Some Squidoo modules are built-in affiliate marketing, supplementing Squidoo ad payouts with sales commissions.
For example, Amazon modules send us “royalties” if a visitor makes a purchase through them. We get a commission for any purchase the visitor makes after clicking on that link! (Tip: if you regularly make 7 or more Amazon sales a month, it’s time to get your own Amazon Associates ID. Captain Loyalis explains why.)
Other Squidoo modules, like Zazzle, don’t earn a commission, but members of those online e-commerce sites can can use the appropriate module to show off their products and stores.
What’s in it for the rest of us? Should we, as one member in SquidU said he was doing, rip out non-commercial-earning modules?
There’s four or five reasons why the answer is “Not necessarily!”
- Squidoo wants to negotiate with more e-commerce merchants to get them on-board. (See Kimberly talking about Squidoo and Etsy). It helps if Squidoo can say, “We already have X number of webpages promoting items from your site!” If you’ve already got modules in place, you’ll start earning commissions if/when those modules do start earning commissions, whereas otherwise you’d better hope you don’t miss the announcement.
- Content is content. Do you avoid YouTube modules, Flickr Galleries and RSS feeds because you’re sending someone traffic without getting paid? No. You use those modules to add value to your lens, giving your visitors a reason to visit your lens!
- Many online shops donate part or all their earnings to charity. I found Watercoloryourworld while looking for a cool ShopIt example for my Selling Stuff Modules Guide. Not only does it have pictures of cute cats (a perennial web favorite), but it also donates part of its earnings to pet rescue. We only have their word for it, of course, but that’s true of the whole web, when you stop and think about it! Using the web means asking, “Do I believe this?” and “If it’s phony, will it harm me?” more often than most people realize.
- Wall Street’s got its bailout, but Work at Home Moms and small online shop owners don’t. This is an easy way to help them while helping ourselves (reasons 1, 2, and 5).
- Shopping modules attract CLICKOUTS. As you may recall from my examination of Squidoo lensrank factors, clickouts boost lensrank. So non-commission-earning modules CAN help you earn money: Squidoo payouts!
Here’s an example. My Funny Signs and Bizarre Billboards lens was Top Tier or close to it for about a year. In March it dipped below lensrank 2000. What to do? Improve it! I noticed it had almost no clickouts, since it’s a photo gallery lens: fun to view, not much to click on. There was an Amazon module featuring collections of funny photos, but people weren’t buying. I updated the Amazon module to find better-rated books, turned the ratings on, and turned the prices on (people are less likely to buy if no price is listed), but I also added a module that would get clicks. Which module?
A Zazzle module featuring some very funny posters. Check it out. TELL me you don’t want to click those thumbnail photos and see them up close!
Look, Mom, clickouts!
Visitors in the last 7 days: 122 (which is down a bit, so yeah, I’m not telling you this solely for your benefit!)
Clickouts in the last 30 days: 193
Clickouts via that Zazzle module: 71
Lensrank: bouncing around 1800-1900.
This is a great way to look at some of those obscure modules! As long as the content enhances our message, and there’s opportunity for a clickout, any module is an improvement to a lens. Thanks for the tips!
You’ve got me thinking. Thinking I might have to change the way I think about clickouts modules
One problem that I have with commercial modules is that with a year or so the product usually goes out of date and then there are dead links. As an example, all of your Cafepress links on your funny sign lens are currently dead.
If you have alot of lenses it is difficult to make sure that all of the links are always active. My only suggestion is when you use Amazon modules do not to use Amazon spotlight or make the selection yourself. Instead, I prefer to let Amazon choose. That way there are never deadlinks. Do you have any suggestions on how to avoid deadlinks in commercial modules?
The search is a possibility, but then you need to tailor it in such a way that the search results are fairly specific to your topic.
Another possibility is to duplicate: show an Amazon listing, and also set up an eBay module titled “Find such-and-such on eBay” with a subtitle “in case it’s not available on Amazon any longer.”
The trade-off you need to consider is that Squidoo works by the power of recommendation, and people are more likely to buy something with a personal recommendation that appears to be a genuine editorial about a specific product. They can do an Amazon search for themselves. They know those search results are automatically generated. What they want, and can’t necessarily get from Amazon listings, is confirmation that somebody else thinks a product is worth the price. For that reason, whenever possible, I’d run the risk of a broken link down the road.
For the Amazon spotlight module, you can go to settings and turn on the “used” price. If it’s something old or out of date, I may include in my description that it’s still available through third party sellers on Amazon. For example, see this listing of an old 1960s humor book I just added to one of my lenses. It’s out of print. I actually had to find and ADD a picture of the book to my Amazon Spotlight Module manually, since Amazon doesn’t have a picture of the book. In that way, I’ve made the module as evergreen as possible.
Another way to look at the deadlinks issue: we need to keep republishing lenses every month or so, to help retard lensrank decay. Newly-published lenses get a “freshness boost”. One quick way to edit/update a lens is to scan it and check for out-of-date product listings. Planned obsolescence is, unfortunately, a profitable business model, and has been for decades!
Thanks for the tips. I am still working hard on getting my first paycheck on Squidoo, started for 2 months currently