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6 Jun

Dreamweaver vs WordPress – Which is Better? [2022]
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(Last Updated On: June 9, 2022)

Dreamweaver and WordPress are both sophisticated web development platforms. Dreamweaver requires coding experience, whereas WordPress allows users with no design or coding knowledge to create a full-featured website.

The average small business owner does not have a web design background, nor do they have the coding experience required for modern web development. With that in mind, let’s look at Dreamweaver and WordPress to determine which would be a better choice for small business owners who need to create a website.

What is Dreamweaver?

Dreamweaver is a web design application with an advanced coding interface that experienced developers can use to create websites. Its code editor offers syntax support features for HTML and popular languages like ASP, JavaScript, and PHP. Developers can use this feature-rich code editor to create files locally, preview how they will look when published, and then upload the files to their webserver.

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a content management system (CMS). It provides a framework to design, publish, and manage a website with an intuitive interface that enables centralized control over the site. WordPress supports thousands of professionally created themes that range from free to expensive. Countless WordPress plugins address everything from eCommerce and SEO to scheduled site backups, email marketing, and enhanced performance.

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Differences Between WordPress and Dreamweaver

WordPress and Dreamweaver allow users to create web pages. Still, one is easier to use, offers more design flexibility, integrates with more add-ons, and is cheaper. Let’s break down the differences between these popular web development platforms.

Accessibility

Website owners need the ability to design and manage a website from any computer. Let’s explore how Dreamweaver and WordPress stack up in terms of accessibility.

Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver is not web-based software. You’ll need to download and install the software package, and it will only be accessible on the computers where you install it. This limits where and when you can manage your website.

WordPress

WordPress is a SaaS platform. The browser-based software allows site owners to manage their sites from anywhere at any time.

Being a web-based solution is enough to give WordPress the win in this category, but the true value of the platform’s enhanced accessibility goes beyond where and when you can update your site’s content.

WordPress is a full-featured CMS that centralizes control over your pages and plugins. When you log in to your WordPress site from the beach, it may be to update your content, but you could easily manage your eCommerce or SEO plugin, or you may just want to check your traffic stats. That won’t be as easy with Dreamweaver’s design-focused dashboard, even if you can work remotely.

Design

Having coding ability and an eye for design is a rare combo, and such multi-talented individuals can use Dreamweaver to create a full-featured website that looks incredible. The rest of us should use WordPress. Let’s see how much design assistance the two platforms provide.

Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver includes a visual editor with a drag-and-drop interface, and there’s a powerful code editor, where users can expect to find themselves after discovering the limitations of the visual editor. This tool’s drag-and-drop mode is great for establishing your basic web page layout, but responsive design and advanced functionality will require manual code integration.

The software integrates with Adobe’s Creative Cloud Library and Adobe Stock Marketplace, giving users access to many attractive design elements. But to create pages that look good on mobile devices, support eCommerce features, handle page caching, and are optimized for search engines, Dreamweaver site owners should familiarize themselves with the coding required for advanced web development.

Commonly, users with coding experience lack design skills. Dreamweaver addresses this by providing users with 16 native templates, and there are 3rd party templates available. Compared to the snap-in themes available for WordPress websites, the templates for Dreamweaver sites require much more manual code integration.

WordPress

WordPress includes web page editing capabilities with a powerful tool called Gutenberg. It simplifies web page design, enabling users to add images and text content for each page and create essential site elements without writing a single line of code. An abundant array of WordPress themes allow users to choose the look and feel of their site.

Users with no experience can create a full-featured website using WordPress, but an even simpler approach is to use a WordPress-friendly website creator like Elementor, which offers an intuitive drag-and-drop interface to help even novice website designers create amazing looking sites.

eCommerce

Now, let’s explore how Dreamweaver and WordPress address small business owners’ need for eCommerce functionality. 

Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver doesn’t include a built-in eCommerce engine or a ready-made shopping cart solution. If your Dreamweaver website needs eCommerce features, code integration will be required.

For an eCommerce website owner who wants to limit the need for manual coding, choosing Dreamweaver over WordPress would be a mistake. 

WordPress

When you run a WordPress site, you have your pick of eCommerce plugins that don’t require coding, the most popular being WooCommerce. It’s free to use and provides an easy way to add a product gallery and full-featured shopping cart to your website. Many WordPress themes are designed to integrate with WooCommerce, and there are WooCommerce extensions to meet even the most advanced eCommerce feature requirements. 

