It wasn’t that long ago that building a website was something only businesses, hobbyists, and those looking to create something unique dabbled in. However, the landscape of the internet has vastly changed since the early 2000s.
Now, a website is often something we all need to build. As having your own platform is a vital tool in our belts that helps us set ourselves apart. Proving even more important for the growing industry of freelancing professionals now making a living on the internet.
As this demand for websites grew, so too did an easier-to-use client for building them. As learning many of the complex website builders was a significant skill in itself. That demand was met with several simple website builders that quickly grew in popularity over the last two decades.
Today we’ll be looking at two website building platforms, and seeing how they compare up against each other. The tried-and-true favorite, WordPress, who has been in the industry for quite some time. As well as Webflow, a newcomer to the scene looking to shake things up.
What is Webflow?
Webflow is a website designer that prioritizes ease-of-use for its users. Providing a range of visual web design tools to help make your website. It is a hosted software, meaning you use the software as a service.
The platform uses a range of paid features, upgrades, and hosting services as the backbone for its business. Requiring you to create a Webflow account to get started.
Since coming onto the market in 2013, the platform has steadily risen in popularity online. How sitting as one of the most popular website designers in its field.
What is WordPress?
There is no doubt that we’ve all heard of WordPress. Starting off as a free website hosting service, WordPress has grown to encompass up to 38% of all websites on the internet. An absolute juggernaut in the website design and hosting market. When we talk about WordPress, we refer to the self-hosted open-source WordPress.org (which is super popular,) not the commercial WordPress.com (that you pay for on a monthly basis.)
WordPress is an open-source software, meaning anyone can download it and begin designing their own website. It is well suited to everything from crafting a simple blog, an online store, or a professional business platform.
Furthermore, WordPress has expanded significantly since its inception. Providing a range of hosting services, paid features, and a large market of paid templates for you to use.
Webflow has steadily been gaining a solid reputation since it came onto the market in 2013. Let’s take a moment to look deeper into many of the reasons why:
Easy to Use
One of the biggest benefits of Webflow is its ease of use. You can use Webflow with almost no previous website design experience, and still create an incredibly beautiful website. Whilst some features of Webflow will require a little know-how, this is in the vast minority compared to everything Webflow has to offer.
Expertly Crafted UI – For Non-Experts
The user interface that houses the Webflow design platform is incredibly well designed. It is highly responsive, easy to use, and a breeze to navigate. It doesn’t weight itself down with too many advanced features right up front, and keeps you focused on a simple design process for your website.
Extensive Range of Support Materials
The support materials behind Webflow are significant, and these come directly from the Webflow team. There is nothing short of a Webflow university provided from the developers, and if you’re willing, you can quickly get up to speed with how the platform works.
These materials are not written in industry heavy terms, meaning even if you have no design experience, you’ll quickly pick up what they are trying to teach you. It’s rare that we find so much information provided by the team behind the tool itself, instead often having to turn to third-party guides for support.
Generous Free Plan
Webflow is a paid service, there is no getting around that. However, they do offer quite a generous free plan to get started. Allowing you to craft up two websites using Webflow before having to invest.
Some minor features will be locked under the free plan. However, for a wide range of simple website designs, the free plan will cover everything you need with no issue whatsoever.
Webflow comes with eCommerce support. Meaning you can create online storefronts with very little effort. Whilst a little extra work will need to be done to setup a backend to accepting payments, this will not be overly complicated. The vast majority of the work will be supported by Webflow’s eCommerce support integration.
Exporting Options Available
Webflow allows for a wide range of code exporting options. Meaning you can pull the code behind your website out with a few clicks of a button. This is particularly useful for a wide range of professional applications, or if you are creating a Webflow website for someone else.
Wide Range of Integrations
Webflow comes with a wide range of third-party integration supports. Meaning you can seamlessly add in many other website functions with a few clicks of a button. You’ll be hard pressed to find an integration that the Webflow team hasn’t thought of, and provided support for.
There is no shortage of praise for WordPress, which can be seen in how widely it is used.
Let’s take some time to unpack many of the core benefits of WordPress:
User Friendly CMS and Drag and Drop Visual Builder
CMS means "Content Management System." Due to WordPress humble blogging beginnings, it has an incredible content management system at its foundation. It is very easy for admins to navigate, add content, edit pages, and craft their website to exactly their own specifications and requirements.
