Blogging Hero

How to Make Money with Your Blog

How To Write Good Content to Get More Traffic


There are three main ingredients needed to make money blogging: content, traffic, and a monetization strategy. All 3 ingredients are necessary. Even if you have good content, it means nothing if no one sees it. And even if you have a ton of visitors, you won’t make a dime unless you are doing something to make money – whether it’s through advertising, selling your own product, or having a premium content section, you need traffic to earn money with a blog. The more people viewing your site, the more valuable your site is to advertisers.

So how do you get those visitors to stick around and explore your blog? How do you get them to subscribe to your newsletter and RSS feed? You write good content. As they say, “Content is King”. True success boils down to good content.

Writers block, however, can sometimes get in the way. Here are some content ideas to keep your bloggers interested and coming back:

Write How-To Pieces

How-tos are simple to write and incredibly valued by readers. If a reader can come on your site and easily find a post explaining how to do something – how to make ratatouille, how to sew a sweater, how to do something – then they’ll be happy. And happy readers are returning readers.

Break a News Story

Staying ahead of the news is great way to get some search engine traffic, but it’s also important to readers because it shows that your information is topical and up to date. When you do post the news, be sure to include your own thoughts on the events and encourage your readers to post their own comments as well.  You can use Feeds to follow the news and break a story, so you can always stay on top of what’s going on.

Be Controversial

People love controversy. Write a controversial headline, and you’ll be sure to catch the readers’ eyes and get them to stick around for just a little while longer. It’s also good for getting your post shared and getting traffic through Social Media. Plus, other bloggers might link back to for your unique opinion. Controversy is great for getting traffic to your blog!

These are just a few ideas you can use to write a blog post.  Try making a content web of everything you know about a topic.  Start with your main subject, whether it’s cooking, or travelling, or sports.  Then draw lines branching off from that with subcategories.  For example, for sports you could split that into different types of sports, like basketball, soccer, or fencing.  You could also branch it off into professional, college, and high school.  You could do another branch for entertainment, for training tips, to equipment reviews.  As you go along, you’ll probably find yourself leading to more and more specific topics, which can give you ideas for what to post about.  You could also read this article for ideas for blog inspiration.

Other Posting Suggestions

Use Other Media

Don’t just post long winded articles – that won’t appeal to everyone. Make video blogs and post pictures as well. Opening yourself up to a variety of different media can help you reach more viewers who might not like to read.

Vary Your Topics

Mix up the topics you post about and mix up the type or format of posts. For example, let’s say you write a travel blog and update three times a week. Your blog typically covers trips you take around the world, activities you can do while travelling, and how to find good deals, how to plan your trip, how to book a hotel, etc. Don’t write all 3 posts in one week about a trip to Spain. In the same token, don’t do three posts that are all about how to find good deals. Mix them up through out the week – write about your trip to Spain on Monday, then write about how to find good deals for hotels in Europe on Wednesday, and about fun family activities in Orlando on Friday. The variety will appeal to different readers throughout the week.

Of course, there is one exception to this rule: If you are doing a Series of posts.

Write a Series

If you have a lot to say about one subject, then a good idea is to break that up into different posts. This keeps you organized, but it also helps you to encourage your readers to keep checking back to your site every day.  Sometimes people just don’t want to read 1 long post that goes on forever.  If you find  yourself writing a lot about one subject, then breaking up into smaller posts can help you become more focused, and thus more clear.  It gives you an opportunity to explore a subject more thoroughly, which is a good way to provide relevant information to your readers.  The more thorough you are, the more credibility you will develop too, which help you increase your traffic.

To earn money blogging, remember this: Good content leads to more traffic, more traffic leads to more money. These are only a few tips for writing content. Also remember that you need to post regularly. Having good content helps you increase your traffic, but in the beginning it also helps to promote your blog, so be sure to network with other bloggers as well.

4 Ways a Web Analytics Tool Can Help Increase Your Site Traffic


Are you using an analytics tool to track your site metrics?  If not, you could be severely missing out on valuable information to help your blog traffic increase.  Measuring your site metrics is a great way to analyze information about your traffic, which you can then use to make changes to your site.

What is “web analytics”?

