3 Easy Steps to Start Your Advisor Blog

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Many of the insurance and financial advisors that I speak to on a regular basis find the task of blogging to be a very daunting and time consuming task. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic and is also a critical sales and marketing tactic to connect with your audience. One of my favourite questions that I like to answer tends to be “How do I get started?”. It’s a great reflection of an advisor who’s ready to incorporate digital and content marketing into their practice and of someone who’s ready to do something different in an industry where blogging is not yet pervasive.

Here are 3 steps I commonly talk about to get started.

Step 1: Coming up with topics

If I sat you down in front of a typewriter and asked you to write a book and I didn’t give you a topic that would be pretty hard and you could potentially sit for a few hours and come up with nothing (maybe a title and an introduction). If I did the same thing and asked you to write a book about financial planning you might also come up with nothing after a few hours.

This analogy is often how I think advisors look at content writing. One critical success factor of content writing is the plan. Ok, the plan, what do I mean? Well, much like how you might put together a financial plan for your client, you would put together a plan for content writing. A plan helps to regulate the frequency at which you write and produce a tempo. It also helps take a lot of the guess work out of what to write about next. If I planned on saving up $1200 a contribution of $100 a month for the next 12 months, would arguably be easier than me thinking about the amount to save each month to reach my goal.

So, just how do you come up with the topics? Simple. Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you meet with clients and prospects?
  2. Do your clients and prospects ask you questions?
  3. Do your clients and prospects ask you the same questions?

You probably answered ‘Yes’ to all three of those questions. Now, take the next 5-10 minutes and write down as many questions as you possibly can on a piece of paper and then move onto step 2. Write down the questions that come to mind first.

Step 2: Mine for Blogging Gold

Now that you have a list of questions we’re going to do a quick scan of each of your questions. The reason for this is that blogging effectively, involves writing about single topics as opposed to writing an essay. There will be a subset of the questions that you wrote down that might simply result in too large of a blog post. This is where we can dig for blogging gold because the questions you’ve already thought of, might themselves, break into other blog posts. So what do I mean by single topics? Well, it’s kind of analogous to how you might look at a book. An effective blog post would be equivalent to a single chapter while a not-so-effective blog post would be an entire book. Writing too many concepts into a single blog post can cause you to lose reader interest and also make it more difficult for you to complete a post. Here are some good and bad examples of titles that might lead you to write about more than one topic:


  • What is a TFSA?
  • 3 keys to saving effectively for retirement
  • How to save for your next big vacation


  • Financial Planning 101
  • The INs and OUTs of an RRSP
  • How to choose a financial advisor

Now, take 10 minutes and look at your list of questions and for each topic, determine whether you can break the topic down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic. For example, “What is a TFSA?” cannot instinctively be broken down into more than 1 mutually exclusive topic as everything points to the topic of a TFSA. “Financial Planning 101”, however, can be broken down into Tax, Retirement, Investments, etc., all of which are mutually exclusive topics. No need to think too long on each question as it should be instinctive and easy to identify the questions that can be broken out. Then move onto Step 3.

Step 3: Plan your Tempo and Topics

By now, you should have a pretty healthy list of questions to answer. The next step is to set up your tempo. How often will you decide to blog. There are definitely rules of thumb when it comes to blogging and in general, the more often you blog, the better your results. That being said, if you’re just getting started, setting up the frequency of your blogging is more important than setting up how much you will blog. Blogging once a week is arguably better than blogging once a month which would arguably be better than blogging once a quarter and so on. Choose the frequency that you feel you can handle. If the frequency you set becomes very manageable, increase that frequency. Remember to start small and then move up from there. Choose the easiest questions to answer first.

Take the next 5 minutes, look across your questions, and line your topics up to your frequency. For example, if you have 12 topics and have chosen to write monthly, that’s one blog post per month. Also, decide whether you will release your blog at the beginning or at the end of the month.


At this stage you’ve completed a very critical step and are well on your way to becoming perceived as an expert in your area of expertise! With all of your single topics and questions set up, it should be a relatively straight forward exercise to answer the questions you’ve documented! A few key things to remember when you write is that blogging is not about perfection. You’re not designing a rocket to the moon. Obviously spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are unacceptable but outside of that, the world’s your oyster. Write in the way that you would have a conversation with a client or a prospect. Make your readers feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Remember, your voice is unique. No other person in the world communicates like you. No other person has been exposed to the same experiences that you have.

