This booklet is designed to help small businesses find information and resources on the Internet related to the following topics: e-business statistics; web design and development; educational materials on e-business and other online materials on specific e-business topics.

Disclaimer: This booklet is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, technical, business or other advice and should not be relied on as such. Please consult a lawyer or other professional advisor if you have any questions related to the topics discussed in the booklet. The Ontario Government does not endorse any commercial product, process or service referenced in this booklet, or its producer or provider. The Ontario Government also does not make any express or implied warranties, or assumes any legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or usefulness of any information contained in this booklet, including web-links to other servers. All URLs mentioned in this document will link to an external website.

E-Business statistics and information

Statistics CanadaListing of statistical summary tables on the subject 'Internet'. Provides an overview of statistical data on use of the Internet and e-commerce in Canada.
Look under 'Tables by Subject', then 'Information and Communications Technologies', then 'Individual and Household Internet Use'
Website for Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)Publication section includes statistical information on Internet and e-commerce usage by small and medium-sized firms.
ClickZ StatsProvides facts, figures, research, and data on the online industry in the USA and worldwide.
eMarketerProvides market research and trend analysis on e-business, online marketing, media and emerging technologies. Aggregates and analyzes data from numerous sources and brings it together in reports, daily research articles and a comprehensive database of e-business and online marketing statistics.
IT-Analysis.comAggregates the opinions, analysis and research of the independent technology-analyst community.
Internet RetailerBusiness intelligence for those involved in e-business, especially in e-retail. Provides statistics on trends impacting e-business, including those in marketing, sales and consumer behaviour.
Interactive Advertising BureauProvides guidelines, standards and best practices associated with buying, planning and creating interactive media. Topics covered include games, mobile and social media advertising.
The Boston Consulting GroupPublications section includes in-depth research reports on the digital economy, including broad trends in areas such as banking, politics and media.

Information on web design and development

SourceDescription Daily Web Design ClassThis "class" is an online discussion about designing Web sites. It assumes some knowledge of HTML. As such, it does not talk as much about how to build Web pages as the skills and techniques behind designing Web pages. Topics this class covers include:
  • Basic Web design tenets;
  • Using color effectively;
  • Understanding fonts;
  • Designing navigation;
  • Creating graphics that don't distract from your site; and
  • Using multimedia (sound, animation, and other media) on your site. XHTML 1.0/HTML 4.01 Free Online CourseTopics this "course" covers include:
  • The differences between XHTML and HTML;
  • Basic XHTML;
  • Text manipulation;
  • Lists;
  • Images;
  • Linking;
  • Tables;
  • Frames; and
  • An overview of forms.
Video-based Online Courses
This site offers online courses and video tutorials on topics relevant to e-business, such as how to create a website, start a blog on WordPress, and use various types of software (including open source).
Web Design and Development Resources for Beginners
This link on Mashable presents a collated list of web resources that beginners to web design may find useful. It provides links to resources on how to use HTML & CSS, photo editing software, website analytics, etc. It also recommends some web design applications.
Canada Get Your Business Online
Google initiative to promote online business
This initiative, aimed at getting Canadian businesses to have an Internet presence, offers you a free website and domain name. Also offers information and advice on how to successfully build and run your website.
Smashing Magazine
Online magazine
An intermediate to advanced-level online magazine, frequently updated with articles and information on a wide spectrum of information related to web design. Includes tips and advice.
A List Apart
Online magazine
An online magazine targeted to web designers. It offers articles on advanced topics in web design, including code, usability and content. It has a special focus on web standards and best practices.

Educational material on e-business

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities NetworkDesigned to provide services to entrepreneurs with disabilities.
E-Business Info-Guide (Canadian Business Network)Provides beginner level information on e-business, and includes information on programs and services related to e-business.
(look under Managing and Growing > Doing Business Online)
Web Marketing TodayAims to provide insight regarding Web-marketing solutions to small businesses. Includes information on topics such as search engines, social media, and web design. Also offers a free newsletter delivered via email, and free e-books.
EC-G Electronic Commerce GuideDeveloped by, this site is a comprehensive guide on electronic commerce. Contains everything from reviews of payment systems and digital certificates to guides, software downloads, e-commerce current news, discussion forums, etc.
Global Technology ForumProvides up-to-date analysis of the most recent technology trends affecting business worldwide and assesses the prospects for e-business growth around the world. Site is divided into five sections: latest analysis, special reports, company analysis, global data, global risk, and global sub-sectors.
SME ToolkitA free program that enables entrepreneurs and small businesses to explore some of the sustainable business management practices needed for growth, in areas such as finance, accounting, business planning, marketing, human resources, exporting and law. There is one section specifically devoted to technology, including e-commerce. A number of free tools are included, such as free software to build a website, and a series of calculators to assess various financial aspects of your business. Forms and samples are provided in areas such as how to conduct employee performance evaluations, develop a marketing strategy, or write a Request for Proposals.
GS1 CanadaTo continually enhance the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, GS1 Canada has established the GS1 Knowledge Centre, a source of supply chain information and education.
Government of OntarioProvides a variety of information and resources for SMEs in Ontario, including this series of booklets on advanced e-business topics. Also provides an e-business introductory handbook How You Can Profit from e-Business.
Federal Trade CommissionThe American Bureau of Consumer Information offers a number of resources for small businesses, especially information on legal considerations in areas such as marketing, privacy, and credit.
Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)A section on BDC's website called the "Advice Center" has information for SMEs looking to take advantage of online technologies. It includes information and tools such as how to assess your knowledge of ICT, as well as more general topics such as overall entrepreneurial suitability. This site is also supported by business centres, located throughout Canada, that offer in-person training, advice and consultation.
World Pay – The Guide to Starting an Online BusinessThis British resource aims to guide SMEs through the most important steps when starting out on the Internet, and offers a wide range of information on e-business basics. It also provides advice in areas such as how to name your e-business.

