Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile

Donna Serdula of LinkedIn-Makeover.com

Today we are featuring an interview with Donna Serdula.

Donna pioneered the concept of LinkedIn Profile optimization and is the author of LinkedIn Optimization for Dummies. Through her website, LinkedIn-Makeover.com, Donna and her team of 40 writers, help thousands of LinkedIn users strategically write their profile in order to engage with their audience and grown their brand.

So if you’re looking for some tips on building or optimizing your LinkedIn profile, listen to the podcast, then if you think there’s a need for some professional help, engage Donna and her team at LinkedIn-Makeover.com.

Enjoy the interview!

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Why Should You Be Creating A LinkedIn Profile?

Typically, something happened in your life that prompts the creation of a LinkedIn page/profile. 

  • Looking for a new job
  • Graduating college
  • Start hearing rumbles of a job going away
  • Started a new business
  • Skipped over for a promotion
  • Press releases featuring you
  • Cold calling
  • You lost a big client
  • Going to a conference

Something has happened and people are now going to be looking at you. LinkedIn provides a way for you to feature information you want presented to those looking for you, your name and your company online.

It is often used as an online resume. But if you put some strategic thought into LinkedIn being your career future, not a digital resume. 

People are searching for you all the time. Resumes are for your professional history, but your LinkedIn profile offers a chance to talk about you along with your company or product.

Common Errors on Your LinkedIn Profile

  • Pay attention to your profile photo – get a professional headshot. No partners, kids, annoying backdrop. Smile. No selfies! Use a resource like headshotcrew.com
  • Background Graphic – Replace the default graphic with something that illustrates your brand, your message or your company. Unsplash.com and linkedin-makeover.com has some great images.
  • LinkedIn Headline – replace the default name/company data with a custom message (120 characters) that’s a “tagline” to capture attention. That headline moves all over LinkedIn with you when you recommend someone, search results, activity and more. A better headline will result in more clicks and views. LinkedIn-Makeover.com has a LinkedIn headline generator to spit out an engaging headline that you can copy and paste into your headline.
  • Contact Information – Make sure your email address, your phone number and other information is visible. Also put it at throughout the profile at the end of the profile, at the end of job information, and just about anywhere else. There is a chance you will get some unwanted calls, but weight that against getting valid prospects or leads.
  • Summary – This is where many people copy/paste their resume. Sit down and carefully craft a 2,000 character story that includes relevant keywords, and is about what makes you different. What are you good at, what do you offer, what do you like to do? This is really a great place to work with professional writers like Donna’s company to make this work for you. Finally, don’t brag, just tell the story where a potential client or hiring manager comes away feeling good about you. Finally, keep this up to date. You never know when that new client, new project or new education will separate you.

Other LinkedIn Tips

  • Regular posting shows you are active and engaged – Even if it’s not making profile changes, sharing relevant articles or your own blog posts show you are here and it’s good content. 
  • Paid vs. Free Accounts – There are advantages to premium accounts, it’s important to just start using LinkedIn. For most people the free version is more than enough, but salespeople, recruiters and others can find larger pools of prospects and candidates.
  • Building Your Following on LinkedIn – There are two types of relationships on LinkedIn. The “connection” is where you’ve invited a person to connect and they say yes. These are 1st degree connections and you can see how everyone is connected to 2nd and 3rd degree. A “follower” is where you can see what is being posted on LinkedIn. If you want to find people you should have a good, relevant sized connection network. A good rule of thumb is to make your online network reflect your offline network. Go back in time and connect with past co-workers, friends, classmates because you never know where opportunities will come from. 
  • Are LinkedIn Groups Dead – LinkedIn groups are absolutely worth joining and utilizing. Group members are added to your network so strategically it makes sense to join groups. Find and join groups that are lined with your interests and industry and it will branch out your reach. And LinkedIn is revising how groups are working and things should be improving. 
  • #Hashtags – Hashtags have sort of replaced groups by grouping messages and posts with a common message or theme into a searchable feed. Put hashtags in your posts and search for hashtags to find information 

Setting Yourself Apart on LinkedIn

To set yourself apart on LinkedIn is looking at the platform in a strategic way. Design your images, your headline and your message in a way that answers “Why am I on LinkedIn?” New job, new clients… vanity? Figure out what success on LinkedIn looks like to you. Then figure out who is the target audience? Hiring managers, potential clients, the press? Then determine what keywords will be searched to find you? Finally, write the profile and headline towards that strategy and use those keywords. 

Have any questions or suggestions on using LinkedIn? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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The “I Need A Website” Scam (and do you accept credit cards?)

The “I Need A Website” Scam (and do you accept credit cards?)

It’s a scam!

itsascamI received an email through my contact form today from “Carl” or “Amos.”

Hello, how are you doing today? My name is Carl Amos, I wanna know if you can handle website design for a new company and also if you do you accept credit cards ?? kindly get back to me… so i can send you the job details.Thanks Amos

Sounds good if you’re a web designer, right? Here’s a tip… it’s a scam.

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Just Like Superman 3

Back a few years ago in December 2016 I received a similar email message, except the website product was gacillia nuts.  They wanted a website, provided very few details at first, and wanted to know if I accepted credit cards.

