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Matt last won the day on August 30

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About Matt

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  1. I'm still scarred from those images on Twitter. lol

  2. Matt

    The future of forums... let's talk!

    Facebook is killing page reach. A good friend has 23k followers on his page, but average organic reach is about 200 people. It's fallen off a cliff this year. They want to move everyone into groups to build communities. But they won't achieve that with the same depth that we can because there is limited scope with a monolithic newsfeed. I am active in a fairly good number of high level groups and they are telling everything "Build your email list, look at software outside of FB"
  3. Matt

    The future of forums... let's talk!

    Forums are not going anywhere. Forums are essential for support based communities. For businesses that want to build real high value SEO. For people that want full control of their data. For everyone that doesn't want to be at the mercy of Facebook algorithm changes. Hey Princeton. We've seen a huge increase in enterprise level demand for scalable forums, which is why we've put a lot of energy into the features you mention as well as basic things like S3 storage, ElasticSearch, etc. We handle a lot of very high end migrations and we now have lots of valuable insight into hosting, managing and supporting high-level communities. (And I'm responding to this comment, I'm not saying that is where IPS is going to focus solely on 🙂)
  4. Matt

    The future of forums... let's talk!

    I'm going to write a blog post on something similar, but I found a quote that I really like recently. "Social media is being alone together" "Forums are being together, together" Also, forum systems all you to control how much of your personal information you share. You can be relatively anonymous by using a screen name and a custom photo that is not your face. With social media, a few clicks gets you the person's life-story, how many cats they have and who they voted for. This undoubtably affects how you feel about that person's content. With forums, it's content around a shared interest.
  5. I love hearing your ideas. I am also reminded of the scene where Dr Evil demands a million dollars or else, and everyone starts laughing as the value of that sum is significantly less than it was in the 60s. It's a real eye opener when you search for dream properties with your newly won million and realise that you have to seriously reign in your expectations! Maybe next month we'll do "What would you do with a Billion that you had to spend in a week"
  6. This month, we ask the team the age-old question: If you won a million dollars (or denomination of your choice), how would you spend it? The question was almost guaranteed to bring a raft of hilarious replies that showcase our amazing humour and wit. Once again, we fall short and instead worry about taxation and retirement. You can't give it away these days. Marc S I couldn't decide on whether to answer this with what I would 'like' to do with it, or what I would actually do with it, so figured I would answer both. [So you just upgraded to $2,000,000? geez - Editor] If it was just what I would like to do with it, then I would probably follow the F1 season around the globe for a few years until I got bored. I'm very much into the sport, and with the locations, it would make for some great destinations to visit in between the races. What I would actually do is pay off my mortgage, buy another 3 reasonably priced houses to rent out to others, and live off the investment. Given I would then have a constant income without doing much, I would then try my hand at starting a business. Not entirely sure what that business would be to be honest [How to understand people with strong accents? - Editor], but I'm not the kind of person who would be able to just retire, without it driving me to insanity. I know nothing of F1, so hopefully this is OK Jennifer Pay off all of my debts. Buy a house. Put away some in a nice savings account both for me and my kiddos. Buy a serious amount of shoes, and get a few cosmetic tweaks. Who doesn't love shoes? Brandon If I had a million dollars, I'd pay off debts, stash some money away for savings and to have a healthy cushion [You give your soft furnishings a health check? - Editor], and I'd probably use a good chunk of it for travel. There are a lot of places I'd like to see in the world still and travelling is expensive. I’d like to visit some of the top touristy spots in South America, like Rio, Galapagos islands, Peru, Machu Picchu, etc. I’d like to see Australia, Japan, China, Alaska, the northern lights in the Arctic, and I would like to make it back to Europe at some point, particularly to see more of Italy and visit Greece. It's where we first met. Daniel I’ll go with my sailing boat dream which is still is a thing for my retirement, but if I would get tomorrow $1,000,000 I would do it right now too. [How? You're not getting the money until tomorrow - Editor] Get a Katamaran and sail sail sail... depending on time and budget and people.. mediterran sea, caribbean sea, then around South America, US west costs , Hawaii, Philippines , India. Around Africa .. back to Mediterran Sea. Stuart If I had $1,000,000 tomorrow, I'd probably be fairly sensible [Boring- Editor] by paying off the mortgage and spending some cash on finishing renovating the house. Then I'd buy either a Mustang GT or a Tesla Model 3 Performance (I know, one is an eco-machine and one is a gas guzzler!). The remainder I'd split between savings and stock market investment. Mark H A million dollars….. well, the government takes about 1/3 of that first off, so after taxes you get ~ $650,000. With that I’d pay off the house and credit card, buy a reliable vehicle, then the rest goes in the bank. Would not have enough to retire, even at my age. [It wouldn't last 2 years? - Editor] But it would eventually make retirement easier. The fun answer. Jim I would pay off my mortgage, buy a 2019 Corvette ZR1 (plus pay off following speeding tickets) and probably go to Australia. Then save the rest for a rainy day or you know, retirement. Mark W I live in Sydney, so probably buy a small apartment and carry on as normal. [How small is your current apartment? - Editor] Good day. Matt I'm not a huge fan of travelling, but I'd like to see a little bit more of the USA. I've been to Los Angeles, Nevada, Las Vegas, New York and Virginia but I'd like to see more of the middle bit too. Definitely Miami and New Orleans. [Dude, you need to check a map to see which states are in the middle - Editor] I love my work too much to think about retiring but I'd put some away for when I do. I might give some to my family if they ask nicely and are reading this (hopefully they are not). Yes I can. Andy (Andy did not contribute this month, so this reply is 100% fictional) I'd be too depressed with the massive income drop to think about how to eek out such a pittance. Lindy (Lindy never contributes, despite being threatened with a fabricated answer) I'd probably invest in a gas-tech company, buy more cars I'll only drive 3 days a year and spend the rest in Vegas. Charles (Charles also never contributes, so this is also fabricated) Please do not say funny things about me. Charles also has edit permissions to this blog. So there you have it, that's how we'd choose to spend a cool $1,000,000. We'd love to hear how you'd spend your imaginary windfall.
  7. Matt