Web analytics programs are programs that measure various details about your visitors.  They can measure all sorts of things, including your bounce rate, your number of new visitors (vs. returning visitors), how your visitors are getting to your site, what browser they are using, what operating system they are using, their screen resolution, what keywords they are using to find your site, etc.

Some examples of analytics programs are Google Analytics, Feedburner or SiteMeter.  Here is a list of web analytics tools.

Why Use Web Analytics?

Understanding your audience is one of the most important things a blogger can do.  One of the first lessons in writing is “keep your audience in mind” and with blogging it’s just as important.  Here are 4 examples of what a web analytics program or site can tell you about your blog, and how you can use that information to your advantage to get more readers.

1. Bounce Rate

One of the more basic things that a Web Analytics program can tell you is what your bounce rate is.  Your bounce rate is the percentage of your visitors that are leaving the first page they access when they access your site.  Lower bounce rates are ideal, because that means that your visitors are staying on your site for longer and are clicking around and exploring your site.  If your bounce rate is high, you want to analyze how your blog might be scaring off readers so that you can make adjustments to your site.

2. Site Design

If you know what browser the majority of your visitors are using, then you can use that information when designing your site.  Browsers have different capabilities, and some things might look one way in Firefox and another way in Safari.

For example, let’s say you’ve been designing your layout based on how it looks in Firefox, but you find that more of your readers are using Safari.  Your site might not look as good in Safari, but now you know and now you can adjust the layout so that it will look better.  If the majority of people accessing your site use Safari, but your site doesn’t look right in Safari, then you might have a higher bounce rate.  (Another good thing to do is use a website like to preview how your site looks in each browser).

3. Keyword Optimization

One of the more important things an analytics program can tell you is what keywords people are using to find your site.  This can help you understand how Google views your blog and what Google thinks your site is about.  It’s always important to know what your potential visitors would search for when looking for a site like yours, that way you can use that knowledge to use the right keywords and therefore increase traffic to your site.

You might find you are getting a variety of keywords for something unexpected or tangential to your topic.  Knowing that, you can reevaluate your SEO, the keywords you’ve been using and the topics you’ve been writing about. Maybe you’ll decide you want to focus more than that specific area of your topic and recreate what your blog is about. Or maybe you’ll decide you don’t want to rank for those keywords and you can rethink your SEO strategy.

4. Traffic Source

Where are your readers coming from?  Is most of your traffic coming from organic search results, or from links?  This is important to know because you don’t want to “put all your eggs in one basket,” so to speak.  You don’t want to have all of your traffic coming from one source.  If there is ever a problem and all your readers are coming from one place, your website might take a huge hit and, if you get a lot of money from advertising, your income could be hurt as well.

These are only a few things that a web analytics program can tell you.  Try one – or even a few – out and see what else you can learn.  Play around with it.  When it comes to making money with your blog, you want to have all the information you can about how effective your design and your SEO are so that you can make adjustments to get blog traffic.   Having as much info as possible is necessary for the growth of your blog.

5 Simple Layout Fixes that Can Increase Your Blog Traffic


You’ve promoted your site, you work hard on writing great content, you network with other bloggers.  You get a decent amount of traffic, but you notice that you’re not really retaining as many visitors as you would like.

There might be a few “tweaks” you can do that can help your site immensely.  For example, how usable is your site?  Is the layout optimal for new visitors who don’t know their way around?

Everyone wants a blog that looks cool or different, but at the end of the day it still has to be usable and easy to navigate. Your readers need to understand how to get around, otherwise they’ll get frustrated or lose interest.

So here are five things you can do to make your site more appealing to readers:

1. Think about your site’s first impression

First Impressions are everything, so ask yourself: What does your the top of your layout look like?  This is the first thing your readers see when your site loads.  Will it be a banner?  A headline?  An ad?  If you want to hook your readers on your content, you’ll want to make sure that’s one of the first things they see when your blog loads.  If they see a large ad taking up the entire screen, they might decide not to stick around.  So think about what your readers first impression of your site is.

2. Put your tool bar in a prominent place

The navigation bar is the main tool your readers will use to explore your blog.  You want to make sure they can find what they need as quickly as possible.  Don’t make them go digging – chances ar they’ll give up.  You want to put this somewhere prominent, where readers will easily be able to spot it.  Traditionally, bloggers will use a horizontal tool bar going across the top of the screen.  Readers will be used to looking there.  Some things you might want to have in a navigational tool bar: home, about the writer, disclosure policy, guest post policy, advertise policy, archives, etc.