When you respond that you do indeed accept credit cards, you get some more information. Here’s the email I received:

Thank you for your quick response. I have business which i want to turn into large scale business now it located in IN and the company is based on importing and exporting of Salon Equipment such as Dryer, haircream, Weavon, Hairdressing, Clippers, i need the best of the best layout design for it. Can you handle that for me ?. so i need you to check out this site but i need something more perfect than this if its possible.DEMO_WEBSITE_URL_REMOVED... I have a private consultant that has the text content and logo for the site. the site would only be informational, so i need you to give me an estimate.
1. I want 10pages with the example site i gave you to check excluding videos and blogs.
2. I want only English language
3. I don’t have a domain yet but i want the domain name as DOMAIN_NAME_REMOVED
4. you will be updating the site for me twice in a month.
5. i will be providing the images, logos and content for the site.
6. i want the site up and running before ending of 2 to 3months.
7. My budget is $6,000 to $12,000
8. Give me your personal cell phone number
9. Are you the Owner

office-space-printer-scene-amazonHere’s the flags:

  • Usually an “importer” of products, either hairdryers or gacillia nuts.
  • The scam almost always seems to be 10 pages.
  • Only English language.
  • The sample domain name they send always gets an error that it cannot find the server, even though they say in the email they would like a domain “like XXXXXX.com.”
  • Hint in one of the first emails that they already have a graphic designer or project manager that will need to be paid.

Here’s where it gets weird.

I sent a response back to CarlAmos, asking if I should build a site like this? THIS being a link to a website documenting this exact scam. CarlAmos responded with “Yes, that’s it!” and asked for an estimate. 

If you pursue this little game a little further, the actual scam comes to light. The scammer, CarlAmos in this movie, has an associate who is a project manager, graphic designer, or content developer. CarlAmos will pay you whatever your estimate is, plus a little bit more via the credit card. In turn, you have to write a check to the PM/GD/CD that works for them. They won’t sign a contract, won’t fill out a 1099 as an independent contractor, nothing. Just cut them a check and keep the rest. 

What happens next is how they make their money. You wrote a check to pay their contractor. That check is cashed for real money, not deposited. They will then do a chargeback on the credit card transaction, which withdraws the money from your account, you pay a chargeback fee/fine, and when you try to stop payment on the check (which has a fee associated with it), the check’s already been cashed so they have their money. You’re out the initial payment, the money in the check and the chargeback fee. That might leave a mark…

Luckily I’ve seen this movie before, might have been Superman 3, and knew it was rotten. I’m most likely going to just let this go, and then maybe send CarlAmos this link so they know I’m on to them and they can remove me from the list. 

In the past when I’ve pushed them to get on a call to discuss I’ve gotten a response that they have a hearing impairment and rather than going through a relay service, it’s best to communicate via email or text. That’s B.S., they just don’t want to talk face to face and have the curtain pulled back when you can hide behind email. 

too-good-to-be-trueBut here’s the reason I posted this today… if something seems a little to good to be true, it probably is. I’m a small web design firm in North Dakota. Sure, I’ve done work for companies in New York, San Diego, LA, Boston, Austin and more, but to get a guy from IN (India?) wanting a website built for him, an importer, just triggered a few warning bells.

Take a few moments to qualify your potential client. Get the company name, look everything up, including the content of the email, and see if anything weird pulls up. Sometimes it hurts to walk away from potential business, but in cases like this it’s a good decision.

Have you been sent this scam or something similar? Let me know @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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How and Why To Use WordPress Plugins

How and Why To Use WordPress Plugins

What Are WordPress Plugins?

Plugins are a powerful way to add functionality and uniqueness to your website. They range from Free, to free with premium (Freemium), or a paid model.

Most plugins are created by solo plugin developers, but a few are created by large theme and plugin houses. Because of this, expect a wide variety of support models

Some common front-end uses for plugins include calendars, contact forms, social media displays, content display like videos, image galleries and sound, sliders, and much more

But did you know there were quite a few administrative plugins for things like user management, security, SSL migration, analytics, database management, caching and a ton more.

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What are the benefits?

  • Plugins are easy to install – Search the WordPress plugin repository, or just click “Add New” in the plugins menu, install, activate and configure. The entire process can take as little as two minutes.
  • Big cost savings on custom development or programming – With just a few clicks something that can take days, or even weeks to develop can be added to a site.
  • Plugins are powerful – CDN plugins can add speed to a website. Contact forms can add lead generation to a site. Calendars can increase engagement and make it easy to distribute events. Social media plugins can bring in posts from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media platforms, and can make it easy to share on these networks. All of this functionality would take a much greater amount of time to develop by hand instead of using WordPress plugins.
  • WordPress security – WordPress by itself is fairly secure. If you use a good password, have it installed on a decent host with a good username/password there, and take a few other precautions your site will be protected. However, if you really want to lock down admin access, make secure & frequent backups, or really shore up your security, plugins are a great way to do so.
    • Good backups and great passwords are still the best thing you can do, in my opinion.

But what are the possible issues with WordPress plugins?

  • Malware – There are some plugins that have been developed by some programmers with less-than-positive intentions. Backdooors and even malware programmed right into the software do happen.
  • Must be maintained – As you add plugins to the website it’s important to know maintenance becomes more important. Keeping the plugins, the theme and the WordPress core is valuable to keeping the site secure and running as it should. However, sometimes and update to one plugins and conflict with others, so running backups is very important.
  • Can be exploited – If a plugin is “abandoned,” meaning no longer updated, or even if a plugin is poorly programmed it can open a hole to bad actors. Keep you plugins updated to make sure you are as protected as possible and if a plugin has been abandoned for a significant amount of time, try to find a similar solution, or even  try to find a developer to fix or edit the current plugin.
  • Unused or Deactivated Plugins are Still Vulnerable – Just because you’re not using a plugin, or even if you deactivated it, the code is still vulnerable and could be exploited. Once you stop using a plugin, deactivate it in your Plugin directory, then delete it from the server to avoid potential issues.

