First of all, I apologize for being so verbose in my response … I’ve always been a bit long winded
I am new to Webflow, having investigated (created) a website using WordPress and plugins, but found it very cumbersome. I then, over the past couple of months, started working with Muse and found it very appealing and easy to use, but Adobe dropped a bomb, in my opinion in terms of future viability, etc., became a non-starter. I then stumbled across Webflow and from what I have learned (viewed all the videos and read most everything on the site in terms of training), seems to be an amazing platform.
However, trying to understand the pricing plans and which route to take while in development was / is very difficult. I have read this entire thread and sort of understand the various viewpoints and pros/cons, and here is my take and comments/frustrations.
Just to level set and provide my point of view. My wife and I have a brick and mortar store we started about 2 1/2 years ago that is doing well; and now we are working on branching out to eCommerce. We do have a web presence (not eCommerce) that is doing well for local SEO and we have a five star rating with over 100 positive reviews. I mention all this because I am not a designer / freelancer looking to make a business out of web design (but who knows); so I am looking at the costs for Webflow from a little bit different perspective (being a mom & pop store owner)
I agree with those respondents, that if you are looking at making an additional margin on the hosting costs, (which should really be passed on to your clients) really doesn’t make sense. For example, we sell a lot of print products and sometimes they have to be produced at a different location which incurs an additional shipping cost. We have made the decision to not mark this cost up and only the product. Basically a direct pass through cost to the customer. We itemize our invoices and they will obviously see they are paying more for shipping than they have to and would think we are being too greedy. They are however happy to pay for our products which include our markups , our design expertise and excellent customer service. I am not saying that Webflow hosting is cheaper or more expensive, but the hosting cost could be flowed to the client.
Where I have an issue with the current cost structure is this:
The starter plan only has two static pages, which really isn’t enough to build a full website in preparation for launch. I ran up against the wall when I tried to add more pages and it said I had to add a hosting plan to keep building it. This is puzzling because our site is no where near completion or ready for hosting. I was also not able to do any work with the CMS side of things, which again required a CMS hosting plan. Again very confusing since we aren’t ready to have our site hosted in the first place.
Today I then learned that the CMS hosting subscription that we paid $192 for in order to get the ability to create more than 2 pages and have CMS capabilities was only applicable for one project. It was never stated anywhere in the pricing pages that the hosting plan was only applied to a single project, not our entire account or any of our other projects. I view the other projects as testing grounds or when I want to clone a project / get ideas for what will eventually become the final site. But now, the CMS hosting is attached to a site I cloned for use in our final site and has basically locked down the capability of using the CMS hosting for any other final project. I guess my only alternative is to wipe down the project that has the CMS hosting option paid for so I can move what I really want there back in.
All this to say, is that clarity is really needed in what to expect in the differences between the account charges and hosting charges. Personally I think it’s fair to have these two charges, one for designer and one for hosting, but if you pay for the designer charges, then you should have all the designer options like CMS, additional pages, and basically everything you need to finalize a site … and then pay for the hosting and other relevant functionality that is needed for hosting (SSL, CDN, etc). I don’t mind paying when I am using the amazing Designer tool while I am building the site, and I don’t mind paying for both when we go live. But I shouldn’t have to pay for both while I am designing and building, just to get the functionality that I am needing at the moment.
Anyway, glad to be a part of the Webflow community, but I do feel a little duped in thinking that I could pay a reasonable cost while I am working getting things going, but in reality actually have to spend twice as much during the time we are building.