Crafting a modern UX & improved website for a fast-growing SaaS company
By partnering with Gray Bike, we grew from a start-up to an organization that could iterate and drive value faster through our website.— Michael Davis, Chief Revenue Officer
They are an integral part of our team and work directly with our marketers, product designers and engineers.
Our first impression of Gray Bike was that they were very professional and it would be a huge relief to have a partner who really knew what they were doing…
How We Helped
- Homegrown website was unwieldy and challenging to maintain
- Required technical know-how to make site changes
- Complicated documentation system
- Lacked internal resources to maintain and manage the website
- Ability to scale validated with strengthened infrastructure
- Streamlined processes with self-managed site
- Improved SEO and workflows
- Best practices enhance site functionality and user experience
- CTO and technical consulting services
- Custom software development
- Maintenance and iteration
Founded in 2012, Rollbar began with a mission to help developers build and deploy better software, faster, with solutions that identify, prioritize, and resolve coding errors. With a hyper-focus on assisting engineers in performing at optimum levels, the company also provides solutions for error monitoring and migration to microservices. Headquartered in San Francisco and with offices in Barcelona and Budapest, Rollbar is dedicated to improving software experiences worldwide.
Rollbar is a rapidly growing company that recently raised \$11m in Series B funding. Since its inception, the company has processed over 40 billion application errors and is used by thousands of organizations, including Salesforce, Twilio, Uber, and Instacart. With ambitious growth targets, Rollbar is focused on driving expansion through servicing existing customers, attracting new clients, and building an enterprise-level sales team.
According to Michael Davis, Rollbar’s Chief Revenue Officer, “We had a successful revenue model, but were at that stage of growth where we wanted to validate our ability to scale. In order to prepare for the next phase, it was critical to focus on strengthening and standardizing our infrastructure.” To accomplish this, Rollbar needed to rebuild its marketing website, which was unwieldy and difficult to maintain.
“We had two challenges. First, our site was homegrown and making changes was a slow, painful process due to the architecture. Second, since internal knowledge was required for site changes, we had to tap our product engineering team for help,” explained Michael. “This was problematic as their skills were better utilized building great products for us.”
Solution / Results
In the fall of 2017, Rollbar determined that the timing was right to begin refreshing and modernizing their site. “We were ready to bring rigor and process around running a professional website,” said Michael. “The search began for a trusted vendor that could not only perform this kind of work alongside our product team, but could also continue in a management and maintenance role.”
At that point, Rollbar brought us on board. “Our first impression of Gray Bike was that they were very professional and it would be a huge relief to have a partner who really knew what they were doing, versus us winging it,” commented Michael.
Revitalized Website Increases Productivity, Spurs Growth
As the primary channel for interacting with customers and prospects, Rollbar’s website attracts developers with content marketing and ads. Conversion funnels then inspire developers to try out the software to see what it’s capable of.
“Our product is our website, but it wasn’t what it could be. Everything was haphazard because we didn’t have a process. If marketing wanted to improve a conversion rate or build a new page, it was treated as an interruption instead of a priority because of the complexity,” explained Michael.
One of our first priorities was to build a self-managed site so the technical marketing team could make quick and easy updates. Working closely with Rollbar’s design team, we started from the inside out, improving the infrastructure, code quality, and functionality.
Within a few short months, we wholly revitalized and streamlined their website. The improvements included:
- A simplified interface for adding and modifying pages
- A rich, fully featured interactive pricing page to replace the static one
- Sophisticated plugins that pulled content from GitHub repositories and READMEs for a custom documentation section
- Dynamically generated pages
- Markdown parsers for rendering documents from the legacy site
- A custom-built login flow to work seamlessly with the new Gatsby platform
- Data documented in Storybook to help new developers get up to speed quickly
Michael, who is also responsible for the go-to-market teams, including sales, marketing, and customer success, is thrilled with the results. “Now we can easily take our products to market and support customers along the entire software development lifecycle and customer journey.”
Deriving Immense Value from the Right Partnership
Once the first phase was complete, we began to take more of an ongoing management role of Rollbar’s site, including updates and strategies for improvement. Our team conducted design audits, built a resources section, implemented a full-site search feature, and established a unified design language for overall consistency. A style guide was also created to ensure greater transparency and organization of design and coding elements.
“Gray Bike helps us set and manage priorities so we can stay focused on what is important,” said Michael. “They are an integral part of our team and work directly with our marketers, product designers, and engineers.”
Michael, who noted how limited resources are in today’s environment, was looking for a smart and independent partner who knew how and when to collaborate but could also work autonomously.
“Gray Bike works as an extension of our team and brings professional strategies to the table. Their engineers and designers helped build a process where we could look out past the immediate, plan next steps, and manage our website like a product versus a disruption,” said Michael. “By partnering with Gray Bike, we grew from a start-up to an organization that could iterate and drive value faster through our website.”
CMS Improves Productivity and Confidence
As time passed and Rollbar’s marketing team became less technically inclined, we brought even more value by converting much of the site to a Content Management System (CMS). This included integrating Contentful for improved workflows, migrating the entire blog, and developing a custom solution to preview content before publishing (as the site and app didn't support this).
“A new CMS was a big win for us from a productivity standpoint,” said Michael. “This was a very positive experience for our entire team as it was self-serve and made our site more alive.”
Bridging the Gap — From Reactive to Proactive
With our deep engineering experience, combined with business acumen, we helped Rollbar navigate and accomplish several other key goals. That included handling a massive backlog of SEO optimization and building advanced integrations with HubSpot and other marketing tools.
According to Michael, the management, strategy, and consulting skills that we provide are invaluable.
“Each week, we have a ‘Weekly Standup’ with Gray Bike. These meetings give us the opportunity to be proactive instead of reactive. We review what the team did last week, and plan and prioritize for the next few weeks,” explained Michael. “This makes a huge difference for us. It sounds really simple, but we don’t have the resources to do this ourselves.”
In addition, the team uses Slack to communicate regularly. “Gray Bike is willing to take our lead when it’s important, but they’re also comfortable running the process for us. They filled in the gaps that we had internally and became professional managers of our website,” he said.
“We’ve worked with Gray Bike for three years now, and to run the website without them would be unimaginable,” concluded Michael.