WordPress vs. Webflow: which is better for your startup website

Both CMS platforms are great. But one beats the other.

Wojtek Woźniak
Kashubian slang specialist

After months of pitching, you’ve finally secured funding for your startup. Congrats! Now you can invest this money in your product, people — and a proper website. With no-code tools being so accessible nowadays, that should be easy, right?

Well, before you start tinkering with your website, you have to decide which platform to use. This choice usually comes down to WordPress or Webflow. But how do you know which one is best for you? Let’s take a closer look!

What’s a CMS?

Both WordPress and Webflow are a Content Management System (CMS). They let you build a website and manage its content without exceptional technical knowledge.

For example, if you want to place a heading, instead of writing the code, you just drag-and-drop and customize the text element in the website builder.

A screen capture of Webflow Editor.

And if you want to post a blog article, case study or documentation page, you can do that from the database level using a dedicated form.

WordPress and Webflow take care of the hard part and translate all this into the code that’s rendered in the browser.

WordPress pros

Huge expert base

WordPress has been around for a long time — almost 20 years! Over these 2 decades, many people have become experts in this technology. And because it’s still relevant, you can easily find contractors that can help you with the development.

Tons of resources

Templates, tutorials, plugins, courses, newsletters, forums — you name it. There’s so much (maybe even too much sometimes!) information about WordPress. If you’re ever stuck on an issue, there’s a bunch of resources you can search to unblock your work.

Back-end control

Although you can build a WordPress website with just the WYSIWYG editor, if you do know how to code, you can get a full control over what’s happening on the back-end. This unlocks the flexibility to tweak complex features, which is typically too time-consuming (or not possible) without touching the code.

SEO friendly

It’s super easy to set up your SEO with WordPress. That’s why many people often choose it for blogs. With plugins like Yoast and the built-in editor, you can customize all the right properties to rank high in search engines.

WordPress cons

Plugin dependence

While WordPress’s potential is limitless, you need plugins to unlock it. That might seem innocent at first — but you quickly realize just how many add-ons you have to install to launch a relatively simple website.

Instead of using one tool to manage your website, you have to rely on a ton of dependencies.

This opens your website to a number of potential threats because you can’t be sure that the plugin you’re using is not actually a malware. You don’t know for how long it’s going to be supported either — plugins are often built by solopreneurs who can shut down their projects overnight. Not to mention how every plugin slows down your website due to the extra code.

The more dependencies, the higher risk that everything’s gonna fall down someday.

Time-consuming maintenance

One way to improve the security and performance of the plugins is keeping them up-to-date. Unfortunately, that process is far from quick and simple. The updates are never released at the same time, so you have to manually check and install them for every plugin you use. And with how many plugins an average WordPress project uses, it turns into a part-time job.

On top of that, you have to remember about backups and other maintenance tasks to complete your routine.

Fear of publishing

Let’s say that you’re fine with updating the plugins every so often. I still have bad news for you — doing that might break your entire website.

In some cases, when you’ve installed 2 (or more) plugins that are supposed to do a similar thing, there might be a conflict between them.

The debugging process isn’t the easiest — it’s hard to tell which plugin is causing the malfunction and sometimes errors don’t occur until very specific scenarios.

The WordPress community calls this phenomenon the fear of publishing. Developers work under constant stress that if they hit Publish after a plugin update, the entire website is gonna crack.

Fry from Futurama squinting his eyes. Caption: "Not sure if plugin update will break site. Hits update anyway.".

Added costs

Yes, WordPress is free. But the plugins are usually paid. That includes the basics like visual editors, SEO and backup tools. Besides that, you have to rent a server space to host your website. So, the costs quickly add up and the argument of WordPress being cheaper than other no-code tools doesn’t age well.

Webflow pros

High quality

The biggest advantage Webflow has over its no-code competitors is the quality of the code output. It generates very little elements and classes by default, which improves performance and speed. The code is also easy to understand for the developers who want to tweak things under the hood.

Lively community

Welcome to the world of no-code, where everyone learns and supports fellow Webflowers. The community is huge — you can get help on the official Webflow Forum, learn from the content creators (like Flux Academy, Timothy Ricks or Pixel Geek) and get a ton of resources from FinSweet. And it’s all (mostly) free!

Great CMS experience

Rather than explaining how simple it is to use the CMS, just watch this tutorial from the official Webflow YouTube channel. It’s only a couple of minutes long. It’s seriously that quick to get started!

All-in-one solution

Webflow never gets in your way. You don’t have to worry about backups, hosting or staging environment. Everything is easy to set up and accessible from your dashboard. Just build the website, bring in your domain and hit Publish.

