Transparency. Being transparent is different from being honest. You needn’t share every detail about your life just for the sake of being honest. Always be honest, and be transparent when it adds value to what you’re writing. (Because everything we write must serve the greater good, you won’t ever see pictures of us using the restroom—that’s just not relevant.)
Show proof that you’re part of their community: You can show your readers that you’re part of their community in a number of ways. Do you write for other blogs or sites that are in your niche or actively contribute to popular communities and forums? What about adding a testimonial or social post from someone in the industry who read and liked your blog.

It’s pretty easy to get wrapped up in the “How to start a profitable blog in 10 minutes and earn $5000 / month while you sleep!” articles that you see out there. But the thing is, those articles leave out some details – they do this on purpose, so that you go ahead and start your blog RIGHT NOW, without giving it any thought – so the writers can earn commission on hosting sales. Many bloggers earn so much money from hosting sales with their how to start a blog tutorial that they hardly even need to try making money anywhere else on their blog.
Creating a job board on your site is a great way to make your blog "sticky" - meaning you get visitors returning again and again. It's also a great way to earn some extra cash while also providing a valuable service. Darren Rowse from ProBlogger runs a hugely popular job board where he charges $70 for a 30-day listing. With around 70 listings per month, he's bringing in some solid earnings with relatively little investment of time or money.

Readers want to be entertained. Do you have a fascinating story? Do you lead a wildly interesting life? Are you outrageously funny? Everyone needs down time and plenty of blogs exist purely to entertain. With all the available entertainment these days, the key is providing something totally unique. As a bonus, you could be entertaining and helpful at the same time. For example, if your quirky family raises llamas, talk about how you raise llamas not just that you raise llamas. Entertaining + helpful = a great combination.
Your SEO strategy should start with the basics. Make sure your website is optimized for speed and mobile devices. You can also install a plugin like Yoast SEO to help you set up a sitemap and get your indexes, keywords, meta titles and meta descriptions in order. You should learn how to perform proper keyword research after that as well as how to use those keywords in your posts. After that, you can learn about more complicated SEO techniques, such as white hat link building and brand building. Of course, creating unique and valuable content will help with this as well.
“I signed up about a month ago and set up a page with the help of Jennifer. She responded immediately and helped all the way to my satisfaction. I foolishly tried doing my 2nd site with WordPress/BlueHost on my own and was road-blocked, frustrated, and told that for $80 I could sign up for a training seminar because they “aren’t there to help with design” lol What was I thinking!!
Jeff, first article of yours I’ve read. Excellent stuff! I’m following Michelle as well and am floored at the potential. I’m starting right now to implement all your suggestions. I’ve not yet set up my website email, but hey, one bite at a time, right? I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the interwebs. At this moment, by site is a blank slate, but I have several posts written in Google Docs of which to choose from. Cheers!
Edit yourself. We know you’re ready to click “publish,” but take a minute to self-edit your work. (The Write Life has some great self-editing tips.) If it’s laced with errors, you’re going to lose credibility — and readers. Recruit a friend or family member to have a second look. If no one’s available, read your work aloud. This is a great way to view it from a different angle and identify areas that need polishing.
First of all, happy new year and once again you did a great job by sharing such a fantastic blog with all of us. It’s beneficial for everyone searching for this topic. I read many blogs on this topic, but the way you describe the things is really impressive. I just loved it. You make me feel proud that I am a reader of your blog. I read all of your blogs on a regular basis and honestly saying all of them are super awesome. Thanks for making such an excellent website for all of us and sharing such type of unique content. Keep sharing. I appreciate your work. Once again Thank You so much for this lovely post.
Protip: Your post or page title (i.e. what your readers see) does not have to be the same as your permalink (i.e. what appears in the search bar). Your post title should be easy to read by humans, whereas your permalink can be easier to read by computer bots. For example, I titled my page Tools I Use & Recommend but I edited my permalink to simply “tools” which you can see in the address bar at the top of your screen). The shorter permalink can be easier to link to and advantageous for SEO.
Here's how affiliate programs work: You get a special tracking link from the company you're an affiliate for. Then, you'll place that link within posts on your blog, emails to your blog subscribers, and weave it in elsewhere that you reach your readers. When someone clicks on that tracking link and completes a purchase, sign up (or occasionally another metric), then you earn either a set fee or percentage of that sale.
Over time, as you move from this beginning phase of learning how to start a blog and into the stages where you're progressing in different ways to drive traffic to your website, growing your established base of readers and focusing on improving your domain authority, you'll be able to start competing on the bigger topics—but for now, picking a niche is the name of the game.
However, if you’re looking to build a business out of your blog or make money blogging, I would highly recommend some of the paid (yet still very affordable) options that I’m going to cover below. If you're on the fence about whether to use a free or paid hosting provider to get started... here’s why you should consider (an affordable) paid hosting provider:

