Webflow is an online website building tool that allows you to build beautiful responsive websites. It features a user-friendly frontend website builder and editor, a large selection of website templates, and support for building online stores.
Even though it’s free to sign up to Webflow and design a website, you will need to sign up to a premium plan if you want to publish your website online.
Webflow is a modern website building solution with many fascinating features, but how does it compare to the most popular CMS on the market?
In this article, we take a closer look at Webflow and see how it compares to the self-hosted version of WordPress.
What Do Webflow and WordPress Offer?
Webflow and WordPress can both be used to create stylish professional websites without any knowledge of coding. This type of service is known as a ‘content management system’ (CMS) because it enables users to publish blogs, news websites, business websites, portfolios, online shops, and more using a graphical user interface.
High-quality pre-made website templates are available on both platforms, but if you prefer, you can design your website from scratch.
In Webflow, unique designs are created using the Webflow Designer. It’s a modern drag and drop page editor that lets you customize typography, colors, elements, layouts, and more.
In the core version of WordPress, you can adjust your website design in the WordPress theme customizer and create media-rich posts and pages using the WordPress block editor (also known as Gutenberg).
Webflow is undoubtedly a simpler solution to use because most administrative tasks are handled for you. This includes website hosting, SSL certificates, search engine optimization, and website backups.
WordPress is a more flexible solution as you can expand your website in thousands of different ways using plugins. You have to take a more hands-on approach with updates, security, and general website maintenance. Over the last few years, managed WordPress hosting companies have taken over many of these responsibilities, so it’s not as big a problem as it once was.
Ease of Use
Signing up for Webflow is a breeze. You just need to enter your email, desired password, and name. You will then be asked to answer a few questions about your technical experience and the type of website you want to create.
Although Webflow lets you create a website using a blank canvas, beginners would be better off selecting one of the available templates.
If you have never used a website page builder before, you may find the Webflow Designer a little daunting at first as the interface has dozens of buttons. Video tutorials can help you understand what everything does, but the best way to familiarize yourself with the user interface is to just play around with a pre-made template.
Everything related to publishing content can be found in the Webflow Designer. This includes your website design, pages, CMS collections, and ecommerce products. Blog posts, categories, projects, events, listings, and other types of content can be created using CMS collections.
In the dashboard area, you can configure website settings, hosting, billing, SEO, backups, integrations with third-party services, and more.
With WordPress, you need to install the software before you can enter any website details.
The majority of website hosting companies will install WordPress for you, which saves you from having to do it manually.
If you are looking to write blog posts and pages, the WordPress block editor provides a more user-friendly experience than Webflow. From a design perspective, it’s less powerful, however I believe WordPress’ minimal approach to editing will suit bloggers and writers.
Most WordPress themes allow you to modify your website design using the WordPress theme customizer. Like the block editor, the Customizer is easy to use, but sometimes it can be cumbersome to continually jump back and forth between settings.
The main admin menu for WordPress can be found on the left-hand side of the admin area. Everything can be controlled from here, including posts, pages, themes, plugins, and settings.
Beginners should be comfortable configuring WordPress, but since WordPress is a self-hosted solution, you do need to adopt a more hands-on approach to security, updates, and performance.
With WordPress’ automated update system and managed WordPress hosting companies taking care of hosting, security, and backups, managing a WordPress website is much easier than it was before.
Whilst WordPress does boast a user-friendly editor and theme customizer, Webflow is undoubtedly easier to use. The service takes care of all major administrative tasks so that you can focus on your website.
Templates and User Interface
Webflow’s templating system is fantastic. For each template, you can see a description, screenshot previews, and a list of features. Templates can be previewed in the browser or within the Webflow Designer.
The quality of templates on offer is high, but there are only around 100 website templates to choose from. 46 of these templates are free to download, with premium themes ranging between $19 and $149.
Although you will find some third-party Webflow templates through marketplaces such as Flowbase, the market for third-party Webflow templates is pretty thin.
Webflow Designer is an all-in-one publishing solution. It’s where you add content, where you add shop products, and where you make changes to your website design. It’s at the heart of Webflow and a great selling point of the service, although it does take a while to load the interface initially.
A large number of elements are available, including animations, CSS transitions, symbols, images, videos, and other media. Pre-made layouts can be used to construct pages in seconds and the structure of the page can be viewed using the built-in navigator.
All you have to do is click on a part of your page to change its design, size, colors, and more.
One aspect of the designer I found frustrating was managing images. Uploading images is straightforward, but managing existing images feels clunky.
In comparison, the WordPress media gallery gives a more refined experience.
As WordPress has the largest community of website owners and developers online, you have access to a huge collection of free and premium themes and plugins.
There are around 4,000 free WordPress themes in the official WordPress themes directory and over 10,000 free and premium designs are available from third-party developers.
WordPress has simplified the process of installing new themes. You can install themes listed at WordPress.org directly within the admin area and third-party themes can be uploaded in ZIP format.