What’s your greatest barrier to getting started with blogging?



6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 6): Not implementing responsive design


Not implementing responsive design is mistake #5 in the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.

A responsive design refers to a website that has been designed in a way that all of the content, images and structure of the site remain the same no matter what device you are on. So, when a visitor accesses your site from their desktop, they will see a full view of your site. If they were to switch to their iPhone, the site will adapt to fit on the smaller screen. Responsive design ensures that your website runs properly and looks great on any device.

With the increasing amount of Internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it has become clear that responsive design is no longer a trend, but a must for any website. Now, more then ever, consumers expect their online experience to be consistent no matter what device they are on.

Here are 3 good reasons why every website should be responsive:

Mobile Use Is Only Growing…

The world is going mobile and so are our websites. Worldwide, mobile traffic has doubled between 2012 and 2013.  Not only are people using their mobile for social networking, checking and sending email, and surfing the website, they are also making purchases from their devices.  By 2016, revenue from mobile content is predicted to reach $65 billion.

Your website is likely receiving a high portion of mobile users and given it isn’t responsive, nor has a mobile version, that’s a lot of visitors who are receiving sub-optimal experiences.  According to Hubspot, if a user lands on your website on their mobile and is frustrated or doesn’t see what they are looking for, there is a 61% change they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor).

Google Loves Responsive Design

Google has recommended responsive design as the primary mobile configuration and has referred to it as the industries best practice. This configuration makes it easier for Google to crawl your pages, retrieve your content, and ultimately, rank your page.

Provides Great User Experience

Responsive design provides users with a better and faster user experience, and does a better job of converting visitors into customers. When a user has to wait for a page to load, there’s a high change they will leave your site before it opens on their mobile phones. Responsive design eliminates the need for site redirects, improving the overall speed of the site allowing users to get their information quickly.

Responsive design is one of the most effective ways to ensure every visitor has the best possible user experience. Responsive design is still an emerging practice so chances are your competitors have not yet jumped on the bandwagon leaving you a chance to gain a competitive edge. What are you waiting for?

We are almost at the end of the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.  Stay tuned for the last pitfall coming soon.

Question: Is your website responsive? When on your mobile device, would you stay on a site and try to decipher and zoom in on small text, or would you move on to a site that adapted to your screen size?


Liferay Vs. SharePoint: Who is using these technologies?

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Portals continue to evolve as platforms gain new features that increasingly blur the boundaries between portals and areas such as content management. Customer experience, customer engagement, digital experience and marketing integration have been a large focus of portal platforms for the past couple of years as more and more enterprises have embarked on portal implementations. Today we will examine Liferay Vs. Sharepoint

Earlier this year, Gartner released its latest Magic Quadrant for horizontal portals. Microsoft SharePoint and Liferay were both named in the top 5 for leaders in horizontal portals.   But, who exactly is using Liferay and SharePoint and who are some of their top global customers? Below is a brief summary on the customers and industries using the Liferay and SharePoint platforms.

Liferay – who is using it?

Liferay is the leading Open Source portal server.  Many enterprises are using Liferay to build robust business solutions that deliver long-term value and results.  The company has seen a recent rapid growth in the past few years.  Liferay is an all-in-one enterprise portal with broad product capabilities that provide a user-friendly interface where you can centralize, share and collaborate.

Liferay has proven its real world performance globally with many clients across many diverse industries and business functions. It has been used in just about every industry around the world including automotive, education, government, healthcare, financial services, IT and Hi-Tech, media and entertainment and more.  It is primarily used for corporate websites, intranets and extranets but is highly scalable and easy to launch with many out of the box features.  Major organizations around the world choose Liferay for a wide variety of business functions beyond the traditional portal:

  • Intranet portals
  • Extranet portals
  • Content and Document Management
  • Web publishing and shared workspaces
  • Enterprise collaboration
  • Social networking
  • Enterprise portals and identify management

Liferay is growing year over year, and has over 150,000 community members, 5 million downloads, over 500 apps in Liferay Marketplace, and 650 employees.