Tips on selecting good plugins

  • Research the best plugin options – Google has tons of articles on the “Best WordPress Plugins for …” often with the most current year attached. You don’t want a list from 2012, as things have changed quite a bit in the last six or seven years. See what everyone else is using and what the pros and cons are of using each plugin.
  • Review WordPress Plugin repository Information – Each plugin has a page in the repository.  They will have a 1-5 star rating, when it was last updates, how many times it’s been installed, what version of WordPress it’s been test on, reviews, how to install, and links to support. If any of this information causes concern proceed with caution or find a different solution.
  • Be Prepared to Retreat – Sometimes installing a new plugin causes unforeseen issues with your theme or other installed plugins on the website, so be prepared to deactivate the plugins, or in the event of a catastrophic issue, restore a backup. It’s recommended to install in test environments if possible, or on the live site when the site it’s being used at its peak.
  • Try several plugins – Since most plugins are free, it’s ok to try several until you find one that meets your needs. Just remember to deactivate and delete the ones you aren’t using to keep the site safe.

Plugins are a great way to make WordPress a powerful, secure environment. With just a little bit of care, and some selective processes in finding the best plugin you can make your WordPress as good as it can possibly be.

Have any questions or comments on WordPress plugins? Send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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5 Things You Need To Know About WP 5 – Gutenberg

5 Things You Need To Know About WP 5 – Gutenberg

WordPress 5.0, or Gutenberg, was finally released on December 6, 2018, just a few weeks before the Christmas holiday, and just in time to say it was released in 2018.

The Gutenberg release is a new page builder that is being designed to integrate with WordPress core. Gutenberg will add content blocks and page builder-like functionality to every up-to-date WordPress website. When in use, it will replace TinyMCE as the default content editor. With Gutenberg, content is added in blocks of various types from the WordPress backend.

You can download an the most recent version of WordPress here, or get access to previous versions here, just in case you need to retreat.. 

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5 Things You Need To Know About WordPress 5.0 – Gutenberg

 

  • Blocks : WP5 is based on blocks, or portions of content. Each paragraph of text is a separate block, as well as images, galleries, lists, quotes, audio videos and more.It even makes it easier to embed objects from YouTube, social media accounts, Google Maps, and just about anywhere else. But the biggest advantage to using the new editor is formatting and layout blocks. Now it’s easier to add columns, page breaks, spacers and other elements to the page that traditionally could only be done easily in certain themes live Divi or Elementor.

 

  • The Classic Editor is still a click away, as well as the Edit as HTML editor in case you want to get into the code. While there are other benefits to using the updated editor and code, those who still wish to use the classic WordPress editor can do so simply by clicking the Classic Editor tab on the editor box. Access to the HTML editor is under the three dot menu, or typing Ctrl + Shift + Alt + M (clicking seems much easier!) on your keyboard. I still see benefits to using the HTML editor when embedding content or doing some special formatting work.Just some fair warning. If you’re going to use WordPress long-term and you don’t use themes that allow you to edit in their environment, you will have to learn how to use the new Gutenberg editor as the classic editor will most likely be phased out eventually.

 

  • Plugins and Themes may not be compatible with Gutenberg. Theme editors and plugin developers have been scrambling for months to prepare for WordPress 5.0.Here’s the problem… while the theme and plugins may work individually, there’s a fair chance that code that used to play well with others could not cause unusual conflicts or even critical failures when several plugins are enabled with your theme. It is highly recommended you 1) backup before updating in case you need to retreat, and 2) test in a staging environment to see if there’s anything that could go wrong and fix it there before making the site live. Use this time to maybe replace some “abandoned” plugins and find newer, better alternatives to your current plugins. Or maybe you don’t even need some older plugins as the results may have been incorporated into WordPress or your themes.

 

  • Faster? While I haven’t seen anything online confirming Gutenberg to be faster than WordPress 4.x, I can give you anecdotable evidence that several of the sites I’ve upgraded saw a noticeable increase in speed. Nothing documented, and these sites are fairly small,  but it’s tangible. I still haven’t updated the largest of my client’s sites, as I’m waiting for a few versions of 5.0.x to come in, as well as some incremental updates to the Divi theme before I jump in.

 

  • This IS an upgrade! Many of the recent WordPress updates were small, almost unnoticeable unless you lived in the environment all-day, everyday. But Gutenberg will change the way most people use WordPress for the better, even if the initial change is tough. WordPress 5.x is faster, will be more secure, have more options, be ready for PHP 7.3 and beyond, and enable theme and plugin developers many more options in the coming months and years.

Here’s the short version of what you just read or heard. Prepare for the WordPress 5.0 update by backing everything up and getting a base to return to in case there’s a big problem. This would be a good time to migrate everything to a staging or test environment if you have access to one. Update your themes and plugins to the most recent version to make sure they can work with WP5. Then run the Gutenberg updater in your WordPress dashboard. Cross your fingers and see what worked and what didn’t. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of time looking at the site and making some changes to some things. After testing, make another backup (don’t overwrite the old one!) and migrate back to the live environment, or run the same sequence of updates there. Pray, test and enjoy your updated version of WordPress. As promised in the podcast, here’s some basic information on the Gutenberg editor.

Run in some issues with your WordPress update? Give BeBizzy a call at 701-214-6271 or contact us through bebizzy.com or our social media channels and we’ll see if we can help you out! Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Using Mind Maps To Plan Your Business

Using Mind Maps To Plan Your Business

Mind Maps Make Meetings Better (and more productive)

Every have to take meeting notes?

How about use the meeting as problem solving method? And everyone sits in a room to defend their business silo, but no one wants to talk about the primary issue that needs to be addressed?

Well using mind maps might be the way to draw out the best solutions from the group.

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What is Mind Mapping

  • Way of visually getting ideas you don’t know are in your head or trapped in a team and representing them in an easy to use format of subjects, ideas and sub-ideas.
  • Essientially here’s how it works
    • Start with a main topic or issue, the Subject. Say, SEO for Website
    • Start populating the second level, or Ideas, with possible issues or groupings of drill-down items. In this case. Internal teams, External Resources, Training, Measurement Criteria, Other Items, etc.
    • Then, inside each of these ideas, there are sub-ideas, resource details, questions to ask, action items, etc.
      • All of these can usually be signified in the software with either custom icons like a checkbox, question mark, etc, or with different text colors.
    • Each of the Ideas start a branch of “bubbles” on the mind map, which then branch out again, and even again if necessary. All of this forms an easy to use diagram, which in many cases can be converted to a more traditional outline format if needed. 