You’ll be hard pressed to find better CMS support in the design industry, and it is one of the core reasons that WordPress is so widely used in the market today.
Last but not least, most web hosting services offer a one-click WordPress installation. Easy peasy!
Extensive Plugin Support
WordPress has over 54,000 plugins that are supported for use. In fact, it is almost a requirement that all website plugins come with WordPress support. This is due to the wide use of the platform.
Some of the Best SEO in the Business
WordPress has long been working with Google, and other search engines, to provide some of the best search engine optimization in the business. With plugins such as Yoast, and many others, providing a quick and simple way to optimize your content for discovery.
An Incredibly Large Template Selection
WordPress, undoubtedly, has the largest selection of templates on the market. WordPress’ own template selection is good; however, the true strength of the platform is in its third-party template market. With hundreds of thousands of different templates to choose from, you’ll be hard pressed not to find one you like.
Open Source and Free
WordPress is open source, and free. Providing a significant amount of customization for people who wish to edit the platform’s code, as well as knowing exactly what they are using. On top of this, it’s completely free! You simply can’t beat that.
It should be noted, however, that WordPress still does provide paid options. It is the core software itself that is free.
WordPress is available in plenty of different languages. Furthermore, you can build multi-lingual websites relatively easily.
Nothing in this world is perfect, and Webflow is no exception. Coming with many small things that hold the platform back. Let’s take an honest look at several of the key drawbacks of the platform:
Webflow Can Be Costly
One key drawback of the Webflow design platform is its cost. Once you begin to use Webflow more extensively, you’ll quickly notice just how expensive it can become. Many advanced features some with price tags attached to them, and many core features will be locked behind the most expensive plans.
For businesses, this cost will not seem like a lot. However, for individual or small-team use, this will stack up quickly. Providing a huge barrier of entry into the Webflow platform.
Editing a Website as a Non-Admin is Impossible
One annoying feature of the Webflow platform is how is handles Admins. If you are not an admin user, you will be completely unable to edit a website. For many other website design platforms, it is a simple affair to enable people to help editing parts of your website. This is problematic for me as I hire Virtual Assistants to help me publish content.
Yet Webflow handles this completely differently. Only allowing the original admin account to make edits to the website. This limitation is simply unusable for many businesses, as they require a team of people to be working on the website all at once.
eCommerce Integration Costs too Much
One of the biggest drawbacks of Webflow is how much it charges for eCommerce integration. Whilst it is great that they offer eCommerce support at the level they do; you’ll quickly find the asking amount for this support to cut into your bottom line.
Limited Language Support
Webflow has a surprising amount of limitation when it comes to their language support. Whilst English is supported, you’ll be hard pressed to find support for many of the other commonly spoken languages of the world.
This is even more frustrating when it comes to their learning resources, which are strictly in English. Meaning you’ll find it incredibly difficult to learn Webflow if you don’t speak English.
For how cheap it would be to have their platform translated, this seems like a major oversight from the Webflow team.
A Small Template Community
Templates are the backbone of website design, and Webflow is quite limited in this department. Whilst there are third-party templates, and Webflow native templates, this market is extremely limited compared to several other design platforms out there right now.
WordPress has a long legacy on the internet, and its seniority means it suffers from many growing pains in the modern internet age. Let’s take a look at some of the nagging annoyances of the WordPress software:
Open Source is Vulnerable to Hackers
Due to the open-source nature of WordPress, it does make it slightly more vulnerable to hackers. Whilst this doesn’t mean you can suddenly be hijacked overnight; it is a level of openness that could be unacceptable for many professional applications.
Many Themes are Poorly Designed and Optimized
This isn’t so much a drawback of WordPress itself, but the third-party template market. Many themes are poorly designed, and optimized, resulting in a terrible user experience in some cases.
Whilst this isn’t true for a lot of WordPress themes, you will eventually find one that is difficult to use, and weighted down with poorly written code.
WordPress is a complex tool, and whilst the team behind WordPress has worked tirelessly to help new users learn the platform, it is still difficult. To get the most out of WordPress, you will need to learn and develop some level of website design skills.
One issue with WordPress is: the more plugins you install, the slower your website becomes.
Advantages That Webflow Has Over WordPress
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that Webflow has over WordPress:
Easier to Use
Webflow is a much easier platform to use compared to WordPress. With everything behind the design platform aimed at making sure you can make the most out of it, without any prior design experience. You can manage all your websites from a single dashboard. The software is centralized (as opposed to WordPress that is a plugin Frankenstein.)
