InMotion Hosting Blog

Introduction to WordPress

If you are new to the online world of websites and blogging, you may have heard of WordPress or even recognize the prominent ‘W’ logo. If you are one of these people and don’t know what WordPress is, this is your opportunity to learn about one of the most prevalent and accessible website platforms. WordPress is an innovative tool that is used to build websites. You will often hear it referred to as a Content Management System (CMS). That means WordPress is an application designed to support the creation, management, publishing, editing, organizing, and deletion of website content –  all from one central dashboard. WordPress.COM vs WordPress.ORG Signing up with WordPress is completely free. It’s an exceptionally cost-effective way to get started on any website. However, the option many users must face is to either use the hosted platform, WordPress.com, or go with your own web hosting space using WordPress.org. For beginners, starting with the hosted platform on WordPress.com is a good way to learn the ropes and get started. This will get you a sub-domain that is located on wordpress.com. You will have access to built-in plugins, features, and themes that are readily available on the WordPress platform. However, you are limited in that you will not be able to access or download the larger repository of free and premium plugins and themes. You will also have limited support for free themes and are restricted from modifying them. This route is suggested if you are just interested in trying out WordPress as as starter package or have a very simple 1-2 page website. If you choose the route of downloading the WordPress software through WordPress.org you will need hosting from a web hosting company. Here at InMotion Hosting, we give you the option to have pre-installed WordPress software to go with your hosting. You will have your choice of a unique domain name, full support and access for all themes and plugins that exist on the WordPress platform. Another perk of owning your own WordPress site is that you will be able to monetize by adding advertisements to your page. The WordPress.org route is recommended for those who are past the planning stages of their website and require full customization, plugins, and business features such as ecommerce. Why is this the best platform for any user? 1) Flexibility and ease of use WordPress is often associated with the creation of blogging websites. However, since its founding in 2003, it has evolved to provide a comprehensive solution for any type of website. Whether it’s a business, informational, non-profit, job listing, or even corporate website, the CMS excels in providing a comprehensive list of website templates. WordPress is also able to handle all sorts of media content, from text, images, music, and video. Examples of ways to use a WordPress Website:         Merchandise / Shopping Store         Photo or Image Gallery         Video Collection         Blog         Review Site         Personal Website         Informative Website WordPress caters to the needs of both novice web users as well as those who are more advanced and familiar with web development and coding (such as CSS and HTML). WordPress provides beginners with the tools they need to get a website started with minimal difficulty. Free and premium themes are available as a starting point from which you can quickly build and shape a website to match your vision. WordPress is also completely open source, which means the code behind the WordPress system is available to the general public to use and modify- making WordPress extremely customizable. Many big name brands also use WordPress for their website. The New York Times, CNN, and People Magazine, just to name a few, are all powered by WordPress. 2) Large knowledge base WordPress’ long standing success and continuing popularity comes with an enthusiastic user base that has created a massive repository of informational tutorials and videos that can help one use WordPress for all their website needs. With the robust, global WordPress community, the answer to any question you might have should be easy to find with a simple Google search. And if it isn’t, the active community on WordPress support forums is quick to respond and provide input. 3) Plugins! There are 40,000 plugins and counting for WordPress!  Anything from needing something to make sure your website isn’t being flooded by spam content to making sure your website is secure from potential hackers. WordPress has plugins for optimizing your website. What about help with your website’s SEO? You know, Search Engine Optimization – the way that Google learns how to rank your website? There’s a plugin for all of that! When you use WordPress, you have thousands of plugins available at your fingertips to help you design, protect, and optimize your website for any of your needs. 4) Keeping up to date Staying on top of updates has never been easier with WordPress. The growing popularity of WordPress has led to continuous modernization to make sure the system is always advancing. New improvements are being added all the time. Updates are hassle free and inform you what new features and functionality are being added or fixed.  Overview Overall, WordPress is a strong platform to get started on your website venture. WordPress has grown exponentially and has diversified to fit almost any website niche. With a vast library of themes and plugins to choose from and a very simple learning curve, WordPress continues to be the top solution for a website CMS.

Team Member Profile: Tim Sisson

Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA Position: Customer Community Manager Been with InMotion Hosting since: 2011 How did you get started in the web hosting field? Actually, I got my start in the business / marketing side of the industry doing SEO / SEM work for an engineering company. This is where I learned the basics about web hosting. My first introduction into hosting not as a consumer was as a tier 1 Support representative for InMotion Hosting about 5 years ago. What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? I’m the Customer Community Manager here. My team manages the Support Center and all of the documents that help our customers. We also act as evangelists with different products like WordPress. I like getting out into the public and getting to know our customers! It’s a really cool feeling when I’m at a WordCamp and a customer comes over to tell me stories of how we helped them succeed. I really enjoy empowering our customers and watching their successes because of it! Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about? I’m slowly working on a “magic mirror” for my daughters. It’s powered by a Raspberry PI behind some two way glass. It displays basic information like the time, date, weather, and any calendar items. I’m working on some speech recognition software as well, so they will be able to ask basic commands and get a response (you know, like in the fairy tale). What would you like to tell us about yourself? I’m a pretty simple guy. When I’m not at work I’m usually outside with my girls. We love the outdoors and nature so weekends are almost always spent exploring some park or trail. I think having a good balance between working in technology and enjoying  mother nature is important. Describe your personality in one word? Silly.

