How the best companies build with Webflow

Two foundational pillars that will change the way you work.

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Getting the right tools to enable your team is crucial to the success of your business — but it’s only half the battle.

Designing an approach that maps out how a tool should be used will save organizations time, money, and heartache down the line. 

At Webflow Conf 2022, RR Abrot, a former Webflow Technical Architect, and Matt Varughese. CEO at 8020, shared their perspective on how using Webflow to its full potential set them up for success. Watch the full session here

Your website shouldn’t hold you back

RR and Matt illustrated a recurring issue in today’s enterprises: websites that should be enabling teams end up holding them back. This issue often presents itself when marketers and designers aren’t able to bring their own vision to life on the website without help from developers and engineers.

When those teams have to rely on engineers for every little change, it slows down campaigns and updates, creates bottlenecks and constraints, and results in a disorganized, unstructured workflow. The dream, of course, is the opposite: teams want to test content and ship pages as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Those building in Webflow found that, even when a tool is easy to use and optimized for growth — without clear best practices, the original problem persists. 

When new tools are implemented, it’s common for one person to become that tool’s go-to expert, resulting in the very same bottlenecks that existed before the tool was onboarded. “Companies can avoid having these bottlenecks by making sure that they're building the website with a team mindset, instead,” RR explains. 

Building with a team mindset means focusing on three pillars: agility, efficiency, and scalability.

In their experiences,  RR and Matt have found that the teams most successfully using Webflow rely on two foundational pillars to get the most out of the tool: documentation and design systems. 

Clear documentation streamlines communication

Explaining how to use a new tool means laying it out for your employees in an accessible way. That’s where documentation comes in. Power Webflow users take advantage of both the tool’s internal documentation and also often have their own external methods that fit into their own workflows. 

Documentation within Webflow

In-app documentation comes in the form of help text. This informs the end user right out of the gate of the specifics they need to know in order to create a clean, consistent, and properly formatted product. 

“Being clear removes silos and streamlines your communication. And all the information is right there inside of Webflow.”

- RR Abrot

External documentation

It’s not always obvious what the right choice is when building for the web, and that’s where a robust documentation process can help teams thrive. Using tools like Notion or Coda to document how the website is set up to train members of your organization that might use it is the key to success, especially for enterprise businesses with many stakeholders. “Creating an easily scalable home base for information gets team members on the same page,” said Matt. 

Getting a handle on your documentation, especially in a remote or hybrid environment, is critical to enabling agility within your workforce. When processes are clearly documented, it reduces redundant communication. And one clean piece of documentation can scale infinitely and efficiently. 

Carefully considered design systems simplify your processes

Having clearly documented processes is half the battle — the other half is setting up your design systems to make the building for the web simpler. Focusing on the following elements of a design system will make any team build better with Webflow. 

Style guide

Creating an accessible resource hub for styles and elements doesn’t only make work easier for your team — it also provides peace of mind that your site will always provide the best experience for your customers. 

“[A style guide] ensures consistent branding across your website. It affects branding, design, SEO, and more.”

- RR Abrot

Symbols and components 

Laying out the guidelines for how to effectively use symbols and components speeds up the process of building web experiences. “It’s great for testing landing pages,” explains Matt. “I’ve seen people use these elements like Lego blocks to spin up and deploy in record time.” 

Class framework 

Since Webflow is a visual development tool that writes clean code as you design and build your website, the platform is able to replicate class structure frameworks and methods used in classic front-end development. While this is more technical in nature, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. “Yes, there’s a learning curve, but once this type of structure is learned, it will exponentially increase your work efficiency,” said RR. This method most clearly enables non-engineering teams to own the management of the website. 

Having a fleshed framework helps companies tackle full website migrations in record time. With a plan clearly laid out for every element, there’s no more wasted time on troubleshooting — each step will move the needle forward. And a fully built-out framework makes your website futureproof; as teams grow and change, this level of guidance can help them continue to work seamlessly, even if they’re new to the project. 

Give your team the control it needs 

Companies that get the most out of Webflow know how important it is to remain agile and efficient while the market changes. They also know that creating clear and consistent tools are the key to a more scalable business. “Marketing teams grow, content grows, and needs grow,” said Matt. Visual development is a solution for modern teams that want to take control back and continue moving the needle forward. 

Catch additional sessions from Webflow Conf 2022 here.

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April 18, 2023

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