If you are new to the website design world, then you will be far better suited to picking up Webflow compared to WordPress.
Better Setup to Teach New Users
The resources behind Webflow are significantly better tailored and written than WordPress, despite WordPress being a staple in the market for so long. For those looking to learn more about their design platform, they will have a much easier time with Webflow.
Build amazing looking websites and great speed
I have to be honest and tell you this: in the past 1-2 months, the most beautiful websites I came across were built with Webflow. I do a lot of research as part of my work, and when I look at the platforms nice looking websites were using, a lot of the time it was Webflow.
I like to say that Webflow is like WIX and Squarespace on steroids.
Advantages That WordPress Has Over Webflow
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that WordPress has over Webflow:
Better Theme Selection
WordPress provides significantly more theme options than Webflow, and many themes that are designed for very specific uses. The third-party marketplace for WordPress themes is also much more extensive than what you’ll find on Webflow.
Much More Rewarding for All types of Users
For beginner newbies and advanced website designers, WordPress simply can’t be beaten. As an open-source software, with extensive advanced functionalities, professional users can simply do much more with the platform compared to Webflow in terms of features and functions.
We’ll admit, this is by design on Webflow’s part. As their design platform is more setup for new users. However, as those users advance their skills, a platform like WordPress will provide with much more to utilize.
With WordPress, you can build anything: eCommerce, courses, membership websites, affiliates, blogs, sales funnels, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions: Webflow vs WordPress
Who Should Use Webflow?
Focus on design. Webflow is far better suited to those who are into building visually astonishing websites. I am talking about the hip and young folks here. Probably people who have experience building websites, and have basic HTML and CSS knowledge. But do not be afraid, even if you are a beginner, Webflow can be a good option.
Providing a platform that is simple, quick, and easy to use. Cutting out much of the middleman work that can slow you down in the design process.
It offers a wide range of support for those who feel lost in this department, and focuses on making sure that no matter your experience, you’ll end up with a professional looking website in the end.
Who Should Use WordPress?
Trying to answer this question can be difficult. As WordPress is an extremely flexible piece of open-source software that can be used by a wide range of people. However, to get the most out of WordPress, you’ll need to have some previous website experience under your belt. There are plenty of free tutorials on Youtube teaching you how to use WordPress.
The software has features that are specifically tailored to website design professionals. As well as having many in-depth functionalities that can’t be taken advantage of without prior experience.
Which is Better for Website Design?
Whilst both Webflow and WordPress excel in this department, WordPress wins out. Having over two decades of design under its belt, the WordPress software provides far more for website design purposes than Webflow.
Admittedly, this is partly by design on Webflow’s part. As Webflow aims to offer a much more streamlined approach. However, if you’re looking for the most functionality possible in your website design, you can’t beat WordPress.
Which is Better for Beginners?
Webflow is far better in this department, and it is impressive how well Webflow is set up for beginners. Providing a design platform that literally anyone could make use of. If you are lost when it comes to even the concept of web design, Webflow will be there to guide you through the process in an expert fashion.
Webflow, when compared to WordPress, also has far more beginner friendly learning resources than WordPress. Meaning if you do get stuck, you’ll have a far easier time understanding what those guides are trying to tell you.
Which Provides the Most Flexibility?
There is a good reason why WordPress makes up 38% of the internet’s website. The website design platform is simply unbeatable in its flexibility. Offering a design software that can make literally any website you put your mind to.
Conclusion: Our Final Verdict for WordPress vs Webflow
Both Webflow and WordPress have a lot to offer the website design industry. Each taking a vastly different approach than the other. It’s no surprise that each of these software’s has a loyal user-base under them.
WordPress will continue to excel at website design for a wide variety of users: bloggers, affiliates marketers, course sellers, coaches, consultants, etc. Providing a hard to beat level of flexibility and functionality. With a third-party industry that is always creating new and exciting templates and plugins for you to use.
Whilst Webflow will continue to carve out a market in the hip web design market. I would say that Webflow is more for designers, agencies, young and cool bloggers, etc. Providing a platform that anybody can take advantage of, and begin building the exact website that they’re looking for in terms of design, effects and animations.
If you are interested in building a website you can have a look at our post How to Build a Website Step-by-Step.