In this fast-paced digital world that we live in today, time really does equal money. The longer it takes to transition from concept to delivery, the more the capitol you invest in the process can potentially increase. As a business owner, you want to feel confident that the agency you hire to help launch your business into the web is going to manifest a spectacular web experience for your customers, but you also don’t want to break the bank in the process.
At Storm Cloud Marketing, we have taken the time to develop and streamline our web design and development workflows to ensure that we plot out the most efficient route from proposal to finished product. We understand the necessity for rapid iteration and are always looking for ways to evolve and accelerate our own internal processes in an effort to offer you the best value for your well-earned dollar.
This Is How We (Used to) Do It
You’ve determined that you need to get a website built, stat. You needed it yesterday. Maybe even the day before yesterday. Your business requires a robust and appealing online presence in order to stay competitive. Perhaps someone you know mentioned our agency to you or maybe you did a quick Google search for ‘web developers near me’. You schedule a call with us and decide to hire us. We welcome you to the team and now it’s time for us to get to work!
In the past, we would have taken the brief you provided and any info we obtain from our discovery session and translate that into a first draft, or mockup, for you to look at and approve. We would use a tool such as Adobe XD or Figma to design this mockup, and though each of those tools provides some sort of minimal interactivity, it would likely be delivered as a series of static images to give you an idea of what the website will look like once it is built.
This might take several hours to produce and any revisions or changes that you request would lead to likely several more hours of back and forth until we reach a version that fits your needs and gains your seal of approval to move into the next phase of development. None of it would have involved any sort of interactive prototype that you could visit in your browser in real time. Just static, lifeless JPEGs. This workflow is great for larger agencies with multiple teams on board, but it doesn’t really scale well for a smaller, more agile team of cross-disciplined designers that have less resources and/or time at their disposal.
We began asking ourselves, “Do we really need this step in our process? Is there a way to make this a better experience for both us and our clients?” We knew there had to be a way that we could trim away some of the excess time spent on a mockup while still providing a way for you to view and comment on the progress and offer feedback for revisions.
Go With the Webflow
Webflow is a platform that enables us to skip the ‘mockup’ phase and go directly into ‘working prototype’ phase almost immediately. Think of it like Photoshop for building websites. It allows us to streamline the design process and build a website without the need for writing code. It even allows our designers without prior web development experience to dive in and build websites too!
Here are some of the features that convinced us to add this tool to our toolbox:
- Streamlined Design Process: As I mentioned previously, Webflow allows us to build websites without writing code. We get to design in a visual workspace that converts all of the elements of the page into HTML and CSS behind the scenes for us. This accelerates the design process and enables us to focus on creating visually stunning and engaging user experiences. As a result, our clients receive a polished, professional website in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional development methods.
- Real-time Collaboration: Webflow supports real-time collaboration between our team members. This allows us to work more efficiently, streamline project management, and provide a quicker turnaround. It also allows us to provide you with staging links so that you can view and use your website in real-time while we develop it and provide feedback throughout the process.
- Cost Effectiveness: Since Webflow eliminates the need for having multiple, separate teams of developers and designers, we save on overhead costs. This savings is passed on to you and enables us to make the services more affordable and competitive.
- Client Autonomy: Webflow’s user-friendly interface and Content Management System empowers clients to make content updates and minor changes on their own after launch. You no longer have to reach out to us for every tweak or change you need to make on your website. More money stays in your pocket.
- Seamless Integrations: Webflow integrates with many popular third-party tools and services, such as marketing automation and analytics software. This allows us to quickly add features to your website that meet your needs and facilitate growth.
- Scalability: Webflow’s hosting infrastructure is designed to handle traffic spikes and scale as needed, ensuring your website performs optimally at all times. This means your website is fast and reliable and you won’t be needing to reach out to us when your website fails due to some plugin compatibility issue. Cha-ching!
- Native SEO Capabilities: Webflow’s built-in SEO tools help us create websites that rank higher on search engines, driving more traffic to your website. This is translated to more leads and increased conversions and revenue for you.
Webflow provides us with a powerful and efficient platform to create visually impressive, responsive, and feature-rich websites for our clients. However, that was just the first tool we added to our arsenal. We thought, “How can we level up Webflow and make it even more useful?”
