Choosing the Best Website Solution for your Small Business

Creating a new website, or even updating an existing one can be an overwhelming process. Not only are there different platforms to consider but also how you want your website to be built.

Thankfully in the world of technology we live in today, there is no right or wrong decision. The better question to consider is what is the right website solution for your business? This often gets decided by a few key factors:

  • Your own technical ability
  • The time you have to dedicate 
  • Your budget 
  • Anything specific you are looking for 

Within each of these consideration categories, there are better and worse options available to help you achieve a reliable website solution. Important aspects of your website that should always be considered are modern design, having updated content and imagery, mobile optimization, and an easy way to make important quick updates. Now that we have outlined what restaurant owners should consider we can dive into how those needs can be met. 

What are the different website solutions?

Do It Yourself (DIY) - As the name implies, this website solution would be created by yourself or an internal company team member. This solution often utilizes drag and drop website builders like Wix, Divi for WordPress, and Squarespace where you can build your site using a template.

No major design decisions have to be made within this solution, you simply find a theme that best fits your brand identity and colors. The content and imagery are generally very easy to update within any of these platforms. 

Agency/Freelancer Custom Websites - This website solution starts by contracting with individuals or companies that create websites from scratch. They often use DIY tools themselves to make the website but have a much higher technical ability to deliver exactly what you want.

There are generally quite a few design and content decisions to be made in this process. You will have to supply them with branding materials, content and imagery and they should tailor the website to match those assets. 

Hybrid Websites - This website solution blends custom elements and DIY efficiency. There are a variety of solutions that offer this blend, and oftentimes only requires client training on an interactive dashboard to make changes.

Design decisions are minimal, but there is room for small custom elements if desired. Fisherman is one of these hybrid options, and since we love what we produce we will speak from our experience! 

What is the commitment for each website solution?

You may already know what website solution would be best for your business, but before you decide it’s always helpful to know what type of commitment is required of each. Each type of solution has its benefits and tradeoffs across price, time, personalization, and service. While one option may make sense for the price, the time it takes to complete may not align with your end goals. 

Do It Yourself (DIY) - This solution is best for people with a tight budget who are technically savvy, have time, and want to personalize and update their website themselves regularly. This solution is not good for busy business owners who have never worked on a website before or have a visual idea they cannot create themselves. 

  • Price: Generally no upfront fee but a monthly cost of $20 - $50 / month.
  • Time: 2 - 4 weeks of work to get your website put together, assuming you have a sense of what you want to design and are technically capable enough to implement
  • Quality: Largely depends on the quality of the templates that the service provides, but it also depends on your design and technical savviness.
  • Service: Limited customer service, you will need to figure out how to use the technology yourself.

Agency/Freelancer Custom Websites - This solution is best for business owners who have a solid budget and don’t mind waiting longer for a website that will be more personalized and technically efficient. This solution is not good for cost-sensitive business owners who want something straightforward with a faster turnaround time. 

  • Price: Varies widely, but generally in the thousands of dollars range.
  • Time: Low time commitment from the business owner after establishing what they want/need from the agency, but generally takes 1 - 3 months for the freelancer/agency to design and build the site.
  • Quality: Depends on the agency, but usually more personalized design. However, be wary of agencies that are using older technologies to build the websites.
  • Service: Great service during the design/build phase, but once the website is live it may be very limited be an additional cost. If this solution is selected, make sure you’re trained on how to make updates to the website.

Hybrid Websites (Fishman Example) - This website solution is best for business owners that are busy, cost-sensitive, and want great service. Need to be willing to trust the company to make updates and designs that will benefit the business. Not good for business owners that are highly particular about the design of their website.

  • Price: This solution offers the best blend of DIY and custom pricing. Fisherman has no upfront fee and a low monthly fee that includes ongoing service. 
  • Time: The website is ready to preview in minutes, can go live within 1 business day. 
  • Quality: High-quality websites that follow modern best practices. We look at trends across the thousands of websites we’ve built to consistently improve how each website works.
  • Service: We provide a dashboard for you to make edits yourself, or our support team can take care of most of your edit requests within 1 business day. 