    Intergation with Yandex Turbo

    Looks the same as Google's service. We discussed Google's service at length and the outcome was that it was not a suitable technology for dynamic sites such as a forum.
  8. Today, we're handing over our blog to long time client and friend to Invision Community, Joel R. @Joel R is often found hanging out in our community offering his insight and wisdom when he's not harassing the team in Slack. Over to Joel. Invision Community releases a variety of blockbuster features in every major update, which usually hits once a year. You may think those updates are not enough (it’s never enough!), but I wanted to spend some time talking about how to survey and incorporate those features into your community systematically. This blog post is not about any specific feature, but more a general and philosophical approach in integrating the newest features. My goal is to help you get the most out of every new IPS update! You may think that many of the features in the updates are easy to assess. You either want them or don’t. But it’s not that easy. I was inspired by some recent personal experiences when I found myself revisiting features from 4.2 and earlier. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I still had so much to experience and learn from those features, all of which I had previously reviewed when they were initially released. Invision Community comes packed with rich features, and no community manager is expected to be a master at everything. But a systematic approach is your best chance at making sure you get the most out of every feature. To give a personal example, I jumped into Social Media Promotion when it first came out in 4.2. The new Social Media Promotion offers several powerful tools for social media cross-posting, and I immediately wanted to learn how I could use it to cross-post content to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s an easy drop-in replacement for services like Hootsuite or Windscribe and allows community managers to drip interesting content to their social media pages for constant advertising and social engagement. Well, it turns out my Facebook and Twitter reach is nil because I have no followers (wish I was more Internet famous!), so I soon lost interest and dropped Social Media Promotion as a tool. A couple of months ago, I was assessing my homepage versus other popular websites when I came across a startling realization: I could make a gorgeously visual homepage on par with Instagram using Our Picks – a feature of Social Media Promotion. I would intentionally ignore the social media component, but use the other component of Our Picks for a beautiful new homepage. The context of using Our Picks for a homepage opened my eyes to a whole new way to evaluate Social Media Promotion, and what was once a feature on the back burner is now – literally - the front page of my Invision community. I love it! To help you incorporate new Invision features, I’ve brainstormed 5 strategies on how to make the most out of Invision feature updates. Each strategy comes with a mini-lesson for an action plan. 1. Learn the knowledge, not the feature. This is my personal motto when Invision Community releases a new feature. I’m more concerned about the knowledge and broader usage of the feature than implementing the feature itself: What’s the potential scope of the feature? In what context could the feature be used? How did Invision Community intend for the future to be used, and what are other ways it can be used? I’ve never worried about the technical configuration of the feature. You enable or disable some settings, and that’s it. But what’s more important is how the functionality can best be integrated and in what context. You never know when you might come back to the feature for the next great idea, and you can only do that if you possess the knowledge and application behind the feature. Lesson: Try every feature at least once, even if you don’t need it. 2. When at first you don’t succeed, take a nap. Some things take a while to think about. Don’t try to cram through all new Invision Community features. There’s too many to digest in one pass. Assess the features you’re most interested in one by one, play with each feature until you’re satisfied, test them, find out how they work, and when you get frustrated, take a nap. Eat some ice cream. Go jogging. And revisit in a month. The bigger the feature, the longer you should think about it. The biggest “aha” moments didn’t come to me right away. When you try to rush through a feature, you can get rushed results. Take your time to bounce ideas around your head and try to think through the context of how to best utilize the feature. Lesson: For features that you like, set a calendar to revisit after a month. Then take a nap. 3. You’re running the marathon, not a sprint. Successful community managers have evolved with the changing needs of our audiences. While our mission remains the same, the backdrop of user expectations and digital trends has dramatically changed. When you implement a feature, you should be evaluating it for both sustainability and longevity. Is this a sustainable mechanism to keep up with? Is this something that I want to continue for the foreseeable future? It’s nice to play with new features; every major update is like a Christmas unwrapping of new features. But you need to prudently pick-and-choose which feature is most appropriate and how it can give you an impact for the long-term. Sometimes it’s better to do a few things very well than many things not well at all. Lesson: Ask yourself if you see yourself using the feature 3 years later? 4. Make it uniquely yours Invision Community ships with default features ready to use out of the box, but those features are just that: default. We like to dress up our theme with custom colors, designs, and logos. You should apply the same flair for customization with your features. Some features are ready to be customized: reactions, ranks, and group promotion. Others, however, might take more thinking. Here are some examples to spark your creativity: • Social Sign-in Streamline – are you using the default message, or did you customize it with a unique and clever introduction? • Fluid Forum – did you activate fluid forum and hope it went well? Or did you use it as an opportunity to re-analyze your entire forum structure for the modern web? • Leaderboard – did you leave it as a Leaderboard, or could it be Genius board for a technology company, or Joyboard for a nonprofit, or Loyaltyboard for a consumer brand? Lesson: Make the feature uniquely yours. 