Why Your Website MUST have an SSL Certificate (and What It Is)

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Google has made an update that may affect the way people view websites and ultimately advisor websites when viewed on a Google Chrome browser. In July of 2018, with the release of Chrome 68, Google will begin displaying “not secure” warnings on any page that is from HTTP and contains any form submission options that allows for the transfer of potentially sensitive information such as first name, last name, email, phone number, login info, etc.

Example of a secure site within Google Chrome:

 

 

Example of an insecure site within Google Chrome:

 

 

This warning is based the fact that data on these types of pages can be sending information through an unencrypted connection.

To avoid this warning and serve up an encrypted page requires the data to be exchanged on HTTPS, the secure version of HTTP.  It offers additional protection in blocking someone from trying to view that traffic and is commonly referred to as a “Person in the Middle attack”.

Without this protection, a hacker could ultimately see what’s on an advisor’s screen, which in many cases could be sensitive or confidential information.

What is an SSL Certificate?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates have been available for over twenty years. Having an SSL certificate ensures that sensitive data of your website’s visitors will be transferred over a secure network.

Despite the importance of having an SSL certificate, many organizations or business owners have delayed the adoption due to the price of the certificates and the complexity of implementation. Now, with this new update on Google Chrome, website owners simply can’t afford to not have an SSL Certificate.

Why Your Website MUST have an SSL Certificate

Increasing site security

SSL certificates will protect the sensitive data transmitted from and to your website. This will encrypt the connection and help protect your visitors when they visit your website.

 

 

 

 

Credibility and Trust for Your Customers

A significant benefit of SSL certificates is the fact that they can help you gain trust with your visitors. How many times have you clicked on a website but got a warning and still proceeded to the website? You probably closed the website, just to be on the safe side. Alternatively, you proceeded with caution and would never fill out any form or take any action. You wouldn’t want your visitors to be rethinking if your website is safe. With an SSL certificate, your website will be displayed with a security padlock in the address bar of the browser. If your website doesn’t have a certificate, some browsers may label it as “unsafe.”

SEO Advantages

Another benefit of having an SSL certificate in place is improvement in SEO rankings your website will get. Google gives websites with encrypted connections a slight boost in ranking. That boost isn’t substantial but would definitely give an advantage over competitors who don’t have certificates.

So now what? How do you go about obtaining an SSL certificate?

The most common way to get an SSL certificate is to check if your current hosting provider offers SSL certificates. We are committed to updating you on important information related to your website performance. Contact our service team to get your SSL certificate in place for your website.

5 Reasons Why Your Enterprise Needs an Archiving Tool

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As a business grows it will create more data – data that needs to be meticulously managed and monitored in order for it be utilized properly. Keeping tabs on this data can prove problematic for businesses that never put an archiving system in place. Effective record management becomes a vital process to ensure the protection of the organization and the advisors. Archiving is the process by which inactive information, in any format, is securely stored for long periods of time.

In addition to archiving traditional documents, it is important to archive all content, this includes website pages, blog posts, email newsletters. While you can attempt to archive data manually, this would take up a lot of resources opens up to a risk of error, cannot accurately track changes, and will create confusion in the case of a change in staff.

Here are 5 reasons why your financial enterprise needs an automated archiving tool:

1.Prevent Data Loss

Information that hasn’t been archived in a central and secure location could be lost forever. There is a chance that an employee accidentally deletes or misplaces a file. While in some cases data recovery experts might be able to retrieve this information, this takes time, cost a lot and is rarely 100% accurate. Using an archiving tool allows employees to retrieve the backed-up information independently without having to rely on third parties.

2. Legal Requirements

Archiving is important for legal reasons too. Many enterprises accidentally delete data that they legally should be keeping. An effective archiving system will ensure company- and industry-specific retention schedules are adhered to, regardless of each employee’s knowledge of the retention schedules. Data protection authorities enforce more severe penalties on businesses so employees should be made aware that ignoring these policies could lead to hefty fines or even prison sentences in some cases.

3. Increase Security

In a time when archiving cyber-attacks and data breaches are becoming more frequent, archiving is important for security reasons. By securely archiving documents, businesses can keep track of information and increase protection from unauthorized third parties. Even the most cautious of businesses are now targeted by very adept hackers. Paper records in open circulation can easily be taken from crowded offices or stolen by bitter employees. A reliable offsite archiving system will reduce this risk.

