Coke Vs Pepsi. Ford Vs Chevy. Pizza Hut Vs Domino's. The world is full of comparable giants fighting for overall dominance, but putting beverages, trucks and pizza a side for a second, we’re going to look at what’s been rocking the CMS world – Webflow Vs WordPress.
When building a new website, choosing the platform to build on is probably the single most important decision you are going to have to make. Once you start down that path, it’s going to take a lot of time to back out again and switch to a different platform.
One of the biggest questions we get asked is – ‘Webflow or WordPress?’ And like the comparable beverage, truck and pizza questions of the world, there is no definite answer. It really depends on what you’re in to and what you really need.
As an award-winning web design agency with over 10 years experience, we’ve helped our clients choose between Webflow and WordPress time and time again. We know both platforms inside and out and we’re even Webflow Professional Partners, WordPress Expert Partners and WooCommerce Expert Partners, meaning we’re recognised as one of the very best agencies in the world!
And why should you listen to us? Because we use both Webflow and WordPress! We offer web design services for both platforms. We have both Webflow teams and WordPress teams. And most importantly, we’re really good at what we do!
So grab a Coke (or Pepsi) and buckle up because this is the only definitive guide you need that will get you the answer you’re looking for.
Why Webflow and WordPress?
With so many website platforms out there and more joining what is an incredibly competitive market every year, why have we chosen to compare Webflow and WordPress?
The bottom line is – Both are incredible at what they do. Both are aimed at slightly different audiences. And both cover pretty much every possible web-related need.
In 2021, 37% of all websites are build on WordPress, making it one of the most popular platforms out there. WordPress came out in 2003, making it one of the earliest blogging platforms on the web and naturally one of the most popular.
As for Webflow, well it’s pretty new. Jumping online a whole 10 years later in 2013, Webflow isn’t as popular as WordPress, but it’s popularity is growing incredible fast.
Webflow and WordPress are our two main web platforms of choice. Both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses, but after a decade of building award-winning websites, we believe these are the only two platforms out there worth considering.
What is Webflow?
Webflow is an all-in-one website platform that includes a visual designer, content management system and web hosting in a super easy to use package.
Out of the box Webflow works straight away without the need for any plugins. External scripts can be installed for additional functionality and custom code added, but are completely optional.
Webflow is essentially a no-code website builder that lets designers create whatever they like and for users to take control of that website with ease. In short, rather than using code to build websites, Webflow does it all visually.
What this means is there is no need for either the designer, developer or end user to ever input a single line of code. Everything has been built to be fast, efficient and to get exactly what you want from a single platform.
Webflow is really great for getting websites built fast and with a custom design. While pre-built sites are available, it’s just as easy to build something completely custom from scratch.
Just make sure to not confuse Webflow with something like Wix. Webflow is definitely NOT like Wix at all! There’s no awkward drag and drop, and definitely no clunky code. Think of Webflow as Photoshop for websites that’s also got a CMS built right into it.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is a free, open-source content management system. For functionality, WordPress requires plugins and for design WordPress requires themes.
Out of the box WordPress doesn’t do much on its own. Think of WordPress as the foundations on which developers can build almost anything they like on. But when you start installing plugins and themes, WordPress can start to become incredibly powerful.
Because WordPress has been around since 2003 and because it’s open-source (meaning anyone can contribute) there are a lot of plugins and themes out there. Whether you want a visual content management system or an easy to use SEO plugin it’s all out there, and with an enormous amount of pre-designed themes, getting setup can be incredibly quick.
WordPress is incredibly capable and can easily be used to build:
- Ecommerce stores
- Marketing sites
- Memberships sites
Pretty much any type of website can be built with WordPress with a lot of options for advanced Ecommerce needs.
It's also important to note that with WordPress you own 100% of your source code and database.
So what’s the difference?
WordPress is a platform for building on, while Webflow is a platform for building in.
Being open-source, there’s a huge amount of customisation available for WordPress, especially when it comes to functionality. This is because developers can build whatever they need to work within the WordPress architecture.
Webflow on the other hand doesn’t allow for as much custom functionality, but that’s because it’s aimed at an audience who doesn’t really need it. You can add external scripts and custom code if you like, but it’s not required to get a website online.
Think of it this way – WordPress is like a blank canvas, it’s really up to you what you build, but you are building pretty much from scratch. There’s paints, pens and pencils out there already, but you’ve got to put the tools together to make your masterpiece.
Where as Webflow is like Lego – Everything you need to build whatever you like is included, but you are only using Lego to build it. You can build pretty much anything with the Lego provided, but you are limited to using just Lego.
Is Webflow better than WordPress?
