Webflow and WordPress are two of the most effective website builders and content management systems available today. But which is the most appropriate for your project? From the standpoint of a designer, we’ll highlight the key differences between WordPress and Webflow.
It takes time and careful planning to build a website, and selecting the best tools can be difficult. WordPress and Webflow are two names that usually stand out in the early stages of the decision-making process.
Both platforms have fantastic features, but there are differences in how easy or difficult they are to use, how you can build websites with them, and how you can manage content. Let’s start by getting to know them.
In 2003, WordPress was developed as a blogging platform. Over time, it transformed into a Content Management System (CMS), which is now used to create directories, e-commerce websites, portfolio websites, and business websites. It’s a free, open-source platform that anyone can download and use, with a large developer and user community.
WordPress powers millions of websites on the internet and is the most popular and well-known CMS worldwide.
Using free or premium themes, which are generally customisable to suit your visual preferences though with a pre-determined structure, it’s really easy and quick to create a WordPress website. You’ll need to install plugins to get some extra features, and this is where WordPress becomes extremely reliant.
You’ll need to know how to code if you want to build a custom website, or you can hire a developer or designer who is skilled in doing so, but this may result in higher costs.
Starting with WordPress is simple, which is why it has grown in popularity, but the more features you require, the more complex it becomes. It is versatile, accessible, and you can use it to create almost any type of website, with a plethora of themes and plugins to choose from, developed by its active and large community.
Webflow websites cannot be self-hosted because the platform also has a CMS and requires purchasing a hosting plan. Webflow, in contrast to other website builders, allows designers to quickly create fully functional websites without depending on developers.
Webflow’s digital Webflow University also helps to expand knowledge. The tool, hosting, CMS, and much more are all accessible there, along with all the necessary information and how-to’s.
With thousands of users worldwide, including entrepreneurs, designers, creatives, and developers, the platform is quickly establishing itself in the website building market.
WordPress and Webflow differ primarily in that the former allows you to customize and build your website by adding themes and plugins. In the latter, you can use a built-in drag-and-drop tool called Designer to create a fully functional website from scratch.
Although they take entirely different approaches and have very different learning curves, both platforms provide non-coding solutions. By going to the “Appearance” section and selecting a theme, you can alter how your WordPress website looks.
Then, using various dashboard tools, you can manage the content, settings, users, and user comments on your website. WordPress websites are extremely powerful but can also be very complex for beginners because different themes offer various functions and features.
In order to expand their visual options when designing a website, developers and designers frequently use third-party plugins that provide visual editing control with drag-and-drop capabilities. Purchasing the appropriate theme and costuming it to brand specifications is a common solution. Although this is a workable solution, it is common to find the same website layout in various versions online because themes are rarely exclusive.
Although there are many paid plugins available, you can also choose from ones that are free. Elementor is one of the most popular and well-known plugins, and since it resembles Design Software, it appears more familiar to designers.
As previously mentioned, WordPress provides pre-made themes. You’ll need to manually edit PHP or create your website from scratch using languages like HTML, CSS, and JS if you want to customise its design. The native theme editor that typically comes with themes enables users to customise their website’s appearance, though with some restrictions.
Pre-made themes work well for teams and small businesses, but at the corporate level, where branding is a key component of any organisation’s strategy, they may fall short.
Since Webflow offers a tool called, curiously enough, Designer that enables you to build an entire website in a visual canvas with a higher level of control and customisation, it has a more recognisable appearance to contemporary designers. Instead of using a preformatted layout, you can design your own. This may seem overwhelming to those who have never developed a website, but once you get used to the interface, you can produce excellent results.
When Designer is opened, the control panel on the left allows us to add assets, manage CMS, edit page settings, and create HTML elements. The visual canvas is in the center, and using a drag-and-drop feature, we can edit and write our content there. You can control the elements using the style panel, also known as the CSS panel, which is located on the right-hand side of the screen. Additionally, we can use the Lottie Tool in this panel to create animations and interactions.
We have some default breakpoints in the top panel of Webflow, which makes it simpler to create responsive designs for various devices. Additionally, you can instantly deploy all the changes with a click, preview the design as it will appear when published, and export all the code as a ZIP file to use as the foundation for any other website. It serves as a fantastic sandbox for designers’ creativity.
Since the Designer is so customisable, there is a slight learning curve, but if the user needs to write custom code for particular features, adding it to the page settings is very simple. As a result, each page can be customized and have unique functionality.
WordPress has more restrictions when it comes to customising your visuals when compared to the other platforms. Being reliant on pre-built themes may be frustrating if you’re a creative trying to replicate your designs.
You have much more visual options with Webflow because you have total control over the canvas and its components. It is better suited for people who don’t know how to code and want to develop something original on their own without depending on developers.
The CMS dashboard for WordPress is very simple to use. WordPress is the most popular CMS on the market thanks to its robust publishing features and straightforward management logic, which have gained it the trust of users all over the world. WordPress gives users and developers more control and flexibility over their websites because it is a self-hosted solution.
Additionally, Webflow offers a fully functional CMS that they claim is even simpler to use than WordPress. Again, with the ability to design visually on the canvas, the user or designer can create their own visual content management system (CMS) and then give it to the marketing team to manage. But some people might find it difficult to transfer the hosting to another company.
In order to customise landing pages rather than having to use a one-layout-fits-all approach, Webflow provides the native option to add fields and filters to choose which content to display and where. This makes the website experience more engaging and effective, especially for marketing purposes.
Because the CMS engine lacks an integrated eCommerce feature, installing external plugins is required for WordPress to function as an online store. With nearly a third of the stores using it, WooCommerce is one of the most well-liked options.
Since the majority of these plugins are paid, you have a wide range of options to choose from depending on your requirements and budget. Having said that, every customizable feature varies from plugin to plugin, so creating your online store will require careful planning before settling on a particular tool.
Because Webflow is a “all-in-one” platform, we can manage an online store with total control. Without relying on third-party themes or plugins, each page can be customized with corresponding layouts.
Using Dynamic Embeds, Webflow also offers the option to integrate Shopify:
Using an embedded Shopify widget, you can add products from your Shopify account to your Webflow sites to build a unique eCommerce store without using a pre-built Shopify template.
All of the well-known payment methods are available, and we can specify shipping regulations and geographic areas. Once more, using the order management system is fairly simple.
Since Google announced they would penalise websites that take longer than usual to load, SEO is essential for every website.
The quantity of HTML and CSS generated is one of the causes of this. WordPress code generated when using a lot of plugins may contain extraneous elements, slowing down the website. The majority of the time, Webflow generates clean, well-organized code, which boosts the page speed rating.
Excellent SEO results can be achieved on both platforms. The primary distinction is that while on Webflow you can add meta-descriptions or open graph settings directly on the page settings, on WordPress you’ll need to use plugins to manage and enhance them.
Since its architecture was created to work with external plugins, WordPress is the clear winner when it comes to third-party integrations.
Although Webflow integrations are also feasible, there won’t be as many as there are for native integrations. To integrate HubSpot, for instance, we would need to “build your form in HubSpot and then add it to Webflow using the embed code from HubSpot.”
Comparing Webflow and WordPress shows that both platforms are deserving of attention because
they both allow us to build effective websites quickly
Choosing which option is best for a given situation depends on the type of project, the design skill level, and the available budget.
There are a ton of themes and plugins available for WordPress if you want a well-known platform with strong features albeit with that all familiar “WordPress look”.
Webflow which is now becoming far more popular in Australia in the last couple of years is a fantastic option however if you want something more distinctive that stands out from the competition and really does look custom built.