How to Be Successful on Squidoo
My Tips for Gaining Success on Squidoo
I have been creating Squidoo lenses for about 3 years. I am not the most successful lensmaster there by any means, nor do I profess to know everything about Squidoo or even internet marketing in general. However, I do make a reasonable amount of money there each month. This year I anticipate earning an average of $1,500/month on that site. That is of course, as my granny would say, "God willing and the creek don't rise". I've earned more than that during the past holiday season, but don't anticipate getting back there for a few months yet.
Now if you're wondering why I would write about Squidoo here, well, it's because I can't yet write about how to succeed on Hubpages. When I get there, I'll let you know! In the mean time, many of the tips I provide should work here on Hubpages as well and certainly if you branch out, which I think is wise, Squidoo is a good second writing site to consider.
Keywords should not dictate the general topics you choose to write about. However, they can help you focus a bit more and gain more traffic. You can still write about your passions, interests, and so forth, but keywords will help you get a better position in search results.
I won't go into details about how to do keyword research here, but once you have those keywords and phrases you can easily use them in your URL, your titles, and tags on Squidoo. Titles should never be left as the default (i.e.: Text module). You can sprinkle those keywords and phrases throughout your Squidoo lens, but don't over do it. You can target one, two, or three keywords per lens.
These keywords help assure that you get targeted traffic.This means that the people who come upon your lens will not do so accidentally; they will be interested in your topic. They will stay on your page longer and be more likely to click through, and to buy if you have things for sale. You will have met their need, increasing the likelihood they will return or trust you as an author.
Unique and Specific Content
Unique content is critical for any internet marketer. It's always good to talk about your personal experiences and observations, create your own story, and so forth. Writing in your own voice works well.
In many instances I try to find a unique way of packaging what it is I'm writing about. I'm an affiliate marketer, not a writer, so I often need to write about topics that are well covered elsewhere. To have a lens succeed, I often need to be either very specific in my topics or find a unique angle. As an example, I wouldn't write a page about cell phones. What more can be said about that? But I might write one on the usefulness of cell phones in medical monitoring or text messaging phones for the deaf.
Make Your Squidoo Lens Appealing
Spending hours making a beautiful page isn't really part of how to be successful on Squidoo. However, a page that is pleasing to the eye is more likely to keep viewers interested rather than cllicking away. To make a lens appealing there are several things you can do.
First, you can add related photos. Whether they are photos that you take, or photos that you get online under Creative Commons license, photos add a lot of visual appeal. On Squidoo you can add a photo to the Introduction Module, Text Module, or in a Photo Gallery Module.
Photos can also bring in more traffic through an image search if tagged appropriately.
Secondly, you can keep your writing to the point and brief. Certainly this isn't as applicable to creative writing, but to some extent it can apply.
Even when brevity isn't possible, then good formatting can remedy the situation. Paragraphs should be shorter. When appropriate, the use of bullet points, numbering, and so forth can help.
Using HTML to bold, underline, and italicize can make items "stick out" and break up endless text. Squidoo has "black box modules", "sticky notes", "talk bubbles" and more to perform a similar function.
Squidoo also has a number of templates from which to choose. With the click of a button you can give your lens the look and feel that you want.
I like to intersperse my text with video embedded from YouTube and other video sharing sites and I tend to mix up my other modules to avoid having all of my text in one spot. Amazon modules, Duels, "plexos" and more are available.
You can find all kinds of HTML and CSS help on Squidoo through many of the lenses that others have written which can spice up your lens. I would simply caution that for many visitors, too much color, special fonts, banners, and so forth are either distracting, distasteful, or unprofessional looking.
Another important point is grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I frequently make errors here, but I'm always seeking to reduce them. Any visitor will be unimpressed with sloppy and poorly written content, it's unappealing.
Volume, Focus, and Updates
Write and write often. I made little money with 25 Squidoo lenses, a bit more with 50, but never felt any real success until I hit over 200 lenses.
I not only wrote a lot of lenses, but many of them were related. I created some big "tag clouds", my topics were interwoven. Traffic would begin to flow from one lens to the other. On Squidoo you can lensroll your lenses to each other. You can also add a Featured Lenses module to them which further links the two (or three, or four, or how ever many). Of course, linking to and featuring related lenses by other authors is good as well.
