WordPress was the king of content management systems for quite some time. The free, open-source platform made it easy for bloggers, business owners, and ecommerce entrepreneurs to launch websites that look great, with little to no coding necessary. All you had to do was pay a hosting provider and use the free WordPress framework to get started.
Unfortunately, as competition came onto the field, WordPress began to lack its luster.
The traditional WordPress site today is known for a lack of security, limited editing options, and website speed issues as a result of messy code. It’s not surprising that so many website owners are making the migration from a WordPress site to a Webflow site.
Why Should You Migrate From WordPress to Webflow?
WordPress serves a purpose, but as your business grows, you’ll likely grow out of it. Here are a few reasons you might want to migrate from WordPress to Webflow:
- Design limitations: WordPress is heavily limited in terms of design. Either you need to have extensive coding knowledge or you’ll have to stick to pre-designed templates and page builders with limited customization options.
- Clean code: A basic WordPress site has pretty clean coding. However, as you add WordPress plugins, install themes and plugins, and make customizations, the code begins to get messy, which will slow your site speed. A Webflow site doesn’t need plugins for design customizations, allowing for cleaner, faster-loading code.
- Responsive design: Some WordPress themes lack responsiveness, making them look outdated and clunky on different-sized screens.
- Content management system (CMS): The Webflow CMS is incredibly user-friendly. Webflow makes it possible to customize each page and piece of content to fit your needs.
How to Migrate From WordPress to Webflow
If you’re ready to turn your WordPress website into a Webflow website, there are a few steps you’ll need to take to do so. Follow the steps below to complete the migration process.
Step #1: Backup Your Current Website
Your old website may not be exactly what you want it to be, but it’s home to the valuable content that has helped your business get to where it is today. You’ve invested countless hours and dollars into creating the content and developing the site you currently have. It’s important to take steps to ensure you don’t lose that value.
Before you start to work on your new Webflow website, it’s important to back up what you have right now. That way, if something goes wrong during the migration process, you can restore your backup and you won’t lose anything.
Step #2: Benchmark Your Current Website
Your website’s performance is crucial to your business and its growth. In fact, it’s likely a major reason you decided to start the migration process in the first place. Keep in mind that after a migration, it’s normal for search engines to temporarily reduce your rankings. This can last a couple of months, but if you approach the migration strategically, you may see increases in your search rankings over time.
However, as your rankings stabilize and begin to grow, you’ll need benchmarks from your previous website to compare your progress to. Record benchmarks like:
- Active users: Make a note of the number of active users your website has daily, weekly, and monthly.
- Keyword rankings: Record search engine rankings for important keywords.
- Conversion rate: Track the percentage of your website visitors that convert to leads and sales.
- Average time on site: Record the average amount of time your visitors stay on your website and the average number of pages they view.
When your migration is complete and you analyze your performance, you’ll have these benchmarks to compare your growth against.
Step #3: Start Your Webflow Build
Now, it’s time to start your Webflow build. You’ll need to start by choosing a Workspace plan and a website hosting plan.
If you’re working on the website alone, you’ll likely be fine with the free Workspace plan and CMS website hosting plan. If you’ll be working with a larger marketing team, you may want to consider their higher-tier plans.
Larger enterprise customers will need to reach out to Webflow or work with a Webflow Enterprise Agency for a quote.
If you’re not sure what you need, check out the Webflow pricing page to learn more about their Workspace and website hosting plans. You can always start on the lower-tier plans, and upgrade as needed.
Choose the plans that fit best for you and open your Webflow Workspace. Once you do, you’ll be able to start a new Webflow project. Start your build by recreating your base webpages, including:
- About Us
- Contact Us
Step #4: Export Posts From WordPress
One great thing about the WordPress to Webflow migration process is that it’s easy to export WordPress content for Webflow. However, WordPress exports data in XML format by default and Webflow imports must be CSV, so you’ll need a plugin to export your WordPress posts to CSV.
One of the best options is the WP All Import Wordpress plugin. Install the WP All Import plugin or another plugin that allows for CSV exports and export your posts to continue the process.
Step #5: Upload Your Posts to Your Webflow Website
Now, it’s time to turn the content you exported from WordPress into Webflow pages. To do so, use the import tool in the Webflow dashboard. Simply load the tool and follow the prompts to start importing the CSV you created in the previous step.