5. Talk through your scenario Every battle-tested community manager knows that the only thing constant is change – whether it’s our forum software, ACP settings, user expectations, and broader digital trends. It’s important to find a trusted circle of friends and users who can help you steer and implement features. It may sound great in your head, but other users may look at it very differently. On my site, I have a trusted group of users called “Champions.” In my pre-planning stage, I float my ideas by them as early in the process as possible. They’ve provided valuable feedback of user expectations with differing perspectives. I’ve nixed certain features based on their veto, and I’ve tweaked continuously based upon their continuous input. Talk through your scenario with your trusted friends, and not just with the voices in your own head! Community management is such a uniquely rewarding and challenging role because every community demands and needs a different set of features. Invision makes it easy with regular releases of exciting features, but you also need to make the most out of those features on your own. Don’t just turn on the next feature: turn on excitement, joy, and community. If you notice, I didn’t include a lesson yet in my last strategy when you’re ready to talk about your scenario. And that’s because it’s the ultimate lesson: Write the next guest post in the Invision Community Blog and share your own success story in how you adopted a new Invision feature. We’d love to hear about it. Thanks Joel! We love this angle on how to best evaluate the myriad of opportunities the Invision Community software allows. What is your biggest take-away from Joel's advice?
  9. In between complaining about the temperature of the United Kingdom, a hot topic in staff chat was what jobs we've done in the past, and which jobs we'd be terrible at. Mark said that Matt would be terrible at being a software engineer. Once all the laughter and clearing desks and leaving the building immediately had finished, we settled on these answers. Jennifer I'd be a terrible runway model. For most of my life I've had the height and the general look of a decent runway model (even like people staring at me) however I am terrible at it. This was not Photoshopped I get really nervous in front of large crowds of people, wobbly knees and everything. My mum does costume design and has used me as her model a few times and that whole "stand at the end of the runway for a few seconds and pose thing"... Nope. Stood there, turned around and walked back. Marc I think the job I would be terrible at would be 'Handy Man'. Picked this rather than just saying a joiner/carpenter, plumber etc, as it encompasses more areas of complete ineptitude. My DIY skills are legendary, but for all the wrong reasons. Whilst I'm actually attempting to learn how to do things myself more lately, I have had a history of doing things incorrectly. I am that guy who has 8 pieces left after putting together flatpack furniture, creates swimming pools whilst fixing a tap, and don't even ask me to put a hole in a wall as I can do so with dramatic effect. [Should have shared the picture of your workbench - Editor] I think the one which springs to mind, which most would find simple, would be putting up a shelf. I put up a DVD shelf above my head which was a fair weight. This lasted 1 week before falling off the wall on to my head which was underneath it. [That explains a lot - Editor] Not a problem, because with my 'expert' DIY skills I put it back on the wall with 8 inch screws and to ensure it didnt come down again I covered the wall facing side with extremely strong glue. 3 years later when my wife wanted this taking down to decorate, I took it down along with half of the wall behind it. This was the point where the decorator was called to fix my mistakes. Brandon I couldn't be President (or any major political position for that matter). I'm a very middle-of-the-road people pleaser type of person usually, and I could never handle having to make important decisions that affect everyone [like in git? - Editor], especially with half of everyone agreeing with me and half of everyone thinking it was the worst idea ever. As much as people like to criticize those in power and feel like they have all the answers, I know it's just not that easy and I would never want to be in their position. A nightmare vision of the future Jim Morrissey Cold call telephone sales/telemarketing. I often say I couldn't sell water to someone stuck in the desert. OK, maybe not *that* bad but definitely cannot get on the phone and convince someone product XYZ is the one for them. I'm also not that big of a talker in person and don't have that personality to just grab people on the phone and persuade them to purchase something they may not otherwise want. Half my personality, half ethics which would make me horrible Mark H A job at which I would be no good, is a politician. I’d be jailed within a week for strangling other politicians who open their mouth and spew the usual double-speak we’ve come to expect (and loathe) from them. [This is actually a toned down version of the original - Editor] Mark W I was struggling to come up with anything (because obviously I'd be great at anything, right?) but as the token vegan around here I guess I have to say butcher. The last time I ate meat was about 10 years ago and even walking past a butcher's makes me feel ill. Mark is Ultra Spiritual FAQ: Lots of things have protein; I kind of miss chocolate but not much else; Yes, I would eat you if we were on a desert island. [Well, that got dark at the end - Editor] Andy I would be an awful chef. I wouldn’t even be able to heat up pre-prepared meals in a pub [Do you not have a kitchen at home? - Editor]. Apparently I make a good sous-chef in the home but I require strict instruction. In other words I get the job of chopping onions at dinner time. Like Gordon Ramsey, except nice Ryan The job I would most suck at, I actually did. Back in 2008, I was a factory worker for a paving company, where I packaged pavement crack sealant at approximately 160 degrees Fahrenheit, in addition to various other types of sealant (for driveways, parking lots, etc.). It was a lot of heavy lifting, and because the material was so hot, I had to wear heavy long sleeve shirts in a factory that hit approximately 120 degrees each day. I lasted about four months. Oozing Confidence Matt Anything on a production line. I have a very short attention span and having to do repetitive tasks would finish me off. Back in the 90s [1890s? - Editor] I used to work in a print and design studio. One of the tasks was producing 15,000 copies of a 8 sheet magazine. It'd run through the collator, through the stitching head, under the folding arm and slide out to a tray. For about two days straight a month we'd be running this machine. Counting copies as they came out, freeing jams and filling up the paper. It was really tedious work. Those are the jobs we'd think we would be terrible at. How about you? What would be your nightmare job?
  10. Matt

