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My History on Hubpages and Squidoo
Yearly Diary of My Squidoo Journey
Each year around October 10, my anniversary of joining Squidoo, I have written a year in the time on Squidoo in the SquidU forums. I do this to mark the passage of time, and jot down a few stats to see how I am progressing and to make a few notes as to what has happened over the previous year.
In 2013, I decided to make a lens and move all of the past ramblings from their SquidU posts to this page. Since I don't know what is going to happen to Squidu in the future, it seems a prudent move.
From a lens called "Squidoo History" written by lensmaster targ8, I found this bit of trivia. Squidoo.com was first used as bulletin board in 2001. The URL expired, and in October 2005 Seth Godin started Squidoo.com which you can see the humble beginnings on the wayback machine here.
I didn't start an account until almost 3 years later in 2008, when I stumbled across it looking at some blogs and friend of mine, lensmaster Coach Brown told me about it. Unfortunately, Coach Brown isn't on Squidoo anymore, but I thank him every time I see him.
I'm going to work this article like a blog, with the most recent entries at the top. You'll probably only see an entry about once per year, as I will be spending most of my time creating new articles and diversifying into websites and things.
Images of past lenses prior to 2011 are from the Wayback Machine archives. Images after 2011 are Print Screens of the actual lens.
Lens image courtesy of Greekgeek and her wonderful Squidoo Graphics.
What a Squidoo Lens looked like in October 2013
Year 5: Ending October 10, 2013
My fifth year on Squidoo started off with a bang. Squidoo, not learning from their past, decided to do a major lens release on their 7th anniversary of coming out of beta on December 7, 2012. After 7 years, you would think HQ would have learned not to do a major release during the time of year that brings in the most revenue. Hopefully in future years the September to December preriods will be off limits to these type of releases. The Responsive Release was inevitable and positions Squidoo for when mobile devices have more view than computers.
Two new magazines have been created, Celebrate and Cozy. Celebrate is supposed to be all year wrong, but as of December only includes Christmas categories. Cozy is geared towards home and home improvement type categories. I still don't like the magazines as I've never seen my lenses benefit from being in them.
I reached three major goals before December 2012, or maybe because of December 2012 this year. For the first time I had a lens, Squidoo Trophys, reach 1,000 likes. The other two milestones were a measure of sales, I topped the average $3.00 per lens mark on pending sales, and almost at the same time $1,000 in pending sales. My 2013 goal will be $4.00 per lens average and $1,500 in pending sales.
In February 2013, HQ started the Imminent contest which ended in December 2013. HQ also changed the Amazon module, so that you could no longer use a search term to display products. You now have to select on the products on your lens.
In March 2013, HQ changed their Squidlike policy to only allow 20 squidlikes per IP address Soon after, they changed there Squid Angel policy to only allow any one lens to have a total of 5 blessings at a time and to limit the number of blessings that can be given out per day to 5.
Also in March 2013, HQ implemented a new improved filter to help get rid of the spammy lenses that have been proliferating on Squidoo. This is in response to less traffic coming from Google since November 2012. This latest filter was implemented by all lenses being scanned and giving non-giant lensmasters a week to fix their lenses and giants two weeks. After the 7 days for non-giants had passed, it seemed about 50,000 lenses were cleared. Still waiting to see the after affects of the giant lenses.
Shortly after the blessings were limited to 5 per day, the angel program was retired.
Over the summer, a new lens editor was released, and at the same time many of the rarely used and non working modules were removed.
This year was also a year of turmoil as many high profile lensmasters were hit by the new filters put in place or decided to move elsewhere. These included JeffryV, Tipi, LakeErieArtists, SandyPeaks, to name a few.
In the fall, Squidoo released its product type lens. This provided a way to do a simple 200 word lens about a single product from amazon. The jury is still out on these type of lenses, but one thing we do know is they don't have ads on them so they won't be participating in the ad profits.
Some stats at the end of year 5. Still level 80, 295,000 points, 237 featured lenses.
