Thursday, March 7, 2013

Updating & Weeding Out Lenses - Squidoo Work is Never Done!

How are you are going with the winds of change at Squidoo at the moment?   I think it's a little early to tell how the changes so far (limiting of likes and blessings) have affected lensranks, but in anticipation of the new filters I've been busily going through my lenses.

I've decided to go through the lenses alphabetically because that way I can actually go through them all.   Over the years when I want to make changes I've tried doing the lenses in other orders and I never seem to actually finish which is why I have some lenses that haven't been updated in ......... well a long, long time!

I have also used the dashboard labels and have got one called Needs Work! where I have transferred some lenses.   Next week I am husband-less which is a time when I seem to get a lot of work done and the plan is to finish working my way through the alphabet and then tackle the Needs Work labeled lenses - I should mention I'm actually doing the work as I go on the majority of them so the lenses under that label shouldn't be too many!

I am actually going to move the content of some lenses to a blog I have as there are a few which keep dropping into wip, not because of lack of content, but because people aren't searching for it.   I have a themed blog and when I feature these pages I get visitors, but I think the pages will perform better on the actual blog instead of on Squidoo.

Most of my content will be staying on Squidoo however.   

While I'm busy updating I'm also having fun adding some of the pages to my Lou16 Facebook page - for those of you who missed the news last week I've finally joined Facebook.   I don't think it's helped my traffic much yet, but I don't know as I need a few more likes in order to be able to enable stats on the page so if you'd like to visit my page and click on the thumbs up button it would be appreciated :D

Another place that I joined recently was Pinterest.   Now when this site was in beta I got sent an invite, but for some reason I could never sign in (it was my computer as there was another site that I had the same problem with) and while I was trying to fix this I started hearing all the infringement of copyright discussions regarding Pinterest.   I put everything on hold and did nothing else about the site and then the November traffic drop occurred. 

One of my lenses has done very well over the past few months and hasn't experienced it's usual winter drop (in fact it's doing better than it was in the lead up to summer which is generally it's best traffic time), when traffic on the majority of my lenses dropped I noticed that this one continued to do well.   When I looked at what was so different about this lens one thing stood out to me - it had been pinned over 1000 times!   The amount of traffic from Pinterest wasn't overly high, but I thought the pinning itself must've been a ranking factor for not just Squidoo, but also Google as Google was sending me a lot more traffic than previously (this lens has been around for years).

I've found that pinning can be a lot of fun and I've started to spend some time each day doing it.   As I'm updating I'm also pinning lenses that I have boards for.   An example is that I just went through a selection of costume lenses I have and as I have a Fancy Dress Board I've been pinning several costumes from each lens onto the board.

I don't just pin my products by the way - I pin lots of other things too, however I have two boards where I only pin things that I will get paid for if they purchase them - my t-shirt board and my fancy dress costume board.    

I'm not sure that I'm doing everything the way I should be on Pinterest, but I've built up a few followers and the repinning of my pins has been going crazy with two of my pins going viral (unfortunately they weren't pins of anything on my lenses/pages so I don't know if that resulted in much actual traffic).   If you haven't used Pinterest before you might want to check out Lori's lens on Pinterest - A Promotion Guide for Pinterest.

Anyway time to go back to my Squidoo spring cleaning and hopefully by next week we'll know more about the changes that Squidoo are implementing and how they'll impact our bottom line.

Friday, March 1, 2013

More Changes - The Future of Squidoo

Well there's been a few changes on Squidoo over the last couple of days and I'm holding my breath just waiting to see what's going to happen next!   In the meantime I've joined Facebook, yes I'm a little late to it, but I've finally caved in to the social pressure :D

I've set up a Lou16 page where I'll be sharing Squidoo links, Zazzle products and other things that I'm doing online - I'd love you to visit and see what you think (I'm also after a few likes for the page so that I can install analytics). - Lou16 on Facebook.

I managed to finish the Zujava 28 leafs in 28 days challenge and was looking at going through my badly neglected Squidoo a/c to do some weeding and look at giving away a few lenses - the four week ban on transferring lenses has put that on hold!

Going through my lenses is still going to be a priority although what direction Squidoo will end up taking is still up in the air.   I'm sure many people are in the same quandary as I am with some lenses that do not have a lot of content BUT make lots of sales and rank well on Google - do I change them or leave them?   As the saying goes if it ain't broke, don't fix it, however what steps Squidoo decides to take could rather force our hands.

I've decided to go through as many lenses as I can over the next few weeks and add content to some that I know need it, but the ones that are performing well in Google and for sales I will probably leave alone and hope that they'll be okay - I assume that as a giant they'll be a heads up warning if changes are required and that's when I'll implement things.

What are you going to do with your lenses?

It will be very interesting to see how Squidoo steer us towards the future and while I didn't like going through the post Panda hubpages drama at least they sent out emails to people outlining which hubs were in violation and what needed to be done.   I really hope that Squidoo is very clear with their message in four weeks and that we all know where we stand.

