Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Interactive Lenses

As long time readers will know I don't believe that chasing lensrank is the way to go if you want to make more money on Squidoo because sales don't know your lensrank.   However, as I mentioned at the start of the year I want to earn $30,000 online this year and with the tier payments increasing I have looked at how I can increase the number of lenses in tier 1.

Last year I had 5 lenses in the top tier all year and for a couple of months it went up to 6 when a couple of my seasonal lenses rose to the occasion (at two different times).   This year I have attempted to do very quick updates to each lens in my top two tiers every week ...........I have done this well for the most part, but there was a break when I was away.   This has kept my tier 2 lenses safe and increasing, but my tier one lenses would increase for a day or two and then drop just outside(!)

There was one of my lenses that has flirted with tier one on occasion, but seemed to settle into tier two and I wanted to change that - updating wouldn't work so what would?   The lens in question is How To Earn Money On Squidoo - it's a help lens that doesn't make any sales so in order to make me money I really wanted to get it into the top tier and keep it there.   I finally seem to have cracked it and it has stayed in the top tier for a few weeks now and will hopefully hold steady.

I was never going to get thousands of visits a week on a lens that was solely for the Squidoo community so I had to make the visits count and to do that I decided to add some interactivity on the lens - it worked.

I've added 3 polls to the lens - polls are easy for people to click on and 3 polls for the length of the lens didn't seem obsessive.   People are taking these polls and I think that's what is responsible for the extra push needed to get it into tier one and keep it there.

Do you have something to encourage people to interact on your lenses?   Polls, quizzes, even guestbook modules are great ideas.   On my Julia Child's Cookbooks lens - I have used several guestbooks to encourage people to leave their own reviews on the page.   All three of these ideas are great ones to add to your lenses.

Take a look and see if you can add something to keep your reader on your page for a little longer.......you may find that your lensrank will improve as well :D

The other thing to think about is that the 'stickability' of a website (how long someone stays on your site) is said by many experts to increase your chances of making sales so even if your lensrank doesn't increase your sales might.   I have to say that my Julia Child's lens has made a lot of sales so that seems to back up what the 'experts' have stated.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The A - Z of Squidooing

The alphabet has been on my mind for the last couple of days, in fact it's been ever since I heard of an A-Z Blogging Challenge.   I've signed up two of my other blogs to it - Unique and Funky Gifts & All Eighties, All The Time.   It looks like  a lot of fun, but I couldn't think how I would keep this lens about Squidoo tips and still manage to write 26 blog posts - one for each letter of the alphabet.

I have, however, taken a break from updating lenses to produce Lou16's A-Z on Squidoo in an attempt to get my mind in shape!   On that note I thought I would devote this blog post to the A-Z of Squidooing (let's see if we can make it through the alphabet shall we?)

A is for Anecdote - adding your own anecdotes, experiences and stories to your lenses are a great way to make them stand out from the crowd.

B is for Blogging and Backlinks - we all know how important backlinks to our lenses are and one of the easiest ways to get a backlink is to blog about them and how did you like the combination of 2 bs for the price of one?

C is for Commitment - if you want to succeed at Squidoo you can't expect to become a millionaire overnight, you need to commit to creating at least 50 great lenses (in my opinion) and if you want to create an income you need to do the 'boring bits' too because as much fun as Squidooing is if you want an income you need to treat it as a job!

D is for Determination - sometimes you can follow all the advice and your lens still doesn't do well, what separates successful Squids from others often comes down to determination.   We've all had lenses that didn't do as we would have liked, but we've picked ourselves up and kept going.

E is for Excitement - Squidoo has lots of exciting moments to strive for whether it's receiving that first sale, getting a lens into the top tier, getting a lens into the top 100, receiving a purple star or getting a LOTD (I'm still waiting for this one myself).   The great thing about this excitement is that fellow lensmasters will also share it with you when you use up your bragging rights and there's not many online communities that do that :)

F is for Featured Lenses - this is one of my favorite modules and I think it's fantastic for interlinking your lenses or adding other peoples.   Could you imagine setting up a lensography without this module - it would take forever!

G is for Google - whether we love Google or hate Google the fact is that if we want to get a lot of traffic to our lens we need to get it ranked in Google and finding it on the front page is another chance to revisit the letter E again - Excitement!