What a Squidoo Lens Looked Like in October 2012
Year 4: Ending October 10, 2012
Here it is my fourth year completed and I still find myself logging in everyday to check sales and lensrank. I'm not creating as many lenses as I have in years past, my "featured" lens count currently sits at 226 with many more in WIP status. I topped 11,000 weekly visitors recently. I have 29 trophies, soon to be 30, I have reached level 80 and currently have over 183,000 points. I became an angel this year when they were looking for neighborhood angels. Now anyone can apply to be an angel and give a blessing. And, I finally updated my profile picture from that weird blue mountain range which was an example picture from the windows operating system to an actual picture of me.
What happened in Squidooland over the last year. I think the biggest news of the year was Megan Casey leaving Squidoo, we'll definitely miss Megan and can't wait to see where on the internet she pops up next. Squidu was shut down and Squidoo started their own forum again at hq.squidoo.com. The Zazzle module was retired. Flickr decided to sever ties with Squidoo which caused the Flickr module to be retired. Pinterest became another social site which wasn't without its controversy. The website Squidtools was created by lensmaster A3Labs as a way to replicate the featured lenses module which also allows Google to see these lenses. Squidoo has another competitor, Zujava, which became another place to write online similar to Squidoo and Wizzley. My Squidoo trophy lens currently contains 124 trophies.
Squidoo continued creating magazines, which is a group of related lenses that a Squidoo employee groups together and cultivates that particular theme. Current magazines include Good Veg, So Crafty, Hot Apps, and Up Market. A new magazine is currently being promoted called Gift Guide which will replace the Happy Halloween, Happy Thanksgiving, and Happy Snowman magazines. I believe all previous "front doors" have been taken down with the latest casualty being SquidBoo.
Two of my children have started working on lenses on Squidoo. Its interesting watching their journey and the questions they ask. I also started a website in September 2012, not quite a successful website as of yet, but I've finished the format and continue to work on the content side. I couldn't have started a website without everything I learned on Squidoo and with all the helpful lensmasters.
Predictions sure to go wrong: This will be the year, Squidoo expands the number of lenses that receive a tier payout as most "featured" lenses are receiving at least 1 visit per week. Squidoo will expand the tier payouts to include all 400,000 "featured" lenses.
Year 3: October 10, 2011
Today completes my third year on Squidoo I made a similar Squidu post after my second year. Today, I feel confident in what I know about Squidoo and the web in general. I didn't feel that way at the end of my second year. Get ready for another long post on what I have done over the last year, what has changed, predictions, and a little advice for newbies.
In the last year I have created / bought 79 lenses to increase my featured lens count from 131 to 210. The create number may be higher, but with the new 400,000 limit on featured lenses, I have a few under that mark. I have received three purple stars this year bringing my total to 6, and I have also added SquidAngel to my resume. I topped 8000 weekly visits for the first time this month (compared to last year when I had just topped 5000 weekly visits for the first time). I still don't have a Top 100 lens, although my top lens recently reached a lensrank of 103, so close, maybe next year. I have 22 trophies, it should be 23 soon, but I haven't received my 3 year birthday cake trophy yet. I am at level 69 and I have 85,739 points, which I plan on trading in when I reach 200,000 points (chuckles and snorts).
This year I created a lot of sales lenses around a lot of my niches. It seemed to be the natural progression as I am finding it harder to find things to truly write about after three years. I dabbled with buying lenses and looking for lensmasters giving away lenses (not sure why they do this), in either case I only pick up lenses in my niche.
Last year I predicted Tier payouts would double, and they did, although the number of lenses didn't increase. No one has 2,000 lenses on one account, however, there is an account (controlled by hq) that has the 2,000 lens trophy. Levels stopped at 80, so my prediction for someone reaching level 150 didn't come true. I predicted there would be 100 trophies, and currently I have seen or there have been announced 91.
Over the last 12 months we have seen the removal of fans, lensroll, many front pages have been closed, the backlinking of lenses has been removed from the Featured lens module and the My Lenses module, most of which probably were a result of Google's Panda update. We have seen HQ pull out of the Squidu forums and create their own site to deliver messages to lensmasters. We have seen the birth of a new website similar to Squidoo, Wizzley which was created by lensmaster ChefKeem among others. HQ has started creating magazines to promote lenses, currently 2 with GoodVeg and the Happy pages. The number of SquidAngels has increased from a handful to a lot, not sure of the count today. Lots of layout changes from a lens standpoint and from the dashboard. Let's not forget about the new categories, sub categories, and sub sub categories. An increase in the automation of a quality checker and a quality check within edit mode, along with lenses with a lensrank of 400,000 or higher going into WIP status. I probably missed something here, and will edit this post if I remember anything else.
