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Why Insight Creative, Inc. is a CloudCannon-first agency

Full-service advertising and creative agency Insight Creative, Inc. gives their clients intuitive and effective editing experience on high-performing websites — and that’s why they choose CloudCannon.

Justin Parsons

Justin Parsons
Director of Front-End Development — Insight Creative, Inc.

Insight Creative, Inc. is the longest-standing single-owner advertising and creative agency in the Green Bay, Wisconsin, area — and they have their finger firmly on the pulse of new technology and marketing trends. Growing from an agency of two in 1988 to a full-service team covering graphic design, web development, photography, social media and more, Insight has it all under one roof. With a strong focus on delivering communication with substance, Insight helps its clients grow effectively, through web design and development, studio services, content and media buys.

As Insight’s director of front-end development, Justin Parsons designs, builds and maintains custom websites for Insight’s wide-ranging client base. He has found that one particularly effective way the Insight team can support their clients is by enabling them to easily edit, update and change their own websites. A key part of empowering his editors is CloudCannon, which lets anyone on a client team make changes to their site.

When we’re talking with clients, we describe ourselves as Jamstack first. Or at this point, CloudCannon first.

Insight’s preferred tech stack: Hugo and CloudCannon

For Justin, Hugo and CloudCannon are a natural fit. He had begun testing Hugo around 2020, when build times on older Jekyll projects grew too long, and he soon found that Hugo’s reputation for speed was well deserved: “The build times with Hugo were just amazing. Insane. I'd never seen anything like it before. I still really haven't, though Eleventy has gotten very, very close.”

With Hugo’s built-in asset processing (Hugo Pipes), Justin doesn’t need to use any additional build tools outside of what’s already pre-packaged with Hugo. “As far as our development and our build environment, we don’t need to rely on Gulp or Webpack or any other kind of bundlers or processors. And to me, that's just magic.”

Hugo, then, offers exactly the development tooling that Justin and Insight need to create quick and responsive websites. And when it comes to giving clients the power to edit their own sites — whether they’re as small as a few pages or comprised of hundreds upon hundreds of pages and posts — Justin chooses CloudCannon. 

Why CloudCannon?

As part of his research into new tools for Insight’s clients, Justin investigated both Git-based and API-based CMSs. But he found that most API-based content management systems felt overcomplicated and restrictive, and didn’t offer additional value in terms of integrating static site generators like Hugo. CloudCannon, by contrast, felt simple and logical, and Justin notes that it was CloudCannon’s strong Hugo support — and its range of templates — that first attracted him to the CMS:

I kept seeing the name CloudCannon show up over and over again. The Hugo support was a game changer for me because right away I knew I could build my projects the way I want to. It just seemed like a perfect fit.

CloudCannon’s core features as a Git-based CMS with an intuitive editing interface continue to appeal to Justin, because the CMS aligns with his ‘lean web’ mentality: to stay flexible while keeping things as simple as possible. Simple for Insight’s clients, who need to be able to update their sites quickly and easily, and simple for Justin and his fellow developers, who can use the dev tools they prefer, while also working on client sites from their local dev environments.

Seeing this simplicity in action — and having all essential site files in a Git repository, to which both developers and editors can save changes — still strikes Justin as amazing. With CloudCannon he no longer has concerns about separate databases, or dependencies upon external services to keep his websites running.

We don't need anything more than this. This is perfect.

Another kind of magic came when Justin heard about the launch of CloudCannon’s open-source search tool Pagefind at 2022’s HugoConf. An SSG-agnostic tool, Pagefind brings live search to fully static websites while using as little bandwidth as possible — without hosting any infrastructure.

“I love the fact that we can add search without needing to integrate another tool,” Justin says. “Having Pagefind just feels a little bit more natural, it feels a little bit more intuitive, and it fits in with the stack more seamlessly.”

Justin describes Pagefind as “mind-blowing,” and he’s now added the software to his dev toolkit, enabling him to build live frontend search into his static sites. And with CloudCannon’s build hooks, indexing sites is as easy as adding a single npx command to .cloudcannon/postbuild — keeping everything as simple and consistent as possible.

Happy editors, happy developers

Developers like Justin and agencies like Insight Creative, Inc. always advocate for their clients’ best interests, and Justin takes time to share the benefits that static sites can bring to his clients. He’s also put time into busting the myths around static sites. One constant in both his development work and writing, though, is the seamless tech stack that Insight can achieve with CloudCannon, and the benefits that attentive design and development can bring to their clients’ sites.

With CloudCannon, Insight Creative, Inc. is able to craft unique web experiences for their customers, giving users the editing interfaces they want to make the changes they need.

And developers like Justin? With CloudCannon, they don’t have to compromise: they can use the tools they love and achieve significant gains in efficiency and site performance.

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