Picking the right content management system (CMS) for your company can save you a lot of time in the long run. We know it because in the past, we’ve worked with CMSs that were terrible, slow, and not user friendly. With so many website design CMS options available, how do you know which one to choose–and without going crazy? We’ve used and reviewed multiple CMS platforms over the last decade, and today we’ll break down two platforms that our customers have asked us about: Contentful vs. Webflow.
At Slam Media Lab (Slam), we’re an award-winning web design agency based in San Francisco, and we’ve partnered with all kinds of companies, from nonprofits to tech companies to venture capital firms to Fortune 500 companies. We’ve used both Webflow and Contentful for years, and know the ins and outs of what makes each special.
While we favor Webflow for many reasons, and have developed dozens of successful websites this way (check out some case studies here), we’ve used both for years and know the CMS market really well. Our guide below will break down both Contentful and Webflow, so you can decide which will work for you.
If you’re ready to create and design on Webflow, reach out to us to get started! We’re usually booked a couple months ahead, so make sure to reach out ASAP!
Contentful vs Webflow 101
A CMS can be a lifesaver for businesses! The right CMS can help you update and maintain your site with just a few clicks, and without advanced technical skills. But the wrong one can cause headaches and frustration. Webflow and Contentful are popular for many reasons, but how did they get started and how many people use it?
What is Webflow?
Webflow is a popular platform that allows for creative customization and versatile layouts, all without advanced technical knowledge.
Designed with a user-friendly interface and collaborative features, Webflow focuses on a visual canvas for users to design their websites in. Webflow was founded in 2013 by Vlad Magdalin, Sergie Magdalin, and Bryant Chou out of frustration.
Many of the CMS and web design tools out there were not easy to use. Initially a website builder, this platform has evolved into a leading no-code solution offering responsive web design and a CMS tool. A key benefit of the platform is that it empowers UX and UI designers to create prototypes and complete digital products with ease. The platform also enables individuals with limited knowledge of web design to create a fully functional website with an appropriate CMS.
What is Contentful?
Contentful is an API-first CMS that has a high focus on content capabilities.
Unlike traditional CMS platforms, Contentful has a headless CMS, using a content infrastructure approach that separates content from presentation and making it easier to manage and distribute content across multiple channels and platforms.
Contentful supports its content-first focus through multiple integrations with other apps, and though it does allow for customization, users need technical knowledge as the interface is more for developers.
Who uses Contentful and Webflow?
Since its inception in 2013, Webflow has garnered a robust customer base, now serving 3.5 million people and over 600 teams.
The platform is Fortune 500 companies, public companies, startups, agencies like ours, and small businesses. You name it: Dropbox, Dell, Philips, Orangetheory Fitness, Rakuten, and Slam Media lab. Webflow also has an active and growing community that values customer collaboration, sharing tips, tutorials and other resources. This community alone has over 85,000 members.
Because Contentful requires more technical knowledge, users consist more of larger enterprises or developers looking for more customization and integration options. They service organizations like Nike, Mailchimp, and Notion, and have over 30,000 live websites. Contentful also boasts 400,000 community members and 20,000 app installations.
Contentful VS Webflow: Which is a better CMS?
Depending on your technical knowledge, you might already have an idea which CMS is better for you. But now that we know the basics about Contentful vs. Webflow, let’s compare some key aspects of both CMS platforms.
We’re going to cover important pieces for most businesses, including:
- Site Speed
- User Experience
- CMS Usage
- E-Commerce Capabilities
Contentful vs Webflow SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important to a website’s success! If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, download our free SEO terms guide to find out more.
While figuring out the SEO strategy for your website can be overwhelming at first, SEO has many benefits, from reaching a new audience to making more money. In fact, SEO is the #1 marketing to bring new traffic.
Compared to other digital marketing strategies, SEO can be relatively cost-effective, especially for small businesses. With proper planning and execution, it can generate high-quality leads and conversions without requiring a large investment in paid ads.
So when choosing the right CMS, you want to pick one that will help you optimize for SEO from day one.
Webflow makes optimizing SEO a straightforward process. Instead of having to add a plug-in like Yoast, the platform has built-in SEO features like:
- Automatically optimize the file size of your images
- Customize your URL structure and meta tags for on-page optimization
- Automatically generating XML sitemaps for your website, which allows Google to crawl through all your pages
- Setting up 301 redirects easily
- Supporting Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which can help improve page load speed and mobile user experience
- Generating clean, semantic HTML and CSS code that is optimized for search engines, making it easier for search engine crawlers to index your site and understand its content.
Contentful unfortunately doesn't have ready-to-go SEO like Webflow. While they are able to integrate with an SEO plug-in such as Yoast, the platform requires coding and development work to set up SEO. This means you have to manage both Contentful and Yoast.
Plus, the focus of Contentful is to allow content to be used across channels. This is why they design their SEO features around content modeling.
Content is organized by content type, and each content type has its own SEO setup, with varying fields that need to be assigned and set up. If you use the content for a website, a webpage can be made up of multiple content types, each with their own SEO setup.
For SEO purposes, Webflow is the clear winner.
Webflow vs Contentful: Pricing
Pricing for both Webflow and Contentful depends on your website needs. Both feature a free starting plan, though what these include is different for each.
Webflow’s plans are straightforward in their pricing, and billing them yearly can help you save money. While the cost differs depending on if you want a general or e-commerce site, each plan comes with set options that scale to your expected traffic.
Since we’re talking about the best CMS options, let’s take a look at the CMS plan. For $23 a month, or $276 a year, you get:
- A custom domain
- 2,000 CMS items (aka content, blog posts, etc.)
