I’ve loved both Squarespace and WordPress in the past, I’ve used them each for years and really learned the ins and outs of both platforms. I’ve also given others like Showit a try but for a few specific reasons didn’t fall in love with it either. My time spent deeply customizing both Squarespace and Wordpress sites was taking a toll on me and my team. And the security and updating on WordPress was more than I wanted to handle for my own site since I was also doing it for clients as well.
To be fair I typically preach “it’s all about your clients it’s not about you” but in this case it is somewhat about me. And that’s ok. This is my business. I consistently am challenged by coaches and peers to reevaluate my business.
What’s working, what’s not. What would make it “fun”?
I could tell early in the year that most of the security and hosting madness that I accumulated on WordPress was making my business much less fun. We’d work incredibly hard on an amazing client site, and then bam, instead of getting to celebrate their launch and enjoy it with them, we were in tech hell rerouting stuff, keeping it secure, flopping staging sites left and right and hacking together custom post types to no end… Do my WordPress clients have awesome sites? Yes. Do I still help manage most of them monthly, yes.
I’ll admit even though I’ve used WordPress for years, even taught a course on it, there were often things I was still having to fight and hack and pray that it was the right option. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a ton of things I can learn about Webflow, but it’s enjoyable to learn instead of a pain for me, personally.
Would you believe I rerouted dns records for a client, setup their hosting, and had it live in under 5 minutes with Webflow? This same setup takes me hours if not even overnight with WordPress. I even used Siteground which is amazing hosting and super helpful and somehow we still had more sites with hosting/launch snafus than we did celebrations.
Now that I’ve used Webflow on and off for a few years and totally submerged myself into it early this year, it’s like I wake up thinking of how to build things within Webflow.
I got on a market research call and the girl was floored. She was able to show me a mockup of a site she’d dreamed up, and I was able to walk her through verbally exactly what to do.
What div to put where, how to set up a grid, how to adjust it for mobile and where and when to use flex to help her layout. She was amazed and I continue to be tickled when this type of thing happens.
I teach my students in Design + Grow with Webflow how to dissect a website to see the sections, columns, and rows, but this is how you ACTUALLY build things in Webflow. Using the actual HTML structure but without having to know the code to write.
Wait classes like learning? No not classes like courses, I mean the learning classes they have are great, but I’m talking about Webflow’s CSS Classes.
I definitely am of the mindset that you don’t have to have a degree to be a web designer. Read that post here. So here is a short example of how CSS works.
In CSS, classes allow you to apply a certain style to an element.
The possibilities are endless here.
On my own website I use 2 fonts. I talk about keeping those a minimum here in this post on consistency. But within my two fonts I have:
And so on.
Here’s the part where I circle back around to my moto:
“it’s not about you, it’s about them.”
I want to design fun, beautiful, simple websites for clients. I work best with service providers and they love the work we do together.
They have businesses to run, they are not aiming to become a web designer like me. They need a website that is easy to edit. If you’re not on my email list you may not have heard the story where I started my business in labor, but part of that story also highlights why I’m OBSESSED with designing websites that clients CAN EDIT themselves if they want.
If you’re dying to hear that whole story, signup for the Design + Grow Method free guide and it’s email #3 in the welcome sequence 😉
The editor inside of Webflow is super simple to login to. No scary dashboard or crazy outdated plugins to update. Here’s a good video on their editor. In WordPress I used to design a custom dashboard for clients just so they didn’t panic about the overwhelming interface.
With Webflow they literally visit their live site and type in /?edit and boom they’re in. They can then edit anything and everything on the page that I’ve setup for them to be able to edit.
Those of you learning to design websites (or already web designers) read that last line again, I’m able to determine what they can and cannot edit on their site. [Read: no more goofed up client sites that you can’t use in a portfolio]. This is for their protection. I typically leave all elements able to be edited but it’s so nice to have the security to “tape off” certain elements if they don’t need to be touched.
Weeks before the iPhone 12 was released I was able to see what my designs on my new phone would look like, down to the pixel. When you design in Webflow your changes cascade down from Desktop to Tablet to Landscape Mobile to Portrait Mobile. These devices aren’t set in stone like they are on Squarespace and Elementor.
