Migrating your site to Webflow: What you need to know
Many clients come to us with an existing website that they want migrated to Webflow from another platform.
Common platforms are Wix, Squarespace and Wordpress, with the latter the most popular - there is currently a mass migration of Wordpress sites to Webflow.
There are many things to consider when migrating a site to another platform:
- Why should I migrate my site?
- What is the process?
- Will all my old links work?
- Will my SEO be affected?
- And many more
We'll answer these questions and give you a simple guide on what you need to know before you start a site migration.
Why you should migrate to Webflow
If it's not already obvious, we're big fans of Webflow as a website hosting platform.
The benefits of migrating to Webflow are numerous, and we cover them in depth in our 'Is Webflow right for your business' article.
In short, by migrating to Webflow you get:
- Lightning fast hosting
- Fantastic security, with automatic security updates
- A powerful and super simple content editor that anyone in your team can use (even the non-technical team members)
- Clean, semantic code that performs well on search engines
- Many more benefits
What is the process?
Sounds good, but how does the migration process work?
While there's a lot of work involved, it's more straightforward than you might think. Here are the main things you need to keep in mind.
Audit your plugins
One of the main benefits of hosting your website on Webflow is that many of the features and functionality that require the use of 3rd party plugins on platforms like Wordpress are completely native to Webflow.
This means that if you are using a messy configuration of form, slider and SEO plugins on your current website, we can handle all of this without the need for 3rd party plugins.
The first thing to do is to do an audit of your current site - is it using any plugins? Which features are currently using plugins?
Make note of these for your Webflow developer. These are features that can generally be easily rebuilt in Webflow.
Organise your external scripts
Another important element to transfer across to your new Webflow site is your list of scripts - commonly these are things like Google Analytics tracking script, cookie consent form script and advertising pixels.
If you haven't already, it is a good idea to organise these scripts into a Google Tag Manager container and strategically delay the firing of scripts that aren't required at the initial page load. We can help you with this.
What good is a migrated website without all of the existing content? Not much good, is the answer.
One of the first steps in the migration process is to generate a sitemap of your website, to get a clear picture of all of the pages on your website.
You can generate this easily by typing your site URL into your browser and adding '/sitemap.xml' to the end. There may be additional pages that are not listed here, which your Webflow developer can help you audit.
Transferring SEO metadata
An important step for ensuring that you retain your current ranking on search engines is to copy across all of your SEO metadata - most importantly your page Title Tags, Meta Descriptions and image alt text properties.
If you are working with an SEO specialist, they will be able to export a list of your current website's pages and their metadata. If not, your Webflow developer will be able to generate this.
Next up is transferring all of your images and assets.
In some cases, this can be a tricky process, particularly if you have hundreds of large images.
We recommend using this opportunity to do a complete audit of the images on your site and:
- Determine which images you no longer need - some might be outdated or low quality
- Compress and resize any large images using a free compression tool like TinyPNG or compressor.io
- Organise a professional photographer to shoot some new high quality photos that you can use on your website. We recommend snappr.com (if it's available in your country) for arranging a cost effective photographer.
A common question we get is 'Will all of our old links work?'.
This is a very important question because you have probably spent a lot of time building backlinks and sharing your website.
The good news is that we can easily apply 301 redirects to point all of your old links to your new website.
This will ensure that your site has no broken links and your SEO is not negatively affected.
Update hosting to Webflow or export code
When you migrate your site to Webflow you gain the benefit of its high quality hosting, which offers enterprise-grade security, fast global CDNs and a bunch of other advantages.
Transferring hosting to Webflow from your current provider is a simple process that your Webflow developer can guide you through.
If instead of Webflow's proprietary hosting option you want to host your site externally, this can also be done.
Rethink layout & add animation
A site migration provides a good opportunity for you to evaluate how effective your current website design is.
Some important questions to ask include:
- Is the site achieving the business goals you need it to?
- Can any existing pages be removed or improved?
- Can you clean up the site navigation to make it easier for users to find what they need?
- Can the call to action ('Sign up', 'Get a quote' etc) be more clear and easily accessible?
- Is the current design outdated?
- Can we improve the visual design?
On that last point, one of Webflow's main benefits is the ability to design pixel-perfect websites - literally any element on your website can be changed with Webflow - you aren't stuck with rigid templated designs.
Webflow's animation capabilities are also top notch. It might be time to think about how you can add some subtle animations and visual flourishes to brighten up your site and make it more appealing for visitors.