Greekgeek's Online Odyssey - Hubpages and Online Article Writing Tips

Experiments and Challenges

A New All-CSS Amazon / Zazzle Button

I hadn’t posted this until now, because I’m still getting the kinks out. But I thought I’d share some CSS wizardry.


My old Amazon “Buy” Buttons look a little fuzzy at modern screen resolutions, and they don’t resize well.
Amazon Associates

Also, that’s just for Amazon. Sometimes I want a Zazzle button!

I believe in the marketing research that shows a “Big Orange Button” helps convert sales.

So how can I make a BOB that will scale to different screen sizes?


Create a rounded-corners button with CSS:

Buy on Amazon



blizzard of '78 t-shirt
Buy T-shirt on Zazzle

I’m still fine-tuning this, but people who know code can play with it.

Here’s an example from my spruced-up “Blizzard of ’78” lens.

Here’s a template for the button. You MUST change the width (11em) to fit the width of whatever words you use. For example,  in”Buy on Amazon” button, I used 8.5em.  An em is simply the width of the letter m, so this means that the dimensions listed in ems will scale up and down to match the text.
<a style=”display: block; margin: 5px auto; width: 11em; color: #fff; text-decoration: none; font-family: Arial; font-size: 90%; font-weight: bold; text-align: center; border-radius: .5em; padding: .2em; background-color: #f90; box-shadow: 1px 1px 2px #888888; background-image: linear-gradient(to top, #FF9900 60%, #FFBB44 100%);” href=”LINKgoesHERE”>Buy T-shirt on Zazzle</a></p>
I was a bit haphazard in which dimensions I specified in pixels, which in ems. I think this looks good at different screen resolutions, as I’ve checked with my iPad and this Responsive Design Tester, but… I can’t promise.
Breaking it down:
  • display: block; turns the span into a block-shaped area with specific dimensions.
  • the margin is whitespace around the outside of the button. Use margin: 5px; if you do NOT want the button centered horizontally (auto)!
  • the width is the width of the orange button, which I defined in terms of the width of the letters inside. This way the button grows or shrinks with the font and screen size.
  • color: #fff makes white letters; after this comes a bunch of optional text-tweaking.
  • border-radius: makes rounded corners on most modern browsers. On older browsers, you get rectangular corners, which isn’t too bad.
  • padding puts space between the borders of the orange rectangle and the words inside.
  •  background-color #f90 makes Squidoo Orange.
  • box-shadow: is a new CSS3 property, supported by IE9+, Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera, and Safari 5.1.1. On older browsers, no shadow. The values are: horizontal offset, vertical offset, blur distance, color.
  • linear-gradient: In theory, this will add a bit of shading, with darker orange at the bottom and lighter orange at the top. It’s part of CSS3, but not all browsers support it… yet. They will. In the meantime, I could go with all sorts of complicated code to make it work. But I’m not gonna. There’s nothing wrong with buttons that look good now, and will look better down the road.

Here’s a demo of how this button looks on browsers that DON’T support the linear gradient, and those that DO. (Modern editions of all browsers support rounded corners and drop shadow; older IE will just show an orange rectangle with no shadow.)

New Hub vs. New Lens: an Experiment

Query: How fast can new content on Hubpages and Squidoo start getting significant traffic and earning income? Which platform is best for publishing on trending, buzzworthy news and events?

When Hubpages introduced Idle Status, I wrote a hub about how Idle Status worked and possible ramifications. I drew comparisons with Squidoo’s WIP status.

A debate came up in that article’s comments about new hubs vs. new lenses. Squid∩ forum discussions helped me understand how the two sites deal with a newly-published article. This is important, because it determines whether a new article can get any search traffic or catch the wave of a traffic spike from a trending topic.

