WYSIWYG editors are bad for America
August 27, 2018 6:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a landing page platform, comparable to Unbounce, which allows me to use fully custom HTML/CSS for pages. (Caveat: not HubSpot.)

Googling for "landing page platform" turns up tons of options, but most of them rely heavily on an in-browser WYSIWYG editor.

I need the ability to paste in my own, hand-built HTML and CSS, so that I have full control over the page's look and feel. I don't want to build HTML/CSS in a web dashboard – I want to build them in a text editor, in raw HTML/Sass, like God intended, and upload the finished results to the platform. (Presumably I would insert tokens into my HTML file that say "{% hey platform, render the form here %}", or "{% hey platform, put your meta tags here %}").

All of the services I've looked at provide a "Custom HTML" widget which can be added to the page within their WYSIWYG, but I haven't found any that allow you to bypass the WYSIWYG framework entirely.

I could resort to a JavaScript hack such as this one, but I'd really prefer not to.

Any suggestions? Seems like this should be a common thing.
posted by escape from the potato planet to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
You could host it as a static web site on Amazon S3:
posted by bdc34 at 6:56 AM on August 27, 2018

Sorry; I guess I explained my needs poorly.

By "landing page", I mean a page which includes:
  • an HTML form
  • with server-side validation
  • and configurable handling of submissions (e.g., passing them into the API for a third-party CRM system, or to a custom webhook that I would write)
  • possibly additional features, such as support for Google AMP
That isn't possible with static hosting.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 7:08 AM on August 27, 2018


It's more than just a landing page platform, but it seems to cover everything.
posted by teabag at 8:27 AM on August 27, 2018

Sorry, but I don't think Ghost is what I need, either.

I work for an agency. We need to be able to create landing pages (and only landing pages) on a bunch of different domains (landingpages.client1.com, landingpages.client2.com, etc.).

Unbounce and its ilk are pretty much exactly what I need – they provide features specific to landing pages, such as built-in analytics, A/B testing, integration with common CRMs, etc. But they all expect you to use their in-browser WYSIWYG editors. I'm not looking for a general CMS or hosting solution.

I'm specifically looking for an Unbounce-like service that allows you to use fully custom HTML and CSS.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:21 AM on August 27, 2018

I've had designers tweak HTML in Instapage, and I know it accepts multiple domains. I'm sure it defaults to the WYSIWYG editor but it's tweakable...maybe that would work?

Salesfusion is more of a full service platform (CRM, email marketing, etc), but I know you can build landing pages from scratch in HTML/CSS. I have had an excellent experience with them overall and strongly recommend them, though their full service suite may be more than what you are looking for.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 10:41 AM on August 27, 2018

I just wanted to observe that except maybe for AMP, which I haven't worked with directly, all of the things in that bullet list are definitely possible with static hosting. (Static hosting of the landing page itself, of course; there has to be a server somewhere but lots of applications will do this stuff by dropping some javascript into any web page hosted anywhere.)

A fundamental issue which probably exists is that you would seem to be looking for a whole bunch of complicated functionality to Just Work, but by asking to be able to completely customize everything you're asking for a situation where a user could very easily totally break everything. If, for example, you drop in some bizarre doctype directive you could break every part of the system. Or worse, from the vendor's tech support perspective, set up a situation where 90% of everything works but the reasons why the remaining 10% of the advertised functionality doesn't work are incredibly difficult to debug and are unfixable.

(So in searching for the solution you want you probably should steer away from looking at things which Just Work and look at systems which are open and well-documented but where if you break it, you're on your own.)
posted by XMLicious at 4:27 PM on August 27, 2018 [1 favorite]

Marketo or Instapage?

It looks like Unbounce does allow custom css html and js in that you basically create your own widgets. But they don’t support you if it goes horribly horribly wrong bc it doesn’t play nice with the existing land page functionality.

Not sure why you no to Unbounce - wondering if the widget thing is what you really hate about.

Pretty much they all allow customization to a certain degree but they still need their own framework there to do the stuff you want. You could always roll your own analytics stack with Google Analytics and Click Funnels I guess. Then you could do whatever web page you wanted.
posted by sio42 at 3:14 PM on August 28, 2018

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