3. Use titles that make sense

You might have creative titles for things, but do they convey the message properly?  Do they help your readers understand what each section is about?  Also if you are using creative words, you might want to reconsider for SEO purposes.  Using concise and keyword-rich titles could not only help your readers understand where to go, but could help the bots that are crawling your site understand how it’s organized.  This can help your ranking in Google and help you get more organic traffic from search results.

4. Use color to get your readers to notice something

Sometimes what looks good doesn’t necessarily help readers find things.  If you want something to stand out, for instance, you can try using a color that maybe doesn’t match.  This will catch your reader’s eyes and help them locate something specific.  Something as simple as color can help your blog earn more income.  For example, you can use color to direct your reader’s attention to a Pay Per Click ad.  Put your PPC ad in a different color box, use a border, or use different colored words next to the PPC ad that explain the benefits they can get from going to that website.

5. Use a clean and simple layout

Think your awesome, flashy layout is so cool you’re bound to get visitors?   Be careful because it might actually be scaring them away.  Some layouts are just too complicated and impossible to navigate. The main that that readers go to your site for is your content. So you want to make sure that, above all else, they have easy access to read your content.  Clean and simple layouts are great for this.  If your layout is confusing your readers, you may want to simplify it and clean it up a little.

These simple layout tweaks can help your readers navigate your site better and that will mean they’ll keep coming back, helping your blog traffic increase.  An easy to understand website can also help you get search engine traffic because Google will better understand your site structure.

Strategies for the Busy Blogger: How to Post Regularly During Busy Times


Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a great holiday season.  I apologize for the lack of posting; I’ve been rather busy in the last couple of weeks and I got a little behind schedule, unfortunately.  I know that’s not a good excuse. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to stay on top of my posting schedule!

And while I’m on that topic — For the busy blogger, sometimes it can be difficult to get those posts up.  Maybe your life is hectic and there’s just no time.  Maybe you’re struggling with writer’s block.

When you’re trying to make money blogging, falling behind in your posting schedule might seem like a terrible thing.  If you have a large following of bloggers clamoring for a post, you might lose a few if you take too long to update.

Here are some strategies to keep the posts coming – even on the crazy days.

1.      Use guest posts

Can’t think of something to write? Didn’t have time to write a post?  See if you know anyone who wants to write a guest post on your blog.  This can be some great filler, and it also helps the blogger who is writing the guest post by giving them some visibility.  So it’s a win-win situation.

2.      Keep a back log of posts

Keep about five to ten posts saved in a word document as back ups.  That way when you’re really struggling, you have something already written that you can quickly post.

3.      Space your posts out more

Maybe you’re stuck in writer’s block because you’re posting too much.  It might help to cut down on the number of posts a week. For example, if you do five a week, try cutting back to 2-3 a week. Updating consistently is more important than writing as often as possible.  If you write too much, you might burn yourself out.

4.      Post a note

If you foresee that you’ll be busy in the next few days – for example, the holiday season is approaching – then post a note on your blog telling your readers that you’ll be on a hiatus for the holiday season.  Be sure to include a date when they can expect your return, and maybe even include a few links to good resources that will entertain your readers while you’re gone.

Hope you all had a great holiday season!

What does your blog look like to your visitors?


Have you checked to see what it looks like in other browsers?

If not, you might want to start.  (For the newbies, a browser is the program you use to view the internet, like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer.)

Different browsers support different things, different types of code, so they can display websites differently.  It’s important that you make sure your blog layout works in all of the popular browsers.

You want to make sure first of all that your website functions properly and the navigation is clear in all browsers, and then that your layout looks appealing and how it should.  Sometimes, because browsers display sites differently, you can get awkward spacing that makes your website look like a mess!

Imagine if you were a visitor and came upon a website with awkward blank spaces and obscured navigation.  It wouldn’t look professional and you probably wouldn’t come back.  You want to make sure that your blog is friendly to every visitor who stumbles across it.

You don’t need to download a bunch of different browsers to check your blog.  (You can if you feel the need, and it might help for you to have the most popular browsers.)  You can visit websites like, which will give you screenshots of what your blog looks like in various browsers – not just different browsers, but also different versions of each of them.