While many small business websites need some eCommerce capability, most require minimal functionality – to display products and allow customers to pay online securely. A site owner can get that sort of eCommerce functionality without writing a line code, but not if they use Dreamweaver. For that reason, WordPress is a better choice for site owners who need to sell online.

Integrations 

Your content is only one part of your website. Behind the colourful graphics and engaging text that your customers see is a collection of technologies that impact the site’s broader functionality. Those technologies, like eCommerce capabilities, security monitoring, and search engine optimization, are implemented either through manual code integration or plugins.

Below, we’ll look at how Dreamweaver and WordPress help users implement needed integrations.

Dreamweaver

As part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud toolkit, Dreamweaver integrates with native tools. This integration often requires manual coding, and the available tools and add-ons are oriented more toward website design than website functionality.

Dreamweaver supports App Integrations, which are limited to other Adobe software products, and the platform also provides several extensions to meet a range of website feature requirements. These native add-ons address a much smaller set of features than WordPress’s massive plugin library does, and they require manual code integration. There are also third-party solutions that integrate with Dreamweaver, with the coding required.

To address website requirements related to performance, disaster recovery, security, SEO, or eCommerce, Dreamweaver users must either implement solutions from scratch or tackle the required code integration that native add-ons and third-party solutions require. 

WordPress

WordPress’s status as the world’s leading CMS has given the software development community a mission—to meet every conceivable requirement that typical website owners might have. The result is a vast market of free and fairly priced WordPress plugins that offer a broad set of solutions. 

Plugins like MailChimp for email marketing and SEO by Yoast used to optimize content for search engines are popular single-purpose tools, while suites like JetPack enhance social media sharing, track traffic growth, enhance site security, and help users improve SEO, all with centralized management.

There are more integration opportunities with WordPress than with Dreamweaver, and integration with WordPress is much easier. Integrating Adobe or 3rd party solutions with a Dreamweaver website requires manual coding. In contrast, installing and setting up most WordPress plugins is straightforward and typically requires no coding.

Support

Before making a final decision between Dreamweaver and WordPress, you should consider what you’ll be getting in the way of technical support.

Dreamweaver

Dreamweaver is a mature product maintained by Adobe, a titan in the software industry. Users can expect world-class technical support delivered via 24/7 access to the company’s Help Center.  There are video tutorials and tips you can access from within the application, plus community forums that lend help to Dreamweaver users of all experience levels.

WordPress

Being open-source software, WordPress is not a commercial product, so there is no official customer support. That may sound like a major problem, but due to the long-standing popularity of the CMS, there’s a massive community of users that run active forums and have published helpful video and text tutorials. Furthermore, some top-tier hosting companies offer WordPress hosting plans that include 24/7 support, with a staff of WordPress experts to help solve any issues you encounter.

If we’re grading these tools’ support offerings compared to the support traditionally provided with a commercial software product, Dreamweaver will win in this category. However, considering the massive amount of help available from the WordPress community, plus the platform’s ease of use, which minimizes the need for support, WordPress users can rest assured that help for all experience levels is readily available.

Pricing

Whether you choose Dreamweaver or WordPress, you will still have to pay for hosting service, including fees for a domain name and an SSL certificate. With that in mind, let’s look at how much you’ll have to pay to use Dreamweaver compared to WordPress.

Dreamweaver

Adobe provides Dreamweaver as part of its Creative Cloud plans. A monthly subscription fee of $20.99 gets customers access to Dreamweaver, or users can pay $52.99 per month for access to all the products in the Creative Cloud Suite. Paying that much for a web design application is not good for most small businesses.

With the broad availability of low-cost shared hosting, a small business can easily get by with a $30 monthly hosting budget. Unfortunately, that number is too low if they plan to spend two-thirds of those dollars on web development software.

WordPress

WordPress is free for individual and commercial use. This allows hosting providers to offer WordPress-based services at low rates.

Since WordPress is free, let’s look at typical hosting costs for a WordPress website. Most hosting services built around WordPress use the shared hosting model, where one computer runs many websites. You can easily find hosting plans like that for between $10 and $30 per month, with some companies offering a deep discount for the first year, plus a free domain, free email, and free SSL.

Because Dreamweaver lacks WordPress’s CMS features, most of Dreamweaver’s value comes at the beginning, when you’re creating your site. After that, Dreamweaver users will be paying over $20 per month just for a way to update their website content periodically. On the other hand, WordPress owners can manage their content and everything else about their site for free, using WordPress’s comprehensive website control interface.