Why is Mind Mapping Better Than Plain Old Words?

  • Ever try to add an item in a traditionally list on paper or a white board? Your options are to erase and move items, add it to the bottom and signify it needs to be somewhere else, or draw an impromptu mind map with lines, bubbles and some text anyway.
  • Humans consume visual data quicker and better than plain text. Ever wonder why TV and magazines and of course, the web, have ousted newspapers? Highly visual and easily consumed ideas instead of long, wordy sentences. 
  • Mind Mapping encourages grouping of ideas and expanding on those ideas, whereas simple text can be limited by the format.

How to Mind Map?

  • Start with an idea or subject that is easy to solve. If the subject is too complex, break it down and then build mind maps for an easy to consume part of the mind map, therefore solving the bigger issue by conquering the smaller ones.
  • Use images, hyperlinks, contact information and more to make the document more useful or easy to follow. 
  • Also use different colors for the different Idea branches to make it easy to navigate inside each topic and subtopic.
  • Use short phrases to capture ideas, especially in the brainstorming portion of mind mapping. You can always go back and expand on issues, but capture what you need, and only what you need initially.

Any Pitfalls to Avoid When Mind Mapping?

  • Concentrating on one item too long. Dump ideas and move on, you can sort everything out later.
  • Not having someone leading the mind mapping that knows how to ask for expansion or more creativity. 
  • Capturing vague ideas and not documenting or expanding them.

What Software Can I Use to do Mind Mapping?

  • Mind Meister : Free for up to 3 maps, $5 for personal, $8 for a Pro account and $12.50 for enterprice (all per user, per month)
  • Coggle : Little more bare bones, not the catalog of templates or “flair” but cost : Personal – free, 3 private diagrams, Awesome is $5/month for most of what you will need, and $8 for an “organization” account if more customization needed for teams.
  • Mind Manager : really a virtual whiteboard but it’s by the company I was first exposed to in Mind Mapping, Mindjet. It’s #349 for Windows, $179 for Mac. All have 30-day trials. Full-featured and wonderful software. 

Have any questions or suggestions on going mind mapping? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Shared Email Inboxes – BeBizzy Break Podcast EP: 71

Does your business have a shared inbox?

Most small, and nearly ALL large businesses have generic email inboxes that are logged into by two or more staff members. Sometimes it can get messy when everyone, or in some cases no one, log into the box to handle customer requests, questions, or just to clean it out.

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Why would you need a shared inbox?

Current and potential clients like to have generic email inboxes they can use to contact your company. Addresses like “info@”, “support@”, and “customerservice@” help them reach the right person. But sometimes it’s never just ONE person, but a group that keeps that inbox monitored. And this can sometimes cause collisions of two people working the same issue, or worse, ZERO people working the same issue because they thought it was being handled by someone else.

Ways to set up a shared inbox

  • Manual – An email gets sent to “info@” and several people all see it in their inbox. Someone has to accept that email, read it, respond back to the sender, then file that email in a different folder or use whatever process is mandated by the business to mark it as complete.The problem arises when the inbox is set up incorrectly and not everyone sees it being read so multiple people start working the issue, or everyone sees it and assumes it will be handled by someone else so no one helps the customer.In this case, there needs to be a documented process of who handles it and when. If rep A is gone, rep B works it. If it sits for more than “x” hours then the manager or someone else is specified to handle it. If there are no documented processes you will have breakdowns or cause extra work on certain issues.
  • Forms on the Website – Putting a form on the website does a couple of things. First, you don’t give out actual email addresses but you can still direct subjects selected by the client to a particular email address. This means all “info@,” “questions@,” or whatever goes to an actual person, not a group of people, but the client doesn’t see who gets it. This also allows some flexibility when someone leaves the company, is on vacation, or is just too busy to handle these types of requests.A second benefit of forms is they allow you to format the information being gathered instead of just letting the sender put whatever information they wish into the form. So you can ask for and even require names, email addresses, phone numbers, subjects, and just about anything else you want or need.Finally, many of these forms can be saved to a database AND sent to a person or persons, so in the event email goes down, a person’s address is terminated for whatever reason, or something just isn’t handled right away, you can look at the data and recover this request and fix the issue.The one drawback is this format requires the user to actually go to the website to submit the form instead of just firing off an email from their phone or email application.
  • CRM – Customer Relationship Management platforms are the next step beyond email forms. They are databases or applications that use form or email information to create tickets that can be handled by one or more people. Some potential CRM platforms in a wide variety of functions and price are Hubspot, Zoho and Freshdesk (what I use at BeBizzy).There are so many benefits to this type of system including:
    • Saved threads of communication with the client
    • Formatted questions that require the sender to provide necessary information to solve the issue like invoice numbers, usernames, phone numbers and more.
    • Many have the ability to add an FAQ, support forum, or other intermediary step where the sender can often solve their own problems or the group can solve it before you can.
    • Most CRM platforms are located off the website network, so it doesn’t affect the traffic or performance of the website
    • It provides an auditable trail to see how long it took to respond, how many interactions did it take before resolution, who handles how many tickets, and more.

Bottom Line

Shared inboxes are a great way to handle client request or questions. They allow your company to respond as a group instead of relying on just one person. But it more control is needed, the first step would be to create some forms on the website that send to specific people and save to a database. If the budget exists, or the need is great enough, a CRM is a great way to handle support tickets, general inquiries or other client requests. If the cost looks too big, weigh the option of what does it cost to lose a current or potential customer because something wasn’t handled right away.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

What Are Landing Pages and Why Do I Need One?

