6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 2: Not thinking about SEO from the start


Let’s dig a little deeper into the first of Hubspot’s 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next (Re)Design. In case you missed it, here is a refresher on What is SEO and why do I need it? One of the biggest mistakes you can make during a website redesign is not thinking about SEO from the start. Many people treat SEO and web design as though they are two separate entities. But, every good developer knows that you must connect both, from the beginning, in order to create an effective website.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

SEO needs to be ingrained in your (re)design strategy from the very beginning. Throughout the process, keeping SEO in mind will allow you to create a site that meets your design and functionality needs, and also excels at SEO. A site designed with SEO in mind will be better indexed and ranked by search engines, which ultimately increases visitor traffic and revenue.

It is also important to understand who your clients and prospects are during the process because your website should be structured and written for them. Creating a website with your end users in mind, and combining web design practices with SEO practices will result in a win-win.

So, what aspects of my website should be developed with SEO in mind? The answer is simple. All aspects. The structure and design of your website, URL foundation, navigation structure, heading tags, the meta description, images, relevant keywords, organized and targeted content, internal and external links, social media integration…to name a few.

Many people are too focused on the look and design of their website.  This is important, but if you are not generating enough traffic to your site, then the design and usability doesn’t really matter much.  Don’t spend time and money to build a website that no one can find.

Still not sure whether the trials and tribulations of SEO are really worth it? Not sure how to infuse best SEO practices into your website (re)design? We’d love to help! Get in touch with us today!

The Healing Power of Coffee

We can debate the health merits of coffee and tea but there is no doubt that its availability and consumption is connected to employee satisfaction, culture and, to a lesser degree, performance. The office coffee ecosystem is simple and sometimes appears way too vital to the daily operation.

Like many companies we have a coffee service that keeps our shelves loaded and these days delivers almost every week. We have grown to trust that just as the boxes start to empty and all that remains is the decaf and green tea supply (no offense to those who subscribe to those flavours). The next day, our trusty coffee vendor will arrive with a fully loaded shipment to fill the shelves once again.

These routines for most of us are so entrenched that significant disruptions and distress is most noticeable when our coffee supplies are low, and we all forgot that Helen was on vacation. You see Helen has assumed the unofficial responsibility of coffee orderer for our office. Even though she is a talented developer and a very senior member of our team one of her most critical connections to our organization is the coffee monitoring work that she does. Our team unknowingly depends on her to keep a close watch on the coffee pod inventory so they can maintain their morning or hourly routines.

Active monitoring and business continuity planning are a key component of our service delivery model that we provide to our customers. We have actually developed the same technique to provide coffee in the event of us forgetting that Helen is away. You see we have a secret stash of coffee and generic pod system that provides 3 days emergency rations so we can survive while one of us manages to place an urgent order with our supplier. So, while not a perfect system, it preserves a critical piece of our operation.


6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 1


In today’s digital world, there is no doubt that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most important and effective ways of driving quality traffic to your website. Simply put, SEO is the process of making your website a better-ranking site in search engines than other websites within the same industry as yours. In case you missed it, here is a refresher on What is SEO and why do I need it?

As an advisor, designing (or redesigning) your website isn’t just an exercise in aesthetics. SEO makes it easier for your target audience to find you. If you fail to keep SEO in mind when designing your next website, then your target audience will have a hard time locating your site. SEO helps you position your website properly so that it is found in the most critical points of the buying process of your target audience.

So, how can you build your website in a way that will please both your visitors, customers and Google? While there is no one magic answer to creating a website that will rank highly in search engines, there are a few things you can do to help your website rank better. Hubspot has provided a list of 6 common pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Not thinking about SEO from the start
  2. Not doing an audit of your existing site
  3. Failing to identify (and include) commonly searched keywords
  4. Failing to consider your URL structure
  5. Not using responsive design
  6. Failing to think like a human!

Basically, SEO is a way of fine-tuning your site to target the buying patterns and preferences of your clients. Over the next couple of weeks, we will take a deeper dive into each of the 6 pitfalls above to help you boost your SEO performance. Stay tuned!

