Recently, my attention was brought up to Webflow, a CMS with some quite interesting features. In comparison with other CMS we studied, like Squarespace, Wix or Weebly, Webflow has some technical features that seemed quite engaging to me.
After being an avid user of the Adobe suite for almost twenty years now, it is an interface that I am very familiar with. Finding a drag and drop interface for front end design that is really close to Photoshop was something that definitely felt intriguing.
Speed of the websites designed in Webflow
I looked at a few websites designed in Webflow and the speed of those websites was really surprising, the code was very light and quite “to the point” which was something that I was really surprised in, I ran some “Graders” on a few examples and the results were through the roof. Now those websites I benchmarked were not very graphically featured. However, the amount of requests was small, and the loading time was on point.
Hosting and SEO
Seo on those websites was solid as well. It means there is sections for Meta Descriptions easily accessible. Titles and Headings also translated well to the grader system. Now the main key around this, is how easy, and how assisted your team will be to setup SEO on upcoming pages and posts?
Looking past the shine
So like me, at this time you might be quite impressed by some of the features and the results provided by Webflow. Yes, I’m technical, and I admit it. So the technical photoshop like interface makes a lot of sense to me. But does it for the people that are managing your website. The servers are fast and metrics results are good, but can you transfer your content elsewhere?
Just like the other CMS mentioned above, Webflow is captive, and this time captive on a few points.
Captive on Experience
After over 10 years working on wordpress I trained dozens of people on how to operate the websites, update them and make sure they don’t need me to do minor changes and updates. Needing to use your web developer to update your website makes you captive of his services. Independence is key when you are in the small business world. Having a full web development team for your business is not something that is a priority. However, with wordpress and it’s popularity (almost 50% of CMS websites), you will find help. You will find plugins and extensions for applications similar to yours and that will be available, either for free, or for small fees. Also being able to find workforce with wordpress experience. This will be able to help your business website stay up to date.
Webflow, like the other CMS mentioned above use their own servers. This means that if you are not happy with their service, you cannot take your database and files and transfer them to another service provider. That’s the advantage of WordPress being Open Source. You have hundreds, even thousands of hosting services available (not all might be good) where you can host wordpress websites. The freedom and ease of use provided by WordPress is what makes it the leader, by far.
Is there potential for Webflow to grow and start scratching the market used by Squarespace, definitely. At the moment it is 0.1% of the CMS Technology. Now the current trend at this time of writing the article is a loss of market share since December 2017 (source whatcms.org). From 0.14% down to 0.10%. You can see it as a Wix for Techies, which sounds like an oxymoron. So there has to be a market for something like this.
For once, I was quite impressed by some features offered by another CMS. Why? Because it was technical and tickled my tech bone. I can’t help myself but when a technology is becoming accessible, I’m definitely looking into it. Now we build websites for clients, they are not into technical, they are into efficiency. So for them what matters is their business and the ROI they can get from it. Having your web developer on speed dial to fix your website and update it is not necessary anymore.