WordCamp Baltimore 2015

  Arnel’s Road Trip Selfie WordCamp Baltimore was my first traveling foray into the world of WordPress enthusiast user groups. I’ve been to many conventions and helped to host user groups, but WordCamps are in a class all their own.  WordCamps are held worldwide and can vary from a small group of people to a large group numbering in the thousands.  This Baltimore trip was more in the size of a smaller group but it was still a great event to attend. It was the first opportunity for the Community Support team to travel together as well.  Our group of six included a member of our sales team (Danny), and most of the Community Support team from Virginia Beach – John Paul, Scott, Tim Sisson (Tim S.), Tim Elsass (Tim L.) and myself.  Our manager, Tim S., was the chauffeur for the trip graciously putting up with a bunch of restless guys in the five hour trip there and back.   Once we got our stuff in place and rested up a little, we headed out to a restaurant called Wit and Wisdom. While the service was not the greatest, the views of the Baltimore downtown waterfront were amazing. We got a little bit to eat and planned how we would end the evening.   Danny was visiting an old friend in Baltimore so the rest of us were left to decide how to spend the evening. I ended up working on the InMotion Hosting Support Center website as customer questions still needed to be answered. Both Tims ended up going back to attend the WordPress dinner in a place called the James Joyce Pub. John Paul, Scott and I ended up exploring nearby restaurants for some local food for dinner and then settled for a movie or college football games. The first night ended uneventfully as we got some rest in preparation for the busy day ahead. InMotion Hosting Sponsor table The next started early as we were volunteers in registration and helping with the speakers of the WordCamp. We also needed to get the InMotion Hosting sponsor table setup – complete with many goodies to give to any curious visitor. Saturday was a bit gloomy with impending rain, so it was a perfect day to be indoors for the event. WordCamp organizer providing directions for parking The venue for the was the University of Baltimore. I was assigned to help with registration of attendees. The others were helping with the speakers and the InMotion sponsor table. Each attendee who registered in time was given a t-shirt for the event as well as a lanyard with a identification card that also provided the schedule for the different sessions of the event. I ended up alphabetizing a box full of names. Attendee Registration table With the help of several fellow volunteers, we got things quickly sorted out. Registered attendees would get their name badge, a lanyard to hold it, and a t-shirt. Late registrants got blank badges and no t-shirt until after lunch. Surprisingly, out of all the shirt sizes, the small size went quickest. Or maybe it was just good forethought on what sizes should be in plentiful supply. Volunteers at the registration table Manning the registration table was a bit hectic, but I had plenty of help and my only job was basically to find and handout badges and lanyards to incoming attendees. While I was working at the registration table I got to meet one of the organizers – Anthony Paul, as well as a theme programmer named David who works remotely for Automattic. I met several others whose names unfortunately escape my memory, but they were all friendly and helped us greet and direct all of the incoming attendees. Station North The locations in the venue were divided into two main areas – the auditorium (which was on the same level as the registration table),and a room below. These rooms corresponded to locations known as “Downtown” and “Station North.” The schedules for each of these rooms were detailed on the badges. Once we got it sorted out, we ended up giving quirky, but memorable directions for the repeated location questions, “The Downtown is upstairs. If you’re going to Station North, go downstairs, bang a u-turn at the bottom of the steps and it will be on your right.” We quickly became familiar with the area and the important directions including the location of the restrooms. Tim S. and Melode Laylor Once our assigned times for our volunteer slots were over, we were free to attend the speaker sessions. I ended up attending Tim’s session named “Growing your Nonprofit with WordPress” and recorded it. I also attended the “Building Parsec: Return of the Responsive Theme” by Joe Casabona, and “War Room Collaboration Across the Internet Canyon” by Anthony Paul. Each session was well attended and the facilities provided by the University of Baltimore were excellent.   Tim S. speaking about non-profits Tim’s session was very interesting to me as I am very busy with non-profit community organizations after work. Several questions from the audience also indicated the interest level in the topic. Joe Casbona’s session was also very entertaining with many references to Star Wars. However, the most educational session for me was the collaboration session given by Anthony Paul. Antyony Paul’s session on group collaboration I often deal with many people in the community where remote collaboration around a central tool would be beneficial in order to help unify our communications, record our actions for future review, and reduce our needs for repeated group meetings. The challenge I face is getting everyone to agree on a collaboration tool. Anthony’s session provided some insight into existing tools that could even benefit our team at InMotion Hosting. These included applications such as Slack (slack.com),Wake.io(https://wake.io/), Google Slides(https://www.google.com/slides/about/) and Trello (https://trello.com/). Slack is one of the messaging apps for group collaboration. It works across multiple platforms, is easy to use, searchable, and best of all – it’s free. Anthony also showed how to use Google Slides for collaborative wire framing and sharing group ideas through video chats. Wake.io was suggested by an attendee as another graphical collaborative tool. Trello is an online project management tool that can be expanded. I suggested using Freedcamp(freedcamp.com) – which is very similar to Trello. All of the suggested tools are free and can be expanded for enterprise- level use with payment.   Danny with Eddie and John Paul at the WordCamp after party As the sessions started to wrap up, we gathered at the InMotion Sponsor table that had significantly less swag than earlier. We packed up our stuff and then headed back to the hotel to grab a little rest before heading out to dinner and the WordCamp after party. As a group we went to the Riptide restaurant and enjoyed some seafood for dinner. The after party started at 7pm in the Waterfront Hotel bar a few doors down from Riptide. There was an upstairs reserved room with an open bar until 9pm. Here we enjoyed more food – chicken wings and shrimp and also met up with many of the attendees and speakers. We also met Melodie and her husband David Laylor from the Hampton Roads WordPress meetup group. We will be working with Melodie in the WordCamp Hampton Roads event on October 17.  I had a drink and listened to one of the attendees, named Khalid, speak about his European adventures. He then explained how he was using WordPress as an educational solution in his current venture. He was using multisite in a way that I’ve never seen done before. The rest of the evening slowly died down with the sharing of some good stories with old friends and new ones. The next morning we got up early in order get back home to Virginia Beach in a reasonable time. Scott, Tim S. and I had a nice breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then gathered up the rest of the group so that we could leave the watchful eyes of downtown Baltimore. Don’t run that red-light in Baltimore…          

InMotion Hosting Labor Day Campaign

Finding the right host for your website is time consuming at best, and frustrating at worst. Kick back and relax this Labor Day. InMotion Hosting is having its annual Labor Day Promotion starting September 4th – 14th. All products will be offered at an even more affordable price! You’ve done a lot of hard work, we’re here to support you and make it as easy as possible to get online. Step 1) Choose your domain Step 2) Select the hosting plan that’s right for you Don’t know where to start? Our award winning, 100% U.S. based customer service is here for you. Call or chat with us to figure out what the best options are for anything you need to host online. Step 3) Let us build your website Don’t know how to code? Trouble with web design? Our team is ready to custom design and code your website on the WordPress platform. We’ll make sure our designs capture your business vision. We are proud to support the American Labor force. All of our products are backed with our award winning, 100% U.S. based Tech Support. Don’t miss out on this limited time, Labor Day promotion. Check out our Press Release Here.   