4. Reduce Risks of Errors

Conducting an audit requires a thorough examination of the inner workings and fine details of your business. With the right archiving tool, you can improve the accessibility of data and mitigate the risk of human error.

5. Saves Time

Traditional auditing is very time-consuming, requiring greater resources from larger organizations. With the right archiving tool, the auditor can access the historical content more effectively. The right tool will also include features like the visual editor and powerful filters to allow auditors to work much faster.

Archiving is vital for business continuity and ensuring the highest level of performance in a competitive marketplace, attempting to establish a manual audit process would be too resource intensive and risks exposure. In the instance of financial advisor marketing, this would be impossible to archive the content of every page, of every advisor. Digital Agent offers an archiving tool, Digital Archiving, that allows the enterprise to automatically archive advisors website content. There are a host of features such as high-powered search, visual website review, and external content archiving that increase audit efficiency. Digital Archiving gives enterprises greater peace of mind by auditing your advisors’ online presence.

 

4 Reasons Why Advisors Need Their Own Online Presence

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Do the financial advisors of your organization have their own website? When a prospect or client comes to your organization’s website and wants to find an advisor, is it an easy painless process to search for an advisor and then view their website? If you answered no to these questions, it might be worth thinking about how this is holding back the success of your advisors and ultimately your enterprise brand. These four reasons go through why advisors need their own online presence and how stopping them from having one is hurting their business.

1.  Traditional Marketing Just Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

Years ago before we had as many digital marketing channels as we do now, financial advisors would use the traditional methods of marketing such as networking, advertising in magazines, newspapers or on bus shelters and on the radio. In today’s digital world those methods are alone are not going to allow advisors to be competitive among the thousands of other advisors out there competing for new business. It’s very easy to have a website today so when a business owner doesn’t have one it can hurt them.

2.  A Strong Way to Build Trust and Credibility

Having an online presence through social media, a website, email, etc. or proven ways that help advisors show empathy and expertise. An empathetic financial advisor is one who truly listens to clients, ensuring they feel understood and who demonstrate that they care. By having an online presence on social media and a website, prospects and clients gain insight into your expertise, which helps build credibility.

3.  Limiting in Their Ability to Reach More People

By building that trust and credibility online, financial advisors can reach more people and build a bigger audience. They can more easily develop relationships with existing clients and create new ones with prospects. Only by using traditional methods,  the number of people you can reach is far less. Also, leveraging online methods, advisors can track and monitor their efforts so they know exactly which tasks are worth spending time.

4.  It Gives Them the Ability to Deliver a Personalized Experience

It’s no secret that people like receiving communication from people rather than brands. When you think of your inbox, do you pay more attention to the emails that come from people or the emails that come from brands? It’s likely that you pay closer attention and read the emails from people, and even more from people that you trust and like. By having a website, advisors can deliver a personalized experience to the community they serve. If there is a specific audience that the advisor is targeting, creating content that will resonate with that audience will be beneficial and helpful. Additionally, through email marketing, advisors can segment lists and sent different content to different lists. For example, the new parents are probably more interested about RESPs and leveraging RRSPs than say an older couple who is thinking about retiring soon and making sure their kids are taken care of. The ability to personalize online has drastically improved the ability to generate leads and ultimately new business.

In conclusion, if the advisors of your organization do not have their own website, think about why. Is it because as an organization you want to maintain a certain level of control? If yes, there are tools and platforms available today that make that possible, while still allowing advisors to have an online presence. Ultimately, as enterprise marketers we want to support advisors so they can grow their business. By having an online presence such as a website, financial advisors are able to turn prospects into clients.

How to Minimize Your Website Bounce Rate

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The definition of bounce rate is:

“the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.”

Ideally, your website’s bounce rate should be somewhere between 20% and 35%. However, some businesses can reduce that number below 20% with great difficulty. If your website bounce rate approaches 50%, you are in serious trouble and need to update your site immediately to lower that number.

