Since Squidoo’s removal of favorites, Squidcasts, fanclubs, page breaks, bio box content, lensrolls and so many other changes, it’s impossible to tell which are the contributing factors in lensrank changes. A slight drop in Google traffic muddies the waters further.
But now that we’re past the flurry of updates precipitated by these changes, and Squidoo is starting to stabilize, I see that this is not simply a temporary lensrank churn. I’m down to 5-7 regular tier one lenses from 10-12 before these changes. That represents a loss of over $150 a month. I’ve got tier 2 lenses with 500+ visitors. All together, about 30 lenses have tumbled down into the “dud” range, making nearly a third of my lenses non-earning. (See my Squidoo Stats.) Sales are down slightly too, although some of that is seasonal.
I had guessed, but was never sure, that number of fans was a minor lensrank factor. My lensrank drop across the board seems to confirm it. If so, that’s good news for newbies. But I can’t be sure that’s the cause. Many lenses which dropped were page break lenses and/or received visitors from Squidcasts, since I used to use them to share Squidoo tips or interesting news related to the topics of my lenses. And all these changes have shaved about 2000 weekly visitor total from my lens portfolio. Therefore I’m left guessing: too many factors, no way to know which is the cause.
On Squidoo, the cause doesn’t always lie in your lenses, but in everybody else’s: lensrank is a comparison between all lenses on the site. Many members had to do a tremendous amount of updating as a result of Squidoo’s recent changes, and all those updates mean different content, which Google will have noticed. There may be other Google factors, too: Google may have reacted to the changed structure of Squidoo brought about by the loss of lensrolls, navigation links in bio boxes, the extra Adsense above the fold, or other changes.
And just because many of us have experienced drops does not mean there haven’t been gains elsewhere. Quantcast.com’s Squidoo traffic measurements suggest no more than typical seasonal variation. So I don’t think it’s just Google traffic. Other members may have good lenses that were overlooked under Squidoo’s old system. I’m not seeing any more spam or junk lenses than usual at the top levels of Squidoo. Just stiff competition.
So now what? My personal goal to have Squidoo earning me $1500 by the end of this year has been set back by all these changes: I’m still not through fixing all my page break lenses, and I have created almost no new lenses apart from repotted page breaks. Some are getting traffic, and may in the long run be successful, but for now they are struggling to get onto Google’s radar; it still has some of them filed under their old page breaks. I was hoping to get my niche account up to Giant status this month, since it was rejected in April, but I’m still working on page break repairs there, too, and will probably miss the June deadline.
Beyond Squidoo, I’ve been seeking other baskets for my eggs, but each requires a learning curve that’s difficult to climb while at the same time doing Squidoo triage. Wizzley.com is a possibility. I see Hubpages as a sleeper opportunity: Squidoo got hit hard by a Google slap 2007, got written off by many, and came back stronger. Print-on-Demand sites like Zazzle continue to have untapped potential. Self-hosted blogs or sites are probably the most viable long-term option. The closure of Amazon Associate programs in many states is worrying me: it may make the only monetization of my main blog obsolete. Longterm, the answer for me is to get my first novel published, but I was hoping to use Squidoo and other online earnings to provide a base income while I buried myself in writing.
In short, this is a rough time for all of us. I don’t have the answers, and in fact I can’t post many Squidoo tips right now, since the strategies that used to work for me seem to be sputtering. I just wanted to share my own experiences, to let others know that you’re not alone: even experienced Squids hit rough patches. Like any job, the test is to persevere, find and identify what you can work on, and look for and test alternatives.