If you’re a business owner or marketing professional that’s been thinking about redoing your website, then you’ve probably heard of WordPress and Webflow. Both of these platforms can help you build a great business website – but which one is truly the best for you?
This episode of Business Talks aims to help you discover that by looking at both platforms from an honest perspective. I review the pros and cons of each website builder and detail which use cases I believe may prompt you to pick one over another.
- CMS: Pretty much infinitely customizable and can fit every sort of use case you would ever need to have on a website (event listing, booking directory, ecommerce, etc.). The built-in CMS will give you everything you need, and you can expand the functionality a lot with custom post types and advanced custom fields.
- Plugins: Open source / 3rd party plugins extend functionality endlessly – easily able to add a lot more functionality to your website with little to no knowledge of code. Think of plugins like apps for your website.
- WooCommerce: eComm functionality for WP is much better compared to Webflow. While not as good as Shopify, it’s pretty damn close and you have a lot more customization over the design if you use a tool like Elementor or Oxygen. WooCommerce is a great (free) way to start an online shop.
- Design: Newer page builder tools like Oxygen, Elementor, and Zion builder are bringing visual site editing to WP similar to Webflow. Gutenberg also looks to be very promising. At this point, you have pretty much full control over the look and appearance of your WP site – something that was not the case just a few short years ago.
- Maintenance: The biggest con with WordPress is it’s a lot more difficult to manage/maintain, a lot more can go wrong technically. You will need to keep up to date on best development practices and the whole plugin ecosystem to keep using the best tools for your site.
- Hosting: Hosting will run through a separate company, and you will be responsible for configuring your setup and going into the hosting settings to configure any changes you would want to make. If you are not familiar with managing a hosting account than this is going to be an added technical challenge for you.
- Site Speed: While you can make your WordPress site fast, it will take a lot of research and trial and error as you first start out to fully optimize your website.
- Cost: While WordPress itself is free, certain plugins are not. If you are not careful, the cost of several paid plugins can quickly add up and you will end up paying a lot more yearly for your website than with Webflow.
- Ease of Use: Overall, Webflow just “works” better than WordPress in normal, day-to-day usage. The software is proprietary (not open source like WordPress) so it is a lot more controlled and polished in many areas. With Webflow, there are no conflicts with plugins, themes, or hosting environments because it’s all controlled end-to-end by one company.
- Design + Effects: While WordPress has visual site builders, none of them are simply as much of a joy to use as Webflow. Webflow’s Designer interface UI is very well made and makes for an efficient workflow. You can also build very advanced, custom interactions with it visually without knowing how to code. There is simply nothing else like it in the web development space at the moment.
- Little Overhead: Compared to developing a website with WordPress, there are very few technical tasks you need to do other than developing your website to actually get it online. With WordPress, there are a lot of small admin tasks and settings to configure that add up to a decent chunk of time. Hosting is also fully integrated and is completely handled by Webflow which makes life a lot easier.
- CMS Flexibility: Webflow has its own CMS for creating templated content which can then be easily updated by team members or clients. You need to set it up yourself, which isn’t too hard. In the end, it’s worth it though because the CMS is essentially “tailored” to your needs and you won’t end up with lots of settings and options that you don’t use like in WordPress. It essentially allows you to build a custom CMS for yourself.
- Need Experience: Webflow is great – if you know what you’re doing. If you’ve never built a website before, you’re going to be much better off with a tool like Elementor which essentially holds your hand (if you want it to) while building a website. Definitely knowledge of how the web works, responsive design, UI/UX best practices, and some web development knowledge is needed to create something good in Webflow.
- CMS lacks advanced functionality: While the CMS in Webflow is solid, it’s not great. Functionally from my experience, it handles the basics very well but for more advanced needs it doesn’t seem to offer a ton of expansion. Hopefully the focus on the CMS going forward. When extra functionality is needed you can rely on custom code and code libraries but those can be difficult to set up and may not fit your needs perfectly.
- eCommerce: You can build eComm sites with Webflow – which is great for custom design. But the pricing plans are very expensive for it with very little functionality compared to Shopify or WooCommerce. And unless you’re at the highest-priced plan, you need to pay extra processing fees (on top of the credit card fees) on each item sold which is a big red flag. So for the business side of managing an eComm store, it’s got a lot of room to improve.
- Controlled Environment: Webflow is a first-party tool and the entire software is controlled by Webflow. As such, it’s able to offer users a very nice and polished experience. However, everything you may want to do essentially needs to be allowed by Webflow. Meaning you can’t customize it at all in the same way as you could WordPress. While this is a pro for many, it is a con for developers that really want full control of their website’s functionality and CMS.
How to Choose
Recognize that neither is “best” – it comes down to your situation, preferences, and what you ultimately want to achieve.
It’s really the Apple vs. Android model – but both IOS and Android are great!
Similarly, you could design the same type of website (for the most part) in both Webflow and WordPress. If you’re looking for a more streamlined option that is easier to use and requires less upkeep – go with Webflow. If you want more control over every aspect of your website and don’t mind the extra work that comes along with it, WordPress could be a great fit.