Does your website have a high bounce rate? You may be attracting plenty of traffic, but does your site convert those visitors into customers? Having high traffic doesn’t mean anything if it is not generating business. What can you do to minimize your bounce rate and win more business from your digital properties?

Step 1: Understand Your Visitors

Why are people visiting your website? To reduce your bounce rate, you will need a solid understanding of what is drawing visitors to your site. Not every visitor will be part of your ideal audience, but uncovering the patterns and details of their journey to your website will provide insights to minimize bounce rate.

So what do you need to understand about your visitors?

Organic Search

Which organic search terms are bringing visitors to your website? You can use Google Analytics to discover your most active keywords. Consider whether you actively try to leverage those keywords, what someone searching for that keyword would be looking for, and whether your website can solve those problems.

Once you understand how (and why) a web searcher might end up on your website, you can optimize your pages and content to increase conversions to minimize bounce rate.

Popular Content

What pages and content drive the most traffic to your website? Once you identify those pages, you can see what pages and topics are drawing people towards your site. Do those pages solve the problems that visitors may be experiencing? Are your most popular pages also your highest converting pages? These questions are important to ask so you can understand which pages of our website are most useful for their intended purpose.

Best Pages

Which pages on your website have the highest conversion rates? Do those pages have a low bounce rate? Are these pages your most popular? Often, your most popular pages will not necessarily be among the highest converting. What type of pages do your customers visit before making a purchase?

Understanding the audience, their interests and how your website caters to those interests, you will know what prospective customers are looking for and how your business can meet their needs. The next step involves using that knowledge to build a relationship with visitors, eventually turning them into customers.

Step 2: Build Email Relationships

The second thing you should do to minimize your bounce rate is getting visitors to sign-up for email newsletters. Most visitors will only come to your website one time, never visiting again. In fact, it takes six to eight touchpoints to convert someone from a passive visitor to a qualified lead. Email newsletters allow brands to remain in contact with visitors to their website, providing more touchpoints in which you can thrill those visitors.

So how can you build an email list to stay in touch with visitors to your site? By placing an eye-popping call-to-action that will motivate a sign-up.To learn more about creating killer CTA’s, check out our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action.

Once you have built your email list, you can re-engage with visitors through email, sharing content and information with them, nurturing the relationship until they are ready to convert. By nurturing the customer relationship, you can keep in contact with prospects until they are prepared to make a purchase.

Step 3: Re-Engage

If people don’t want to sign-up for your email list, and they do not provide any contact information, what can you do?  Well, at this point, you only have two options, both of which involve attempting to re-engage after their visit.

Use Social Media

One way to re-engage with your customers is through social media. Use targeted ads placed on social media to promote your list building efforts. Instead of sending people who click your ad to content, send them to a landing page where they can sign-up for your email. Remarketing using social media ads is a useful tactic because the platforms allow for extensive targeting, based on a variety of factors. For more information on remarketing using social media, check out HootSuite’s Social Media Advertising Guide.

Website pop-ups

Website pop-ups can be used to discourage people from leaving your site. Onsite remarketing detects user behavior to determine if a visitor is about to “bounce.” If it seems they will bounce, a popup will appear, either directing them to content, they might find interesting or asking them if they want to sign-up for your email list. Exit-intent pop-ups have varying ranges of effectiveness, depending on their purpose, but they have proven to lead to an increase in conversions.

Step 4: Convert Subscribers into Customers

The final step is to convert your subscribers into leads, eventually leading to a purchase decision. Conversion is by far the most difficult step in the entire sales process, but there are several activities that can lead to an increased conversion rate.

Segment Leads

Segmentation of leads is an essential activity for any business, but there are many ways you can do it. One can segment their leads based on:

  • Stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Source of the lead
  • Demographics
  • Conversion events
  • Website behavior

All of these methods of segmenting an audience are valid. However, the method you choose should correlate to your business goals. For more information on segmenting leads, check out this informational guide on segmenting leads.

Test and Refine

To boost conversions, you need to keep an eye on your email reports. By measuring the engagement on your email newsletters, you can determine whether changes lead to better conversion rates.

Once you begin measuring your email engagement, A/B testing can begin. A/B is an effective method of determining which strategies yield the greatest results. The best part about A/B testing is that even a marketing newbie can use it to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of various strategies.  

