When you’re getting ready to work with an agency to create a website for your business, there are a lot of platforms you could choose from. However, two of the most popular options in 2023 are Wordpress and Webflow. Choosing the platform that’s best for your business is important, and it can be difficult to understand the pros and cons of each.
In this guide, we break down the key differences between Wordpress and Webflow and explain why each factor is important to your business. Let’s get started!
In short: Webflow is a great fit for your business if you want a website where every element is customizable, that also incorporates micro-animations, unique interactive sections, and innovative design. Wordpress is a great fit for businesses with more standard design goals.
Your website’s design is arguably the most important part. In fact, a study showed that 94% of first impressions relate to your site’s web design, so it’s crucial you select a platform that helps create a website with a stunning and engaging design.
With Webflow’s page builder, called the Designer, developers can easily create fully custom website designs with no code. Wordpress also has page builders similar to Webflow, but they have to be installed as a plugin. Since Webflow’s builder is directly integrated, there are more features and customization options. In general, it’s easier for designers and developers to be creative with Webflow.
One of the biggest perks of utilizing Webflow is the custom animation builder, called Interactions, which can be very engaging for customers in order to keep them on the page longer. Here’s a crazy statistic: The average internet user spends 88% more time on a website with video than without 🤯. This is hugely important because animations and video on your website can lead to higher customer engagement and increase the average time spent on the page, which can boost your SEO ranking and conversion rates.
Wordpress has a great selection of page builder plugins like Elementor, Divi, and WP Bakery that can be used to make websites with no code, similar to Webflow. These page builders generally offer basic customization options like fixed grid-based layouts and a set number of CSS properties. Additional customizations can require custom code, which can take extra time and skills for developers to accomplish.
Well designed, successful websites are made all the time in Wordpress – but the more ambitious features and designs that are needed, the more plugins will need to be added, which can slow down your site. If there is a more complex design need, it could take extra development time in Wordpress compared to Webflow.
In short: Wordpress sites can gain vulnerabilities through third-party plugins and themes, and the latest updates need to be installed to protect against threats. Because Webflow doesn’t rely on plugins, developers do not need to worry about updates or introducing security threats.
Even though security isn’t a feature that you can see, it is incredibly important for the longevity of your website and trust of your customers. From preventing security breaches to improving SEO, there are several security insights on Wordpress and Webflow you should know.
The Wordpress Content Management System (CMS) can be quite secure to start. However, that can change when functionality is added to Wordpress through plugins and themes. If you use Wordpress as your platform, these are the main security problems that can arise:
Out-of-date plugins and backend. Many Wordpress sites today have plugins, themes, Wordpress versions, or server PHP versions that are not up-to-date. Plugin updates can contain essential security updates, making them a weak point for your website by exposing gateways for attackers. Hackers can gain unauthorized access, inject malware, or steal data from you or your users. Because of this risk, it is very important for the web agency you work with to keep your website updated frequently.
Compromised third-party plugins and themes. Even if you keep your plugins updated, they might still contain inherent security flaws, as they are developed by third-parties. According to Sucuri, a top security plugin for Wordpress, “Vulnerable plugins and extensions account for far more website compromises than out-of-date, core CMS files.”
There is also a lack of stability with some plugins and they can introduce breaking changes with updates. Many plugins can introduce security threats or issues through updates that are discovered after some time before they are (hopefully) fixed. For example, this June 2023 Sucuri blog shows new security risks that were patched in popular plugins like Jetpack and WooCommerce Stripe Payment Gateway.
SEO spam is a common problem on Wordpress sites that involves unfavorable words being added to your website through PHP attacks or database injections. In fact, 52.6% of websites that the security plugin Sucuri looked at had signs of SEO spam. This can lead to search engines like Google and Bing from blocking access to your website in SEO rankings.
As you can see, if you run a Wordpress site, it’s very important to stay on top of your website to make sure everything is updated. When managing a Wordpress site, here are some security tips developers will follow to prevent your site from becoming targeted:
- Installing only widely-trusted plugins and themes where possible.
- Keep everything up-to-date including your plugins, Wordpress version, theme, and PHP version.
- Add a paid security service plugin like Sucuri or Wordfence to your site to protect against potential threats. Plugins can help you relax knowing your websites’ security is protected against potential threats.