    Gamification for your community

    That is quite literal gamification! But we cannot and should not try to compete with the phone game market, it's a different area to the general strategies for community building I mention here.
  11. It's 2 am, and my bleary red eyes are fighting sleep. My thumbs are still glued to the Playstation controller as I try and persuade my on-screen avatar to complete the level. If I manage it, I've won another trophy. Many of us have been there. Investing a considerable amount of time into a game just to get to the next level, win a trophy or better yet, complete the entire game. I still remember the thrill of finishing Metal Gear Solid. I had become a recluse and lost track of time. Each time I thought about putting the gamepad down, there was just one more tiny thing to achieve. For decades, game designers have been using gamification to keep players plugged in and wanting more. A well-designed game hooks you completely, and you can't help but keep playing. In more recent times, social media has switched onto gamification. Each like and share you receive triggers a little dopamine kick in your brain. It's a pleasurable sensation which keeps you coming back for more. How many times have you opened Twitter back up moments after closing it? What does this mean for communities? Applying game mechanics to your community can have a powerful effect on member retention and engagement on your site. There are three main areas we can use gamification for: onboarding, driving engagement and encouraging positive behavior. Let's look at these areas in more detail. Onboarding When a new member joins your community, you want them to complete as much of their profile as possible. Ideally, this would mean that they upload a photo and complete any custom profile fields you have created. The more information a user provides, the more chance there is that they will come back and that others will start to engage with them. A relatively anonymous member will not be taken seriously by your veteran members. Traditionally, new members are presented with either a massive registration form or they are never prompted to complete their profile after sign up. Presenting a sizeable complex registration form is a sure way to reduce your guest to member conversion rates. A persons attention is a rare resource so do not waste the one opportunity you have for a new sign up! Invision Community has a profile completion feature which displays a progress bar at the top of each page. Members are encouraged to complete their profile This is a great way to add gamification to the onboarding process. You get the best of both worlds. A short compact registration form and a very persuasive reason to upload a photo and complete any profile fields. Very few can resist the temptation to leave their profile 90% complete! Gamification can help you convert a new lurker into a contributing member by leveraging the member groups and promotion feature. Set up your default Member group with specific restrictions that would be attractive to your community. This may be custom signatures, or it could be custom member titles. Perhaps limit the number of images that can be seen per day in Gallery. The key is to limit access in a way that doesn't agitate or annoy your new members but encourages them to level up. Create a new group "Full Members" and remove those restrictions. Create a promotion rule that after five posts, they get to level up. This will encourage lurkers to join in the discussion, so they reach the next level. You will want to be careful with this feature. You don't want to encourage noise and vapid posting just to reach the next level. 5-10 posts are enough to get them engaged. Meet Player One The number one thing you need to have a thriving community is constant user engagement. It is the lifeblood of any discussion focused site. Game mechanics will help drive user engagement using Invision Community's features strategically. But first, we must understand the types of players that will frequent your site. The High-Status Seeker We've all come across this type of forum member. These members tend to wear their content counts with pride. They cite how long they've been members for. They are the elite member's others look up to. The High-Status Seeker will want to be in the top three of your leaderboard every single day. In many ways, the High-Status Seeker is the ideal member. They want to move up the levels as fast as possible and show their experience and dominance to others. They will have an eye on becoming a moderator and getting access to exclusive private forums. The Social Butterfly This type of forum member isn't as interested as status as others. They are content to be active and participate in many different conversations. They typically like open-ended games like MMORPG where the reward is just playing