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Dreamweaver vs WordPress: Final Results

We’ve compared Dreamweaver and WordPress based on six important categories. Let’s recap.

In terms of accessibility, WordPress wins because you can use the web-based CMS to manage your site from anywhere.

From a design standpoint, WordPress beats Dreamweaver. While Dreamweaver allows unlimited customization, enabling the most advanced site design, users have to implement their design manually. WordPress enables many easier site-building options, with low-cost themes available and sophisticated drag and drop tools that require no coding experience.

WordPress works with countless plugins that integrate with no coding, whereas Dreamweaver requires manual code integration.

Working with a company as established as Adobe, Dreamweaver users can expect great support. Still, with WordPress, there’s a massive community of users and developers and many channels through which they share helpful information. These platforms do well in the support category because users of either system can get all the help they need.

Across the board, WordPress beats Dreamweaver. WordPress offers easy site creation, full website control from anywhere there’s an internet connection, plus access to an active marketplace of themes and plugins that meet every small business website requirement. Dreamweaver’s dynamic coding environment is powerful in the hands of an experienced developer, but the platform falls short in most areas that matter to the average website owner.

FAQ: Dreamweaver vs WordPress

Here are some of the most common questions small business owners have when choosing between Dreamweaver and WordPress.

Which is better, Dreamweaver or WordPress?

WordPress will be a better choice for the vast majority of small business owners.

A coding whiz who wants to build a website from scratch and has time for ongoing manual site management may consider Dreamweaver better than WordPress.

Using WordPress, site owners with no coding knowledge and little design experience can easily create a full-featured website and select from thousands of professionally designed themes to achieve the desired look and feel. Considering the platform’s ease of use, low cost, and features for centralized website management, WordPress is the better web development platform. 

Can Dreamweaver be used with WordPress?

With Dreamweaver, you can import templates created in WordPress and edit them to create your Dreamweaver website. A tech-savvy user can also connect Dreamweaver and WordPress to create a powerful hybrid development environment. WordPress’s PHP/MySQL framework meshes perfectly with Dreamweaver’s server-side processing capabilities. Integrating these two powerful tools can allow Dreamweaver users access to WordPress themes and plugins while retaining the power of Dreamweaver’s dynamic code editor.

Which is cheaper, Dreamweaver or WordPress?

WordPress is free. Dreamweaver costs $20.99 per month. That cost difference is even more significant when considering that Dreamweaver’s value comes mostly in the initial design phase. After your site has been created, Dreamweaver becomes a website maintenance tool that you’ll pay to use every month, and you’ll have to do a lot of the maintenance in Dreamweaver’s code editor.

In contrast, WordPress, with no monthly fee, is the ultimate website maintenance platform, giving users centralized control over website content and functionality, with no need to access the code editor.

From a cost perspective, it’s hard to justify choosing Dreamweaver to create your site and impossible to justify using it as your website maintenance platform.

How do I decide what website builder is best?

Do you have the time and technical experience to design your website from scratch and implement solutions for web security, SEO, automated backups, and eCommerce?

If your answer is no, Dreamweaver is not the right platform for you.

Furthermore, even if you answer yes to this question, you should consider whether your manually implemented solutions will be as feature-rich, easy to manage, and robust as the plugin solutions available with WordPress.

For most small business owners, creating a website with Dreamweaver presents too steep of a learning curve. While it’s possible to gain the required design and coding skills, web development shouldn’t be the primary focus of someone trying to run a business. WordPress gives non-technical users an easy way to have a secure, professional-looking web design without writing a single line of code.

For Most Small Business Owners, WordPress is the Better Choice

Dreamweaver is a good platform for technically adept website owners who want total control to build their website from the ground up. Small business owners that aren’t experts in design and website development will benefit more from WordPress. The extremely popular CMS offers unparalleled ease of use and helpful guidance in site design, including effortless implementation of affordable, professionally designed themes.

There are two ways to get a website that looks great and functions as a modern website should. One must learn how to create one through manual means using a tool like Dreamweaver. The other is to take advantage of the world’s most popular CMS, with all the themes and tools that have been created to enhance it. For most small business owners, WordPress is the right solution.

Tim Mattson

Tim is a freelance writer focused on helping people achieve their business goals through digital marketing.

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