Sunday, December 26, 2010

Amazon Spotlights & Starting All Over!

Well I did promise to let you in on something new with this post, but I was computer-less for a few days with a nasty virus and then this pesky thing called Christmas means that I can't spend as much time on the computer!   Speaking of which I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas, ours was pretty quiet this year and very wet.

I decided to open a brand new account with Squidoo, when I first started I really didn't realize how important creating a niche was so I wrote about all sorts of things under my one account.   Watching an episode of How Things Are Made with my hubby inspired me to write about Lego.   I was thinking about what I could write about and with a piece of paper was able to come up with 39 ideas for Lego lenses, that was without doing any research into what sets were now available!!   Because I had a clear objective I decided to set up a second account that I could keep as a very niche account - would I recommend it?   I'll let you know.

With the monsters things have changed and it was quite an eye opener to see what people first starting out had to work with - no Amazon Spotlight modules to start with, they only come in at Level 4.   Now it really doesn't take long to get to Level 4, but if you're writing your first lens and when you read recommendations you're told to use the spotlight module it would probably get a little confusing.

My plan for my first lens included -

  • Amazon Spotlight modules - Denied!
  • Blackbox module - Denied!
  • Talk Bubble - Denied!

Time to go back to the drawing board!   I decided that I would have to use my own Amazon associate links and I used the Text with Big Picture module to display them.   For the blackbox module I just used html to add a colored background.   The result was Lego Architecture Series .

I then decided to start my lensography lens right at the beginning.   I had lots of information about Lego that I wanted to convey and then add my other lenses in the appropriate place as I went.    Featured Lens - Level 11 - not there yet!

By the time I had written my second lens I was able to use the Amazon Spotlight and the result was Lego City Police Sets.   I have since realized that I'm going to have to change some of my plans - I wanted to create lenses about different themed sets etc which means adding all of the sets in a particular series available and writing about them.   Sometimes this might be more than 10 items and this became a problem just before Christmas.

Squidoo Changed The Rules!

Now it's Squidoo's playground so if they want to change the rules it's up to them, but what can we do?   Well I was actually thinking about telling you all how I was going to be changing over some of my lenses so that I had less Amazon modules and more of my own associate links.   One of my best lenses made over $200 in Amazon sales (through Squidoo) a few months ago, which I thought was great, but another lens which was similar, but had affiliate links made me $200 in commissions through an affiliate as well as royalties through Squidoo!   I had far less sales on the second lens so I know how much better I could do without using the modules.   With the restrictions that Squidoo are enforcing I personally think they will lose money, but hopefully we'll all make more :)

Back to Lego!

Now I've already got some visits from Google on my new a/c, but I haven't started promoting them yet.   I will start promoting them more in the New Year and I'll be devoting a blog post a week to keep you updated on everything I've done as well as the results.   I thought that by starting with a new account it would be good for non-giants as well as giants to get an idea about how to earn on Squidoo.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Titles Are Important - Make Them Count

I often think of pithy newspaper type of headline that would suit my lenses, but I don't use them!   Well maybe on some of my older ones that I really should change, but it is the one small change that you can often make to your lenses in order to rank better.

Since I have started to take more care of all of my titles, not just the main one, I have found that it's far easier to rank well in Google.   Of course not just titles are going to do the job, but if you have a lens which seems pretty good for content and yet it's getting no traffic because it's just not ranking well then revisiting the titles may be a great idea.

Look at your keywords or keyword phrase - is it highlighted in your titles?   Now obviously you can't always have your main keywords in the title of each section especially if your keywords are something like The Lego Architecture Series and so you want your different titles to reflect each of the sets in the series such as The White House and Fallingwater, what you can do is add Lego Architecture Series to the sub-heading.

The biggest mistake people use is with their Guestbooks - we all know not to leave the generic New Guestbook as the title, but what do we put instead?   Use your keywords in the title in the form of a question.   Why, well two reasons really -

  • It adds your keywords into your title easily.
  • It makes it more likely that you'll get commenters to use keywords in their comments.
If you're thinking, but I like pithy headlines - you can still use them if you want to, but as sub-headings.   Make the main title one of your keywords and have your subheading as something fun.   If you're not sure what I mean then check out Funky Chic and Cool Laptop Bags - this lens has been in the Top 100 for as long as I've been on Squidoo.   Kate highlights the bag she's reviewing in the title because that's one of her keywords ie - The Allie Laptop Tote Bag by Rainbrooke - and then adds a pithy sub-title ie - Get in touch with your inner Elle Woods.   

Now stay tuned for next time as I've started a new project which I'll be revealing to you and hopefully it'll be a really interesting journey that we can take together.   Also as the year is coming to a close I'll be looking back and updating you on some of the experiments we've tried this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Plexos - More Easy Backlinks for Squidoo Lenses

Now there's always a big discussion about the value of backlinks - do follow versus no follow etc. Now I seriously believe that organic backlinks from reputable sites on the same subject as your lens are the best ones to get, but they don't just appear. The right people have to 'find' your lens in order to link to it and how can they do this?
Obviously if you manage your on page optimization well and get ranked on the front page of google they will be able to find you easily - this is how I've managed to get a number of my organic backlinks, but what if you're not on the front page of google - is there any hope?

This is why I think there is a value in any backlink you can get so if there's a way of obtaining quick and easy backlinks then I say why not. We discussed Squidoo directories on a previous post as one way of getting backlinks, but plexos are good as well.

I used to love coming across plexos when looking at lenses and I would eagerly add my lens, but I used to think to myself how can I find which lenses have plexos that I can add to without just visiting them when someone posts a link on Squidu??   Well spammers always seem to find these plexo and I found out a black hat seo trick for us to use for good instead of spam!!

Now I'm going to assume that you're all writing in a niche now?   This means that you'll have a keyword  or keyphrase that you're targeting so here's what you do.

  • Go to google
  • Type in KEYWORD + + "0 points"
  • Press enter and visit the lenses that show up
This gives you all of the lenses with a plexo that covers your keyword or keyphrase, now the only drawback is it doesn't distinguish between amazon plexos and link plexos, but it's surprisingly quick to scroll through these lenses.

It's a great idea to check out these lenses as well because they are your competition so see what you like about the lens, are they worth linking to or lensrolling with your lenses?   I'm very gradually going through my niches and adding links to plexos with keywords or phrases that I'm targeting.

Now you're probably thinking, but are they worth anything?   All I can say is I look upon backlinks as breadcrumbs that can lead people to your lens.   You don't know who is going to see your lens on a plexo, in a squidoo directory, from a tweet and think hey that's really good before favoriting it for their one million facebook friends!   We can't always predict where our traffic is going to come from, but with enough enticing breadcrumbs we can hope that it comes.

About 18 months ago one of my seasonal lenses started to get a lot of hits......but it was the wrong season!   It went from a handful of hits weekly to hundreds.   I looked at the stats and found that a single blog had linked to me highlighting one module of that lens - turns out that the heading on that lens was what they had typed into google and I actually ranked for that long tail keyword phrase without realizing it.   The person was obviously a successful blogger and liked my lens - she's linked to it twice since.   The reason for this story is that you never know who is going to find your lens and link to it - it could be through google, plexos, squidoo directories, xomba, best reviewer or just about anywhere.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Who Do You Write For? What's Your Niche?

This blog is all about increasing our income through Squidoo so it's good to stop and ask yourself the question - who do you write for? - as this can help you to refocus. I enjoy the flexibility of being able to write about anything I like on Squidoo and I still do! When I want to look at making money however I have to look at how I write. The lenses that make me money aren't ever going to win a pulitzer prize or be something I showcase to my mum, but they do their job.

This lens - Disney Princess Christmas Ornaments - is a lens that has made it into tier one with only one like. This is because it wasn't written for the Squidoo community it was written for one purpose alone - to sell Disney Princess Christmas Ornaments! It has also served another purpose as it adds some backlinks to hubpages where I have a number of Disney Princess hubs.

At this point of time this lens has the third highest amount of sales sitting on my dashboard, and that's only the ones showing from the module as I have also made some sales directly through Amazon. The one that is sitting in second spot has actually just got lucky with sales sprees, but this one has got there on it's own merit.

The majority of traffic to this lens comes from google although I do get some through my Christmas ornament lensography - Unique Christmas Ornaments. Until mid November every sale through this lens had been for something on the lens. What that tells me is that it's a niche lens and people are already thinking of buying before they land on my lens.

It's the most success that I've seen using the page break module on a lens and this has actually helped me to get on the front page of google for other keywords ie Cinderella Christmas Ornaments and also for keywords such as Sleeping Beauty Xmas Ornaments. Now I never usually use the word Xmas, but the title for each page break limits the number of characters you can use and guess what? The general public do put xmas into google!

Since the middle of November I have managed to catch a couple of sales sprees, but these have included one of the products on my page. So if you're looking at writing a sales lens do it and don't worry about garnering support from the Squidoo community instead work on your seo and get google to fall in love with it.

