Why I Migrated From Ghost to Webflow

It's been quite a ride since starting Freak.Marketing back in 2021. Back then I had retired a personal blog I had on stevelongoria.net and decided to rebrand as Freak.Marketing. Coming from the static site generator world (Hugo to be exact), I wanted to go in a different route since I no longer did much coding/programming. I barely used the terminal anymore and hadn't touched a line of code in a couple years. Unless you count installing basic scripts onto websites.

I wanted something that was truly plug and play, I didn't want to have to maintain a server or update node packages via the terminal. So I went with Ghost.org and just focused on writing content. I really enjoy Ghost's editor, it's very clean and minimalist but that's about where my appreciation ends with Ghost.

What I didn't like about Ghost

  1. It's very much geared toward getting users to pay a monthly subscription to access "premium" content. That's not the route I wanted to take my website. I want to offer online courses for a fixed price and 1-on-1 coaching. You can disable Ghost's membership functionality and just make it a normal blog so this isn't a huge deal.

    While using Ghost the past couple years, I simply just left the membership functionality in place but made it free. When you publish all of your content for free anyways, there's not much incentive for anyone to sign up. Because of this I never really got a great sign up rate with this option. On the flip side, if I were to put my posts behind a paywall and make people sign up to read them, I'm not getting any SEO benefit from the content. This is why I'm not a fan of Ghost's business model. I think it could be improved if you could easily let each new visitor read the first 2-3 articles, no matter what they are and then once they try to read any more articles/posts they're prompted to sign up. This would allow you to still get SEO benefits from all your content you publish and provide enough incentive to get people to sign up.
  2. No custom theme on their base plan of $11/mo. If you want to make any custom changes to your theme, you'll need to upgrade to their $29/mo plan.
  3. Theme development and customizations are difficult if you're not a developer. I really needed to be able to develop my website quickly, on the fly as I was starting to get more traffic and it's important to be able to quickly iterate based on results.

Which brings us to...

Why I switched to Webflow

  1. Amazing no-code designer allows me to quickly make changes to my website without touching a line of code.
  2. Great website performance, almost on par with Ghost. My new Webflow website actually out performed my Ghost blog in Google's Pagespeed test.

I guess that list was shorter than I expected, but that about covers it! In the future, I may experiment with converting my Webflow site to 11ty to gain even better performance on my website. With the Udesly tool, it's not fairly easy to manage your site in Webflow and simply export to publish as an 11ty jamstack site.

Webflow for Courseware?

As I mentioned above, I plan on creating and selling courses through Freak.Marketing and while that is technically possible using Webflow Memberships, it's not ideal in my opinion. First of all, you'd have to build out the backend yourself which can be a little daunting. Also, Webflow Memberships is still in beta so the checkout process for digital products you want to offer in the members area leaves a little to be desired.

For this reason, I decided to just go with Podia to host my courses and other products. Podia is more plug and play when it comes to offering courses and other digital products. The checkout experience is better than Webflow's Memberships as well. The only downside is that Podia doesn't let you customize the login page or the checkout page. I also can't add the same web font that I have on my Webflow site. These are all minor issues however and I was able to get my Podia site to match the design of my main website enough for it to make sense as a solution. It was better than Teachable, which forces you to have image heavy designs, no thanks.

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