From Design

Webflow vs. WordPress: Which is better?

Webflow and WordPress are two of the most powerful Website Builders and Content Management Systems today. But which is the best for your project? We'll highlight the main differences between WordPress and Webflow from a designer's perspective.

And, in the end, we’ll explain why we chose to migrate our website to Webflow.

Table of Contents

Webflow vs. WordPress
WordPress: the most popular
Webflow: the modern website builder
Webflow vs. WordPress: The differences
    ➤  WordPress's Dashboard & Elementor
    ➤  Webflow’s Designer
    ➤  Webflow vs WordPress: CMS
    ➤  Webflow vs WordPress: E-commerce
    ➤  Webflow vs. WordPress: Optimization, SEO management, and third-party integrations
    ➤  Webflow vs. WordPress: Pricing & Hosting
WordPress vs Webflow comparison table
Migrating our website to Webflow
Final thoughts

Webflow vs. WordPress

Building a website takes time and careful planning, and choosing the best tools can be a challenge. Two names that usually stand out in the early decision stages are WordPress and Webflow.

Both platforms have awesome features, but their learning curve, website building, and content management possibilities have differences that can make or break your decision. Let's get to know them first.

WordPress: the most popular

WordPress is used for almost anything

WordPress was created in 2003 as a blogging platform and gradually evolved to a Content Management System (CMS), used to create from business websites to portfolios, e-commerce stores, directories. It's a free, open-source platform that everyone can download and use with a vast community of developers and users.

WordPress powers over 455 million of the 1.3 billion websites across the internet, being the most used and known CMS globally.

Source:w3techs.com

It's really simple and fast to create a WordPress website using free or paid themes, that are mostly customizable to suit your visual preferences although with a pre-determined structure. For some additional features, you'll need to install plugins - and this is where WordPress becomes highly dependent.

To create a customized website you will need to code it yourself or hire an expert developer or designer, which may translate into higher costs.

Starting with WordPress is easy, and that's why it became so popular but the more features you need, the more complex it gets. It is versatile, accessible and you can build almost any type of website with it, having a lot of themes and plugins to choose from, develop by its active and vast community.

Webflow: the modern website builder

performance-webflow
Webflow was created in 2013 as the no-code visual website builder. Its biggest innovation is the visual editing capability that simplifies and makes the design process more intuitive.

Webflow is free to start creating in a completely blank canvas or use one of its free/paid templates. A big advantage of Webflow is that if the user doesn't want to fully use the platform to host their website, it is possible to export the code and host it somewhere else. In another words, Webflow's builder is a visual tool that generates your website's HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

The platform also includes a CMS and requires subscribing a plan to host the websites, which means Webflow websites can't be self-hosted. Unlike other website builders, Webflow is highly customizable and empowers designers to create fully functioning websites fast, without having to rely on developers.

Webflow also boosts knowledge through its digital Webflow University. There you can find all the necessary information and how-tos to start interacting with the tool, hosting, CMS, and much more.

The platform is quickly finding its place in the website building market with thousands of users worldwide, including entrepreneurs, designers, creatives, and developers.

Webflow vs. WordPress: The differences

The main difference between WordPress and Webflow is that, in the former, you customize and create your website by adding themes and plugins. In the latter, you can create a fully functioning website from scratch in a built-in drag-and-drop tool named Designer.

WordPress's Dashboard

Both platforms offer solutions that don't rely on coding, although they have completely different approaches and learning curves. You can customize the look of your WordPress website by going to the "Appearance" section and choosing a theme.
The WordPress Dashboard
Then you can manage your website's content, settings, users, user comments on different dashboard tools. Different themes offer different functions and features, making WordPress websites very powerful but also complex for the initiated.

To design a website, developers and designers usually work with third-party plugins that offer visual editing control with the drag-and-drop features to expand their visual possibilities. The common solution is to buy the adequate theme, then costumize it to branding specs. This is a practical solution, but since themes are rarely exclusive, it is common to see the same website layout in different versions across the internet.

There are several paid plugins available, but you can also opt for free ones. One of the most used and known plugins is Elementor, and it's relatively more familiar-looking for designers, as it resembles Design Software.

Selecting themes with Elementor

As mentioned before, WordPress offers ready-made themes. To customize your website's design, you'll have to manually edit PHP or develop it from scratch using languages like HTML, CSS, and JS. Themes also come usually with a native theme editor that helps use customize their website appearnce, although with some limitations.

