Local roofing and solar installation company with 50 employees and growing quickly. We are rebuilding the company to scale from mom-and-pop to region leader.
We want to rebuild our website > http://wicksroofing.com/ < so that we can create a customer login portal for both our clients and our employees that will pipe in progress reports from data scraped out of our ERP Acumatica.
We want to make sure to pick a website platform with the best potential for integrating with cloud-based tools to help seamless tool integrations in our operational workflows. We also want a site that loads quickly, feels high value, device reactive, and can be edited and updated by non-coding staff. I've never been on stackshare, this seems like a great resource, any advice on which website platform we should choose that meets our needs is much appreciated.
First of all, it seems that you are comparing apples to hammers to wristwatches. Webflow, React and Bootstrap are entirely different tools trying to solve entirely different problems. So, with respect, I want to ignore that part of the question and focus on what you probably need as I understand it.
Second; the marketing website and the customer portal are different beasts entirely. They will probably have completely different problems to solve, and those will require completely different tools.
Third; as I understand from your explanation, it is yet too early to decide on a tech stack for the systems you want to build. You have some goals in mind, but those must first turn into well-thought designs that include user flows, information architecture, service design blueprints etc. as needed. Only then it may be possible to make a sensible comparison of tech tools and components that would best support that architecture.
Most techies have their favorite tools that they would vouch for, and some others that they disdain. They have their reasons for that, but those are not your reasons. A tool that has worked wonders for someone's project may create friction for you, while another that was a disaster for for someone else's project may just solve your most critical problem. There is no one size fits all answer to choice of tools. So please take all sorts of "Tool X rocks/sucks" advice with a grain of salt.
As I understand it, your company does not have the intrinsic capability or tech acumen to get this done with its own people. That's ok. Your core business is something else. But this is an important supporting business function, so I think it deserves some care and attention.
So my primary advice is: The first tool you need is a capable and experienced consultant. (If you were a bigger company, I'd say employ one full time, but with your current scale, a long-term contract with an independent professional or consulting firm will be more cost-effective). This consultant is supposed to guide you through the entire process of design and implementation of the systems you need. They should be your guide and advocate when you hire contractors to design or build your site/portal/whatever. They should make sure that the end result is aligned with your business goals.
The second thing you need is a solid design process that clearly defines the things you need (portal/website/etc.) for your -guess what again?- business goals. Decide with your consultant from step 1 on how to best get that. Contracting, partnering, and forming an internal team should all be on the table.
Only then you may realistically start to think about how to build these things. When you have your implementers (again, contracted, partnered or internal) and your detailed design documentation describing what you want in detail. those people should be able to make the best call on what sort of tech stack to use, in order to bring that design to life.
All this may sound daunting and arduous but it is not. The practice is established and solid. A simpler project can go through all that within weeks and go live. Even a larger project can launch in a couple of months and keep building on that afterwards.
On a side note, projects like this are living projects. they are never "done". Please account for having time/money/resources for these as long as they stay up. Going live is just the beginning.
So, start by finding your consultant :)
PS. StackShare forces me to "recommend a tool" before I can post this, so I'm "recommending" my favorite videoconferencing tool (which was recently renamed to Whereby but SS seems to have missed that). Feel free to get in touch for a video call if you have more questions :)
Hi Mert, thank you for your detailed and thoughtful response. We are using Acumatica for our ERP, we are considering integrating JobProgress. The marketing website needs to be built now and be capable of integrating later to include a customer portal. Thank you for sending your Whereby recommendation too, we could use that on our site so that our sales and estimators can collaborate with customers better.
Hi Whitney, I just skimmed through JobProgress' website. I noticed that they do not mention a public API or another way to integrate with another piece of software. I recommend you double-check with them. I've seen a lot of promises of full integration go unfulfilled…
Yes, we are working with JP's tech dev team directly to sort it out. They have another client that is seeking the same integrations we are and we think we can share the costs.
Hi Whitney, I would recommend using Webflow to design the marketing website, and use Laravel for the customer portal. You can also use Webflow for the design of the customer portal area, but as far as the marketing goes, I would keep your marketing site separate from your customer app, as you won't want marketing people to have access to customer info easily, and you will want to separate concerns to keep things easy to manage.
Your desire for employees to easily update site content is easy to do with Webflow, and will be the best cms for the marketing side.
Reason why I recommend Laravel for the customer app, is that it is secure, highly scalable, well designed, and you will easily find people to help with future development of the site.
If you would like help with any of this, I would be happy to help. I have a small web development and design company.
Thank you for your response Christopher I look forward to learning more about your services and find out if you can help us with our needs. Have a great 4th of July weekend.