SEO friendly

Webflow has everything you need to rank high in search engines from the get-go. You don’t have to install any add-ons. You can edit the meta/OG tags, alt-texts and so on.

Easy teamwork

No work happens in isolation — while you’re building the home page, Jane from marketing is writing blog posts and Joe from growth is busy with case studies. With Webflow, you can invite them to the project so you all can publish content. And there’s detailed permission settings to assign responsibility.

Code export

If you ever want to manage your website outside Webflow, you can export the code and host it elsewhere. Thanks to its high quality, it works great on external servers. This means that you’re not locked in Webflow forever.

Staging environment

When developing a website, you use 2 environments: production (i.e. your live website) and staging — a duplicate of production where you can preview the changes before they go live. Webflow sets these environments for you — you don’t need to waste time figuring out how to do it on your own.

Webflow cons

Pricey top-tier plans

While plans for simple websites are 100% worth your money, Webflow can get expensive at the enterprise level — especially for e-commerce. You’re ultimately paying for unlimited CMS management, which at this scale might be cheaper if you self-host your website — though in that scenario you’d lose all the benefits of the no-code platform.

Mediocre choice for e-commerce

The list of payment providers you can choose from is limited. The shop settings for customizing product pages also lacks in features. While that’s not a huge deal if you’re occasionally selling march, if the shop is the home of your website, alternatives like Shopify look better in this category.

Why we’re betting on Webflow

For no-code development, we’ve switched from WordPress to Webflow a few years ago — and we’re not going back anytime soon. Why do we love Webflow so much?

Ease of use

In the ever-changing world of startups, you want to constantly iterate to find the product/market fit. That includes tweaking your website to optimize conversion, improve positioning or drive engagement. Your tools should help you do that in the most efficient way — not require you to spend hours learning how to use them.

And that’s exactly how Webflow works. Even though when we’re designing and developing websites for our clients, we give them the content editor access to invite them to the process of building. They rarely have an advanced technical knowledge — but it doesn’t matter. Webflow is so intuitive that they can get started right away.

Not to mention how much more comfortable and creative our no-code developers feel in Webflow!

Blazing fast speed

No-code is so much faster than traditional development. Based on our experience, about 2–3 times faster. We can build a simple landing page in just 10–30 hours and a complex website in 160–220 hours (excluding design).

This means that we can deliver a website at lower cost — a particularly attractive option for early-stage startups — or dedicate the extra budget to the research and design phase to future-proof the project.

And we wouldn’t brag about the speed if it meant worse performance — but for the overwhelming majority of the websites we’ve done, the Lighthouse scores are top-notch.

No-code leader

Webflow’s growth is rapid — and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Not only do they regularly update their core product, but they’re also innovating the no-code space to ultimately allow developers to launch entire products. We’re excited to be riding the hype train now to enjoy our ‘told you so!’ moment in the near future.

Peaceful development

The number is growing with each month — but at this time, we’ve shipped more than 50 projects in Webflow. And we haven’t stressed over the technical issues in any of them — because they’re not really a thing with Webflow.

Automatic backups, best-in-class hosting, no fear of publishing — all these features let us stay in the flow of work and focus on solving the most challenging problems.

Webflow brings peace. WordPress brings thinking.

Is Webflow for you?

Here’s a scenario for using Webflow:

You need a marketing website with a few subpages and a blog. Your budget (and deadline) is tight, but that shouldn’t affect the design. Your team requires an easy way to publish and optimize the content. You want to have a full ownership and control over your website.

What now?

Hope you’re excited about Webflow just as we are! As a Professional Partner, we design and develop conversion-oriented websites that are both aesthetically pleasing and consistent with your brand. We’ve got 8 No-Code Developers on board ready to help you build your website — hit us up and let’s talk business!

Takeaways

  • WordPress and Webflow are a Content Management System (CMS). They let you easily manage your website’s content.
  • WordPress is a well-established platform with tons of experts, resources and control over your website. But it depends on plugins, which ruins its usability and stability.
  • Webflow is everything that WordPress has, but out-of-the-box. It’s super easy to use and it generates clean code that runs fast. But it’s not the best choice for e-commerce.
  • For us, Webflow is an obvious winner — especially for early-stage startups.

Give him 2 extra large, double-cheese pizzas and he'll be no-coding for the rest of his day.

Wojtek Woźniak
No-Code Developer
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tonik here — a design studio focused on early stage startups, helping founders define, design and build products.

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