Migrating to Webflow: why your company’s website should be owned by marketing | by Luis | Aug, 2021

Early this year, I embarked on a mission to rebuild the website of my current company on Webflow, until the date built on React, something that caused difficulties when trying to update some of the pages as well as creating new ones.

In this article I will go through the process we followed, how both marketing and product collaborated in launching it and also some of the learning and anecdotes that we took from this experience.

After having worked as part of the product team of different startups for the past few days, I’ve come to realise that although a website should and must be considered a product, or an extension of a product if the company you’re working for offers products by itself (either tech or physical), its ownership should always be with the marketing and growth department rather than the product team itself.

It is only after having had to collaborate in the updating of the company homepage of the two companies I’ve been working for in the past four years that I realised that products evolve so fast that sometimes websites stay behind and the people with the knowledge on how to updated become either too busy working with the main product or they leave the company and that expertise gets lost so that by the time the website needs an update is almost like starting from scratch.

Giving marketing the power to update the website won’t not only make it more adaptable to the changes of the product but also help it align better with any direction changes that this suffers not only in terms of functionality but also visually and brand.

Keep reading to go through some of the reasons why I believe a website should be owned by the marketing team and why using a No-Code tool like Webflow will benefit everyone.

1. Share expertise and collaborative knowledge

Building a website with No-Code tools requires someone to take on and learn the tool, and no matter if it’s Webflow, WordPress, Wix or Squarespace, and although their learning curves are different, it requires time to master each of the tools and get up to speed to easily build and update pages. However, if people from different parts of the business and teams are involved means that the knowledge is shared and it’s faster to reach the point that all needs are covered.

No-Code tools have a big community of contributors online, with plenty of resources in social media, forums, communities and even its own support groups, there’s probably a solution online to any problem you might be facing with them. Embracing this shared knowledge online should help you solve any problem faster.

2. Keep consistency at the core

Building products is a complex task that requires a lot of effort, but having a website that showcases that doesn’t require that complexity. Using tools that are easy to maintain and update ensures that what you’re displaying to attract users matches their experience when using your product.

Using a tool like Webflow not only allows the team involved to easily adapting the changes in the product into the UI of the customer-facing website but also offers the possibility of experimenting and prototyping an easily new version of the look and feel of any interface. Giving more buffer for the product team to spend time testing and validating ideas before spending hours of development escalating those changes to the product.

No-code tools like Webflow help create websites without any coding experience, allowing the creator on perfecting the appearance of the interface, however, it’s important to understand that while doing it, the learning curve of learning all the different mechanisms to make it look as we want will also help us create a deeper understanding of how the front-end of the components that the product team will have to create in the last instance work, helping as well build a better relationship when it’s time to handover those updates to the product team.

3. Think about systems and components

Like if a product build by the tech team we were talking about, it’s important to define a structure and set of components to easily maintain and scale your website, most of the free No-code editors out there allow you to create personalised templates and set of symbols that can be easily replicated across the site meaning that the only thing to edit is the content, images and text so that the overall layout and responsiveness isn’t affected.

Having a library of components as one of the pages helped us using Webflow as it was easier to go to each dedicated page and copy and paste the desired sections to easily come up with new landing pages, allowing us to focus on more targeted content for our users and not having to maintain a lot of pages every time we made a change to a CTA, image or section.

Having a library of components that are reused across the site will help not only speed up making changes where needed to adapt the content of all the site to changes on things like responsiveness, adaptive layout, but also easily make updates to the look and feel from a single source of truth.

4. Prioritise content over the look and feel

People should land on your website and find out everything about what product or service you are selling, appearance should always come next. It’s important to understand that with tools that require little to no coding the priority should be added as much critical information as possible to the site, always trying not to overwhelm them with too much text and then adapt that content with an attractive look and feel.

The UI design, theme or appearance of a website can be easily defined when the content is all laid out in a way that just by assigning classes and styles can be maintained in a smooth way that allows for changes easily done.

5. Knowing where to give away the ownership

As discussed previously, setting the foundations and building the main structure should be done by the person with more expertise or keen to learn how Webflow works to acquire any knowledge needed through its complex learning curve.

However, it’s important to understand that at some point and as one of the main pillars of this article, the ownership of the site should be shifted towards someone in the marketing or growth department to ensure they can easily jump in and make any changes without the need of going through a lot of stakeholders looking for the sign off of those changes.