In a nutshell, there are lots of website solutions and it truly comes down to what is best for you. Just remember there is rarely a perfect website solution (if you find one let us know). 

Fisherman is passionate about the hybrid approach and has found success delivering fully optimized, modern websites to our clients. We don’t say yes to working with everyone because we understand that every business need is different. 

In our initial call, we’ll let you know if we don’t think we’re the best fit for you and give you a recommendation of who to work with instead. Want to see a preview of your new website for free?

We are all familiar with the concept of search engines, and that if we want to find a business or an answer to our question it is only a few clicks away. There are multiple search engines out there, but Google accounts for 90% of all online searches in North America, making it the ultimate online standard. 

Google sets the criteria for how websites become favored, making them the gatekeeper for how online customers find you. When a potential customer wants to eat out, they’ll often start their search online to narrow their options. Having Google on your side can help you appear at the top of this customer’s list, increasing your chances of making a sale. 

Foot traffic and word of mouth are no longer enough to attract enough new customers for many businesses to stay competitive, so it’s important to understand how search engines work so that you can capture the new set of consumers that make their dining decisions online.

What it Means to Have Google on Your Side

Having Google on your side isn’t a popularity contest, but a relevancy contest. If your website is appearing higher on a Google search it means that Google believes the content on your website corresponds to what someone is searching for. 

Google wants to present relevant, accurate, and usable content to its users, and given that there are over a billion websites out there, Google has to use criteria to determine what to show in its results. 

With this in mind, you can take specific actions on your website that will tell Google what your website is about, and who it should be presented to. This often comes in the form of meta descriptions, which are tags that describe and summarize the contents of your page for the benefit of search engines. Other areas of consideration to appeal to Google include: 

  • Mobile Friendliness: ⅔ of website traffic starts on mobile devices, so you need to ensure your website is easy to use on a mobile device. That images are visible, all aspects of the website can be accessed, and users can complete any given action.
  • Content Formatting: Content formatted with web schema allows Google to easily index and display the most relevant content on your website.
  • Optimized SERP Layout: SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages which are the list of websites or links displayed after a user enters their query. You can set what information appears in search results before consumers even click, optimizing it to entice users to click on your link.
  • SSL Certificate: SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer. It is a global security standard for websites. Without an SSL certificate Google is unlikely to favor your website.
  • Social Media: Linking your website in your social media and Google My Business Profiles and keeping the information updated across all platforms will help Google recognize the content to be authoritative and accurate.

Upcoming Changes You Should Know 

Search engines are always updating, making it essential that you stay up-to-date on any new requirements Google creates. In May 2021 Google will be updating its algorithm again, with a focus on what’s called Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals are designed to measure how users experience the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of a page on any website. The update was introduced last year, but in May will become a key signal to Google for what websites should rank more highly. The elements determining these vitals include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint: The time it takes for a page’s main content to load
  • First Input Delay: The time it takes for a page to become interactive
  • Cumulative Layout Shift: The amount of unexpected layout shift of visual page content

These three elements are looking at how easily a user can navigate your website and interact with content and has a huge emphasis on mobile-first designs. If you are interested in learning more about this update you can reach out to the Fisherman team or learn more at Search Engine Journal

Setting You up for Success 

Keeping up with Google’s updates can feel like a full-time job. That’s why we are passionate about delivering websites that are fully optimized for search engine favor. We make sure all of the content on your website is indexable to search engines, provide a blogging platform to keep your audience engaged, and handle all of the technical aspects of SEO. 

Whether you need a new website or want to upgrade your website to a Fisherman to be favored on Google, we’ll rebuild your existing website on our platform for free. Getting started is easy, simply give us your contact info and we’ll be in touch shortly with a fully optimized, modern website tailored to your needs.

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