the game. The Social Butterfly can be reluctant to engage with gamification elements in your community, but in many ways, they do not need to as they are likely to become long-standing members anyway. Engagement and Loyalty Now we have met the players, let's look at some of the features Invision Community has built in to create a game-like environment to drive up engagement and retention. Content Count The humble content count has been around since the dawn of the forum age. In simple terms, it displays the number of posts and comments the member has added to the community since they joined. When content is deleted, the post count is typically untouched. High-Status seekers love their content count and protect it with their life! Getting to 10,000 posts is a real achievement and sets them apart from newer or less engaged members. Reputation Allowing others to like your posts is a powerful way to not only get more engagement but also encourages quality content to be posted. Content with actual value, humor or flair tends to receive more likes than average. This gives the author a good morale boost which they will want to replicate. In many ways, this is the critical driver for the Social Butterfly. Acknowledgment for their efforts is what keeps them happy and content. Leaderboard While the Social Butterfly may be content with receiving likes on their content, the High-Status Seeker will want to top the leaderboard for as many days as they can confirming their status. The leaderboard is generated each night and adds up each person's reputation given for that day. The winner is crowned for all to see. The leaderboard The winner also gets a trophy on their profile for 'winning the day.' High-Status Seekers love this feature and do all they can to ensure they are in the top three. Our Picks Invision Community introduced the social promotion feature to 4.2. We use it to promote our blogs and good content we see members posting on our forum. To have your content picked for promotion is a huge thrill, and will undoubtedly put a smile on the face of the author. Both High-Status Seekers and Social Butterflies will love seeing their content promoted on social media and on the site itself. It is also a great way to keep your social media feeds topped up with quality content. Our Picks We are seeing a good number of communities using Our Picks as their home page to give their site more of an Instagram feel. Level up with member groups Who doesn't love being invited into a VIP area to sit in the good seats with the red ropes making it clear that not everyone is invited (yet!) This is a key strategy to engage High-Status Seekers. With member groups, you can create exclusive VIP areas that normal members can see, but cannot view topics or post into. In practice, it is as simple as creating a new member group called "VIP Members." This member group has access to specific forums. Group promotions A member group promotion rule can then be used to level up members who reach specific goals, such as 5,000 posts. This feature can be used to stretch members to achieve a large goal, or you can use it for a series of mini-goals. Either forum access or increased feature access can be leveraged to encourage goal completion. Become part of the team "Welcome to the team!" is a message that most members would love to receive. Being handed access to the private team forums where strategic discussions are held, topics are discussed and where the cool kids hang out is probably the ultimate goal for the High-Status Seeker. Wearing the moderator's badge is a tangible benefit and validation for all their work in the community. Inviting great members to become moderators is not only a massive boost for the member, but it is an excellent way to offload some of the workload for day to day moderation tasks such as flagging spammers, checking reported content and dealing with minor squabbles in topics. Final Thoughts Gamification is definitely a strategy that you should use to build the base of your community, but it should not be the only strategy you deploy. Extrinsic motivation in the form of reputation points, member titles and badges are effective, but at some point, those rewards run dry. I would encourage a mix of short-term rewards such as winning the day and mini-goals to level up through member groups along with longer-term goals such to stretch members. Long-term goals can be access to the "5k" club when the member hits 5,000 pieces of content. However, you will need mini goals to keep them moving forwards, or you risk the ultimate goal being too distant to want to reach. Once your members are hooked on your gamification, social bonds will grow, and members will want to come back just to engage with their friends. When you reach that point, you know you have an excellent robust community that will stand the test of time.
  12. Matt

