Hey there, Dean here. I run content and SEO at AppSumo. Here, I write and share about productivity, leadership, money, psychology, marketing, and more.
My thoughts on WordPress vs Webflow
I’ve been using WordPress for the past five years of running this blog. Along the way, I’ve built my theme and created WordPress sites for friends.
But I recently migrated my entire website from WordPress to Webflow.
Migrating a website is a lot of work. Given that there is sunk cost in my past effort building and growing my website, why would I switch from WordPress to Webflow?
If you’re considering Webflow vs WordPress or you want to find a decent platform to host your content, this post will help you make a more informed decision.
Note: I’m using my Webflow affiliate link in this post. When you sign up to Webflow using links below, I get a commission from Webflow. But don’t worry, there’s no additional charge on you.
Webflow is a website builder founded in 2013. Like many other platforms such as Wix and Squarespace, it lets users create and design website without knowing how to code. But their similarities end there. Webflow is so much more powerful than Wix and SquareSpace. Wix and SquareSpace’s drag-and-drag editors are easy to use, but they are not as flexible as Webflow when it comes to what you can do with the design, which is one reason I leave WordPress.
Webflow is the website builder for designers because what you can build with it is endless. While you don’t need to know coding to use Webflow, knowing basic HTML and CSS will make learning Webflow easier.
I heard about Webflow when I first started creating my WordPress site. I didn’t consider it back then because WordPress was more popular. Plus, I’ve been learning and using WordPress on other projects for a couple of years, so it was easier for me to get started quickly with WordPress.
WordPress is still popular today. But Webflow is gaining a lot of traction lately because of its improvements over the years and the no-code movement.
In case you come here for a quick comparison between Webflow and WordPress, here are the key takeaways for you.
I have to start with this statement: Webflow isn’t for everyone. But if you’re still reading, it shouldn’t be wrong to say Webflow is something you’re considering and you want to learn more about why people use it.
Take notes that the list below are not the pros and cons of Webflow. They are simply why I pick Webflow over WordPress. Which means some of them might not apply to you, but it also means people choose Webflow for various reasons other than what I’ve laid out below.
WordPress was built in 2003 for blogging, which it did the job well for a decade and two. But our content demand has changed. While this might not be an issue for most people, long-time bloggers and experienced content creators might want to create different post types (such as podcast, book notes, etc.) other than blog posts. And there’s no easy way to do it in WordPress.
Take my blog for example. Besides regular blog posts, I published my notes of all the book I read.
To create an additional post type, I first need to install a plugin to enable a different post type (or you can code it into the function.php yourself). Then, you need a theme that supports the new post type.
It gets complicated when you want these post types to look differently. And worse when you have more than two post types.
Webflow solves this issue perfectly. I get to create however many post types I like, in Webflow, it’s called collections.
With each collection, I get to customize how its content looks like. For example, I get to create two distinct above-the-fold layout for my articles and book notes.
I can even set which fields to include in the content editor for each collection. While you can do the same in WordPress in a plugin as mentioned above, the setup isn’t as intuitive as what Webflow offers.
Given that it’s easier to create new collections with interconnected field options (like categories and tags), the possibility of how you want to present your content and the scalability is endless in Webflow.
I built my WordPress theme because I can’t find a theme I want (other than it’s fun). Most WordPress themes fall on both ends of the spectrum of highly specific use case or jack of all trade. They either look super minimal and do very few things or highly customizable with an endless list of features that I don’t need.
Drag-and-drop theme builders are better, but most of them add redundant hidden codes to your website that slow it down. Worse, they could break your design when you decide to switch to a different theme.
If I have to recommend a WordPress theme, I’d go for Elementor, if you’re looking for design flexibility, because it doesn’t have the hidden codes issue mentioned above. Or you can go for Focus by DIYthemes if you’re opitmizng your performance, but it’s harder to learn and use.
Now let’s talk about Webflow. In short, it’s built for designer. The designer interface looks similar to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
With Webflow, you can shape your website to look exactly like how you want without the constraints of a theme. To me, it means it’s easier and quicker to make minor tweaks when I want to experiment with new UX or conversion ideas. And I don’t have to sign up for third-party tools if I want to build standalone landing pages.
WordPress is built in the 2000s and it’s cranky to use. Even with regular updates, it doesn’t feel like it’s made for 2020s.
For many people like me who have been living a second on the internet, WordPress looks intuitive because we’ve been using it for years. Someone who didn’t know WordPress will have a hard time navigating the backend.
I learned about this firsthand when I try to delegate some processes of this blog to someone else. I need to explain every single detail about how WordPress works to have it makes sense to another person.
I’m not saying that Webflow doesn’t have its learning curve. What I try to point out is that WordPress isn’t superior compared to Webflow if you start from scratch.
Besides, there is a lot to learn about WordPress besides the platform itself. Hosting my WordPress site means I need to take care of many technical stuff myself. At its bare format, WordPress isn’t very useful and secure without some of the best third-party plugins. And it’s an additional responsibility to take care of all the plugins I need.
While I still need to take care of parts like SEO, content, and design on Webflow, I get to manage everything in a single platform.
As mentioned above, Webflow isn’t for everyone and isn’t perfect either. I could be biased toward Webflow at this time so it might be difficult to see its downsides. But here are two that I found:
I don’t think they are that bad because more templates and integrations isn’t always a good thing. Besides, a simple solution is to have a professional web designer build your site for you.
Now, to make it easy for you, here’s who I think should use Webflow instead of WordPress.
That’s my quick thought on Webflow vs WordPress. If you fall into one or more of these groups, I highly recommend you give Webflow a try.