15 Steps to Grow Your Business Online

You started your very own business; congratulations! Now that you’re a business owner, have you ever wondered about the possibilities for advancing your business online? This article will walk you through the essentials necessary to growing your business online. 3 Major Components of a Website First thing’s first: Does your business have an online presence? Having a website allows your customers to easily find you by putting information about your business online. If you have merchandise, creating an online store will allow you to sell to them online as well! Secure a domain name: Your domain name is a reflection of your business. Branding is important so create one as relevant to your business as possible. Find a hosting company: A good hosting company is integral to operating your business online. Find a host that can meet your business’ needs and is capable of scaling with the growth of your online presence. Build your website: The look and feel of your website is also important. There are several options available if you are inexperienced with creating a website from scratch. WordPress is a good starter platform to use and also includes free templates that you can customize yourself. If you don’t want to build it yourself, there are numerous options available to you online. One is to have a web-design professional custom craft a website exactly as you want it. Feel free to check out our webdesign options here. 5 Important Considerations: You will need to increase visibility in order to use your new website as an asset to drive traffic to your business. Responsive: Is your website optimized to be viewed on any screen? With the rise of mobile search traffic, Google has included mobile-friendliness as a criteria for ranking websites viewed on mobile browsers, making it very important to have a version of your website be responsive on a mobile device. Read more about the “mobilegeddon” here. SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO)  is making the content on your website refined so that search engines like Google can find you easily to show a potential customer’s search query. SEO is important to ensure that when people use keywords relevant to the services you offer, that you become one of the top search results. Check out this article for more information about boosting your SEO here. Updates: Once you have your website up, you need to maintain it by providing fresh content for your customers. Keeping things new will have them coming back for more. Find a comfortable cadence that you can maintain and update it to showcase new products, deals, or incentives. User Experience: Have your friends and family go through your website and try to purchase or request services. Are there any hiccups or roadblocks in the process? Have them QA the content for flow and if any questions are going unanswered.Analyzing and making changes to this can help reduce bounce rates and shopping cart abandonments. Competition:  Look to your competitors and check out what their process is like. Pay attention to where their services lack so that you can make improvements onto your page accordingly. 4 Marketing Techniques to Start Today Now that you have a fully functioning website that has online visibility to your customers, the next step is marketing your business. Target Customers: Make sure that you don’t wait for visitors to just come to you. Actively look for an audience that may be interested in your products and services. Develop an audience and demographic you want to target.  All social media platforms have statistics, as well as Google keyword planner. Do some research on what your customers are looking for using their tools. Network: Make connections with people relevant to your business and industry. A large network can help you expand both your business and your potential customer reach. This will also bolster your company’s brand identity. LinkedIN is a good resource to meet industry professionals. Email Campaigns: Capturing an email is just as important as capturing a sale. Emails can build a refined and targeted list of people that are genuinely interested in your product or service. Emails can be used to send your customers updates on new items they might be interested in, upcoming sales, or even just a thank you coupon code for their next visit. Give your customers an incentive to keep coming back! Use tools like Constant Contact or MailChimp integrations. Advertise: Want more people to know who your business is and what it offers? Find advertising opportunities where people with relevant interest can learn more about your business. Google AdWords is a great place to start. 3 Crucial Customer Support Responsibilities Finally, you want to ensure your company upholds a high-quality of service to keep your customers satisfied and coming back. This may seem “obvious” but don’t let the obvious fool you. Countless businesses lose sight of customer service as their business grows. Here are the best ways to stay engaged with your customers: “Oh, the Humanity!”: Let your customers know that your business is run by real people that care about them. When your customers love your business, not only will they be returning customers, but they will also recommend you to people they know, enhancing both your brand and customer base. Customer Feedback: Give your customers an opportunity to review your business. Ask for and welcome consumer feedback. This information can be very valuable in figuring out pain points of your customers as well as ways to improve your business and stay competitive. When you make changes to improve their experience, your customers will love you for it! Customer Support: When your business doesn’t offer customer support, your consumers are left in the dark to figure out everything themselves. If they can’t figure it out they may never want to return to your business. Support is essential to the post-consumer journey and can give your customers the confidence to buy your product, knowing that help  is available. Following this guide will have you well on your way towards a healthy and successful online business!  

Team Member Profile: Tony Klepper

Hometown: Oklahoma City, OK Position: Manager: Training & Quality Assurance Been with InMotion Hosting since: May 2010 How did you get started in the web hosting field? Surprisingly,  I didn’t go to school to learn about computers or technology. I actually went to school to be a pastor. I had created a few websites and played around with Linux at home, but nothing  on a professional level. InMotion allowed me my first opportunity in the web hosting field. I started out in Tier 1 Technical Support, and quickly moved to Tier 2-C. There I became the Team Lead, and soon moved to the Training Department. Since being hired at InMotion from 2010, I have learned something new every single day; and I love it!  What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? I am the Manager of both the Training, and Quality Assurance teams. Basically, I get to help people improve and become better  at their jobs each and every day. My job is the perfect fit for me because it has a  great blend of several things, all of which, I enjoy doing. I get to teach and inspire young minds. I have the opportunity to continually learn new software and techniques in order to teach them to others. Even with all the training activities, I haven’t lost the ability  do some coding. You can find me still jumping  onto the command-line on a server to do some troubleshooting. All that, coupled with being able to lead an awesome team of extremely talented individuals is something that  I couldn’t ask for more. Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about? Well, until every gadget I was promised from “Back to the Future” is available, I guess I would have to settle for something like Oculus Rift or some kind of augmented reality glasses. Ones that actually work without any bugs! What would you like to tell us about yourself? Even though my team loves to remind me how much older I am than them, I still feel like a kid. I have been married for 16 years to an awesome wife, and I have two great boys. I have really had a pretty adventurous life so far. My wife and I have lived in China. We have been to Tanzania, Africa, and Thailand. I have been to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, and probably some others that I have forgotten. I also have a collection of knives and swords from every country I have ever visited. I love to have fun, and every day is a new adventure. Describe your personality in one word? According to my 10 year old: FUNNY

What is Reseller Hosting [ infographic ]