By Putting the Client First
Webflow is amazing in and of itself, but creating a new project is basically like having a clean palette with no paint on it. Starting from scratch has benefits, but it doesn’t really contribute to us being able to quickly iterate and get closer to deliverable on its own.
We discovered a styling framework called Client-First that was created by Finsweet, a Webflow-partnered company. This framework offers a range of benefits that make it an essential part of our web development process in Webflow.
- Improved Organization: Client-First provides a well-structured and organized approach to building Webflow sites. It makes it easier to manage and maintain web projects, particularly when working with larger websites with complex designs and structures.
- Faster Development: By using pre-built components and adhering to a modular approach to structuring pages, Client-First enables designers and developers to create more efficiently. By reusing common components and following established best practices, development time is drastically reduced.
- Consistency and Maintainability: Client-First promotes consistency across projects by providing a set of guidelines to follow. It helps maintain a high level of quality in the final product and ensures that your website adheres to standard design principles and performance guidelines.
- Responsiveness and Accessibility: The framework is built from the ground up with responsiveness and accessibility in mind. This means that your website will be easily adaptable to different screen sizes and devices, while also meeting accessibility standards to ensure the website can be viewed and used by as many users as possible.
- Easily Customized: The framework is designed to be easily customized, enabling designers to make adjustments to the design and functionality as needed, enabling us to create unique and tailored websites that still benefit from the structure and organization provided by the framework.
- Modular Scalability: The modular approach of Client-First makes it easier to scale projects as needed. Adding new sections, features, and even entire pages can be done without compromising the overall organization and structure of the project.
Client-First enables us to have a solid starting point that is well organized, responsive, accessible, and fully customizable to meet specific client needs. But is that enough? The combination of Webflow with Client-First is an amazing launch pad to get started and allows us to save time so you can save money, but there must be some way to make this even more robust.
Allow Us to Relume-inate the Way
The third component of our secret recipe is Relume Library. Relume is a library of prebuilt components that are ready to copy and paste directly into your Webflow project. It is built on top of Client-First, so it benefits from already incorporating all of the organization, standardized naming conventions, and customizable styles in the framework.
Need a two-column hero section with a heading, subheading, CTA buttons, and a background video? Relume allows you to filter through all of their premade components, find the one you want, and copy and paste it into Webflow. It literally takes mere minutes to generate an fully fleshed out page that is ready to be styled and filled with copy.
- Time Savings: Relume Library offers an massive collection of pre-designed components, templates, and styles, saving you immense amounts of time designing those components from scratch.
- Consistency: Being built upon Client-First, Relume Library provides a consistent design system that ensures all of the elements of your website look and feel the same across the board. That consistency helps to create a professional, polished look for your website.
- Easy Customization: Although Relume provides pre-designed elements, you can quickly customize them to fit a client’s branding and design preferences. You can change colors, fonts, and other styles that persist across your entire website with minimal effort.
- Accessibility: Relume continues Client-First’s approach to accessibility and responsiveness. Using pre-designed accessibility-focused components ensures that your website is accessible and meets the necessary standards requirements.
The Holy Trinity of No-Code Workflows
Webflow is the foundation that begins our journey into efficiency. Client-First builds on that by providing a solid starting point that is responsive and accessible. Relume Library is the box of Legos that allows us to copy and paste pre-built components and elements, enabling us to quickly compose entire pages within minutes. With these tools in place, we can achieve the same, or even better, results that would typically take an exponentially larger amount of time to complete with more traditional web development workflows.
This allows us to remain agile and focused. That focus and agility translates into saving you literally thousands of dollars in development costs. It allows us to deliver a final product in a fraction of the time. Saving you money and delivering quality results to you quickly and efficiently just sounds like good business to us.
Investing in a quality website can still be costly and that can be a scary prospect for a business that is just getting started in the online space. However, when you compare the cost-to-value ratio of spending $2K-$10K versus the $20K-$150K you might have to spend on hiring a more traditional team of designers and developers seems like a no-brainer.
In addition to that initial development cost, you then run into having to maintain a large code base and will likely spend even more money every time you need to reach out to the development team to make updates to your website. With our workflow, we are able to offload that cost and show you how to make updates yourself or even have a member of your team learn how to make those updates.
Time equals money and if we can cut corners without sacrificing quality and still deliver an amazing web experience for you and for your customers at a fraction of the cost then our mission ends in success.