What are your plans for improving your website’s SEO?  Looking to revisit your website’s SEO process but aren’t sure where to start? We’d love to help. Get in touch with us today!


Alternatives to SharePoint

Collaboration is key for any business or operation.  In order to run a business in today’s economy, there is a need for collaborative technology.  Collaborative technology is the foundation for aligning business goals with technology, in order to facilitate effective communication and improve productivity.

SharePoint is a collaboration suite used by many professional services and firms. It is a family of software products developed by Microsoft that allows businesses to store, access and share information among members of their organization.  Although SharePoint offers many robust collaboration features, it certainly isn’t the best fit for every business.

There are a number of Sharepoint alternatives in the market today with similar collaboration functionalities.   Which alternative you choose depends entirely on what tasks and objectives you are looking to accomplish with your collaborative platform.  Let’s take a look at some solutions for alternatives to Sharepoint:


Alfresco is a robust and scalable content management platform that is built on open source technology.  Alfresco is designed to enhance business’s productivity and workflow, by focusing on collaboration.   The solution encompasses similar functionality as SharePoint, but at a much lesser cost.  This free platform enables organizations to collaborate more effectively across cloud, mobile, and on-premise environments while also interacting with team members through Alfresco’s miniature social environment.  The platform makes communication among different organizations simple using message boards, individual and group calendars and more.  Alfresco offers mobile app integration, making it easy to edit projects from anywhere, at any time.


Liferay is the leading open source portal and social collaboration software.  When it comes to providing collaboration features to facilitate effective communication and improve productivity, Liferay is one of the leading technologies for businesses.  Liferay provides an easy-to-use interface that allows you to work collaboratively using the right tools for sharing knowledge and communicating.  With Liferay’s collaboration tools you are able to assign tasks, create meetings, share knowledge using built-in calendaring, task management, wikis, blogs and more. Unlike SharePoint, Liferay’s open source platform is built to ensure it can support and extend the application to grow with the business and brings collaboration into your daily routine without requiring extra steps.


Huddle is a cloud-based enterprise collaboration and content management platform, which allows people to connect, share and work together easily.  It is designed to enable people to collaborate in Huddle’s cloud via their Microsoft Office tools.  Users can save files into their Huddle workspaces directly from Microsoft Office applications, with a Huggle comment stream alongside it.  Huddle supports mobile applications and allows employees to track project deadlines and completed tasks, reassign projects, and easily manage and exchange information or projects with others.

Collaboration Solutions Software (IBM)

Collaboration Solutions (formerly Lotus Notes) is IBM’s flagship product for enterprise collaboration and can be used to collaborate internal and external information.  IBM’s online communication tool offers immediate online collaboration with colleagues by means of instant messaging, web conferencing, shared content libraries and social networking capabilities.

Google Apps

For smaller-scale organizations with multiple locations, Google is another free alternative to Sharepoint that provides many capabilities for collaborating.  Google Apps offer simple and efficient ways of collaborating, allowing businesses to organize day-to-day schedules, projects and files securely.  Google Apps allows employees to simultaneously and securely work on Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint.

There are hundreds of collaboration tools available in the market place.  It can be tough to determine which one is best for your particular needs. Choosing the best collaboration tool for your organization depends on your business goals and strategies.

Still not sure which solution is best for your business?  We can help to empower your organization to work better together by improving the way they collaborate and communicate. Contact us today to discover the untapped power of collaboration solutions.


10 Revealing Website and Social Media Statistics for Financial Advisors

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Are you still convinced that having a website or social media presence isn’t worth your time? Are you wondering whether your prospects interact with advisors, like yourself, on social sites?