Some of Liferay’s key customers include:


Liferay Clients

Learn more about their case studies and the enterprises using Liferay across industries and around the world.

SharePoint – who is using it?

SharePoint’s usage is widespread because of its complex collaboration structure. The platform allows you to develop your business collaboration solutions fast and effectively.  Similar to Liferay, SharePoint’s customers are spread globally across just about every industry including retail, education, transportation and more.

According to Microsoft, SharePoint is adding approximately 20,000 SharePoint users every day.  That is approximately 7.3 million new SharePoint users every year. Similar to Liferay, the majority of customers use SharePoint as an internal tool; intranet/extranets and enterprise content and document management.

Here are the 5 most common uses of SharePoint:

  • Intranet portals
  • Extranet portals
  • Enterprise content and document management
  • Public facing websites
  • Forms & workflow

Some of Sharepoint’s key customers include:

Sharepoint Clients

Check out some of SharePoint’s case studies here.

Which portal you choose depends entirely on your industry, and what tasks and objectives you are looking to accomplish.  In a previous article, we took a look at some Alternatives to SharePoint.

Question:  What portal technology are you using for your business?  Are you satisfied with it? If not, what frustrates you about your portal technology?  Share your experiences below. 

Top 5 Application Servers for Liferay Deployments


We often get asked by new Liferay customers, “What application server should we deploy Liferay on?”. Our answer always starts with, ”What are you using today?”.   If your organization already runs applications using a Java stack then there’s a good chance you can leverage that experience when building out your Liferay environment.

That said, here are our top five application servers for Liferay deployments:

1. Tomcat 7.0

Tomcat is an open source web server and a supported Liferay application server developed by the Apache foundation. Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations. There’s a good chance it is running applications you are using on the Internet daily. The Tomcat application is lightweight, reliable and does its job well.

Veriday has been running Liferay on Tomcat for over five years. It has become our go-to server for new deployments.

2. JBoss 7.1 AS

JBoss is an open source application server developed by RedHat. It complies strictly with the Java EE 6.0 Web Specification and OSGi Core 4.2. If a full J2EE stack has appeal or your organization is already using JBoss internally, then it is a very good choice. This is also a support Liferay application server.

3. Websphere 8.5

4. Weblogic 12c

IBM’s Websphere and Oracle’s Weblogic are the big guns in the Java application server world. They do their job very well but they don’t come cheap. If you’re using them, then you likely have good reasons and likely aren’t looking for change. Liferay fully supports both Websphere and Weblogic environments.

5. Glassfish v3.1

Glassfish is an open source application server originally developed by Sun and now sponsored by Oracle. It’s a solid choice if you’re already using Glassfish, however, its future is gloomy.  Glassfish application server wouldn’t be Veriday’s top choice for new Liferay deployments.

A note about bundles.

Liferay is available bundled with Tomcat, JBoss and Glassfish. These bundles simplify the process of installing, configuring and running Liferay. Keep this in mind when selecting a target application server for your Liferay installation.

Application servers supported by Liferay but not making our top list include Resin, Tcat, tcServer, JOnAS as well as older versions of our top 5 picks. Your businesses experience, existing infrastructure and support needs might lead you to one of these options.

Of course, we’re always available for support in your decision making process and designing your Liferay target Architecture. From conceptual planning to implementation to technical support, we have your back when it comes to making your next online project a milestone success.

What is Google My Business?


Getting your practice or business listed on Google My Business is a critical step that every advisor should consider to set yourself apart from your local competitors. It also helps provide a consistent user experience your audience receives when they are looking for you using Google. So, what is Google My Business?

Google My Business = Google Pages + Google Maps + Google Search

Google My Business is a service offered by Google that helps connect businesses and organizations to individuals. It provides a consistent user experience across all of Google’s key search related applications and across all devices like smartphones, tablets and desktops. Let’s look at each discreet component.

Google Search

You’re probably familiar with Google Search if you’ve ever tried to find something online. This is Google’s claim to fame and is still very much a primary revenue stream for them with the combination of Search and Adwords. The user experience you typically receive produces a combination of organic search results (highlighted in yellow below) and paid search results (highlighted in blue below). In this format, the search results provide you with some knowledge of what to expect for each search result. Paid search results, as the name suggests, require you to purchase that space, while the organic search results are free.