The one thing I have taken away from the last couple of days is that it's a very wise thing to diversify so if you  haven't yet I really recommend that you do whether it's with Wizzley, Zujava or another site.   Spreading out the risk is very important if you want to/have to rely on your online income - when hubpages made all of their changes after being slapped by Google lots of people found themselves down hundreds (and some thousands) of dollars per month.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Plan to Succeed

I haven't written much on this blog of late because I've been busy diversifying away from Squidoo.   Now I have to adjust my planning to get a better balance between the different online sites that I earn with .   I've been busy trying to think of what advice or tips I could give you in this post and as I'm looking at how I went last year and seeing where I need to focus this year it occurred to me that my most important piece of advice would be just one word - plan.

It sounds simple doesn't it?   It really is the key to succeeding at anything in life, not just Squidoo.

I can still remember the first month that my Squidoo pay was in 4 figures, it was the same month that I hit (what were at the time) record payments from a couple of my affiliates as well.   To say I was ecstatic would be putting it mildly.   The same month I lost a part-time position in the 'real world' which meant everything was coming together for me to work online full time.

What's the point of this story?   The month in question didn't just happen.   I had a lot happening in my life in the five months leading up to it so I planned far more than normal as I wanted to be prepared.   It paid off! 

When I've had disappointing periods since I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that it was due to my either not planning for something or else planning, but not following through with my plans.

Today I banked an Amazon check for my December earnings and this check's the biggest Amazon check I've ever received.   This months total earnings however are not my best months ever.

Why?   Some changes were made on another site that I earn on and although they gave me time to make and implement a plan to offset how my bottom line would be affected I failed to do so (I had lots of reasons at the time, but in retrospect they appear like excuses!).   The result is that my income from that source was a third of what it was this time last year.   So the moral of the story is -




This week (cue the mission impossible music) your mission should you choose to accept it is to ....

Take out your calender and mark important dates for the year ahead and make sure you plan for them.   Once your plan is in place make sure that you follow through with it as well.

This blog post will not self destruct in five seconds.

Meanwhile off topic for this blog I'm spending quite a lot of time on Zujava at the moment (I'm participating in a leaf making challenge for February) so if you'd like to check out what I'm up to here's my 'leafography' - Lou16 on Zujava.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How to Cope With the Latest Squidoo Changes

Squidoo caught us all unawares with their 7th birthday surprise last weekend when they rolled out their new responsive scripts. While I think this will be great in the long run, the timing was really off which is why so many people were in an uproar over it.

I must admit when I first looked at a couple of my lenses I just wanted to cry and not because of excess CSS by the way - one of the initial issues I had was a link list being really wonky and that was all on Squidoo as I had done nothing to it.

I changed image credits on 3 lenses and decided to sleep on it. I like to align the credit under the image and when they changed the images from one side to another these credits were now in the middle of my text! The next day I looked and I'm so glad I only touched 3 because the images had been moved back to where they were - in the words of Homer DOH!

 I waited until Monday (Aussie time) before doing anything more on my accounts and I'm glad I did as a number of the kinks worked themselves out and my lenses didn't look as bad as I was expecting.

I'm not going to reinvent the wheel by telling you how you can fix up any issues you have with your lenses as the wonderful Greekgeek has already come to the rescue with her very own cheat sheet. If you don't subscribe to her blog then I've got the link for you right here -

As far as December's early pay went it certainly took the sting out of the weekend's fracas and was my third highest ever and my affiliate payments are also reaching new levels so I'm one happy camper heading into Christmas.

I hope you are making lots of sales and one important tip is to keep checking your links to make sure the products are still available.   I have one lens that I'm checking every few days and things are still running out on me!!

Another Christmas tip for me is not to forget to start thinking about the New Year so that you can try and keep your earning momentum going and not experience too big a drop in earnings after the Christmas sales clear so that's things like Valentine's Day, Easter, St Patrick's Day and other winter related lenses ie What's the Best Snow Blower or Cool Looking Boots That DO Keep Your Feet Warm etc.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Zazzle & Squidoo - A Match Made in Heaven

Are you using Zazzle products on your Squidoo lens?   If not you're missing out on an opportunity to make some extra money and I think we'd all like some of that :D

There are lots of different places that we can promote on our lenses to get extra money and at different times of the year different affiliates really seem to stand out to me, however Zazzle is great for consistent referrals which is why I think it's a great program for everyone to use.

Head on over and join Zazzle now and then visit this lens to learn How to Make Money on Zazzle Through Referrals.   I've put as much information as I could think of on this lens and I think you'll find it very valuable.

Now I'll admit some of my Zazzle income is from sales as I have a number of Zazzle stores, but the referral income used to be my main source of Zazzle income and is still going up so even if you have no artistic bone in your body Zazzle is worth joining.