Create Effective Copy

Writing copy that converts leads into customers is a difficult undertaking, a blend of art and science that can take years to master. Your copy should be a mix of value adding content that educates the reader and promotional copy. These 7 Simple Tips for Writing Effective Content for Your Website should help you write compelling copy.

There you have it, by following these four steps, you can minimize your bounce rate and increase your customer engagement. Do these steps work for you? Do you have any other strategies for increasing engagement on your website? How does your business turn visitors into customers? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

4 Steps That Will Minimize Your Website’s Bounce Rate

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The definition of bounce rate is:

“the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.”

Ideally, your website’s bounce rate should be somewhere between 20% and 35%. However, some businesses can reduce that number below 20% with great difficulty. If your website bounce rate approaches 50%, you are in serious trouble and need to update your site immediately to lower that number.

Does your website have a high bounce rate? You may be attracting plenty of traffic, but does your website convert those visitors into customers? Having high traffic doesn’t mean anything if it is not generating business. What can you do to minimize your bounce rate and win more business from your digital properties?

Step 1: Understand Your Visitors

Why are people visiting your website? To reduce your bounce rate, you will need a solid understanding of what is drawing visitors to your site. Not every visitor will be part of your ideal audience, but uncovering the patterns and details of their journey to your website will provide insights to minimize bounce rate.

So what do you need to understand about your visitors?

Organic Search

Which organic search terms are bringing visitors to your website? You can use Google Analytics to discover your most active keywords. Consider whether you actively try to leverage those keywords, what someone searching for that keyword would be looking for, and whether your website can solve those problems.

Once you understand how (and why) a web searcher might end up on your website, you can optimize your pages and content to increase conversions to minimize bounce rate.

Popular Content

What pages and content drive the most traffic to your website? Once you identify those pages, you can see what pages and topics are drawing people towards your site. Do those pages solve the problems that visitors may be experiencing? Are your most popular pages also your highest converting pages? These questions are important to ask so you can understand which pages of our website are most useful for their intended purpose.

Best Pages

Which pages on your website have the highest conversion rates? Do those pages have a low bounce rate? Are these pages your most popular? Often, your most popular pages will not necessarily be among the highest converting. What type of pages do your customers visit before making a purchase?

Understanding the audience, their interests and how your website caters to those interests, you will know what prospective customers are looking for and how your business can meet their needs. The next step involves using that knowledge to build a relationship with visitors, eventually turning them into customers.

Step 2: Build Email Relationship

The second thing you should do to minimize your bounce rate is getting visitors to sign-up for email newsletters. Most visitors will only come to your website one time, never visiting again. In fact, it takes six to eight touchpoints to convert someone from a passive visitor to a lead. Email newsletters allow brands to remain in contact with visitors to their website, providing more touchpoints in which you can thrill those visitors.

So how can you build an email list to stay in touch with visitors to your site? By placing an eye-popping call-to-action that will motivate a sign-up.To learn more about creating killer CTA’s, check out our article: 6 Tips for Creating Better Calls-to-Action.

Once you have built your email list, you can re-engage with visitors through email, sharing content and information with them, nurturing the relationship until they are ready to convert. By nurturing the customer relationship, you can keep in contact with prospects until they are ready to make a purchase.

Step 3: Re-engage

If people don’t want to sign-up for your email list, and they do not provide any contact information, what can you do?  Well, at this point, you only have two options, both of which involve attempting to re-engage after their visit.

Use Social Media

One way to re-engage with your customers is through social media. Use targeted ads placed on social media to promote your list building efforts. Instead of sending people who click your ad to content, send them to a landing page where they can sign-up for your email. Remarketing using social media ads is an effective tactic because the platforms allow for extensive targeting, based on a number of factors. For more information on remarketing using social media, check out HootSuite’s Social Media Advertising Guide.

Website pop-ups

Website pop-ups can be used to discourage people from leaving your site. Onsite remarketing detects user behavior to determine if a visitor is about to “bounce.” If it seems they will bounce, a popup will appear, either directing them to content they might find interesting or asking if they want to sign-up for your email list. Exit-intent pop-ups have varying ranges of effectiveness, depending on their purpose, but they have proven to lead to an increase in conversions.

