In this post, we’ll be taking a look at 7 ways to better manage your web design business with Webflow.
When you find a content management system you like and trust so much that you want to use it for every project you work on, that’s a great thing. Having to switch between different website builders from project to project can get tricky and be time-consuming.
So if you’ve settled on Webflow as your website builder of choice, then it’s time to see what more it can be doing for you in your business.
How to Manage Your Web Design Business with Webflow
There are a lot of things you do outside of web design work in order to keep your business up and running — like prospecting, client onboarding, and marketing. While these are a necessary part of being in business for yourself, every minute you spend on them is one minute you’re not spending on paid work.
If you want to make the most of the time you devote to your web design business, then you need to put your website to work for you. If you’re a Webflow designer, here are some ways you can use the platform to make that happen.
1. Build a Search-Optimized Portfolio Website with Webflow
The best place for your web design portfolio is your own website.
If you’ve decided to brand yourself as a Webflow designer, then your portfolio website should be built on that platform. That way, when prospective clients see your website and beg you to do something similar for them, you can tell them you used the same tool to build your site as you’ll use for theirs.
Webflow has dozens of responsive portfolio website templates for you to start with.
If you’d prefer to design something completely custom, one of the starter wireframes would be a good alternative. That way, you won’t have to worry about laying down a foundation or setting up pages. You can just focus on creating the content and design.
Another Webflow feature to take advantage of when building your site is search engine optimization. You’ll find various SEO fields to customize from the Settings panel in each page.
SEO isn’t just something that’s beneficial to big businesses. If you optimize your pages with the right search metadata, for instance, your site will be in a better position to rank for relevant search queries like “web designer in Sacramento” or “best webflow web designer”.
2. Add an Appointment Scheduler to Your Site
Scheduling meetings with prospects and clients can be a major time suck and source of frustration. The more people that attend these meetings, the more complicated the process gets.
The best way to streamline the process is to offload it to someone or something else.
You don’t need to hire a personal assistant to coordinate schedules on your behalf. All you need is a good scheduling app — one that integrates with your calendar, automatically sets up your virtual conference room, and communicates back and forth with your prospects or clients.
Webflow has a number of scheduling apps it directly integrates with.
Once you’ve decided on an app, create an account and take advantage of all the functionality it offers. The more you automate within the app, the less time you’ll have to spend on coordinating meetings and appointments.
Then put a call-to-action for your online scheduler in a visible spot on your site, like the header. It’s also a good idea to include a link to it in your email signature. That way, both prospects visiting your site and clients communicating with you will be empowered to book their own appointments.
3. Sell Your Services and Products Through the Site
There are many ways to make a living as a web designer. The only problem with diversifying your revenue streams is that it can add to the amount of time you spend issuing invoices and processing payments.
No matter what type of services or products you sell, you can streamline and even automate some of the selling and payment processing through your site. For example, if you have set pricing for the different types of websites you build, set up a Pricing or Services page on your site and include a pricing table with a breakdown of everything the client gets.
Include a Buy Now button for the services with set pricing and a Let’s Talk button for the clients that will need to schedule a consultation call first. You can link the Let’s Talk button to your online scheduler and automate the process even further.
If you’re going to charge clients per milestone, it might not be as simple as collecting a flat fee upfront. In that case, you’ll want to integrate your site with a payment processor like PayPal or Stripe and direct clients to it when it’s time for them to pay their invoices.
You can also set up a web shop on your site if you have products or subscriptions to sell. For example, you might want to sell pre-built websites, monthly maintenance services, or templates or plugins you’ve developed.
4. Onboard Clients
Client onboarding can be stressful when you have so many other things going on at work. While you won’t be able to skip the initial kickoff or onboarding call you have with new clients, you can simplify the rest of the onboarding process.
To do this through your site, you’ll first need to develop an onboarding questionnaire.
You don’t need to build it from-scratch as there are tons of free templates available online. The trick is to find contact form apps that integrate with Webflow that also have these templates readily available.
Jotform is one of them.
Your onboarding questionnaire should collect all the information you need from clients about their business, branding, website needs, and so on. In addition, it should ask them for brand assets like the logo and style guide, if they have them.
When you’ve finished creating the questionnaire, embed it into a page on your website using your contact form integration.
5. Create Your Design System
The process of managing a website can be quite time consuming. Even on a hosted platform like Webflow, you still have to keep the content updated and design relevant if you want it to continue performing well for you.
That’s probably why I see so many web designers’ websites that look outdated. It’s not that they’re bad designers. It’s that they choose to spend their time keeping clients’ sites updated (because they get paid for it) instead of their own.
However, Webflow comes with a number of tools to help you develop a site-based design system.
One of those tools is the Style Manager. From here, you can set up and manage styles for reusable elements.
Webflow also has something called Symbols that enables you to create reusable components. The more you take advantage of these tools, the faster it will be to make site-wide changes when they’re needed.
What’s more, a design system will help you if you reach a point in your business where you want to hire contractors or employees to work for you. The design system ensures that you aren’t the sole person holding the keys to the castle. All your team members will need to do is go inside of Webflow where they’ll find your pre-defined styles, elements, and symbols.
6. Stage Your Clients’ Sites
While you won’t be able to do this on a free Webflow plan, you can build and host multiple websites in your Workspaces when you upgrade to a paid plan.
This would be beneficial as it would allow you to build your clients’ sites on your account instead of theirs. If you stress over clients snooping on what you’re doing mid-project or going in and making changes while you’re still working on the site, this would be a good way to control that.
Only when you have something ready to share with the client — be it a specific landing page, a custom component you’ve built out, or the entire site — will you share your work with them. Webflow gives you a number of ways to do this.
- Password-protect the entire site and give your client the password when the site is ready to be viewed.
- Password-protect individual pages and give your client access when those are the only ones that need to be reviewed.
- Share a read-only link so they can see the entire site inside of Webflow, but not make any changes to it.
Being able to review your designs as well as a working prototype with your clients in real time is important. Being able to do so from the website builder is also advantageous as it gives them experience inside of Webflow before you hand the site over to them.
7. Create Custom Reusable Site Templates
One other thing you can do to streamline your process in Webflow is to create Workspace Templates. There are a couple of things you can do with this functionality.
If you build websites for specific niches, you probably find yourself creating the same pages from site to site. The basic foundation of each page may be similar, too, even if the designs and content wildly vary.
If any part of your web design process feels repetitive, creating website or wireframe templates could save you a ton of time on the frontend of your jobs. Instead of spending so much time mapping out infrastructure and setting up layouts, you can spend more time on creative design work.
Another way to use the Webflow templating feature is to create and sell turnkey websites. While the bulk of your business might be custom design work, you might occasionally run into clients who want to buy something that’s cheaper and doesn’t take much time at all to get done.
What you’d do for this is create near-complete website “templates” with placeholder content. You’d then place them in a shop on your website and sell them either for a monthly price or a one-time fee.
Then you’d duplicate the template and transfer the site to whoever bought it. It would also be a good idea to provide them with guidance (which you can also templatize) on how to customize and publish their site.
Webflow is a great tool for designing pixel-perfect professional websites. This is just as true for your clients as it is for yourself. That said, Webflow won’t just come in handy for building your portfolio website. There are other ways to use this platform to streamline your business and to get more done with the time you have.