What happens to a newly-published article on Squidoo:

  1. A newly-published lens is visible to visitors who are sent to it via a link
  2. Search engines will index it if  they see a link to it and crawl it
  3. So it’s possible (and not difficult) to get search traffic coming in, before…
  4. Around midnight, Squidoo turns the lens red on the dashboard and marks it as WIP, but does NOT put a noindex tag on it.
  5. And about 6-8 hours later, Squidoo runs the lensranking algorithm, features the lens, removes the WIP status, plugs the lens into Squidoo’s directory, at which point search engines will find it if they haven’t already

What happens to a newly-published article on Hubpages:

  1. A newly-published hub is visible to visitors, but has a NOINDEX tag
  2. A search engine may find it if you share the link, but will NOT index it because of the NOINDEX TAG
  3. This will remain true until Hubpages removes Pending status AND search bots return to the page and recrawl it.
  4. Also, if you edit the hub after it’s been published, it will reset the Pending clock, and it could be another day before Hubpages moves it out of Pending status.
I believe that once a searchbot sees a new hub with a NOINDEX tag, that search engine may not return or recrawl the article for several days, but it could be a few weeks. (Recrawls happen more often on pages that searchbots expect to be updated frequently). This makes it dangerous to share a link to a new hub anywhere, even on Twitter, where searchbots may see the link.

My experiment: new lens vs. new hub

Thursday at midnight, I created a hub about the Friday morning shuttle flyover of California. The next day, when I realized it wasn’t getting search traffic, I created a lens about the same topic on Friday afternoon after I got home from watching it (written from scratch, so there’s no duplicate text.)

Publicity: On first publish for both hub and lens, I tweeted the URL using the event’s official hashtags and shared a link to it in a Squid∩ forum post. I retweeted the hub on Friday after I edited the hub and added my photos.


Remember, the hub is one day older than the lens. Also, the hub was published the night before the event, whereas the lens was published after it. Nevertheless, three days after the event:

  • Hub traffic from GA as of Monday 8:30AM - 130 pageviews, 79 unique, from sources: 49 Squid∩, 40 hubpages, 21 Twitter, 10 from Twitter widgets on online newspapers set to display latest Tweets from #spottheshuttle hashtag, 10 direct (probably me reloading).
  • Lens traffic from GA as of Monday 8:30AM – 163 pageviews, 114 unique, from sources: 104 Google search, 29 Squid∩, 6 direct (I emailed it to relatives), 15 Twitter (including, 8 other search engines.
  • The hub finally came out of Pending Mode on Sunday, over 48 hours after first publish.
  • As of Monday 8:30 am, 56 hours after publish, the hub is still not in Google’s cache, although a Google search shows that Google indexed Tweets pointing to the hub AND a link to the new hub on my profile page:


Obviously, this is a very small sample size. We can’t extrapolate much from the actual numbers of visitors from different sources, but they can tell us what’s possible for a new hub or a new lens:

  • A new hub won’t get search traffic. However, a new hub gets internal traffic (visits from other hubbers), due to the fact that Hubpages has a “followers/activity stream” inviting other hubbers to come by.
  • If you promote a new lens immediately after first publish, it will be indexed by Google and has the potential for instant search traffic.
  • By using official hashtags related to the event, I not only received direct Twitter traffic during the height of the buzz, but also, traffic from automated Twitter widgets displayed on various websites — newspapers, — displaying the latest Tweets for a topic they were covering.


To recap:

This whole experiment is basically addressing, “Can you make money publishing on a trending/buzzworthy topic that gets an initial traffic spike which peters out later?”

PRIOR to Hubpages implementing Idle status, the answer was “Yes, but only on Hubpages, not Squidoo.” I had hit upon this as a great Hubpages strategy, sucking in thousands of visitors during the height of an event (e.g. the Mars rover landing) which petered off to 5-20 visits a day longterm.  Hubpages pays for ad impressions and ad clicks, so a traffic spike like that could result in a crunchy payout. Whereas on Squidoo, the answer was “not unless you can drive affiliate sales,” because a new lens isn’t eligible for advertising revenue until the first of the month AFTER it’s published.

Pending status changes this. On Squidoo, you might at least get some sales from a big, trending-topic traffic spike, especially because most of the traffic will be search traffic which came specifically out of an interest in that topic. Whereas on Hubpages, you’ll get social traffic and a lot of hubfollower traffic, who may be coming because they like your writing rather than because they are really interested in the topic.  Ad clicks and sales are less likely with this audience. (Also, in practice, I’ve only gotten one sale EVER from a Hubpages Amazon capsule, as opposed to dozens per week on Squidoo.)

