Whew, 2012 was quite a roller coaster of a year for me on Squidoo and beyond.
The good: I achieved a 68% increase in online earnings, and I began an earnest push to diversify beyond Squidoo, and succeeded at least a little (see bottom of my payouts chart).
The bad: Pinterest members began copying and uploading our photos en masse, so that we were competing with ourselves for image traffic, and third-party websites began using pinned images to make money. Hubpages, where I’ve had the most luck in diversification, had its Google ups and downs and its share of disruptive policy changes. Later, along with many Squidoo members, I lost 34% of my Google traffic to Squidoo around November 15. Accordingly, my November Squidoo earnings saw a 33% drop, when normally my November earnings are up. December saw a couple of Squidoo Surprises that required emergency triage to all our lenses. Also, the old by-and-for-lensmasters SquidU community was closed down by HQ and resurrected by Christene.
I’m tired. I’ve been tired. All of the above, plus arthritis, have left me exhausted and discouraged. So I’ve been taking a break from Squidoo and article sites in general. However, January’s almost over, and it’s time to get back in the saddle.
This year, rather than writing new content on Squidoo, I’m mostly going to write elsewhere and just do maintenance on my Squidoo portfolio.
Here’s a checklist of what I do to update each lens. I’m not gonna do all these changes on every lens all at one sitting. Instead, I’ve created an “Update log” spreadsheet with “type of update” as the column headers, lenses as the rows. When I make an update, I’ll note it in the appropriate column/row with the date.
- Quicklook: see any glaring problems?
- Mission Statement: summarize purpose/point of lens on virtual post-it. While doing other checks, edit/tweak to fit mission statement.
- Revamp lens title.
- Check/update Categories and Squidoo tags.
- Check/update Related Lenses.
- Check/update broken links, especially product links.
- Check/update default blurb in Google results.
- Fix guestbook. Add call-to-action for people to share page; delete old, clunky shameless plug widget I used from 2007-2009.
- Check/update lens graphic(s) to make them a better size and look better.
- Responsive Layout: check and fix (see cheat sheet).
- Convert graphic “Buy on Amazon” buttons to my CSS buttons.
- Convert Amazon modules to Amazon Associates links, since the new Amazon Spotlight modules look worse (ironically) on different screen sizes than what I can do with hand-coding.
- Check for plagiarism. File DMCA notices.
- Edit/streamline and trim verbiage. (See Mission Statement.)
- Conversion optimization: look for ways to improve clickouts.
- Add cross-links to related pages/hubs, both in-text links and a feature-box at bottom of lens showing a few of my other lenses in same niche.
- Check keyword data on Squidoo traffic stats and Google analytics; also note which lenses lost the most traffic in the November 15 traffic loss for which ones need the most tinkering. Improve on-page optimization and title accordingly.
- Look for opportunities to add Zazzle product links and other affiliate links.
- Host images on own website instead of in text modules.
- Set up a redirect script within each image folder pointing people back to the lens IF they try to access the images without visiting the lens.
- Cull zero-earnings lenses (ones that haven’t made any money in a year or more.) Some can be sold, some may draw enough traffic to earn pennies on sites that don’t have Squidoo’s competitive tier system, and some are too personal and should just be deleted.
- Crowdignite copyright issues: Since Squidoo has given Crowdignite an irrevocable, PERPETUAL right to republish our content without our permission, and did not respond to lensmaster concerns about this (or about granting Pinterest members permission to copy our work with a “Pin It” button), I’m no longer comfortable using Squidoo to publish my best original work. Therefore, I will be pulling some content off Squidoo and republishing it on sites like Wizzley or Hubpages In the case of Greece Odyssey, I may be pulling that content and setting up a blog for it. (A shame, as Seth Godin has twice highlighted it as some of the best content on Squidoo.)
Goal Setting for 2013 (How I Self-Motivate)
I figure that if I do one “involved fix” a day and about 20 “quick fixes,” that “revamp session” is about as important/effective as writing a new article.
Last year, my five goals included writing 150 new articles on various platforms: blogs, Squidoo or other article sites. I also set a goal of revamping 50 articles, more or less, which I met in the rush of dealing with Squidoo’s responsive layouts.
This year, I’m going to stick with the 150 benchmark (which I met), but now it’s 150 units (of progress). I’m going to call the following one unit:
- A new article
- A good, solid “revamp session”
- 10 new products posted on Zazzle or equivalent
- Setting up a new blog (e.g. if I move Greece Odyssey, the blog setup is at least a day’s work).