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Integrating with external CMS?

Hi! Relatively new to Webflow here. Webflow’s site at The web CMS for designers | Webflow says, “Connect to an existing CMS,” and these forums suggest it’s indeed possible to power a Webflow site off a third-party CMS. But when I look at the API docs, it seems like they’re geared toward managing data in Webflow’s own CMS (rather than replacing it). What’s the best practice for maintaining data in an external CMS and using it in a Webflow site? Thanks!

@dfeldman - Welcome to the forum!

Good question you asked. Here is my take.

If the site is hosted on Webflow then you would need to use JavaScript and access content from a headless CMS or another source. If the site is exported then you would be sitting on plain HTML and you can do whatever your skills and tools allow. Webflow exports don’t contain CMS entries, rather the plain CMS template as HTML with no dynamic data. Collection lists added to pages don’t render on export either.

Thanks @webdev! In the first case you listed, and one variant of the second case, that means I’d be pulling the content in client-side after the main page loads. What does that do to search indexing and ranking?

It means that the content is not in the source. Google will index JS generated content though (mostly). If I was trying to rank I would not to use Webflow in that case. Preferring to use something like Vue and Gridsome where you could build actual pages or the same with Gatsby (React). Both of those would be off Webflow though. I have been deploying Strapi as a headless CMS lately. Amazing. Add Graphql and you have an amazing tool.

I don’t consider Webflow viable for large complex client site requirements and its API is really not worth considering due to its limitations. There are so many great tools these days if your a developer. If your a designer you are kind of limited to what you can do. But integration apps are a good bridge (like Zapier, Integromat, etc.). Hope this helps. Cheers.

Thanks again. I’m both a designer and a developer. Also it’s a two-person company so I’m kinda all the other things, too. :slight_smile:

So my first priority is a site that’s well-designed and easy to maintain and update. My second priority is to achieve that with as little of my own code as possible so I don’t have to maintain that.

Hey @dfeldman
Thanks for asking the same question. Am looking for front end integrations Possibilities with Headless API producing we are building. So did you manage to achieve the above with webflow or found any other opportunities?

Would like to learn what you have done and use that to build some solution ideas for us.