While you’re at it, you should also consider the resolution size that people are viewing your website with, as this can also affect how the layout is displayed.

How do I know what my visitors are using?

Analytics programs (like Google Analytics) can provide these statistics for you.  They can tell you what browsers your visitors are using and the percentage of visitors using that browser, and also what screen resolutions they are using.

Increase Your Blog’s Traffic with an Email Newsletter


A great way to connect with your readers is to create an email newsletter.  Email newsletters allow you to contact your readers and better guarantees that they’ll remember your website.

How a Newsletter Can Help You

  • Tell readers about new posts
  • Inform readers about updates on your site
  • Entice old visitors who have not visited in awhile to check out your site
  • Solicit feedback

In short, all these things will help drive traffic to your blog.

How to Do It

You can post a “Subscribe” form somewhere on the home page of your blog.  Don’t bombard readers with a subscription offer before they’ve even had a chance to read your content – this might turn them off and they won’t even bother reading your blog, let alone signing up for the newsletter.

Post the subscribe form near the top of your blog, so it’s easily seen.

You can also develop incentives for people to sign up for the newsletter.

For example:

  • Include articles with content not available on your blog.
  • Send readers some free product if they sign up
  • Allow them access to a premium section of the site if they sign up
  • Etc…

Make your newsletter short and easy to read.  Post short articles, or post excerpts with links to “continue reading”.  Entice readers with informative and catchy headlines.

Solicit Feedback about your Blog

You can also use a newsletter to solicit feedback.  Send readers a special issue or include an article in your regular issue asking them about the usability of your website.  Ask readers what they think about your site’s navigation (is it intuitive?) and design (is it easy to read?).  For more information, you can read this post about gathering feedback about your blog.

Email Marketing Websites

There are email marketing websites that make sending out newsletters easy.  I’m familiar with Constant Contact, but other sites you can use are AWeber or Get Response.

These types of websites can help you do some interesting things.  For example, you can send out “auto responders”, which can send out an automatic newsletter depending on certain criteria.  For example, you can set up an autoresponder “welcome” email, or an automatic email that asks for feedback (you can set it up so that it will send out say, 30 days after a user signs up for the newsletter, so you know they’ve had time to use your site).

You can also set up groups, so that it is easy to send a newsletter to a particular demographic of users on your site.  So now you can target certain visitors.

Of course, you can also just write the newsletter yourself using just text or using HTML.  However, these websites can help you manage your newsletter more easily.

Always Write Quality Content

Always write relevant, quality content.  Don’t bombard your readers with too many emails… develop a routine schedule and space them out, especially if you don’t have that many subscribers yet.  Include an unsubscribe feature.

Some people might be hesitant to use an email marketing campaign because they’re afraid of sounding spammy, but if you follow these guidelines you should be alright.  Just make sure that your content is always helpful and worth reading.

More Tips for Pay Per Click Links


Having trouble getting your readers to click on your pay per click links?

As discussed in a previous post, there are a few ways to get your readers to click PPC links by mentioning them on your blog. In that post we briefly discussed how you can use design to help readers notice your ads and therefore click them.  For example, you can post your link at the top of the page so its visible right away, and you can make it stand out by surrounding it with blank space.

Here are 2 design tips you can use that follows along those lines of making your ad “Stand Out”.

Avoid distracting widgets

You might have a number of links, pictures and widgets in your side bar.  All of these things can distract your reader from clicking on the ad.  Simplicity will help you here.  If there are less things to divide your reader’s attention, chances are they will be more likely to click your PPC ad.

A lot of the time, when readers see a mess of “things” on a side bar, their eyes my just skip over it entirely and they won’t even bother looking there.

Direct your readers’ eyes to the ad

It is a way to help things stand out on a page.  Often, blogs will have distinct elements or sections of a page.  For example, you have the top banner, then you have the content, then you have the side bar.  The sidebar itself is often divided into neat little boxes.

This “boxy” type layout may help you get your PPC ads noticed.  To get it noticed, you can have it stick out a little bit, outside the “boxes” on your page.  You can also use a different font color, a different background color, a different font face, a different font size, a different font style, etc.

By making your ad different, you can draw your visitors’ eyes to that section of your blog.