Another cool thing about Zazzle is that they have square shaped stickers and square shaped posters which you can use for your introduction image as long as you have a clickable link underneath the image.   I use this code on my lens - 

<p style="width: 250px; float: left; clear: left;"><b> HERE PLACE THE A HREF LINK TO ZAZZLE </b></p>

This lines the text up underneath the image if you place it between your first and second paragraphs in the introduction text.

I've used some square Zazzle images on a few of my lenses to see how they go and although none of them have made the front page of Squidoo :( they have all shown sales of the items pictured so I'm really happy about that.

Now a quick note to apologize for not posting very regularly any more - personally a lot of different things have been happening in my life and Squidoo-wise ....... well I have felt a little disconnected from HQ for a while. 

Initially I couldn't log in to the official forum since they shut down Squidu and since the log in issue has been fixed I've looked in on occasion and even added a few comments, but it just doesn't feel like a good fit for me right now.   If you need advice from some long term lensmasters who will treat you with respect you might be interested in an alternative forum that I visit every day - 

I'm not suggesting that you choose one forum over the other I'm just showing you an alternative so that you can see which is the best fit for you.   The best forum I ever found for Squidoo (Rocketmoms) no longer exists, but it just felt like home for the time it was around and I found I learned a lot from it which is why I think it's important for everyone to find the forum that feels right to them - no one can tell you which is best because we all learn differently.

I will try and start posting more regularly again as we head towards 2013 as long as the world doesn't really end on Dec 21st that is!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Farewell Zazzle Module & Lou's Purple Star Lensography

RIP Zazzle module - I must say that I'm quite happy that this module is gone as too many people were unaware that they didn't make any money with it.   It is a much better idea to use a text module for Zazzle products that way you can also earn a referral.

Think about this - someone likes the look of one of your products enough to click through to Zazzle, but once there decides to have a look around as it's not quite what they were after and what do you know they find the perfect item and purchase it from a different Zazzle store.

If they had clicked through the Zazzle module you wouldn't have made anything, however if they clicked through one of your links (that has your referral code in it) you would've just made yourself 15% commission - awesome!

While on the subject of farewells I've decided that it's time to say goodbye to my Purple Star Lensography - at one stage everyone seemed to have a purple star lensography (if they'd received a few of these awards), but I don't think that mine has any real value any more so I've decided to delete it.

Having decided to delete this lensography I thought I would just showcase my purple stars here kind of like their farewell tour!

I've been lucky enough to 8 purple stars and 4 of them were assignments from when I belonged to the now defunct RocketMoms.   Those four were -

Celebrity Ebayers - a funny lens written to showcase the caption module.
Pac Man Baking - I think the name says it all, I had been thinking about writing a lens like this for a little while and when we got given an assignment to write a decade's lens I knew it was time to make it!
Asian Inspired Cocktails - this was an assignment to write a beverage lens and the rest is purple star history!
The Devils Marbles - this is a lens about a place in Australia and surprisingly it wasn't written for a travel assignment!   We all had to submit an introduction to get everyone's juices flowing before writing the rest of the lens - lots of fun.

My other four purple star awards were for these lenses -

How to Earn Money on Squidoo - a how to lens that I think is pretty good and the purple star givers obviously agree!
Mocktails - a beverage lens and one of my earliest ones.
Barney Stinson for President - this was a funny lens that I wrote mainly to link to my HIMYM T-Shirt lens.
Lady Gaga Costumes - this lens says it all and was ranked number one on Google for over 2 years - now that scroogle is no longer around I'm not sure where it's ranking, but it did drop to number 2 just before scroogle shut down.

Thank you for letting me farewell my purple star lensography, I'll be back with some tips next week :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

RSS Feeds to Earn Extra Money

Are you using your RSS feeds to earn extra money on Squidoo?   I'll put my hand up to say no, I hadn't thought about it, but a recent comment on Squidu made me bang my head on the desk and think - why aren't I doing this!

Basically if you're an Amazon affiliate you can use their affiliate feeds in the Squidoo RSS modules - I think this would be ideal for the sidebar which means I have a lot of work to do next week.

There appears to be a couple of ways of getting this feed and the easiest way (in my opinion anyways) is to get some tag-based feeds which is done like this -


Now to translate this feed you need to understand the different parts of the url which are these -

tag - this is your affiliate code which should end in 20
books - this is the tag you want to use - it could be blu-ray, shoes, anything that is relevant to your lens.
the part in green - this relates to how you want to sort the results ie new is as it suggests products tagged with (in my example) books for the very first time.   Popular is the most popular products with that tag.

Another way of sorting out an RSS feed is by using the bestseller feeds and this looks pretty easy as well, but instead of typing it all in here I'm going to give you a link to Squidoography as they have got their url bar captures to show you exactly where to find the numbers you'll need.

This is definitely going on my to do list for next week as I think (especially in the lead up to the holiday season) this could be an absolute windfall in sales.   

If you're already doing this let me know how you've found it and if not I hope you'll join me to try and maximize our Squidoo returns.