- 1,000 monthly form submissions
- 200 GB of bandwidth
- 3 content editors
For most websites, this is the perfect plan! It allows for a high level of content and customization, while not being crazy expensive. Webflow also has options to upgrade individual options, such as $1 for 100 more form submissions.
Contentful’s pricing is also easy to understand, offering 3 different plans, but included features vary greatly among plans.
Contentful doesn’t note which plan is the most popular among its users, but let’s take a look at the Basic plan. For $300 a month, you get:
- 20 users
- 4 standard roles
- 4 locales
- Technical support
- Tasks app
- Compose app
- Launch app
- And more…
We can see a cost difference compared to Webflow. Contentful costs $300 a month, making a month as expensive as using Webflow for a year. Contentful also doesn’t offer annual payments for the Basic plan, only for their Premium plan.
The Basic plan also includes various other options unique to the platform, such as API calls. Importantly though, it does offer 10,000 records, which beats Webflow. Though this is more compared to Webflow’s CMS plan, Webflow’s next-level plan, Business, offers the same amount, and still costs much less than Contentful.
However, Webflow’s pricing makes sense, given they have a wide range of users.
Contentful, on the other hand, services larger organizations that have more technical abilities and higher customization needs. Many of Contenful’s offerings support these large organizations and include features that cater to bigger teams, such as providing multiple users, roles, and locales. This scalability makes the cost worth it for bigger companies that have the people and skills to take full advantage of the platform.
One last note: both Webflow and Contentful also offer additional spaces (or workspaces) for an additional cost.
Contentful vs Webflow: Site Speed
Contentful’s website speeds can vary greatly. Running additional plugins and apps can negatively impact site speed and SEO, but developers can also use APIs to integrate with other tools and optimize speed and performance. Because of this variation, site speed thus depends on the individual site builder and how various apps have been used.
For Webflow though, sites are built on optimized and efficient code, meeting HTTP/2 standards. In simple terms, this means that content is loaded at the same time, rather than one piece after another.
This helps websites load much quicker than sites have in the past. Webflow also features a built-in Content Delivery Network (CDN), delivering content faster and more reliably to customers across the world. Plus, it’s powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Fastly, both renowned services that enable website load times to be reliable and fast.
Webflow vs Contentful: User Experience
As the leading innovator of non-technical website design, Webflow is well-known for their open approach to creating a user-friendly interface.
The entire user experience is based on the idea that anyone can design a website for their needs, enabling people beyond developers and large corporations to realize their vision. The intuitive drag-and-drop system and visual website canvas allows anyone to easily create a website.
Contentful, on the other hand, depends much more on the technical expertise of users. While the API-first system allows for third party integration and customization, it requires technical knowledge to capitalize on these advantages.
Contentful vs Webflow CMS Usage
Webflow is a complete platform that allows you to design, develop, and manage your content all in one spot. Their CMS is incredibly comprehensive yet easy to use, offering extensive customization options to create a dynamic website.
The interface enables you to even view the CMS data in two ways: collection pages, which creates a landing page for each item in a collection (perfect for blog posts); and collection lists, which list items on the same page (such as showing only recent blog posts).
Because Contentful is a headless CMS, content is separated from the visual website. While this means it can be more flexible and scale for larger websites, it needs much more technical upkeep. The interface also requires more technical knowledge to manage, and the setup of many features (such as SEO fields) need initial development work.
Webflow continues to shine with built-in features, including e-commerce capabilities. Creating an end-end customer experience is easy using the platform, and includes excellent full-featured options. Inventory and products can be managed through the CMS, but the customization of Webflow’s e-commerce sites doesn’t stop there.
Unique product fields allow for product highlights, so you can showcase product features, images, and other information. The cart and checkout processes can also be customized, as can the payment methods you accept (they even integrate with popular gateways such as PayPal and Stripe).
Sites can have more detailed elements, such as animations and a responsive layout. Emails and notifications can also be created and adapted to your needs and design, and even custom delivery options can be added for customers.
In contrast, Contentful relies on third party integrations to support an e-commerce site. Through additional development and configuration, Contentful sites can integrate with other e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, to manage inventory and transactions. These integrations do potentially provide increased customization and flexibility, scaling as your business grows and allowing you to connect to your existing systems.
Webflow VS Contentful: What’s the Right Choice for You?
When it comes down to choosing between Webflow and Contenful, it really depends on one thing: your technical skills.
Contentful has the potential to integrate with unique plugins and allow for more scalability and customization, but it requires a lot of coding and technical knowledge to support. Webflow has everything already built-in, meaning you can get up and running much faster and with much less effort.
One of the most important things to note is that Webflow isn’t just a CMS; it’s a complete solution.
Webflow helps you create a website and manage its design easily, as well as helps you manage your content. It unifies your complete brand image and brings it to life, without having to support multiple platforms and channels yourself. It also features many of the customizations that Contentful could potentially showcase (if you have the right plugin), but with half the effort.
Contentful is just a CMS, so it won’t help you manage your website or find other ways to connect with customers. Its customizations are limited to your content, and need special management and handling to optimize.
Here at Slam, we recommend Webflow because of its innovative all-in-one solution. It gives you more control over your site, content, and branding, allowing you to easily unify your brand image. Plus, here are a few more reasons we love Webflow:
- Easy to use user interface
- Built-in and excellent SEO options
- Numerous customization features
- Reliable and fast site speeds from clean and efficient code
We often rave about how beneficial Webflow is for our clients! If you’re still trying to decide if Webflow is right for you, or if you’re interested in finding more tips and resources, sign up for our newsletter today!
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If you’re still unsure about the best CMS for you, check out our other CMS comparisons. We’ve provided the important details on many of them to make it easy for you, including: