Back to Catalogue

Webflow vs. Next.js: Which platform is best for building a website from scratch

Want to quickly build a professional website but don't have access to development resources? 

11 July, 2024
post image

Want to quickly build a professional website but don't have access to development resources? 

Find out which platform you should choose to build a website from scratch based on a few very important criteria. Which ones? Well, read on to find out.

You'll also get relevant information on a Webflow vs. Next.js business feature comparison and learn what other questions to ask when building a website. 

Webflow website development

avatar

Community opinion

Reddit

I eventually found Webflow beneficial for client work, especially for those needing to manage their content efficiently. The CMS aspect makes it appealing to businesses seeking smarter content strategies, and it has increased my value as a front-end developer.

Webflow is a website creation platform that designers use to build pretty and responsive sites without writing a single line of code since the tool automatically generates clean HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Using Webflow is definitely easier than coding from scratch. Companies like Dropbox, Dell, and Discord have used Webflow for their landing pages and appreciate its quick setup and customization options. 

Key features:

• Visual design. You can drag and drop to create custom layouts

• Content management. You can easily manage blogs and other content

• Online stores. You can sell products directly on your site

• Cool effects. You can add animations without complex coding

• Team-friendly. Excellent for working together on projects

Webflow is good for:

• Designers who want more control

• Businesses needing a powerful website

• Online shop owners

• People who like to learn and experiment

The good stuff:

• Lots of design freedom

• Built-in tools for SEO and marketing

• Reliable hosting included

• Free learning resources (Webflow University)

Things to consider:

• Can be pricier than basic website builders

• Takes some time to learn all the features

The nice thing is that Webflow keeps improving based on what users want. It's popular because it gives both easy-to-use tools and powerful features for making professional websites. We know it first-hand since we’re also a Webflow website development company ourselves.

Is your website still on WordPress?

That's so last century. Let's bring it to Webflow finally.

Learn more

Next.js website development

Unlike Webflow, Next.js is a full-code platform with no visual interface. It's basically a developer's playground - a React framework that is packed with integrable libraries that improve feature implementation and styling. 

Next.js website development is a good fit for more static sites and offers more security than its dynamic peers. It also gives you nice performance, SEO, and user experience by handling server-side rendering, routing, and API integration.

avatar

Community opinion

Reddit

While Next.js may seem overkill for simple informational sites, it's a great fit if you're looking to create a more dynamic, custom business website. The tradeoff is a more involved handoff process for non-technical clients.

Key features:

• Server-side rendering. Automatically renders pages on the server.

• Static site generation. Generates static HTML pages at build time.

• Built-in CSS and Sass support. Styling without additional configuration.

• Image optimization. Automatically optimizes images to improve load times.

• Extensive library ecosystem. 

Next.js is good for:

• Dashboard and admin panels

• Blogs and content sites

• E-commerce platforms

• Sites requiring higher security

Good stuff:

• Fast performance

• Good control and customization

• SEO-friendly structure

• Integration with popular e-commerce solutions

Things to consider:

• Learning curve for beginners

• Time-intensive initial setup and development

• Requires JavaScript, React, and Node.js knowledge

• Hosting can be costly and complex

• Lacks visual design tools

Overall, Next.js is nice for building server-side rendered and static web applications. Our team also uses it in our projects and knows that it requires React and JavaScript knowledge, so it’s more developer-oriented and suitable for those willing to invest time in learning these technologies. 

Webflow vs. Next js: building a business website

avatar

Community opinion

Reddit

If you want the benefits of serverless hosting, you need to accept the complexity. Tools like Webflow can be more suitable for simpler needs. For complex sites, frameworks like Next.js are more appropriate, but they come with a steeper learning curve for clients. The handoff process in frameworks is fragmented and can be overwhelming for clients who prefer straightforward management.

Let’s equip you with some relevant comparisons so you can decide for yourself which platform is best for your company’s needs. We'll start by discussing how easy it is to get started and use it in general.

Learning curve and ease of use

Webflow is designed for ease of use, with a drag-and-drop interface that requires no coding knowledge. It's perfect for non-technical co-founders who want to build a website quickly. Overall, an excellent choice for designers and marketers who prefer visual tools.

Next.js is more challenging and requires a solid understanding of JavaScript and React. It's better suited for developers or those willing to invest time in learning these technologies. However, it is flexible and can handle complex web applications.

Performance

Webflow offers good performance for most standard websites. It automatically optimizes images and assets, ensuring a smooth user experience.

Next.js’s performance relies on its server-side rendering and static site generation. It provides fine-tuned control over optimization strategies, so use it for large-scale, performance-critical applications.

Design flexibility

Webflow design options offer quite a lot of goodies, including a visual editor, pre-built animations, and interactions. Our designers agree that it provides enough flexibility for most design needs.

On the other hand, Next.js also offers full control over every aspect of the website, but through code. With enough knowledge, you can create highly customized designs and complex interactions and integrate any design system or custom components.

SEO

Webflow has built-in SEO tools, such as meta tags, alt texts, and customizable URLs. It also automatically generates sitemaps so you can easily optimize your website for search engines.

Due to server-side rendering, Next.js also offers good SEO performance. It also gives you full control over metadata, URLs, and other SEO factors, and you can implement your strategies through code.

Scalability

Webflow is easily scalable for small to medium-sized sites. If you need moderate scalability without extensive backend operations, it’s for you!

Next.js is more scalable and suitable for extra large and complex websites. It can handle high traffic and complex data operations, so it’s helpful if you expect significant growth very soon.

Pricing

Webflow uses a subscription-based pricing model with both free plans (with some limitations) and premium ones. Hosting is included in the subscription cost, which is nice for management, although potentially more expensive for higher-tier plans.

Next.js is open-source and free to use. However, you'll need to factor in costs for hosting, domain, and any third-party services you choose to integrate. Remember to also account for long-term costs, which can vary depending on infrastructure and maintenance needs.

Support

Finally, support and community. Webflow has a fast-growing one focused primarily on designers and marketers with things like Webflow University, forums, and support channels. You’ll quickly get relevant updates and new features.

Next.js also has a large and active, more developer-focused community and offers extensive documentation, forums, and third-party resources. Vercel supports Next.js, so you’ll have regular updates and improvements as well.

Is your website still on WordPress?

That's so last century. Let's bring it to Webflow finally.

Learn more

Building a website from scratch: what do you need

What’s the best way to create a website? Usually, what you're looking for is a solid online presence without breaking the bank, so you can allocate more resources to your core business and marketing efforts. 

Remember, your website is often the first touchpoint for potential customers. It's worth investing in a solid foundation that can scale with your success.

Cost of building a website

In 2024, website costs can range from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on your needs. Here's a rough breakdown:

  • Professional template-based site: $500-$5,000
  • Custom-built website: $5,000-$30,000+
  • Enterprise-level site: $30,000-$100,000+

Hidden costs to watch out for:

  • Domain registration: $10-$50/year
  • Hosting: $50-$200/month for reliable service
  • SSL Certificate: $0-$200/year (some platforms include this already)
  • Premium plugins/themes: $0-$100+ each
  • Ongoing maintenance: $500-$5,000/year

Best sites for building a website

Our recommendations for the best sites for building a website in 2024:

  • Webflow, good all-in-one solution, advanced design
  • Wix, great for beginners
  • Squarespace, good for creatives
  • WordPress, versatile and scalable
  • Shopify, e-commerce-focused

Key considerations:

  1. MVP vs. full-scale. Start with testing the waters before going all-in.
  2. Scalability. Your chosen platform should grow with your business.
  3. SEO. Look for built-in SEO tools or easy integration with SEO plugins.
  4. Mobile-first. In 2024, mobile optimization is non-negotiable.
  5. Loading speed. Aim for sub-3-second load times to keep bounce rates low.
  6. Integration. CRM, marketing tools, and other business software.
  7. Security. Factor in SSL certificates and regular security updates.
  8. Maintenance. Budget for ongoing updates and potential troubleshooting.

Is your website still on WordPress?

That's so last century. Let's bring it to Webflow finally.

Learn more

Webflow vs. Next js: summary

So, here’s the deal.

Choose Webflow if: 

You prefer a visual, no-code approach to building websites, prioritize design and user experience, and want an all-in-one platform with built-in hosting and CMS.

Choose Next.js if: 

You need a highly customizable, scalable, and performance-oriented website, have coding skills (or are willing to acquire them), and your project involves complex backend operations and integrations.

Merge opinion

Is your website still on WordPress?

That's so last century. Let's bring it to Webflow finally.

Learn more

Even though we use both in our work, today, our tip is this: If you want to build a website from scratch and quickly need it to be beautiful and efficient, our Webflow development services are just what you need. 

Webflow makes it much easier for us to create professional websites for you without having to do extensive coding. This means you get your site up and running faster, and it looks exactly how you want. Plus, Webflow's hosting is reliable and secure, so your site is always fast and protected. 

Don’t hesitate to let our expert team give you a hassle-free, top-quality website-building experience.

call to action image

Design packages for your startup

Ideal for early-stage product UIs and websites.

See pricing
author

CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

You may interested in

Let’s take this to your inbox

Join our newsletter for expert tips on growth, product design, conversion tactics, and the latest in tech.