Landing Pages

You’ve probably heard of landing pages. You may even HAVE a landing page. But you also might not know why you have it, what it’s doing, or even how to fix it if you’re not seeing results.

On today’s Episode 70 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast we talk with the Landing Page School Podcast host Nicholas Scalice and find out what you might, and might not, know about landing pages.

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First, some tech news

First, two big updates in the last week or so.

WordPress 4.9.8 was launched.  We are getting very close to 5.0, which will include the Gutenberg update to WordPress. Very anticipated version which will bring on a visual editor and promises to change the WP landscape for the better. That remains to be seen with older websites, themes, etc. But the 4.9.8 update does have the “Try Gutenberg” callout. It’s an opportunity to try the Gutenberg editor before it is released in 5.0. I have not doesn’t it yet, but will test shortly.

Also has 18 privacy fixes and a few other improvements. I’ve updated all my sites with not issues, but make sure you back up before you do anything.

Also, Android released it’s Android P (Pie) update for the Google Pixel phones. I updated my Pixel 2 XL on Monday. Small changes in the notifications and menus, but for the most part it was a pretty seamless update. I’m sure there will be more as I use it, including the Adaptive Battery feature, which promises to turn down battery usage on apps that are not in use at the time, but still running.

Finally, Samsung will be announcing the Note 9 tomorrow (Aug 9). Lots of huge improvements for this devices anticipated including a bigger battery, better screen and camera, and the Adaptive Battery. Can’t wait for that announcement. FYI, you can sign up to watch the announcement live at this Samsung website.

Now on to today’s main topic… landing pages. Most of you have heard the term, and maybe even use them on your websites. But I have a couple of sites that are going to be implementing them, and decided now would be a great time to bring in an expert, which is why I called on Nicholas Scalice, the host of the Landing Page School Podcast.  So this is me, and Nicolas Scalice… enjoy.

What are Landing Pages

Landing pages are a page on your website that has a very specific purpose, audience, and/or message. It should be developed to get the visitor to perform one action… purchase something, sign up, request info, download a PDF, contact you… one specific action.

The difference between a home page, or even an interior page and a landing page is on these pages, you are directing visitors to other pages in the website to get more information, and on a landing page, again, you are getting visitors to do that one specific action.

How to Get Traffic To A Landing Page

Most traffic is directed to landing pages through paid marketing efforts. Things like Google Ads and Facebook ads allow you to be very specific to the audience and who you would drive to see the main message on that landing page. It also works if you drive landing pages through traditional means like billboards, radio, tv, print, etc because you are serving a very specific message on both the ad and the landing page. The trick is NOT to drive all of this traffic to the home page, as that has a very open message instead of the message match between the ad copy and the page.

What Should You Have On A Landing Page?

Nicholas gave us six items to have on a landing page which answer certain questions :

  1. What Is It? What is the offer? What is the landing page about?
  2. Can It Help Me? Is it something that can make my life or business better or easier?
  3. Do I Like It? Is the visual design of the page good and trushworthy?
  4. Do Others Like It? Is there social proof that says other visitors and clients like it?
  5. Trust. Is there something on the landing page that says this site and/or product is trustworthy?
  6. How Do I Get It? What’s the call to action? How do I order, sign up, or purchase?

In regards to length of the page, there is not measurement. In fact, it’s good practice to NOT index the page so SEO rules don’t apply. Concentrate on conversion optimization, not SEO optimization. Also keep in mind, where your customers will be viewing the page. If it’s mobile, small images, less text and other mobile tricks should be implemented to work on phones and tablets. Responsive or mobile themes are necessary in today’s business climate!

What Are Mistakes Made on Landing Pages?

The number one mistake made on landing pages is not having a great offer. The site might be awesome, and the ad-spend might be well thought out, but the offer might not be well thought of. Some poorly designed pages do very well, while a well designed site might not convert because the offer is bad.

It’s also a mistake to have incorrect “micro-copy,” the text on your buttons, subheadings, etc that are action focused. If you can build the “value” into the button or other text it will convert better. Try completing the phrase “I want to…” with the button or link text. I want to contact you, I want to download the free e-book, I want to purchase your widget all work great.

A/B Testing

You’re probably never going to develop the perfect landing page on run #1. A/B testing only works if you have enough traffic, and you have a plan on what to test, how long, what are we testing for, etc.

Nicholas suggests testing “bigger things” like the offer instead of button color or text.

How Do I Build A Landing Page

Unbounce : drag and drop builder for

WordPress : Page Builder called Elementor, and other themes make it easy to build quickly and efficiently.

LeadPages : Landing page creator that also interfaces with WordPress and other platforms.

How Can I Contact Nicholas Scalice?

Have any questions or suggestions landing pages or any other technology affecting your business? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

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What to do About Deleting Facebook

What to do About Deleting Facebook

BeBizzy News and Notes

  • Reminder, Tax Day is Tuesday, April 17, 2018.
  • WordPress 4.9.5 was released yesterday. It’s a small update, and just a few minor releases before the big one, Gutenberg, gets released.

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Should You (and your customers) Delete Facebook?

Some Background On The Facebook Issue

  • Facebook has been accused of distributing “fake news” since before the last US Presidential election.
    • The social platform was supposedly manipulated to send articles to those of certain political leanings re-enforcing those beliefs or inciting anger at opposing beliefs.
  • Recently it has been found that Cambridge Analytica obtained the Facebook data of 50 million users UPDATE!! I LIED! This afternoon (4/4/18) it was announced the leak was 87 million accounts!
  • Inside that data is your contact info, who you follow, what ads are clicked on, friends, your timeline, and much, much more.
  • So now that the cat’s out of the bag, what should you do as a consumer, and how does that affect you a as a business person?

