What is Webflow? "Webflow is a visual web development platform that empowers you (or your team) to build, design, collaborate, and launch sophisticated solutions visually - without knowing how to code."
Webflow is the most popular website builder among the top 1 million websites.
I wrote custom software that took the top 50,000 sites for Webflow and each of its competitors and scanned for them within the top 1 million most popular internet websites.
Webflow is used more often, by a large margin, for the most popular sites on the internet.
How did I come up with this data?
Cisco Systems is the leading hardware manufacturer for internet routers. Their routers are the backbone of the internet, routing most of the internet traffic through them.
They also run two Domain Name Servers (DNS) themselves.
DNS servers translate a domain name ( example.com ) into an IP address ( 188.8.131.52 ), and IP addresses are what internet routers use to route traffic to the correct destination.
Every time you follow a link in your web browser, your browser first requests a DNS server to get the IP address of the site you're going to.
Then your browser requests the IP address, and the internet routers route your browser to that destination.
Cisco claims their DNS servers have over 100 billion daily requests, with 65 million unique users for this translation from domain to IP address.
And they offer a list of the top 1 million domain requested every day.
I've then created a list of the top 50,000 sites that use each service - Webflow, WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and Joomla.
These lists are available from companies that crawl the internet and identify the technologies used by websites.
I then matched those sites for each service to the domains in the top 1 million sites list.
I did this each month over the last 12 months and aggregated the results by service.
Webflow has more sites that use its service, in the top 1 million sites on the internet than any of its competitors over the last 12 months.
And not just a small margin.
This tells you that if you're serious about your product's website, you want to use Webflow. It's the most popular website builder amongst the top internet sites.
The statistics were collected for each service, by month, before aggregating them.
Webflow has had a solid, consistent lead over the past 12 months.
By only looking at these charts, it's surprising that WordPress has fewer sites in the top 1 million. I'll dive into why that is in more detail next.
Squarespace is surprisingly similar in popularity to WordPress.
Wix has little representation in the top 1 million sites. As you'll see when I dig into this more, Wix has a different purpose and is used by a different audience than Webflow.
Joomla is the biggest surprise, ranking second most popular among the services. This is surprising because in just about every other category I've analyzed, they've come in last.
Webflow needs to catch up in the total number of searches over the last 7 years.
Using the leading tool for search traffic analysis, I've downloaded, parsed, and aggregated search volumes for each service's website over the last 7 years.
...and Webflow is the second to last.
What does this mean?
This represents the total volume of searches for each of these services on Google.
More people are searching for Wix on Google, over the last 7 years combined, than any other competitor.
That is a powerful signal of Wix's popularity.
But it doesn't paint a complete picture of what's really happening.
Webflow has the most popular search traffic growth.
Here's where the numbers start to get really interesting, and begin to paint a fuller picture of what's really happening.
Webflow has grown search volume by 78% over the last 2 years.
Look at the individual graphs (below). You will find that Webflow has been growing faster in the last several years than any other competitor.
While the total search volume is less than many of the others, its growth rate far exceeds all others.
Let's take a look at the others.
Wix has grown search volume by only 32% over the last 2 years.
Wix has more total search volume but far less growth than Webflow.
Also, since about 2017, search volume year over year has stayed relatively flat. No significant spikes until the last quarter of 2022.
Why does Wix have more overall search volume than any other competitor?
Most people who use Wix versus Webflow are for totally different purposes. I dig into those details next.
First, let's continue looking at search volume growth for the remaining competitors.
Squarespace has only grown search volume by 9% over the last 2 years.
Also, notice that the Squarespace graph is fairly even over the last 7 years. Some spikes of growth here and there, but on average, search volume growth has flatlined.
The same number of people search Google for Squarespace year over year.
Also interesting is that Squarespace has about 1 million searches for December 2022, while Webflow has about 1.6 million searches for the same month - and growing.
WordPress has only grown search volume by 55% over the last 2 years.
WordPress is such an anomaly.
It's been around almost as long as the web ( since 2003 ). It has a very loyal following with one of the richest ecosystems in the software industry.
They have a free, open-source version you can download and host yourself. Or, you can pay for their hosting service.
