A Private Equity & Venture Capital firm website case study (built on Webflow by Aleberry).
Our friends at Camden Partners recently launched a new website with the help of Aleberry & Webflow. We're breaking down common website issues & our solutions.
Two Cultures. One Company.
The larger firm (Camden Partners) has two focuses:
A) The more traditional private equity firm focused on growth strategy
B) The venture capital arm focused on early stage biomedical technology startups
Both organizations enjoy different cultures & target separate investments, but share a handful of common team members.
In the past couple years, we have seen a growing trend with the launch of subgroups (corporations launching venture arms or CVCs, traditional PE or family shops breaking into venture capital).
The former website lumped everything together on the home page, not to mention the top call to action buttons fell BELOW THE FOLD. We recommended a "Choose Your Own Adventure" 100VH landing page, since very few users would interact with both branches. The use of different accent colors (as seen on the core CTA Call to Action buttons) kicks off a narrative of two separate yet connected entities.
Tidying up Branding: Minimal Hours + No Re-Working Current Collateral
Before diving into the new website, Aleberry provided a minimal tidying up of their current branding. The company is not in a position to fully re-brand, so we added padding, cleaned up the typeface & fixed alignment (in addition to creating a Nexus version).
Many clients ask us to "clean up" and not fully re-brand due to similar fundraising/marketing activities in place. Below is a quick overview of what minimal re-branding can look like. These small changes give the logo a bit better versatility, legibility, and breathing room -- all while maintaining a similar identity.
With a looming website deadline due to a PR push, this re-brand exercise was a great option and used minimal hours.
Aleberry always provides every version & file format needed: white, dark, box, no box, horizontal, stacked, icon, etc. (these versions were not in place or in the right formats for easy printing).
A minimal re-branding exercise is a great option if your logo was created in-house, or by your neighbor's nephew's dog-sitter's cousin, but needs some tidying up & requires the correct formats to be created.
As a side note: we highly recommend spending less time on branding for early stage companies. Why?
You will pivot. Your Series A/B fund will provide their opinion on your visuals. Then you will pivot again. Did we mention your company will likely change its name? Oh also, your Board will give you their opinion. You get the idea! Don't spend thousands of dollars on branding your Seed/early stage company to perfection, especially when you can use those funds towards your product, deck, website, building traction and anything else investor / client facing.
If you don't have a logo or need a new one, we'll wrap up one for you in a quick design sprint (typically 1-3 days) or allocate a handful of hours from your overall investor/website/marketing budget. The goal is to get you looking good, without spending a ton of hours. We'll revisit your full re-brand once you nail your growth strategy & close funds.
WordPress to Webflow: Identifying the Right CMS
Diving into some of the technical issues & frustrations with the former website, we recommended a move from WordPress to Webflow.
Plenty of CMS options exist, from simple Squarespace landing pages to WordPress/Webflow to fully custom/enterprise solutions. For small-mid-sized websites not heavily focused on producing publications (New York Times, Forbes, etc.), we recommend Webflow.
Webflow is much easier to update, includes on-screen fully responsive design/development & testing, easy to access SEO settings, constant backups, and allows plenty of parameters to prevent less technical folks from messing up a layout with a click of a button.
Updating Images for Team & Portfolio: Reducing Steps
Before, a Camden team member would have to go into a photo editor or to resources like Canva and resize + crop images to the exact dimensions before uploading. If they didn't, the image was often cropped oddly or screwed up a layout. This is a common issue in many sites.
Now, commonly updated images such as team member portraits & portfolio logos can be quickly uploaded as is! Our new template / CMS Collection is setup to auto adjust.
Note: We do recommend running very large image sizes through something like TinyPNG.com to prevent massive page loading times. For example, source or original photography from a photographer are usually very large. Webflow also sets a parameter to prevent you from uploading a gigantic image & slowing your page load.
Here's a nice look at the editor & how easy it is to upload & not worry about exact dimensions or cropping:
Ordering & Filtering for Team, Portfolio, and Blog
Before, the client changed the "publish dates" on each individual Team member uploads to reorder/organize the page (another common frustration we see). How are you meant to remember the random date you selected months ago? Aleberry added a quick order # & set a Filter parameter to arrange by order #. Super easy!
It's so easy that if they came back and needed to re-organize alphabetically, we can make that switch in a few minutes.
Additionally, Aleberry included a few other options to tie collections together, add badges, or feature. Portfolios, Team Members, and Blogs can now be linked together where applicable through Webflow's Multi-Reference Option. Big news can be featured. Exited companies and key board members can have a little badge. Possibilities are endless & easy-to-update.
Let's look at the easy-to-update Editor view from the client's perspective:
Updating Content, Links, & Images On-Site
No more having to flip between the back-end/dashboard view and live site. Life on WordPress and many other CMS options often involves changing text & images on the Dashboard, then previewing. Does this sound familiar? "Oops, that paragraph break is wrong and that image isn't aligned right, so let's go back to the Dashboard. Re-preview. Nope fix again. Ok, now we can publish!"
Having the on-site editing capabilities (seen below) allows users to see how the text works in the layout.
Other Technical Features: SEO, Responsive Design/Development & Testing, URL structuring
Some features make things nicer for Aleberry & the client!
With Webflow's setup, the client has access to all the key/basic SEO functions per page's settings (meta title, descriptions, slugs/URLs, OpenGraph, and more). This was not quick to update or find prior to the new site. Aleberry always sets up the basic SEO for websites prior to launch, but it's nice to be able to update descriptions and anything else on your own quickly.
The previous site was not fully-responsive (common with older sites). Many folks confuse having a mobile or tablet website with having a fully-responsive website. A fully responsive website means you can keep resizing your window any which way and the site will auto-adjust. With all the tablets, small laptops, large monitors, and varying versions of iPhones & Androids in 2020, your website should be FULLY-RESPONSIVE. With Webflow, we can design & develop at the same time & across varying screen widths. It also makes our standard beta-testing process much more efficient prior to launch.
Webflow has a 301 Redirect panel in the backend/site settings. With the way collections & CMS items are setup, you have the ability to fix messy URL structuring and 301 Redirect when necessary. Disorganized website content is like a disorganized closet! Good luck find the info you need quickly.
Content & Imagery Updates & Issues
The former website imagery had a heavy focus on Baltimore. As a Fund - Camden did not want to limit themselves. With the shift in two arms, we took the re-design as an opportunity to change imagery according to the VC vs. PE focuses (more on that below).
Every page had a large header with a page title, requiring users to scroll down to see content or page descriptions.
Here are a few BEFORE previews:
With the new website, Aleberry re-organized content to fit the two separate arms & utilized different accent colors + imagery. The Nexus VC site includes brighter colors and scientists/entreprenuers. The Growth site is more traditional with both colors & landscape photography. Both sites have a similar use of triangles. angles, and Camden Navy + White.
Adding a few subtle animations is like adding umami to your dish!
Here are a few AFTER:
Life After Aleberry: Maintenance
The previous site required a third-party to make common updates like uploading a new bio photo. This means you have to email, wait for a response, see when they are available to sort it out, and possibly follow up. Due to older sites' backends & the structuring of some CMS platforms - this is a common practice.
Aleberry is here to make your life easier! With the exception of creating new pages or changing the design/layout of a page, we give you the ability to change and update your site easily. We'll always provide a tutorial with launch along with a CMS user-friendly guide to refer back to.
Of course, many of our clients come back to us for 1-40 hours/month of maintenance. This allows us to create new pages, change layouts or just take care of simple updates if you are too busy.
We don't own your data, accounts for plugins such as Google Analytics, or content! Your website shouldn't give you headaches.