Basically, now neither site is an effective platform for publishing fresh, new, buzzworthy content on a trending event. Either you get zero search traffic for the first week or so (Hubpages) or zero advertising revenue (Squidoo).

My hunch is that Hubpages will respond to member concerns about Pending Status = NOINDEX and fix this problem. However, as long as “Pending” status means no search traffic for days or weeks after first publish, I am disinclined to publish new hubs.

Which is good news for Christene, my Zujava referrer: it’s time for me to start learning what kind of content works best on Zujava.  :)


[UPDATE: It occurs to me that once “Pending” status is removed from a Hubpages hub – a day or two after first publish — you can probably force Googlebot to recrawl the hub by submitting its URL to Webmaster Tools.  But it may take another day for recrawl, and it won’t help with other search engines.]


Update2: I just tested: what about a new lens from a non-Giant Squidoo account? Same result…

  1. I published J.R.R. Tolkien’s Artwork  at 8:10 PM Tuesday night.
  2. On first publish,  sourcecode shows no sign of “noindex,” and lens is blue, not WIP, on dashboard (Screencap at 9:26PM)
  3. To get Googlebot’s attention, I Tweeted, cross-linked with related lenses, and link dropped on Squid∩ and Dreamwidth.
  4. Googlebot crawled at 9:08 PM (Screencap).
  5. As of 9:47 PST, lens was still blue, still NO noindex tag.
  6. At 10:40 PM, lens turned red on dashboard (screencap)
  7. BUT a search of the sourcecode at 10:40 revealed no sign of noindex (screencap).  I checked again at midnight; ditto. Compare with sourcecode (screencap) of this old, fallen-into-WIP lens whose sourcecode includes noindex/nofollow meta-tags.
  8. First search traffic from Bing at 1AM. (Which shows why we shouldn’t only consider Google).

Duplicate Content Penalty vs. Spun Content Penalty: Look at This!

Here’s yet another search result puzzle which tickles my curiosity.

Background: A lensmaster posted a complaint about Zujava and Wizzley cracking down on spun/duplicate content.

So I went to look up Google’s official word on spun/duplicate content instead of just saying, “ARGH! DON’T FILL OUR BEAUTIFUL WEB WITH ENDLESSLY REPLICATED JUNK NO HUMAN WOULD READ!”

We know that penalizing sites with lots of duplicate content is an integral part of the Panda algorithm. But wait…that’s a penalty applied to an entire domain. Does the spun content creator care what they’re doing to the host site’s Panda reputation, if spewing out a lot of low-quality junk in a hurry gets SOME traffic and SOME income?

True, Google is sending warnings about duplicate content to some webmasters, but it sounds more like warnings for exact copies of pages, not spun/reworded/paraphrased copies.

In the course of searching for answers, I Googled “spun content penalty” . Look closely at entries 2-4 and 6:


Hubpages vs. Squidoo: Short-Term vs. Long-Term Traffic

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.

SEO Tip: Is That the BEST You Can Do?

For obscure reasons that Glen and Janet will understand, I’m going to call this the Potato Chip Challenge.

In the past, we’ve learned that adding “unique” to gift-related keywords captures long-tail searches. I have also observed that the word “stuff” can collect people who are searching vaguely for interesting, er, stuff. As in “stuff about volcanoes.” “Review” gets people looking for “[product name] review” before making a purchase, and as I noted in a previous post, people often search for types of products, news, movies, etc by appending the year to the search (“lcd TVs 2011″).

Well, here’s another to add to the list. I’d been doing it already, for some topics where keyword research suggested a match, but I hadn’t consciously added it to my toolbox of pointless yet useful qualifiers: “best.”  I’ve got Best Books on Greek Mythology, for example.