We get asked this a lot and the answer is – It depends.
Every website is unique and has a different job to do for a different individual or company and for different reasons. With that in mind, it’s really difficult to give a definitive answer.
First, we need to define what ‘better' is.
If comparing the resulting analytics of a website such as traffic, leads and conversions, a lot of that is down to varying factors such as design, content and SEO.
And since design, content and SEO rely heavily on creativity, expertise, the industry, competitors and so much more, it’s almost impossible to ask if ‘Webflow or WordPress will produce better results’.
Asking if Webflow’s platform is better than WordPress is easier but still tricky. Once again it all ‘depends’.
Let’s break this down some more...
Webflow Vs WordPress SEO
Firstly, what is SEO? SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and is one of many services we offer at Never Settle.
SEO is the art of websites being found as close to the very top of search results as possible. Why? Because websites at the top of search results tend to get the most clicks, therefore producing more traffic, creating more leads and essentially more business.
The way SEO is performed is through strategic and expertly crafted content, performance optimization, off-page SEO such as backlinks and many, many more factors that you can get a feel for right here.
In short – You want the website platform you choose to help with SEO and not be against it. What this comes down to is how well search engines can ‘read’ the website and how fast a website performs on a particular platform.
Webflow websites are incredibly light on code. This matters because this allows search engine ‘bots’ to ‘crawl’ the website’s content much easier as there isn’t loads of code getting in the way.
It’s also incredibly easy to take charge of all on-page SEO such as page titles, meta descriptions and alt tags for images. Webflow will even tell you if the images you’re using are too large in terms of file size, allowing you to optimize them further for an even snappier experience.
Speaking of images, Webflow will even create multiple sizes of your images automatically for you and load the one that is best suited to the device the user is viewing the website on.
This is hugely important as this means mobile devices are loading smaller sized images that have been optimised for that resolution, instead of loading the ‘original’ desktop image that would really slowdown the website on a mobile connection.
WordPress out of the box doesn’t have any SEO in-built and needs a helping hand to optimize. While this means having to install a plugin or two in order to optimize your website for search, the good news is there are a lot of SEO plugins out there.
One of the most popular WordPress plugins is Yoast SEO. Think of this as a handy little guide that will help you create optimised page titles, meta descriptions and more by telling you the keyword density as well as whether what you’re writing is too long or too short.
WordPress definitely requires more refinement when it comes to SEO, but there’s plenty of solutions already out there to ensure a WordPress website is no slower than a Webflow website.
Does WordPress have better SEO than Webflow? That really comes down to the plugins you use and how good of an SEO you are!
Webflow Vs WordPress Speed
SEO and website performance go hand-in-hand when it comes to a fully-optimized website. You can’t have one without the other, so it’s important for any website platform to be both optimized for SEO and to perform quickly across all devices.
It’s a similar situation here with Webflow and WordPress like it is with SEO. Webflow is optimized straight away because all Webflow websites are hosted in the same place, where as with WordPress you need to do some of the work yourself but you have more options.
All Webflow websites are hosted on Amazon Cloudfront and Fastly, which is the same setup as some of the biggest websites on the web that rely on fast and reliable hosting. What this means is Webflow websites are fast, incredibly reliable and easily scalable without the need to do anything.
It is still possible to make a Webflow website slow with poor design decisions and images that aren’t optimized, but equally you won’t need to do any manual work in order to make an already clean website faster.
WordPress websites are hosted wherever you want them to be. Unlike Webflow, you’ve got to host the site yourself with a web hosting platform like GoDaddy.
The downside to this is that it’s more work for you and you’re going to need to choose hosting which is quick enough for your needs. But the positive to all this is that you have the choice to host your website anywhere and you aren’t tied into specific hosting costs.
WordPress websites with a lot of plugins can get really slow really fast (ironically) and so care is needed to ensure that you aren’t installing plugins that aren’t being used or simply aren’t worth the added weight.
So is Webflow faster than WordPress? Not necessarily, but it is easier to achieve a faster website with less work. That said WordPress definitely gives you more freedom.
Webflow Vs WordPress Pricing
Here’s where things get interesting. WordPress out of the box is free. There’s also a lot of free plugins and themes out there, meaning to get a WordPress website live, all you really need to pay for is your domain and hosting.
That said, free doesn’t always equate to quality and you may find for premium plugins and themes you’re going to have to pay out. How much are themes and plugins? This can vary massively from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars depending on what the plugin does and how good the theme looks.
Webflow on the other hand is free to get started, but requires two forms of subscription plan when you want to push a website live.
The first is an Account Plan. This effectively allows you to build projects within your account, remove any Webflow branding and export the code if you wish. It’s kind of essential and starts from $16 per month.
