Life before Webflow: plugin purgatory
Founded in 2015, VC-backed startup DNSFilter helps organizations protect against cyber threats through AI-powered real-time DNS security, blocking online threats such as phishing, malware, and botnet domains. In 2018, the high-growth company officially launched a new, custom-made WordPress site — but by the fall of 2020, the site was “borderline unusable,” according to Serena Raymond, Content Marketing Manager.
Our WordPress site was custom-made, but we wound up boxing ourselves into a corner with all of the plugins that we had to use. By the middle of 2020, the site was borderline unusable. It would crash constantly because we had plugins that we were relying on across the site, and if we updated those plugins, the site no longer worked.
The website used multiple plugins, including the Elementor page builder, and frequent updates quickly began to cause issues. The combination of plugins amplified these problems — when one plugin was updated, another would break, causing the site to crash. These issues eventually made it impossible for the content team to publish any new blog posts or pages for most of the first quarter of 2020 — not ideal for a content team focused on driving SEO performance.
“The things we had decided to do in 2018 weren’t meshing with the things we needed to do in 2020,” said Serena. So the team began to discuss whether to strip their WordPress site of its layers of plugins and rebuild it … or start from scratch in another tool.
Starting fresh with Webflow
We wanted to have the customization options to change the structure and design of our blog. In WordPress, we were boxed in by what the template and plugins would allow. But with Webflow, we were able to decide what we wanted our blog to look like, design it, and build it.
After their headaches with WordPress, the idea of starting fresh was too compelling to pass up. Alongside their digital agency, Webflow Experts Pait Digital, the team quickly narrowed down their options and chose Webflow to migrate existing content and build a new site that would check their most important boxes:
- Stability and performance. The DNSFilter team can publish their site directly to Webflow’s secure, global hosting infrastructure, without the need to worry about ongoing updates.
- Usability. The content team needed the ability to easily add new pages, duplicate existing pages, and edit copy or design without requiring engineering resources.
The DNSFilter team spent just over two months working with their in-house designer and partner agency to design new page templates for their CMS, build them out in Webflow, and migrate everything from their Wordpress site — around 30 webpages and 80 blog posts — into their new Webflow site.
The process of embedding scripts, cookies, and customizations is delightfully straightforward. I can embed scripts using the HTML widget on any specific page I want, and that’s super useful.
After connecting integrations and implementing some last-minute SEO tweaks, like adding metadata, the migration was complete and the new website was ready to publish.
SEO gains and streamlined publishing
The team had also been planning on creating a threats page that highlights all the threats that DNSFilter blocks. But it wasn't until they adopted Webflow that they could make it a reality. A few months after launch, the page was designed in-house — and the team was able to reuse existing elements in their template and leverage the Designer to create the unique blocks that detail the threats. “If we had attempted to do this in Wordpress, it would have required a lot of custom coding and possibly unique plugins to achieve,” said Serena.
Today, the entire DNSFilter content team — including Marketing Ops Analyst Mike, Content Manager Serena, technical writer, and marketing coordinator — works in Webflow day-to-day.
I was happy that there was no drop-off in our keywords and search rankings after the site migration. We really wanted to maintain our domain authority, and it’s even risen a little bit since then. And the SEO components are super easy to manage in Webflow.
Making content updates and exploring new design options is now simple and easy, and the team sings the praises of the Webflow University articles and videos that help them learn how to make the most of the platform.
The content team at DNSFilter had been focused on SEO — and they were initially concerned about a site migration leading to negative impacts on their hard-earned results, especially when it comes to domain authority. After the migration was complete, they were relieved to see their metrics remained intact. And their new website has continued to rise in rankings, now that they’re finally able to publish and update content more frequently.
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