Here’s the Potato Chip Challenge: Take a lens where you’re reviewing several of the same kind of thing — or even one thing, if you’re really sure it’s a good one — and open its traffic stats, the detailed stats where you’ve got all the keywords that have brought visits to your lens. Set the time span to “90 days.”

Now, open another window to edit the lens. Add “Best” to the title. Work in “best” next to the main keyword in a few places on the lens where it sounds natural. IMPORTANT: As you edit, keep an eye on your traffic stats to make sure you don’t accidentally delete/screw up a phrase that’s bringing you traffic.

Publish and use SquidUtils’ workshop add-on to ping the updated lens.

Wait! You’re not done yet. Look at the traffic stats again. Open a text document, jot down the date, and record the weekly and monthly traffic totals. Copy and paste the complete list of keywords. Save the document as “potato chip” in your Squidoo projects folder.

Come back in a month and compare traffic stats (keeping in mind that shopping-related traffic often dips in summer and rises in the fall). Hopefully, “Best [thingie]” will now be part of your lens traffic.

I don’t know how successful this will be, but based on observations, it looks like an experiment worth trying. Please report results one way or the other, if you give this a try!

Tweeting = Submitting URL to Google?

An SEOmoz member reports on a few studies that seem to confirm what I suspected: search engines are using Tweeted links to find and index content, so Tweeting is essentially the modern equivalent of submitting a URL to a search engine. I have noticed this myself: lately when I Tweet a URL, it’s indexed pretty much instantaneously on Google. (Case in point: I Tweeted my last post, and it was on Google by the time I switched to Google and searched for its title.)  In fact I’m NOT going to Tweet this post, and see how long it takes to be indexed, so please don’t spoil the experiment by Tweeting it. I’ll update later today what the result is.

Note that Bing isn’t that quick. That post has not yet been picked up by Bing. (Also, disturbingly, I see Bing is ranking scraped content from my Hubpages vs. Squidoo Panda Update lens on page one, whereas the actual article is nowhere to be found. Not impressed, Bing.)

According to the article I linked to above, there’s some evidence that Tweets from Twitter members with established, respected reputations may be a minor Google ranking factor. That is, in addition to helping Google find new posts and content, Tweets from respected figures may actually boost the links Tweeted in Google’s search engine results. I haven’t seen enough data on this to call this confirmed, but it makes sense.

Of course, most of us don’t have that kind of authority, so we should be using Twitter for social promotion— engaging with people in a way that makes them interested and gives them something in return — not backlink building, where we may be sharing links to get search engines to notice them.

Update: Drat, this test is a failure. Google indexed the post within one minute of my posting it, even WITHOUT my Tweeting it. Behold the power of blogs. Google really, really loves frequently-updated blogs. Bing has indexed the front page of again to show the text of this post, but has not indexed the page under its own URL.

I presume, however, that the SEOmoz post I shared above shows that the initial premise is correct: Tweeting helps Google find pages faster, although unless your name is, oh, Danny Sullivan, it may not help the page rank any better.


Test one: Google indexed this blog post immediately because it likes blogs. As of June 9, 6 days later, Bing still hasn’t indexed this entry under its own URL; it just updates what it shows in its cache for the front page of Squidbits, which includes this post. I forgot to check Ask in my original test, but Ask is now showing both Squidbits and this post under its own URL.  In other words, Google and Ask are indexing individual blog post pages; Bing is just indexing the top level of a (not incredibly popular) site.

Test two: Using a Twitter account that nobody knows and which has only 2 followers, I tweeted a page hidden on a server I haven’t used since 2003, with no links to that page from anywhere. Google indexed it within half an hour. Six days later, Bing does not list the page by its title or selected phrases, nor does Ask.

So that looks like Tweeting works to submit a URL to Google, but not to Ask and Bing.

Tier Three Marathon: Results

On Dec. 4th, Timewarp asked if Tier Three lenses really mattered, since they get so little income. We discussed it in SquidU.

More recently, I made a chart of Tier Three payments and how they’ve grown:

squidoo payouts tier 3

Now we’re getting somewhere, especially if that trend continues.

Back on Dec. 4th, I reasoned that if tier 3 lenses really are worth something, then it’s worth taking 20 minutes with each lens below tier 3 and trying to make some changes that could make it a steady tier 3 lens, without any maintenance. (If it requires constant updates just to keep it in tier 3, it’s not a good return on time.)

Spending 20 minutes to half an hour apiece, overhauled 15 “dud” lenses. It’s time to check on them and learn what we can.

4-Dec 28-Jan January
Lens Lensrank Traffic Lensrank Traffic Clickouts avg LR
About Squidbits 224,041 0 223,235 0 0 152,001
Matt Holliday Song 223,022 0 144,691 2 0 124,605
Henry the Hexapus 223,021 0 65,179 3 2 84,343
Alex De Campi 223,020 0 223,237 0 0 163,249
Around the World 210,838 0 223,236 0 0 161,908
Get Rid of Ants 202,803 0 41,549 9 8 104,067
Nauplion 184,469 0 62,441 6 1 129,670
Fluffunutta Fans 180,666 1 107,151 4 2 127,130
Traveling Squid 178,986 0 222,354 0 0 138,390
Ann Brundige 161,985 0 91,317 3 4 117,695
Facing Fears 161,336 1 158,183 1 0 147,300
Travel Threads 160,519 0 115,463 6 0 129,985
I HATE COWS 158,377 0 134,711 3 0 137,784
Squidoo Widgets 91,541 1 91,541 1 0 129,447
Photo Gallery 143,910 0 107,503 2 2 68,083

As you can see, 2 of 15 made tier 3 payouts. In addition, I believe from trends that Nauplion and Ants may soon be permanent tier 3 members.

The few lenses that reached Tier 3 now have reliable clickouts + traffic of 5-6 or more. That combo is significant. Clickouts multiply, or at least add to, the lensrank-boost of traffic.

So what’s helping those lenses cling to tier 3 now, when they were duds before?

The Hexapus lens now gets some traffic through very specific image searches: I’d added images of a particular species of octopus, and it’s getting image searches for that species. People are also clicking on those images. Conclusion; I turned a static “news” page into a “here’s what you want…click it!” page.

The Ants lens now gets improved traffic through search queries targeting its topic better. I’m not sure whether my slight tweaks to image names, headers, and body text improved on-page optimization, or it just needed one backlink (my last blog post), or whether this is just the typical in-and-out Google dance, but apparently the page is now ranking in Google and other search engines, and it wasn’t before.

Take-home lesson: one quick way to boost bottom-rung lenses is to add images and label them with alt-tags.

The lenses that failed were all narrow-interest topics that few people beyond Squidoo care about.

Many were “my story” or “I have something to say about…” type lenses, which in my experience don’t do well. Whether it’s things you love or hate or are thinking about, people may find them interesting if they ever discover your thoughts, but there just aren’t many people searching for your thoughts. Traffic isn’t everything, but everything starts with traffic. (Gee, I need to bronze that quote somewhere — did I just say that?)


Professional bloggers like Seth Godin and Arianne Huffington eventually get lots of people reading what they have to say. But they didn’t get their following through search traffic. They got there by saying more clever things, and/or providing more information, than 99% of the web, and then depending on word-of-mouth. In other words, social media, the alternative to search engine optimization.

Two tools for two different kinds of content. But I think on Squidoo, or anywhere, you have a harder time getting traffic to idea-based content than person-place-or-thing content (which is easier to SEO).

A Small Update on that Tier Three Marathon

I cut short that Tier 3 Lens Marathon abruptly because of real life ickiness hitting the fan right after I signed off. I alluded to it in a Tweet and won’t rehash, but suffice it to say I was in no mood to work on Squidoo for a few days, and when I came back, I had other things to work on.

So the question is, did 20-30 minutes of work on my bottom-dwelling lenses lift them up enough that they would at least earn pennies a month, which isn’t much but adds up long-term?