Having a niche (or a few niches) is good for this reason. You stay focused and you can link back and forth easily when appropriate. You can also develop a following when people recognize your expertise.
While I do have some lenses that cover a broad topic, more often I tend to make my topics very focused, answering a single question rather than being the definitive piece on a broader issue. This has worked well for me. Sometimes my broader page acts as a hub for the more targeted pages. But, users often search for information very specifically, and they are pleased to find information that answers their specific question without having to wade through information that isn't pertinent to their current need.
Fresh content is certainly important in the eyes of both your visitors and the search engines. In my case, writing lenses that sell products, I need to be sure and update my products periodically. This helps those lenses stay fresh, and my customers better served. Search engines reward a site or page that is fresh and active.
Updating lenses is very important on Squidoo especially. Even if you just correct typos, change some wording, or whatever. Lensrank pays big dollars, and lensrank improves when your lens is updated.
Promote Your Lenses
You can create the best lens in the world but if no one sees it, it doesn't matter. So promotion is the next keey in finding success on Squidoo.
After you've written a lens, do what you need to do to make people aware of it's existence. Google will recognize it quickly, so I never worry about submitting it to search engines. It's there.
You can Tweet your lenses on Twitter after publishing or a significant update. Of course you can also bookmark it on any of your favorite social bookmarking sites.
In addition, you can get backlinks to your lenses on forums and directories as well.
The more backlinks you establish to your lens, the better. At a minimum, I would suggest you should include it in a blog or two. You should write related articles (not duplicates) on other sites that backlink to it. Qondio.com, ezinearticles.com, goarticles.com, are among my favorites. Xomba.com, Bukisa.com, Helium.com, Associate Content, Gather, and others will work as well. Of course another place to gain a backlink or two is Hubpages!
Be Social, But Not Too Social
Just like Hubpages, Squidoo has a great community. Making friends is easy. These friends will often follow you, visit your lenses, rate them, favorite them, share them with others, and so forth. You, of course, will do the same.
This can be critical for giving your lenses a boost to start. It can give some of them a bit of a viral edge.
You can also go to the forum and discuss important topics, learn, and help others. This is important for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is developing a positive reputation.
However, the word of caution is that if you spend too much time in the forum and so forth, you won't be creating lenses and writing in general. That's not good. I try to put 3/4 of my time into writing lenses or supporting blogs and articles and 1/4 of my time involved in social activities.
Don't Be Afraid to Sell
There are numerous ways to earn money on Squidoo. You can make signifiant money simply writing about topics that have nothing at all to do with selling something. You can earn this money through lensrank payments, but it's important to understand that only top rated lenses do well in this type of system.
If you choose to allow Infolinks and other ads to run on your lens you will make more. I personally use them and like the effect on my monthly payout. Some people don't use them, but I'm certain this limits their monthly payout.
In addition of course, you can sell products, your own or affiliate, on your lenses. Without a doubt SPAM happens, and no one appreciates it. It doesn't add value and it's unwanted. Squidoo tries to weed it out. On the other hand, simply selling items is not SPAM so lensmasters on Squidoo shouldn't be afraid to sell. Obviously the products should be related to the content on your lens however. And, your lens should provide unique and useful content.
I've encountered a number of lensmasters who avoid selling items on their lenses, thus I assume they rely soley on lensrank and ad pool payments. This is fine, but they are definitely limiting their earning potential. Affilate/product revenue can be a large portion of the money you earn. Not all of my revenue comes through Squidoo, but occurs due to an affiliate product posted on a Squidoo lens. If I added my associated affiliate revenue directly to my Squidoo earnings, I could nearly double the income I attribute to Squidoo.
In other words, don't be afraid to sell when it's appropriate.
To be successful on Squidoo I also feel you need to branch out. I don't think it's possible in most cases to write on one site and "make it" online. Whether you create Hubs on Hubpages or lenses on Squidoo, you need to spread yourself around.
You gain a following this way, obtain more eyes on your content, and can help facilitate the flow of traffic from one to the other. You gain backlinks, greater authority, and you limit your losses if something goes wrong on one site or the other. You want "multiple streams of income" anyway and it's good insurance if someone goes "belly up"!