    Modernize the IPS apps for IPS 5

    While we have discussed making a future version essentially an API back-end, it's not something that will happen in the medium term. Invision Community 5 will overhaul several areas of code that we've labelled for refactoring for a while, but we're not going to scrap all our existing technology and start over. No one wants to wait another 18 months for a new version with the same features as they've already got with the added bonus it's using a cool framework or technology. Most of our customers want value in terms of growing their community, they are not overly concerned with how the magic/code works.
  13. Matt

    Video Tip: ACP Tips and Tricks

    oooh. We could tie it into the version ID, so you could search for the version number. Hmm.
  14. Matt

    Video Tip: ACP Tips and Tricks

    That's probably the search keywords we add manually. When you want to prune, you might want the logs.
  15. Work smarter, not harder is a motto we hear a lot of in our modern age. This is of course great advice. Invision Community's Admin CP is packed full of tools and settings to help you configure your community to your needs. In this short video I show you how you can work smarter in the Admin CP. Dashboard Blocks I show you how create a dashboard perfect for your needs. The dashboard is perfect to show a snapshot of what is happening with your community. Search Bar The search bar is the most powerful tool in the Admin CP. From finding members, settings and Commerce tickets, it's something I reach for every day. Re-order the Menu Prioritise the menu to put often used sections of the Admin CP within easy reach. Copy Settings With a few clicks, you can copy a single setting from a forum across multiple. This saves a lot of time moving between the forum list and forum settings. This of course works across the suite including downloads, blogs and more. Copy Nodes Got a forum or blog category set up perfectly and want to add one more like it? Just hit the copy button and save the hassle of filling in the form again. These are our tips for using the Admin CP as effectively as possible. Do you have any tips? Let us know below!