fulfill their wishes without the power of Webflow. I know this will limit my potential business a bit but I believe, for applications where Webflow can actually satisfy the needs of a client from a technical perspective, then it is my job to sell Webflow to them. I also believe in the direction Webflow is going and there for have no fear about building my Webdesign business on Webflow alone…for now…


#16

I understand the stuck with Webflow hosting to a degree but either way you are stuck with hosting and Webflow hosting is the equivalent of managed WP hosting like https://kinsta.com . I’d like to see more plan options but its not necessarily a bad thing to be stuck with premium hosting that works really well and has all the features like SEO, SSL, Speed, Security all built in.


#17

I cater for small, local companies and I have produced around 70 sites using Wix. It’s a fine general system - makes nice sites, pretty easy to use, no coding required, but I really started to dislike it:

  1. Control over the mobile version of sites was terrible. (Maybe they’ve got better, but it was very poor)
  2. However I tested site speed, the Wix sites were very slow.
  3. The code wasn’t good - very bloated and complex.
  4. Sites couldn’t be exported.
  5. Customers, who had complete access to redesign and manage their sites, were constantly calling me up to do the work.
  6. No linked databases (again maybe they’ve added this since I left.)

I think the Wordpress CMS is pretty good, but again WP sites tend to produce bloated code too. The same with other systems I have tried.

Since switching to Webflow, I have not lost any customers - only two decided to stay with Wix - and I make more money from hosting. (Most of my sites are exported and hosted locally.)

When a potential customer understands the importance of having a website that does everything well - SEO, speed, great code, mobile appearance - they will go with Webflow - and I’m no salesman.

I answer to your question: “how many people need it in 2018?” - the answer is everyone who needs a good website. Don’t forget large companies don’t use website builders either and, even if they don’t use Webflow, I bet their designers will!


#18

Hywel,

thx for the detailed answer! You mean most of your Webflow sites are exported and hosted locally? Does it mean that you don’t use Webflow CMS then? I guess you are talking mostly about static websites that don’t need Webflow hosting. Right?


#19

Probably around 15% of my sites are on the Webflow CMS, either because they want control or they have a requirement which logically requires collections. (I’ve never understood why Webflow have lumped those two together!)
I take your friend’s point about Webflow’s CMS being expensive against the website builders here - $20 v $6 is quite a jump - and then Webflow has a steeper learning curve for non-programmers. It’s for that reason I would steer end-users away from Webflow if they wanted complete control over their environment, weren’t confident with…IT, and didn’t have $20 to spend! Most of my customers just want to get on with their day jobs and leave the website to me!
I have to admit I charge $15/ month for each website for hosting which costs me $40/month for all my accounts! I make a good amount of money from hosting - something I found difficult/impossible to do with Wix.


#20

I haven’t actually had this be an issue. The hosting is super reliable and fast. Typically, clients value that speed and reliability. Clients prefer to pay for site updates, changes, improvements, content, etc over paying for fixing things that break.


#21

I have a similar experience with Webflow vs Squarespace. I’ve been using Webflow for several years and have several client sites hosted on Webflow. Again super reliable and clients run changes through me. It keeps the sites well organized and designs don’t get broken.

I brought Squarespace into my product mix in 2018 because I had businesses requesting it. I’m glad that I added Squarespace because it has built-in features that many small businesses like. However, even though clients can add pages themselves, most won’t…they still contact me…it’s just easier for them, they don’t mind paying and I’m usually able to add some value by advising on a structure or placement of content and navigation flow. Squarespace isn’t as fast as Webflow and there have been spots of downtime.

Overall, I prefer to design in Webflow but the best platform for clients is really decided on case-by-case.


#22

@Josef

Who are my clients ?
Mostly unsatisfied wordpress users, bored to pay everytime for template updates, down pluggins, bored to have to follow a pre-designed template for their company that doesn’t fit with the clients mind, not being able to go further with animations, interactions.

Why my clients love webflow ?
I can change things fast (most of the time when i’m on a call with my client i do the changes on fly, publish it and tell them they can just refresh to see the update - i know @vincent loves to do that to), they love the editor, they basically never ear “no it’s not possible” “ok i can do that but i need to update the website before so i can install this plugin”. Its priceless for a client being able to conceptualize the website with you. I only work with recommandation from clients since i work on webflow.

Hosting is not expensive if you compare with a similar offer on whatever hosting service. It’s actually cheap for amazon hosting, CDN fastly, ssl…
About GDPR, imo it’s just a matter of time for webflow to bounce back (actually they have already done good things about it : https://webflow.com/blog/preparing-for-the-gdpr).

Hope this helps you to see clear. Selling template websites for 600$ is interesting for nobody. Won’t help you develop your business and your client’s.