Webflow vs WordPress – Could The CMS Powerhouse Have Competition?
In this detailed comparison, we’ll analyze these two popular solutions so that you can decide which would best suit your project.
Everyone has heard of WordPress, even my mum. Just take a look at how many people are searching for it on Google every month. It’s pretty insane: 5,800,000 searches worldwide.
And just to put that in context, here are the same stats for Webflow: its Google searches amount to about 5% of WordPress’s at 298,000.
In fact, WordPress powers 41% of the world’s websites – that’s well over a third!
Webflow vs WordPress doesn’t seem like a very fair fight, I hear you say. Then again, doesn’t everyone love an underdog?
So what is Webflow and why is it a good match for the CMS giant that is WordPress.org?
Founded in 2013 in San Francisco, Webflow claims to have many advantages over WordPress, for example, more creative freedom, better site security and ease to use. It’s also worth mentioning that Webflow has a great deal of funding behind it (and a valuation of 2.1b!), meaning that this website builder definitely means business.
So let’s delve in and find out what each of these tools is really made of and which one is more suitable for your project.
*Please note that there is also WordPress.com. This article focuses on the open-source version WordPress.org.
Webflow vs WordPress: What's the difference?
WordPress and Webflow are not the simplest tools to get your head around, and both will require some technical knowledge. However, the customization options offered by the two mean that you can create larger, more dynamic websites.
The main difference between Webflow and WordPress is their technical approach: while all Webflow plans include hosting, WordPress is an open-source platform and requires you to take care of this yourself. You’ll also have to deal with any technical issues that arise.
Ease of Use: How Complicated Are These Tools?
If you were looking for a really simple WordPress alternative, then Webflow may not be the right tool for you.
Though it’s definitely simpler than WordPress in the sense that you can see the changes you make in real-time, the sheer number of customization options make it slightly overwhelming.
I’d say this is a software for users with advanced skills, designers, or people who like to roll up their sleeves and take the time to learn a new tool. Ideally, you should have some CSS and HTML knowledge, as you’ll be using them to build your website.
That said, Webflow offers plenty of helpful tutorials, articles and a community forum. One thing that’s pretty useful is its practical tutorial you’re greeted with upon signing up. It runs you through how to use the editor by making you add elements and style them.
WordPress is already more complicated off the bat because you have to first find a hosting provider and install this yourself. Something WordPress is also known for its extensions and plugins, but they’re not always that easy to maintain, so be aware of this. ‘Set it and forget it' is definitely not the attitude you should have when running a WordPress site.
WordPress Classic Editor (the one this very blog post was created with)
Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that things often go wrong and finding the cause of the issue and the solution can be a painstaking task. WordPress is doing its best to move into a more user-friendly direction with the Gutenberg update that added a building block editor, but it's still far away from being as easy as other popular website builders like Wix.
Winner: Though Webflow isn’t the simplest tool, it’s still a little more user-friendly than WordPress and will take you far less time to get set up.
Designs & Flexibility: What are their pros and cons?
There are three ways to create a website with Webflow: from scratch, with one of their templates, or by using a preset (Portfolio Starter, Business Starter and Store starter). This gives you a “skeleton” layout which you can then edit to your taste.
Webflow comes with around 100 code-free, beautiful-looking templates, there are also quite a few free designs to choose from. You can sort them by categories, style, features or type (basic, CMS or ecommerce).
Making sure your website is mobile responsive is easy, as the editor allows you to preview and make any changes to the tablet and mobile version. Those who know CMS and HTML will find they have a decent amount of flexibility when designing their site.
One thing to note is that existing code can't be imported to Webflow, though you can import your existing WordPress site.
With WordPress, if you know CSS and HTML, or if you don’t mind spending a few hours working out how to modify your template’s code, you can get exactly the website you want. There are tons of responsive WordPress themes online, which usually cost between $30 – $60 (I’d recommend looking at Elegant Themes or Themeforest).
Winner: It’s a tricky one… Generally speaking, those who opt for either Webflow or WordPress will have some CSS and HTML knowledge, in which case you’ll be able to customize your site to your heart’s desire. I’m going to call this one a draw. 2-1 to Webflow.
Ecommerce: Adding an online store
With Webflow, you’ll need to purchase one of their eCommerce plans, which start from $29 per month (includes 500 items). Because prices are based on the number of items you can sell, larger stores should be prepared to fork out some big bucks.
There is an online store feature directly integrated into the editor, which makes adding one very easy to do – in fact, it gives you a 12-step guide to follow. Tax is calculated automatically for you and you can offer payments via PayPal and Stripe.
Webflow – Adding an Ecommerce
With a WordPress website, you’ll need to use a third-party plugin. I really like the WooCommerce plugin as it gives you a lot of freedom. It’s also free, though you do have to pay for extra features such as Authorize.net CC payment gateways.
Winner: For a small store, you’ll be ok with Webflow but as it starts to grow, the additional cost is not so appealing. If you are ambitious about your ecommerce and would like a full-featured solution, WordPress + WooCommerce is hard to beat. Score: 2-2.
SEO: Will I rank on search engines?
It’s very important to make sure the CMS or website builder you use is SEO-optimized. Due to its overall flexibility, Webflow is actually pretty SEO-friendly; it lets you edit the page title, URL and descriptions. You can also set up 301 redirects, but you’ll need a paid plan for this.
WordPress comes with a few options, but I highly recommend adding a plugin for full SEO capabilities. Yoast SEO, for instance, is a very powerful free tool.
Have a look at the table below to see how Webflow and WordPress compare.