With InMotion Hosting, you’ll never feel like you don’t know something about one of our products. That’s why we believe that before you sign on with the #1 support provider in the web-hosting industry, you should be confident in what you’re buying. Check out our infographic below, and once you’re confident about our Reseller Hosting product,  you can start on your own reseller journey! Now that you know what Reseller Hosting is all about and the 7 steps it takes to succeed as a reseller, start step #1 by signing up with the best Reseller Hosting provider:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

6 Ways to Be Productive This Summer

The inevitable slow-down that is often associated with the summer months is upon us. School is out, the heat is in full swing, and summer vacations are on everyone’s mind. The high temperatures of the summer months may leave you with low energy levels at the office as you fantasize about relaxing at the beach, kicking back and sipping on a mai tai, and wanting to be anywhere but the work place. Don’t let the summer daze bog you down! Use this time to be productive both in and out of the office. Here are some things you can do to stay focused and productive, even when the summer heat has you daydreaming. 1)      Keep Cool: It’s summer time and the heat is sweltering, but it doesn’t mean you have to be! Make sure you are comfortable in your workspace, even if it means cranking up the AC, installing a desk fan, or finding a different location to get your work done. Don’t let the heat cause your productivity to melt with it. Keep hydrated throughout the day, or take a quick break to catch some fresh air and pick up some iced coffee. Have some fun with it too, try out a new juice or refreshing smoothie. 2)      Start with the Hardest Tasks: If the morning is the time of the day you feel the most energy, start it by tackling your hardest tasks. It only gets hotter into the afternoon, but if you’ve got your momentum rolling at the start, it’ll be hard to put a stop to your productivity. Prioritizing the big tasks when you’re the most productive can increase the chances of you finishing your responsibilities for the day. Close any distraction that might get in your way, like Netflix, your cell phone, or your favorite social platform. The ability to multitask is a great skill, but it should contribute to your work productivity and not subtract from it. 3)      Target your Goals: Finding yourself with a lot of free time this summer? Focus on your goals, whether it is life goals or career goals. Figure out what you need to get done in order to reach them. Don’t wait until the busiest time of the year to get cracking. This is a great time to reassess your goals, especially if you feel like they are out of reach. Remake and adjust your goals if you feel that priorities have changed and tailor them to your current needs. Break down your goals if they seem too large for you and make reaching them more feasible. 4)      Summer Campaign: Summertime means summer sales! If you have your own business, consider creating a summer campaign to boost your sales for the summer. Advertise ‘Hot’ deals for a nice sizzling summer theme and plan out a marketing strategy that will help you target and reach out to your audience. Summer campaigning can effectively increase your business revenue so use this time wisely! 5)      Learn Something New: Keep your brain in tip top shape by challenging yourself to learn something new. Some fun tech ideas include learning how to code, putting together your own robot with a raspberry pi, building your own customized computer desktop, or attending a tech conference to learn about new technology that you are interested in. Keeping your brain busy for the summer will help you be more productive. Use what you learn and see how you can become more efficient, save money by doing something yourself, or start something new. 6)      Plan a Vacation: Do you find yourself day dreaming about that boat cruise you didn’t take, or that travel abroad you didn’t have the chance to schedule. PLAN IT! Instead of fantasizing about what ifs and maybes, grab a calendar and plan your next vacation. Having something to look forward to can alleviate the stress of the work environment. If anything, your next vacation should be something you work towards by finishing up all your work before your adventure. Planning ahead of time can also save you a good deal of money with cheaper airfare and hotel deals. Plus, putting in your vacation request now will guarantee you’ll be able to take it versus waiting till the last minute when everyone’s trying to take a vacation at the same time.  

Team Member Profile: Jake Jacobs

Hometown: Toledo, OH Position: Support Supervisor Been with InMotion Hosting since: October 2013 How did you get started in the web hosting field? I had experience in intranets from my accounting and tax practice. After selling the business, I acquired a job with my family as a webmaster. In that position I started using Joomla! in the Mambo days. I also developed and co-authored some components for that Joomla. Eventually it spawned into a business that provided Joomla support and services. Doing the development work gave me exposure to web hosting which I found to be very exciting. What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? I am the Third Shift Support Supervisor. I love working third shift.  The team is smaller than the other shifts so it feels like a close family.  We tend to communicate more face to face rather than via a messaging system.  We are constantly looking out for and helping each other so we can thrill our customers. Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about? My Android phone, LG3.  I am lost without it. What would you like to tell us about yourself? I love my job at InMotion Hosting. I moved up quickly in the company.  I plan on staying with InMotion until retirement. Describe your personality in one word? Mature.

