Migrating Your Website to Webflow + Free Checklist

Category:
SEO
January 5, 2021

Are you ready to migrate your website over to Webflow? If you are ready to move to Webflow's no-code platform, this article will take you through the process step-by-step.

We've broken the migration process down into ten steps. Follow each one thoroughly, and you (or your client) will have a successful migration.

Plus, we have a free checklist that you can download.

The main goal of a migration is to keep your client happy. This can be done by avoiding the most common pitfall which is a drastic loss in organic traffic. Loss of traffic means loss of revenue.

This article is a step-by-step walkthrough on migrating to Webflow. A successful migration goes beyond rolling out some new code and adding some redirects. A successful website migration requires organization and precision. Make sure that you complete all the parts of each step before you move on to the next. This will minimize the possibility of a steep traffic decline.

Expectations of Migrating to Webflow

It's imperative to be transparent with your clients about the risk and reward of moving to Webflow. From the beginning, be transparent that a temporary loss of traffic is to be expected. The reason web activity drops is that Google needs time to reindex the changes you make. It may take a few days or weeks, but once Google reindexes, your site should return higher on the search results than ever before.

Follow this article precisely, and you will have a successful migration.

Step 1

Benchmark the Current Website

Start by documenting what the current website does and how well it performs. We need to be clear about the expectations of a migration. It is common for web traffic to decrease for a month or so after migration, but you should start to see an uptick in activity within the first sixty days.

At first, your client may show concern about the slower traffic so be sure to reassure them that this is to be expected.

Benchmarking gives you the information needed to compare the metrics from before the migration and show when traffic begins to trend upwards again.

Benchmarking the current website involves three steps:

  • Run a site audit to check your current website's health (SEMrush, Ahrefs)
  • Setup position tracking to monitor the website's current rankings
  • Take note of the current traffic the website is receiving. (Google Analytics)
Step 2

Create a list of Your Current URLs/Pages

This step continues establishing the baseline and collecting all the information that you need to transfer the files.

  • Use the sitemap extraction tool to pull URLs from the sitemap.
  • Use a backlink analytics tool to take note of the pages on your site with backlinks.
  • Use Google Analytics to take note of which pages are receiving a good amount of traffic.
  • Use Google Search Console to take note of which pages are indexed.
  • Take note of which URLs/pages you are going to keep, delete or change.
Step 3

Gather Content

Next, it's time to gather the content you plan to upload on the new site. If coming from a WordPress website, you can use the plugin WP CSV to export content as a CSV file. Then you can easily upload it to the Webflow CMS.

You will also need to set up a folder on your Google Drive to hold the files. Remember to share file privileges with your client.

If you you havent already, download the free checklist and then start organizing your content. Find (or create) a sitemap to the domain that lists all the different pages and links. You'll work down this list to ensure you don't miss any redirects or forget to transfer any files on the new website.

In summation, here is what you need to do during the gather content step:

  • Set up a Google Drive Folder to house/organize the website content
  • Transfer all your content files to this folder
  • Provide your client with access to the Google Drive Folder
Step 4

Take Care of Your Own Page SEO

*Note: You can run the list of audits and checks below using almost any SEO tool. (We prefer SEMrush)

At this point we set up position tracking to monitor the website's current rankings. Now is the time to put an SEO tool to work to see the site's ranking position according to keywords.

Finally, note the amount of current traffic and patterns that have occurred in the last few months. Your migration may coincide with a non-related issue that slows down web activity. These notes will support your work if someone tries to blame the slowdown on the migration.

Double-check that you pull all the URLs and links from the sitemap. You will want to use a backlink analytics tool to keep track of the pages on your site to ensure they are all working. Backlinks are vital to pulling in new traffic, so don't skimp on this step. If you need to remove the page that another site backlinks to, then set up a redirect to keep the backlink alive.

With Google Search Console, you can see which pages have already been indexed by Google and which ones are getting a large amount of traffic.

Ask yourself the :

  • Do all of your pages have optimized Title Tags?
  • Do all of your pages have optimized Meta Descriptions?
  • Does every page have an open graph image set up?
  • Have you optimized all of your URLs?
  • Does each page have one and only one level one header? Is it optimized?
  • Does each page have at least one internal link coming to it from another page?
  • Do your main pages have one external link to an authoritative website?
  • Did you compress all your images?
  • Did you optimize all the file names of your images?
  • Do all your images have optimized alt text?
Step 5

Setup Your 301 Redirects

If your client wants to use the migration as an opportunity to weed out several pages from the website, make sure they understand that doing so will slow down traffic. When Google's robot scans your page the following day and finds that 50 percent of the indexed pages are gone, it will temporarily penalize your ranking.

It's rarely practical, but the ideal way to remove old pages from a website is to delete a few each week. This won't scare the Google algorithm, and traffic will remain steady.

Now is the time to set up all the necessary 301 redirects within the Webflow site settings under the "Hosting" tab.

Step 6

Check Your New Website for Errors

Errors happen. Just find them and fix them.

  • Run a site audit on your Webflow subdomain
  • Check your website manually for any errors
Step 7

Setup Google Analytics

  • Setup Google Analytics
Step 8

Connect Your Domain

  • Get access to the domain from the client.
  • Connect domain to Webflow site
Step 9

Set up Google Search Console

  • Setup Google Search Console
Step 10

Review Benchmark

Compare the metrics from your newly migrated site to the old site. It is wise to document the comparison for at least several weeks. You may never need it, but if a customer asks, then you can show that the new site is performing as promised.

  • After some time, go back and make sure there weren't any dramatic negative effects to traffic, rankings, etc.

Once you have completed the entire migration process, it's time to celebrate!

About the Author

Payton Smith

I am a non-recovering Webflow user and SEO enthusiast. I founded Pait Digital because I like to build cool things for awesome clients.

My joy in life is my family, cooking delicious meat and enjoying Idaho summers.
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