This also shows that page break lenses can be sales lenses, although I must admit this is the only one that I've had success with in terms of converting sales really well.

Another thing that this lens shows us is that it is important to write about a niche. If I had just written about Christmas ornaments I probably wouldn't have ranked well at all, in fact I think it's too broad to just have Disney Princess, but with the page break it's managed to break the lens into a more niche niche market ie Cinderella Christmas ornaments.

The other question in the title is What's Your Niche? Now I do have a number of one offlenses, but the most profitable of my lenses have been written around a niche. Using the lens above as an example I wrote my Unique Christmas Ornaments lens first and then have added more niche lenses to it. The Disney Princes lens is on this lensography as well as on the lens Christmas Ornaments for Children.

When you come across something that you love, think of other products that are similar and make lenses on them too interlinking them all. A fellow lensmaster and reader of this blog is Rhonda aka Pukeko she recently did a lens on penguins and before you know it she's produced lenses about Penguin iphone cases, penguin jewelry etc. This is how you develop a niche and it will be interesting to hear from Rhonda next Christmas to see how successful it's become. The other great thing that Rhonda did was to create a lensography - The Best Penguin Gifts Ever - which gives them all free backlinks and another thing that she could do is make sure that this lensography is included on each of her penguin lenses - she's already on the front page of google for penguin gifts.

Which niches have you developed and have they been successful? Let us know in the comment section. While you're doing that have a good think about who you're writing for.

The penguin picure is here thanks to Lord Biro.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sales Don't Know Your Lensrank

This is just a quick post today as I was looking at my dashboard and thought I would share some thoughts with you. Hopefully everyone is seeing lots of earnings on their dashboard as we hurtle towards Christmas.

It seems that every few months there's a discussion about improving lensrank and I always think to myself it doesn't matter if you optimise your lens you can make sales with any lensrank. Of course the ironic thing is that when you do make a sale this increases your lensrank!!

I have stated publically before with lensranks of lenses that still show income, but I thought I would bring it up again in case anyone was worrying about it. As of today these are my lensranks of over 100,000 that have sales on them -

lensrank 109,571 pending $2.71
lensrank 115,779 pending $2.20
lensrank 283,207 pending $1.12
lensrank 113,107 pending $0.86
lensrank 183,445 pending $0.71
lensrank 168,097 pending $0.54
lensrank 201,069 pending $0.29

So my little bit of advice today is to stop spending time stressing on lensrank or trying to do things that may improve it and concentrate on building backlinks, promotion and making sure that your lens is loved by google, rather than fellow lensmasters who won't be buying from you anyway. It's always nice to get both lensrank and sales, but there is only a limited amount of spaces in the tiers so if you're after an income you need to focus on increasing sales instead.

The trick with these lenses is that they rank on the first page of google for their keywords, except for one of them and that one gets all of it's traffic from a higher ranking lens that is on the front page of google and also has a lot of organic backlinks. The people who click through to this particular lens do not click to look at it, they click to buy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chitika and Squidoo - Yes or No?

What are your thoughts on the Chitika ads at the bottom of our lenses? I hadn't really looked at my old lenses to see how they looked, but recently I have been making a number of iphone case lenses. At the bottom of these lenses I felt that the Chitika ads were quite jarring, but do they work?

I have had some success from Chitika on other sites so I'm sure that they must be bringing in good income for Squidoo, however I'm not sure if I can't do better. What do I mean? Well I checked my stats from the last payment and my tier one payment for Chitika was only 42c. I'm not concerned that I turned the Chitika ad off of my iphone lenses now, 42c really isn't a huge amount in my opinion.

However......Chitika knows what they're doing so perhaps I should try a little experiment.

I have taken the Chitika ads off of Lou's Online Jewelry Store and have added a text module at the bottom of each page (it's a page break lens) and I have put a banner for one of my affiliates along the bottom. Now this lens doesn't get a lot of visits, but I had just been looking at that affiliate (seeing a few of Kate Middleton's engagement rings being sold thanks to one of my hubs on British Royal Engagement Rings) at the time that the idea came to me.

I am going to check out a few other lenses and put this idea to the test - anyone care to join me? It will be interesting to see if we can get clicks to our affiliates that payout more than a mere 42c for a tier one!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Best Reviewer - A Site for Backlinks

I've just been sent an opportunity to try out a new site called Best Reviewer and it looks awesome! Basically if you have a niche like cupcakes and you have five different types of cupcake lenses ie chocolate, vanilla, banana, strawberry and orange then you go to Best Reviewer and write a 'review' on the top five cupcakes. Write a blurb on each individual type of cupcake and put the link to each of your individual lens at the appropriate section. Five backlinks for one article - what more could you want?

I think Best Reviewer looks like a cross between a top 10, 5, whatever number you want list (and we all know how successful they usually are) and a lensography!

I have seen a fellow lensmaster put a top 5 together where he only had lenses for 3 so he also linked to a government site and wikipedia so don't worry if you don't have enough lenses. You can link to articles, hubs, even zazzle designs as well as lenses.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Google Alerts - Keeping Up To Date

Do you use Google Alerts? This is a handy, free tool from Google. I use it on my username - lou16. It's handy to see if anyone blogs about you or links to any of your sites. I've found blogs that I think are interesting and they have linked to one of my lenses so I've tweeted them. I used to digg or stumble articles that linked to me (provided they were good and not cut and paste with a link that is), but as I don't really digg or stumble any more they just get either tweeted or a reciprocal link from one of my articles, lenses or hubs.

You can also use Google Alerts if you have a niche and use the alert for your primary keyword.

The Google Alert I mainly use though is my lou16 one and it was interesting to see which directories showed up first when I submitted a lens in my experiment last week - squidom showed up on an alert within hours!

How Do I Set Up A Google Alert?

It couldn't be easier, first go to Google Alerts
Next add your search terms and I leave it on everything, but you can choose to just be notified about blogs, news, videos etc. Decide how long you want your email to be and enter your email address.
Now you just wait for the alerts to appear in your mailbox.

On a personal note I'm back overseas next weekend, I'm hoping to have time to still post to this blog, but if I don't respond to questions it's just because I'm not at home and I will get back to you when I can.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Using Squidoo Directories for Backlinks

While organic backlinks are by far the best ones to get, don't dismiss the role that squidoo directories can play. There's always a lot of discussion online about the importance of backlinks. What's good and what's not and I am by no means an expert. I see a backlink as a recommendation, imagine you're sat at a table with a couple of your friends and there are also a couple of their friends present who you don't know as well. The topic turns to where you can buy the best Indian, out of all the recommendations you're going to allocate value to them. One of your friends has similar tastebuds to you so you take her recommendation more highly than the people who you don't know as well. Google also allocates it's own value to bakclinks, but unfortunately we don't know what Google bases it's values on.

The way I look at it, even if I didn't know the other people at the table very well if they ALL recommended the same place chances are I'm going to try it out - why wouldn't Google act the same way?

After using the interlinking lenses tricks that we've discussed previously, squidoo directories are probably one of the easiest ways to build backlinks. I've used various squidoo directories on and off and when I look at some of my older lenses I wonder why I wasn't more consistant with my practises!

This week I've been checking out the squidoo directoris to see what ones are still working. A couple of the directories aren't taking submissions at the moment, but all of the one's here are working fine as of posting -

Isle of Squid

My Experiment on Squidoo Directories

I have a lens that spent the 1st couple of weeks of this month in tier 1 before dropping into tier 2 (it has been a pretty consisten tier 2 lens for a while now). Most of it's traffic is referred with very little coming from Google. When I searched Google I found out why - it was at #53! I added the lens to 2 of the directories mentioned and the following day it was at #24. Two days after submission it's moved back into tier 1.....will the monthly average be enough? I added the lens to all bar 1 of these directories and it's now at #23 in google. It's also moved further into the top tier which I think is due to visits from members of the squidoo community that are involved in the squidoo directory and who have given the lens a thumbs up.

My conclusion - spend a few minutes adding your lenses to these squidoo directories. I'm waiting to see where this lens ranks for it's main keyword in a couple of weeks when the backlinks have had time to percolate and I'm expecting good things :)

So, do you use the squidoo directories?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Let's Talk Lensographies!

Apologies for the long wait between posts, life getting in the way again and in a couple of weeks I'll be jetting back across the Tasmin to help out when dad get's out of hospital, but for now let's look at lensographies.

Fellow squidmaster Fluff coined the term lensography to mean a collection of one's squidoo lenses, but they've really taken on a life of their own since and can really help with increasing your income. Yes you heard right, increasing your income. Now I'm not talking directly here, rather indirectly because a lensography helps you to link together all of the lenses in a particular niche.

Basically you're providing backlinks to each of your individual lenses when you include them in a lensography. Now there's a lot of debate about the value of internal versus external backlinks, but these are so easy to produce why wouldn't you?? I also like the fact that if you're setting up a profile or a forum signature where you want to promote one of your niches you can just use your niche lensography - how simple??

