Analyze the structure, content, and performance of your website.
Prepare the site map.
Add 301 redirects and a custom 404 page.
Import blog articles and other content.
Ensure URL consistency.
Optimize on-page SEO elements.
Back up the old website.
Update your internal and external links.
Test redirects and URLs.
Conduct a comprehensive audit of the new website.
Submit your sitemap.
Monitor the performance of the new website.
Keep an eye on SEO rankings.
Communicate with your audience about the migration.
Last but not least, keep an eye onyour competitors.
There will be fluctuations in your website traffic following migration. The purpose of this list is to mitigate these fluctuations and plan for future peak growth. If carried out correctly, most Webflow migrations should result in an increase in organic search traffic within a few months.
Migrating your website to a new CMS like Webflow can be a complex process. When we decided to migrate our website to Webflow, we were concerned about the potential impact on our organic traffic.
But with meticulous planning and execution, we were able to manage the migration without any loss of traffic. We developed a step-by-step process that we use with all our customers.
In this comprehensive guide, we share our professional experience and our 15 key steps to follow during your transition to Webflow to ensure a simple, secure and traffic-loss-free migration.
1) Analyze your website's structure, content and performance
a) Evaluate current content to better understand how to achieve your goals
For example, we worked with a client who had a ten-year-old website with hundreds of articles.
Before migrating to Webflow, we analyzed his content and discovered that many articles were obsolete or irrelevant.
We decided to archive these articles and concentrate on updating and improving the remaining ones.
This streamlined his content and improved the overall user experience.
b) Identifying the most popular pages
By analyzing Google Analytics data, you can identify the most popular pages and ensure that you prioritize these pages during the migration process.
This way, the most valuable content will be preserved and optimized for the new platform.
To sort through your content, search all the URLs on your current website using the SEO tool "Screaming Frog" to scrape a list of all the URLs on your current site.
You'll use this list to determine which pages remain and which will be removed. In the Screaming Frog tool, export only HTML pages under "Internal" > "HTML".
c) Analyze performance
Take note of the traffic each page receives before migration. This will help you determine the website's performance after migration.
You can use a tool like Ubersuggest, SEMRush or Ahrefs to track positions.
2) Prepare the sitemap
If you want the migration process to be more efficient, you need to organize the pages of your website.
To do this, simply import the list you've just downloaded from screaming frog into Google Sheets and update it as required. Add or move pages that need to be reorganized. Only move pages if necessary.
If your old website contains outdated pages, this is the ideal time to reorganize them or remove them altogether. Be sure to check your site's SEO analytics to see if pages are receiving traffic before deleting them.
Any deleted pages will require a 301 redirect, essential for maintaining traffic and SEO optimization after the migration process.
If you'd like to display the sitemap visually rather than in a spreadsheet, you can use a tool such as octopus.do to build the sitemap.
3) Add 301 redirects and a custom 404 page
Wherever possible, keep all your website URLs exactly the same.
However, improving your site's organization and performance may involve changes to your website's URL structure.
And nobody wants frustrated users to stumble across a dead page. So, if you want to ensure that users and search engines find new pages without problems, set up 301 redirects.
For example, if you're a caterer and your contact page URL is "caterer.co.uk/contact", don't change it in Webflow to "caterer.co.uk/contact-us".
However, if you update the website hierarchy, some URLs will need to be modified.
If you've added a centralized page for your services, your new URLs might be something like "caterer.com/services/anniversary-meals" instead of "caterer.com/anniversary-meals.
In this case, you'll need to create a 301 (permanent) redirect from "caterer.com/anniversary-meals" to "caterer.com/services/anniversary-meals".
Even with redirects configured, users may end up landing on a URL that no longer exists. Create a well-designed 404 page that directs them to your home page and introduces the other main pages of your site.
One blogger we assisted had over 500 blog posts on his WordPress site. To efficiently migrate their content to Webflow, we used a CSV import. This saved us countless hours of work.
5) Ensure URL consistency
Check that URLs match old URLs!
Also, Webflow doesn't allow you to get rid of the "/blog" subfolder, so if your old website didn't include this element in the URL, you should add redirects for each of your blog posts or create a wildcard rule.
Ensuring URL consistency when migrating to Webflow is crucial to maintaining your website's SEO value, user experience and performance tracking.
By doing so, you preserve your search engine rankings and minimize the risk of outdated links, lost traffic and potential disruption to third-party tool integrations.
URL consistency is a vital factor in ensuring a smooth transition to your new Webflow site while preserving your existing online presence.