Pre-made themes are great for small enterprises and teams, but might not cut it at a corporate level, where branding has a huge part in any organization's strategy.

Webflow’s Designer

Webflow has a more familiar look to modern designers since it offers a tool called, curiously, Designer that allows you to build an entire website in a visual canvas, with a higher level of control and customization. Instead of a preformatted layout, you can create your own, which might be a bit overwhelming for those with no idea how to develop a website, but you can achieve great results as you get used to the interface.

webflow-designer

When we open Designer, we have the left-hand side control panel to create HTML elements, edit page settings, manage CMS and add assets. We have the visual canvas in the middle, where we can edit and write our content with a drag-and-drop feature. On the right-hand side, we have the style panel that gives you control over the elements - or, as we might call it, the CSS panel. Also, in this panel, we can create animations and interactions using the Lottie Tool.

panel-webflow

Webflow makes creating responsive designs for different devices easier, as we have some default breakpoints in the top panel. You can also preview the design as it would look when published, deploy all the changes instantly with a click, and finally export all the code as a ZIP file, and use it as a base for any other website. It's a great sandbox for designer's imagination.

The Designer has a bit of a learning curve since it's highly customizable but if the user needs to create custom code for specific features, adding it to the page settings is very easy. This allows for each page to have it's own configurations and functionalities.

Comparing both platforms, WordPress has more constraints when it comes to customizing your visuals. If you’re a creative looking to replicate your designs, it might be frustrating as you’re dependent on the pre-build themes.

Webflow gives you way more visual possibilities as you have full control over the canvas and elements. It's more suitable for those who don't have coding skills and look to create something unique without having to depend on developers.

Webflow vs WordPress: CMS

Wordpress's content editor

WordPress's CMS dashboard is very easy to use. Its powerful publishing features, and simple management logic earned WordPress the trust of users worldwide, making it the number one CMS choice on the market. As a self-hosted solution, WordPress offers more control and flexibility to users and developers over their websites.

Webflow also provides a fully functioning CMS, claiming it's even easier to use than WordPress. Again, with the possibility to design visually on the canvas, the designer/user can create its visual CMS and then pass it on to the marketing team to manage the content. But the need to hand over the hosting to another company might not sit well with some.

cms-webflow

Webflow offers the native option to add fields and filters to choose which content to display and where, making the website experience more interesting and more effective, especially for marketing purposes: it is very easy to create customized landing pages, instead of having to work with a one-layout-fits-all solution.

Webflow vs WordPress: E-commerce

To run an online store on WordPress, you need to install external plugins because the CMS engine doesn't have an integrated eCommerce feature. WooCommerce is amongst the most popular solutions, with almost a third of the stores running it.

woocommerce

Depending on your needs and pricing possibilities, there are many options to choose from since most of these plugins are paid. With this being said, all the customizable features depend from plugin to plugin, so building your online store will take a lot of planning before committing to a specific tool.

Since Webflow is an "all-in-one" platform, we can run an E-commerce business having complete control over everything. Every page is customizable with matching layouts without having to depend on third-party themes or plugins.

Webflow also allows the possibility to integrate Shopify by using Dynamic Embeds:

"You can add products from your Shopify account to your Webflow sites using an embedded Shopify widget. This lets you create a custom eCommerce store without relying on a pre-built Shopify template."

ecommerce-webflow

Regarding payments, all the popular payment services are available, and we can define shipping rules and regions. Once again, the order management system is pretty straightforward to use.

Webflow vs. WordPress: Optimization, SEO management, and third-party integration

Search Engine Optimization is crucial for every website since Google announced they would penalize those that take longer than normal to load.

One of the reasons for this to happen is the amount of generated HTML and CSS. When using many plugins on WordPress, the code generated can have unnecessary elements, making the website slower. On Webflow, the code generated is, most of the time, clean and structured, improving page speed score.

Both platforms can achieve excellent SEO results. The main difference is that on WordPress you'll need to use plugins to manage and improve meta-descriptions or open graph settings, whereas, on Webflow, you can add them directly on the page settings.

When it comes to third-party integrations, WordPress is the big winner since its architecture was developed to work with external plugins.

Integrations on Webflow are also possible, but we won't get as many native integrations. For instance, if we want to integrate HubSpot, we would have "to build your form in HubSpot and then add it to Webflow using the embed code from HubSpot."