Example search result using Google Search

Example of a Google search result using “Financial Planning”


Google Maps

Then along came Google Maps, an application you’re also probably very familiar with if you’ve ever had to get directions to go somewhere. The ever familiar maps.google.com. Type in a search term and it visually presents little points on a map that it thinks matches your search term. However, going to www.google.com vs maps.google.com presents two very distinct experiences where one provides location context around the result.

Google maps search result

An example of a Google Maps search using “financial planning”


Google Pages

In November of 2011, Google launched Google Pages to help connect the online world with “businesses, organizations and other things that you care about” (Our history in depth, Google.com). When Google pages was first released, it attempted to match the same user experience as that of other social media technologies like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIN. It gave organizations the capability to provide their audience and publish quick and short updates such as promotions, events, etc. It also provided them with the ability to corporately brand and personalize the Google page and provide visitors with a user experience that replicated the brand as well as key pieces of information such as their website, address and other contact information (kind of like a business card).

Macy Google+ page

Example of a Google+ Page


Google My Business

Google My Business is effectively the combination of all 3 of these features where the setup process begins with creating a Google Page for your organization, company or practice. By setting up your Google Page and as a result, your listing, you provide Google with key pieces of your company information that Google can leverage when it presents your company via the three aforementioned components. Namely, Google Search, Maps and Pages. Individuals using Google to find you and your business will receive a fully integrated experience no matter what device they are using and no matter from where they are performing the search query. At Veriday, we have ourselves set up in Google My Business. We have a Google Page and when performing a search for our business on Google Maps and Google Search, you receive a more useful and consistent experience.

As you will notice in the example, Veriday’s Google+ page has clear branding as well as detailed information about their address, contact information and hours of operation all within the banner at the top of the page. Below that, are the updates, articles and useful things they share with their audience to encourage additional engagement. In the Google search result, it provides a dedicated area on the right hand side showing the map, logo and contact information using the information and other assets collected when setting up the Google+ page. On the mobile experience, it provides a more targeted experience to the user and assumes that because you are on mobile, you are either looking for location and/or contact details to call. Each of these user experiences are automatically published in all three mediums by simply creating a single profile using Google My Business.


Are you using Google My Business? Have you tried setting up a Google+ page? Share your experience by commenting below!!

Leveraging Liferay’s Scripting Console


Recently, we were faced with a challenge. We were trying to add a new page to Liferay with a specific name friendly URL but when we went to add the page we saw an error indicating the URL was already in use.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 9.36.41 AM

This particular site has hundreds of pages and the friendly URL didn’t appear to match any existing pages. We spent a few minutes clicking through trying to locate the conflicting page without any luck. We followed the link lead to a PDF on the site but the page name used to configure it still wasn’t obvious. We needed a better approach to solve this.

Enter Liferay’s scripting console.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 9.39.04 AMIn version 6.0, Liferay added a scripting console to the Server Administration section of the control panel. This is a powerful tool that we frequently use during development, debugging and prototyping.  This was the perfect place to run a quick query to figure this out.

We wrote a simple groovy script. Given a friendly URL this script will return the associated page name.

import com.liferay.portal.service.LayoutLocalServiceUtil

friendlyURL = ‘/third-quarter-report’

groupId = 10182

boolean privateLayout = false;

layout1 =

LayoutLocalServiceUtil.getFriendlyURLLayout(groupId, privateLayout, friendlyURL)

out.println(layout1.getFriendlyURL() + ‘ : ‘ + layout1.getName());

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 9.58.33 AM

We ran the script, identified the conflicting page and worked with the marketing team to resolve the conflict.

Liferay’s scripting console has uses beyond simple queries. We also use it for:

  • Bulk user maintenance
  • Automating setup and configuration steps such as creating pages, users and roles
  • During development to quickly test Liferay APIs and verify results
  • As a rapid prototyping tool during development
  • Scripting repetitive operations and maintenance tasks
  • More complex queries to identify and resolve issues

The scripting console is a powerful feature within Liferay and shouldn’t be overlooked. For more information refer to:

Was this information useful? Share your comments below. 