Digital products are another awesome way to make money with your blog. Rather than selling someone else’s product or service, you’re creating something of your own and selling it directly to your tribe. There are many options to choose from when it comes to digital products, but we’re going to look at what we’ve seen and consider to be the top three.

Thank you so much for the information! I’ve always wanted to blog since I love to write and have a minor in creative writing. My friends and family always told to start one as well but it always seemed too daunting. After somehow coming across your sight I read this post and for the first time felt I really could do you. You made it sound simple and possible. It does take work, yes, but your post was very encouraging and realistic. I’m just still in the building a blog stage, but hope to launch soon. I’m excited for this journey and it’s all thanks to your blog!
It’s good to have a main topic — but you can branch out from there. Many coupon bloggers post coupons, discounts, money saving ideas, ways to make money, as well as home related stuff like recipes, parenting, etc. Have you ever tried mind mapping? That would be a great way for you to discover if you have enough ideas for a blog on any given topic. Good luck and keep us posted!

Keep it simple: At the end of the day, the goal of starting a blog is to share content that can be easily consumed (read, watched, experienced). And unfortunately, a lot of fancy blog themes get in the way of that. Don’t get too drawn in by crazy looking themes that compromise on legibility and usability. If a theme looks good, but doesn’t help you share your thoughts and engage with readers, it’s not a good theme.