Consumers are looking to make informed decisions, which means they are tapping into all resources available to them, most of which are online. Let’s face it. If you don’t have a website or social media, you’re losing business to someone that does. And here is the evidence. Below is a list of 10 revealing statistics that reiterate the importance of having an online presence.  These stats speak loudly to financial advisors and what their prospects are doing online:

  • Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. Each day, there are over 3.5 billion searches which translates to 1.2 trillion searches per year. (Internet Live Stats, 2014)
  • 89% of consumers conduct their product research using search engines. (PR Newsire, 2014)
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Nearly two in three of mass affluent consumers take action after using social media to discover and consider financial products and services. (The DigitalFA, 2014)
  • Two-thirds of millionaires surveyed said they would like to use electronic media with their advisors.  (The DigitalFA, 2014)
  • About 90 percent of mass affluent consumers use social media. Of that 90 percent, 44% engage with financial institutions on social media. (LinkedIn, 2013)
  • Companies that increase blogging from 3-5 times a month to 6-8 times a month almost double their leads. Companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. (Hubspot, 2012)
  • Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. (Groove Digital Marketing, 2013)
  • Google says there are more searches on mobile than on desktop (Google, 2015)
  • Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Times, 2013)

It is important that Advisors continue to adapt to the needs of their prospects.  Don’t get left behind in the digital world. Get started on building an effective online presence today.


3 Reasons Advisors Need Calls to Action on Their Website

Having “calls-to-action” on a website is a way to increase the effectiveness of what your website can do for your business. Surprisingly, 70% of small business B2B websites lack a call to action (smallbiztrends.com, August 2013). A call to action (CTA) is an instruction to your visitors to perform an immediate action. Some examples of a call to action could be:

  • Subscribing to an email newsletter or regular email communication
  • Scheduling an appointment or consultation
  • Downloading a whitepaper or some kind of content offer
  • Requesting a quote

Many beginner or novice marketers or sales people over look the importance of having a CTA and are thus achieve limited results with their digital properties. Not having a CTA on your website is analogous to ending a phone or face to face meeting with a prospect or client with no next step or follow on activity. Needless to say, it’s a critical component for every advisor’s website. Here are three key reasons on the “why”:

It helps to remove the “dead ends” from your website

When prospects visit your website for the very first time, there’s a high likelihood that they came to your website by entering a search term, such as your company name or perhaps some keywords that match an article or blog post that you wrote. If the content you’ve authored is useful and relevant, the visitor will take the time to read the content and learn from you. So far so good. Once the visitor has finished reading your content, they may have a desire to continue to engage with you, because, after all, the content was useful! Not having a call to action or a way for them to continue their journey with you will most likely cause them to leave. Pages on your site with a high number of hits and a high bounce rate is a good indicator of a dead end on your website. Avoid this trap by placing a call to action at the end of every one of your blog posts. If you’re not blogging yet, not only should you consider starting, simply place a call to action on each page of your website. It could be as easy as placing a small form to subscribe for updates.

Enhance your website’s user experience by using calls to action and remove those dead ends!

Provides visitors with a way to increase their level of engagement with you

If you’re an advisor who has built your practice from scratch or is in the process of growing your practice you’ll be familiar with the concept of a marketing and sales funnel. The marketing and sales funnel is a way to visualize what is effectively a qualification process that you follow to manage, strategize and execute against in order to generate new or repeat business. There are higher volumes of prospects at the top of the funnel than there are at the bottom of the funnel (hence the word “funnel”) and at each stage, different activities are used to manage a prospect from the top to the bottom and eventually a paying customer.

In a digital sense, your website, is one vehicle that can be used to qualify create separation between individuals who are just shopping around and individuals who have problems that need to be solved now. A technique commonly used amongst marketing professionals is the use of calls to action. A CTA can be used as a gateway to further qualify a lead. For example, when a new visitor comes to your website and signs up for updates they are starting a somewhat passive relationship with you. They want to learn more about what you have to say but they aren’t ready to speak with you directly. In this example, the visitor has separated themselves from those who are simply browsing your website. They aren’t a fully qualified lead just yet, but they have taken their level of engagement with you to another level by providing you with their email address (and possibly their first and last name).