Although Webflow Designer is more polished than anything offered natively in WordPress, WordPress users have access to page building WordPress plugins such as Elementor, Divi Builder, and Beaver Builder.
These frontend page editors unlock thousands of new design options for you and give you more advanced design options than Webflow, such as templating systems, improved marketing integration, and large layout libraries.
For instance, here’s the frontend editing interface of Divi Builder:
Webflow has a nice collection of website templates, but you don’t get the same choice of templates that you get with WordPress and other publishing platforms.
From a design point of view, Webflow Designer is fantastic and more powerful than anything found in the core version of WordPress. However, you can expand design functionality significantly in WordPress using plugins — something you cannot do in Webflow.
Webflow allows you to easily add pages and assign them to folders. This hierarchical way of managing pages is really helpful. For each page, you can define the title, page slug, and SEO settings. Pages can also be password protected.
Pages are edited in the same way as your layouts. In some instances, this can be useful as it allows you to see how your content will look on your website, but it can be a frustrating experience if you are writing a long article, especially as text formatting options are limited to bold, italic, and inserting links.
A bigger problem is that every Webflow website is limited to 100 pages (CMS collection items such as blog posts, menus, and portfolios don’t count as pages). It’s a somewhat arbitrary restriction of the Webflow service and something which limits what you can do with it.
Webflow groups blog posts with other content types such as portfolio items, recipes, team members, and others. So when you want to add new content, you need to add a new “CMS Collection” item.
This setup works really well in practice, but writing in-depth content is still restrictive. Whether you edit in the backend or frontend of your website, only a few formatting options are available, and there are too many things happening on the page to let you focus on writing.
On the other hand, WordPress is a true content management system. There are no restrictions on how many posts, pages, users, or images you add. Custom post types allow developers to add other types of content using WordPress plugins. This allows WordPress to be transformed into membership websites, discussion forums, and more.
WordPress can get a little bloated as you add more plugins, but there is no denying that it’s one of the most powerful and most flexible solutions available online. You can even integrate Webflow into a WordPress website.
Whilst not as minimal as the Ghost blogging platform, I have always found writing content in the WordPress block editor to be a joy.
The full-screen editor mode removes the WordPress admin menu so that all you see is your article. Whenever you want to add rich media content, you just need to click on the + icon at the top of the page to load available content blocks.
The classic editor is still available to those who prefer writing in a “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) style editor, and you can also edit content on the frontend of your website using a page builder WordPress plugin.
Webflow is a capable solution that lets you add many types of content. The limit of 100 pages is something you should be aware of, though this restriction shouldn’t be an issue for most website owners, particularly as content such as projects, clients, listings, and events are stored as collection items.
WordPress is a more powerful content management system. There are no restrictions on how many items you add, and WordPress custom post types allow you to expand the platform in many wonderful ways. Writing long-form content is a more pleasant experience too.
Webflow lets you create an online shop at the click of a button. Plans start from an effective rate of $29 per month, which is about the same cost as using alternative ecommerce solutions such as BigCommerce, Shopify, and Squarespace.
Physical and digital items can both be sold through your Webflow store. You can add new products and categories at any time and define custom product fields, product varients, sales prices, coupons, and promotions. Rules can also be set for taxation and shipping for each region around the world, and all orders can be viewed on a dedicated orders page.
Webflow lets you accept payments from over 200 countries using credit cards, Stripe, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal.
There is a transaction fee of 2% for each product sold, but this fee is removed if you upgrade to the Ecommerce Plus plan.
Even though Webflow is an interesting ecommerce option, WordPress remains the most popular website platform for shop owners.
This is mainly due to the ecommerce WordPress plugin WooCommerce, which powers more online shops than any other solution. It’s a user-friendly plugin that lets you create anything from simple shops to advanced online marketplaces.
The reason so many people use WordPress’ ecommerce solutions such as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads is flexibility. Thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins are available to help you expand functionality significantly, which gives shop owners an open canvas for their store.
Whilst WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads are free to download and use, be aware that you may need to purchase premium plugins to gain the functionality you need. This can greatly increase the cost of running your shop.
Whatever platform you choose, it’s important to have access to high-quality support.
To get a better understanding of what Webflow can do, I recommend checking out Webflow University as it features hundreds of video courses, lessons, and tutorials to help you get the most out of the platform. You should check out the Webflow blog, too, as they regularly publish useful tips and examples of websites that were created using Webflow.
Unfortunately, Webflow doesn’t provide 24/7 support. Their support ticket system is active between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm (Pacific Time) from Monday to Friday. Webflow aims to provide a response to support tickets between 24 and 48 business hours, which means that tickets created on a Friday may not be answered until the following Tuesday. This is a little disappointing, particularly as competitors such as Squarespace and WordPress.com offer 24/7 support.
On a positive note, Webflow has an active discussion forum where you can ask for help, and there are regular community events that you can attend. There’s also a status tool to help you check the operational status of the service.
So how do WordPress users get help?
WordPress.org boasts a large documentation area that helps you learn the platform and troubleshoot common problems you may face. With WordPress being the most popular way to build websites, a quick search online will also bring up tens of thousands of WordPress tutorials (the aThemes blog is a great place to start!).