Okay? A what? Sorry if I lost you. However, if you're serious about ensuring the blog that you started will make some serious coin over time, you need what's called a value ladder and a sales funnel. If you've never heard of these two concepts, let me explain. First of all, you need a system for email marketing. There are plenty of great plugins and programs to send out emails.
Two of the most popular social media platforms in use are Facebook and Twitter. You can add native videos to Facebook and cater to those that love to watch videos, you can Tweet instant updates on Twitter and invite followers to check out your new blog post. And most importantly, no matter which network you use, you can expand your reach to an audience base you never even knew about.
Personally, if you have the resources I would go for the second option. Not only does this tell readers who you are and if they’re in the right place. But it also gives you a chance to show social proof (that other people have recognized you as a thought leader). Of course, you might not have this right away, so it’s perfectly fine to just go with the first option.
Advertising is easy to start, making it a popular income stream for many bloggers. However, it’s not nearly as lucrative as it once was and it requires a lot of traffic to be truly profitable. Also, it runs the risk of frustrating your readers (ever been on a site only to be assaulted by the ads?) and making your site look cheap and unsophisticated. Therefore, it’s not a top recommendation of mine.
The next step in starting a blog and eventually earning a healthy income, is to find a good domain name. Domain names are in high demand these days, and there are all sorts of new extensions available. However, I would recommend that you stick with the dot-com domain extension. If you can't find it through a regular search, try GoDaddy Auctions or another domain auctioneer.
It’s hard to get noticed when you cover topics on a broad scale. Everyone has their own set of problems, and every blog is trying to solve them. What you need is a niche that will help you target a specific market in the broader topic your niche belongs in. It’s important for you to define your niche before you start blogging or in the early stages of your blog, at the very least.
Bloggers like Michael Hyatt, Yaro Starak, Brian Clark, and Ramsay of Blog Tyrant (among many others) have learned to invest time, energy, and money on creating timeless and useful products. This information comes in the form of eBooks, software, themes, plugins, online courses, etc. so that their audience can learn and advance their understanding in a short amount of time.
Great article about the harsh realities of blogging. I started my regional movie reviews site in 2002 and did alright during the ‘golden years’ when just consistently cranking out content was enough to garner solid traffic numbers for the 2% conversion rate to mean something, cash-wise. I’m now in the tough process of overhauling the site for the new reality you’ve outlined, already creating supporting screening listings, as well as relevant video, audio ebook and other product content to extend my brand’s reach across different popular platforms. I think the biggest challenges I’ve faced are changing my old mindset about building email lists and selling advertising space versus social media and adding affiliate ads, and figuring out how to apply them in a smart fashion to grow the site’s income potential within the narrow context of what a regional movie review/reference site can be. The current ersa of adblocker as well as Firefox’s new anti-tracking browser hiding adsense and amazon ads by default doesn’t help either.
I recently hit my 5 year anniversary at my current job it got me thinking about what I actually want to be doing with my life. I’ve flirted with the idea of starting a blog for a few years, but it’s scary! You mentioned that not only is blogging a great way to communicate, it can also help you to become a better person and a better writer. I love a good opportunity to better myself, and I think I might have to give it a try!
And while the name you choose is one of the more important parts of setting up your blog, remember that it's something you can always change in the future—so don't let this step hold you back. Just choose something that's close to the topics you're planning to blog about, or you can even grab yourname.com or yournickname.com (like I've done with my blog here) and let's keep moving.
Every time you add a plugin to your site, you add more computer code to the back end. And more code means more for the search engines and other computer-y things to wade through. And more to wade through often means a slower site. No one likes slower sites, not readers and especially not search engines like Google (which we are all trying to please so they send visitors our way!).
Great post, thank you! I found this to be very useful. I have just got into the Pay Per Click method and it is a great way of building a passive income. Due to my niche, I have found it difficult to source good affiliate networks, but just today I have revisited the accounts I set up on Link Share and CJ, to my surprise they offer a good range of affiliate programs, many of which cater to my niche blog topic :)
I went to hostgator as per your instruction. Now I am confused as to whats the difference between “Register a new domain”and Ï already own this domain”? When I try to register myname.com in the register a new domain section it just says unavailable whereas its available in the I already own this domain section. So do I need to buy a new domain name separately before proceeding to hostgator or hosting and domain name come together? Ah I am really confused, please help!
For example, the hypothetical “haircare.com” tells readers what the blog is about, but it doesn’t offer any “angle” on what kinds of hair care advice your blog offers. The hypothetical “Frizzfighters.com” is still clearly about hair care, but it gives off a fun vibe through its alliterative name and communicates your strong brand identity (funky, focused on a particular hair issue, hip).
This is very useful information for me as a beginner blogger. I figured to try blogging as a project while working on my MBA program online this year. I haven’t finished publishing my blog site yet. Still checking out some tips and advice prior to publishing. A bit nervous but after reading other new bloggers helps build my confidence. Hopefully I get the nerves to publish by end of January. As you mentioned, I ended up using WordPress.
Keep reading and listening and pick up inspiration. Stay up to date and deepen your knowledge about your niche. Read books and blogs about it. Listen to podcasts and watch videos. When you have new ideas flowing into your mind each week and month you’ll come with new stuff yourself. Or combine what you have learned. Or you can share your experience with what you learned from someone else.
So let me start out by answering your first question: where does the income come from? I go into this in greater detail in my How to Make Money from a Blog post, but it sounds like you’ve got the idea. My main source of income is through ads, but I also earn money through my books and courses, affiliate commissions, my Etsy store, and occasionally sponsored posts.
Great information altogether, but my main question still hasn’t been answered. I think I have Pinterest figured out and my traffic is gradually growing. I haven’t reached 5000 views per month yet but right now it seems like I will get 1000 page views in August and I started Pinterest mid-July with 0 views. I’m sure could be better, but not too bad either.
Thanks, I’m 59 years old and at a point in my life that I believe I’m starting to understand the meaning of life. Though this understanding is still in its infancy I think I’m ready to start asking some questions. Is it plausible to have a Blog that explores is subject matter and do you think it would be interesting to others. I’ve not written anything since high school but on my way home from work I had a Moment of clarity and then this idea thank you for your time.
Thank you Jessica for the information. I’ve read just about all of your blog posts and they have helped me, someone that loves using tech but not so tech savvy when it comes to building a blog. You made it easy right from the start and as I was thinking of questions they were being answered as I read a little more. Thanks again. (if you go to my web page it’s still in demo mode until I have enough material to begin!)
Before you start choosing a domain name and theme, you need to figure out what topics your blog is going to cover. What are you going to write about on a regular basis? You may already have an idea in mind, but if not, I suggest doing some intense brainstorming. Write a list of your passions, hobbies, and dreams, and a second list with your skills, experiences, and areas of expertise. Then start thinking about possible blog post ideas for each topic. If you're coming up short on article ideas, it's probably not the best topic for a niche.