Other online materials on specific e-business topics

Social media marketing

MashableThis popular website provides constantly updated news on everything related to social media.
Social Media ExaminerAn online social media magazine that covers social media topics from a business perspective.
About.comThis site provides information about varied topics. The link below will explain how to use social bookmarking sites to promote your small business.
LKR Social Media Social Media Marketing: A Small Business PrimerThis web page, from a company that offers (paid) online instruction in various aspects of social media, provides a comprehensive selection of information targeted to small business.

Exporting and e-exporting

Export Development Canada (EDC)EDC provides Canadian exporters with financing, insurance and bonding services as well as foreign market expertise. The site also includes information, guidance, resources and publications on exporting basics.
Ontario ExportsOntario Exports offers a range of information, services, and programs to Ontario businesses that are looking to export their goods and services.
Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaAgri-Food Trade Services offers information and resources for the agri-food sector.
Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA)Includes export and import information and guides. Includes resources to help SMEs comply with CBSA requirements.
Canada Business NetworkProvides basic information on conducting business overseas, including investment.
(look under Managing and Growing > Exporting and importing)
Canadian Trade Commissioner ServiceThe Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, part of the federal government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, offers market intelligence and expert advice in the following areas: preparing for international markets, assessing market potential, finding qualified contacts and resolving problems. Also offers an e-magazine on exporting.
Industry CanadaThe website is aimed at providing information for Canadian businesses in a variety of areas. The site includes the following export-relevant resources: trade statistics, tools and checklists, and a step-by-step guide to exporting.

Search engine optimization

Search Engine LandBasic information on how to build your website in order to optimize SEO.

Internet auctions and virtual malls

Extension.orgOptions for Getting a Web Presence.

Customer relationship management

CRM MagazineAn article from CRM Magazine which provides an introduction to CRM.

Legal considerations

Competition BureauThe Competition Act defines which marketing practices are illegal in Canada. The Act is enforced by the Competition Bureau, and is applicable to an electronic environment.
Advertising Standards CanadaFor information about advertising standards in Canada.
Privacy Commissioner of CanadaThe guide Your Privacy Responsibilities – Guide for Businesses and Organizations to Canada’s Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act describes business obligations under Part 1 of the Act.

Searching online - best practices

This booklet has provided a number of examples of where you can find information online. However, you probably want to find out more information yourself. While almost everyone knows how to enter search terms into Google, there are a number of tips and tricks you should consider that may make it easier and faster to find the information you need most.

Expand results. Using the word OR between keywords will provide results that include any of your search terms, increasing the number of page results.

Narrow results. Try including all or most of the keywords of the information you are looking for in your query. By starting with specific search phrases, you can narrow your results to the most relevant results quickly. Google will only provide results that include all of the words in your search phrase (including synonyms for keywords); it automatically includes an implicit AND between search words. Google will also list as higher priority results those pages that have the same order of keywords as your query, so you should enter your keywords in the order that you hope to find them on a page.

Find exact phrases. If there is an exact phrase you are searching for, then include the phrase in quotation marks in your query. Google will only provide page results that contain that exact phrase.

Exclude words from search results. If you want to prevent getting page results that include a certain term, use a minus sign ("–") operator in front of the word you want to exclude. For example, you could enter blog –travel. In this case, all the page results would be those that included the word blog, but did not include the word travel. Do not put a space between the minus sign and the word you want to exclude.

Specify a price range. To obtain results for numbers within a certain range, type the numbers with two periods in between. For example, the search for bicycle $250..$400 would provide page results for bicycles within that price range.

Google Advanced Search. If a regular Google search is not turning up the results you want, Google Advanced Search provides a range of other specific search tools, including the ability to search by language and region.


This publication is part of an e-Business Toolkit which includes a series of booklets on advanced e-business topics and an introductory handbook How You Can Profit from E-Business. The entire Toolkit is available at