Seeing this much growth from them over the last 2 years is impressive.
Even at this rate, the newcomer on the block, Webflow, is growing faster, and total search volumes are similar.
In December 2022 total search volume was about 2.3 million for WordPress. Webflow had about 1.6 million in the same month.
That is a difference of only about 700,000 searches between the 800-pound gorilla and the new upstart.
Webflow is growing faster and catching up to WordPress in total search volumes. Next year's numbers will be interesting!
I didn't even calculate Joomla's search growth. They are not doing well from this perspective.
Webflow is growing faster than any other service and quickly catching up to the 800-pound gorilla (WordPress).
The only outlier is Wix, with less growth but more volume than any other service. We'll dig into why that is below.
Webflow is the most popular Website Builder amongst reviewers.
I've taken a majority sample of those reviews across those services, read through them, and pulled out the most discussed features of each service.
It was a lot of work 😅 But worth it. Here are the results.
How customizable is each service?
This takes the perspective of using the service with whatever they provide you by default, without adding 3rd party services or plugins.
Webflow is by far the most customizable by default.
This is what Webflow is known for.
Being able to develop websites to almost the same extent you can by hand coding it, but without the years of learning & skill required.
"There's no other software [Webflow] that has as many features and ability to completely control the design of your website."
Example of a Webflow competitor, WordPress:
"WordPress utilizes plugins as it does not have many built-in features; this was very stressful to me."
"WordPress security is bad, and it's easily hacked; the disadvantage is the plugins need regular upgrades and administration."
The overwhelming response from reviewers was that Webflow doesn't fall into the same trap as WordPress. With WordPress, customization comes through plugins; Webflow includes features by default. Nothing to install and maintain.
How advanced are the features of each service?
Again, the perspective is from built-in features. Features that come out of the box by default and not through add-ons, plugins, or 3rd party services.
Webflow has by far the most advanced features, which makes sense as it is by far the most customizable of all the website builder services.
"[With Webflow] You can use advanced CSS options like flex and grid."
"We switched from WordPress for the advanced interactions and customizability of Webflow's platform."
Limitations of the service.
How many constraints or limitations does each service enforce on the reviewer?
According to the reviewers, Wix has the most, while Webflow has the least limitations. Meaning, Webflow is the most flexible.
"Wix, it's not 100% customizable; as a designer, I'd like more freedom to design as I wish."
"Wix is the perfect platform when starting out, but when getting more advanced, it's limiting."
"Squarespace lacks customizability to the creator of the website."
How difficult is it to start using the service?
Webflow has by far the highest learning curve of all website builders. This makes sense; it's the most advanced, most customizable, and the most flexible.
"There is a steep learning curve to using Webflow, but that is mitigated by the excellent learning courses they provide."
"There are a lot of features and functions to master [with Webflow]."
"WordPress is just too complicated to manage. Because of the many features, sometimes it is easy to get confused exactly where changes should be made."
For the above WordPress quote, there were many patterns of reviewers referring to this complicated, high learning curve due to the numerous plugins required to set up a basic, modern, functioning website.
Squarespace had this problem too:
"Squarespace has endless options where it can become convoluted and confusing."
How easy is it to start with a service out of the box? Surprisingly, Webflow does not come in last. Instead, Joomla does. Also, a surprise is that Wix is reviewed as the same as Webflow, while Squarespace dominates in this area.
Generally speaking, the less customizable a service is, the more beginner-friendly it is.
Which service costs the most money, as reported by the reviewers?
It was surprising that Squarespace was reported as the second highest-cost website builder, while it was no surprise that Webflow is reported as the highest-cost solution.
"Webflow is very expensive compared to WordPress and other page builders."
"Squarespace is more expensive than other website builders."
For comparable monthly plans, as of this writing:
These are entry-level plans with the most overlapping features. However, it's a very small difference. You can see that reflected in the chart above, with only a 10% difference between the two. But that 10% gets you so much more with Webflow.
Webflow creates the fastest websites.
Which website builder creates the slowest-running websites?
Another way to look at this is...
Without adding plugins, add-ons, or 3rd party solutions (just a default setup), which website builders consistently create the fast websites?
