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Squidoo Review: Is It Worth My Time?
It was October 2012 when I first discovered Squidoo. I had written for other sites in the past but was looking for a place where I could write even more articles and have it reach a larger audience. At the time, Squidoo was the perfect platform for this because traffic was good and the site was growing.
I was eager to make my first lens (what a Squidoo article is called), so I typed and published one the same day that I joined. It was only a matter of time before the community became receptive to my lens and started liking it and commenting on it. Google also found my lens quickly and ranked it pretty high, so I had a decent amount of traffic coming in.
All was going well, but then it happened - Squidoo made some drastic changes once the Google updates were released in early 2013, and the site hasn't been the same since.
Quick Squidoo Overview
For those of you who aren't familiar with Squidoo, here are a few things to know:
- Lenses are ranked according to traffic, Squid likes, comments, social media, Amazon sales, and other factors. No one knows exactly how a lens rank is calculated, but the rank is important for payment purposes (more on that in a minute).
- Squidoo payments are delayed two months. To provide an example, let's say you had some Amazon sales in the month of February. You won't see those funds in your account until around April 15th.
- Lens rank determines which payout tier you fall into (Tier 1 is lens rank 1 to 2,000, Tier 2 is 2,000 to 10,000 and Tier 3 is 10,000 to 80,000). Tier 1 lenses are paid the largest portion of the ad profits while Tiers 2 and 3 make a much smaller portion. The average lens rank for each month is what counts!
- Squidoo only has an ad pool - they don't have the option for Google AdSense accounts to be incorporated.
Sample Ad Pool Payout (from April 2013)
Ad Pool Payout
The Massive Squidoo Lens Lockdown of 2013
The beginning of 2013 brought a lot of changes to Squidoo, and the community wasn't prepared or forewarned about what was to come. Instead of addressing concerns regarding Google's changes, Squidoo began a massive lens lockdown that left writers angry and concerned about the site. Members who had been writing for the site for years suddenly found some of their best performing lenses to be locked down and deleted. There were even a few veteran writers who had their entire accounts removed.
Why did this happen? The clearest answer that has been given is that Squidoo needed to get rid of the spam so that it could receive better Google rankings. There were talks that too many of the lenses were just selling products rather than being informative. Most of the lenses that were locked and deleted were flooded with Amazon products and pitches to make sales.
New Squidoo Guidelines
Once the lens lockdowns started to diminish a bit, Squidoo began to release new guidelines for writing lenses. Here is an overview of some of the changes:
- Product review specific lenses were created
- Amazon products were limited to 20 per lens
- Filters were put in place to determine if material was high quality enough or not
- Personal experience and information need to be in each lens
- Several modules were deleted
Do you write for Squidoo?
Squidoo Community Changes
The Squidoo community today is much different than the one I was a part of back in late 2012. Today, Squidoo members rarely like and comment on each other's work. Most writers have either cutback on the number of lenses they publish there or have stopped writing for Squidoo completely. There is still a lot of frustration about the lack of traffic and the constant changes in guidelines for creating lenses. It seems that the site has turned their focus to damage control instead of encouragement.
In my opinion, I don't think Squidoo has been fun to write for recently. I used to enjoy making lenses and getting feedback from my fellow writers, but the site has almost become disheartening. I don't feel like my writing is going anywhere there at the moment, and that makes me sad. I do hope to see changes in the future, but right now I have to take my writing elsewhere.
To Write for Squidoo or Not - That is the Question!
I'm a big advocate for having people explore things themselves before deciding whether something is right for them or not, but I must say that I'm having a difficult time getting my hopes up for Squidoo at the moment. Although I have faith that the site will eventually recover, I don't see this happening anytime soon. I continue to monitor traffic on Quantcast and have seen no big changes in traffic. There was a little bit of a surge during the holidays, but that quickly went away once the new year came.
If you choose to give Squidoo a try, I suggest that you make sure your lens has great SEO and is promoted well because you might not see a lot of traffic otherwise. I wouldn't put a bunch of lenses up at one time; instead, feel the water a bit and see how your first few lenses fair. Keep in mind that ad pool payouts have been extremely low lately (we're talking not even $2 for Tier 1) so most of your money would need to come from Amazon sales.
For those of you looking to put a little more effort into your writing, I suggest checking out HubPages. The community is active on this site and the traffic is much better than Squidoo at the moment. If you are still wanting to work on your writing skills while also making some extra spending money, check out Bubblews (read about my Bubblews experience for more information).
If I had to give you a straight "yes" or "no" answer at the moment, I would have to say "no" to Squidoo due to the fact that your talent could be put to much better use elsewhere. I still believe that Squidoo has the potential to be great again, but it's going to take time. Do your research and check on the traffic changes each month to see if there are any positive trends. If you see the site beginning to pick up a bit, then that is probably the ideal time to get in on the action. Until then, take advantage of the other great sites out there!