6) Optimize on-page SEO elements
a) Set up title tags and meta descriptions
Don't underestimate the power of SEO. Even if you have the best products and services on the market, without an effective SEO strategy, you'll remain an unknown quantity.
Title tags and meta descriptions are crucial to click-through rates and user experience.
Migrating to Webflow is a good opportunity to review and optimize these elements to align them with your new content and SEO strategies.
So don't neglect SEO if you want to improve your search engine visibility and attract more organic traffic.
To modify or implement these elements, go to your page settings and scroll down to "Title Tag" and "Meta Description" as shown in the image below.
Also, when you publish your project, don't forget to activate all the advanced options for better loading speed.
b) The domain name in Webflow
Managing your domain name in Webflow is a crucial step in the migration process.
To do this, go to the Webflow designer in the settings (top left of the designer), and access the 'Publication' tab. Enter your domain name and click on 'Add'.
Once your domain appears in the list, click on the house icon to set it as your default domain. This step is crucial, as failure to set a default domain could result in duplicate content, which could seriously harm your SEO or even de-index pages from Google. Webflow strongly recommends using the "www." version for your default domain name.
Deactivate indexing of your webflow.io domain in the SEO settings by checking "yes".
Don't forget to activate SSL to secure your site, as search engines prefer secure sites. To do this, go to "Publish" in the top right-hand corner of the designer, under "Advanced options". As a general rule, activate all the advanced options, as this will improve page loading speed.
Finally, publish your site on your personalized domain to finalize the process. This careful management of the domain name is important because it is specific to Webflow.
c) Open graphics
If your new website is shared on social networks, the image will be empty, unless you add an open graph.
Add customized open graphs for all pages likely to be shared on social networks, to make users want to click on the link by adding a visual.
If you need to add an open graph to your blog posts, simply add a custom image field to your CMS collection, then add this custom field as a dynamic field in the page parameters.
As in step a), to modify or add an open graph, simply go to the settings at the top left of the designer and scroll down to "Open Graph settings".
Organize the hierarchy of your titles. This helps search engines understand the structure of your content and enables users to quickly scan your page to find the information they're looking for.
When migrating to Webflow, be sure to use the appropriate heading tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to establish a clear and logical content structure.
Optimizing alt-tags for images is an essential element of on-page SEO, as it provides context for search engines and improves accessibility for visually impaired users.
When migrating to Webflow, ensure that all images have relevant and descriptive alt-tags to improve both your website's SEO and the user experience.
f) Incorporate a custom favicon
Ever felt the frustration of searching for a website among all your open tabs and not being able to find it? The little image that appears in search results and can be seen next to your site's tab in web browsers, or the favicon, solves just that.
A customized favicon may seem trivial, but it's actually essential to enhance the user experience and make your site easily identifiable.
This small change can make all the difference.
7) Back up your old website
Create a backup. No, seriously, create a backup.
During the migration process, errors can occur and data can be lost.
If you don't want to spend days manually recreating lost content from your old website, make sure you create a backup before you start migrating!
We also recommend that you take screenshots of your website, at least for the most frequently visited pages. You can use a chrome extension to capture the whole page at once.
8) Update your internal and external links
Check your website for obsolete internal and external links.
Update them to ensure a smooth user experience and maintain the fairness of your site's links.
Use tools such as Screaming Frog or Ahrefs to effectively audit your links.
9) Test redirects and URLs
Check the functionality of redirects.
For example, we worked with a client who managed an e-commerce site. He had recently restructured his product categories, and several old URLs needed to be redirected to the new ones.
During our test phase, we discovered that some of the old URLs were still active, confusing both users and search engines.
By quickly detecting this problem, we were able to correct the redirects and maintain an optimal user experience after migration.
Use a 301 redirect tester (such as httpstatus) to test URLs and make sure they lead to an active page.
In your spreadsheet, find and replace the URL of your old website with your sub-domain "yourwebsite.webflow.io".
Copy and paste the URLs from your spreadsheet into httpstatus, and click on "Check status". If there are multiple redirects for a single URL, create new redirects to get rid of cascading redirects.
If some pages return a 404 error, create a new redirect to solve the problem.
10) Perform a full website audit
Carry out a complete audit of your website. It may take time, but it's worth it.
To give you an example, a friend of mine migrated his website to Webflow and didn't perform a full audit of his website after the migration.
He didn't realize that several pages had missing meta tags, resulting in a drop in organic search engine visibility. It took them weeks to identify and resolve the problem.
By carrying out a complete audit of your website, you can detect these types of errors and proactively remedy them.
