Is there anything better than WordPress? Yes: Webflow.
July 5, 2020
I've been managing, designing, testing, and improving websites since the mid-1990s when I taught myself to code. All website content management systems (CMS) have their shortcomings, and most of them, especially WordPress, have major flaws. I've worked on dozens of clients' websites that were managed via WordPress, and recurring issues and complaints include:
“We have plugins that no longer work or need updating. Help!"
"When we try to update our website plugins or our theme — or anything — we end up breaking something somewhere on the site."
“Our site got hacked; what happened to all of our website leads?"
Ugh. Here are 3 reasons why I strongly recommend Webflow over WordPress.
Create hundreds of fake spam pages that appear to have been created by you
Take down your website or critical functions of your site
Hackers often target WordPress websites because they're fairly easy to break in to if they aren’t kept 100% up-to-date with the latest WordPress themes and plugins. Staying on top of plugin updates is a chore.
WordPress also fails to supply its customers with the full toolkit of security resources needed today. At minimum, every site should have a reliable host, an SSL certificate for HTTPS, and a fast CDN to ensure content is loaded quickly (page speed is now a Google ranking factor). All of these are included in Webflow; if you choose WordPress, you'll have to buy all of them separately as add-ons.
Webflow is cheaper than WordPress
For a typical medium-sized business with a 30- to 300-page website that needs to be regularly updated each week:
WordPress costs per year
Hosting + CMS: $144
Security + plugins + themes: $5,000 - $20,000
Website updates + maintenance: 2-3x higher than Webflow
Total range: $47,500 - $122,500
Webflow costs per year
Hosting + CMS: $192
Security + plugins + themes: $0
Website updates + maintenance: 2-3x lower than WordPress
Total range: $19,000 - $49,000
Why are WordPress websites so costly to maintain?
Keeping security measures up-to-date (see above)
Updating your plugins and ensuring there are no conflicts (more on this below)
Optimizing bloated code and inefficient caching (plugins contribute to these issues)
Ensuring altered themes have constant child theme backups
WordPress boasts that it's a flexible platform because its store has more than 50,000 plugins, which allow you to add features or capabilities to your website.
However, this “flexibility” comes at quite a cost: There is no proper oversight to WordPress plugins, so anyone, from anywhere in the world, with any amount of experience, can develop and sell a plugin. It has led to chaos:
Comparing third-party plugin A vs. plugin B is left up to star ratings, like a restaurant on Yelp. That's problematic. If your experience at the new Thai place in town is mediocre, oh well. But when plugin A could crash your site or plugin B could lead to malware, that's not acceptable.
If you find a plugin that your business "needs" or likes, there’s no guarantee that that developer will continue to keep that plugin updated in the future.
Because of the large volume of available third-party plugins, it's impossible to accurately predict if those plugins will conflict with each other today, tomorrow, or a year from now (hint: They will).
The WordPress model of democratizing third-party web development doesn't make sense in today’s online landscape. Customers, shareholders, and regulations all require businesses to have excellent data security, privacy, and uptime with their online platforms.
A centrally-managed, dedicated company that oversees code (like Webflow) is a better alternative than WordPress. Webflow operates like Apple in this regard — when you purchase an iPhone, you get tons of built-in capabilities that were built by and approved by Apple:
If WordPress built your iPhone, it would come with an email app. And that’s it. Everything else you need? Best of luck to you.
With Webflow, 95% of what any small or medium-sized business would need for its website is built into the platform. For the other 5%, you can add your own custom code, or you can add Webflow-approved integrations (similar to plugins, but these are reviewed and approved by Webflow).
All of this leads to cost savings in the long run — up to 70% annually for SMBs.
Webflow is a 'no-code' tool, so it's easier to use
Webflow has been around since 2013, and is used by NASA, Twitter, CBS, Dell, and many more. It has two primary modes: collaborator mode and designer mode.
Collaborator mode allows web novices to update content, edit images, improve SEO, and more — all with zero coding knowledge. If you use Webflow, I'll train anyone in your organization to make day-to-day website updates. A frequently updated website will perform better in Google, and updating your website should be easy and fun. With Webflow, I think it is.
Designer mode allows web designers, like me, to create your site's design, layout, structure, databases, ecommerce store, mobile experience, and back-end code. This is the “admin” mode.
With WordPress, editors often get a faux visual editor — a visual "representation" of the web page you're trying to edit, but it's laid out in confusing "blocks" that don't mirror what the page actually looks like. Have fun figuring out which block represents which part of your WordPress page:
Webflow, on the other hand, is the real deal: When you’re editing your web page, you’re looking at that web page. If you want to edit something on one of your web pages, you click on it and make the tweak. Simple. Done.
When you’re editing a web page in Webflow, you’re looking at that web page — not a 'block' representation of it.
Finally, abandoning WordPress means no more digging around the WP trove of menu items, which includes at minimum appearance, plugins, tools, toolset, templates, and themes. Figuring out how to edit a single component of your WordPress website can often be exhausting.
If you're a small or medium-sized business, do yourself a favor and avoid the headaches and frustrations of WordPress — it lacks quality control and is behind the times on security, code, and features. Contact me if you're interested in learning more about Webflow, and if it might be a better choice for your company's website.
Here are some additional, longer articles that warn of the annoyances and headaches with WordPress: