GOOGLE LAUNCHES BETA VERSION OF BRAND NEW SEARCH CONSOLE

Google has rolled out the beta version of the new and improved search console and SEO’s are more than happy, to say the least. The most promising new feature is the access to 16-month-old historical data. It enables year over year comparison which is great from every aspect.

Google has built the new search console from the scratch and not all features are available yet. They are still working on it, and they will keep on adding useful features from the old search console to the new. So as of now, most of the tools you will click on will have a coming soon message.

However, you do have access to the performance tool which is easy to understand with filtering options like: By device, country, impressions, CTR and more.

The Index coverage report is the perfect blend of old index status & crawl reports errors. It enables you to see how well Google is indexing your site as well to identify and fix any issues.

Using Social Bookmarking

If you have an ecommerce site, one of your critical priorities should be to get it optimized for search engines. This would ensure that your website would appear among the top search results when users are searching for information/products/services that are available at your site. It’s one of the best ways of ensuring that your target customers are aware of your sites and are reminded about it at the right time.

Search engine optimization has proven itself as an effective method for getting qualified traffic to the website. SEO is not enough, we need to combine it with newer tools. So although SEO is still a must we now have another very good tool for driving qualified traffic to websites. It’s called social bookmarking. Social bookmarking sites help in building quality, one way backlinks to specific websites. This increases direct and indirect targeted traffic to those sites and also gets them indexed by different engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing.

However, once more I would like to emphasize the importance of planning. All social bookmarking sites are not same and there’s no point spending resources on all social bookmarking sites that are available just because they may be free to use. Social bookmarking activities should be based on the nature of your business and the content of your site. For example, if your site provides financial services there’s no point bookmarking it in a site that primarily attracts teens however well-performing it maybe. You have to keep in mind that you require quality traffic to succeed. This means that people discovering your website through social bookmarking sites should be potential customers. You would also need to decide how to go about the process of using various social bookmarking sites. Ideally you should maintain a balance between promoting your products and providing value to the social bookmarking community. That’s how social bookmarking works and that’s the only way you will find your links appearing at the best places in social bookmarking sites. Moreover the content you are bookmarking needs to be compelling otherwise other people won’t bookmark it which is an important element of social bookmarking.

Moving on to the technical side of things, in order to make it easy for your users to bookmark your content in various social media sites you need to make the process as easy possible. Don’t forget the icons! And make sure they are prominently displayed on your site. This is how you will be able to successfully integrate social media into your website. We are now at our company even integrating sites like Facebook into the shopping cart experience, giving your customers the option of tell the clients right then and there , while they are excited that they just bought from your site.

But, the one thing I must stress on is the content and maintaining these SMO sites. People want to see an active community. Quite honestly consumers are tired of hearing why we think our products, services, and company is better than our competitors. They want to hear it from others, and when they do, they are more likely to buy from you. I know what you are thinking, when will you find the time to do all this? We are here to help, we have full time content writers and SMO specialist who will research , write, then send to you for approval information relevant to your business. We also can except a list of topics and research the things you want, write, and then send for your approval. If you are not making noise and your competitors are, who do you think they will buy from?

If you are not sure about your in-house capabilities you should not hesitate to outsource the work to a company like ours who uses all the latest ecommerce platforms and SMO tools to help you quickly and cost effectively integrate these features into your online business.

Lets start making some noise.

Successful Integration of Social Media

Social media is the latest buzzword in the virtual world of Internet. Initially it may have been associated with the young who used it to stay connected with friends. But in a very short period of time social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest, Google +, and YouTube have proven that they can serve as powerful marketing tools for businesses both online and offline. Social media is here to stay and being a relatively new phenomenon it has got considerable scope for growth and evolution.

 

Social media is so powerful because it helps customers connect directly with providers and other consumers. Businesses can promote their products and communicate with customers to establish relationships and spread awareness about their product(s) or brand(s). This would obviously lead to improvement in sales and offer better chances for future growth.

Using Social Media

So much to gain from tools that are essentially free, is this too good to be true? Well, the answer is Yes and No. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WordPress etc. are freely available for use by anyone. But using them well is quite another issue. If you are using them for business marketing purposes then they need to be treated as seriously as any other marketing tool. In order to be effective social media marketing needs to be backed by a well-thought out marketing strategy and its execution needs to be carefully monitored, for any course corrections that might be required in future. Consequently, for success social media requires resources like time and manpower which are not freely available.

 

Integrating social media into your existing business or ecommerce site can be quite time consuming. It also requires in-depth understanding of social media tools. You cannot just tinker around with it to see what happens. Social media should not be treated lightly just the way you wouldn’t treat any other marketing tool like print ads or television commercials lightly. Since social media is used to directly connect with customers you need to make sure that your customers always see the best face of your business.

 

The physical process of integrating social media platforms into a website is not very difficult. You can have the hyperlinked icons of various social media platforms and social bookmarking sites on your website and blog through a simple process of pasting codes and icons available from the social media sites into your website’s structure.

 

One of the most popular services we have is our branding package with content writing. We have been able to make a company with as few as one person look like they are a huge operation by branding the tools consistently, and filling the sites like Twitter, and Facebook, as well as our client’s blogs with content.

What does your digital properties ay about your company? Are they active, liked, followed, interactive, and reflective of your company image?

Importance of Press Releases

Importance of Press Releases

A crucial requirement of a new business or an existing one which has launched a new product or service is passing on the information to potential customers. Businesses have at their disposal a variety of marketing strategies to achieve this. However, many businesses in this age of online marketing and state-of-the-art multimedia tools either underestimate, or worse, overlook this powerful marketing tool which can ensure that important information reaches the right people.

An important part of marketing strategy

This important marketing tool is the press release. Press releases have been around for a long time. They were being used much before concepts like search engine optimization and social media marketing, or even television commercials came into existence. Although a very old method, it continues to be used because it still returns very good results.

A professionally written press release can provide information about a product or service clearly and effectively. It can serve as an informative invitation to people who are looking for your r brand new website, or your great new product or service. You might have just what they are looking for, but unless they can see it, hear it, or find it. It will do you and your company no good Thus press releases can serve as a highly effective component of the marketing strategy of any company. Although press releases may seem ‘boring’ in this age when advertising and marketing has become glamorous and exciting, it is probably this sober aspect which gives them added credibility compared to other marketing methods.

An effective e-marketing tool

In the traditional printed media press releases are usually issued to inform journalists about new developments which they might want to write about. When it comes to online press releases, this narrow readership expands to include the online visitors, people searching for targeted information about something that is of interest to them, or makes their life easier when buying a product or service, and journalists. These visitors can include potential customers, bloggers and social media enthusiasts who might find the information provided by the press release interesting or useful enough to write about in their blog and pass on to their social media circle, thus creating a ripe opportunity for the press release to become viral.

Press releases can serve as an excellent e-marketing tool that provides substantial support to a search engine optimization campaign. They help provide immediate exposure to a website/online business and associated products and services in the virtual world. Online press releases can be circulated to a large targeted audience in a very short time. They are also highly affordable, especially when the cost of creating and distributing press releases is compared to that of more traditional modes of advertising.

Why professionals count

In order to be effective, press releases should be crafted with care. In fact, it is recommended that they should be developed by professionals who have substantial experience in developing successful press releases. Although press releases appear to be simple to write, due to a well written one focusing on a one topic message, about a given topic, this simplicity can be deceptive which many laypersons have discovered when trying to do the job on their own and ending up with ineffective pieces of writing. I know as a business owner it is tempting to create a piece on your own, but sometimes giving a bullet point list of points to a professional can result in a new and interesting way of telling the world about your company, products, services or anything that has to do with your business. Sometimes we as business owners are so close to our business that we can no longer see the trees in the forest. The information present in a press release should be designed in such a manner that it should not only provide all the necessary information to the intended reader, but do so in a short, crisp, well-formatted interesting manner.

Furthermore, even a well-crafted press release would be of little use to you in your business if it does not reach the targeted audience. A professional marketer will be able to take care of not only the writing of the piece but also the submission of the press release for the entire world to see. Most PR companies have a network of online resources they can submit your press release to, many times they will be able to get it picked up within 3-7 business days. How is that for the power of the internet?

You can never have too much buzz around your business; press releases are a great way to get focused information out about your business, making you the expert in your field.

Written by: Audra Hajj

Successful tips for business blogs

Successful tips for business blogs

Most of the prominent business organizations maintain blogs along with their websites. I am not talking about just the Fortune 500 companies. The internet levels the playing field to such a degree that the big guys and smaller entrepreneurs can compete head to head. But in order to compete, you need to get in the game and get in well-prepared.

So let’s start with the cold hard truth – In reality, nobody wants to be sold to. People need products and services that make their lives easier. But they prefer to buy only when they are ready, and from companies that make them feel valued. There is a reason why the age old trick of getting close to consumers is popular, even in these days of social media boom. If you desire to maintain a great reputation in the market and retain loyal customers, maintaining a regularly updated blog should be one of the entries on your must-do list.

Maintaining popularity of a blog can be a difficult task. But, if done right, a blog can become a living, breathing internet personality, gathering popularity and great content from you and your bloggers. It all starts with the foundation you lay down. Here are some pointers that will help provide an effective start to your blog.

Set goals, tone, and policies

What personality do you wish your blog to reflect? Do you excel in advising visitors on various topics and wish to portray yourself as a ‘guru’? Do you wish to show visitors how much better your business is than those of your competitors? Whatever tone you decide upon, establish it from day 1 and stick to it. Make sure the tone of writing is constant, especially if you have assigned multiple writers to your blog. Also, assign someone to proof read the posts before publishing them. In case of a business blog, the presence of typographical errors, grammatical goof-ups and inconsistency in sentence structure can seriously hurt its reputation. If you do not have employees who can run the blog, it is best to outsource the process and relax.

Keep it updated, regularly

Do you know how many blogs on the internet are considered to be dead, due to lack of updates? WordPress and Technorati have reported that over 50% of blogs they process have been dead for a long time. Make sure this never happens to your business blog. If you do not have the time to update your blog, hire a professional writer to get it done for you.

Incorporate keywords in blog posts

Make sure your blog posts have relevant keywords embedded in them. This will allow search engines to index your blog, so that it shows up in search results and gets more visitors. Getting the assistance of a professional search engine optimizer or SEO company is highly recommended.

Avoid hard sell

Delivering the sales pitch is your website’s job, not your blogs. Your blog should be free from sales pitch or a direct-sale mentality. People want to be part of a community where they can share their interests; your blog can help bring such people together on one platform. With that done, you can go ahead and casually mention your recent exploits and accomplishments, it adds to the community. Soft selling works but it should be done discreetly and with tact.

Create compelling content

Make sure your blog content is clear, concisely written, and compelling to read. If you cannot manage writing high quality, keyword-rich content, you should get professional help. A blog which is boring to read is not only a useless waste of resources, but it can also hurt your online reputation which may reflect in the real world as well.

Hype up your blog

Are some of your stakeholders not so sure about the benefits of maintaining a business blog? Show them the positive side of the idea. If there is a business blog that you love to read, show it to them and point out how that blog has helped the respective business prosper. You will find plenty of such examples that will help them warm up to your idea.

When in doubt, ask

Blogs are a great place to gather knowledge, opinions and conduct test marketing. If you are thinking about trying out a new business venture, launching a new product or service, and are not quite sure if it will be well received, all you have to do is ask. Ask other business owners who have blogs, ask the people who participate in your blog, and even those who are in similar industries. The power of Internet lies in the direct connection it provides you with the outside world, but if you do not ask they cannot answer. With such an exercise you may not only get good suggestions but might also end up getting more visitors through trackbacks, especially if the other blog(s) is pretty popular.

Make sure your blog looks professional from the very first day; you only have one chance to make a good impression. A business blog that does not look well structured is doomed to fail in its purpose. Do seek professional help when necessary to give your blog the best possible chance of success, and a consistent stream of web traffic.

Written by: Audra Hajj

Importance of Content for SEO and SMO

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Importance of Content for SEO and SMO

When you boil the whole thing down to the basics, the Internet is a huge network of information, loads of it, so one can say that information is the fuel which drives the internet. Information comes in the form of text, images, videos and animation, in other words… content. The importance of content can be understood from the answer to a simple question –

When was the last time you stayed at a website with inferior content for more than a couple of minutes?

I personally don’t remember when… that’s the importance of content in a website. The presence or lack of quality content influences whether a visitor/potential customer remembers a website, spends time navigating through it, bookmarks it, returns to it regularly and/or recommends it to his or her social circle. Most people decide within the first few moments of entering a website whether it is worth spending a few moments or hours of their time , and content is one of the critical factors that contributes to this decision.