Step 4: Convert Subscribers into Customers

The final step is to convert your subscribers into leads, eventually leading to a purchase decision. Conversion is by far the most difficult step in the entire sales process, but there are several activities that can lead to an increased conversion rate.

Segment Leads

Segmentation of leads is an essential activity for any business, but there are many ways you can do it. One can segment their leads based on:

  • Stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Source of the lead
  • Demographics
  • Conversion events
  • Website behavior

All of these methods of segmenting an audience are valid. However, the method you choose should correlate to your business goals. For more information on segmenting leads, check out this Hubspot published informational guide on segmenting leads.

Test and Refine

To boost conversions, you need to keep an eye on your email reports. By measuring the engagement on your email newsletters, you can determine whether changes lead to better conversion rates.

Once you begin measuring your email engagement, A/B testing can begin. A/B is an effective method of determining which strategies yield the greatest results. However, the best part about A/B testing is that even a marketing newbie can use it to determine the efficacy and effectiveness of various strategies.  

Create Effective Copy

Writing copy that converts leads into customers is a difficult undertaking, a blend of art and science that can take years to master. Your copy should be a mix of value adding content that educates the reader and promotional copy. These 7 Simple Tips for Writing Effective Content for Your Website should help you write compelling copy.

There you have it, by following these four steps, you can minimize your bounce rate and increase your customer engagement. Do these steps work for you? Do you have any other strategies for increasing engagement on your website? How does your business turn visitors into customers? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ.

The 3 Things Financial Organizations Need to Know About Cybersecurity

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Nearly every organization has adapted to life in the digital world. With plenty of connected devices, and the number of access points into organizations is growing every year, it’s no coincidence that there is an increasing number of high-profile cyberattacks on governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations. From the alleged hacking of the 2016 U.S. election, the WannaCry ransomware, the Ukraine Petya attack (that shut down their power grid) to other lower-profile attacks, hundreds of millions of dollars of damage has already impacted organizations around the world. As a result, cybersecurity is at the front of mind for many organizations. 

Survey existing technology to find exploitable weaknesses.

Keeping software up-to-date is an essential activity to maintain your organization’s cybersecurity. The WannaCry ransomware attack, for example, exploited vulnerabilities in software that had not recently received an update.

There is a major reason why a software company might issue an update. It’s done to fix bugs and patch security risks for the end user. Organizations should ensure that all software is running on the newest version. If your RIA (or organization in general) does not maintain updated software, they run the risk of being targeted for ransomware, exposing your client’s data, or losing control of your digital platforms (website, CMS, portal, etc.).

The costs associated with a data breach (or other forms of cyberattacks) are very high and are not only monetary. A successful cyberattack on your business will cost much more than it would to implement the proper solutions and mitigate the effects of a cyberattack ahead of time. Your reputation will be hurt if you allow hackers access to sensitive data; people will lose confidence in you. Avoid these repercussions by keeping your software up to date.

Create policies to minimize human exploitation points.

Every business needs policies concerning the use of technology. Without adequate rules in place, your business is at risk of exploitation through human mistakes. Humans are often the weakest point of defence in any system. as they have traits that can be taken advantage of by malicious actors.

The definition of social engineering is:

“an attack vector that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves tricking people into breaking normal security procedures.”

There are several common methods of social engineering, from phishing (or spear-phishing) to leaving infected USBs around for employees to find use. There are countless ways to exploit the human weaknesses of your cyber-defence. Employees need to be aware of the risks and how to mitigate them.

There needs to be multiple systems in place to protect the business from threats originating from social media.Social media is an emerging platform for phishing attacks, viruses that affect social media feeds, and malicious advertisements disguised as sponsored posts. Make your employees aware of the risks associated with social media and act accordingly to protect themselves and your organizational data.

To reduce your organization’s chance of falling victim to social engineering, you need to have policies for the use of technology in place. Those policies should be enforceable and include actionable steps. The rules need to be unambiguous. They need to explicitly outline what is and isn’t allowed regarding technology, to reduce confusion among your employees.

Empower and reward employees.

To ensure you are followings best-practices regarding cybersecurity, you will need to train your staff to identify and avoid situations that put the organization at risk. Rules and technology policies mean nothing if employees are not aware of them (and following them). By training your team to follow the rules and spot vulnerabilities, your systems will be more secure.

