WordPress and Webflow are two popular website development and management platforms used by small businesses. Let’s delve into a comparison to help small businesses make an informed decision.
WordPress, founded in 2003, is an open-source content management system (CMS) that powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. It offers a vast range of themes, templates and plugins, making it highly customisable and versatile. WordPress also has a large and active community, making it easy to find support when needed.
Webflow is a comparatively new platform, established in 2013, that focuses on visual web design and development. It used a drag-and-drop interface and a visual editor. Webflow offers a pretty streamlined and intuitive design process, allowing users to see real-time changes as they create their website.
One major aspect to consider is the level of customisation. WordPress provides wide possibilities with its extensive collection of themes and plugins, whether paid, free or self-made. This allows your business to tailor its website to your branding and requirements. Because it’s open-source, WordPress developers have the freedom to modify the code to further customise the website.
Webflow allows almost infinite customisation, but it has a more limited selection of templates and plugins compared to WordPress. What makes Webflow stand out is its visual design capabilities. It provides designers with full control over the layout, animations and interactions of the website.
It’s fair to say that someone with minimal coding knowledge could create a basic WordPress site using their host’s one-click install option. It might not be the most beautiful of designs, but not all websites need to be complicated or pretty – they just need to get information from publisher to reader. If you do want more complexity or aesthetics, you’ll be able to install plugins and themes from the vast repositories on the web.
Webflow will also let you design a basic site with no knowledge, but as soon as you want to modify or beautify it, you’re going to have to scale the learning curve. Although the interface is intuitive and simple, it’s not quite as hands-off as WordPress.
That said, once you have picked up the basics, it does become easy pretty quickly, and if you like tinkering and making incremental changes, you can spend hours perfecting your site on Webflow.
One of the criticisms of WordPress is that it can cause quite bloated code, with the various themes and plugins adding to the pile. Simple design elements like transitions can force many lines of code.
However, Google seems to understand this imperfect structure well, thanks to WordPress’s popularity. That can help with crawling, SEO and ranking.
The way Webflow converts your instructions into code is, on the whole, more efficient and elegant. That should mean smaller file sizes and quicker load times, which could positively influence SEO and UX.
WordPress itself is free, but you may need to pay for themes, plugins, hosting and maintenance. These costs can vary depending on the specific requirements of the website and which version you use.
Webflow has a subscription-based pricing model that includes hosting and maintenance. While it may have a higher upfront cost compared to WordPress, it can be more cost-effective for businesses that don’t have the resources or expertise to manage and maintain their own website.
This is a real case of having two quite different ways of reaching the same goal – and functioning website. If you are willing to put in the time to learn, Webflow will probably give you more options when it comes to design and functionality.
With WordPress, you still have a good deal of flexibility, but it comes backed up with a vast community and many more professional developers.
Right now we’d probably go for WordPress if you’re starting out and have a limited budget, but if Webflow reaches a critical mass of users, it might become more viable for the startup.