The second subscription is Site Plans. For every website you push live, you need an individual plan for that website. This sounds annoying at first, but you only pay for what you need. Site Plans start from $12 per month for a basic plan, up to $36 per month for a top of the range Business plan. If you’re building an Ecommerce store, this starts from $29 per month up to $212 per month.
Each website only needs one plan, so in a way you are only paying for what you actually use, but these fees are unescapable.
With WordPress, there’s no fixed price but things could get expensive if you go for the very best plugins and themes. With Webflow there are two costs; your Account Plan and each individual Site Plan, but it’s pretty affordable for most.
Webflow Vs WordPress Website Design
For those of us that are designers, choosing the right platform is essential in order to allow us to put our creativity to best use. With the world of web design evolving rapidly, gone are the days where we would create the design and pass on to a developer, instead we now have the control to build as we design.
This is really Webflow’s main strength; the user interface is very similar to Photoshop, there’s plenty of elements to build with and the tutorials provided by Webflow are very easy to follow. It’s incredibly easy to build a website as you design saving a lot of time and potential cost.
Even after a website is complete, it’s just as easy to go back and make tweaks that are pixel-perfect, rather than having to ask a developer to do them for you before feeling guilty about changing your mind and asking them to change it back.
Webflow doesn’t use themes, everything is build from scratch using elements within the Webflow designer. Almost anything is possible allowing you to build a website that meets your exact needs without any limitations.
WordPress on the other hand does use themes. It is possible to customize themes, but it may require a little more understanding of development to do so.
Things have come a long way with WordPress in that it too does now offer some visual designer style plugins, but it may be a case of trying these out to find one that you like best to get a similar experience to Webflow.
Webflow Vs WordPress Pros and Cons
We’ve gone into a lot of detail covering the most commonly asked questions we get from clients at Never Settle. If you’ve gotten this far you can see there really is no clear winner so let’s summarize with some pros and cons.
While this might not be a definitive list, it definitely covers the main strengths and weaknesses of Webflow and Wordpress.
- Includes a website designer, CMS and hosting out of the box
- Incredibly intuitive to use
- Very easy to use CMS
- No need for any code
- External scrips and custom code can be added if desired
- Incredible support
- Fast-growing community
- Not reliant on themes
- No need for any code knowledge
- Easy to use visual editor for end users
- Very fast and reliable hosting
- New features being released regularly
- No maintenance required
- Functionality can be limiting
- Some obvious features seem to be missing
- Locked in to using Webflow’s subscription plans
- Limited number of CMS items
- The designer has a learning curve
- Not able to connect to external database
- Some limitations with built-in Ecommerce
- Open-source and free to use
- Huge community for support
- Wide range of plugins available
- Loads of themes for fast web builds
- Incredibly diverse
- Can be used with databases
- Not tied in to any particular subscription
- Websites can be hosted anywhere you like
- Not as user-friendly as Webflow
- Plugins are required for functionality
- Requires constant maintenance
- Not all plugins and themes of great quality
- Some plugins and themes can be expensive
- Hosting has to be done manually
- Not built for designers
Just like Ford and Chevy, both Webflow and WordPress have their strengths and weaknesses. Both do an awesome job, but both do it in very different ways.
Some of our clients want extreme functionality and a lot of custom development that can only be achieved with WordPress, while some just want a great looking, easy to use website, for which we use Webflow.
It’s this split that we would recommend when it comes to choosing the right platform for you...
Choose Webflow if...
You want to build a beautiful website that’s easy to use and get it online fast. You don’t want to have to write any code and don’t want to maintain the website once live.
Webflow is the ideal choice if you want full control over the design and don’t want to have to worry about plugins and themes. You want something that’s great for SEO, great to work with and great for the end user.
You’re not too worried about advanced functionality and won’t be building anything more complex than an Ecommerce store.
You’ll be best choosing Webflow is you want a simple ‘marketing’ or ‘brochure’ website, portfolio or day to day Ecommerce website that isn’t reliant on databases.
Choose Webflow if you are comfortable with design tools and want a platform that ‘just works’ out of the box.
Choose WordPress if...
You want more control over your website including functionality now but also in the future. You may already have more advanced web knowledge and don’t mind getting stuck in with installing plugins and themes.
WordPress is the ideal choice if functionality is your number one need. You may want a more complex Ecommerce store or a website that uses a database for content or other information.
Freedoms such as choosing where your website is hosted are important to you as is the ability to access a wide range of plugins built by a thriving community.
Choose WordPress if you are comfortable installing plugins and themes, don’t mind a bit of code and you want a platform that you have full control over.