H is for Hubpages - okay I know Squidoo is often seen as a competitor to hubpages, but a number of people actually participate on both sites and as much as I love Squidoo I do believe that you shouldn't keep all of your eggs in one basket.   Hubpages are a great alternative.

I is for Interlinking.   If you haven't read my Interlinking Your Lenses lens yet, then open it up in another tag and read it after you've finished this post.   I cannot stress how important interlinking is with helping your lenses to do better.

J is for Joker - no I'm not playing cards, I'm talking about having a laugh!   Some days (especially if you're busy updating lenses all day) Squidoo can become a bit of a chore and that's when you need to have a bit of a laugh to brighten up your day.   Squidoo is home to a lot of funny people - if you're a RocketMom then the Chatterbox group certainly knows how to lighten the mood, one of my favorite places to visit is a blog by a fellow lensmaster called Laugh Quotes - this is a great place to relieve any tension.

K is for - Keep Calm

Keep Calm and Carry On
Buy This Allposters.com

This poster just says it all.........let's face it in any avenue we venture up (including Squidoo) we can find ourselves struggling with a range of feelings that aren't very useful to us.

L is for Lensographies - these are fantastic for interlinking your lenses and I would be totally lost without my gazillions of lensographies.   If you don't have one yet then you need to read Why Should You Have A Lensography.   Now I have so many lensographies I need a lensography to keep them all in - don't believe me?   Then check this out Lensography of Lensographies, despite this there is another type of lensography that I came across recently......I don't even know if the lensmaster thinks of it as a lensography, but it's a great idea - Where in the World - this is actually a fun geography quiz, but if you look even more closely each quiz points you to a lens, it's a fantastic idea that's worth considering for your own lensographies.

M is for Making Money or just Money!   Sure Squidoo is fun, but the reason a lot of people are reading this blog is because they want to learn how to make money with it.   I believe that the best lens on making money on Squido is my one (but then I am biased) and I've recently updated it so here's the link again - How to Earn Money on Squidoo.

N is for Niche - as I've talked about again and again (or so it seems) the key to earning money on Squidoo is niches.

O is for Organization - not always my strong point, but the people who are successful are the ones who are organized and I've always found that if I have a to do list then I achieve so much more than if I don't.

P is for Professional - if you want to make Squidooing your income then you need to think of it as a career and don't let people dismiss you for anything less than a professional.   It's also important to present yourself in a good light online (just like you would if you worked in an office), so if someone asks for help in Squidu then help them politely - being treated nicely is something that gets remembered and I can still remember the people who helped me out in the beginning and I will often tweet their lenses or promote them when I can.

Q is for Quiz - the Squidoo Quiz lenses are a lot of fun, but if you want to make money out of them you'll need to add content as well - I used my Quiz lens as an opportunity to create backlinks to some of my hubs.

R is for Rinse and Repeat - basically once you've found a formula on Squidoo that works for you just keep doing it.

S is for Squidu - Squidoo's help desk and Squidoo's forum.   There is so much information there and so many lensmasters willing to help that it's well worth sifting through whether you want to add your 10 cents to the discussions is entirely up to you.

T is for Top 10s, if you are ever short of an idea for a lens try and think of a top 10 as they're always great ideas - top 10 coffee flavors, top 10 places to visit in your state, top 10 favorite movies the list just keeps growing.

U is for Unique - write unique content and use the word unique as well - in Kimberley's morning coffee (on Squidu) she mentioned a while ago that unique was a surprising keyword find, so there's another idea for a few lenses - unique wedding locations, unique holiday activities.............I hope you're taking notes :)

V is for Very Addictive, this is your warning (if it's not too late already) Squidoo can become extremely addictive and can end up ruling your life.

W is for Web Profile - don't just stick with Squidoo, find other forums to join or other sites and develop your own web profile - tweet, facebook, blog - whatever suits your personality, just create your web profile.....and then link it back to your lenses.

X is for the X Factor - some lenses just have this X factor and work, they're often lenses that you didn't expect to take off quite as well and whatever you do you can't replicate the results with similar lenses.   Don't stress, just enjoy the ride.

Y is for You - your lenses are all unique because they're written by you.   You are also the only one who can make Squidoo work for you which means that you're the one you need to pat on the back when you do a good job.

Z is for Zazzle - Zazzle is a great affiliate partner to use with Squidoo, just make sure that you use the text module to sell products on because Squidoo's Zazzle module doesn't pay you a referral.   Zazzle's referral rate is 15% which is not to be sneezed at.