What is SEO and why is it important for your business?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the method used to increase a website’s position on search engine results pages (SERPs) on sites such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. Developing an SEO strategy for your business can help draw consumer traffic to your website as well as grow your sales and revenue. To get you started on your SEO strategy development, here is a little background to understand how search engines, such as Google, use metrics to rank organic search website placements. The goal of a search engine is to provide unbiased results that deliver information you are looking for as quickly and as accurately as possible. In order to do this, search engines are capable of identifying all relevant information online and ranking them in order of quality and relevance. There are hundreds of factors that are involved when search engines rank websites in an organic search. Amazingly enough, they can analyze billions of pieces of data in as fast as 0.5 seconds! The actions you take to optimize your site will have a direct effect on your SEO ranking. Components such as H1 tags, the words used in your website meta description, content and keyword density, permalinks, and backlinks are some of many things that you can leverage to boost your ranking. Here is a quick overview of these components and how they relate to the most frequently used search engine, Google: H1 Tags: These are the larger headers you use to title your content. For example, the H1 for this article would be the title, ‘What is SEO and why is it important for your business?’. This article page may surface on the google search results when someone searches for keywords that are present in the H1 tag like ‘SEO’ and ‘business’. Make sure your H1 tags are relevant to the keywords you want to be showing up for. Keyword Density: This is the amount of times that the keyword your audience is searching for appear on your website. Make sure to mention your keywords, not only in your H1 tags, but also in the body of your content. While you want to include your your keywords often, don’t oversaturate your content. Remember, Google will also consider the use of synonymous keywords. Meta Description: This is the description you provide search engines in your <meta> html tags. The meta description you use for your website should also include the keywords you want your target audience to search for. Permalinks:  This refers to permanent URL links that are specific to your website. It is advantageous to include your keywords in these permalinks in order to be considered for higher ranking on Google. For example, if you have a gardening website and want your consumers to find the keywords “lawn products,” it would be optimal for you to have a page with a permalink such as: http://www.gardening.com/lawn-products. Backlinks: This is when other websites link back to yours by providing their viewership with your website URL. For example, if Forbes mentions your business on their website and includes a link for their readers that leads back to your website, this would be considered a backlink. The more of these you have, the better your opportunities are to be higher ranked in your keywords. However, the source of your backlinks also play a factor in ranking. Google values quality and the bigger the source your backlink come from (ie. Forbes, NY Times, .gov addresses etc.) the better chances you have for being ranked higher in your SERPs. Be advised that buying backlinks from websites is considered ‘black hat SEO’ and is not recommended. Here is a quick video from Google Search Evangelist, Matt Cutts who speaks briefly about how all of these factors affect your website’s ranking on a keyword search: SERPs on desktop vs mobile: Is your website mobile friendly? Search engines are constantly evolving and changing their algorithm in order to keep up with the constantly developing new technology. With the rise of the mobile device, more and more individuals are searching on the go. Google has noticed the increased mobile traffic of its users and has rolled out a new addition to their search ranking metrics. If your website is not mobile friendly (responsive, optimized to be viewed on various mobile screen sizes), Google will rank your website lower on the search rankings. However, this will only affect your mobile search rankings. Search rankings from a non-mobile device such as a desktop computer or laptop will not be affected. This is something to keep in mind if you know your specific target market is more likely to search for your keywords on a mobile device (i.e. your product is a mobile app). What about paid rankings? If your business has expendable revenue, achieving that #1 spot on a search engine can be money well spent. The image below identifies the advertisement sections where you can bid for certain keywords and be placed above the organic searches. Remember that google also prioritizes these paid ranking advertisements as seriously as their organic searches. The more relevant your website is to the search keywords, the better positioning you will get and possibly cheaper pay per click pricing. Be advised that certain keywords can be more expensive than others. Make sure to budget appropriately. Your SEO strategy should be a long term process Getting placed on the first page of a Google search doesn’t happen overnight. Your SEO strategy needs to be a continuous process. As technology develops, search engines also adapt to these changes by altering their algorithms that define how you website gets ranked. Stay on top of your SEO strategy and make sure that it is up to date. Your SEO strategy will go a long way for you and your business with the proper maintenance. Not only will you have your current customer base, but you can passively accrue traffic to your website by being present in the top 5 searches for your keywords. Customers will be able to find you and your business easily when looking up relevant information that pertains to your business. A good rule of thumb to keep on top of your SEO strategy is to research the tactics used by your competitors.  Google your own keywords and see who places in the top 5 searches then analyze their websites to see how and why they are  being placed in the top rankings. By working on the components mentioned in this article, you should have a good head start on boosting your rankings.

Team Member Profile: David Bryant

  Hometown: Royal Oak, Michigan Position: T3 Systems Architect I Been with InMotion Hosting since: September 2013       How did you get started in the web hosting field? I had taken an internship with InMotion’s corporate IT department while I was in school. Applying my Linux background to the job earned me a part time position as a Systems Administrator, and the rest is history. What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? I am a member of the Tier 3 Systems Architecture department. Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about? I would love to get my hands on a high end router for my home network, ideally one that I can build myself. What would you like to tell us about yourself? I got my start with writing code on an Arduino microcontroller, teaching myself C while following tutorials. This instilled a deep passion for technology, and ultimately led to my love of Linux and hacking. Had I not tinkered with the technology in my home, I would not be where I am today. Describe your personality in one word? Mean.

The 8 Minute Promotion

The 8 Minute Promotion 8 minutes is the amount of time it takes for the sunlight from the sun to reach the Earth. On the flip side, 8 minutes is also an important number to us, as that is the amount of time it takes to sign up your domain, and hosting to get your website online. Soon (and by soon we mean June 21st) the official day of Summer will be upon us. Pagans used to call this day “Midsummer,” and even Shakespeare took the celestial event as a name for one of his plays with “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” It’s a special time of the year, and we want to celebrate it with you! We want to know what YOU are doing on your website, your blog, or your online store to promote Summer. If you are an InMotion Hosting customer email us with your website, and a short description of how you’re using digital marketing to get more traffic, or get more sales. Pictures or screen shots are a plus! Get on the list! The winner of the most creative promotion, creative/graphic, or engaging social post will be featured on InMotion Hosting’s July newsletter. It’s a great way to promote your business, and it’s our way of saying thank you to you!  

How to Get the Most out of Social Media Week 2015

Social Media Week is launching this June 8th to the 12th, and the shores of Santa Monica will be buzzing with hype as the whole week calls on the tech hub of Southern California to present its best and brightest in the field. InMotion Hosting is only happy when you are. When your website grows, the happier you become and the harder we work to keep you growing and managing that growth. Just over the past 5 years, we’ve been proponents of social media. You should already know the importance of social media and how useful these platforms can be for you! Check out these resources to get familiar if you need a refresher: We created ‘QuickTagger‘ How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to your Website Social Media Plugins for your Website Using Social Media to Bring Traffic to your Site Adding Social Media Buttons to your Website And now it’s time to get back into the rink and find out the tech, trends and fresh ideas of social media. InMotion Hosting will be at Social Media Week 2015 because that’s where new innovations will be talked about – and where the trends of the industry by the industry leaders will be dictated. We will be gathering data and intelligence and we’re not looking to keep it for ourselves. If you want to get the most out of the week, follow us  sign up here and we’ll send you a comprehensive list of our notes from the event as well as any offers we hear of, and new tech that’s coming to market Send me Social Media Week notes: About Social Media Week Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world. Human connectivity is being reimagined and SMW seeks to understand how humanity and technology will come together to change the ways we live, work and create.