11) Submit your sitemap
Submitting your sitemap to Google Search Console enables search engines to efficiently crawl and index your site's content.
This step is crucial for visibility and organic search performance.
Activate the automatically generated sitemap in your project settings.
The setting can be found in project settings → SEO tab → Sitemap section. Be sure to save the changes and publish your site.
Then go to your Google Search Console and submit your new sitemap (yoursite.co.uk/sitemap.xml). This will allow Google to crawl your freshly published website for changes.
12) Monitor website performance
To do this, you can connect Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Tag Manager or other analytics tracking software to your Webflow site. Make sure you integrate them into the Webflow site and test them before publishing.
a) Track website traffic
If your traffic drops significantly after going live, you need to be able to see it and react quickly.
One of our customers noticed a sudden drop in traffic after publishing his site. By closely monitoring their traffic and analyzing user behavior, we noticed that their new site was taking longer to load.
We then optimized their images and other assets to improve site speed, thus recovering the lost traffic.
b) Analyze user behavior
Imagine publishing your website after migration. As you analyze user behavior, you notice that the bounce rate on your blog posts has increased significantly.
You realize that this may be due to the new design, which makes it difficult for users to find related articles, causing them to leave the site quickly.
So you add a "related articles" section to your blog posts, which immediately improves user engagement and reduces the bounce rate.
No matter how much effort you put into your website, it's the users who ultimately have the power to judge whether it's effective or not.
So pay close attention to how they interact with your website.
13) Keep an eye on SEO rankings
If you've been following this guide carefully, you should be aware of the power of SEO by now. If not, go back to point 6.
Keep an eye on keyword rankings, solve SEO problems and check whether your site is responsive, and you'll master the powers of SEO for sure.
By adopting a proactive strategy, you'll be able to predict and avoid significant traffic drops before they even happen.
14) Communicate with your audience about the migration
Inform your audience about the migration to manage their expectations and encourage feedback.
This communication can help you identify potential problems early on, and demonstrate your commitment to delivering the best possible user experience.
15) Finally, keep an eye on your competitors
This tip has less to do with the migration process itself, but it's always worth bearing in mind!
Regular monitoring of your competitors can provide valuable information on trends, content strategies and potential growth opportunities.
Use tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz to monitor your competitors and stay one step ahead.
A few more tips
Keep a close eye on your SERPs performance.
You'll notice some fluctuations in your results. Ideally, organic traffic increases over time, but some sites may experience dips at first. As long as you've done everything on this list and your site design is really better than before, the numbers should pick up again after a few months.
Some figures to keep an eye on:
Organic impressions (Google Search Console)
Organic clicks (Google Search Console)
Index coverage (Google Search Console)
Bounce rate (Google Analytics)
Time spent on page (Google Analytics)
Check landing pages for paid ads.
If you're running paid ads, check that the URLs lead to active pages on your new Webflow site.
For redesign projects.
It's worth noting that the more you change the design and text, the more fluctuation you'll see in organic traffic after migration. If done correctly, the numbers will eventually increase rather than decrease, but it's something to keep in mind.
Disable subdomain indexing.
When you build your new website in Webflow, you can publish it in the subdomain "yourwebsite.webflow.io" and disable indexing. This will ensure that Google and other search engines don't index the site until you're ready to migrate.
Migrating our website to Webflow was a demanding but rewarding experience.
By carefully planning the migration process, optimizing our content and SEO, and closely monitoring post-publication performance, we were able to move to Webflow withoutlosing any traffic.
We hope that our track record and how-to's will help you achieve the same success in migrating your site to Webflow.
Don't forget to engage with your users by inviting them to ask questions or share their experiences in the comments.
Good luck with your migration and enjoy the benefits of Webflow!
If you still have any doubts and would like some help, don't hesitate to contact us via the chat by clicking on the link or using the bottom right widget - we're here and ready to help you.
Webflow migration: FAQ
1) How do I migrate my site to Webflow?
Migrating to Webflow needs planning and analysis of your current site, creation with 301 redirects for each URL change, testing before publishing, and SEO impact monitoring. For safe migration details, see our article.
2) How can I migrate my site from WordPress to Webflow?
Migrating a WordPress site to Webflow involves preparation, planning, creating 301 redirects for URL changes, checking the changes, and monitoring SEO positions post-migration. For safe migration details, refer to our article.
3) Does site migration have an impact on SEO?
Redesigning or migrating your site involves not only design choices but also crucial URL redirection planning. Done incorrectly, these changes can significantly impact your site's search engine ranking.
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