6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 5: Failing to consider your URL structure

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Failing to consider your URL structure is mistake #5 in Hubspot’s 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website Re(Design).

One of the most important search engine optimization techniques is using SEO-friendly URL structures to help the indexation of your website.  A good domain name is simple and short so that visitors can easily remember it. Search engines, like users, prefer URLs that make it easy to understand what your page content is all about.

From an SEO point of view, a site’s URL structure should be:

  • Straightforward: URLs with duplicate content should have recognized URLs specified for them; there should be no confusing redirects on the site. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Meaningful: URL names should have keywords in them. Avoid numbers and punctuation marks. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)
  • Emphasis on the right URLs: SEO-wise, not all URLs on a site are of equal importance as a rule. Some even should be concealed from the search engines. Ensure the pages that should be accessible to search engines are open. (Search Engine Journal, 2014)

Separate words in your URL with a hyphen, or an underscore?

Search engines treat hyphens and underscores differently from one another. Google has made it clear that you should always use a hyphen to separate words in your URLs. Google treats a hyphen as a word separator, but treats an underscore as a word joiner. So, for example tips_for_advisors (using underscores) would be understood as tipsforadvisors. Using tips-for-advisors (hyphens) search engines can  identify the different words and return them in various combinations (ex. tips for advisors, tips, advisors) Using hyphens is better for SEO, making it easier for search engines to identify what your page is about.

Keep your URLs short and simple. Your user prefers it, and so does search engines. When it comes to choosing a good URL – if it’s good for users, it will generally be good for search engines.

Question: What is the biggest challenge you face when it comes to your SEO strategy? Share with us below.


Backbone.js Patterns: User notification system


At Veriday, we have been using Backbone.js to build rich web applications for a few years now. During this period we developed different patterns to make us more efficient building apps using Backbone.js as well as to enforce certain user experience standards across our applications. In this post, we will talk about our “BaseModel” and how we use it to enforce the same user experience when it comes to messages to the end user.

A traditional Backbone.js model will usually extend Backbone.Model:

Person = Backbone.Model.extend({
        initialize: function(){
            alert("Welcome to this world");

The above is fine for learning and experimenting with Backbone.js, however, as your team and codebase grows you need to have a different pattern for all your application’s models.

var User = BaseModel.extend({
     defaults: {
     initialize: function() {
         BaseModel.prototype.initialize.apply(this, arguments);

In our applications, we have a model called BaseModel.js which serves exactly this purpose. When we declare a new model we extend our BaseModel. The above example shows how a “User” model is declared in Veriday’s JavaScript applications. Our BaseModel.js would extend the default Backbone.Model.

First, why should you care about this?

Before we elaborate on this, compare today’s web applications with the ones in the early 2000s. There is definitely richer experiences today across a variety of web applications. It wasn’t like that before, and the mere fact that you could do something online like pay your bills was revolutionary enough. Since the launch of Gmail on April 1st 2004, we started to see richer experiences on the web, we started seeing JavaScript toolkits and full blown frameworks to help us develop these rich experiences. This eventually led to the current JavaScript MVC style frameworks we see today from Backbone.js,  Angular.js, Ember.js, Knockout.js and many more. As JavaScript becomes more of a “first-class” citizen on the web you will start to have the need for implementing common design patterns that have, until recently, been the case only on the back-end. The front-end was an thought that got slapped on later and glued together through a myriad of tricks. So, here’s two reasons why you should care:

  1. Eventually the default Backbone.Model will no longer satisfy your needs and you will need to change it. Modifying the Backbone.js source code is not the right answer for that.
  2. Eventually you might have to introduce new behaviour to all your models. Copying and pasting this new behaviour across all your models is not the right answer for that.

How can we implement subclassing in JS?