Effective networking strategies to build your small business’s customer base

The key to developing a profitable company is a growing customer base interested in purchasing your goods or services. In order to build this demand, it is critical to create a process for scouting and developing new clientele. Building your customer base will take time and effort but the important part is to focus on finding out who your target audience is, where to find them, and how to captivate them. Defining your target audience should be top-of-mind when expanding your customer base. You want to qualify potential customers and not waste your time or money pursuing unqualified leads and contacts. Analyze your company and product and ask yourself the following questions: Who would be interested in buying my products? How and where will I sell my products/service? How did my competitors get started? Who has already bought my products? After you have defined your customer and their purchase cycle, start networking! Below are a few ways to actively seek your target audience and find qualified purchasers. 1) Events: A big part of growing your customer base is networking. People use the term “networking” all the time, but essentially networking is any way in which you cultivate productive relationships for your business. Attending events and conventions that are relevant to your industry is a perfect place to immerse yourself in the right crowd of potential customers. Take time to socialize with other business owners, exchange business cards, and gather information. Ask pointed questions to help understand your customer and make sure to LISTEN to what they have to say. Often times their pain points differ drastically from what you initially perceived. To stand out and really be ahead of the game, give a talk or presentation about your business. Public speaking builds credibility with your audience and prospective clients. It puts a face on your company: a person that your customers can talk to, relate to, and ask questions. Relevant: How Much to Spend Online Marketing 2) Use Social Media: Almost everyone in this day and age uses one of the following social media outlets: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Pinterest. Use this to your advantage. Create a brand profile and use social media to stay connected to your customers. Entice them to add and follow your company by providing special deals and updates. Make your brand known and gain visibility. Keep in mind when your customers follow, like, and share your content, they share it with the rest of their network. Incorporate an interactive aspect to your posts by including a poll or shareable picture. Remember, keep it simple and keep it interesting. You don’t want to spam your customers with useless content. 3) Create Email Campaigns: Use email service providers like Constant Contact or MailChimp to send and create emails for your customers. Take advantage of memorable dates, such as holidays, to plan for campaigns that are attractive to your customers and easy to remember. Find out what kind of emails resonate with your particular recipients by interpreting the email analytics. Develop an email marketing strategy to retain your customers and keep them coming back! Below is a snapshot from MailChimp to show you how easy it can be to decipher how well your email campaigns are doing. See how many people open your email and click your provided links. Sometimes finding new customers is as easy as pleasing your current ones.  Have a good solid product; listen to your clients’ complaints and address them. Reward them for being your customer; show them you care by listening and working out their problems. A company that is customer oriented will retain and develop a much larger customer base. Once you know your current customers are satisfied with the quality of product or service you sell, they won’t hesitate to refer you to their friends and family looking for a similar product or service.

Team Member Profile: William Miles

Hometown: Lansing, MI Position: Data Center Operations Supervisor Been with InMotion Hosting since: January 2014 How did you get started in the web hosting field? I have always been interested in servers and networking. Working in the computer industry starting at the age of 16 (I got to bypass that teen-age food industry part) I’ve always been able to find my place.  The field is always changing, and you very seldom do the same thing more than one day in a row.  When I learned that servers and networking was where I had the most fun, I explored how I could use both of these and still have fun with what I do everyday.  Web hosting was it! What is your current role at InMotion Hosting? What do you like most about it? Currently I am the Data Center Operations Supervisor.  This has me handle the day-to-day, as well as long term projects for our data centers.  I get to be the first to play with the new gear and also work the occasional long night to implement said new gear.  This is a fast-paced role, and you need to be sure you are always ready for what tomorrow brings. Coolest gadget you own, want to own or have read about? Coolest gadget I own is a dual authentication USB3 32GB Flash drive that has full hardware level encryption in it.  It requites both a finger print as well as a password in order to allow access to any of the data stored on it.  It is both very functional as well as very secure. What would you like to tell us about yourself? I enjoy what I do here at InMotion Hosting.  I have taken the job that was offered to me, and molded it into my ideal career with the assistance of the excellent leadership that I have been working with.  I plan to be here many years, and hope to achieve so much more than I already have. Describe your personality in one word? Undefined.

4 Things We Learned During Small Business Week 2015

4 Things We Learned at the 5th Annual Small Business Week Event sponsored by Constant Contact InMotion Hosting attended the 5th Annual Small Business Week put on by Constant Contact at Pasadena City College on May 13th, 2015. The event was organized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a primary sponsor. The event brought together over 1,000 business owners, social media professionals, marketers and web designers and hosted them in small business workshops and keynote lectures orated by business leaders. InMotion Hosting had the opportunity to attend a variety of these workshops and lectures. A lot of them had some major similarities in the concepts that they shared in order to establish a successful business. Here are some business solutions that will help you promote your business and build a stronger customer following.   1) Email is Not dead! Whoever started the rumor that “email is dead” must have had a marketing campaign go awry, because email is most definitely alive! Email addresses are the greatest asset that you can get at a conference – especially one that is tailored to small businesses or your specific industry. People opt in on their own volition because they’ve liked you (or what you’ve said) enough to offer you a way to keep in touch with them(i.e. they want to hear from you). Email addresses are free and nearly effortless to collect, and once you have enough people opt in to your email list – you’ll have yourself leads to contact in the event of a promotion. Email marketing can only be dead if you’re doing nothing with those email addresses. Check out: E-mail marketing 101  2) Be Useful to Your Customers If you either have a business with a list of products or you’re looking to start your first business, always remember to ask yourself: What does this product solve? Products are popular to consumers because they are useful to consumers. Part of creating a successful business is bringing people onboard and then helping them become successful. Tesla Motors can’t sell a $100,000 car run by a battery if consumers didn’t want to save on gas. The same thing applies to SaaS platforms or web design. Sell useful products, but more than that, offer your customers information on how they can improve their business, their website, their product, and even themselves. Check out:  319+ Site Hosting Tools You Can Have  3) Say Thank You When you have a consumer become your client, they essentially are the people who are proving that your business model works. Does this not invoke a feeling of gratitude in you? Sure, sure, they should be thankful for your product or service, but remember, they took the chance on your new service, so – be thankful. This has to do with the model of good customer service (and social responsibility too), but more than that it’s just a nice thing to do. Some might say “nice doesn’t sell!” – on the contrary though! “Nice” doesn’t need to sell. Consumer loyalty is your goal with this gesture, and in order to have the loyalty of your customers, if nothing else, say “thanks.” This can be done through text, phone, social media, whatever you want. We suggest not up-selling in a ‘thank you email’ if you’re really just starting out. A promotional offer that you can afford (like a discount on service) would should be considered if you’re large enough of a business to handle the promotion. 4.)  When Going to Trade Shows: Be There! A lot of times, especially these last 10 years, everyone who is seen on a smart phone is assumed to be ‘busy.’ There is no doubt that if you are a business owner, you’re busy with ideas, content, emails, promotion, etc, etc, etc.  BUT. When you go to trade shows, workshops, and conferences, it’s tempting to check your email because you don’t know anyone around there and you want to look “successful” by being “busy.” And hey, maybe you really are busy. But you’ve taken the day off to attend an event to network and learn – so we suggest you: network and learn. Some of the best business partnerships start at events and conferences, and we’ll guarantee you that shaking a hand and getting a cell phone number from a potential business partner can do more than a blast email to people who have never met you. Be there – Be aware  In all – customers and business owners are people. Sounds like an obvious fact but it’s something we sometimes forget when we are blasting off as entrepreneurs or in an enterprising role. Sure there are those who just want something and go to a place to process the transaction – you can offer that too. But when you’re looking to grow your business, you have to communicate, and actively reach out to your customers. If you don’t, then your competition will most definitely have that advantage over you.   

