At Tension Design, we’ve built websites in WordPress for almost 15 years. But everything about the web has changed in that time: digital capabilities, online security requirements, and the demand to easily manage your own company’s website, ongoing, without constant hassles and headaches.
In 2018, we set out on a quest to find viable WordPress alternatives, specifically for our clients. They (and we) were wasting too much time and money on problems that always traced back to WordPress shortcomings. What we heard over and over:
It’s 2019. There has to be a content management system (CMS) that is more turnkey, right? After researching literally more than 30 platforms, we confidently settled on Webflow.
The following are the three primary reasons we made the switch:
WordPress powers about 35% of the Internet, but accounts for 90% of online hacks. These hacks can:
WordPress is constantly targeted by hackers because it’s fairly easy to “break in” to sites when they aren’t continuously kept 100% up-to-date with the latest WordPress themes and plugins. Staying on top of that is a chore.
WordPress also falls short when it comes to supplying its customers with the full “toolkit” of security resources that are 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. All three of these are included in Webflow; they are add-ons or third-party purchases if you go with WordPress.
As a business, moving away from WordPress means better security and less risk — for us and our clients.
The primary reason WordPress websites are more costly to manage over the long run is maintenance hours. This includes two areas:
We estimate that a typical WordPress site — for a small or medium-sized business — will cost more than $3,000 per year for proper maintenance and security.
We estimate most SMBs would spend 70% less per year with Webflow.
Additional hidden costs of WordPress include:
WordPress boasts that it is an extremely flexible platform because you can download any one of 50,000 plugins in its store to add features or capabilities to your site.
True, but this “flexibility” comes at quite a cost: WordPress has democratized plugin development, so anyone from any country can develop and sell a plugin. What we now have is the online equivalent of the Wild West — a marketplace with extremely limited oversight, and no central governing body that can reel in the chaos:
The WordPress model of democratizing software development simply no longer makes sense in today’s online landscape. Whether demanded by customers, shareholders, or regulations, businesses today are required to have excellent data security and privacy when it comes to their online platforms.
That’s why we believe a centrally-managed, dedicated company that oversees code is the better way to go in 2019.
Take the “Apple” model for example. When you purchase an iPhone, you get a slew of built-in capabilities that were built by and approved by Apple:
If WordPress built your iPhone, it would come with a calculator. And that’s it.
Webflow follows more closely the Apple model. 95% of what a small or medium-sized business would need is built into the platform. For the remaining 5%, you can either add Webflow-approved third-party integrations, or you can add your own custom code. No more plugins!
WordPress is a spread out community of volunteers, while Webflow is a dedicated web company that is continuously developing new features and functionality, with new code that is thoroughly tested and approved.
If you want to use Webflow, they require that you host your website with them. While that’s expensive at a little over $250 per year, the lack of plugin maintenance more than makes up for the cost.
We estimate most SMBs would spend 70% less per year with Webflow. Here’s the breakdown:
Used by Adobe, CBS, Dell and NASA to name a few, Webflow has been around since 2013. It has two primary modes: editor mode and designer mode.
Having both of these modes available is a big deal, because it means no more confusing DIVI themes and faux “visual editors.”
Webflow is the real deal: When you’re editing your web page, you’re looking at your web page — not some coded representation of it or a world of boxes. Basically, if you want to edit something on one of your web pages, you click on it, and make the tweak. It’s the definition of a what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) on-page editor.
When you’re editing your web page in Webflow, you’re looking at your web page — not some coded or 'box' representation of it.
Howard Steele of Superb Website Builders says Webflow is “more flexible and functional thanks to a combination of its designer and editor tools wisely integrated into the CMS.”
This means no more digging around your WordPress trove of menu items — including appearance, plugins, tools, toolset, templates, themes — to determine how to edit one single component of your website. Look at the following WordPress mess!
Webflow is extremely customizable when it comes to content types — you can create templates for blog posts, staff bios, events, listings of any kind. According to an excellent Webflow review by Satori Studio:
“Webflow eats WordPress and other open-source systems like Drupal for breakfast when it comes to CMS flexibility.”
At Tension Design, we believe our clients deserve better than the headaches and frustration of WordPress, a platform that lacks quality control and is behind the times on security, code, and features.
We also believe in saving our clients money. Why should they pay us thousands of dollars a year, so our web developers can conduct lengthy investigations about their website’s unique setup, only to fix the platform’s same shortcomings over and over?
To quote our friends at Satori Studio just once more: “Webflow looks like a more well-rounded solution for anyone who is serious about creating websites, and values smooth workflows and seamless experiences.”
Well said. Seamless is what we’re after, too. For ourselves, for our clients, and for our clients’ customers.