I’m a bit confused…are you talking about using WordPress.com or WordPress.org when setting a blog? I heard not to use WordPress.com for a blog even though its free because the blog isn’t really “yours” and they can do what they want with it. Can you clarify the difference between the .com and .org and which one should be used in setting up a website and blog?
Ruth Soukup is a writer, blogger, mom of two, and the successful founder of the blog LivingWellSpendingLess.com. Since launching in 2010, Living Well Spending Less has become one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the net, receiving more than one million visitors per month. She is also the founder of the Elite Blog Academy, as well as the author of the bestselling blogging guide How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul), and her next book, Living Well, Spending Less: 12 Secrets of the Good Life (Zondervan) will be released December 30th, 2014. For more information about Ruth, please visit LivingWellSpendingLess.com.
Wow really great list of tips, even for non beginners! I agree Ahrefs is probably the best SEO tool for bloggers, but honestly Google Webmaster Tools is the first place to start to monitor your search traffic. Ahref is really expensive, and for new comers, probably overkill. I recently started a new blog, and am more than happy with the data provided by Webmaster Tools.
I’m trying to get going for the minimum cost in the first instance. So, my question; is it possible to have more than one blog (or niche) attached to a single website? I have been advised it will cost around £250 for a basic WordPress site (once you have domain, hosting, theme etc). I have done a lot of work with small businesses as an advisor and specialise in marketing. I’m considering offering online courses and e guides. however, I would also like to blog about my hobbies of walking and motor homing. It’s just where to start!
The more involved you become with blogging, the more your creative juices will flow. That’s one reason why blogging is so popular. As you gain knowledge about your topic, the confidence you build in your followers and most importantly, in yourself, will soar. All of this leads to increased creativity. Keep an open mind and enjoy your new-found confidence in your own abilities!
To make your site safe, all you need to do is turn on the SSL certificate. It controls the data transfer on your site and makes it unreadable to nosy people who might sniff the data from an outside. But before you start worrying that only technicians and internet experts know how to do this, let us show you how you can get a FREE secure connection in just a few steps:
This post is exactly what I was looking for as I start the new year. Back in my college years I would write for several different college lifestyle blogs and I vowed when I graduated I would keep it up…fast forward 3 years…still no blog. I’m not big on resolutions, but I really really really am going to make it happen this year. This weekend is dedicated to getting my blog set up and running! Thanks for this post!
Great information altogether, but my main question still hasn’t been answered. I think I have Pinterest figured out and my traffic is gradually growing. I haven’t reached 5000 views per month yet but right now it seems like I will get 1000 page views in August and I started Pinterest mid-July with 0 views. I’m sure could be better, but not too bad either.

Hi Anna! I love that you already know blogging is your calling! You’re totally right that there are many possible directions to go, but you won’t truly know which is the one that will make you most successful until you get out there and try a few things. Also, with practice, you’ll be much more likely to see posts take off. I don’t think you need to be afraid to start, though. As long as you start your blog off the way I’ve outlined in the post, you’re going to have such a great start. This is everything I wish I would have known in my first years of blogging that would have helped me become successful so much faster. You can do it! And I hope you’ll stop by and give me an update about how you’re doing as you do get started :)

