Webflow vs WordPress: which should you choose?
Are you on the verge of taking that first step into web design but don’t know which tool you should use? Or maybe you are already an experienced web designer, but want to look over your possibilities? The market for web development has exploded in recent years with many companies giving WordPress a run for their money. Could it really be that the days of the old dragon that is WordPress are counted? In this article we’ll compare Webflow with WordPress, list the pros and cons of both platforms so you could make the choice for yourself.
But first, let’s go over the basics.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a content management system, which is used for building, designing and managing websites, e-commerces and blogs. It is an open source software, meaning it’s completely free for anyone to use. The fact that it powers 34% of the internet's websites speaks for itself. WordPress is popular. Very popular. It is used by anyone and everyone, from the hardcore developers to the casual bloggers. And with the right coding expertise you can virtually build anything you want with the help of WordPress.
The notion that WordPress is completely free should however come with somewhat of an asterix, as anyone who has been working with WordPress knows that there are a lot of associated costs you need to take into account, such as hosting, plug-ins and templates.
What is Webflow?
Webflow is a cloud-based website builder and content management system that was first launched in 2013 and has been growing ever since. It’s sold as a SaaS product (system as service), meaning that all the features are built in. No third party plug-ins, hosting services or updates. Everything is taken care of and is included in the price tag.
Main difference between WordPress and Webflow
- The main difference between the two platforms really lies in the open source versus the SaaS approach, and the implications that inherently follows with each alternative. WordPress being an open source platform relies heavily on plug-ins to fully realize its potential, while Webflow as a SaaS-product provides every feature in the system.
- Another big difference between WordPress and Webflow is that the former is a template based web builder, which means that you are restricted to the pre-designed templates and can only achieve a truly unique design by writing quite complex code. Webflow, on the other hand, gives you complete control and lets you take your design in any direction you want, without having to write a single line of code.
- The last main difference between WordPress and Webflow is the hosting situation. With WordPress you have to sort out and pay for your hosting by yourself. Webflow, again as a SaaS-product, takes care of the hosting for you. All you need to do is to press play, and your site goes live.
These differences obviously come with both pros and cons, making the platforms better or worse at serving different needs and purposes. In the end we will explain why we exclusively work with Webflow. But before that, let us take a deeper look at both platforms and explore the differences and similarities in more detail.
WordPress vs Webflow: Ease of use
User friendliness is important in any web development process, especially for the ones that are new to the game. But, even for the old dog a good UI/UX is highly valued, as it makes the development process flow much smoother, which saves both time and money, and headaches.
However, we’d like to point out that you need to use the word easy and web development in the same sentence with care. No web development process is easy. But, with the right tools it can be made easier.
WordPress is an excellent alternative if you want to build a more simple and generic website. With the drag and drop builder Elementor, a WordPress plug-in, you just pick your template, modify it to your needs and will be up and running in no time.
However, the more complex and unique solutions, the more you want to tweak your design, the harder it will get. Sure, that kinda comes with the job, but with WordPress it sometimes can get unnecessarily complex. Because it is a plug-in and template based tool, you can’t really come up with custom-solutions and get the design-elements to work exactly the way you want them to, without writing quite complex code, which can be really time consuming. Add to that the constant maintenance of the plug-ins, with updates and the potential risk of them breaking down and crashing your site and WordPress might not be as easy as many seem to claim it is.
With Webflow the relationship between getting started and complexity is almost reversed. The learning curve is steeper and it can take some time to get accustomed to the designer tool. Even if Webflow in its essence is a no-code visual coding tool you still need a pretty extensive understanding of how coding works to get going. But, when you have mastered Webflow, the limits are almost infinite, and you can efficiently and “easily” design and build the most unique and complex solutions. In addition, there are no plug-ins to update and maintain, as Webflow will do that job for you and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Depending on how you want to define “easy to use” WordPress or Webflow comes out on top. If you define it as easy to get started and fast to put up good looking but generic and simpler sites, WordPress is your winner. If you define it as efficiently creating complex and unique designs, Webflow is your winner. Both platforms serve different needs, and are “easy” to use in different ways. Make the choice according to your own needs.
WordPress vs Webflow: Design freedom
With WordPress, from a designing perspective, you are much more restricted to the template of choice. Even if there are plug-ins that work similar to the designer tool made by Webflow, they just don’t work as well. You can’t do exactly what you want, and will always be somewhat restricted to the original template design. All that said, it doesn't mean that you can’t do whatever you want and manipulate the design in any way you like with WordPress. You can. It will only require some nifty coding, and be much more time consuming.
WordPress vs Webflow: Code quality
Your website’s code quality is really important from a SEO standpoint, as search engines will reward fast loading sites with higher rankings and penalize slow sites with lower rankings. The cleaner and more compact the code is, the faster the site will load. Naturally, that means that you want as clean code as possible to rank as high as possible.