I have a lot of lensographies which is why I've just published my Lensography of Lensographies and it's a great way to see the different ways in which I've approached making my lensographies. If you want to look at my feelings behind lensographies and why I believe that lensographies are such a good idea then you really should check out Why Should You Have a Lensography?

So how many lensographies do you have?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Do You Squidboo?

Squidboo is a template designed for Halloween and if you’re still making your Halloween lenses there is actually a Get Cracking contest on Squidu at the moment for people to make Squidboo lenses this month. Now I think that your Halloween lenses should have already been made by now, but I haven’t been able to resist joining in :)

If you have a number of lenses on Halloween already, but didn’t remember/think of or even know that Squidboo existed it’s well worth doing a Halloween lensography using the Squidboo template and linking to your other Halloween lenses. It’s basically another ‘door’ into Squidoo with it’s own searchable Squidoo Halloween index (another backlink) and the possibility of Bonnie (who organizes Squidboo Blast) blogging and tweeting about it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

HIMYM Tee Update

Those of you who have been long time readers of this blog will probably remember that we did an experiment on a new lens – How I Met Your Mother Tees. At the time the search function in Squidoo wasn’t working correctly or I would probably have chosen a different idea. At the time it was a bit of a bust not ranking well in Google and certainly not showcasing a great result. However……

I ended up just leaving the lens to it’s own devices and then on the weekend I noticed that it had made a sale…….it was also showing visits in the double digits (the past week has had 39 visitors). I then decided to google it and these are the results –

How I Met Your Mother Tee #6
HIMYM Tee #3
How I Met Your Mother T-Shirt #11
HIMYM t-shirt #9

So there’s always hope if you’ve set your lens up and have directed some interlinking and backlinking time may be the missing link.

I must admit that this has happened with other lenses in the past where they will suddenly start to peak for no reason except that they are older so there’s always hope :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

How Can I Increase My Squidoo Income?

As I’ve stated I really want to increase my Squidoo income from 3 figures to 4 figures a month by the end of this year. I’m not talking about including other affiliate income, just straight from Squidoo alone. How can I do this? Well I’ve never been too hung up on lensrank in the past because I’ve had sales from lenses that are ranked in the 300k and I think position in google and targeted visits are much more important, however the tier payments keep adding up.

Tier one paid out $20.72 last payday and up to $27.68 if you had all of the ads enabled which means that if you didn’t make a sale, but just had 10 in the top tier you’d make between $207.72 and $276.80. Maybe I should try and do both – increase my lensrank and also make sales, but do sales lenses ‘make it’ into the top ranks of Squidoo?

There are so many factors that go into lensrank it can be a hard one to conquer. Traffic is one factor, but last year I found that I had a lens that was on the same subject as a fellow squidooer and they were quite alike (not copied, it was just a popular subject). I had over 5 times the traffic and was on the front page of google……I’m not sure where the other lens was on google, but it wasn’t on the front page. This increased to just short of 10 times the traffic when a few events occurred. I made a number of sales on this lens and considering the traffic and google positions of the lenses I would make an educated guess that the other lens could not have made as much in sales. It was ranked above me however!

What else can we look at? I had lots of clickouts, not sure how many the ‘opposition’ had had. Backlinks for my lens were way up on the competition and then I looked at the star ratings. This was my mistake, I hadn’t been promoting my lens within Squidoo because I was getting plenty of traffic outside. The ‘other lens’ had received 10 times as many ratings as mine which had to be the key to the higher ranking.

BTW - I’ve been particularly fuzzy over which lens because it involves someone elses as well, not because I’m trying to hide anything.

What does this say to me? As well as doing all the usual things I think I have to start implementing my squidcast calendar that I have thought about in the past. I also think that I may have to start commenting on more lenses again, despite what I’ve said in the past. I also always keep up to date on squidu, but don’t always comment on discussions, obviously I should raise my profile there.

Let’s see if I can increase tier payouts as well as sales on my lenses, not forgetting that sales are said to increase your lensranking as well.

If you’re wondering how I know the traffic, backlinks and ratings a lens by someone else has it’s because I used Squidaholic. This is a great site to keep an eye on. It has so much information on it and can really motivate you when you don’t feel like setting up backlinks – if someone with a competing lens has 100 backlinks and you only have 5 wouldn’t that motivate you?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Are You Ready for Halloween?

If you’re hoping to make lots of sales for Halloween you really should have your lenses set up by now so that you can work on more backlinks and promoting your lenses in the lead up. Halloween is a huge money maker for a number of people on Squidoo and I know I did quite well last year as well – I’m hoping to do even better this year, but only time will tell.

If you have a few Halloween lenses then grouping them together should help and if you’ve already read up on linking strategies I’m sure you’re already doing this. I actually have two Halloween lensographies this year. Last year I created my Boo!ography using the squidboo template which is a good idea if you haven’t been using the squidboo template because it’s like another front door to your lens and it has it’s own top 100 (I think).

This year I’ve created quite a few extra costume lenses so I created a costume-ography as well. I decided to create this separately (although it’s linked to my boo!ography) because Halloween’s not the only time people wear costumes. I made the mistake on one of my first costume lenses in using the words Halloween costumes in the url as well as the title. If you keep the word Halloween out of the url, you can still put it in the title and then take it out of the title after Halloween has passed.

When I lived in the UK we used to dress up in fancy dress for New Years Eve, I then moved to New Zealand where everyone in the town I lived seem to dress up for Christmas Eve. Over the years events such as 30th, 40th, 50th etc birthday parties have gone through stages of becoming fancy dress events. Basically I want to be able to promote all of my costume lenses throughout the year and not make them just about Halloween………..don’t get me wrong Halloween is still the biggest sales time for most of these lenses, although one of them makes sales every week of the year – I’ll let you try and guess which one and why.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Shareasale, Linkshare & Clickbank on Squidoo

One of the great things about Squidoo is that it allows you to use different affiliates in order to make money. I use the text module to promote these products as a rule and it’s great in that I can just get the html from the affiliate and paste it straight into the module – how easy is that?

Out of these three Shareasale is definitely my favorite, it offers html for different sized products when you’re adding them to your lens. If what you want to link to doesn’t have an actual product link then you can build a custom link. I have done this on a number of lenses, my most recent one (I think) is one my Cows Christmas Ornament lens. I created the custom link for the cow in the wreath….the custom link is just a text link however so I uploaded the picture to my computer and put it in a text with big picture link. I used the custom link to link the picture as well as underneath the picture for a text link.

I haven’t used linkshare quite as much and consequently have had no sales what so ever from them. I originally joined linkshare specifically to sell one particular product as it wasn’t available through anyone else and the merchant turned me down! Not happy as I was getting thousands of hits a day, but it’s now on Amazon and I’ve sold some of the product so more fool the merchant!!! It does seem to have a few interesting products with merchants that have approved me, so I’m still trying it out.

Clickbank has got a bad reputation, but it does have a few products that are pretty good. I promote about 4 different products – 3 of them on Squidoo. I was going to stop using them, but I have quite a bit of money pending with them, unfortunately getting the first payment involves having so many sales through so many cards etc and too many people are using paypal!

I think if you’ve got time to sort through you can find some good products on clickbank, but it’s not one I generally recommend.

Which affiliate program is your favorite?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Allposters and Squidoo

Now when I first joined Allposters it was mainly as a way to legally use the picture! Then, somehow I made a sale, I was over the moon….it only took me about 2 years to get a sale so I was doing the happy dance. I’ve since discovered that if you use posters as a keyword and also include it in your url it seems to help. I have increased the number of clickouts to Allposters by doing this as well as increasing sales.

A number of people have left Allposters as they have changed the rules and now you have to make a min amount each year in order to be paid out. I’m not sure if you’d want to do this or just use Amazon and Zazzle instead. Personally I think it’s worth it now (the commissions are better for one), however a couple of years ago it wouldn’t have been worth it for me.

One of my fellow Antipodean Lensmasters has actually made a lens for people to help with formatting Allposters - Formatting AllPosters on Squidoo.

Do you use Allposters?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Squidoo and Amazon

Amazon has to be my best affiliate program bar none! I think a lot of it is because people trust the name so if you have a link to some affiliate company selling a product and you have another link to Amazon then I believe you’ll probably make more sales on the Amazon link. Unfortunately Amazon don’t pay as much as some of the other companies, but if you can make sales then that’s great.

Obviously Squidoo isn’t the only way I use my Amazon link because as I said yesterday I also hub and Hubpages is probably responsible for well over half of my Amazon income. The reason for that is that I use a lot of the Squidoo Amazon modules and I don’t always use my own link on my lenses. I still see plenty of sales coming through, but the mix between Squidoo and Amazon keeps me happy. A real drawback for me with Amazon is that I live overseas so they’ll only pay me by check and it costs a bit for me to bank that check and it also takes a fair while for it to clear. This is why getting a lot of my Amazon commissions paid via the Squidoo spotlight module makes my life a little easier because I can access my income quicker – it also increases my lensrank which equals more money again!

Amazon can also be used on blogs and you can Tweet products…..I’ve tried this twice and the first time I sold a Kindle that way, back when you got 10% for selling them :) I haven’t done this since as I’ve gotten out of the habit of Tweeting over the last few months with all of my traveling, but it’s good to know that it can work.

How do I incorporate my own associate link into my lenses? Well I do it in a couple of different ways and each of my lenses are different. I use text links throughout including in the Amazon Spotlight module. It’s amazing how some people will click on the text link instead of the picture or the buy now button that’s in the module.

Sometimes I’ll upload the picture to a text or text with big picture module. When using the text with big picture module I’ll also include the text link underneath the picture inside p tags to centralize the text and b tags to bold the link. This is a lot easier than it used to be before they made the pictures clickable and is an absolute godsend.

Altogether I believe that Squidoo and Amazon work really well together – what do you think?

Oh I did write a lens on using Amazon and Squidoo together, must admit I haven't looked at in a while, but the info is still pretty good - Make Money with Amazon and Squidoo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hubpages and Squidoo

I joined Hubpages around the same time as Squidoo, but didn’t know what to do and at that time the forum was pretty non-existent whereas Squidoo had lots of forum activity where I could learn a lot as a quiet ‘stalker’!!! As you can gather I left hubpages alone and focused all of my attention onto Squidoo. I went back to hubpages last year, but it has really been since the beginning of this year that most of my hubs have started to come together.

I started off by trying out a couple of topics that were very different to the ones I do on Squidoo, but I’ve since started to supplement them with lenses. I found an unexpected niche that has been doing really well for me and I had a couple of lenses on that niche already so I have built links between the two and I’m seeing some great results.

My amazon payments are snowballing as I use both Squidoo and Hubpages to promote products and my Google payments are increasing every day (this is how you earn on Hubpages) and I’ve made a few notes as to what you should write about on which site. Because Squidoo pay you tier payments you should write lenses that are likely to receive a lot of hits, but pay nothing on Squidoo. If you have a niche that pays well, but doesn’t necessary have a lot of hits then you should write it on Hubpages.

This is just my theory at the moment and it doesn’t always work as I’ve received a high payout for clicks that should have paid next to nothing and a miniscule amount paid for a click that should have paid well………I think I’ll throw my hands up in the air and say I don’t understand how Google calculates anything!!

If you belong to hubpages leave a link here and I’ll pop by and read some of your hubs.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Other Places to Earn Online

This blog is about how to earn money with squidoo, but there are other places to earn money online and some of them fit really well with squidoo. Diversity is also a good idea, as my Nan always said ‘don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.’ So where else do you earn money and are you using squidoo to maximize these earnings? I use Zazzle, Hubpages, Bukisa, Amazon, Shareasale, Linkshare, Allposters and Clickbank.

I’m going to go through each of these and explain how I incorporate them with Squidoo in order to increase my online income.

I Zazzle and I really enjoy it having recently sold 100 copies of one of my postcards I’m rapt with the response, but the most money I have made has been with referrals. As you know one of my niches on Squidoo is t-shirts and I often use Zazzle to find some really great designs. As people clickout on the Zazzle link it counts as a clickout to my lens which is part of the secret algorithm for lensrank. Hopefully they also buy the product which means that I can get a payment from Zazzle as well as Squidoo – win/win!

On one particular lens that I created on February 27th 2010 I have had 222 visits since the lens was published and I have had 16 sales on Zazzle (totaling $43.65) directly from that lens. To me this is a great indication that the partnership is working really well. As a side note I’ve also had 4 sales from Amazon totaling $1.16 on my dashboard. I should also add that this lens has not had any promotion at all as it kind of slipped through the cracks……it’s now on my to do list however.

You should always make sure that both entities can stand on their own however and I have to say that every sale of my own product that I’ve made have not come through me promoting them as I haven’t received the referral. This means that I will still make sales from Zazzle if Squidoo wasn’t around. However it also means that I need to promote Zazzle a bit more in other places and it is something that I’ve been a little ‘slack’ about, but we’re talking about Squidoo here so I won’t carry on about my Zazzle plans!

Let me know if you use Zazzle and leave a link, I’ll be sure to check if you have any products I can use on any of my lenses.

Did You Miss Me?

Well my blog hasn’t been updated for quite a while as I’ve been traveling backwards and forwards between Australia (my home) and New Zealand (where my parents live). We got some bad news about my dad’s health a couple of months ago and I’ve been popping over to help out. He’s not out of the woods yet, but the prognosis is good.

The great thing about this is that I’m still getting paid by Squidoo and affiliates – woo hoo! I don’t know of a job that would continue to pay you when you weren’t working (not counting sick and holiday leave), so setting up lenses on Squidoo is definitely a great idea – I would like to think of it as a retirement fund as well, but one that I pay into with time instead of money!

I haven’t made huge amounts, but I’ve stayed in 3 figures with hardly any work and to me that is awesome because it shows that I’ve set some of my lenses up correctly and they don’t need me to coax them along.

Now I’m back at home for a couple of months so I’ll be posting regularly again and hopefully I can get back on track for my target of 4 figures a month from Squidoo before the end of the year ...... some people have already achieved this so it’s not impossible.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Do You Ping?

I ping every time I update a lens (well only once a day not if I’ve updated it several times in a row!!). A ping is the way you let search engines know you’re there it’s the equivalent of leaving your business card in someone’s letterbox when you call and they’re not home.

Sending out pings does help you to get your lenses indexed by google, but what about other sites?

I use squidutils to ping my lenses, but if I’ve done a blog post I often used to ‘forget’ to ping it, the same with my hubs and articles that I’ve written. The solution is to use another ping tool and the one I generally use is pingomatic. I’m not sure if it’s the best, but it was one I was recommended and I’ve found it works well.

I have seen pingoat recommended on squidu, but I haven’t tried it. So don’t just ping your lenses, ping everything :)

Friday, May 7, 2010

My Favorite Lens for Fresh Squid

When I first came to Squidoo I knew nothing about HTML or SEO or anything like that .....and you could tell! The lens that I would constantly refer to was Basic HTML for Squidoo, it’s one that I am constantly recommending to people and to be honest I still refer to it to this day. Now I’m pretty handy with my HTML these days, but sometimes I just can’t think how to do something that I haven’t done in a while so I pop over to Glen’s lens and if this one doesn’t have the answer his advanced or color one will do.

What has been your favorite lens since you began your Squidoo journey?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How Many Lensographies?

A while ago someone asked in Squidu whether they had enough lenses for a lensography and it got to making me feel guilty – I’m never up to date with my main lensography! I don’t think it’s ever to early to start one and that way you’ll get into the habit of updating it every time you make a new lens. My main lensography doesn’t have all of my lenses on it however, I am nudging 300 lenses so it would be quite an ask. What I have done is created several different lensographies and linked to them as well as some ‘lonely’ lenses.

How many lensographies do I have? Well to be completely honest I can’t remember as I’m writing this!! I just realized how many Hannah Montana lenses I had so I created a lensography for Hannah Montana as well which also included my hubs on Hannah Montana bedrooms. This is the key to interlinking when it comes to lensographies do not stick to just squidoo…..

One of my bigger lensographies is Lou’s Cocktail Lounge and this includes links to two different article sites, a blog, hubs as well as all of my Squidoo lenses. It’s great to link out to several different places and to have a home for everything cocktail related that I’ve done online.

I’ve quickly counted up at least 8 lensographies in my head and I know I need to do a few more. Once you have about 5 lenses in a particular niche I think it’s time to make a lensography to keep them all together. Using the interlinking lenses techniques that we’ve talked about before you can add your lensography to each of the lenses within that niche and you’ll find that you will increase your internal traffic within that niche.

How many lensographies should you have? There is no answer, have as many different lensographies as you have niches and you’ll find it a lot easier to promote your lenses in various different places.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Continuing the List of Things to Do on Your Lenses

If you’ve read yesterday’s posting you’ll know that we’re examining Bonnie’s to do list for lensmaking.....if you haven’t read yesterday’s posting then off you go and we’ll wait right here for you to finish :)

Bonnie’s List Again

  • DO think outside the box
  • DO go with your gut instinct
  • DO your homework
  • DO proof read
  • DO keep sharing your work
  • DO focus on a niche
  • DO use the tools Squidoo offers

Do keep sharing your work – a lot of people ask where you share your work to and I’m reminded of a lensography I read and I can’t for the life of me think who it was about otherwise I would link to it, but the person used to put sticky notes with her url on them in restrooms when she was traveling!

I think the moral of this is you never know where your traffic might come from so keep posting your links everywhere you can think of. Send a lens to friends and family (if you think they’d be interested), submit it to social bookmarking sites, add it to forum signatures and don’t forget to interlink your lenses together.

Do focus on a niche – niche lenses are great, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t write on other things as well and it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t have more than one niche. I use the group function available to giants to keep all of my niche lenses together. I often find that I have overlapping niches which are great.