Step #6: Consider 301 Redirects
Once all of your content has been imported and rebuilt, it’s time to think about redirects. It’s likely that URLs for important posts and pages will change as the migration takes place. Now is the time to create 301 redirects (the redirect code for pages that have moved permanently) for any pages with URLs that have changed.
You can do this by navigating to your Webflow Project Settings and then Publishing. If you have a small amount of redirects, you can enter them manually. If you have a lot of redirects, you can use the Finsweet Extension for Chrome to upload a spreadsheet of URL redirects.
Step #7: Check for Errors
Before you go live with your new website, it’s important to ensure that the site is working properly. To do so, load the website and use it as if you were a general web browser interested in your products, services, and content.
Look for any glitches, dead links, or any other issues a general user might experience when they use your new website, and pay close attention to site speed. If you come across any issues, be sure to fix them before you go live.
To be fully thorough, consider using a tool such as Semrush to audit your site before setting it live. The Site Audit tool within Semrush can help you detect broken links, missing title tags and meta descriptions, and more both before and after your website launch.
Step #8: Migrate Your Domain
Now, it’s time to show your new website to the public. Do this by navigating to your Webflow Project Settings and then Publishing, and add your domain. Once you’ve added your domain, you will need to change the DNS settings for your domain name with your domain provider. If you’re migrating a website for a client, you’ll need to get information to access the DNS settings from your client.
Step #9: Analyze and Optimize
As your new website begins to propagate through the web, pay close attention to your analytics, looking for posts and pages that perform the best and the worst. Take the opportunity to optimize the pages that perform poorly and model new blog posts and pages using the methods you used on the pages and posts that perform the best.
Tips to Help You With a Successful Migration
The WordPress to Webflow migration process is relatively straightforward, but there are some things you can do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you get the most benefit from the migration in the end. Find the details of these opportunities below.
Test Your Post-Migration Performance
Your work isn’t over when your website migration is done. That’s when the work is just beginning. After the migration is complete and your domain points to your new website, it’s time to test its performance.
The site’s post-migration performance may not be the same as the performance you saw in the sandbox. Do a complete site test to find and fix any errors and ensure that your website is running effectively. Run repeated site audits using a tool such as Semrush to catch website issues early, and proactively make changes to your site to ensure a good user experience.
Clean Up Your Website Slowly
Oftentimes, website owners decide that it’s time to edit content and remove content when they move forward with their migrations. Of course, it’s always a good time to improve your content strategy, but you’ll want to move slowly here.
If you remove too much content too quickly, you may be penalized by search engine algorithms. Although these penalties are typically short-term, they can significantly cut into your traffic for a few months, costing you valuable revenue.
Edit and remove content at a rate of a few pieces per week to make sure you avoid any shock to search algorithms that could negatively impact your business.
Set up Google Analytics and Google Search Console
Google is the world’s leading search engine — so it only makes sense that the company offers some of the best tools on the market for search engine optimization. Two of those tools are known as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Google Analytics tracks user counts and behaviors. This gives you the ability to see which pieces of content are performing the best on your website and track your progress as you optimize. Google Search Console gives you the data you need to plan a meaningful SEO strategy.
The best part is, both tools are free and relatively easy to use, so don’t forget to take advantage of them.
Follow On-Page SEO Best Practices
Your migration is a great time to revamp your on-page SEO efforts. Take advantage of opportunities to:
- Clean up metadata: Make sure your meta tags like “meta title” and “meta description” tags are complete.
- Speed up your website: Compress images and take other actions to improve your site speed.
- Target keywords: Focus on keyword density and create content to fill holes in your SEO strategy.
If your WordPress site just isn’t fitting the bill anymore, you’re in luck. It’s well worth the effort to migrate your WordPress website to Webflow.
Follow the steps we've provided and best practices above for a smooth transition from WordPress to Webflow that cleans up your code, opens the door to more customization, and has the potential to improve your SEO and increase your conversion rates.
If you're ready to make the transition from WordPress to Webflow and want expert assistance in doing so, contact the team at Belt Creative. We have decades of experience ensuring that these transitions go smoothly and providing training for your team so that you’ll be well equipped to keep your Webflow website up-to-date post-launch.