Webflow has a comprehensive and transparent approach to security. They follow industry standards like ISO 27001 and the CIS Critical Security Controls and have an annual SOC 2 Type II Report available to customers. If interested, you can review the Webflow Security summary on their website.
Because Webflow doesn’t rely on themes and plugins like Wordpress and auto-updates with the latest security features, there’s much less risk to your website’s security from the platform itself. You won’t have to install paid security plugins to keep your site secure, or worry about future costs of a security breach
Any issues your Webflow site may experience, like hosting going down, would be something that Webflow would prioritize resolving because it would hurt everyone on the platform.
In short: Webflow creates blazing fast websites out of the box with its efficient code, no-plugin approach, and Amazon Cloudfront CDN, while Wordpress sites can get bloated with plugins and overly complex code.
In 2023, choosing a platform that emphasizes efficient code is more important than ever. Website speed affects everything from customer engagement, user experience, conversion rates, and even your site ranking. In 2021, Google’s Core Web Vitals algorithm was updated to include website speed in ranking factors – meaning your website’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) will be lower if your page is slow to load.
Wordpress is the most popular website system on the internet, which means you’ll need to research the best performing themes and page builders to get the edge over your competitors.
Jack Cao, a Wordpress developer, conducted an experiment in 2021 to fairly evaluate the fastest page builder. He found that Elementor and Divi, two of the most popular builders, were among the worst in Google Pagespeed Insights, receiving scores in the 70s. Other builders like Livecanvas, Bricks, Nimble, and Oxygen had better performance (90+), but are less widely adopted. Gutenberg, Wordpress’ built-in page builder, was the best performing but is also not as feature-rich as other choices.
If you choose to use Wordpress, you can get an efficient website. However, your developers may need to spend time optimizing or switching to a different builder that supports faster page speeds.
Because Webflow’s page builder is included in the service and there are very few (if any) plugins needed, Webflow sites are some of the fastest on the Internet. In fact, a blank Webflow site gets a Google Lighthouse score of 100%, while most other websites get an 85% out of the box.
Webflow’s fast speed comes from several factors, the first of which is clean code. Webflow’s Designer outputs efficient, no-bloat HTML and CSS a developer would create, all without code.
Webflow also prefers a no excessive plugins approach. While there is a plugin library available, all core functionality is included out-of-the-box. This means your site won’t be slowed down by hundreds of lines of plugin code.
Sites on Webflow are also hosted on an Amazon Cloudfront and fastly CDN network servers, which are incredibly fast and require no configuration or maintenance on your end.
The result is a website that will be able to outperform over half of the market – setting your business apart from the rest.
In short: No matter the platform you pick, your SEO can be great. Wordpress has free plugins like Yoast SEO to help manage and guide less technical users towards good SEO. Webflow has typically fast page load times, which is great for SEO, but you’ll need to use a paid plugin like Semflow or use a browser extension to review your SEO beyond basic capabilities.
Wordpress offers plugin options to help manage SEO. The most popular is Yoast SEO – which is very beginner-friendly and has lots of tools to help less experienced users maximize their SEO. Users can analyze metadata lengths and keywords to ensure their website is optimized.
Webflow has all of the SEO tools needed to create a well optimized website. The Designer includes an audit panel which can help catch basic SEO mistakes like semantic headers and missing alt tags. However, it lacks user-friendly features that are offered by Yoast like analyzing for keywords.
We recommend users instead should install a paid plugin called Semflow which has a lot of the same capabilities as Yoast, or a free SEO browser extension (we love WooRank and Meta SEO Inspector, but there are many options).
Google also includes page speed in SEO ranking – and since Webflow sites are usually very performant and optimized, your Webflow site might see higher ranking on search engines.
Maintenance & Updates
In short: Wordpress has constant plugin, theme, and PHP updates needed to keep it running. Plus, the CMS can be confusing for non-developers to add content like blog posts. Webflow doesn’t require any manual updates, and the CMS is friendly enough that non-technical users can add content with ease.
With Wordpress, your plugins, themes, PHP, and website version can all get outdated and introduce security risks and bugs for your users if left unaddressed. Because of this, it’s crucial for your web development agency to frequently update your site and check it for any vulnerabilities or issues.
Updates in Wordpress are easy to manage for developers, but can be difficult for users that are unfamiliar with the platform.