Webflow really excels in the code quality department, as the system manages to produce really compact and clean code. The same can’t really be said for WordPress. Because of the many plug-ins and extensions you run with WordPress the code becomes much more bloated. A simple CSS adjustment in Elementor could make for multiple lines of code, while the same adjustment in Webflow only produces a short line, as if you would have written it yourself. Consequently, websites made in Webflow tend to load faster than websites made in WordPress.
WordPress vs Webflow: SEO
While on the topic of search engine optimization let’s stay a little longer, as that is a common topic to debate when comparing WordPress with Webflow. Many seem to believe that WordPress is the best optimized CMS platform out there, while we have the Webflow falang that means that Webflow thanks to its fully integrated environment and optimized servers rank much higher than a SEO-optimized website.
The truth is that they are more or less equally good when it comes to search engine optimization. WordPress has excellent SEO plug-ins and Webflow has very good built-in SEO features, making both a great pick. It’s more a matter of preference. Do you want to work with plug-ins or in an integrated environment?
However, you could make a case that Webflow might come out on top in the SEO game. We mention the clean code, which is crucial for loading speed, which in turn is crucial for SEO. In addition to that, Webflow servers also come with an automatic SSL certificate, which not only improves your site’s security but also improves your SERP ranking.
WordPress vs Webflow: Hosting & Security
As we have mentioned before, with WordPress you have to pay for hosting by yourself. With Webflow the hosting is included in the price. This means that for WordPress your hosting can be as good or bad as you want, depending on how much you are willing to pay, which makes it hard to really elaborate on the hosting quality of WordPress. It’s essentially up to you and which hosting provider you want to go with.
Webflow websites however, are hosted in AWS, Amazon Web Services, which is the cream of the top when it comes to server hosting. You don’t only get lightning fast and very scalable websites thanks to AWS server infrastructure, enabling them to globally direct the traffic to the closest server, but also get great security. No website is unhackable but a Webflow website should in theory be much harder to crack than a WordPress website. That is because of the open source code approach that WordPress rolls with, which makes them
more vulnerable to hacker attacks.
WordPress vs Webflow: CMS
There is probably no greater tool or CMS that is easier to edit, update or add new content in than Webflow. Even if WordPress is pretty great at this too, the dashboard used for managing content in WordPress falls just short in comparison with the editor tool that comes with Webflow in our opinion. The editor tool in Webflow is truly a full WYSIWYG solution where clients or colleagues easily can manage the content and see the changes directly on the website in real time.
WordPress vs Webflow: Pricing
When it comes to pricing it’s not too easy to compare WordPress and Webflow directly. It’s not even that easy to say exactly how much each CSM costs individually, as the final tally will depend on your specific needs.
Even if WordPress in itself is free to use, there are a lot of associated costs that follow with building a website in WordPress. You need to pay for your hosting. You need to pay for certain plug-ins. You need to pay for certain templates, and you’ll need to invest your own or someone else’s time, both when building the site and later maintaining the site. Time is of course harder to put a number on.
In the end the price with WordPress will largely depend on what you want your website to do, how fast you want it to run, how safe you want it to be, and how much traffic you want it to handle. In other words, the amount of money you spend will directly reflect how capable your website is. Hence, the price for a WordPress website can go from as low as 4$/month to 100$+/month.
With Webflow it’s not as hard to break down the monthly cost, as everything you’ll need is included in the monthly subscription fee. However, there are a fair amount of different plans to choose from. Depending on your specific needs your Webflow website will cost you from 12$/month to 36$ month.
Why Webflow is the superior WordPress alternative
At added.digital we work exclusively with Webflow, and the reason behind that could really be boiled down to one single word: efficiency. In our opinion Webflow outperforms WordPress on almost every single point. Everything you can do in WordPress you can do in Webflow, just more efficiently.
As an agency developing websites for clients the design aspect of the process is very important. Every brand is unique, and so should their website be. With Webflow we can create truly unique designs that elevate our client’s brands and communicate their stories, the way they want it to.
Yes, we could do that with WordPress too, it would only take us much longer. And as an agency time is of essence. The faster we can get something done, the better price we can offer our clients, and the further we can stay ahead of our competitors. Again, efficiency.
In addition we are relieved of the severe headache that is spelled plug-ins. We never have to worry about updates breaking our site or clients installing new plug-ins that completely crashes it. We never have to run maintenance, which saves us a lot of time. And in the end, we believe that the client should never have to pay for the site just to function. After a launch their site should just work, always and forever, and their investments should be directed towards improvements and optimizations. With Webflow we are able to offer them that option.
Not convinced? Why don’t you give us a call, or shoot us an email and we’ll prove the magic we can create with Webflow.