Predictions for next year, Tier payouts will double again (you have to go with what has worked in the past), 125 trophies, and 10 magazines. I am hoping by this time next year I will have a successful website. I predict HQ will do things that will confound us this year, although, there isn't much else they can take away.
For newbies, the mantra is always the same, learn about keyword research, SEO, and backlinking. These are the things that will get your lenses found in the search engines and make you sales. Lensmasters won't buy from your lenses since they could buy from their own. Find a few blogs to follow on these subjects, there are many out there and I use a combination of lensmaster blogs like Spirituality, AJ2008, Greekgeek, and ThrivingMom (Typically, I would link to these blogs in the post, but recently had my hand slapped. I have a lens with these blogs which you can find in my signature). I also use to follow SquidooGirl, but she has recently repurposed her blog. You should also find SEO blogs that are outside of the Squidoo arena, I know a lot of lensmasters follow Google's Matt Cutts, I love the SEOMOZ blog and look forward to Whiteboard Friday every week.
Here's to a great holiday selling season and may your ventures turn out to be as successful as you want them to be.
What a Lens Looked Like October 2010 - post Monster release
Year 2: 10/10/10
The following post was published on Squidu, October 9, 2010.
10/10/10 is my 2nd anniversary on Squidoo, and it happens that I waited to make my 500th Squidu post on this day. Here's a recap of my first 2 years and some predictions for the next year.
My Vitals over 2 years: 131 lenses, almost $1000.00 earned over the two years, 3 LOTD Lenses, 2 Purple Star Lenses, Giant 100 Member, 500 Squidu Posts, 151 fans, Factor Y member, Monster Beta Tester, Level 46, 8 trophies, and topped 5000 total visits for the first time this month (compared to thirteen months ago when I had half the lenses and topped 1000 total visits for the first time).
My Nevers: Never had a Top 100 lens (ironic since I have a lens named, How to make a top 100 lens), never been an Angel, never added a charity, and I've never been bored with Squidoo.
About me and my Lenses: I create a lens (I don't call it writing) about whatever moves me that day or about things I've thought could drive traffic and maybe sales. My best performing lenses are about those things that I do with my kids (Reading Books, Cub Scouts, PTA, Fundraising) or something I'm interested in (Golf, Sports, Country Music, Squidoo). The lenses I like the most are when I put pictures of my kids in a lens after a Family Vacation or a Cub Scout Hike. Scrolling through my list of lenses, you never know what you are going to find: Video Games, Legos, Hometowns, High Schools, TV Shows, Colleges, Politics, Coin Collecting, and Chocolate Candy. I keep trying different things to see if I can catch lightning in a bottle, and always quickly realize, it takes a lot of work to get a niche going.
About Squidoo: Squidoo has allowed me to explore the internet in a way I didn't before, it allowed me to create instead of just consuming pages. I learned how to create a blog (I have two), I am learning about affiliate programs, and I learned how to start generating an income out of a simple talent like putting a web page together. For the small team that runs Squidoo, they do a great job.
Squidoo's Biggest Add in Two Years: The Monster release with Squidoo trophies, a close second are the clubs. The difference between SquidPets and SquidBoo seem minimal, however I like the SquidBoo HQ page a lot better.
Squidoo's Biggest Takeaway in Two Years: Removing Groups. Groups was a great way for lensmasters to interact. The Monster release has added back the interactions between the lensmasters.
My Biggest Squidu Pet Peeve: Complaints about the way Squidoo works.
My Biggest Squidoo Pet Peeve: The weight given to the freshness of a lens. (So much for my biggest Squidu Pet Peeve)
My Advice for Newbies: Try it! If you have an idea for a lens, try it. If you don't know how a module works, try it. If you've never posted on Squidu, Try It! If you haven't started a blog, Try It! If it doesn't work, chalk it up to experience and try something else.
My Predictions for Oct. 2011 sure to be wrong: Tier payouts will double. The number in each tier will be increased. There will be 100 Squidoo Trophies.
Someone will reach level 150. The most number of lenses in a single account will be 2000.