Focusing on a niche means that you can interlink your lenses, create a lensography on your niche to promote outside of squidoo and also you can have a blog which is a great way of sharing your lenses with the world. A niche blog is much more likely to get ranked than one which is generalized as Google doesn’t know how to categorize it.

Do use the tools Squidoo offers – there are so many tools such as the Discovery Modules, Sidebar Widgets etc but one of the best tools and one which I recommend using every day is Squidu. Checking in with squidu is invaluable because you never know when someone will mention something that they do and you think – oh I never knew that or wow that makes sense. I love hearing what veterans like Fluff and Jeffryv have to say about things because they’re not only helpful they’re very successful lensmasters.

There are often some interesting debates. Flowergardener recently started a debate which has really shown a number of issues being discussed and whatever your feelings it’s good to read feedback on both sides of the discussion.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A List of Things to Do When Making Squidoo Lenses

I’m a member of the Rocketmoms group on Squidoo and they have recently started their new session. One of the things that Bonnie (our illustrious leader) is doing during this session is to add tips each day to help us. The first tip was a list of things we should do when we build our lenses.

Bonnie’s List

  • DO think outside the box
  • DO go with your gut instinct
  • DO your homework
  • DO proof read
  • DO keep sharing your work
  • DO focus on a niche
  • DO use the tools Squidoo offers

I thought this list was worth sharing because Bonnie has great insights into what makes a successful lens. I think we also need to add DO have fun because even though we’re trying to make money it is important to enjoy what we do.

Thinking outside of the box can help you to create some fantastic lenses. It’s all too easy to make your lenses using the same formula over and over again, this is one of the reasons that I don’t use the templates that giants are allowed to use, because I like my lenses to be different.

Thinking outside of the box is what led another lensmaster to discover that she could add a picture to the blackbox module and that led her to create this fantastic lens – Utilizing the Blackbox module.

Going with your gut instinct can be hard to do on Squidoo, I remember getting a Rocketmoms assignment that was right outside of my comfort zone and then as I was looking at a picture and an idea came to me, the lens was written so quickly after that and I was giggling to myself as I wrote it and having a fun time. I hit publish because in my gut I thought it was hilarious. Then I turned the computer off and went to bed, sleep was hard to come by as I started to doubt whether anyone would ‘get’ my humor. The next day my inbox was full from comments – other people did ‘get’ me.

It was also a lens that I felt I could send to my mum as I knew she’d get the funny side of it and from that lens I’ve given myself permission to add humor into my writing without worrying too much – I think this has really enriched some of my lenses.

Doing your homework is something that I don’t always do……I got in trouble at school for this too! It does help to do keyword research, but I don’t get quite as hung up on it on Squidoo as I do when I write elsewhere. Using the google keyword checker is a great idea to check if a lot of people are searching for something and what words they use. In some cases it’s good for spotting better alternatives to the word you usually use for example presents as opposed to gifts –using the keyword checker you can make sure that you use the ‘right’ one.

However if there is something that you’re interested in and it doesn’t get much search engine traffic does that mean you shouldn’t write about it? I don’t think so. If there’s not a lot of search traffic I would google it myself and see how much competition there is and the quality because if you’re interested in something then someone else probably is too.

I have several lenses that have low traffic, but convert to traffic because they are specific and do not have a lot of competition.

Do proof read is an absolute must and I think it’s a good idea to proof read again the next morning after publishing it. When you read your own words you know what you mean to say and so sometimes your brain ‘tricks’ you into reading what you thought you wrote as opposed to what you did.

By re-reading your lens fresh the next day you can often find some mistakes. What I often do if I come across them on someone’s lenses is shoot them an email alerting them to it. Yet another reason to enable your contact me button. I don’t know how others feel about this, but I’ve been lucky to have a couple of lensmasters alert me to mistakes via email and I appreciate it.

We’ll continue the list tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Keeping Your Lenses Fresh

How often do you update your lenses? I don’t spend a lot of time updating mine unless there’s been some big change or I’ve ‘discovered’ something that I want to add to my lenses and then it takes me quite a while because of the amount I have.

I keep my lenses fresh by adding google blogs to some of them and I thought that this was a great idea for keeping them updated. Last week a fellow lensmaster (I believe it was Jeffry) posted in Squidu that he had done some research with some of his lenses and had found that Squidoo didn’t seem to recognize the blogs as updating the lenses as much as adding an ebay module would.

I don’t have a lot of ebay modules in my lenses, although I’ve been gradually adding more and I’ve made some nice commissions where I do have them. Should we be adding an ebay module to all of our lenses? It’s certainly an idea to think about.

Keeping to something relevant is the problem I will have with some of mine, but on another site I came across an interesting hub where the person added an ebay capsule as a bit of humor to the end with a comment similar to - and you can even buy a set of steak knives. Now he hasn’t sold any steak knives on this hub apparently, but if we employed a similar technique to our lenses it may help with our lensranking which could help our visibility and tier payments.

Please note I haven’t tried this (yet), but it’s definitely food for thought.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Backlinks are very important in getting your lenses noticed by the search engines. The best backlinks tend to be the organic ones, but these are ones that you have no control over....technically anyway. If you write great authority lenses which people like then they will link to you when they find you which creates organic backlinks. I have some great backlinks for some of my lenses/hubs/articles etc from places such as the NY Times, Daily Mail, LA Times, NHS, Haverford University etc these are backlinks which are fantastic, but how did I get them?

By ranking well in Google the ‘right’ person was able to find my page, by creating great and relevant information that person decided to link to my page. The problem? How do you rank well in Google? This is the billion dollar question that we’d all like to answer, but one of the things that will help is to create backlinks yourself.

We mentioned Social Bookmarking yesterday and this is one way in which you can create backlinks. Another way used to be groups, but they are now ‘dead’, however like a phoenix rising from the ashes we have the Squid Clubs. There should be a lot of these being ‘born’ in the coming weeks and if you can find one in your niche they should provide you with another backlink.

Christine has been keeping a list of all of the Squid Clubs on her blog so check it out and see if you’d like to belong to one or more of them.

I also believe that interlinking your lenses are a great idea and you’ll know how to do this if you’ve read my how to interlink your lenses lens. It’s also a great idea to blog about your lenses and link to them from other sources such as hubs, articles or your own websites. Create enough links and the search engines will acknowledge you, but personally I prefer to do this using original content each time....some believe this doesn’t matter, but remember you also want to attract organic backlinks which will only happen with great, original, informative and easy to read information.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Social Bookmarking – Do You Do It?

Do you use social bookmarking? This is an area where I have seen mixed results – with some sites I find it works really well and with others the results haven’t been worth it. The key is to find which sites work best for you. Now I can be pretty slack which is probably why it took me so long before I started to make money! I know that certain sites are a great idea and work well for providing me with backlinks and/or traffic, but I don’t always put the work in by adding to them. Obviously if I want 4 figures this has got to change!

My favorite two are She Told Me and Xomba because they are the two that I have seen results with other several different niches…..they also earn me money themselves. There are lots of other sites that you can use as well and RickyRobi has written a lens to host all of the Squidoo Friendly Social Bookmarking Sites that she knows.

Which sites do you find the most effective?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

When Should You Start A Seasonal Lens?

When do you start work on your Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day lenses etc? Some people have said that they start work a couple of months out others say 6 months. What about the day after an event or in the week after the event? After Valentine’s Day there was a forum post (at a place other than Squidoo!) that said the person was working on some Valentine’s Day ‘lenses’ while Valentine’s Day was fresh in her mind. She could see what had worked for her this year and what happened and she had seen what had happened in the real world. The idea sounded great to me – what do you think?

I have to say that being prepared early is definitely a great idea, last year was my best Christmas sales ever. I started my first Christmas lens at the end of Jun/beginning of July and the niche I developed started selling in September and continued into February. My lenses had had enough time to be seen as established and they were also interlinked well so that they feed each other. I was extremely happy.

Now that’s not to say last minute lenses can’t do well. During September one of my popular lenses started to get a lot of hits for people looking for Halloween lenses in this niche. I set up a lens in response thinking that I’d left it a little late……every day except one (and I think there may have been problems with reporting on that day) I made a sale throughout October and that lens continues to have made me the most money out of any of my other lenses.

I guess what this means is that there’s no clear ‘best time’ to write any lens. Personally the last few weeks I’ve been (in what time I’ve managed to find) alternating between Halloween, Christmas and evergreen lenses. What that means is that I’ve been juggling so many ideas I was shocked to discover it was April!!

Good luck with whatever kind of lenses you’re working on at the moment and remember if you have a lens that offers help with Squidoo or lens promotion then drop me a line and I may just feature you here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Make Money While You Sleep!

You’ve seen the ads for $xx you can spend 10 minutes and make money while you sleep..... it’s the get rich quick schemes that people are constantly running. Squidoo, as most of you will know, is definitely not a get rich quick scheme HOWEVER once you’ve spent time and set your lens up properly then you may be surprised as to how much you can make when you take time off.

