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Jazzed up Website with Free Maintenance for a Small Business

I recently offered to rebuild the website of a small business owner near my home. Conversations with him had led me to think more about how small businesses use their websites, and I wanted to explore a few optimal technology solutions for the segment.

 

Requirement

Current website on Site123 was reportedly doing its job. I felt it could have been better. My interest in Hugo and static sites led me to provide a “really cheap” (read “free”) offer to recreate the website.

The information can be better structured. Part of the problem was the platform but it also had to do with the aesthetics of a beautiful site.

 

Interestingly, I got in touch with the owner after seeing an ad on Google.

 

Solution

I wanted to try out static sites in the real world and this opportunity could not be wasted!

Yes, I have approached this problem wrong – I already had a solution in mind. While the approach is not great, the outcome is the same.

 

  • I just used Hugo and a bunch of ready content and images to whip up a site
  • Deployed the site on Netlify and Bitbucket – no maintenance fees for ever 🙂 (at least, foreseeable ever)
  • Stunning visuals and typography – if I can say so myself. I inherited this from the theme, but how can I not say about my own tastes
  • Super performing. Netlify has its network of CDNs and the site performance is great. 
    Before you ask – yes, this could have been better in GitHub and GitHub.io, but who’s complaining?
Dynamic content and user interactivity is not hallmarks of a static site. But, there is always Javascript to the rescue.
The search page/section was created using Data Table element – this will enable a nice search on the available phone numbers.

Contact form was enabled using Netlify’s underlying capability to receive form data and send notifications.

Benefits

Well, you cannot beat the costs – next to zero setup fee, zero maintenance.

  • Better looking website with better UX – I am humble, I know
  • World class infrastructure that supports a performant website
  • Structured information that follows modern website practices

 

Learnings and Things to Watch Out for

  1. Dynamic scaling is a thing – e.g. how do you sell numbers online. There are themes that can help, and easy-to-use platforms that can enable storefronts for static sites, but they come at a cost.
  2. Maintenance may be needed for any changes. This is a long-term thing and cannot be considered as cheap as a shop owner doing it herself on a drag & drop website builder

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