Divi vs WebFlow – Worth the switch?
Being in the web design business for 4 years, I’ve grown to like WordPress. Fair enough, getting starting with WordPress wasn’t really the easiest, coming from a background of zero previous knowledge. However, with a big community and user base, it was fairly easy to find adequate groups on social media to ask for help and guidance.
There was however one "problem" with getting started with WordPress as a beginner..
Do you ever get that feeling where you sometimes just want to sit down and start doing something exciting, such as designing a website, but as soon as you sit down, you realize that you have to do 5 things before actually be able to do what you intended to do, and then you just drop the whole deal because it took to long to get started? That’s starting with WordPress for you. Now, once you've done the first part of finding a host, buying a domain and setting up a server, you need to figure out which theme to go with. Like many, you probably opt for the most popular ones - Avada, X and Enfold. I know I did, until the ads for Divi started popping up everywhere. This sparked my interest, and I remember buying the theme and instantly falling in love with the visual builder the Divi Theme provides compared to what I previously had to deal with.
On the contrary, when I found about Webflow (also through ads may I dare say) and wanted to try it out, I simply had to make an account and was ready to go. For free. I could play around with all the options, designs, interactions, and functions. I could make a bad site and I could make an award-winning site. Keep in mind, this is still for free. The first cost came when I first wanted to publish my site.
Now, let’s break this blog post down into 5 questions you as a designer should consider:
1.What can Webflow sites do that Divi sites cannot and vice versa?
Now, there's really no limitations as to what kind of designs you can make with WebFlow given you have the basic understandings of how web development works.
WebFlow provides you with a way better interface which makes Divi's visual builder look like it was taken out of the Stone Age.
Besides this, there's one thing in particular that sets these two builders apart.
What interactions do, is that they enable you to create emerging experiences for visitors. It creates a dynamic feel to the websites you make which hopefully encourages engagement. It's almost like Interactions open up a special part of design heaven for web designers and developers. The only thing that's really stopping you from creating what you want now, is your own creativity and skills.
2. Learning Curve
Before we address this, it's important to understand to whom these two different design tools appeal too. Divi markets itself towards regular consumers who might or might not be designers themselves. They provide a lot of free templates which can be uploaded by a single click.
WebFlow's target audience is different. They aim towards designers who are being limited by the tools they have at disposition, and try to solve this problem.
This means that the people who get engaged with WebFlow, usually have a understanding of how design and the web works. This is essential in order to make website that don't look like they were made by a neanderthal. What I mean by this, is that WebFlow gives you complete freedom to do what you want with the canvas. If you want to make a website that scrolls sideways, you're free to do that. However, freedom also comes with responsibility.
However, dont be scared that the learning curve is a little rougher with WebFlow. The team over at WebFlow have created "WebFlow University". That university is actually a university I'd attend to just for the fun of it.
Take a look at it here: https://university.webflow.com/
3.The economical aspect of it
We've covered the short term costs related to having a Divi website vs a Webflow one.
What happens when you're ready to post your WebFlow website to the world wide web?
Depending on which functions your website has, you can choose between different plans that WebFlow offers. You're also free to export the code and host it on a separate server (which is different from where WebFlow initially hosts their websites), but this is not really recommended. The reason for this, is that you lose two functionalities which really sets WebFlow apart from its competition. We'll cover that in point 5. further below.
Generally, hosting a WordPress website is (way) cheaper than hosting a WebFlow one. Since payments for servers and hosting are annual, this can add up to be a big sum in the long run. If a customer requires you to have a lot of subdomains associated with its website, it can get very costly to go for WebFlow (where you'd have to pay for full price for hosting for each of the subdomains), whereas standard web hotels for WordPress sites usually include up to 5 subdomain hostings.
From what we've heard, WebFlow hosts their websites on different Amazon servers around the world. This ensures fast loading speeds (given you know how to optimize a website properly!), low risk of hacking and data loss. WordPress based websites often include a lot of plugins from third party developers. This means that the risk of a security breach is relatively high. Downloading plugins which protect your website is a way to minimize the risk, but then you're quickly caught up in "plugin-hell" where you have to spend a good portion of your time post-launch to update and maintain these plugins in order to keep the website and its security up-to-date. Sometimes, a plugin update can break your website as well. And if you do a "bulk-update" on the plugins, well, good luck finding out which one is causing the "White Screen Of Death".
Maintenance for WebFlow sites isn't really a thing. Don't get me wrong, updates still happen on a regular basis, but they're seamlessly integrated to your website and happen without you even noticing. If you're a designer who maintains a lot of projects and websites - this is a godsend.
5.The Client's perspective
As we've pointed out earlier, Divi is easy to get started with. The learning curve isn't steep and most people find it OK to deal with. However, after a website is set up in WebFlow, there are two futures that are golden for clients to have.
The first one is the editor
What the editor essentially is, is a limited version of the designer. Within The Editor, the client can do most of the actions they'd want to perform. This includes changing pictures, editing text and changing colors of certain elements. In other words, they're able to edit certain elements, but are prevented from messing up the design you've layed out for them.
The second one is the CMS system
I'm using it right now as I'm writing this. Here's a picture of how it looks like:
What WebFlow allows you to do, is pull data from the CMS system - which virtually looks like a Word document which is familiar to everyone - and plot that information into predetermined spots on your website. This makes managing and uploading content easy and effective, even for those who have very limited experience with using a computer (yes, there are business owners today that still have problems with that!)
Since you've made it this far, I'll throw in a little bonus for you:
6.Why learning Webflow as a skillset is important, even for those who swear by WordPress.
It wasn't until I started learning WebFlow that I really got a better understanding of how a web page was really structured. I had heard about all the basics, such as <div>, <p>, <h1> and so on, but I never really fully understood what position:fixed meant. WebFlow taught me all this.
WebFlow is also a new platform that has caught a lot of traction lately. Earlier in 2019, the company raised over $72 million dollars from investors in order to propel their development of the platform. Even though WordPress is still King, WebFlow has had a steady increase of interest the past 12 months according to Google Trends.
Conclusion - Divi vs. Webflow
This blog post might seem a little biased towards WebFlow - and I get it. However, it isn't without reason that I pivot towards WebFlow. When I found about the platform, it sparked an interest in me for web design that Divi never could.
Give it a try over at WebFlow.com and let me know how it goes.
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