Wow!   I can't believe I've managed to write and A - Z, I hope you've enjoyed it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Twitter Paper News

Swimming With Giant Squids is now a paper!   Welcome to Swimming with Giant Squids News!   If you are a subscriber to this blog and you are also on twitter be sure to contact me through my Squidoo profile or leave a comment in this blog with your twitter user name.   Why?   Well I have set Swimming with Giant Squids News up to pull on tweets from my subscribers (to this blog) who add the #squidoo to their tweets - I'd hate to miss you out because you weren't on the list.

I don't know if this will help your Squidoo as I'm afraid I have a very patchy past with Twitter.   Sometimes I'll tweet and then months will go by and I haven't signed in!   I recently got a couple of hits from a paper li, however which is why I thought I would set this up.   If you haven't heard of paper li it's basically an online newspaper that  pulls it's news from Twitter.   I don't know anymore than that, but if you're familiar please leave information in the comments for us all to share.

A proper post is in the works (.....well it will be) so don't feel short changed by this quick note :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Which Keyword Phrase Should I Use?

If you read my Let's Talk Niche post then you'll know that when I do keyword research I'm quite happy with low traffic numbers if I think it's a market where I can make sales, but how to determine which keyword phrase to use?

This is where it's important to check out your competition so you take the keywords/keyword phrases that you've isolated and you open up Google as well as a page rank checker tool - Google's PageRank Checker is totally free to use.

Use quotes around your keyword/s and search in Google to see how many sites are competing with you for that keyword, now if I'm looking at a niche keyword phrase that attracts 500 monthly searches and there are 5 million sites competing then I'm going to look at the next keyword phrase that will work whereas if there's only 500,000 competing I may go to the next step.

How much competition you feel you can handle really depends on how much value you feel you can bring to the equation and how strong your competition is.......how do you determine how strong your competition is?

Enter the next stage - once you've found how much competition you have you need to analyze how good the competition is and how easy it will be to outrank them.   I look at the top five sites on the front page and pop them into the page rank checker.   If they are under PR5 then you can beat them with good content, if only one of them is a PR5 or higher than I would check the rest of the top ten and I'd still consider it a fair chance if the others were all really low.

If you find two or more with high page ranks then I would look at your other keyword phrases to see if you can find one that will still give you search results with less stiff competition.

Once you've found some great keyword phrases with low competition and you've written some compelling and unique information that makes people whip out their credit cards and buy buy buy then you'll want to treat yourself to a nice steak which means you'll need a lovely set of steak knives.

But wait theres more...........actually there's not, but I though you deserved some light relief after the boring nuts and bolts of keyword research!

I did promise to give you the steps I take in deciding which keywords to use, but that was before the big Google shake-up.   I actually wrote the last couple of posts before I went on holiday so whether I'll have to tweak it further in light of the changes I don't know, but if I do you'll find out all about it.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let's Talk Niche

Why am I not making any sales?   How often do we hear this question, there are often several different answers, but one common one is that your lens is too broad in scope.   In my experience my biggest amount of sales have come from having very niche lenses.

How niche should your lenses be?   As niche as you can get!

For a Rocketmom's assignment last year I wrote a lens on The Best Purple Computer Mouse, now I look at this lens and I can see a lot of room for improvement in the introduction, but it makes sales - why?   It's about one thing.

I do have some other computer mouses at the bottom of the lens, but they're all purple so they still all count as purple computer mouses/mice (I still don't have an answer to that question!).   When the side bar Amazon modules were introduced I added other purple computer accessories because I didn't feel it would 'dilute' the lens too much.

Now I don't get a lot of traffic, but the traffic I get is very targeted, let's face it if you search for 'computer mouse' you may be after reviews, but if you're searching for 'purple computer mouse' you are usually looking to buy.  

This all means that the amount of traffic that converts to sales is a lot more targeted.

Talking niche is often the opposite of talking keyword research.   When you do keyword research you're often told to look for something that has at least 5,000 monthly searches with low competition etc.   When it comes to niche I will often look at keywords that only have 100 or so monthly visits if the competition is low that is.   Why?  Because if I can get just 10 visitors a week to a targeted lens that converts 4% of visitors then I consider that to be good use of my time.

I'll talk about assessing competition for keyword phrases in my next post and let you know what I do when researching.