Starting a Business in Canada

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Apr 28, 2011 - 3 minute read - websites

Google Offers Free Websites To Canadian Businesses

Google has teamed up with a number of sponsors, including the Royal Bank, to offer a free website to any Canadian business. In the video below, Kevin O’Leary introduces the program.

A domain name is the “www” address you are familiar with; ie. The Get Your Business Online (GYBO) program includes a .ca domain free for the first year. This is approximately a $10 value. You will own your domain and you are free to transfer it to another service if you want after 60 days. Basically, you are not locked into anything.

Websites are stored on computers called servers that are connected to the internet. This is referred to as “hosting”. Every website must have a host. The typical cost for hosting a basic website is $7-$10/month. Under the GYBO program, a company called Yola, is offering free hosting.

Yola also provides a templates that you can uses to build your website. I haven’t used the templates but from the material I’ve read, it seems like they would be very easy to use. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can use these templates. There is no programming required. There are only 6 steps to get your website up and running under the GYBO program:

  1. Select your .ca web address
  2. Select your category - This is to match your business with templates that are most appropriate for your needs.
  3. Create content - This is the information that will be on your website
  4. Choose a style - This is where you pick the template you like best.
  5. Customize your site - This is where you would change colours, add photographs, etc.
  6. Publish your website to the internet - This just takes the click of a single button.

If you are wondering “What’s in it for Google?”, they are hoping to get more businesses on line because it will lead to more people using Google to search for them. Google can sell more ads based on the increased search traffic. Yola is hoping that you’ll upgrade and use some of their paid services. The GYBO program is a marketing effort for these companies.

Having said that, if you do not have a website for your business you’d have to be crazy not to take advantage of this offer. You’d be hard pressed to find a simpler way to get your website online. The websites I’ve seen that have been built with these templates vary in quality but that is due more to the taste of the business owner than any deficiency in the templates.

It’s 2011. If you don’t at least have a website to tell people what you sell, where your business is and what your hours of operation are, you don’t exist. I haven’t used the yellow pages in at least a year. If you are not online, I won’t know about you and neither will many other people. This is a great opportunity. Take advantage of it.