When we launched the FoundLocally.com, TransCanadaHighway.com , and MovingInCanada.com domains in 1999, all we knew for certain was that the internet was going to be a great new “frontier” and we wanted to help Canadian small businesses grow and thrive in it.
We also knew our founder Mark Ruthenberg‘s prior tech experience would be helpful in navigating the many false trails that the internet would present. Here is a chronology of our company’s growth and transition over the past 17 years.
We also knew we’d be taking on some of Canada’s biggest companies, and that we had to look larger than life. we’ve learned lots of tricks in online marketing, and in efficient marketing, and in successful online strategies, which we gladly share with those using our services (and that includes our Free Directory!)
SSL – Secure Server
In April, we implemented SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) to provide secure forms, encrypted communication, as well as better integration with Google maps for our Localmap feature, across FoundLocally.com, MovingInCanada.com, and TransCanadaHighway.com
To help celebrate Canada’s 150th Birthday, and the people visiting many parts of the country to share in that, we have added, updated, and upgraded lots of information around our site and in our business listings.
Enhanced Login Security
Updated security on Registered Contacts to improve database security
Launched Marketing Website
New WordPress site combines content form Blog, Media Kit and Website Audit domains… using Responsive Design.
Enhanced Masonry Layout (Pinterest-style)
We have expanded our masonry layout (Pinterest-style interface) to a broad range of site sections, with visual links to a wide range of content and [random] featured businesses in our directory
Enhanced the Events Calendar
Increased number of events visible in Calendar, integrated with Pinterest-style feature listings
We’re now TransCanada FoundLocally Inc
re-branding to reflect (a) national scope and (b) our two strongest online brands
Added Farmers Markets weekly events to Calendar
Added weekly Farmers Markets events to calendar to promote local farmers & agriculture
All sites now Responsive Design for tablets & mobile users
After 5 years of dual sites (desktop & mobile) converted all sites, content (over 100,000 pages ), and listings to Responsive Design
Hotel Reservations link direct to Hotel’s website
Now link directly to hotel’s, motel’s, B&B’s reservations info & pricing for BEST RATES and latest info
Fuel Digital Media is our Interactive Agency
Montreal-based Fuel Digital is now representing FoundLocally websites to national advertisers and their agencies. They have 15 years experience with interactive advertising.
Began Adding “Pinterest” style content to all major pages
Included logos for listings, and photos for website content to create greater interest. Added showcase of featured business.
Added LocalMap feature
Showed listings on FoundLocally in Google map layout, with different feature layers. What’s around YOU?
Facebook Pages and Twitter Feeds for each community
Helped to expand local-focused Facebook, Twitter & social media interest
Google AdSense for Interactive Ads
FoundLocally ended a five year relationship with Casale Media (now called Index Exchange) when they converted to “programmatic advertising” technology which adversely affected ad targeting and publisher rates.
Enhanced Home Neighbourhoods info
Neighbourhoods content updated for FoundLocally cities’ Home’s section , and MovingInCanada.com with both updated photos, and better Google Maps integration
Added Translation to 57 languages to all FoundLocally sites
Integrated Google Translate so users from other countries and cultures can read FoundLocally in their native language.
Upload Images or Logo for Business Listing
Automatically crop and resize uploaded image for Business Listing, and their events news, jobs, coupons
Mobile/Smart phone version launched
This new version provides FULL access to the extensive informational content and the business directory on all brands of mobile smartphones without an “App”.
Added Social Bookmarking & Sharing Making
Now easier for visitors to share our content on THEIR feeds and pages, using AddThis plugin
Added What To Do? menu for Business Listings
Put the most-used actions on a single menu (in the white stripe) for Registered Contacts
FoundLocally websites move to Casale Media
After careful evaluation, Casale was the strongest Canadian-focused online marketing agency.
Added JUMP Feature
Easy to go to same PAGE or same SEARCH in adjoinging FoundLocally community
Added Environmental Editorial Content
Content added to all sections of the site, in all communities; Added Environmental field for each business listing
FoundLocally adds RSS Feeds for key info
Enabled dissemination of key posts (listings, news, events, etc) to other blogs and site
Added details itineraries to TransCanadaHighway.com
Added mile-by-mile details including corr-roads, natural features, attractions, accommodation, towns
Major Upgrade of MovingInCanada.com site
Added more detailed community information, realtor, home builder, condo builders, mover searches
Launched new Web MarketingBlog
Includes new features, news, SEO tips, and insdutry tip sheets
Added Sports Teams Games to Calendar
Added major league & minor league games for baseball, football, hockey, and soccer team across FoundLocally communities.
Launched 5 Greater Toronto (“GTA”) Community Sites
Launched Toronto, North York, Etobicoke, Scarborough, and York Region portals
Added Top 15 Movie Ranking to Movie Showtimes
Summarize showing on screens across 160 movie theatres across Canada, to determine the Top 15 movies this week
Integrated Facebook, Twitter & Social Media with FoundLocally
Used Social media to enhance conversations & interactions with our followers for each of our 3 sites
Logos & Links now Free!
To grow listings by small business, also free postings for jobs, news, events, coupons/sales/flyers
Added Ratings & Reviews
Allow users to post their reviews of businesses and organziations in the FoundLocally directory
Full Google Maps integration in TransCanadaHighway.com
Itineraries show details around exits, interchanges, and for communities along the highway
Launched Kitchener-Waterloo FoundLocally.com site
Start of expansion west of GTA along the Highway 401 corridor
Sites launched for Hamilton & Oakville-Burlington
Start of expansion into the Greater Toronto Area (“GTA”)
Launched Hamilton FoundLocally Site
Began expansion into Greater Toronto Area (GTA) & Golden Horseshoe
Launched Niagara Falls & Barrie-Muskoka Sites
Sites for Southern Ontario, with most-popular travel destinations for Toronto residents
Launched 4 Maritimes Community Sites
Added directories for St John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, and Fredericton
Added online hotel reservations
Linked with BookDirect for online hotel bookings, integrated with directory and hotel search
Added Jobs & Resumes to business listings
Post job openings for businesses & volunteer opportunities for community groups. Users can post their resumes for businesses to view.
Image Gallery Added for local photographs used on websites
Search and display images (with FREE USE for schools, students, teachers)
Launched Thunder Bay, Ottawa-Gatineau FoundLocally sites
After completing local research and photography, launched more sites along Trans-Canada Highway
Added new Virtual Tours for many cities
QuickTime Virtual Tours added for cities across West
Online Advertising through Clickthrough Interactive
Signed with Toronto-based Clickthrough Interactive to represent FoundLocally sites to national advertisers (note: Clickthrough has since become 24/7 RealMedia)
Added Events to listings, launched in Okanagan-Shuswap
FoundLocally expanded features and geographic scope
Launched FoundLocally.com in Sudbury and Sault Ste Marie
Added more communities along Trans-Canada Highway, to strengthen national traavel information.
FoundLocally launched in 6 cities across Prairies
FoundLocally.com sites launched from Victoria to Winnipeg, linked together through TransCanadaHighway.com, MovingInCanada.com sites which extend across Canada