Updated content is great and with some lenses it is more important than with others, but if you’ve set your lens up well to start with then should things happen in ‘the real world’ as they have with me for the last few weeks then you can continue to earn money. Yet another reason to love Squidoo!

Payday has just happened again on Squidoo and I hope you’re happy with your payout. Mine is still in the 3 figures, but my goal for 2010 is to lift it into 4 figures a month....unfortunately my time has been caught up with other things causing my plan to turn into a train wreck! It is important to make a plan though, just don’t get hung up if you don’t manage everything on your plan – I look at mine as a map, if you take a wrong turn you just find a new route to get to your destination.

I’ve actually received $11 less than last month which was a surprise to me as I thought it was going to be much less than that as I was busy with other things and had ‘abandoned’ Squidoo a little during February. I always find paydays inspiring these days, but my first payday didn’t even make enough for my $1 threshold payment – it was 68c. It has taken a couple of years and over 100 lenses before I started to get some really good paydays – the key really is perseverance. Now I’m not saying you need to wait for as long as I did, because I really knew absolutely nothing when I started and I didn’t pay enough attention to what people were telling me to do. I wanted to do my own thing, which is fine, but if you want to make money you need to mix in a little of what others want as well as your own thing :)

Now my daughter’s off sick from school today so I’m going to go and give her a cuddle because, luckily, I know this great way of making money while I live my life my way :D

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sidebar Widgets

Have you added any sidebar widgets yet? I’ve had a lot of fun, but it does pose the question – what should I put in the sidebar?

If you’re reviewing one particular item should you put that in the sidebar too or should you include alternatives? Sometimes a lens may not be for selling so should you feature someone else’s blog that is on the same topic or a featured lens that isn’t your own?

I actually don’t have any answers yet as I’m happy experimenting myself, but one things for sure the sidebar widgets are a good thing.

Why are they a good thing? Because they give the lensmaster control over yet more of the page and you can decide if and how you want to use them.....and remember you don’t have to use them all up.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Break Up Your Text

Now when you’re looking at a lens you really don’t want to see a lot of text, even if you’re looking for information. Breaking text up is a key to making your lens look great, but still be full of information.

I admit that I’m still guilty of writing loooooonnnnnggg pieces of text that probably bore people to death, but I’m working on it.

One way to break things up is by using bullet points, these are really easy to add in to your lens and you can use them to illustrate all of your different points and then use the main keyword in each point as a heading to text modules underneath.
How do you add bullet points to your lens?

<ul><li>your first point</li>
<li>second point</li>
continue like that until
<li>final point</li></ul>

Another way to break up text is by adding pictures. Now if you’re writing a product review lens then you’ll obviously be using product photos and it can be good to show different views of the product as you work your way down the page.

If you’re writing more of an informational lens then you’ll probably have pictures showing how to do things or people you’re writing about.

Sometimes, however, it’s hard to think what pictures to add. I look at some people’s lenses and I think –‘Wow! I wish I knew where they got their images from..’ Well I’m about to tell you about a great resource here on Squidoo.

There is a lensmaster by the name of Steve or Tagsforkids who has produced a number of lens full of fun graphics which will help to break up your text for you.

These are some of his lenses –

Animated Squids
Squid Art
Squid Art Too

Obviously there are other ways to break up text such as adding dividers between sections and putting boxes around different pieces of information.

A great way is to use modules such as the Blackbox or the sticky note.

How do you break up your text?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Organizing Large Lenses

Do you have a lens that has a lot of headings and you don’t want to split it into two and the table of contents is just sooooo long? Sometimes that are occasions when we need a large lens, but we know that the audience are probably only going to be interested in part of it. When this happens you need to utilize a horizontal table of contents and luckily for all of us Greekgeek has written all about how to do this on her lens How to Make a Fancy Table of Contents.

I found this particularly useful on one of my Christmas lenses – Official American Football Christmas Ornaments. Obviously you couldn’t call it that title and miss out any teams, but that lens was B I G ! I simply used Greekgeek’s lens and made my own table of contents so that people could go straight to their favorite team and it worked really well. If you have a look at the lens you’ll see that it really doesn’t take up much room, but if I’d have used either of the Squidoo options it would have taken up quite a bit of my space.

There are a lot of other great things that you can do with your table of contents, but the horizontal one is the one that I have mainly utilized – have you tried any of her other ‘tricks’?

Now if you have a lens on Squidoo tips or how to make money using Squidoo please feel free to email me with it and you never know I might feature it on this blog.

Hot Off the Presses!

Well okay it’s not that hot as I published these lenses before going to bed last night, but they are still full of great information! I mentioned that I was thinking of writing some lenses on how to make money a while ago. I’ve been rather full on with other things, but I finally got around to making three last night

The master lens is How to Earn Money on Squidoo and features a few other helpful lenses as well. This is the lens I’ll be updating regularly.

The other two lenses I wrote were on Monetizing the Introduction Module, which I’ve blogged about previously and Interlinking Lenses which is really important to build up your niches and get traffic going backwards and forwards.

I will be releasing other lenses in the future about topics which I feel need to be expanded and I’ll make sure to post them here so that you don’t miss out on anything.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tier Payments Are A Small Way To Earn on Squidoo

The tier payments are nice to receive, but they’re only a fraction of what you should be making on Squidoo and this is where affiliates come into. One of my most successful affiliates that I use on Squidoo is Amazon.

Now if you live in the wrong state in the US then you won’t be able to earn as an Amazon Associate, but you can still use the Amazon modules on Squidoo. The best Amazon module to use is the Spotlight one (IMO). Now Amazon are shutting down Associates with no warning when legislation in their states change apparently – the states affected at the moment are Colorado, Rhode Island and North Carolina. This can mean a lot of work for people to change over their lenses taking out their associate links.

Is your state considering the same legislation? If it is then let me tell you about how I first earned money through Squidoo on my associate account. I had a lens on Penny Vincenzi books and I put the books into a spotlight module, but added my associate link in the text within the module as well. My first sale came through the text link for 4 of her books……none of my sales on this lens have come through Squidoo!

Why do I tell you this? Well this lens was accidental I used text links because I didn’t know how to add image links, but it does show that text links work really well on some types of lenses. The real reason I mention it though is because if you live in the States and are worried that your account could be shut down then setting your lenses up like this will be a lot easier to update should you suddenly have your associate account shut down.

I would not get rid of Amazon as an associate until you are forced to because it really is one of the best earning…..that does not mean that you shouldn’t look for alternatives however. I really like Shareasale. I’m also a member of Linkshare, but I haven’t earnt anything through this one yet as I’m still relatively new to it. I have found though that people trust Amazon and are more likely to buy through them then a different affiliate if you offer them both. I found this out through an experiment on one of my lenses so whatever you do ‘don’t cut your nose off to spite your face’ as my Nan used to say!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How I Met Your Mother Tees Update

Well finding my How I Met Your Mother Tees lens on the first couple of pages of google seems impossible at the moment :( However my blog posts are at #5 and #6 for one long tailed keyword, for another long tailed keyword my Xomba link is at #20. For yet another two different long tailed keywords my Xomba link is at #18 and my Shetoldme link is at #19. What I had planned as my main long tail keyword has Xomba at #11, Shetoldme at #12 and another blog entry at #19.

I think that this will get better as I develop my tees niche more and interlink a few more lenses together, but I’ll let you know how that goes at a later date.

Are You Earning With Your Guest Book?

I’ve talked about how your introduction is a great place to add text links that help you sell, today I want to talk about the guest book. There are a couple of different type of visitor that you get to your web page – one will click off quickly hence the introduction text links, the other will read all the way down to the bottom which is why the guest book can make you money.

Now I’m generalizing here because obviously there are always going to be people who click away at other points on your lens, but it has long been said that the most profitable areas are at the top and at the bottom of a lens. Now I used to often just put a product or featured lens underneath the guest book as a way to use this idea, but the guest book makes even more sense.

Now I bet you’re asking why it makes more sense aren’t you? Well another piece of research shows that text links are more effective at selling than banner adds so if you add a text link in the guest book the odds are that people will click on it. I have just started to implement this idea on a few of my lenses so I’ll report back with my findings.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Super Niche Niche Lenses

I’ll say it again you need to not just do a niche on say board games, but narrow it down to Monopoly or Scrabble for example. I did a lens on Trivial Pursuit for a Rocket Moms assignment last year, I haven’t really followed a lot of my advice for promoting it so it gets very little traffic, but if someone is interested in buying monopoly or snakes and ladders they won’t be visiting my lens. Only if they’re interested in Trivial Pursuit will they land up on my I Love Trivial Pusuit lens.

Why have I mentioned this lens? I was checking my stats a couple of days ago and I’d had 3 visits in a week, 1 clickout and what do you know $1.43 on my dashboard :D Now $1.43 isn’t going to buy me a latte let alone pay my mortgage, but what if I had 100 or 1000 of these types of lenses?

It’s not the traffic to the lens that counts, but the targeted traffic to the lens, the type of traffic that is already sold on the product. Think about how you can narrow your niche lenses down even further and start seeing the money come in.