Webflow creates the fastest sites, while Joomla creates the slowest sites.
...and remember site speed matters.
It matters to Google as they rank fast sites higher in the results. And it matters to users who are more likely to abandon your site if it loads and runs slowly.
As you'll see in the next section, when you spend a lot of time adding 3rd party services and tuning your site, websites created by each platform can all perform at a reasonable amount of speed.
The question is how many 3rd party services do you need to use, how much do they cost, and how much time do you spend setting them up and maintaining them?
With Webflow, you get the best performance out of the box without adding plugins or 3rd party services.
Which service provides the best customer support and community help?
Webflow takes the lead, while Squarespace comes in second. Surprisingly, Wix comes in last.
"Webflow offers many resources, including video tutorials, helpful community forums, and helps users get up to speed."
"[Webflow has a] large community using it, so finding answers to your problems is easy."
"Squarespace has patient custom support, outstanding how-to articles, and videos."
Webflow is the best of 5 out of 8 total categories. More than another other single website builder based upon customer reviews.
Webflow is the most popular by User Experience ( page speed ).
I've taken the top 50,000 sites for each website builder ( 250,000 sites total ) and run each of them through Google's page speed insights tool.
"PageSpeed Insights (PSI) reports on the user experience of a page on both mobile and desktop devices and provides suggestions on how that page may be improved." -- Google PageSpeed Insights
While Webflow does come out on top, it only does so by a small margin amongst all other website builders.
It is interesting to understand that when anyone is serious about having the best user experience for their site, they'll spend the money and time on third-party tools to ensure it's as good (or better) as other sites.
At this level, the website builder doesn't matter, except...
When understanding which website builder gives you this out of the box without spending the time adding and maintaining costly third-party plugins.
When reviewing the most popular features by service in the section above, you find that Webflow comes out on top in this category. Building the fastest sites out-of-the-box without any additional third-party services.
That's something this User Experience report doesn't show you but is vital when trying to understand which website builder is the most popular.
Let's break down the metrics Google uses to rank User Experience.
The results above are for the top 50,000 websites built with Webflow.
Time to first byte helps to identify when a web server is too slow to respond to requests. This precedes every other meaningful loading performance metric.
An optimal response time is less than 800 milliseconds. Anything more than this indicates a slow site with a bad user experience.
First contentful paint measures perceived webpage load speed. It marks the first-page load time when the user can see anything on the screen.
A fast first content paint helps to reassure the user that something is happening.
First input delay score.
First, contentful paint measures how fast pixels are painted on the user's screen, but how fast that happens is only part of the story.
Equality import is first input delay, measuring how interactive and responsive your site is when users engage with your site. Click links. Scroll. Navigate, etc...
If you've painted the page to screen, but it takes too long for the users to use it, they could have a better user experience.
Largest content paint is essential because it marks the point on page load when its main content is likely loaded.
A fast LCP helps to reassure your users that the page is useful.
Cumulative layout shift measures the visual stability of your site.
"Have you ever been reading an article online when something suddenly changes on the page?
Without warning, the text moves, and you've lost your place.
Or even worse: you're about to tap a link or a button, but in an instant before your finger lands—BOOM—the link moves, and you end up clicking something else!"
This unexpected movement typically happens due to the way page resource are loaded. The CLS metric helps address this issue by measuring how often it occurs for real users.
Interaction to next paint measures the interactions on your page. When an interaction causes a page to become unresponsive (even briefly), this is considered a poor user experience.
A good INP score means the page was consistently able to respond quickly to most (if not all) user interactions.
What is an interaction?
The interactions that are observed for this report are:
Hovering and scrolling do not factor into an INP score, however...
Scrolling with the keyboard (space bar, page up, page down, etc...) involves a keystroke that will trigger an event that the INP score measures.
That's a deep dive into the technical metrics behind a Google User Experience report.
But if Google is spending this much time tracking it and giving you access to it (so you may improve your site), then it's important to them for ranking.
Higher-ranking sites need a great user experience; otherwise, Google isn't giving you the best results they can.
Just know that out-of-the-box, without any third-party plugins, Webflow gives you the best User Experience for your website.