Because Wordpress is the most popular platform on the internet, more people are familiar with it. This means that more people could feel comfortable taking over a Wordpress site with content updates and general site maintenance.
One great thing in Webflow is that there are no manual plugin, PHP, or Wordpress updates required! Your developers can use the time they would have spent on updating plugins and the backend to make other updates to your site instead. In addition, maintenance tends to be quicker and more responsive because developers can insert data through the CMS.
Winner: Wordpress for various options, Webflow for custom shop experiences
In short: Wordpress has fantastic plugin-based ecommerce integrations including WooCommerce and BigCommerce. Webflow makes customizing every aspect of your shop easy, and Zapier can be used to integrate with platforms like ShipStation or BigCommerce.
The best part about Ecommerce in Webflow is that your shop can be fully customized – including the checkout, cart, product pages, and store. The ecommerce experience is integrated directly into your site, so your products can be included on any pages you want with unlimited creativity.
The most important area of your site are the product pages - you need to make your products pop so that customers immediately add to cart. In Webflow, you can create custom galleries and product pages to highlight your products exactly how you want. The checkout experience is one of the most important aspects in an Ecommerce experience. It’s reported that Ecommerce stores lose $18 billion in sales revenue annually because of cart abandonment - so it’s important that your site’s checkout experience is snappy and unique. Webflow also allows your checkout to be fully customized to fit with your website’s branding.
Webflow also includes the features you’d need to purchase for WooCommerce to customize your shop, including Product variants, Add-ons, Popups, and Upsells. Developers can give your shop the functionality it needs without installing plugins, which can slow down your shop and hurt your conversion rates and user experience.
After you receive orders, you can view them in the Orders Panel. You can manage the status of orders and automatically send emails to update your customers on the status of their shipment. You can also add shipping and tracking information and issue refunds.
However, there are no analytics available to analyze your shop’s performance, meaning you’ll have to integrate with another platform. We recommend using Zapier to integrate with a platform like ShipStation or Shippo for order fulfillment.
In Wordpress there are many options for Ecommerce. WooCommerce is the most popular solution, as it’s free and easy to set up. WooCommerce has an extensive admin dashboard with an impressive array of features. You can manage your orders, create coupons, and analyze your finances - including revenue, shipping costs, and more.
However, a default install of WooCommerce won’t give your shop the best results. A study by Littledata found that the average conversion rate of a WooCommerce site was 0.3%, which is much lower than the industry average of 1.9%. On the other hand, the best performing WooCommerce sites had a conversion of 3.4%. The difference? These websites had custom store and checkout experiences.
Option 1. Customize WooCommerce: One way developers can improve your store is to customize WooCommerce through a theme. However, more unique customizations might take longer development time. There are also some shop features that need to be added on as a paid plugin, including:
- Add-ons (Ex. Gift wrapping, custom message)
- Product variants (Ex. Shirt colors, sizes)
- Name your price
- Popups (Ex. Limited Time Discount email popup)
- Upsells (Ex. Add on another item for 50% off)
However, the problem with this approach is the number of plugins needed to be installed. If too many plugins are installed on the site, it can slow down the server and your pages load speed.
Option 2. Install a custom checkout experience plugin: Another option is to install another plugin with an improved checkout experience like CartFlows or Flux Checkout. These plugins boast increased conversions and maximized profits through their proprietary checkout experiences.
Option 3. Use an alternate Ecommerce platform: One of the best solutions is to install another ecommerce provider like BigCommerce, which has a full-service ecommerce solution with a fantastic shop experience and great conversion rates. It integrates into Wordpress with a simple plugin and can level up your online store.
Wordpress is still a reliable and versatile platform in 2023, especially if you are running an ecommerce store. It also has a large ecosystem, so more developers are familiar with using Wordpress as a platform if your website needs updates in the future.
Webflow excels in most of the major categories for websites, including fast performance, great security, modern web design, and maintenance – giving your website a competitive edge. Ecommerce in Webflow is still relatively new and might require additional setup, but still remains a good option for many stores.
If you’re interested in hiring a team to create your Wordpress or Webflow website, 97 Switch is a digital marketing agency that loves working with both platforms to deliver creative websites for our partners. Contact us for more information on how we can help your business succeed.