The Problem

Anyone who's ever used Wordpress is probably familiar with the challenges that start popping up as the development of a website matures. Over time, it becomes a Frankenstein's monster of plugins and integrations that no one person really knows how to manage. As an SEO-focused venture, Online Loans began running into this problem early on. When I first joined, I was tasked with helping refine the design of the site and streamline the creation of new content. It became quickly apparent what a pain it would be to continue to utilize Wordpress as a CMS. Each time a new page was to be created, it required multiple people logging into Wordpress in order to upload or edit an aspect of the page. I believed that neither writers nor designers should have to interface with Wordpress and that the process should be as automated as possible. Luckily, I came across a site builder that was specifically designed to serve as a CMS: Webflow. I was floored by its beautiful and intuitive WYSIWYG designer and database-fed page builder and immediately lobbied for its adoption.

Doing Research

As migrating a website is serious business, I had to do my due diligence to understand the business and user requirements. From an SEO perspective, I needed to understand how Google deals with a site migration and how I could ensure that the move would not impact our rankings. I did my own research and met with our SEO expert to understand what would be required. I replicated several existing pages in Webflow to discover how the tool worked and what sort of issues I might run into. I spoke to our content lead and our designers to understand what their needs and wants were. Through this research, I discovered that there was one feature that Webflow lacked that would make my job a lot more difficult. I sat with the team to go over the pros and cons and we ultimately agreed that moving forward was the right choice.

Migrating Content

The magic of Webflow is that it allows you to map database fields to elements on a page template so that the creation of new pages simply involves the addition of a new record to the database. In order to do this, I first had to export all the content from Wordpress and map it to a database. I managed to do this using Airtable as my temporary database - making use of formulas to parse the content and break it out into section headers and text blocks. I then uploaded this data into Webflow and mapped the fields to the page template designs that I proceeded to build.

All the content in Airtable
Building the new site in Webflow

The Results

Once we got all the content migrated, we were able to get the content team to make the transition to the new system. The Airtable database I created actually ended up serving as an integral part of this. We decided to have it serve as the source for creation of new content and made use of its Kanban feature so that the content team could run through its process. This new process meant that everyone involved in the process only needed to worry about interfacing with the Kanban board and that it required only a single person to be able to upload data for the creation of new pages. Now we have a beautifully designed and responsive website and the creation of content is not bottle-necked by the website builder.

The Kanban board utilized by the content team.
An example of an article page.
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