This guide details the development of the Client Portal template. Dissect it for a better understanding of Notion, or simply adapt its contents for your own needs.
Notion is a widely advantageous place to centralize information for your clients. Among its many benefits:
- It requires clients to save just a single bookmark, where they can reliably access all information you share.
- It offers a pleasing, professional interface that’s intuitive for all users.
- It supports virtually any type of information, from file storage and original documents to sophisticated databases and project-management systems.
- It keeps clients focused and accountable.
- In addition to sharing information, you can exchange feedback and collaborate.
Of course, businesses work with clients in varying capacities. Even businesses in the same industries take different approaches to engaging with clients. This guide offers a handful of examples from which you can choose and adapt for your own unique workflow.
You’ll find a working template in Liber & Co. × Loggerhead Labs. The screenshots below draw directly from that example.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Follow the “Bulletproof” methodology.
In Build a Bulletproof Notion Workspace, we detail a methodology for organizing a functional, sustainable and delightful workspace. The approach includes two fundamental pillars:
- Centralize information in master databases.
- Create “gateways” for accessing that information.
Your client portals can employ these same principles to form microcosms of The Bulletproof Workspace. At the top level of each client portal, you’ll create two pages.
Create the data page.
Your data page will house your master databases. You’ll rarely engage with it, and your client will never see it. Instead, you’ll access your information from the homepage of the client portal, which will contain linked views of your master databases.
Note that your client will need access to the master databases in order to see linked views on their dashboards. My foremost request of Notion is to support view-specific database sharing. If this poses a privacy issue, you’ll need to create independent databases within client dashboards, rather than linked views.
You might simply name your data page “Data.” To align it with the homepage, you could also use “[Client Company] × [Your Company] → Data.” For the icon, consider the “Database” option from Notion Icons.
Create the homepage.
Your homepage will be the dashboard of your client portal. It’s the one URL your clients need to bookmark — the top level of the wiki, where they can access any information you share. You’ll populate it with useful views of the master databases.
For the page name, we typically follow this format: “[Client Company] × [Your Company].” For the icon, we use the client’s logo or website icon.
Create your master databases.
We find the below information useful for every client portal. Choose the ones that suit your client, create them as in-line databases within the data page, then add any others that may be helpful.
The Projects database contains each of your company’s initiatives for the client. You can prioritize and schedule upcoming projects. For active projects, you can demonstrate progress and collaborate with your client. When a project is complete, you can archive it for future reference.
Keep clients focused.
In many industries, clients often lose sight of the volume of their requests. They’ll request a project, then soon become distracted by another. Your Projects database keeps them aware of the scope of work in the pipeline. Moreover, the Priority (or Sequence) property forces them to establish a sequence rather than expect all projects to be completed simultaneously. Reference your projects list often to keep clients aware of the packed pipeline.
Prospective Project Properties
- Project (
- Status (
- Timeline (
- Priority or Sequence (
- Requests (
- Resources (
- Events & Updates (
Events & Updates
The Events & Updates database includes your client meetings — each containing an agenda, notes and action items — and other events related to your collaboration. It might also include detailed updates composed nicely as Notion pages rather than emails.
In the inner contents of each project in the Projects database, you can display a filtered view of Events & Updates. (You’ll see how to create a template shortly.)
Prospective Events & Updates Properties
- Event / Update (
- Category (
- Date (
- Projects (
Create a Meeting Template
For each of your client meetings, you’re likely to create an agenda, take notes, reference projects, and schedule deliverables. Rather than creating these sections from scratch for each new meeting, you can create a template:
- At the top of the Events & Updates database, click the
•••menu and choose
- For the title, you might simply name it “Meeting.”
- In the body of the template, consider an independent
Table - Inlinefor the “Agenda” and “Action Items.”
- Create a
Headingfor “Note” and any other sections you may use consistently.
- You might also created a
Linked Databasefor the Projects database, which you can filter to show only the projects connected to the meeting via the
With your template created, you can click the “Meeting” option when opening each new meeting as a page to populate the framework automatically.