Allows you to test the effectiveness of your content

We often hear advisors ask about whether their content is working or not. A big part of a successful digital marketing engine is, in fact, the data but this can be a time consuming task and many advisors are too busy to even write the content for their website and other digital properties. One way to test the effectiveness of one’s content is, you guessed it, the use of CTAs. We’ve all heard the term “Content is King”. Content is not only a way for advisors to connect with their prospects and clients, but it is also a way to establish trust and to demonstrate value. If your visitors find your content useful and educational, then it is logical to assume that they will want to continue to stay in touch with you and engage with you. As mentioned earlier in this post, using CTAs is a great way to provide that next step of engagement.

Just remember, useful content incentivizes higher levels of engagement which leads to increased trust and eventually revenue. Use CTAs to escalate engagement and measure the effectiveness of your content!

Do you have a question about content marketing? Still wondering how content can be used to generate leads for your business? I want to help. Get in touch with me using our contact form or simply email me directly!

The top 10 Innovations of all time

The means to make Fire

Let’s not kid ourselves. This is the big one. Without this, nothing. While not truly a human invention (more of a discovery) controlling fire is one of the cornerstones of what separated us from the animals. It lit our nights. It kept the predators away. It cooked our food, helped us cure meats, and kept us warm.

The Lever


“Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the Earth with it”. One of the original ‘six simple machines’ as defined by the scientist of the Renaissance era.  The Egyptians were known to use it as far back as the 3rd century BC; often to move blocks weighing up to 100 tons.

The Plough


When humans made the big switch from hunter-gatherer to simple agriculture, the Plough lead the revolution. Well, when I say ‘lead’ what I really mean is followed…from behind an ox.



More than just an inspiration for a great song by Jethro Tull, bricks allowed humans to build. And build we did. The earliest known bricks have been found in the region of what is now Turkey, and have been dated to 7500 BC.  As you can see, each invention brings us closer to an ideal. Fire kept us warm, the Plough kept us fed. The brick let us build everything from simple huts and houses to pyramids.

The Wheel


It’s inception is placed in about the 4th millenium BC, in several areas.  It’s impossible to determine who invented it first. The wheel is thought to have brought us not only the beginning of transportation, but also Industry. From water wheels and mills, to chariots and tires, the wheel is roundly (get it?) considered to be a pretty big deal.



The beginnings of written and recorded information date to around 8000BC Mesopotamia. Today, we consider writing to be the very identifiable distinction between history and prehistory. Written communication is, by and large, what defines us as species. It’s how we exchange our ideas, hopes and dreams. It’s also the basis of how we attempt to influence those around us.



The first evidence of this extractive metallurgy dates from the 5th and 6th millennium BC and was found in the archaeological sites of Serbia. As in many of the previous inventions, Metallurgy wasn’t an end in itself, but was generally an improvement upon what came before. Prior to this invention, we still had arrows, axes, and other tools.  But, with the introduction of metallurgy we are now able to produce superior tools made of metal.

Gutenberg’s Press


Johaness Gutenberg began working on his breakthrough invention in approximately 1436. We know this because he was subsequently sued. Ah…Innovation. Within a few short decades, there was a huge increase in the circulation of books, as printing presses began popping up in every town. As production increased, the unit costs fell, which gave rise to inventions like the ‘Newspaper’.  Suddenly the masses at large had increased access to news, information, and advertising.

The Harnessing of Electricity


When Ben Franklin went out to fly a kite in a thunderstorm little did he know what would follow. Simple advancements such as public Gas lighting making way for electric light made a huge improvement in the lives of millions of people. Suddenly the turbines and engines of the industrial revolution were being turned by electric power, and not the spindly little arms of Oliver Twist. Which is all to the good. Little Oliver never deserved that sort of thing.

The Computer / Internet


And here we are today. The Computer allowed humans to figure out math equations and logistics at a previously unheard of rate. Coupled with Moors law (which states that computer performance would double every year), we went from computers that were the size of a grocery store to slick little laptops that are as thin as a magazine. Along side (almost parallel) is the development of the Internet. Now that we have all of these personal computers, tying them all together seemed like the logical next step. Then Tim Berners-Lee developed the protocols to build what we call ‘websites’. Now, here we are in what is certainly a new golden-age, the age of the world wide web. People around the world not only have access to the web (and thus the combined human knowledge of all time) but the means to communicate with each other 24/7 despite geographical location. At first the barrier to entry was the ability to write computer code to create your own websites but now, thanks to programs like Digital Agent, anyone can build and write a well designed website of their very own.