There’s not just “A mobile view” there are tons as you grab and drag the screen to check for every device.
Want to stack something in a different direction on mobile no problem. Feel like your large heading is too large on tablet? Change it only for tablets.
My clients using Webflow get their own login to the designer but don’t ever have to see the photoshop looking interface if they don’t want to. They have a unique login to the editor. Webflow’s Editor (once I saw the simplicity of it) is one of the reasons I switched.
Here is what a WordPress dashboard looks like on any given day.
And here is what Webflow’s editor looks like for the client
And here’s what it looks like from the designer end. I’m also a HUGE fan of the dark mode everything these days.
Breath of fresh air right?
Ok this one was fun especially after years of using Custom Post Types in WordPress and often fighting them with the client’s builder like Elementor or something else. We just kept running into limits. Squarespace was the same way. By the end of a project we’d have a “Blog” for Testimonials, Blog Posts, Client Names, Portfolio Projects and more.
They are just a collection of info but I felt limited in Squarespace on how to actually show this info. You’d need to make a summary gallery with a few settings set to show the ‘exceprt’ that was really the client testimonial etc. I had gotten really good at these hacks and just determined that my issues with both of these platforms were the way it was going to be.
Then I learned the Webflow CMS.
You can literally Create.Any.Type.Of.Post!
Give that post any type of info and customize all the fields as deeply as you need. THEN, once you’re ready to actually display the info (Client testimonials for example) you design without limits on the page and HOOK UP each of the CMS items.
This can be done for images, dates, numbers, titles, background colors and more. THERE are so many ways to use this.
I’ve created Leadpages style popups that can change out depending on the words that need to go on it. I’ve even seen some designers link up entire CMS collections that then allow their clients to “build” a new page with premade layouts but all within the CMS so they’re not ever even seeing the backside of Webflow.
I won’t get too overly technical here but many low code builders and website themes in general will have some additional code that can bog down your site. In Webflow even though you’re not typing the code yourself the code that is generated while you build is only what you’re using and nothing that you don’t need.
Think of it like packing for a trip, just the essentials makes for a much smoother journey 😉
I’ve always referred to plugins as being developed by “developer Joe” in his basement. What started out as a joke became reality on multiple client sites. We’d choose as many reputable plugins as possible from large development firms but there was usually a need for some smaller one as well. You just never know when “Joe” is going to up and stop updating it, keeping it secure, leaving it open to all kinds of trouble.
With Webflow you have no plugins to worry about. You can add custom code if you want and extra scripts etc. but you control what you add. This also keeps your code very clean compared to Webflow’s competitors.
I won’t drag on about these but just go check them out. Here are a few of my favorite ones. Don’t get me wrong there have been some great groups (and I’ll admit more of them) for WordPress and Squarespace, however I’ve found finally the most helpful group of humans inside these communities. They give and give and help each other all the time. It’s refreshing and a joy to be a part of them.
My current answer: no not everyone, but almost everyone.
If you're looking for a place to host your custom website or blog, or even run a store, Webflow is an amazing solution. (note: Webflow is growing its e-commerce daily but it’s still not a Shopify yet…) Webflow makes it super simple to make beautiful websites and make changes simply. We also think that it’s an amazing platform for web designers to learn even if you’ve never built before or coded anything in your life.
As far as our clients, we would highly recommend Webflow for any business unless you have a super-specific need that requires your website to run a lot of crazy custom functionality, and honestly even then, there are quite a few solutions in the making from big partners that can make this more possible.
If you have any questions about the switch we’ve made or need any help with Webflow, reach out to me here. I have much more to say on Webflow so stay tuned.
Post Disclaimer: Since you clicked over to this post you clearly can see that I have indeed switched over to using Webflow. I do want to mention that although that’s what I’ve switched Site Maker Studio over to, and Webflow is what I’ll be building client sites on moving forward (as well as teaching my website design course on Webflow) there are still some great things about Squarespace and WordPress. I will still be keeping my contracts to do updates to past client’s sites on WordPress and Squarespace. We’re not leaving them hanging. As we come across new clients that might not be the best fit for Webflow we will be referring them to other fabulous designers as we’ve decided to focus solely on Webflow design & builds this coming year.
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