That was…let’s see, 15 lenses:

  1. moved from rank 224,041 to 97259. NO.
  2. moved from lensrank 223,022 to 115,816. NO.
  3. moved from LR 223,021 to 86,437. MAYBE.
  4. moved from LR 223,020 to 176,095. NO.
  5. moved from LR 210,838 to 113,621. NO.
  6. moved from 202,803 to 176,092. NO.
  7. moved from LR 184,469 to 96,551. NO.
  8. moved from LR 180,666 to 91,101. MAYBE.
  9. moved from LR 178,986 to 173,659. NO.
  10. moved from LR 161,985 to 115,814. NO.
  11. moved from LR 161,336 to 142,165. NO.
  12. moved from LR 160,519 to 101,840. NO.
  13. moved from LR 158,377 to 126,461. NO.
  14. moved from LR 126,461 to 90,548. MAYBE.
  15. moved from LR 123,718 to 71,414. YES – BY PAGE BREAK.

Conclusion: it’s not worth updating lenses below tier 3 hoping they’ll get to tier 3, unless you’ve really got some new material.

However, I did learn one thing! With #15, I took two related lenses that were getting tiny bits of traffic, but both were in the LR 100K range. I deleted lens B and copied its contents into a Page Break page for Lens A. That combined the amount of traffic, clicks, etc that two lenses were getting enough to create a single tier 3 lens.

NOTE: Frequent updates can continue to lift lensrank a little more each time. I know some lensmasters improve their chances by republishing all their lenses frequently. But that is time-consuming for the amount of return you’re getting. I was looking for simple ways to improve lenses so they would earn at least a few pennies AND maintain themselves.

I think it is better to sink most of one’s time onto more successful lenses. I was simply willing to try to sink a day into least-successful lenses, if it meant that long-term, they’d pay more. It looks like they don’t.

It might be worth doing this not on the bottommost lenses in your dashboard, but on the lenses that over in the 70,000-90,000 range. It’s possible that with minimal improvements,they could consistently pull in a tier 3 payment (all of a quarter).I may try that as an experiment at some point.

Tier Three Lens Marathon, Part 2

  • In my last post, I got inspired to take all my dud Squidoo lenses at the bottom of the dashboard and see how many I can improve enough for them to earn a tier three payout.

I quickly rediscovered why each lens was doing so poorly. They weren’t on very popular search topics, so trying to earn visits to them is quite challenging. Many will remain duds.

Nonetheless, I have set myself this challenge, because even when I fail, I often learn something. In this case, I’m learning what one can do QUICKLY but meaningfully to update a lens, when you don’t have time to do lots of keyword research and SEO, beautiful graphics and CSS, hours of researching/improving content, or tens of minutes doing self-promotion in places that probably won’t give much (or any) longterm traffic anyway.

Once again, I’ll be slowing myself down by spending 5 minutes telling YOU what I did for 20 minutes to improve each lens. I’m trying to share tips you can adapt for your own lens updates, although, of course, part of the reason for these posts is to create some (very low-quality) backlinks.

BACK TO WORK! Next lens up is…


Tier Three Lens Update Marathon: Ready, Set, Go!

In a SquidU post, Timewarp asks if Tier Three lenses, with their piddling 20 cents a month income, are really worth it. My short answer is that (a) yes, they’re worth it, because if ten Squidoo lenses are earning you $2 a month, you’re $12 wealthier at years’ end, and (b) yes, it would be better if tier one was capped at $25 (or $20) and the excess distributed to lensrank tiers two and three.

However, that got me to thinking. If tier three lenses really are worth something — and they are to me, since my 100 tier three lenses are earning me over $200 a year — then I should kick those lenses below tier three into tier 3!

To my dismay, I discovered that out of 159 lenses in my main account, I now have OVER FORTY LENSES below Tier Three. Inconceivable! Intolerable!

Some lenses are duds. They just aren’t going to earn payouts. Our time is better spent improving our GOOD lenses, the ones that are successful, rather than wasting time on duds. But still. I look at my dashboard and see many lenses with less than 10 visitors a week, no sales, and few clickouts in tier 3. Surely I can get half of those 40 dud lenses up to tier 3 with one day of improvements. At least, I’m going to try. So here’s what I’m doing to improve each lens.