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Let’s create an ebook — or, rather, a web book

A few months ago, during one of our (three-person) marketing meetings, John and I were brainstorming different, creative ways to publish our content. We just weren’t happy with the idea of publishing one more of those endless PDF “ebooks” everyone downloads and forgets.

We wanted to push the envelope.

We’ve always been driven by the idea that our content should help people create better, faster, smarter — whether with Webflow or any other tool. And we were getting tons of requests for more in-depth content focused on topics like freelancing, web design, team collaboration, and more. So we wanted to create a way to bundle all the disparate content we’ve been creating into one piece of strong content.

The obvious solution was some form of bundle, but how would we present it? At first we thought a physical book would be awesome — but we’re a web design company, so printing didn’t seem quite right (though we’re still thinking about it).

And that’s when it hit us: we build a website design and development platform. So instead of just another PDF ebook, we decided we’d build a web book. An “ebook” built specifically for the web.

The challenge of Project

Software projects often face challenges such as tight deadlines, evolving requirements, and technical complexities, requiring careful planning and agile adaptation to overcome obstacles and deliver successful outcomes.

Creating the content structure

Now, before we added even a single pixel to our ebook website, we knew we wanted to create a structure that would last for the long haul.

We didn’t just want to create one ebook: we wanted to build a whole elibrary.

Thus, setting up the CMS structure right played a crucial role in getting the ebook website going.

In the end, we created just three collections:

  1. Ebooks
  2. Chapters
  3. Authors

That may not sound like much, but between these three collections, dozens (and soon, hundreds) of Collection Template pages emerged.

The structure needed to be simple, so it would be easy to maintain, but it also needed to be scalable. We knew we wanted ebooks, but it took a while to come up with the idea of Chapters as a Collection.

In the real world — and in the reader’s experience of our ebooks — a chapter is intrinsically part of a book. 

But on the Webflow Ebooks site, Chapters aren’t connected to their ebooks at all (from a structural standpoint).

What we decided was that the ebook collection would act more like a category — a simple way to bundle together chapters. In the end, we simply bound the two collections together, so that each chapter needed to reference a single ebook for it to be published.

This structure gives us the flexibility and scalability to add all the chapters (which make up the bulk of the site’s content) to a single Collection (Chapters), instead of having to create a new Collection for each ebook.


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