The importance of your online presence today makes deciding which platform to use to build, update and run your website a difficult decision.
But it’s a decision every business owner needs to make. And changing platforms at a later date can be both expensive and time consuming, putting even more pressure on businesses to make the right choice first time round.
If you’ve been in the digital game over the last two decades, you’ve probably heard of WordPress - a free and open-source content management system written in PHP. 36% of websites are built in WordPress, making it the world’s most popular CMS.
The newer kid on the block, created in 2013, is Webflow. This cloud-based web design tool, CMS and hosting platform lets anyone build a beautiful website without the need for coding skills or knowledge.
But which is the right choice?
In this blog, we compare these two popular CMS solutions, and outline why we think Webflow is the best way forward for your business’s website design - and why we’ve selected it as the platform for our own website here at P+S.
Custom CMS setup
Unlike other ‘website builder’ platforms such as Squarespace and Wix, Webflow’s advantage is that it’s highly customisable. You aren’t limited to templates, yet you can still use an intuitive ‘drag and drop’ style editor, similar to those more beginner-style platforms.
Essentially, if you’re someone who wants to custom build your own site without worrying about the back-end and hosting, Webflow is a dream. But for someone who doesn’t have any understanding of CSS and HTML, it could be more difficult than tackling customisation on WordPress, especially at first.
With WordPress, you’re mostly locked into your default page template style, and if you want to change something – for example, what fields you plug in for a post – you’ll either need to re-code the template file, get a new template coded, or add a plugin. When using Webflow, you can just add whichever new CMS fields you want, and then customise how it’s presented on the front-end.
Editing made easy
Let’s say you want to change how your footer is laid out and displayed in WordPress. You have a few options for changing it. The first, is you can hope your theme lets you manipulate your footer the way you want to. If it doesn’t, you either need to know enough PHP and CSS to edit it, or you need to get a new theme – not exactly a user-friendly process. Additionally, the WordPress CMS dashboard also provides lots of options that are irrelevant to most clients, and also lacks on-page editing functionality.
Webflow’s CMS is extremely user-friendly, with simple on-page editing and minimal dashboard UI. Making changes only requires a few minutes of drag-and-drop adjustments or copying over elements from other public Webflow projects.
On Webflow, you also have full control over the site structure and content. You can change anything you want, and do so easily – and with a small team.
Clean, fast code
WordPress sites can be slow unless you make a very deliberate effort to clean them up regularly.All of the plugins, tools and messy theme files can quickly add up, meaning the code behind your site quickly gets bloated.
Webflow, however, translates visual designs into clean, semantic, production-ready code, making a huge difference to the maintenance of your site, as well as increasing its speed and the ease of any updates.
Support and security
With more than a third of the world’s websites ‘powered by WordPress’, the brand has almost outgrown its own capacity, in that there are no responsive support teams to help if you’re having technical difficulties. If you’re unsure of how to complete an action, or stuck with an error, the support system is largely community-driven.Speaking from our own experience, WordPress isn’t alone in this problem – in fact, we’ve found support from most managed hosting services to be lacklustre.
When it came to building our own new site, Webflow’s support system was fantastic. They’ve responded to most of our little questions quickly and helpfully, and their forums are packed with tips and tricks for figuring out how to get around any challenges we’ve run into. The university section of the site is also extremely helpful for learning all you need to know.
Both platforms do offer free SSL – the digital certificate which provides authentication for your site. Webflow’s security offering is also backed by constant threat monitoring, while WordPress sites have developed a reputation for security vulnerabilities when not properly maintained.
Optimisation for search
When it comes to being found online, there are a number of ways to make your website more visible to search engines. Webflow has fully customisable SEO settings which are easy to setup. Sites built on Webflow have the advantage of being built for the modern internet: the platform is younger and has been designed with more recent digital developments in mind. For example, search engines increase your ranking and visibility for offering mobile-friendly design and performance, with Webflow providing just that.
WordPress SEO settings are also easily customisable, but only through the use of a plugin, so you’ll need to be sure you know how to configure it.
Webflow has client billing built right in, allowing for easy collaboration between design and content. WordPress also has great built-in editorial collaboration, but no native billing support.
Practise what we preach
Overall, we’ve been so impressed with Webflow that we decided to use it for our own site.
We selected Webflow for two main reasons: creativity and speed. We wanted CMS that could offer us complete freedom and control. As a creative company, we didn’t want to be limited by functionality or availability within our own team. Instead, we wanted to keep our web design and development team lean, making Webflow the perfect choice for us.
Get in touch
Want to find out more about our website design capabilities here at P+S, and what platform would be right for your business? Get in touch with us today, at firstname.lastname@example.org.