Coding a Revolution: Code District and its Mission

With the advent of coding becoming a Presidential Initiative and a growing extension of the S.T.E.M curriculum to get school children versed in the sciences and computer languages, it should be no surprise to anyone that we are amid a digital revolution. But all of these initiatives will fail if we, Generation X, lack the knowledge to understand what our children will very likely be fluent in: coding. It’s a collective effort  that needs ‘doers,’ and a small company called Code District is taking on the challenge, one meetup at a time. Last week, Code District hosted an event at InMotion Hosting (IMH) headquarters in Culver City, CA. The casual meetup was one in the many that have occurred at our offices. Just like we’re dedicated to getting businesses running with a proper host for their website, Code District is dedicated to instructing students taught by industry professionals to educate the masses in the computer sciences. Relevant: Girl Develop It – Steering the Future of Woman In Tech The event that took place last week at IMH was titled, “Under the Sheet of PhantomJS,” with Buddy Sandidge as the event’s presenter.  PhantomJS is a computer programming  script that is used to enable website navigation and the tracking  of user behaviors online for specific web pages. The event was free to attend and had a successful turn out of a dozen learners! Code District organizes these meet ups in order to access the community at large into garnering skills in programming to become smarter professionals or to completely grow a new skill in computer programming. Find out about a Code District’s future MeetUp or check out their formal curriculum.  

Top VPS Hosting provider chosen by WebHostingSecretRevealed.net

Being Ranked the Best VPS Hosting Service Every business starts out with the philosophy that their operation is going to be different. They are going to do what the “big boys” aren’t doing and that’s engaging with their customers and listening to their comments, suggestions and even complaints (if it comes to that). And, for the most part, when a business is small enough it can handle this level of rapid and personalized service. But as most businesses do, you grow – which is great for you and your bottom line, but what usually takes the first hit? Yeah, customer service. Sometimes you’re so busy growing your company that you let customer service dwindle to a “just enough” attitude. It happens, but it shouldn’t! InMotion Hosting prides itself as being a top web hosting provider with the industry’s highest rated customer service. As we’ve grown our products, we’ve made it an absolute necessity to grow the capabilities of our customer service team in order to continue to thrill our customers. Take our Virtual Private Servers / VPS Hosting package. It has become an industry leading product, being one of the first to offer free SSDs with 20x faster hosting as well as the best resources for the lowest prices. WebHostingSecretRevealed.net, an authority in ranking web hosting companies has picked us as their top pick for VPS Hosting, for the last three years in a row. We have gained this authority within the select and discerning web hosting community not only because of our product features like Free SSDs, Free backups, Unlimited websites, Full cPanel license, and our competitive pricing but also significantly because of our continued focus on always keeping the customer first.   As WebHostingSecretRevealed.net mentions: “No matter how efficient and feature rich your VPS hosting provider is, some problems arise from nowhere at times. In such situations, you need a handy support team to sort things out. If they are unable to provide 24/7 customer support, they simply are not worth the money you spend. If you face some serious issue with your website and it goes unfixed for too long, you may lose your potential visitors and that could mean you a lot depending on the type of website you have. It is better to test the customer support team of a hosting provider before determining whether to go with them.” We implore you. Give InMotion Hosting a call. Ask about our VPS hosting VPS Hosting. Sign up for a monthly plan to test us out. We’ll check in right after registration to make sure you can set-up your VPS the way you want. We offer 24/7 U.S. based technical support and our well- structured and detailed online support center has all the answers you need. We’re not here to just sell products, we’re here to see you succeed. Your success is our success – and it all starts with a conversation. So what are you waiting for? Explore your options for success! Call us at 888.321.HOST(4678)

Dream On: National Small Business Week 2015

Making Small Business a Reality As a small business owner, you wear many hats during the initial phases of selling your product or service. You need to get a lot done but may not have the time or even the skill sets. You need to design a flier, but you don’t how to use Photoshop. Or you need to file state, local and federal taxes but you have no clue about accounting. You have figure it out as you go along. It’s daunting to say the least.   Along with a million things you need to do to run a business, add to that a website that’s excruciatingly slow, has multiple server crashes and to top that a hosting company that doesn’t really care about you. Sometimes it seems like as a small business you never get a break! You are not alone, but there is hope for you! This week the Small Business Administration has announced its annual “National Small Business Week” and InMotion Hosting couldn’t be happier to be part of it. The National Small Business week – May 4th to May 8th – put on by the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been announced by the President of the United States since 1963 in recognition of the colossal contributions that American small business owners and entrepreneurs have on this country’s ideals and economy. InMotion Hosting believes it has the responsibility to support the American Dream by providing the hosting infrastructure, services and support that allow small businesses have a presence on the internet. Whether your small business is in a garage or in a high-rise office. Whether you are on your own or have a team. A website is your business’s access to the over 3 billion people connected to the web, and we’re here to help you get (and stay) in front of them. Tag your business posts with #BizInMotion & #DreamSmallBiz if you’re a small business yourself or to show your support for small business! Every business idea starts as a dream, and this week – you can make that dream a reality with a website. We’re not here to just sign people up for hosting – we’re here to see your website through to launch and support you post-launch! That’s real talk, it’s not a pitch. We believe in supporting businesses. Even our flagship product is named Business Hosting. InMotion is employee-owned with a core set of values, not influenced by the motivations of shareholders. With our U.S.-based customer support centers that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and our multiple US server locations, InMotion Hosting wants your American business grounded and running after the moment you sign up on a hosting plan.       Related:  Read our “Core Values: What Does Your Business Stand For?” blog post You may not reach success today, but we believe you’ll be closer to it than you were yesterday once you start your website. Because we know the American entrepreneur. We are one of them.  

