Developers September 24, 2020

How to build a client portal

Arrigo Lupori @Arrigo

Hey everybody,

I'm new in the web development scene and I've been researching a way to build a client portal that would allow my clients over at www.koalarank.com to view all of their KPIs and data sources. I'm attaching a login page from Design Pickle as an example: https://jar.designpickle.com/users/sign_in

Can you guys point me to any resources that may be helpful? I'd like to do this with Ruby on Rails but I know that I should probably do some UX design before.

Cheers!

  1. 2

    In my experience, if you are just looking to make a simple dashboard with some charts and graphs you can get away with a no code solution. You might even be able to go that route if you need some basic CRUD actions too.

    I've built a handful of custom portals over the years (https://linksoftwarellc.com/services/client-portal/) and in every case the requirements eventually became too much for off-the-shelf software or SaaS options. Useful client or customer portals integrate with ERP systems or require more elaborate reporting functionality that requires custom programming.

    The right decision depends on the needs of your client both in the present and in the future. And, to be brutally honest, budget plays a part as well. Some companies don't have the stomach to take on a custom programming project like a portal or dashboard and would rather use cheaper alternatives that already exist. Keep in mind the SaaS products, like Clinked, aren't exactly cheap over time either.

    1. 1

      That's what throws me off about Clinked :) It's extremely expensive, otherwise it looks like a solid solution. SuiteDash tries to do everything and I don't like it. Ok, so I assume I could get it done with Bubble? I've looked into Webflow but it seems like there are a lot of compromises to be made. I'm also looking into Memberpress. If I can get it done directly within WordPress while maintaining scalability I wouldn't mind. I am interested in coding but it's mostly to improve customer experience. Thanks for all the feedback!

  2. 2

    If you are client uses WordPress then there are plugins for client portal you can check them out .

    1. 1

      I tried most of them and I didn't like any: Client Portal, Suitedash, Clinked, etc. Which one would you suggest?

      1. 1

        If you don't mind what's the problem are you facing with already existing products ? I tried client portal once just for testing purpose .

        1. 1

          Client Portal "forces" you to use their weird process-based cards which I don't like, I'd rather have a view similar to what Manypixels offers: https://app.manypixels.co/. Inside you have your queued orders tab as well as the delivered orders tab. I'd have a similar thing but with the KPI dashboard in one tab and the data sources in the other. I have yet to find a plugin or out-of-the-box solution that does a modern portal like this. Yes, I know Webflow can do this but at that point, I'd rather build it on my own. SuiteDash is way too complicated and includes a CRM which I don't need. Octoboard is awesome when it comes to dashboarding but doesn't give me flexibility around adding new client features and would be quite complex for them to figure out. Maybe Google Data Studio could do the trick if configured the right way... My problem is that I want a solution to a specific problem (a marketing dashboard for clients which displays the quarterly goals we've set internally for them) and all I find is do-it-all solutions. That's why I'm thinking of making this proprietary.

  3. 1

    Using https://versoly.com/ and https://www.memberstack.io/ you can build a custom dashboard on the url "/dashboard" that has different data for each customer.

    I believe it can also be updated using things like zapier.

    1. 1

      Thanks. I've considered using no-code tools but the more I get into it the more I want this to be proprietary because I want to control the customer experience in full. I've already tried memberstack and it's great. I'll think about it.

      1. 1

        Versoly isn't a no code tool. It is low code :) you can build whatever you want in it.

        It is one of the most powerful tools on the market.

        I have built a mobile app in it for fun.

        1. 1

          Sounds good, will give it a try!

          1. 1

            https://memberstack-client-dashboard.versoly.page/dashboard

            We're building a tutorial around this.

            We also have someone working on a very cool tool to help build it.

            1. 1

              I like that dashboard a lot, let me know once you have the tutorial out, I'd be happy to look into it.

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