Customer Love

One of my all time favourite movies is Field of Dreams. I can watch this movie over and movie again because it works on so many levels….it’s a great baseball movie for sure, but it’s also a movie about family, about risk taking and about commitment to a dream.

If you are in business for yourself you absolutely have a dream and you definitely then have to think about your commitment to customer service.

The background voice from “Field of Dreams” says it all on this topic: “Go the Distance!”

Going the Distance when it comes to Customer Service means simply you have to work diligently at helping to solve your customers problems, being respectful and professional in all of your interactions and going that one bit further each and every day to separate yourself from the competition.

Going the Distance when it comes to Customer Service does not mean that you have to do everything for your customer. It simply means you have to think about every interaction you have with them and make those interactions, consistent, efficient and effective.

If you Go the Distance, then as Terence Mann stated: “Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”

Bottom line is your customers will come and they will stay!

Financial Advisors: 3 ways you are hurting your online presence

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These days, everything under the sun is Google-able. Anything and everything can be found online. The World Wide Web has eliminated time and geographic constraints for businesses looking to build their online reputation, connections, and influence.  Although the web has provided us with many great opportunities, there are also ways that the web can hurt your businesses reputation.

Making a poor online first impression

Your website is your business card and the face of your online business. Prospects form an opinion about your business within the first 10 seconds of their visit. This is why, more then ever, it is important to have a professional looking website. A good website communicates to prospects that the owner cares about their business and online image, and it makes the visitor feel like the business is trustworthy. Poor design, or do-it-yourself websites, can communicate business instability and a lack of credibility.

Being too controversial or negative

Original and refreshing content can help you stand out from your competitors and help to create loyalty among your visitors. Solve a problem for your prospects or provide fresh insights into your industry. Predictability is a sure way to lose followers but so is being too controversial. Being intentionally controversial is not the way to get people’s attention. The way you choose to discuss topics will determine people’s perception of you. Be positive, be interesting, but don’t be negative.

You’re not promoting your services

Make sure you are clearly showcasing the services that you offer and focusing on problems that you can solve for your prospects. Prospects need to know exactly what services you provide (so do search engines) and how you can help them. You should also make sure you are including a clear call to action. What do you want your prospects to do? Should they call for an appointment, or contact you through your website?

Your reputation is displayed online 24/7 so it is important to proactively protect your online presence.  Start with your website. Would you rather do business with a professional, well-groomed person wearing a nice suit, or a person who looked like they just rolled out of bed?   The same comparison can be made for people’s impressions of your website, and who they decide to do business with.

Still wondering how to improve your online presence?  We want to help!  Get in touch with us today.

Liferay Portal, a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant

As one of Liferay’s proud Canadian partners in portal technology, we were thrilled to see Liferay, provider of the world’s leading enterprise-class, open source portal, announced that it had been positioned by Gartner, Inc. in the Leaders Quadrant of the Magic Quadrant for Horizontal Portals.

Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, placed Liferay in the Leaders Quadrant based on completeness of vision and ability to execute on that vision.

Gartner Magic Quadrant

For more about Liferay, visit www.liferay.com.

About Liferay

Liferay, Inc. is a leading provider of enterprise open source portal and collaboration software products, servicing Fortune 500 companies worldwide. Clients include Allianz, BASF, Cisco Systems, Lufthansa Flight Training, Rolex SA, Siemens AG, The French Ministry of Defense, and the United Nations. Liferay offers Enterprise Edition subscriptions, which provide access to emergency fixes, software updates, 24/7 support SLAs, and subscription-only features. Liferay also offers professional services and training to ensure successful deployments for its customers. Liferay, Liferay Portal, and the Liferay logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Liferay, Inc., in the United States and other countries.