Webflow vs. WordPress: Pricing & Hosting

Depending on your needs, WordPress can go from really cheap to really expensive. Let's say all you need is a basic website with no paid plugins involved. It's no that expensive to create a beautiful, fully functioning website: a free theme, web hosting and a domain name might set you back a few dozens of dollars.

However, your expenses may vary if you have specific design needs and want a premium theme or plugins with specific features. Premium WordPress theme's prices can vary but generally cost around 40-50 USD, while premium plugins can go anywhere from 10 to 100+ USD.

All costs considered, the initial investment on a simple WordPress website might cost around 40 to 70 USD, but if you want to use trustworthy and well-performing plugins, compiling with a unique theme, the cost will add up to a higher value.

Webflow has a free account plan to start using the design tool, but running a full website is a whole different topic. Pricing is divided into site plans and accounting plans.

Site plans are the ones concerning hosting the website and how much traffic you'll need. All of them include a domain, starting at 12USD.

Account plans are free if you only have up to two projects and no CMS capabilities. To export the code to host it somewhere else, a plan upgrade is required. If you work for a company or a team, there's the possibility of having several collaborators on the website simultaneously, and the prices vary depending on how many.

Both platforms are free to use, but when it comes to the publishing or needs of each project, the price range can vary a lot from one to another.

WordPress vs Webflow comparison table

 

Features; Webflow WordPress

Pre-made themes/templates

Yes

Yes

Create own template

Yes

Yes, but with code

Drag-and-drop feature

Yes

Only with plugins

CMS

Yes

Yes

E-commerce

Native E-commerce features

Only with plugins

SEO optimization

Native features

Only with plugins

Performance optimization

Yes

Only with plugins

Possibility to add custom code

Yes

Yes

Hosting and Domain

Webflow hosted

Self hosted

Although both platforms offer the same type of service, there are some key differences when deciding which is best to build your website.

The main ones needed to be taken into account are:

  • Webflow allows complete design freedom, which makes it more appealing for designers; in WordPress, you have go with multi-featured template or code from scratch - which may translate into added costs and development time;

  • Webflow is an all-in-one platform that generates a clean code structure. The design works on top of Webflow's features. WordPress works anywhere, but can be highly dependent on plugins that might cluster the code structure;

  • Webflow's Editor lets you create live and in-page content with a drag-and-drop feature; in WordPress, if you really need that kind of feature, you would need a paid plugin to enable the same effect;

  • The price range can differ substantially on both platforms, depending on the need for hosting or hiring an expert to implement the website.

Before making a decision, consider the goal and all the features you'll need on your website.

Our migration to Webflow

As a Software Development and UX/UI Design company, we developed our old website natively. This solution worked very well for the past years, but every single time we needed to update information, this would require a Designer and a Developer. From a productive point of view, this is not the most effective resource management.

As the company kept growing, the need for a more flexible platform became evident. That's when the idea to migrate our website to an online builder platform occurred. We did our research and pre-evaluated several platforms like WIX and Squarespace, to name a few, but the one that better suited our needs was Webflow.

Webflow allowed us to create our new website design (previously made on Figma) from scratch on a blank canvas without compromising the integrity of any section. Additionally, we could also use the native CMS to post new projects and update our portfolio more easily. Our Design and Marketing teams worked side-by-side to create this new project, developing design options together, and are both in charge of content management. Any change is quickly made, by anyone on the team, even if they don't have any coding knowledge.

Webflow's possibility to change content and design quickly enabled us to work faster without resorting to a developer every time we need to update information on the website, and respond faster to our online communication needs.

Final thoughts

By putting Webflow and WordPress side by side, it's clear that both platforms are worth paying attention to since both enable us to create powerful websites in a small amount of time.

Deciding which one is the best fit differs from case to case, where the type of project, design proficiency, and available budget are key points on making a decision.

Our decision was based on flexibility and the availability of resources, but your scenario can be quite different and require other solutions.

If you want an established platform with powerful features, Wordpress has a world of themes and plugins to choose from. If you want something more unique that stands out from the competition, Webflow is a great choice.

Check our website, fully created on Webflow. We hope you enjoy it.

Found this article useful? You might like these ones too!

At Imaginary Cloud, we simplify complex systems, delivering interfaces that users love. If you’ve enjoyed this article, you will certainly enjoy our newsletter, which may be subscribed below. Take this chance to also check our latest work and, if there is any project that you think we can help with, feel free to reach us. We look forward to hearing from you!