The work of SEO and SMO

Since the Internet is jam-packed with information of all kinds – good, bad, ugly or plain, it become s necessary for online business owners to employ techniques that would ensure their websites stand out prominently and positively among a herd of hundreds and even thousands of others with similar offerings. Let’s illustrate this with a product selling example. Most companies are reselling items bought through a channel; they buy from the distributer, the distributer from the manufacturer, and so on. By the time it hits the internet a single item has been resold by many businesses. So if you are selling the same item, with the same colors, description, and relatively same price how do you get the sale? You could make a valuable difference through the content you write about the item. While most websites will talk about the basic features of the massage chair as provided by the manufacture, you can spin it into what buyers are really looking for, which is something that makes their life easier, or solves a need. When people search for products and services, they are actually looking for something that would satisfy their requirements. So people looking for massage chairs are really looking for a way to relieve their aching back. When they stumble upon a site that has great content talking about how their massage chair can relieve body aches and pains, and help achieve total relaxation, and the site also throws in a nature music CD for free, then it will not only succeed in grabbing the buyers’ attention but also that of internet spiders sent out by Google, Bing, and Yahoo. You may still be selling exactly the same chair as everyone else, but backed by well written content you can make it stand out in the crowd.

This is where SEO and recently, SMO strategies come into play. These are techniques which work on the fact that Internet users turn to search engines when they are searching for information. SEO and SMO techniques ensure that search engines include targeted websites high among the search results. One thing I find many people are forgetting about the Big three – Google, Bing, and Yahoo is that they are competing for market share. They want to deliver the very best sites to the people using their search engine, so if they come across a site filled with rich relevant content, they will definitely visit the site more frequently, which will help the site rise up the relevant ranking of websites within its industry. Think about it, as an Internet savvy user you are regularly feeding in queries to search engines and following up on various links listed in the search results. But for a regular search, how deep do you go into the results, do you check out links that are present on page ten of the search results? Or even five? Three? To cut a long story short, a website has the best chance of attracting visitors from search engines if it manages to get listed among the highest results of a search engine that is, within the first 2-3 pages. SEO and SMO techniques work on tailoring website content in such a manner that search engines list them high for relevant keywords.

Common Characteristic Shared by Top Ranked Sites – High Quality Content

Search engines cannot see pictures. They get to know what a website is all about with the help of textual information that is present on the pages. Websites that are highly-optimized only for keywords fail in the long run, because although they might be successful in fooling search engines and getting listed high in search results, they are not able to retain visitors because of the lack of quality content. High quality content does not only mean grammatically correct and well written matter, but content that provides value to the targeted user of a website and is not found anywhere else. When a website is able to supply its users with a regular dose of such content, it will inspire them to come back regularly, as well as recommend it to other users with similar interests. When people start spending time on a site leading to increased sales conversions it will get the attention of search engines as well. So make sure that you write content for the user first, adding targeted keywords as an afterthought.

The Importance of Updating Content

Search engines keep refreshing their indexes and they seem to love fresh and original content. A website can ensure that it is consistently featured high among search results with the help of keyword optimized content that is updated regularly and creates a buzz among users by being unique and useful. SMO encompasses the use of a variety of social media tools like blogs, social networks and social bookmarking sites, and relies heavily upon users to promote content. This again brings us back to the requirement of content that rocks! Popular social bookmarking sites like Digg.com let their members “Digg” or “Bury” various articles, which works for or against the popularity of the articles. Similarly, social networks and blogs have members passing on interesting information and links among their social circle and followers. If a website is able to consistently produce content that gets users attention then it will be able to build a loyal list of followers over time and reach the proverbial ‘tipping point’ where it not only achieves, but surpasses its original goals.

Online business owners may have substantial knowledge about their business and be in the position to create content that provides substantial value to their users. However, SEO/SMO strategies and suitable content creation would take a substantial chunk of their time and involve a number of other aspects which can be better managed by people who are experts in the field… in other words, professionals. Remember that you as a business person need to focus on selling your products and services; this is how you pay the bills. Be careful you do not get distracted. Getting a professional services provider to create content is always advisable because they would bring along the valuable experience of working dedicatedly on the content of many sites and in many industries, . Such a provider would have a much better idea of what works and what doesn’t. They will also know the pulse of the internet consumer, be aware of the latest buzz on the Internet, and make sure your content is fresh and tailored to the latest trends within your industry and clients. This would not only save the business owner a considerable amount of time but also achieve results much faster.