First, let’s look at how to get your Facebook data

  • Computer – click on the down arrow to the right of your notifications and select “Settings
  • Under the General Account Settings is a link to “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click it.
  • You will be taken to another page (page views anyone) that asks you to click another button to “Download Archive.” Click THAT.
  • Next you will asked to provide your password. It is the same as your Facebook password, then click “Submit.”
  • An email will be sent to your login email stating your Facebook data has been requested, and a followup email will be sent when the data dump is complete.

Now if all that information scares you, you’re not alone. And thousands are deleting their Facebook accounts including Elon Musk, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum (who sold his company to Facebook for $16 billion), Jim Carey and more.

  • Deleting your account is easy, go here and click deactivate your account 
  • HOWEVER, before you do, remember that Cambridge Analytica and others already have your info, so deleting your Facebook account will only cut you off from sharing new info. They can already act on what they have.

So what does this mean to you and your business

Your customers could easily do the same, and once they see who they all follow, like and interract with, there’s a chance they will also either delete their accounts or remove some affiliations.

Instead of deleting Facebook, it’s suggested that users remove allegiances to Apps, Website and Games. You can also see what information is saved as “Your Ad Preferences” , where you can see what’s stored as Your Interests, Advertisers You’ve Interacted With, You’re Information and Ad Settings.

But if your customers go here, there is a chance they will “unsubscribe” to your ads and other information. So now what?

Well, if they do this, you could lose their attention. So there are a couple of things you can do to retain them now before another scandal prompted them to make changes.

  • Post Often – By putting quality, relatable, non-sale related content in front of them often, you could entice them to think of you as a needed resource, entertainment source, or wanted advertiser.
  • Advertise to a targeted list – Obviously when looking at your data you can see just how targeted your ads could be blasted. Be more selecting when you send out an ad instead of throwing it out to as many people as possible. It will save money and keep other timelines from being clogged.
  • Focus on things other than Facebook. Get your website’s SEO fixed, look at Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn as possible avenues of driving traffic, and look at marketing automation as an option.

If a user has made up their mind to delete Facebook you will simply loose that method of reaching them. If you have hitched your wagon, traffic and marketing to only Facebook, now is the time to start looking at other solutions.

WordPress Plugin of the Week

Mergebot 

Wish I would have sought this one out a few weeks ago before I moved a very large, active site. What it does is you install Mergebot on both your LIVE site and a DEVELOPMENT site. As your visitors interact with the site with sales, contacts and other things the information is passed through the cloud the Mergebot. Also, as you make changes to the development site these database changes are also sent to Mergebot, where the cloud database combines the two making it easier when the DEV site goes LIVE by syncing all the database changes in one place.

It’s not cheap, but if you’ve ever moved a large site or database and had to keep a version live while you migrate or change it can be a huge headache when it comes time to merge the data. Mergebot could help you with this.

Cost is $249/yr to migrate one site at a time, $349/yr for three, and $589/yr to do five sites at a time. Again, not cheap, but compared to the hours you could spend messing with database sorting and merging, it could be a lifesaver. Wish I would have used it before I migrated the last site, but I won’t make THAT mistake again!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

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Samsung Galaxy S9

Samsung Galaxy S9

Episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast : Samsung Galaxy S9

We’re back after a few weeks of traveling, too much work, and an illness thrown in for good measure with episode 66 of the BeBizzy Break Podcast where we discuss the Samsung Galaxy S9 phone and how it compares to the Samsung Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL.

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Before we get into the main portion of the podcast, I have a few smaller items to talk about; a cautionary tale and two reasons to back up.

  • Cautionary Tale : woman has a computer break down, needs to write an article on her iPhone. Instead of using one of dozens of apps, she instead chooses to write the article on the tiny iPhone keyboard and uses her texting app, thinking when it’s done she can send it and then migrate it to a computer. Being mostly done one evening, she left the app running and went to sleep. The next morning, she picked up the phone, hit the space key, and ERASED everything she had previously written on her article. There is NO WAY to recover that information. Had she used one of the many office or note taking apps available for little or no cost, this would not have been an issue.
  • Backup Reminder One : Was asked by ANOTHER person last week if it’s possible to recover photos lost on a now-defective iPhone. This individual has never turned on their iCloud backups, Google Photos, Dropbox, Carbonite, or anything else, just left them on their phone. Now that the phone is dead there is NO way to recover these treasures without expensive recovery processes which may or may not work. BACK UP YOUR DATA!!
  • Backup Reminder Two : Many of my websites were attacked last week. I knew this by getting warned by the Wordfence app, which notifies me if anyone has a failed login attempt or if any critical files were changed. By using a weekly backup, all I had to do was restore a backup for the sites and change some login info.

Samsung Galaxy S9 Review

  • Had my Samsung S9 phone for about a week and it’s finally time to provide my review, and my comparisons to the Samsung Note 8 and Google Pixel 2 XL.
  • I’m lucky enough to be a member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 
SpecS9S9+
Price$800$930
Operating SystemAndroid 8.0Android 8.0
Screen Size5.8″ 2960x1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED6.2″ 2960x1440 Quad+ Super AMOLED
ProcessorExynos9810Exynos9810
RAM4GB6GB
Storage (as tested)64GB64GB
MicroSD SlotUp to 400GBUp to 400GB
Rear Camera12.MP12 MP
Front Camera8MP8MP
Battery Life1113
Weight5.74 oz.6.67 oz.

Look, Feel & Design

Compared to the Note 8 and the Pixel 2 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is only 3/4″ of an inch smaller, but boy is it noticeable! Carrying in my front pocket was much less bulky, and holding the phone in my hands was significantly different that the other two giant phones.

Typing and some other “business” uses were a bit more difficult with the smaller screen, so if you do a LOT of critical functions like posting to work social media, composing long emails, or maybe even typing notes, the S9+ may be a better option that the S9.

Battery Life

If there was one place I saw a drastic difference in the S9 compared to the other two phones it was the battery. I’m a big power user so the more battery I have the better. The S9 only has a 3000mAh battery, but the S9+ has a 3500mAh battery which is more comparable to the Note 8 and Pixel 2 XL. The larger form factor has the benefit for more room, which is largely taken up by the battery.