Hello! I read your article with pleasure. I was glad that you were not beating around the bush but instead said in a straight-forward way that if anyone expects results, she/he must invest in their business. You outlined few downsides of choosing to have a blog for free. I think this is a very crucial decision and it impacts the way future blogger will act in the future. I remember when I started 6 years ago, I wanted to reach the tops by not spending a single dime. I ended up with wasted hours, frustration and no single earned penny in my pocket. If we want to do something well, we need to invest proper resources. All the best in 2018!
“As a newer blogger, I have been wanting a conversation – a seasoned blogger to talk to me about the most popular ways to monetize my blog, the pros and cons of each of them, and give me realistic tips and goals to reach my future goal. Ruth did all of this. She has such a fantastic writing style that you feel like you are sitting down with her over a cup of coffee. The material is easy to navigate, covering the importance of good content before anything else, Pinterest, media kits, reviews, ads, and a whole lot more. Ruth is incredibly level-headed in her approach to monetizing her blog and truly believes and promotes that a blog full of good ideas, content and writing must come first. My favorite part is that every chapter ends with a “plan of action” which is great if you are truly looking to improve your blog. I can’t wait to put her tips and ideas into action and watch my blog grow!“
A blogger should always be ready to learn. I m still a learner. I read a lot of other blogs to gain more knowledge. Mostly bloggers share their experiences so that others can learn from them. So do spend some time to read other blogs so that you can increase your knowledge. I’m sure you are one of those who are willing to learn, and that’s why you are here. But even you achieve few goals and get initial success, don’t quit reading. Reading is an essential requirement which will help you to stay updated with the latest information.
Each of our team members has their own blogging stories. We’ve created numerous affiliate blogs, started blogging-based businesses, and know what it takes to create the right kind of content. In fact, not only do we have our own stories, but we’ve mentored and shared quite a few others on the blog as well! Here are a few highlights of those whose stories we’ve shared.
Once your hosting account is set up, it’s time to actually get WordPress up and running. Bluehost makes it really easy by installing WordPress in the background. You will be asked to choose a theme. A theme is like a skin for your blog. You can change your theme at any time. Scroll down and choose ‘Skip This Step‘. On the next screen, click on ‘Start Building‘ button to configure your blog.
If you are working with a 2-part system like Genesis, you’ll need to upload both the Genesis Theme Framework and the child theme of your choice. Again, read my post about choosing a theme for an explanation of this preferred type of system. If you try to upload your child theme and you do not have the Genesis Framework installed, it will not work. I recommend you upload the Genesis Theme Framework first, then repeat the process with your child theme.

That means, once again, you shouldn’t try to replicate what another blog is doing. Instead, you should choose one channel to focus on and master it before implementing additional channels. You’re obviously reading this post because you want to start to blog, which means you shouldn’t move into video marketing or podcasting until you’re publishing consistently and generating a consistent amount of traffic.


I learned very quickly that focusing on large-scale traffic was not necessarily the shortest path to a sustainable business. And I actually started being very blunt and firm about this in public, which “turned off” large numbers of readers who were not giving anything back. Paradoxically, though, the people who really resonated with my content started stepping up to the plate. I noticed I could sell something at $20 or at $797 and make the SAME number of sales. So I started focusing mainly on those willing to give back. And I finally started making enough money to quit my job.
Great post, blogging is hard. We run a travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to travel with a purpose, Do not just wander around the world aimlessly. (Like ours is to experience and document the Top 100 Travel Adventures) So many travel blogs do not really have a purpose or a niche. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.
“After a year and a half of blogging as a hobby, I decided to launch a second blog with the goal of making a profit. Ruth did an excellent job addressing all of the questions I had, including the ones that came up as I navigated through my new blogging journey. By implementing the strategies and action plans in Ruth's eBook, I was able to surpass my one-year blog traffic goal within 3 months from launching my blog. Not only that, I was also able to earn an income within 2 months! Today, my blog traffic and income continue to steadily grow. If you are serious about monetizing your blog, Ruth provides you with the necessary tools to yield tangible results.” Jesenia Montanez @ The Latina Homemaker

This is the ultimate path to monetary success and independence, something that may have had an influence in your decision to become a blogger. Affiliate marketing, sponsorships and advertisements are great, but they all make you dependent on another company. This means you won't have complete freedom when it comes to the type of content you want to create and the decisions you make.
Now you’ve got many different options to start earning online. If you saw something that really interests you, try it out and learn more about it. If you’re really wanting to make a full-time income online, you need to be dedicated to learning how to do what you want to do. There are tons of free resources out there. You just have to search for them!
When you log in to WordPress, there are some free design templates/themes (on the left-hand side under, appearance) that you can use to customize your site. However, if you’re willing to spend $35 – $199 you can get stylish, professional looking theme that will make you stand out from the crowd. You can either purchase a theme from the Marketplace (located on the left-hand sidebar in WordPress), or you can purchase a theme through Thesis or StudioPress (they have a much larger design selection than the Marketplace).