Written by: Audra Hajj

What is SMO?

What is SMO?

SMO defined as Social Media Optimization is actually nothing but an Information Age term for an age old and proven business growth tactic – word of mouth advertising. An example of the power of word of mouth, or referral marketing would be you driving home from work the same way each and every day and when you pass a newly opened restaurant you might think to yourself “Wonder if that restaurant is any good’ . You may continue to pass that restaurant for months to come, until one day at a BBQ, you come across your neighbor who tells you he/she went to that restaurant and was simply blown away by the food/service. If you are a foodie, then at that point you are likely to make a decision that you are going to visit the restaurant at the next opportunity; maybe as soon as the next day. Word of mouth can be that powerful! In today’s fast paced technological world, marketers have the added advantage of fueling word of mouth not only locally, but on a global scale, and that too in a very short time! One just needs to adopt the revolutionary tools provided by the Information Age.

SMO does just that! The monitoring of social media content and strategies help enhance the online traffic inflow and lead generation statistics emerging from word of mouth. In the wake of soaring popularity of social media tools, this is being heralded as one of the most important internet marketing strategies.. SMO covers almost all of the new-age social media tools – from Facebook to Twitter, YouTube to Instagram, Pintrest to Digg, and everything in between.

SMO is being considered as this decade’s answer to SEO. As a matter of fact, one of the most powerful advantages of SMO over conventional SEO (Search Engine Optimization) techniques is its high potential for viral marketing and penetrative reach which goes far beyond SEO.. With SEO, the strategies, goals and possibly even the results have been defined and set, which can be a good and safe thing. In contrast, SMO is not limited by any such rules, and neither do the traditional ways of advertising on social media sites. So if you had been thinking of hopping onto the SMO bandwagon just to take a ride around the block, think again! If done the wrong way you might just end up damaging your brand image and reputation rather than enhancing it.

Why SMO?

The fact that every day, hundreds of new users are signing up as members in various social media and networking portals, showcases the potential of the medium. The internet is creating sort of a cocooned society. Think about it… what can you not get online these days? With such powerful tools at their disposal, people are spending increasing amounts of time in the virtual world. They are craving for social interaction, and tend to rely on their ‘virtual friends’ before they decide to get involved further into a cause, or buy a product or service. A substantial portion of these social media fanatics are out there for information and knowledge-sharing, which was the case with traditional media a couple of decades back (same story different medium!). This has created a huge opportunity for companies and individuals to promote themselves and their products, in an entirely new and powerful manner.

The level of trust shared between social media users is quite high. This allows discreet advertisements disguised as fellow-user reviews the opportunity of getting much better ‘click-through’ rates compared to traditional SEO techniques. Diligent postings on social media sites can help promote your product, as well as boost your traditional SEO campaign. So yes you need the stability and reliability of SEO, but it would take a great SMO strategy to supercharge it.

What are the Rules of Engaging in Effective SMO?

In spite of the whole process seeming so simple, real and measurable success can only be achieved through professional execution of social media optimization strategies. Some of the often ignored rules that define an effective SMO campaign include:

 

  • Target the Right Niche Group – Setting up an SMO campaign ion Facebook when your niche consumer group is set in Brazil can upset your lead generation tactics. Why? Because Orkut is the more heavily favored social networking tool among Brazilians compared to Facebook. In short, choosing your target group and thereafter the right social media platform is a crucial requirement for a successful campaign.

 

  • Join in – Join in on a conversation and discreetly promote your product or firm, rather than barging in on one. Remember that users will trust a review or subtle promotion from a fellow-user more than a PRO trying to promote his firm’s services to people who are not yet familiar with him/her.

 

  • Compelling Content – Develop content (traditional content, videos links and tweets) that makes for a compelling read. Make sure that users can refer to you more as a resource than a promotional profile. It might not provide immediate profits, but will provide you with a huge advantage in the long run – mutual respect and trust – the very factors that help drive an SMO campaign (or word of mouth promotion) through.