Performance

The new Samsung Exynos 9 processor in both of these devices is fast! Boot times, app opening, even page transitions are noticeably quicker than the Note 8 & Pixel 2 XL. There’s some discussion on whether the Exynos 9 is on par with the A10 processor in the Apple iPhone X and tests seem to place it right in between the A10 and the Snapdragon on the other flagship phones. Either way, this is really quick  even compared to just the last version of the S-series phones.

Software

Luckily the Samsung S9 and S9+ come with Android 8 Oreo installed so the security and feature updates are available. Not surprisingly the Google Pixel 2 XL is running an even more advanced of Android. But what IS surprising is that the Note 8 is still running Android 7.1. As of this recording AT&T has started rolling out Oreo for the Note 8, but we’re still waiting on Verizon (hopefully we’re just waiting until after the Easter holiday weekend to make sure there’s no run on the call center, so next week?)

Sound

While the Note 8 still had the standard single speaker on the bottom of the phone which can easily be covered up and muted, the Samsung S9 has some amazing sound quality built in. They are running a surround system with Dolby Atmos technology and plays back great sound even if the exposed speaker is covered by the hand, clothing or other method. It’s not quite as good as the Google Pixel 2 XL, but this is simply because the Pixel 2 has stereo front firing speakers built into the bezel, which costs a little real estate on the screen, but features great sound.

Camera

I’ve saved the best for last. The Super Speed Dual Pixel camera on the S9 is simply better than the Pixel 2, which as been crowned the best smartphone camera for several months. The Auto function does a great job of selecting the right white balance, exposure and focus. And if you go to the Professional mode, you can get really creative with all of those functions. But on the video side, the Super Slo-Mo camera is really innovative. At 960 frames per second for short burst the super slo-mo camera delivers crystal clear slow motion video. And it didn’t really matter how fast the video was moving. The low-light capture is stunning with no artifacts in the darker sections of the photos. FYI, to open the camera quickly you can double-press the power button.

Summary

As a phone for personal and light business use, I would have no problem recommending the Samsung Galaxy S9. It’s the fastest phone I’ve ever owned, the screen is great, sound is amazing and the camera is the best smartphone camera available.

I’m a bit of fan of the larger form factor, and while I didn’t get a chance to test the S9+, I have held one in a Verizon store and played with it. The form and performance is similar to the Note 8 making typing and other tasks a bit easier for me.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the BeBizzy Break Podcast on your digital assistants like Amazon Echo, Google Home and on your podcasting apps like Apple Podcasts, Stitcher Radio or wherever you get your podcast files from, like the PocketCasts app!

Got a suggestion for a topic, interview or other show idea? Send it over at BeBizzy.com or on Twitter @BeBizzy

Have a great easter weekend everyone, stay safe on April fools, and we’ll see you next time on the BeBizzy Break Podcast!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

Some photos and videos from the S9

 

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Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Google Pixel 2 XL vs. Samsung Note 8

Weeks ago, I promised a comparison between the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 smartphones. I purchased the Pixel 2 XL prior to Christmas in 2017, and as a #brandpartner for Verizon wireless, I was given a Samsung Note 8 a few weeks ago to test and talk about.

I’ve finally got a few weeks under my belt of using the phones at the same time to do basically the same things, and I’m finally ready to give my impressions.

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The Basics

First of all, I’d like to preface the comments on the comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs the Samsung Note 8 by stating you can’t go wrong with either of these phones. There are differences, and frankly if you could combine the two of these phones you’d have the perfect smartphone… and probably the most expensive. So I get it, you can’t have everything in one phone, but a guy can dream, right?

A couple of other things before I continue. I use both phones with a plastic cover on the back and a glass protector on the front. This ads some bulk and minimal weight but keeps the phone protected against dropping and normal wear. I am also comparing these phones in their ability to conduct business more than as a “leisure” device. So taking photos of kids will be less important than ability to run apps, answer emails, etc. (although I DO take a ton of pictures of my dogs).

Here is some basic spec information on the Pixel 2 XL vs. Note 8.

[table id=1 /]

Look, Feel & Design

Both phones are roughly the same size, weight and “bulk”. But I’m used to a large phone so this isn’t a big deal. Even though it’s technically larger, the Note 8 just seems smaller and lighter. It is thinner and maybe that lends itself to tricking it’s the smaller phone. The bezel is also smaller on the Note  8 than the Pixel 2 XL which provides some extra screen real estate at the top and bottom of the screen.

In true Google fashion the screen is good, but not awesome. My impression of Google in regards to their hardware, and in some cases their software, is here it is, it’s functional and wonderful, now go use it. The Note 8 screen is probably the best screen I’ve seen on a smartphone. However, watching YouTube videos (for work!) seems better on the Pixel 2 XL because the screen isn’t as “stretched” for some videos. One note regarding the Pixel 2 XL and burn-in… I’ve had the phone since the release date and have had no burn in visible on the device.

Something that is a great addition to most Android phones in the last few years is the existence of a fingerprint sensor. Both of these phones have them as a way to log into the phone, but the Pixel 2 XL seems much more easy to use because of placement than the Note 8, which sometimes forces more manipulation of the phone in order to reach the sensor especially when using a back cover.

One final point on the look & feel, typing is easier on the Google Pixel 2 XL. No idea why, just fewer typing mistakes on this device. They are virtually the same size, so I wish I had a reason but I do not.

Advantage : 

Battery Life

If you use your phone primarily as a business communication device battery life is a primary concern for you. And both of these phones offer excellent battery life with a 3520mAh battery on the Pixel 2 XL and a smaller 3300mAh on the Note 8. The slight decrease in batter size on the Note 8 IS noticeable when you’re working away from a charger, taking lots of phone calls, or using the screen a lot. Testing data reveals the Pixel 2 XL has a very impressive battery life of over 12 hours when being used consistently to view the web over a 4G connection, while the Note 8 comes in at just over 11 hours. Real-life experience has shown me the Pixel 2 XL to be even more protective of it’s battery level.