Girl Develop It – Steering the Future of Women in Tech

Anytime the topic of technology arises in the news or media, it’s about what new ‘thing’ has been invented to make our lives easier. We are always talking about a new app that helps find the cheapest gas, or an app that edits photos with a seemingly endless amount of filters and features. But one thing we sometimes fail to focus on are the people behind these technologies. The minds that work and code meticulously through endless hours, and sleepless nights to bring us these advancements in technology. We appreciate the faces behind each line of code written, and we want to share the story of one such group that is making it possible for women to prominently step into these roles. InMotion Hosting has always believed that the work place runs at its peak efficiency and creativity when there is a diverse group of backgrounds collaborating to build better products. That’s why for the past few years, IMH has been making the push to be a pillar of support in the tech industry by supporting groups and niche organizations that want to grow in the tech field. Most recently, in the last year, we’ve partnered up with Girl Develop It, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment.   Inmotion Hosting recently hosted a Girl Develop It event at our Los Angeles office. Afterwards, we had a chance to sit down with Natalie Macleas, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Girl Develop It and talk about the organization’s goals as well as the reasons on why there is a need for groups such as Girl Develop It, especially in our times.     InMotion Hosting (IMH): What are some of the barriers to entry in the tech industry for women? Natalie Macleas (NM): The biggest barrier is intimidation. Being the only woman in the room when all your coworkers on a development team are male builds up pressure. There is an almost, ‘imposter syndrome’ that females might feel. But GDI isn’t like that! Our name says “girl” but we have had men comes to our meetings and even teach some of our classes! IMH: If we could be so bold – what is the need for an organization like yours? NM: There is a daunting truth that doesn’t sit well with me. Half of the American work force is made up of women but less than a quarter of that half pursue careers in the tech industry. There has even been a 7% decrease in women pursuing computer science degrees this last year. Our organization works to empower women and get them to understand that there is not only a place for them in tech, but that we are available to help and guide them into the field. IMH: What is the advantage for encouraging more women to build their careers in the tech industry? NM: So many! Let me start with the personal, and then the industry advantage. Personally, for women, tech careers are the best because of the ability to work from home. Many of our members are active moms, and they find that they can pursue a solid career and manage their family much more efficiently. There is a great option for flexibility in terms of a work life balance. For the tech industry itself, I would say diversity! Studies have shown how a workplace that is inclusive of both genders are more productive and creative. Do you know of a company that wouldn’t want to be more productive and creative? IMH: Nope! NM: Exactly. IMH: Let me throw a scenario at you. I’m a female just out of high school that sees you on MeetUp. I read your event, your pitch and a little bit about the organization. How will I benefit from joining GDI as opposed to taking a class at my Community College? NM: First let me say that those two things should not be exclusive. We think that GDI is a great compliment to a community college course. So girls should still take classes if they can. Having said that, I also think that the faculty members are not immersed in the industry and there is a gap between what they teach and what the industry needs. GDI fills in that gap because our teachers and members are actively part of the tech worldbecause of their careers or network. The networking and mentoring that members receive from GDI is superb because you get to talk to women that are in the roles you are training for. IMH: What do you hope GDI will achieve for women in the next 5 years? NM: GDI already has done so much for women. There are currently 35,000 members nationwide in over 46 cities. But I’d say for us in general and for the Los Angeles chapter specifically that we continue to enable the empowerment of women to advance their careers within the tech industry.  For example, we had an accountant who trained with us, then applied to and was hired at a startup. Then we had another member, a chef, who joined our ranks and is now building her own app. These are the stories that inspire us to keep moving forward. IMH: What has been the hardest challenge GDI has faced? NM: The toughest thing is really a collective of three. We need venues, teachers and students. Sometimes we have groups made up of a handful of members and other times we have full capacity meetings. As of now, the Los Angeles Chapter of GDI has reached a membership level of 900 members, and we’re hoping to grow to 1,000 by the end of April. Currently the class structure is usually one teacher and one to two teacher aides to give everyone an equal learning opportunity. It works out great and we always satisfy everyone’s needs that shows up – so it does work out. IMH: Has there been a general atmosphere of support or push back from male counterparts in the industry? NM: I can’t think of anything negative. They have really been supportive and as I mentioned before, we have males volunteer as teachers or guest speakers. IMH: What are some challenges that you yourself have faced in your career as a female in the tech industry? NM: My opinion wasn’t as valued as much. There are the classical biases that you might expect – information delivered through a male is more valuable than that of a female, even though I was the senior member of the group. I remember this one time I went to a DevDays conference and in a room of 250 people there were a total of 5 girls! IMH: Why did you ultimately decide to start/join with a group such as GDI? NM: I was reading the original blog of Vanessa Hurst and Sarah Chipps (the two founders of the Girl Develop It). Their message about “we’re tired of hearing that more girls need to be in tech,” and that no one was doing anything about it really resonated with me and my own experience. So when they announced their plans to start GDI, I jumped on the opportunity and emailed them asking if they were looking for anyone to open a Los Angeles brand.  When the time came, I applied and now we have our branch approaching 1,000 members!     IMH: And, just for fun. Who was your favorite character as a child? NM: Has to be Laura Ingalls Wilder. IMH: How about your favorite 90’s tune? NM: Summer Time by Jazzy Time – which I’ll probably listen to right now. In all, Natalie Macleas and the Girl Develop It group is a new hope for change in the tech industry. Change not just for the sake of change, but change for the sake of progress. With a more diverse tech workforce, one made of talented women and men working side by side, we look forward to quicker advances in technology. Girl Develop It will be hosting their next event at InMotion Hosting’s Los Angeles Office on May 6th, 2015. If you’d like more information you can RSVP to that event here.  

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