If you need support, you can ask for help in the WordPress.org support forums, though be aware that getting good support on the official support forums can be a little hit and miss as help is provided by other WordPress users.
Since the self-hosted version of WordPress is an open-source solution, there is no way to get direct help from WordPress itself, however the vast majority of website hosting companies help customers troubleshoot WordPress problems. The level of support you receive varies from company to company but managed WordPress hosting services such as WP Engine offer customers 24/7 support.
Webflow has a great support and documentation area, however, I would love to see them reduce their ticket response times and offer support at the weekends too.
For most WordPress website owners, support is provided by their hosting company. You should, therefore, take the quality of support into consideration when you are selecting a host for your WordPress website.
Webflow has a transparent pricing policy, with their annual membership costing around 20% less than the monthly option.
It’s free to sign up to Webflow and create two unique projects. Be aware that the free account is really just for testing. It doesn’t allow you to add pages and restricts a few other features too.
You can increase the number of projects to 10 for $24 per month and add unlimited projects for $42 per month. These prices reduce to an effective rate of $16 per month and $35 per month if you pay annually.
Extra users can also be added to the top Pro plan if you need to collaborate with team members.
When you are ready to publish your project online, you will need to choose one of the three available site plans. These plans retail at $15, $20, and $45 per month. If you pay annually, the effective rates of these plans reduce to $12, $16, and $36 per month.
From a traffic point of view, Webflow’s pricing is highly competitive. Their Basic plan allows 25,000 monthly visitors, their CMS plan allows 100,000, and their Business plan allows a whopping 1,000,000.
Webflow does restrict plans in other ways, though. For example, the Basic plan doesn’t let visitors search through your content and you cannot let other people edit your website. This makes the CMS plan a more practical choice for entry-level users as it adds searching, permits three content editors, and allows 2,000 collection items to be stored (blog posts, menu items, portfolio items, etc).
As I discussed earlier, Webflow restricts all websites to 100 static pages. This shouldn’t be a problem for most businesses because key pages such as your about and contact pages can be stored as static pages and collection items can be used to publish other types of content.
Three ecommerce plans are available to those who want to sell products on their website. They retail at $42, $83, and $235 per month. When paid annually, these plans reduce to an effective rate of $29, $74, and $212 per month.
The Standard ecommerce plan is built upon the CMS plan. It allows 500 products, 3 staff accounts, and yearly sales of $50,000.
The Plus plan is based upon the Business plan. It removes the 2% transaction fee and increases your product allowance to 1,000, staff accounts to 10, and yearly sales to $200,000. The Advanced plan allows 3,000 items, 15 staff accounts, and unlimited yearly sales.
As Webflow’s monthly costs are fixed, it’s fairly straightforward to work out how much their service will cost you if you know your traffic levels and your ecommerce profit levels.
Although WordPress is free to download, you need to take many other things into consideration. The effective cost of using WordPress could potentially be less than Webflow, or significantly more.
It all depends on what website hosting package you opt for, what WordPress theme you use, and what premium WordPress plugins you rely on to run your website.
For example, for only $9.99 per month, SiteGround‘s GrowBig plan provides 20GB of storage, unlimited website installations, and 100,000 monthly visitors. In contrast, Kinsta charges $100 per month for 30GB of storage, 5 WordPress installations, and 100,000 monthly visitors.
The cost of running an online store with WordPress varies greatly too. You can build a simple online shop using free plugins such as WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads, but you could end up spending thousands of dollars every year to get the additional functionality you need to run your shop.
Final Thoughts: Webflow vs WordPress
Comparing the cost of two solutions is always difficult as you need to take into account so many factors. To help you make the right decision, think about the type of website you want to build, your budget, and how hands-on you want to be with website maintenance. You may find that Webflow will be a better fit for some projects, whilst WordPress will be better for others.
I believe that Webflow is a great choice for beginners, small website owners, and those that want to launch an online shop. It’s priced competitively and the service takes care of many of the time-consuming aspects of running a website so that you can focus on creating content and marketing your website.
- Webflow Designer is excellent
- Affordable pricing plans
- Writing long-form articles can be frustrating
- Limited to 100 pages
- Relatively small selection of website templates
Whilst Webflow does have some useful options for developers and designers, WordPress is undoubtedly the more powerful website building platform. You aren’t limited by how many pages you add, how many people can edit your website, or what page builder you use for designing websites. You are also free to change what ecommerce solution you use.
WordPress is the better solution for writers too. The editing experience doesn’t feel cramped and distracting like in Webflow, and you can change your writing and design setup completely using plugins.
- Huge selection of website templates and plugins
- The largest website community online
- More flexible than hosted website solutions
- Requires regular updates and security checks
- Feels a little bloated in some areas
- Although small sites can be cheap to run, WordPress websites are generally more expensive to operate
Be sure to test both platforms out for yourself to learn more about what they can do. You can sign up and create a test website with Webflow free of charge.
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