Both batteries charge extremely fast when using their provided charging plug and cable. And one feature I really miss on the Google Pixel 2 XL is the presence of wireless charging, which is a feature of the Samsung Note 8.

Advantage : 

Performance

Both of these phones have the same processor, the Snapdragon 835. And while the Note 8 has a slight advantage in actual processor testing data, it just feels like the Pixel 2 XL is quicker and better at handling requests to process data. Even with it’s added 2GB of RAM, the Note 8 occasionally lags or locks on certain requests, while the Pixel 2 XL just hammers it out quickly and smoothly. Now don’t get me wrong, the Note 8 is wonderfully quick and opens multiple apps well, again it’s more of a feeling that justifiable. And when you have invoicing, social media, mileage tracking, calendars and more open, seconds count.

In regards to network and voice performance, the Google Pixel 2 XL is better here as well. I work in a downstairs office with only a very small window. The rest is concrete walls on three sides, so it’s a bit of a bunker. When using the Note 8, I get a noticeable dropping or cutting out of calls in comparison to my Pixel 2 XL with two bars compared to three on the Pixel XL, and even the Wi-Fi radio seems to have a better, longer-reaching connection.

Advantage :

Software

Here’s where some of the comparisons have issues. The Google Pixel 2 XL is running Android 8.1.1 (Oreo) and the Samsung Note 8 is running 7.1.1 (Nougat). This software upgrade is just a few days away from the Note 8, but as it stands now there are a few things that lean towards the Pixel 2 XL. Security upgrades, notification dots on app icons, picture in picture on videos and some notifications on apps that are killing your battery are an advantage Oreo brings and that means the Pixel 2 XL wins.

There also is the “stock” Android versus the modified Samsung Android experience debate. Stock is just that, no extra default apps installed, no bloatware, and no Bixby (Samsungs smart assistant) which even has it’s own button on the Note 8, and also which I have disabled.

Advantage :

Special Features

One of the drawbacks of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8 is what was a benefit in the software section above… stock. On the Pixel 2 XL you get what you get. No SD memory slot, smaller RAM, no S-Pen, just a stock version of Android 8 running on an awesome device.

So the Note 8 easily wins this category. First, the memory expansion. I use my extra memory for a lot of things. I store music (I am a DJ), I store web files, I store data backups, things that will come in handy if I cannot get access to the Verizon network (which frankly doesn’t happen too often). I do miss the expandable memory, which is really why I paid the extra money for the 128GB version of the Pixel 2 XL.

So let’s talk about the S-Pen. The S-Pen is one of those things you don’t miss until you do. I so rarely use it, but when I do it’s for something pretty important like a diagram, quick hall layout when talking to bridal clients, a website example, or just a quick note. I actually do use it quite a bit on my Samsung Chromebook Pro, and before that on my Samsung Note 10.1 2014 tablet. Both of these are larger form-factors and easier to write, but the pen works the same across all of these devices.

Advantage : 

Sound

This is going to be quick. The Google Pixel 2 XL is the best sounding smartphone I’ve ever owned. Period. The dual front-firing speakers are louder and can broadcast sound regardless of how you are holding the device. The Note 8’s small speaker on the bottom of the device gets covered up or just is so small it doesn’t carry very well.

This sound advantage continues to the phone itself as well. The sound quality on normal phone calls is better than even wired phone systems, and if used on speaker phones there is no comparison of the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8.

Also, Bluetooth seems more stable and less “laggy” when on a phone call. That’s probably a product of Oreo vs. Nougat, but I call it like I see it.

Advantage :

Camera

Both of the cameras on these devices are spectacular. The Google Pixel 2 XL is a bit more balanced and more accurate for colors, and the anti-shake correction on videos is pretty awesome if you are using it attached to something that moves, in a vehicle or on a bike, and just walking or running.

But again, the cameras on both the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Note 8 are great features, but many articles claim the Google Pixel 2 XL camera to simply be the best phone camera available and I agree. So crank up the resolution on those photos of whiteboards, presentations, or anything else for work, then get them saved to your unlimited Google cloud storage for use later.

 

Google Pixel 2 XL photos

GP2XL-wall  GP2XL-flower  GP2XL-farley

Samsung Note 8 photos

SN8-wall  SN8-flower  SN8-farley

Advantage :

Summary

Well, looking at these results and forced to make a decision, I would choose the Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the Samsung Note 8. I’m sure shortly after I publish this Android 8 will get installed on the Note 8 and we’ll have to do this again, but as it stands now, the Google Pixel 2 XL just has too much going for it starting with the better operating system, then easier to use form factor, easier to use fingerprint unlock reader, better sound, better battery life, and snappier performance.

However, if you want that extra 1/4″ or so of screen real estate, a seemingly smaller footprint, wireless charging and ability to add a very large SD storage card, the Note 8 is for you.

Both phones are significant increase in quality over their last versions as well as their flagship competitors, so really you can’t go wrong. And the large footprint is simply awesome if you use it for many business tasks, note taking, and communications.

You can check out both phone and dozens of others at your local Verizon store, or at VerizonWireless.com.

Have any questions or suggestions on going paperless? Leave them below, or send them to me @BeBizzy on Twitter!

Disclosure: As member of a pretty cool team of influencing users, I received mobile devices with line of service from Verizon. No additional compensation was provided nor did I promise a positive review. All opinions are my own. By the way, many of us meet every Friday @ 2pm CT on Twitter (#MobileLiving) to discuss mobile phones and how you can use them in your daily lives. Join us! 

#BetterMatters #brandpartner

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