Javascript’s inheritance model is prototypical and not class based (like Java). We can still achieve something similar through the pattern we will describe here, and some coding conventions that the team understands and most importantly follow. Even though our BaseModel.js could technically be instantiated, we never do that. The convention is that these Base*.js Models (and we have several of them) should never be instantiated, they just get extended by other instantiable models.

var User = BaseModel.extend({
     defaults: {
     initialize: function() {
         BaseModel.prototype.initialize.apply(this, arguments);

We accomplish this  through the JavaScript prototype. In the case for the “User” above, the Backbone.js initialize method for the model is responsible for calling the parent’s initialize method. This gives us the appearance of subclassing and inheritance in JavaScript. All of our models’ that initialize methods contain the:


This is so we can inherit behaviour from the BaseModel.

var BaseModel = Backbone.Model.extend({
	defaults: {
	initialize: function() {

Another real world advantage of this approach is when we introduced Backbone-Relational into our models.  We only had to modify our BaseModel and extend the RelationalModel instead like this:

var BaseModel = Backbone.RelationalModel.extend({
	defaults: {
	initialize: function() {


How to implement a global notification system in Backbone.js

By global, we mean that each developer should never have to worry about implementing this for their component.  Each component should behave the same way in terms of notifications for success and error messages and finally if/when we ever change how our notification system operates we can control that in one place across the application. This place is the BaseModel.js.


Above is an example of a success message in Digital Agent. Let’s take a look at how this works. In our BaseModel, we attach several listeners to the different Backbone. Events we would like to listen to and take an action on. Today these are:

this.on("error", this.defaultErrorHandler, this);
this.on("invalid", this.defaultValidationErrorHandler, this);
this.on("sync", this.defaultSuccessHandler, this);
this.on("saving", this.defaultPendingHandler, this);
this.on("deleting", this.defaultPendingHandler, this);

If you are familiar with Backbone.js you might be wondering about the saving and deleting events since these are not Backbone.js events. However, because we have our BaseModel in place, we are able to change some of this behaviour. For example, take a look at this snippet from our BaseModel.sync method.

sync: function(method, model, options){

				var xhr = Backbone.sync(method, model, options);
				xhr.method = method;


				if(method == "create" || method == "update"){
					model.trigger('saving', model, xhr, options);

				else if(method == "delete") {
					model.trigger('deleting', model, xhr, options)


				return xhr;

Basically, we overwrite the sync method with our own.  We still call the original Backbone.sync method but now we can do some other things before or after that. In this case, we trigger new events for when Backbone.js is in the process of saving or deleting something. This is more from a user experience perspective so that you can show different messages when models are being saved or deleted. Without this, you will not be able to differentiate between “sync” events which correspond to the model being synced with the server.

this.message = new Message();
this.messageView = new MessageView({
     model: this.message
this.message.on("change:uniqueId", this.messageView.render, this.messageView);

Also, in our BaseModel we make use of our Message view and model. These are responsible for handling messages that are returned by the server, or client side validation, or other error messages. Since we are in BaseModel.js, this.messageView is also available in all sub models for when we have a need to show the user a message.

Let’s look at the defaultSuccessHandler we wired up to the “sync” event above. We check what the method for the AJAX request was, and based on the method we show an appropriate message. Here, you also see that we use a “defaultMessages” object. This object contains some default text, however again, because it is in the BaseModel, another model is able to provide its own messages. Ex. in the BaseModel a successful save would show “Saved”, however, as you can see in the notification image above our Page model, it can provide its own message with more context around the action i.e. a page was saved.

defaultSuccessHandler: function(model, resp, options){
	//don't show a success message if we were just fetching from the server
	if(options.xhr.method == 'read'){
	else if(options.xhr.method == 'create' || options.xhr.method == 'update') {
			type: 'success',
			text: this.defaultMessages.success
	else if(options.xhr.method == 'delete') {
			type: 'success',
			text: this.defaultMessages.deleteSuccess

This works nicely with Backbone js validation as well since by default validation errors will trigger an “invalid” event which we will also listen to. Now we can show validation as well as errors returned from the back-end in the same way throughout the application.

This was a sneak peek into one of our favourite Backbone.js patterns at Veriday. To wrap this post up:

  1. Always extend your own base model instead of the Backbone.Model. Thank us when your code base crosses  30,000 lines of Javascript and you need to make a big change to all your models.
  2. If you need to overwrite Backbone.js behaviour, always do that in your BaseModel, BaseCollection, or BaseView.