Making sure everyone in the team knows who’s the owner of the project would also make it easier for everyone to request information, changes or feedback on any updates that the website might need. All this without forgetting that the person that defined the project initially should always be the source of truth when it comes down to making crucial changes that might require more work than simply duplicating pages, content and changing the copy and images.

6. Defining a process, but don’t overthink it

Following from the previous point, one of the key learnings of this process was that we had to define a process that helped all of us manage our time and skills to make keeping the project up to date and growing as smooth as possible, some of the aspects that we decided to put together in a very high-level process were:

  • Establish the point of contact for anyone wanting to make changes to the website or giving feedback based on their own experience or things mentioned by the users.
  • Define a sign-off process when those changes involved changing the design, layout or look and feel of certain pages to ensure that everyone was aware of what changes were gonna take place and find a common ground for everyone to agree on a direction.
  • Give voice to everyone in the company to request changes or updates, to do that we created a small request board in our project management/wiki tool to ensure that we could gather enough information before we started working on it.

After having had this process in place for a while we identified that there was room for improvement in things like making sure we had someone assigned to those requests but also we identified that everyone was more aware of what was going on with the site and it was easy and fast to read through the documentation to be updated on the next steps or changes that were going to take place.

Special mention to Notion and its flexibility in defining project pages so that we could easily invite everyone involved to add their notes and requests and keep everyone on the same track without spending hours of development or planning.

7. Maintaining it is key

How many times have you gone to a website and realised that its content and style wasn’t at all how the product they are selling looks like? And how many websites are out there with outdated blog posts, footer notes or even basic contact information?

Thanks to this new approach of giving ownership of the public website to the marketing or growth team they can easily keep all these things up to date, not only making sure that the website is fully functional and connected with the product the tech team is building but also ensuring that the company’s online presence is cohesive and consistent with its mission and products.

In a world where the market is as competitive as has never been before, having a website which content keeps expanding and is aligned with the company’s developments ensures that not only your users will be satisfied but also search engines (SEO) and other crawlers will keep it on the top of the list so that it’s easily reachable.

8. Listen to the users

When using a tool that requires low technical maintenance, you can focus your efforts on analysing how your users learn about your company and product and using the website should be a good accessible and reasonable price (if not free) way of acquiring this knowledge.

No-code tools often offer seamless integration with analytic tools like Hotjar, Google Analytics and others. Embedding their systems into your site is as easy as copy and pasting a code into the settings page.

This gives you the power of learning about how their users are finding and interacting with the different parts of your site, but also have the power of asking them questions relevant to their experience, ask for feedback or gather data about them both geographic, ethnographic and behavioural.

Using this data will help you polish the site to curate it for their experience and help find ways of adapting the product or service you’re selling to them more efficiently.

While designing a website and building it depends on the company and product or service you are trying to sell, it’s likely that its complexity also is tight together to the initial plan, and as it happened with Florence’s website, that could have been simplified by just defining a seamless strategy and stakeholder management. And to recap, here are the key learnings from this project:

  • Learning a new tool is complex without prior experience but sharing expertise and building knowledge of no-code tools will help you maintain and scale easier than with code solutions
  • Building your company’s website with a no-code tool will help keep consistency between messaging and the product or service the tech team is building faster and easier.
  • Creating a set of reusable components and libraries will help implement changes faster and give access to people that don’t need to know how to build a website from scratch.
  • Giving ownership to the marketing or growth department will help prioritise the content on the website and allow for fast tweaks and updates according to changes in priorities.
  • Not having to own the overall process of launching/keeping updated the website will ensure that there’s always someone on top of it while not missing the focus of keeping the products or services the company is selling outstanding.
  • Defining a process that takes every step and everyone involved in the update and design of a website should be as simple as possible but leave room for changes according to the evolution of the project.
  • Giving ownership to a team in charge of selling, communicating and connecting and engaging with the users will ensure that they maintain it in a seamless way that focuses on their needs and feedback.
  • With an easy-to-maintain tool that doesn’t require a dedicated developer to make the changes, it’s easier to find strategies to understand the users that will reach your site and hopefully end up using your product or service, this gives room to use the website to collect feedback, information or analyse the behaviour of them by easily embedding analytics tools to the site.

And by following all these steps we managed to design, build and launch a website in record time that has kept expanding in content since its first day online. And with it, that’s the main reason why I believe giving ownership and handing over its maintenance to the marketing team will ensure everyone has enough ownership of the project and keep everyone focused on their priorities.

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