As a long-time watcher of the Canadian internet landscape, I've witnessed many individuals and businesses get online. You may have many different motivations for starting a website. Launching a business. Hyping a side hustle. Sharing your qualifications. Promoting an event. Rallying the community. Or just simply bringing your story or passion to life online.
Even with pluck and motivation, creating a website can be a bottleneck for a lot of busy Canadians. Especially DIY entrepreneurs and small business people with endless to-do lists and limited time. Simply identifying requirements and mapping out a structure can feel overwhelming, nevermind writing pages of search optimized content and implementing marketing tools. It’s a lot and it can be easy to feel stymied.
But just like you need to learn to walk before you can run, for most entrepreneurs, getting to the exact website they need is a journey. That’s no excuse not to have one, however. In the year 2020 not having a website is no longer a viable option. In fact, for many people these days it can be something of a red flag. That’s why it’s so astonishing that as recently as 2016, 59% of Canadian small businesses still did not have their own website.
Simple and Targeted: .CA + LiteSite
Now if you’re thinking “I’ve gotten this far without a website just fine,” we would like to politely challenge that line of reasoning. The past does not determine the future and your continued success may be in the balance. With 94% of Canadians having access to the Internet at home, and 70-80% of people reporting that they research a service provider online before visiting them or making a purchasing decision, having a website signals that you are credible when people look you up online. Anyone can throw up a Google Business entry or Facebook page. Owning your domain name and having an independent presence shows that you take your business seriously.
One Page is all it takes!
There’s no rule out there that says you need a 5, 10, 20-page website, a blog, an online store, etc. What you need is what works for you.
Given that the average website visitor spends less than 15-seconds on a page, it can be an advantage to keep things simple, clear and concise. For many small businesses and solo-prenuers just starting out, a 1-page website like Webnames’ LiteSite website builder is all that is needed to accomplish the following:
- Be discoverable in search engines
- Provide high-level information about products and services
- Tell their story in their own words
- Share their credentials
- Establish communication channels and provide customer service
- Generate new business leads
- Drive greater brand awareness
Canadian Audiences trust .CA websites
It is no surprise, but the data shows that Canadians targeting a homegrown audience with their website do better if they choose a .CA domain.
For a number of years now CIRA, the team behind the .CA domain has been conducting Canada’s most authoritative study about the online habits of Canadians. One key finding year after year is that Canadians prefer to both do business and make online purchases from other Canadians, given an opportunity. Another important finding is that despite their increasing prevalence on the Web, Canadians are also less trusting of websites that make use of new, niche or uncommon domain extensions. What’s more, unlike .COM that has 140-million registered names, .CA has fewer than 3-million. This means you’re going to have a lot of great options to choose from when it comes to finding a great .CA domain to represent your brand online.
Here are some great examples of simple, 1-page websites .CA websites that were built in under an hour to get you inspired and ready to build your own LiteSite.
Example 1 - The Local Retailer
Seriously Dad Menswear - https://seriouslydad.ca
Even if you have no desire to sell online, having a website that you can update in realtime is essential for a brick-and-mortar business these days. I can't even count how many times a Google business listing has led me astray with out-of-date information about business hours, address, or contact information. What a frustrating experience! According to statistics from the American Retailers Association and American Restaurant Association, 81% of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying and 83% of diners look up locations, directions and hours of operation before making a dining decision. When you have your own website, even if it's just a single page with the relevant info would-be customers are looking for, it lends legitimacy to your business.
Example 2 - The Job Seeker
Inaki James, Marketing Manager - https://inaki.ca
Technology has changed the job hunt - and having your own resume website can give you an edge in a couple different ways. Not only is it an opportunity to showcase your work, expertise, and testimonials, it can help you rank above other search results when your name is searched online, allowing you to shape the narrative that you want prospective employers and HR managers to grasp. For more established professionals, it's a way to build your personal brand, represent what you stand for and make a strong first impression.
Example 3 - The Side Hustle
Martin's Painting - https://martinspainting.ca
In today's economy, a lot of people have more than one job or business. According to a 2019 Angus Reid survey commissioned by Sage, the market leader in accounting, HR, and payroll solutions, an astounding 1/3 Canadians are managing a side business. Side hustles have become a way for many Canadians to transition their careers towards something more fulfilling and eventually make it a full-time business. But to get there, once again, you need to 1) be discoverable online, and 2) establish credibility. This can all be accomplished with a simple website like Martin's. Primarily a builder and a renovator, Martin also has a painting business on the side. He gets most of his painting contracts by referral or word-of-mouth but nonetheless understands the importance of owning his business's name online and showing up in search results if someone looks him or his painting business up by name.
Are you one of the tens of thousands of Canadians aiming to launch a side hustle in 2020? Here are some helpful tips from our friends at smallbusinessbc.ca and funding options from futureprenuer.ca to help you get going.
"But... building a website takes time & I don't know programming"
No, it does not, and you don't need to know programming, coding or HTML. Of course, it wouldn't hurt if you did but all of these examples were built with the LiteSite drag-and-drop 1-page website builder using professionally designed themes that are easily customizable.
Building a website with LiteSite is as easy as 1-2-3, and the builder comes free with select* domain names like .CA. In under an hour you can register your .CA domain name, have an HTTPS secure website and a branded email account (eg. firstname.lastname@example.org) all ready to go! All you need to do is:
- Select your .CA domain name
- Select your website template (we've got 5 options tailored for businesses, freelancers, artists as well as job seekers)
- Enter content and customize your website
- Voila! You're ready to publish!
- Set-up a branded email address like email@example.com that matches your new domain and website
What are you waiting for? Take the next step and bring your business, dream or idea to life!
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*LiteSite website builder with email is included for free with most non-promotionally priced domain registrations, including .CA. LiteSite can also be purchased as an add-on with existing or promotionally-priced domains for as little as $2.95/month.