In addition to training all staff to find and avoid security vulnerabilities, you should empower and reward them for finding potential weaknesses in your organization’s defence. By rewarding your employees (either with a cash “bounty” program, or another method), they will feel like a critical part of the organization’s security efforts. Cybersecurity is not solely the concern of IT departments.

How can you ensure that the training and reward system works? By testing and drilling staff to ensure they are following the rules. Testing your team can involve test phishing emails to see whether employees can spot a malicious email. It can include leaving a USB at their desk to see if they use it. There are many ways IT professionals can check to see if non-tech employees are following the required procedures. Let them get creative in designing their tests, as real-life malicious actors almost always act in creative ways that are hard to predict.

Takeaways

The main vulnerability when it comes to a cyberattack is not a piece of technology. The main weakness of any system is people. People can fall victim to social engineering. Attackers can trick your employees into giving up confidential information that could put your business at risk, so be diligent online. Human actions can expose even the most secure digital properties to severe threats.

The three steps explored above will help any organization improve the strength of their cybersecurity. It’s important to be aware of potential threats because once they hit, it may be too late.

How does your business handle the threat of cyberattacks? Do you have a policy in place governing the use of technology in your business? Let us know on Twitter @VeridayHQ or follow us on LinkedIn. In conclusion, cybersecurity is extremely important to businesses. 

Advisors: Why just having a Website isn’t enough

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As a Financial Advisor, you’ve taken those first steps to start building an online presence and that’s a great start.  But, with so many other Financial Advisors taking on the digital world, having a website simply just isn’t enough anymore.

Think of it this way: If you were to open a retail store, would you expect that just because you opened a store, people will flock to it, and you will experience instant success? Of course not. You have to work on building your inventory, increasing your visibility, and marketing and advertising it.

Similarly, just because you have a website, doesn’t mean that clients and prospects know about it or can find you. Just like opening your own retail store, you need to continuously build your websites inventory (content), spread awareness and visibility (SEO), and market and advertise it. The more active you are digitally, the stronger your website (and your business) will be.

As a Financial Advisor: you can’t assume that because you have a website, people know about it.

Constantly updating your website creates 2 key benefits:

  1. Your visitors are happier and more engaged

Having new and fresh content will not only engage your current audience, but it will motivate them to keep coming back. Continuously updated content will ensure that you have repeat visitors and subscribers (if you have an opt-in option for visitors who enjoy your content). Also, if they are engaged and happy, the chances of them sharing your website with others greatly increases, which in return could increase your websites total visibility (and hopefully client base).

As a Financial Advisor, the financial services industry is continuously changing – from new policies and regulations to changes in season. If your content and information is out-dated, your audience will get little value out of it, which could effect the perception of your brand and practice. Frequently updating and adding content, especially content that is aimed to solve your prospect and client challenges, can help you build credibility and trust with your visitors, while increasing your digital visibility.

  1. Search engines LOVE dynamic content

When content, on your website, is continuously added and updated, that means that your website is constantly changing – it’s dynamic. When search engine crawlers come to your website to audit if anything has been updated or added, they report their findings back to Google to determine your ranking on their search engine. By updating your website, a crawler’s report back would be something along the lines of “Yes, this is an important website because it’s frequently updated with fresh, useful and good quality content.”

So, why should you care? This means that Google will send crawlers to your website more frequently, helping you rank higher for keywords that you may be focusing on to reach your target audience.  As a result, this will help increase your websites visibility and attract more prospects to your website.

As a Financial Advisor, you need to think about different ways you can get found, capture your traffic and keep those who have left your website, coming back. Take a minute and ask yourself:

  • When was the last time I updated my website?
  • When was the last time I wrote a blog for my website?
  • Does my website rank highly at all for words or phrases like “Financial Advisor, Toronto”?
  • What kinds of words or phrases would my target audience be writing in a search engine that could lead them to my website?

It is important to think about these questions as you are building your online presence. Whether you write a new blog, update your information, or add in a new widget, take some time out of your day to update your website. Remember that continuously updating your website will greatly benefit your digital presence in the long run and more easily connect you with your future clients.