 

  • Encourage Cross-platform Mash-ups – Make sure that people or potential clients who follow you on Twitter or Facebook can have easy access to your official YouTube channel or MySpace profile. This will ensure a much more penetrative reach into the consumer base, especially if you have a limited budget and restricted alternatives for marketing your ideas/services or products.

 

  • Linking – Links are basically your currency for buying success as far as an SMO campaign is concerned. And just like real currency, you should not waste your links. This means placing them in context and maintaining a healthy ratio between resource-links and promotional ones. You will soon find that people actually look forward to what you have to say ‘socially’ instead of being despised by fellow-users, like most of the overly-promotional firms online.

In today’s age, branding is largely social , and SMO is one of the most responsive tools for developing a powerful brand. So don’t delay, start today!

Written by: Audra Hajj

Importance of Writing Articles

Importance of Writing Articles

Article writing is one of the methods of advertising which is based on the power of content. You may have just arrived in the online-business arena or may be a seasoned professional who has realized that good content is king! Irrespective of the experience you have in the sector, or the clout you possess, article marketing is definitely one of the easiest and foolproof methods you can use to enhance your online presence today. However, you need to understand that in exchange of the free publicity and brand enhancement that you receive through article writing, quality is a ‘quality’ you cannot compromise on.

We often come across people who have mixed opinions about the effectiveness of article marketing. As a professional who likes to keep in touch with people’s opinions I decided to dig deep into the opinions that it does not work, in doing this I found that many of these people had not paid enough attention to creating the content in their article marketing strategy – instead they only focused on how to market their articles. Result – a complete failure of the campaign (and quite often-also resulting in sandboxing by search engines)! One of the most common mistakes that people make while formulating an article marketing strategy is forgetting that lead generation using these types of online marketing campaigns is initiated by the content and not the marketing strategies.

So what are the benefits that make writing quality articles following the ‘content is king rule’, important enough to draw your attention? Listed below are just some of them:

  • Improved Brand Image – Once your articles are on the web (submitted to article directories and on your portal or blog sites), they are taken up by hundreds of people, read and used in more ways than one. Therefore, if you have a well-written article with quality content, delivering relevant information and an articulately conceived source box with a link to your company site, your brand image among consumers as well as within the industry improves phenomenally.

 

  • Enhanced Search Engine Rankings – Hundreds of thousands of publishers and webmasters require articles. And if your articles are professionally written with an astute focus on the topic at hand, chances are that most will publish your article on their portals.. But, for this, all of them need to provide the resource of the article wherever they publish. This means that if you can incorporate a link into the resource box – you have hundreds of instant one-way links to your site – for FREE! And consequently (which is even more important!), your search engine rankings increase – and so do your lead generation statistics.

 

  • Viral Marketing – Consider this: you publish a professionally written article to 100 directories – 50 publish it – 100 individual publishers pick up the article from each of these 50 directories – and 100 more pick it up and re-publish the same – repeat. What do you have? Yes – a viral marketing strategy without you even having to invest much time or energy! Within a short period of time, you have 50,000 publishers – which in fact means 50,000 back-links to your site! That’s viral marketing at its best, what more could you need?

 

  • A Professional Viewpoint – Well written articles can provide a company’s official standpoint on sensitive issues in a concise yet straightforward manner. This helps SEO and SMO campaigns explain their point of view in a better way and also helps rivals and/or partners know about the company’s perspective on specific issues.

 

  • Building Online Partners – Everybody wants to associate with an individual or company that is well-informed and knowledgeable. Not only is this partnership deemed to be enriching from the knowledge-sharing perspective but can also pave the way for great partnerships in future. For instance, two companies with the same take on a technological issue may decide to ramp up their business plans by joining hands. However, all of this depends on the quality of articles published, along with the impact they make on the reader.

However, in spite of these glaring advantages, many decide to wash their hands of writing articles. Why? Just because they do not possess the know-how or invest enough time to churn out high-quality articles.

Make sure that you are not one among them; there are many firms present online that offer article writing services, as well as provide article packs for a minimum investment. Take into consideration the competitive advantage that you get, including lead generation, a boost to your existent SEO campaign and professional admiration from partners – all this at a very small price!

Written by: Audra Hajj