(Of course you can also use this to attract your visitors’ eyes to other things – not just your PPC ads.  You might want to use this for your content as well.  If you have one article that you think is really good, post the title in a different font color, use a different background – etc, all the same things mentioned before.  Then if a reader comes to your page, they will be drawn to that article.

Drawing a reader to a particular article may give them something to focus on, whereas otherwise they might feel overwhelmed or unsure about where to begin.)

The key to making this strategy work is to make sure you don’t go crazy and over do it.  If you want to make an article stand out, you can only make one (maybe two… a small number) stand out.  Overall, the layout design should be simple and organized – it should be neat, with the exception of that one item, your PPC ad or your article (you could probably do both).

If all your articles have different colors and font styles etc, then it won’t stand out.  To have something standout, the rest of the page should be mostly uniform.

Attract Readers with an Easy To Read Blog


Have a high bounce rate?  Maybe your text is too hard to read.

If you want your readers to stick around, you’re going to need to make sure they can read your blog.

One of the easiest things to do in regards to reader usability is to make the text easy to read, and yet I’ve seen so many blogs that are nearly impossible to read.

If I can’t read a blog, then I won’t read it – I’m gone.  Staring at a computer screen causes enough eyestrain as it is, I don’t want to be squinting at the screen trying to decipher text.

There are at least three things you should consider when determining the readability of your blog:

  • Font Style
  • Background
  • Skimmability

Choose a Good Font Style

Who is your target audience?  Does your font really have to be Arial size 8?  Maybe you think the smaller font is cute, but if you are writing for older people, will they be able to read it?  They don’t even necessarily have to be old.  I’m in my earlier twenties and I find myself squinting at size 8 font.  Just make life easier, and at least go with size 10.

Also consider the font face.  Script fonts can look nice, and if you are going for a more antique feel, or a diary esque feel, you might want to use fonts that look handwritten.  Be careful doing this.  Fonts might look different on different resolutions and different browsers.  You can check your browser compatibility.  But ultimately, you should probablby avoid using a cursivey font.  They do look nice, so if you want to use them, use them sparingly, perhaps in your logo or your headings.

Also consider: sometimes people just do not have the font you are using.  If they don’t have it, then their browser will substitute a different font.  You can set which font the browser will go to in your html code.

Avoid Busy Backgrounds

Color plays an incredibly important role in readability.  Use colors that are easy on the eyes.  Red text on a blue background … probably not the best choice.  I would also avoid using dark backgrounds with light text.  This can also hurt someone’s eyes, especially if they are used to reading text on a white background.

Lighter colors are better, but if you really like the look of a dark background consider this: the page background can be dark, but you can use a lighter background for the area behind the posts.

You’ll also want to consider the pattern of the background.  Some very busy backgrounds can make the text hard to read.  If you want to use a patterned background, try making the area behind the actual text a solid color.

Make Your Posts “Skim”-able

The easier it is, the more likely people will read.  You need to entice them to read in the first place.  It’s like using a good cover to get a reader to open a book.  For blogs, you need a good layout – that is, an easy to use layout – to get visitors to read your posts.

I can never stress enough the importance of using shorter paragraphs.  Many readers just don’t like the long of long paragraphs.  They’re intimidated and therefore turned off from reading.  For more information, you can read my older post about how to write easy to read posts that appeal to readers.

It’s simple – easy to read posts make your readers happy, and happy readers will keep coming back.

How to Organize your Blog: Navigation Tips


When a reader visits your site, you want to provide them with an experience that is pleasurable, and thus memorable.  One of the best ways to do this is by creating an easy-to-use navigation bar.

Intuitive navigation and usability are key aspects to provide your reader with a satisfying experience that will keep him or her coming back to your site.

Here are a few things you can do to make navigation easier.

Put a Main Navigation Bar at the top of your blog

This should include a clear link to your home page.  Many bloggers also include a link to an About page and a Disclaimer Policy (if you accept money for ads and/or paid reviews).  You may also include a Contact link.  Perhaps you could also include a “Guest Post Policy” link, if you frequently have people request to do a guest post on your blog.

Use Categories

New readers won’t have read your older posts, yet those posts may be of interest to them.  Help them find these old posts by including a Categories section on the side bar.

