Learn how to build a custom website for your document automation legal app
This article is a brief educational “how to” guide about how you can use a variety of different online no-code services to create a front end custom website for your Documate document automation workflows and legal apps. This is part of our Productizing Legal series.
Documate is known for allowing you to build your own “TurboTax for law,” and is integrated with payment processors like Stripe to allow you to collect fees directly within your workflows. Many of Documate’s clients also want to place their Documate automated workflows behind a fully custom designed website. Others want to create a separate portal or gateway to sell automated workflows as part of other services on their own website.
Here are some of the easiest no-code web tools that Documate’s clients can use to create fantastic webpages and payment portals. So which one will you choose?
Webflow is a newer drag-and-drop tool for creating no-code websites. It lets users design, build, and launch responsive websites visually. Its strengths are its ease-of-use, flexibility, and performance. Designing websites in Webflow lets designers function as front-end developers --- without code --- to build excellent webpages.
To customize any page, including a splash page, simply use Webflow’s what-you-see-is-what-you-get (“WYSIWYG”) design interface and editor. The same design interface and editor also lets you sell, by connecting PayPal or Stripe (and thus all major credit cards) through Webflow’s ecommerce payment settings.
Cost: Webflow’s basic plan costs $15/month. The full-fledged CMS plan costs $20/month.
WordPress with WooCommerce is another no-code tool that lets you create an excellent website or online store. Wordpress has been around for a while, so they have lots of features and functionality, and many Documate users use Wordpress as their front-end landing page.
WooCommerce is a plugin to Wordpress --- an extension that lets you turn a regular WordPress website into an e-commerce store. Another plugin --- Splash Popup for WooCommerce -- lets you create and customize splash pages. The payment portal / payment gateway in WooCommerce is a ready-to-go checkout page that you can customize.
Cost: Wordpress, the WooCommerce plugin, and the Splash Popup plugin are all free, but hosting, domain, and other costs for custom templates and additional plugins can cost about $50/year to $200/year.
Squarespace lets you easily build beautiful, functional, and high-performance no-code WYSIWYG websites. Squarespace lets you create and customize splash pages (Squarespace calls them “cover pages”) which allow you to use and customize different templates and options. Under Squarespace’s “Commerce Advanced Plan,” it’s easy to sell both products and subscriptions --- that is, selling products on a recurring basis.
As an alternative to Squarespace's Advanced Commerce, the third-party Memberspace add-in is an option to build members-only subscription sites, although it does require some coding and may not protect content as robustly as some users may want.
Cost: To easily create a payment portal and a subscription page, select the Commerce Advanced Plan for $40/month. Otherwise, Squarespace’s two business plans without subscription capability are $18/month and $26/month.
Wix has two options: the Wix ADI (artificial design intelligence) creator, which asks you questions and then creates your website for you. Or, you can use the Wix Editor, which allows you more control over page elements like the layout, fonts, and colors. You can add contact forms, chat, online stores, bookings, and more.
The platform adapts well to anyone without website building experience. It has a drag-and-drop interface, but also has templates available for use.
Cost: Wix is free, with paid plans starting at $13/month. The free plan has a .wix URL and ads, but if you pay a monthly fee, you will receive a custom domain, more online storage, and no ads.
Podia is not strictly a website creator but rather a no-code platform that enables you to sell digital products. Like Squarespace, Podia lets you offer subscriptions to your customers (Podia calls them memberships) so your customers can order your Documate automated workflows on a recurring basis. Currently, Podia does not offer traditional splash pages, but you can create custom landing pages. Its payment portal is embedded, so your customers can purchase your products without needing to leave your site.
In some ways, Podia is geared towards creatives, as an alternative to Patreon, so it may not be the right fit for all of Documate’s clients.
Cost: It costs $39/month to sell digital content (downloads) without memberships, and $79/month to sell memberships and to have embedded checkout.
This has been a brief “how to” guide about some of the no-code options for creating front end websites for your legal apps and Documate document automation workflows --- including websites that have a payment portal / gateway for selling. Documate's team can always set up your workflows for you, too (hire a Documater here). Stay tuned for future articles about additional no code options as they come onto the market. Learn more about what it means to productize the law here or sign up for Documate here.
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