Found this blog post useful? Leave us a note below!

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and why do I need it?


These days, it is tough getting noticed on the web.   As most people have discovered, it is not enough to just have a website or web presence. People are often questioning why they are not receiving traffic, why they are not being found online or why their website is showing up on page 15 of Google search results. It all boils down to Search Engine Optimization (SEO)…

So, just what is this Search Engine Optimization (SEO) thing and what does it do? Simply put, SEO is all of the things you do to your website to help it rank higher in search engines. It is the practice of maximizing the number of visitors to your website by obtaining a high-ranking placement in search engine results. The ultimate goal for SEO would be to get to page one, and ideally to position one.

To put this into context, just think about the way you search the Internet. When you are looking for information on a specific topic, one of your first instincts is to go to Google because it is the fastest and easiest way. Once you’ve inputted your search terms, you’re likely to search through the links on the first or second page of results because they are the most relevant to what you are looking for. This is the point of Search Engine Optimization, to try and get your site ranked as highly as possible on search engines. As a general rule of thumb, websites that appear higher in the search results page will receive more traffic, and in return, more business.

A common practice for Internet users is to click a website on the 1st or 2nd page of search results. Hubspot reports that 75% of people do not scroll beyond the first page of Google. Why build a website that no one can find? For this reason, it is important to constantly keep SEO in mind when creating a website.

So, how does SEO work? SEO works by finding certain keyword phrases or conversational questions that your target audience enters in search engines and by matching those phrases with the products or services you offer on your website. seoWorks has outlined some of the key elements that effect the SEO of your website:

On your website

  • Targeting keywords that your target audience might search
  • Matching relevant content to target these keywords
  • Constantly creating new content to target these keywords
  • Website infrastructure and architecture

Off your website

  • Developing on-theme incoming links
  • Having a relevant and active social media presence
  • Creating citations about you
  • At least half of your SEO results are influenced by elements outside of your control

One of the best SEO strategies is considered to be high quality, relevant and informative content with researched keywords naturally inserted into the text. Google rewards websites that are continuously posting new, relevant and interesting content.

Gaining top rankings can take a very long time. Just because you follow all of the best practices for SEO, does not mean you will be found on the first couple of pages. You cannot set up optimization strategies for your website once and leave it untouched. SEO is a continuous process that requires constant and well-maintained efforts. We’ve only just scratched the surface here.

Looking to (re)design your website with SEO in mind? Learn about the 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid during your next re(design).

Are you interested in learning more about the complex world of SEO? If so, leave us a comment below and we’ll be sure to address your questions in our upcoming articles.

6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design Part 4: Failing to identify (and include) commonly searched keywords

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Failing to identify (and include) commonly searched keywords is mistake #4 in Hubspot’s 6 SEO Pitfalls to Avoid During Your Next Website (Re)Design.

Keyword research is one of the most important and valuable parts of doing SEO right. Keyword research is about identifying which keywords and phrases are being used, in search engines, by your potential customers to find the products/and or services that you are providing on your website. It is the most important step to drive targeted traffic to your site, and it will help you decipher what topics you should write about and what phrases you should use while writing. If done correctly, it provides a road a road map for building your website and developing content.

Hubspot has provided an exercise for how to establish a keyword list:

  1. Make a list of important topics based on what you know about your business and what topics you’d ideally like to rank for.
  2. Fill in those topic buckets with keywords and phrases that you think are important for your website to rank for in search engine results.
  3. Check to make sure you have a mix of short and long tail keywords in each bucket (great for long term goals and short term wins)
  4. Research related search terms (scroll to the bottom of Google’s results and you’ll notice some suggestions for searches related to your original search)

After completing these steps, you will have a list of keywords and phrases that will help you focus on the right content and topics for your website. Building your business website around your keyword research can provide leverage from which you can further build your SEO strategy to continuously improve your search engine ranking.

In short, researching commonly searched keywords before your website design is a crucial first step in the process for the following reasons:

  • Keyword research reveals your target market
  • Keyword research informs your content
  • Keyword research will inform how you write your content

Do you have your own methods and tricks to identifying your website’s keywords? We’d love to hear about them. Share your tips and tricks below or drop us a line if you have any questions about your next website project.