If you already have a lens on board games (for sake of an example) then keep it, but use it more as a lensography and make your individual lenses all of which link back to your main one. If people like the info you’ve provided them on scrabble they might want to see what other games you’ve written about.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Your Introduction Earning You Enough?

The introduction of your lens is probably one of the highest converting parts of your lens so do you have it working best for you? According to a recent discussion on squidu these things are important –

200-500 words in the introduction
2 text links in the introduction
keywords bolded in the introduction
keywords used in title of introduction

Now I find the 200-500 words in the introduction interesting because earlier this week I read something elsewhere (and I can’t for the life of me think where) about hubs. (I’m trying to build an income on hubpages as well as squidoo.) This article/post/whatever suggested that high paying hubs should contain at least 400 words in the introduction. Does this mean that it’s correct? I really don’t know, but I’m willing to test it out.

Text links in the introduction are a great idea as a lot of people won’t scroll down any further so I am a big believer in their power – reducing them to no more than two does make sense in part of my brain. More could appear (to Google) as spam.

I decided to do a review on my camera and used all of these techniques in the introduction – I’ll let you know how I go. Of course I didn’t bother with keyword searches to see if anyone is even searching for this camera so the results may not be that great. I’m basically just using a product that I’m familiar with and use.

I’ve been a bit slack with posting this week as I was thinking about (and planning) a series of lenses to compliment this blog, but the job just kept getting bigger so I’m not sure if I’ll go ahead with this or not. Thoughts would be appreciated, it would basically be about how to make money on Squidoo.

Squidoo Tools - Part 3

Squidcasts – how many of you use them? I must admit this is an area that I need to improve upon. I try and squidcast regularly and I do get visitors to my lens when I squidcast which is always good. I think it would be a great idea to squidcast a lens once a day for maximum success, I’d be interested in your feedback about this.

Squidcasts do get overused however and if I get 20 squidcasts all at once from one person I won’t be checking out their lenses. I do go into the my favorites tag everyday to view my squidcasts so I’m sure other people do as well.

Now you can get an rss feed of your squidcasts from squidutils and I’ve actually added this to my lensography so that it keeps that updated regularly. Now apparently Google looks at your squidcasts as well so it’s a good idea to add keywords into the title and body of your squidcasts…..this is another failure of mine, but we can (hopefully) all learn from it.

In a nutshell think of your squidcasts as blogs and post small, but good seo based, posts everyday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Squidoo Tools – Part 2

Today I’m going to talk about the discovery module. The discovery module has caused quite a heated debate on squidu. Personally I like the discovery module and I have got a lot of traffic from it. However, I do believe that the large lenses at the top of the page are a bit too ‘in your face’, but you can manipulate them to your advantage….want to know more?

First up lets look at how the discovery module works, let me start off by saying that Squidoo does not just pluck random lenses that are totally unrelated despite what some people have seemed to suggest. Squidoo actually uses the tags to match your lens to the ones in the discovery module. Now if you use a really broad tag that someone else has used then their lens may appear.

If a lens is appearing in your discovery module that you don’t feel is appropriate then check out what tags you have in common with it and (if you choose to) you can delete those tags and not have that lens showing up.

How to manipulate the discovery module? Use your tags wisely. The first thing you need to do is make sure that all of your lenses have your lensmaster name as a tag. This seems so simple, but I’ll put my hand up to say that until the end of 2009 I hadn’t been doing this. I read a post somewhere and had a ‘doh!’ moment :)

As I mentioned yesterday I changed some of my tags on my HIMYM tees, this was because I had other people’s lenses showing up on mine… of this morning all of the lenses that show up are mine :)

Now choose a lens of yours and open it up in the right hand column you’ll see an area that says Related Topics and this is where the tags you have chosen to use will show up. Now click on one of them and this will show you all of the other lenses using that tag, if your lens doesn’t appear on the first page then get rid of that tag. There is an exception to this rule – if you have several other lenses on this page for the tag then I would leave it there as there’s a chance that they’ll be the ones showing on your discovery module.

If you have a number of lenses around the same niche then you’d really like to have all of these lenses show up in your discovery module, but what do you do if they don’t? Well I had an epiphany last night….use a unique tag. Now I haven’t actually done this yet, but I remember a discussion over a year ago about the use of a module and manipulating it so that your own products appeared in it (something like Zazzle or Cafepress) and a number of people said that they used unique tags on their products – why not do the same on your lenses?

For an example let’s say that you have 7 lenses on widgets, but there are a number of other lenses on widgets that rank higher than you. Now you’ve got the external traffic coming in so you’re not worried if other lenses are found internally. Your lensmaster name is peterrabbit so you add as primary tag – peterrabbit widgets to all of your widget lenses. In theory this should mean that on each of these lenses you should hold all of the spots in the discovery module.

Well that’s all that I’ve got for you today as I have a heap of other work to do so happy Squidooing!

Friday, February 5, 2010

HIMYM Tees Update

Okay so I’ve left this lens alone to see how it would cope in the big wide internet all alone and this is what I’ve found… got lost:(

I searched google for How I Met Your Mother Tees and went through the first 100 results and this is what I found –

Xomba link to lens #8
She Told Me link to lens #10
Another Squidoo lens on the show (not one of mine) #15
One of the posts on this blog #16
She Told Me link to lens (again!) #30
Another post from this blog #50
My Barney Stinson lens #55
Xomba link to my Barney Stinson lens #62
Twitter link to site # 84
Twitter link to site #90

Yes the poor lens is lost, but at least it has friends pointing the way in Google and a great reason to be using Xomba and She Told Me if you don’t already.

Now I looked at this weeks stats and the lens has had a total of 5 visits this week – oops!

3 from Xomba
1 from She Told Me
1 from Google (someone managed to find it!!)

Doesn’t sound too good does it? However it has had one clickout onto a tee (unfortunately this didn’t result in a sale) which means that the click-through rate is at 20% and that is good.

Now I just need to get more visibility to the lens which will hopefully lead to more traffic, but let’s hope that the click-through rate doesn’t drop. Now the competitor’s lens that shows up at number 15 got 119 visits this week (you can check this out on Squidaholic). If we could get to 100 and maintain a 20% click-through rate we should start seeing some sales.

Time to make some changes to the lens, and this is what I’ve done –

I’ve added the words How I Met Your Mother to the introduction in a couple of places (the phrase wasn’t in there originally) and I changed the intro heading to How I Met Your Mother T-Shirts instead of How I Met Your Mother.

I added the phrase How I Met Your Mother tee to the text above Barney’s Suit Up tee. Under the heading Barney’s Bro Code I added the sub-heading A Classic How I Met Your Mother Tee. In the ebay module I changed the word tee to read How I Met Your Mother tee.

Next I moved on to the tags. I took out the tags barney stinson and how I met your mother and left in the primary tag of how I met your mother tees along with these tags – barney stinson tees, suit up, the bro code, lou16. In the discovery module I only had two lenses listed – Barney Stinson and Barney Stinson for President, so I added Lou’s Tee-Ography.

I then pinged the lens via squidutils.

I’ll also promote it on a few other sites (probably on Monday, although I may get to it this weekend) and evaluate it’s performance later in the week.

Squidoo Tools- Part 1

When you first start doing things online it’s hard to know where to start there’s SEO, backlinks, social bookmarking – arrrghhh! Then, just when you think you’ve got a handle on what you’re doing, something else pops up. Welcome to the fast paced world of the Internet. So what should you do when you’re first on Squidoo? Use the tools they give you first.

Squidoo have a number of great tools which will help you to become a success they include the discovery module, squidcasts, squidu and stats. Today I want to discuss stats because I think that what you find there and how you use it is very important.


If you don’t know where to find your stats then go to your dashboard and as you hover over a lens title you’ll see options underneath them like edit, label, stats, cast, health – probably not in that order, but you’ll get the idea. You just need to click on stats this will take you to your summary page. This shows you how many people have rated you, when the lens was created, current lensrank and highest lensrank achieved and how many days spent in the top 100.

It also mentions a few other things like clickouts and amount of times favorited and shows you a graph. Honestly I don’t spend much time on the summary page as I want to look at the lens in a little more detail.

There are four tabs on your summary page – summary, traffic, earnings and royalties. The one I want to take you to is the traffic one, this page is a huge help.

Traffic Sources

Looking under here you can see where your external traffic came from which is excellent

Traffic Sources
Source Visits
Google 10912
Referral 2879
Bing 1091
Direct 988
Yahoo 672
Discovery 161
Ask 46
MSN 43
AltaVista 1
AlltheWeb 1

This is an example and as you can see I’ve got traffic from a few search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Now when you get traffic from search engines you’ll see that next to it are the keywords and number of people who found you from those keywords.


Now I used to add these as tags, but don’t do it! We’ll talk about tags in another post. I read somewhere on a lens or in Squidu that you should add these terms as keywords in your lens.....I don’t see why you need to as you’ve already been found from these terms. However what you could do (I haven’t, but it’s a good idea) is to open google and type these keywords in and see how high your lens ranks. Depending on where you are you could add them or not.

