Webflow versus Wordpress, What you need to know

Sean Gowing
Sean Gowing
March 11, 2022
Webflow versus Wordpress, What you need to know

Choosing a website development platform is a lot like choosing a pair of shoes. You won't know if they're a good fit until you at least try them on and take them for a test run.

Creating a good-looking and functional website isn't as tricky as it once was, but you still need to use the right tools for the job to be successful.

Ultimately, what you decide to start working with will depend a lot on your experience and whether you prefer to work at the nuts-and-bolts level or have a system with drag and drop functionality.

Webflow and WordPress are both competent website builders, but their implementation varies a great deal. Let's explore Webflow vs WordPress to compare their similarities and differences.

When you have all this information, you will be able to choose which platform will best suit your needs.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a popular platform that has grown from a basic CMS (Content Management System) into a fully-fledged website development platform capable of creating everything from blogging and e-commerce sites to CRM (Customer Relations Management) and membership sites. There's not much if anything, that WordPress can't do when you have the right add-ons.

WordPress itself is free, but you will need to purchase hosting to create an online presence. Most hosting providers have options for installing WordPress and finding one in your price range won't be difficult.

Taking WordPress beyond its basic blogging roots will require plugins from third-party developers, which are pieces of code you add to WordPress to increase its functionality.

Thousands of plugins are available for WordPress. Some are free, others are freemium, where you get basic options for free but must pay for premium features, and others require payment from the get-go.

Themes are one of WordPress's core features, where users can change the look and feel of their website simply by installing a different theme. Like plugins, there are thousands of themes available, but very few good free ones.

The concept of a WordPress theme is to make it easy to change the look of your website, but the reality is a lot different. Installing the wrong theme can easily break a website and add weeks of extra work for the inexperienced web developer.

A fresh installation of WordPress does not provide Drag and Drop functionality. The new Gutenberg block editor does make web design more straightforward for newcomers, though. If you want true (What You See Is What You Get) capability, you will need to purchase a plugin or a special theme that adds this functionality.

What is Webflow?

Webflow is an all-in-one website building and hosting solution provided as a Software as a Service (SaaS). A drag-and-drop WYSIWYG interface is available right out of the box. You can get started with your design without having to know anything about PHP or CSS, but they are there when you need it.

Like WordPress, you will need to purchase a domain name, but you get hosting with all the plans (free plans are limited). The free plans in Webflow should be considered more of a trial run than for creating a fully functioning website.

You can use Webflow to build a CMS, e-commerce store, or a simple business website on affordable monthly hosting that keeps your website fast and secure. 

Webflow Vs WordPress – Critical Differences

Here are just a few of the main differences between Webflow vs WordPress to help you decide which platform will best serve your needs.

Hosting: You will need to find hosting with WordPress, which is an added expense. With Webflow, hosting is included in your subscription. WordPress hosting is flexible regarding pricing, but the more you pay, the faster and more secure will be your servers. Webflow is hosted on a fast CDN (Content Delivery Network). CDN hosting alone for WordPress could easily cost a lot more than a single Webflow monthly subscription.

Development Environment: Webflow gives you everything you need from the start to create a simple or complex website, with no installation of software or plugins necessary. A WordPress installation is quite basic and comes with quite a learning curve for installing plugins and themes before a user will be proficient enough to start designing. There is also the added complexity and cost of choosing a theme with drag-and-drop functionality. It's another expense, and that will also add a few extra degrees to the learning curve.

Site Speed: Site speed is critical to providing a great user experience and getting your site in Google's good graces for a first-page search results ranking.

WordPress is a conglomeration of add-ons, plugins, and themes that can sometimes conflict with each other and bog WordPress down with messy code.

An inexperienced user would find it impossible to improve their site speed without outside help. Webflow is developed from the ground up by a single development team using clean code the search engine bots can easily understand.

Search Engine Optimization: Webflow has advanced SEO features built into the platform at no extra cost. As you may have guessed by now, WordPress uses third-party plugins to achieve similar results, and most come at a significant monthly cost if you want to move beyond their basic free features. 

Mobile Responsiveness: Both Webflow and WordPress can create mobile responsive designs, an essential feature in today's mobile-centric world.

A WordPress fresh install is mobile responsive, but themes and builders are also available with their own implementation. Webflow also helps you create mobile responsive websites but integrates the process seamlessly into the development interface; no plugins or workarounds required.

Starting a Website from Scratch: Themes make rapid website development possible, albeit at the risk of creating a website that looks like hundreds of others. Like WordPress, Webflow has both paid and free themes available to help you get started.

However, if you wanted to start from a blank canvas, Webflow has the most straightforward system, simply select the Blank Site preset and start creating by dragging elements to where you need them. 

It's impossible to start from a blank canvas in WordPress, as it always requires a theme to render a webpage. There are paid tools like Beaver Themer that allow you to create WordPress templates from scratch.

Achieving granular control of your website is also quite tricky in WordPress and requires third-party tools to gain access to the code that renders your site.

Unlike Webflow, WordPress keeps content separate from your design elements, so changing themes is relatively simple. Webflow's content is integrated into the design. Should you decide to change the look and feel of your website later, you will need to add your content back in from scratch.

Pricing: WordPress is provided free by the non-profit WordPress foundation, but to use it to its fullest requires paid services like hosting, themes, and page builders. These additions will vary a great deal in pricing and features and can be confusing for the novice. 

Webflow provides a web development platform and hosting solution in one, making it an affordable alternative that even inexperienced web developers can quickly set up.

Security: WordPress powers a significant portion of the web and so is a popular target for hackers. You will need to stay on top of updates, not just with WordPress itself but also your plugins and your themes. 

Creating a backup of a WordPress website is challenging for new developers and easy to mess up. Most WordPress users choose paid backup services that add to their monthly expenses but ensure they can quickly resume from a downed website.

Backups: Backups are automatic in Webflow, and security is provided by Amazon's rock-solid Amazon Web Servers (AWS). If you are on a paid plan with Webflow, you can create backups on the fly with a simple key command. You can also download your website's code and upload it to any hosting server if you choose to leave Webflow. Restoring a backup is as simple as selecting one and pressing a button. 

Webflow Vs WordPress- Which is Better?

In the end, choosing between Webflow vs WordPress on will depend on your needs. 

WordPress is infinitely customizable, with thousands of themes, hundreds of page builders, and more than 50,000 plugins available, but more features add to your cost and you risk slowing your site down with every new add-on. The backend interface of WordPress is also not intuitive and takes some getting used to. 

Of course, more options mean a more significant learning curve. Developing a fast, secure website free of bloated code with WordPress could involve hiring professionals or lots of experimentation and trial and error on your part.

If your goal is to create a website with as little a learning curve as possible, Webflow offers that while also providing access to more complex features when your experience grows. 

Written By
Sean Gowing
CEO of SocialCatnip
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