The Next Generation of FAST Websites

Nick Loeper

April 20, 2021

When we founded Fisherman, our primary goal was to support small businesses by setting them up with a new website as fast as possible. We wanted to upend the existing perception of requirements for designing and developing a website by automating each step of the process. First, we started with a simple hypothesis and a minimal product. Our hypothesis was that:

Small business owners are more likely to use a website if all the hard, time-intensive decisions are already made for them.

We started with a product that collected accessible online information about a restaurant and injected it into a basic website template. The only dynamic aspect of the website was the data itself (hours of operation, address, menu, etc.). In order to quickly test our hypothesis and optimize the speed of getting a business online, we frequently made compromises regarding website quality. 

We faced limitations around  how to change design and layout, the reliability of our system at scale, and a lack of ability to roll out new features across all websites. There were clear areas of improvement for our website generator’s shortcomings. 

Alongside the system constraints, we knew that the more complexity we added to our code base the more technical debt would compound. This would cause operational strain on our support and product teams, making it harder to deliver the service our clients needed. 

The first version of our website generation system was a pathfinder project. Through this project we learned a tremendous amount about the do’s and don’ts of how to algorithmically create websites, which ultimately inspired the major upgrades in the next version of our website generation system.

So what is Fisherman’s new website generation system, FAST (Fisherman Automated Site Technology)? 

We architected our new algorithm to service any type of business – a vertically agnostic website generator. The new FAST algorithm deterministically produces a unique website for any restaurant or business with increased reliability and confidence in quality of website output. 

We have completely overhauled the process of editing and managing website design, giving customers more flexibility in the layout and brand aesthetic of their website. The system creates websites that are packed with SEO, speed optimizations, and other web standard best practices. 

FAST is 100% compatible with Fisherman’s content management system, which allows customers to easily make content updates themselves. The cherry on top is that the FAST system is built to handle additional complexity without compromising quality or reliability. We have built new features, designs and layouts for our customers, and the generation system will be able to easily handle these changes. 

This time around our goal was not only to make getting a website easy, but to make it completely effortless. 

Our vision for FAST is to be the website infrastructure for all SMB websites moving forward. A system that can ensure website best practices, produce beautiful designs, and comprehensively satisfy all necessary features for respective business types. 

We plan to apply additional intelligence to our generation algorithm that will optimize the user experience for critical business functions online, allowing business owners to focus on running their business. FAST is set to facilitate all online marketing and transactional needs for any SMB online and we hope you can join us for the journey!

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