You might often find yourself awaiting information from your client in order to proceed with a deliverable. With a Requests database, you can clearly indicate your outstanding needs and hold your client accountable by referencing it often.
By linking each request to a project via a Relation property, you can include a list of relevant requests within the inner page content of each project.
Prospective Request Properties
- Request (
- Status (
- Notes (
- Project (
In addition to providing useful contact information, a Contacts database can help build rapport between your client and the team who supports it. You can include your internal staff as well as external partners.
Depending on its scale and frequency of use, you can include the Contacts database among your master databases or as an item within Resources (the next master database).
Prospective Contact Properties
- Full Name (
- First Name (
- Last Name (
- Company (
- Title (
- Email (
- Phone › Office (
- Phone › Mobile (
- LinkedIn (
- Headshot (
Files & Media)
Your Resources database is somewhat of a catchall, containing a variety of items that fall outside your other master databases. In some cases, those items will contain their own databases, such as a photo library or a collection of testimonials.
The Resources database can become expansive; you’ll almost always view it with filters, including within the inner page contents of your projects.
Items within Resources might include:
- Asset libraries
- Policies and procedures
- Project overviews, including a template that can be duplicated and linked for each new project
- Testimonial roundups
- Media coverage
- Product lists
- Restaurant menus
- Tutorials — Notion and otherwise
In the inner contents of your projects, you can display a filtered view of your Resources database, including a project overview.
Prospective Resource Properties
- Resource (
- Category (
- Frequent (
- Attachment (
Files & Media)
- Project(s) (
Create a project template.
The inner content of your project pages will depend heavily on the nature of your work, but all of your projects are likely to share a few common elements, including filtered views of related databases. Just as you did for meetings, you can create a project template by clicking the
••• menu of the Projects database and choosing
Templates. After creating your template, you can choose it when opening each new project as a page.
For the contents of your template, you might consider:
Linked Databasefor the Resources database, filtered for the resources linked to the project via the Relation property. Resources display nicely in the Gallery format without a card preview. Prior to filtering the Resources database for each new project, you might duplicate the placeholder Project Overview, then link it to the current project.
Table - Inlinefor “Tasks”, displayed as a List.
Linked Databasefor the Requests database, filtered for the requests linked to the project via the Relation property. So that you can include the Notes property, this works best as a Table.
Populate the homepage.
Having created your master databases, you can create helpful perspectives of them on your homepage using
Linked Database blocks — each with various views. As with your master databases, the contents of your homepage will depend on the nature of your work, but here are a few approaches you might consider:
In an “Active” view of your Projects database, you can display all projects with a status other than “Complete” in the List format. Clients can click any project for its full details, including related requests and resources, as well as the project’s Tasks database.
You might also have an “All” view that includes completed projects, as well as a “Full Table” for displaying all details of each project, including prioritization, when the database is opened as an independent page.
The default view of your Resources database can display the resources where the Frequent property is checked. Depending on your volume of resources, you might also create an “All” view, or perhaps a view for each category — all in the List format.
Displayed as lists, your Projects and Resources database might work nicely as columns on your homepage.
Events & Updates
Naturally, events and updates display nicely in the Calendar format. You might have one view specifically for “Events,” which would include meetings, then another view that also includes updates.
Rather than viewing your Outlook or G Suite calendars, the Events & Updates calendar on your homepage makes it easy to discuss upcoming events on your client calls.
Consider filtering your Requests database for for unfulfilled requests, displayed in the simple Table format. A “Details” view could then display all requests and include the Notes property.
To hold clients accountable for your needs, reference your Requests database often.
Your Contacts database may appear within Resources, or you can choose to feature it on your homepage. If you’ve included headshots, contact databases display beautifully in the Gallery format, with each contact’s headshot (easily obtained via LinkedIn profiles) serving as the card preview. You might create a filtered view for each type of contact, such as your company’s staff, the client’s staff, and external partners.
Create a single, friendly URL.
Using a tool like Rebrandly, you can create a professional, memorable URL for your homepage. It’s the only URL your client will need to access all the information you share.
Reference your page often to keep all parties focused and accountable.
Questions? Tweet @WilliamNutt.