I’ve been exploring Hubpages vs. Squidoo ever since Panda smacked Hubpages and left Squidoo alone. (The longterm fallout from that is that Hubpages’ traffic has fallen roughly to be the same as Squidoo’s, but Squidoo’s distribution of more money to top-performing lenses means one can make more money with fewer visitors.)
One thing has come home to me forcefully in my recent experiments on Hubpages. It’s obvious, yet I don’t think many people are taking advantage of it.
Articles on Hubpages start earning ad revenue immediately. Articles on Squidoo can earn sales commissions immediately, but they only become eligible for ad revenue on the first of the month, not for their first partial month. Also, Hubpages revenue is tied directly to impressions, whereas Squidoo’s ad revenue is paid indirectly via the tier payout system.
What this means is that if you create a lens on a current, trending topic, you may not earn anything from the initial burst of traffic, and the later trickle of traffic after the main buzz is over may be too low to sustain the lens in a payout tier (or, at best, tier three). Whereas if you create a hub capitalizing on a current topic, you’ll get all the ad revenue from the initial traffic spike, then a modest trickle of revenue from the modest trickle of visitors that come later.
I discovered this by accident when one of my hubs went viral and earned more in a week than all my hubs combined in the previous six months. I confess that I had that episode somewhat in mind when, on May 18, I rushed to get up a page about how and when to watch the May 20th solar eclipse. (The article is now rewritten to reflect what people want after an eclipse: cool pictures.) The 3500 visitor spike on May 20th easily doubled my earnings for the rest of the month. Post-eclipse, it’s getting 20-25 visits a day, not enough to pull in much ad revenue, but the pennies will become part of my overall daily income.
After some thought, partly because I think it will get more visitors on Squidoo, and partly because I really was excited about this event, I created a different article sharing my solar eclipse photos on Squidoo. That’s tailored to the more community-minded, slightly less informational style of Squidoo lenses; also, significantly, I host the pictures on my own website and link to them so they get clickouts, capitalizing on Squidoo’s lensrank factors and greater ability to drive traffic by letting me name images. It will be an interesting experiment to see how these two articles compare in earnings over the longterm. I predict that the Squidoo lens will earn more.
So, anyway, the point is: if you’re leaping on a trending topic, consider Hubpages for that initial traffic spike. If it’s a topic that’s likely to get longterm traffic and clickouts, Squidoo is the better option.