Webflow vs WordPress SEO capabilities
|Page Title||Customizable for all pages||Customizable via plugin|
|Meta description||Customizable for all pages||Customizable via plugin|
|Customize URLs||Customizable for all pages||Customizable via plugin|
|Headings||Complete customization||Complete customization|
|Images alt attributes||Customizable||Customizable|
|301 Redirects||Available||Managed externally (e.g. via hosting provider or plugin)|
|Canonical tags||Available||Customizable via plugin|
|SSL encryption||Available in all plans||Need to configure it externally|
|Search engine instructions||Available||Available|
|Add Google Analytics||See instructions||Added via plugin or manually|
|Add Google Search Console||See instructions||Added via plugin or manually|
|Conclusion||Excellent for SEO||As good as it can get if plugins are added|
Winner: As both are excellent for SEO I’m going to give each a point here. 3-3.
Blog: What's the best blogging platform?
It’s possible to set up a Blog with Webflow, however, because you have to integrate all the features you’d like manually, it isn’t the simplest process and will take you some time. I’d also say that if you don’t have any design experience, then you’ll find this tricky. That said, design-savvy content creators will find that Webflow gives them a great amount of creative freedom.
Webflow CMS – Creating a Blog using Collections
WordPress was originally made for blogging, which means it comes with all the features you’ll need straight out of the box. You won’t necessarily need to set up the backend as you do with Webflow, as you’ll be presented with this editor where you can edit in visual or HTML mode.
As the look of your blog depends on the theme you’re using, you’ll need to make sure that this is compatible with the style and functionalities you want – sometimes you’ll be required to tweak things manually.
Customizing a WordPress Blog Page
Winner: Due to its a simpler approach, I’m going to have to go with WordPress here. 3-4 to WordPress.
Support: Will I get any help?
Webflow offers a great variety of video tutorials, detailed step-by-step guides and classes in Webflow University. It offers email support to paid accounts and prioritized help for team accounts. Non-paying customers will have to make do with the community support forum, though questions seem to be answered pretty frequently.
Quite simply, WordPress does not have any official support. You can find what you need on the community forums, but expect the answers to be hit and miss and sometimes buried in tons of comments.
Winner: Webflow wins this round as there is no official support from WordPress. 4-4.
Apps & Plugins: Enhance your site's functionality
Webflow offers a whole host of integrations with everything from CRM to email marketing tools, you can also submit your own integration and add an API to your site.
Interestingly, Webflow offers a plugin that allows you to build your pages in Webflow and serve them directly onto your WordPress site – this could benefit those who are looking for an alternative editor but want to keep their site on WordPress.
WordPress is well-known for its plugins (e.g. social media, contact form, SEO, etc.) – you can find a solution for basically everything. In terms of additional cost, there are plenty of free plugins, though some can be pretty costly.
Once again, you might need a tiny bit of technical knowledge to update/install them. For example, WPML is our plugin to manage multiple languages. It's very powerful, though this means it’s also very complicated, and every now and again it creates conflicts with other plugins I use.
A great advantage to using WordPress is that if the plugin you need doesn't exist yet, you can hire a developer to create it for you, as WordPress gives you full access to the code.
Winner: WordPress takes this point here due to its breadth of plugins. You’ll always be able to find a solution! 4-5 to WordPress.
Prices: Which one is cheaper Webflow or WordPress?
Webflow offers different kinds of plans: Site plans and Account plans.
Site plans are for those wanting to create single websites like blogs, portfolios, business websites, etc. and Account plans allow you to create multiple projects (a web designer or agency would go for this one, for example).
Within this structure, you can have a standard website(s) or ecommerce site(s). Of course, depending on the features you require, prices can vary quite a bit.
To be honest, Webflow’s pricing structure is pretty complicated due to the sheer number of plans available. To give you an idea, a Basic Site plan will cost you $12/month and if you want to create a fully-fledged blog, then you’re looking at paying $16.
If you want to build an online store, you’ll be charged $29 for up to 500 items or $74 for up to 1000 items, 10 staff accounts and no transaction fees. Of course, there are more options, you can see these on Webflow’s pricing page.
A WordPress site is technically free. However, you need to pay for hosting. If you have a very small site, then this can be as cheap as $4 per month with Dreamhost. However, larger sites, where high uptime and speed is crucial, should expect to pay around $29 per month for a managed WordPress quality hosting that takes care of updates (e.g. WP Engine – see this review here).
One other significant thing you need to take into consideration is how much you’ll need to pay a developer for any custom tweaks you need.
Winner: As you can see, prices can really vary depending on what kind of project you have and how big it gets. However, the flexibility you get with WordPress is hard to beat, which is why it takes the point here.
That takes our final scores to 4-6 to WordPress!
Webflow vs WordPress: Our Final Thoughts
So there you have it, our Webflow vs WordPress comparison. I know that was rather a lot to take on, so allow me to recap.
A mixture between a classic website builder and a CMS, Webflow offers a slightly easier to use solution for advanced users who have a hard time with WordPress. Designers will appreciate the more visual editor and extensive customization options and marketers will be very pleased with the SEO capabilities.
WordPress also has excellent SEO capabilities and is a much simpler blogging platform. Its never-ending list of plugins and themes give WordPress users a ton of flexibility and control, making it a great choice for online stores and big projects with various needs.
As it’s such a close call, I’ll leave it to you to take the final decision based on your own requirements.
We’d recommend trying Webflow out for free before you go all in.
If you’d like to get started with WordPress, I really like Dreamhost’s managed WordPress plans. That's also what this site is using, by the way.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below.
05/07/2021 – Screenshot Updates
04/23/2021 – A couple of smaller updates