What do I see as important with these figures? What people are interested in. I look at my lens and think okay if I wanted to know about widgets and this lens came up would it answer the question. If it doesn’t you have a couple of options – change it so that it does address it or write another lens. To give you an example of mine, I wrote my Lady Gaga lens and after a while I was getting a lot of hits using the term Lady Gaga Tattoos in fact my lens was ranked higher for this term than it was for Lady Gaga alone. What did I do? Well if you’ve looked at my lenses already you can probably guess. I created a Lady Gaga’s Tattoos lens and linked from what I already had written in my Lady Gaga lens to this new lens. This new lens also linked back to my original.

I increased one top tier lens to two top tier lenses in this niche.


Underneath this you have a list of Referrers which can also be illuminating – although to be honest these can sometimes be frustrating. I don’t belong to facebook so if someone links to me from there I can’t read what they’re saying. I’ve also been linked to from non-English written sites and again I don’t know what they’re saying.

If you come across a site/blog post that links to your lens and you like it then you can tweet it, stumble it or dig it and hopefully that will lead to more visits for you (but you’re not digging or stumbling a squidoo lens!). I think Greekgeek mentioned that on the forum one day and I’ve done it a few times since. Now don’t do that if you don’t really like the site that your link is on or your followers may think – what the??

Discovery Tool

Underneath this you get to the Discovery Tool and you can see where your internal traffic has come from……now there’s been some heated debate about the Discovery module since the lens design has changed and I’m going to address this in another post because I think it deserves it’s own discussion. It is very enlightening to see these stats though.


At the bottom are your clickouts. These will really help you to identify with your audience, you can see if they’re interested in buying (clicking on products) or if they’re after information (clicking on links) and they can also provide ideas for more lenses.

Another example is when a product was being clicked on by about 10% of my visitors to one of my lenses and yet other things were being clicked on by 1% or less. I created a new lens focusing more tightly on the product and a link for people to click on. Now the number of clicks to this product hasn’t noticeable decreased, but I am getting 4% clicking through to the other lens which has sold more of the product.

If you find that a number of people are clicking through to another site, check it out and see if you can add your link to that site as they obviously have something in common. This won’t always be possible, but I found that there have been some where I’ve been able to add a link on certain parts of the site for example I added a link to the NY Times which is a nice backlink to have even if it’s just for hubby to see and be impressed by (I didn’t tell him I’d manually added it, he thinks they found me!).

This lens is getting soooooo long I may have to stop there and discuss other benefits of the stats in another post. The long post will hopefully make up for the fact that after the excitement of the purple star yesterday I forgot to post then! But talking of purple stars (did you see how I did that, man I’m good :D ) if you’ve been lucky enough to get one then add a link to my plexo at Lou’s Purple Stars.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

President Barney (Stinson) Sees Purple

I just had to share some really exciting news with you before I do anything else today (I'm still not dressed and my dd's not ready for school yet!!). I check my emails first thing in the morning and it looks like Barney Stinson for President has been awarded a purple star - woo hoo!

Okay that's all, I'm going to get ready to start my day's a fantastic way to start a day "....I'm walking on sunshine...." (Sorry to subject you to my singing, but I'm really happy this morning.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

80s Movies Tees

Yes it’s the big reveal….I was working on an 80s Movie Tees lens. I already had A Nightmare on Elm Street Tees lens which has made sales and is interlinked with a number of relevant lenses. I found, however that a number of classic 80s movies had a lot of t-shirts available so I had to make a few other lenses to link to –

Scarface Tees
Blues Brothers Tees
Rocky Tees

I made the offshoot lenses (above) first before publishing the 80s Movies Tees. I haven’t optimized or promoted any of them yet as I’ve been juggling too many balls, but let’s look at what I have done.

The first one I made was the Blues Brothers one. The first thing you’ll notice (if you remember any of my other lenses) is that I haven’t changed any of the AllPosters text. I was basically just trying to get these lenses posted so that I could work on them over the next week.

I tried a new technique in this lens where I copied a picture of a shirt from Amazon and uploaded it to the Polaroid module and then going into my associates account got the referral url and uploaded that so that if anyone clicks on the tee to buy it I’ll get the commission.

If I had filled the lens with text modules and amazon spotlights and just listed tees it would be a pretty boring looking lens so I decided to add a little more value. I added a poll and a text plexo which will hopefully increase interaction and the longer a Blues Brother’s fan stays on the page (I hope) the more chance they’ll buy a tee :)

The next lens I made was the Scarface one. In this one I used the blackbox module in a red to add a tee from Shareasale. I just uploaded the html code that they gave me straight into the module. Red seemed an appropriate color for Scarface, plus it’s supposed to be a buying color and I’ll take any subliminal help I can get!

Now this lens is basically just a list of tees so I decided to add a link list module with lots of different fan sites for fans of the movie. I think it needs quite a bit more work, but it’s okay for an initial lens.

Finally I did the Rocky Tees lens. I couldn’t believe that the original Rocky was in 1976 as I always think of it as an 80s lens, but by doing a separate lens I was able to span the 30 years between the first and last movies.

I’ve added two poll modules which could lead to more lenses depending on results, but I’m not planning on any just yet.

I’ve also broken the tees up into sections ie Rocky, Mickey’s Gym etc and have written a couple of sentences about each to help break up the tees a bit without detracting from them. I also incorporated one of the tees in an attempt to get people to leave comments. I’m probably going to get my own associate code and uplink the tee straight into the guestbook module eventually. As I said I just wanted to get the lenses published quickly before working on getting them just right.

Yesterday I finally published my actual 80s movie tees lens. I’ve added a custom vertical table of contents thanks to Greekgeek. Again I’ve basically just added a list of tees and I haven’t even changed the text from AllPosters or Zazzle.

I was also planning on incorporating this to another lens of mine, but I need to expand that lens somewhat as it’s very sparse. It was based on an idea from Seth Godin, but it’s never really worked. I also need to work on my updating my 80s Movie Store so that I can promote that in conjunction with these lenses.

The reasoning behind so many tees is that they are evergreen. I have some seasonal lenses that make sales, but I want to make sales all year so I also need to work on evergreen sales. They say you should write about what you love and the 80s were my youth and full of memories so they’re an ideal thing for me to write about.

I already have a few tee lenses and although they don’t get a lot of traffic they seem to make sales – only small ones, but they all add up. Personally I buy tees, my hubby buys tees, our friends buy tees – it seems a good thing to sale :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Updating Lenses

How was your weekend? I seemed to be quite busy and yet still didn’t get everything done! We decided to get up and go to a Sunday market that we haven’t been to since I held a market stall there with my friend (we were making jewelry before Christmas 2008). Well it’s probably been the first time that we haven’t watched the news in a couple of days – there was a king tide due that morning and with a bit of a storm (thanks to Olga who was further up the coast) the sea was up onto the road in places and the market was closed! I did take my camera, but hubby was reluctant to stop until the rain stopped so I only got a couple of snaps :(

The most exciting part of the weekend occurred on the Saturday night however, my dd had been playing at the next door neighbors when she came running up our steps calling out something… turned out there was a baby koala in the tree outside of our houses. I took heaps of snaps – a couple of them are in my Zazzle store. We had to call the Wildlife Rescue team though because there was no sign of his/her mother. S/he was remarkably calm though merrily chomping her way through the ‘wrong’ leaves off of the ‘wrong’ tree. I don’t know if s/he was going through a rebellious stage or they’ve had to adapt their diet because of the change in habitat.

Now back to Squidoo. How often do you update lenses? There has been a discussion on Squidu about which lens was the oldest to be updated and mine has been a while, although not nearly as bad as if the question had been asked a month ago.

Now I don’t really know how often you should update them because when I update some it seems to give them a new lease of life, however others can tick along with nice traffic and only get updated a few times a year! During January, however, I was making a concerted effort to work my way through my lenses, just updating the tags and anything that was glaringly obvious. I was about a week into it when I realized that a number of my discovery tools were empty! There must’ve been a bug at some stage so I started checking those too.

When I do something little like that I also have a notebook and write down the lenses that need major work done – I do it that way so that I can keep working through my lenses and leave those until I can schedule enough time. The last time I totally revamped a lens it took me all day (and that was after I had made lots of notes in longhand as well and knew what I was planning). It was worth it however and I’m much happier promoting it.

The last week I’ve been spending a lot more time on Zazzle and Hubpages than on Squidoo because I’m trying to diversify my online income streams. I am working on a big project however which involves t-shirts. I have published a couple and have one in WIP, but I haven’t promoted them yet. I sometimes have an idea for a lens and I realize that I really need to break it up – once I’ve decided on how to break it up I work on the off-shoot lenses first – publish them, but don’t do any promotion until the whole thing is finished.

I promise I’ll reveal all later on this week, it’s just been really busy with pretty mundane ‘real life’ things getting in the way.