Make sure that you're always posting amazing content. The better your content and the more interesting your blog, the more people will link to it. There is nothing better than getting free links just because people liked what you have to say! Keep your mind on the SEO side of things, but also remember that you are ultimately catering to the needs of the people in your niche. If they like you, the search engines will like you.

Great post, blogging is hard and consistency is required. We run a Nature and travel blog and I think the most important thing we tell people is to start blogging with a purpose, Do not just start and end up soon. Niche is key and many miss out on that because they want to cover and do it all. Do not just start a blog because you think you will get rich quick and be able to travel the world. It takes a lot of work and lots of time.


Now, whether you use your own name or a product name for your biz really depends on which you prefer. I recommend choosing a name that makes you feel 100% authentically YOU, and at the same time encompasses your longer term vision. For instance, if you plan to grow your team beyond just you, a product name might be the way to go. Try to include keywords related to your blog’s focus so that people have an idea what your biz is all about.
One of the important aspects that you should look for is the uptime of the provider. Search around and see if there have been any major problems associated with that hosting provider. Search for reviews and decide on the price point you're willing to spend. You should also ensure that the hosting provider has a WordPress plugin if you're not all too familiar with setting up software such as WordPress on a hosting account.

That means, once again, you shouldn’t try to replicate what another blog is doing. Instead, you should choose one channel to focus on and master it before implementing additional channels. You’re obviously reading this post because you want to start to blog, which means you shouldn’t move into video marketing or podcasting until you’re publishing consistently and generating a consistent amount of traffic.


If you want to set yourself up for success, then you should invest in a self-hosted blog. A self-hosted blog is when you pay a company such as Bluehost to “park” your website in their “parking lot.” The company owns all the servers that you’re able to use to host your own content on (i.e. your blog). This service comes with a monthly fee of course.
Because we receive so many questions about how we specifically set up our blog, we decided to provide our readers with a soup-to-nuts, comprehensive guide for how to set up a blog. This blog post is intended to function as a how-to manual—a guide that will light the path toward launching your new blog—with easy-to-follow screenshots, step-by-step instructions, as well as additional rationale and insights to improve your blog.

Just wanted to check up and say hey. I’m following your lead of side hustle millionaire entrepreneurship. Building a million dollar online business is tough. People have to want to do this because there’s no guarantees. It’s certainly worth the risk because speaking from past experience in corporate America, I was miserable waking up everyday and going to work for someone else that got rich off of my work without me getting benefits. This is why I’m in the side hustle millionaire mindset like you. Thanks for keeping me inspired.
Great Pricing. TheMinimalists.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, which means that in addition to using their service, we also receive a commission for referring new customers. To be fair, though, we would still use Bluehost even if we weren’t an affiliate—we’ve used them for a long time. Ergo, we don’t recommend Bluehost just because we’re an affiliate (every hosting company offers a similar affiliate program); we recommend Bluehost because they are the best, most reliable option. Plus, because we’re a partner, Bluehost offers a 50% discount for The Minimalists readers: only $2.75 a month. That’s an outstanding price!

A very good sharing! Referring to point 13 I’m keeping the existing customers as well as attracting the new ones. The reason I’m still attracting the new ones is because whenever I broadcast my newsletter I noticed that the sales (own product and affiliates sales) and Adsense earning were increased too. If I could double up my list this means I can double up all my earnings.
So, what do you want to call your blog? Maybe it’s YourName.com. Maybe it’s YourBusinessName.com. Or maybe it’s a creative brand name you thought up. If you’re having a hard time thinking of a good domain name, try Wordoid, a wonderful naming tool that will give you plenty of great options. Just make sure you don’t buy the domain from them since Bluehost will give you a free domain. (If you’ve already purchased a domain elsewhere, that’s okay, too, because Bluehost will make it easy to transfer your existing domain during the set-up process.)

These pages are all pretty standard, but they’re also a great way to have some fun and let your readers get to know you. In fact, I use my About page to not only introduce who I am and tell my story, but also to explain my value proposition (for potential clients looking to hire me as a freelance content marketer) and show off some of my recent achievements.
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