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Crowdsourcing meets Scalable App: Building Websites Faster and Cheaper

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So here’s a rundown of the system we built for Web-o-Matic, which is a SaaS business we started to deliver turnkey websites to small businesses. Think of it as Hubspot-style websites with all the same bells and whistles but with an app to manage the client work flow. The app allows us to scale very quickly without adding any human to add cost to the client and overhead to the business. This work flow app is what we’re talking about in this post.

The basic concept is this; instead of managing each client with a digital paper trail, like you would with Basecamp, we automate the work flow. Here’s how it works:

  • We add a new client to the system, enter their billing, then register them for the app.
  • They go through the 5 steps starting with the Design Survey, Site Map & Content, Selecting/Revising Designs, Reviewing Coded Pages
  • At the end of the process they approve the launch.
  • We use the Adobe Business Catalyst platform as the underlying CMS so even with the web design phase it usually only takes a few days.

We employ account managers to manage the client flow. The great thing is we only need one agent to manage about 30-40 clients because the app allows for terrific scale. Super-Agents, of which we only really need one until we get to a massive scale, manage everything and assign Agents to new projects, also get visibility into each project. Here are some of those views of the application that show how we manage all of the projects, taking them through a linear 5-step process.

Project view of the active client projects

Client see a mirror of the Agent side but would only see their projects. They go through the app filling in the forms and then making their design selections, adding notes, etc until they have completed the steps.

One of the ways Chris, our CEO of Web-o-Matic, has been able to scale so quickly is by using different, low-cost designers who can crank out multiple homepage designs for clients. We find a lot of them on www.99designs.com or www.crowdspring.com. If we find talented designers on these crowd source sites we can select them to work directly for Web-o-Matic, which creates a mini crowd of cream-o-the-crop designers working for us.

Selecting designs from the comparative choices here allows for a faster approval process
Crowd sourced designers have their own accounts on the app which allows them to submit and update their designs directly.

Although we already have a few dozen clients the next step will be to put our app under scale. This will allow us to test how quickly we can grow without having to add more people to the business. If you have any interest in working with us to create a new website as a Web-o-Matic client please give us a shout.

Author Richard Banfield

As CEO, Richard leads Fresh Tilled Soil’s strategic vision. He’s a mentor at TechStars and BluePrintHealth, an advisor and lecturer at the Boston Startup School, and serves on the executive committees of TEDxBoston, the AdClub’s Edge Conference, and Boston Regional Entrepreneurship Week.

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