This will help users find posts by topic, meaning they can more easily access the subjects they are interested in.

Put your Newsletter and RSS Feed Sign Up at the Top

If you have a newsletter, put the sign up for it near the top of the screen, where it is easy to see.  If you have an RSS Feed, do the same thing.

Some readers will look for either of these things, and by placing it in a visible spot, you’ll help them find it faster.  They might give up if they can’t find it.  And, some visitors might not have thought or known to look for a newsletter sign up, but now that they see it, they will.

Use Related Posts Plug In

Another good idea is to include a ‘related post’ section at the bottom of each post.  If visitors enjoyed reading your post, now they will be able to see related topics that they might also be interested in.

Link to Older Posts in Your Newer Post

Include in-text links to older posts within the body of your newer articles.  Make sure you use specific anchor text.  Don’t just say “read this older post,” say “for more information about making your blog user friendly, read this post about how to organize your blog”.

A positive user experience will increase the chances that readers will return to your blog.  Easy navigation is one simple way you can make your readers happy.

5 Ways to Wow Your Readers and Keep Them Coming Back


Think of your blog as you would the living room of your house.  It is the first room in your house and the first place guests see when they come into your home.

Whenever a reader clicks a link to your blog, whether they’re coming from Google, another blog, or someplace else, it is like they are visiting your house.  So what are you presenting to them when they first “come in”?

Just as you wouldn’t want to show your guests a messy house, you also don’t want to show your readers a “messy blog”.

What is a “messy blog”? A messy blog would be a blog overloaded with advertisements… instead of having laundry and books strewn about your living room, you have ads strewn about your blog.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have ads.  On the contrary, ads are a great way for you to make money, and also can be useful resources for your readers, provided they are relevant.  But just as there are places for laundry and places for books in your house, so are there places for ads in your blog.

Here are some elements of your blog you should consider when trying to create a “welcoming” experience for your reader, and keep them coming back to your blog.

Use a Unique, Original Blog Title & Banner

This is like your welcome sign or your doormat.  It’s the first thing your bloggers see and the first impression they have of your blog.  Make it unique, make it “you”.

Blogger has a variety of free templates that are somewhat customizable.  This is fine to start with, but if you can, you should see if you can either search online for more unique layouts or learn how to design the layout yourself.  Even if you customize one of the blogger templates, it will still look similar to other blogs out there.

If you can create your own image and put that at the top, that would do a lot for making your blog feel personalized.  This page has a great tutorial about customizing your blog layout, including a section on how to create a unique banner for the top of your blog.

Organize Your Blog

The second thing a person will notice when they start to scroll down is how your blog is organized.  Where are the blog posts?  How far do they have to scroll down to see them?  What does the side bar say?  Readers might look for a bio, they might look for an “about” paragraph, describing what topics the blog focuses on.

And they will definitely take note of where the ads are.  You will want to have some ads near the top of the page; this is what advertisers pay for.  And that is fine.  But don’t overload the top of the page with ads.  This can make it look cluttered and messy!

Write Catchy Titles

Step three: readers will glance over the titles of your posts to see if anything looks interesting.  They are trying to judge if they want to invest time in reading your posts.

You want these to be interesting and catchy, so they lure the blogger in.  They should be relevant to the post (don’t write something interesting and catchy if it has nothing to do with your post… then readers will not trust your headlines and won’t know if your entry is something they want to read).

Write Effective “Leads”

So your headlines were interesting, and they started to read your post.  The first line of any news article or blog post is called the “lead”.  It is the first sentence, designed not only to capture your attention but also briefly provide some information about “who what where when how”.

Don’t stress out about this too much.  If you are having trouble thinking of a good lead or have writer’s block, then instead you can focus on your article’s “skimmability”…

Make Your Posts “Skimmable”

Sometimes, readers might find your title interesting, but instead of going straight to your lead, they’ll instead skim the post.  If you just have a large chunk of text, this is going to make it difficult for them to gauge what your post is about and how interesting it is.

So throw them a bone.  Use headlines so they have a brief idea of what each paragraph talks about.  Lists are great too.  For more info on how to write a post that is “skimmable”, click here.

These are just a few things you can do.  Ultimately if you put sincere effort into your blog, and find a nice layout that feels like “you”, that fits your personality, then you eventually will find some readers that stick around.

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