Hop on over to eBook Marketing Journal and you’ll notice that I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to decipher Squidoo. Okay, not really decipher. More like make it bow down and do my ebook sales bidding. (Enter maniacal mad scientist laughter.)
Squidoo is a user generated content site, which is just a fancy Web 2.0 way of saying, ‘a place to submit your articles.’ However unlike a traditional article directory like EzineArticles.com, Squidoo allows you to include text, video, link lists, Amazon modules, and a whole host of other graphical elements to make your ‘lens’ (lens = article in Squidoo-speak) attractive.
Squidoo had always been that “Hmmmm, maybe…” kind of thing lingering in the back of my mind. But truthfully it always seemed a little cartoony for my tastes, with the little character mascots and all. (This probably sounds a wee bit hypocritical, considering I display a somewhat silly sense of humor on this blog.)
Instead I opted to hobnob at HubPages, Squidoo’s rival cousin. Back in 2010 I started building a little HubPages empire (using a variety of profiles). Thanks to the HubPages revenue share program, I make a little cash from my hubs every single day. Not a fortune, but way more than I ever did with Google AdSense.
Why I ended up jumping the HubPages ship
Although HubPages has been good to me, they can be quite funny (‘ha, ha’ in a bad way) about selling ebooks.
They don’t mind if you’re promoting ebooks on Amazon, but you can’t do Clickbank products. They can even be kinda fickle about PDFs you sell on your own site.
Squidoo, on the other hand, is more lenient about ebook sales – within reason.
According to their terms of service, they don’t mind if you publish a lens on a topic you’re interested in or have experience with, even if it promotes a specific product. What they don’t want are purely promotional lenses that don’t offer any educational value to the reader. And they also have a ban on certain topics like get your ex back kind of stuff.
This may not suit everybody, but it works for me as I have experience in the topics I write about, and I definitely don’t want my ex back.
I started publishing on Squidoo back in March, and now I wish I hadn’t waited so long.
Why Squidoo is kind of a big deal
Several years ago I believe Squidoo had some issues with good, ole’ Uncle Google. Maybe this was during the Google slap era, I don’t remember. (One day when we’re all old and frail, we’ll be reminiscing about stuff like, “Do you remember the great Google Slap of 2010?”) Well that spat between Squidoo and Google is a distant memory.
Squidoo lenses indeed get ranked very nicely in Google. Whilst not all of my lenses have received the red carpet treatment, a few of them are sitting comfortably in the SERPs.
I just wrote lens #14 last Friday – (101 Nonfiction Writing Prompts) – and it currently has first page rank for several key terms. It achieved those positions in less than 48 hours. (See my eBook Marketing Journal blog for the exact keywords I’m ranking for.)
When I had only 12 lenses under my belt, I was averaging about 6-10 ebook sales a week solely from Squidoo traffic. And this was from some insanely low click thru rates.
For example, 36 people might’ve visited my Squidoo lenses. Five people would click thru from those lenses to this website. Out of those five visitors, two people might order an ebook. (That’s the Impulse Buyer Magnet magic!!!)
There’s a lot to be garnered by writing on Squidoo, but before you start here are some interesting pointers I picked up:
1) Squidoo is a topic testing heaven.
From an authors perspective, Squidoo is very cool for testing a variety of topics in your niche. I have several ebook related lenses up and running, but only a handful generate the bulk of my traffic.
Those productive lenses have helped me better understand what I should be writing about, and I’ve adjusted my strategy accordingly.
Sure you can post a survey on your site and ask people what they want, but nothing beats actual traffic stats. Especially when you have the benefit of a site that generates a huge amount of traffic on its own.
2) Write multiple lenses on one topic if you want to see those sales.
The more I write about ebooks on Squidoo, the more I’m looked upon as an expert on the topic, and the more consistent my sales are.
Last week I got an order from a lady who had commented on one of my first few lenses back in early April. She came back and liked (similar to a Facebook like) almost every new lens I put up. She emailed saying that she finally decided to order because of all the lenses I had published.
And I quote… “If your paid info is as good as the free articles you have on Squidoo, I wanted to see it.”
3) Publish at least 3-4 lenses at the same time to start dominating a category.
When you go to publish a lens on a Squidoo you have to choose a category. You also have the option of selecting a sub-category and a sub, sub-category.
If your lens is getting traffic (which I tell you how to do at eBook Marketing Journal), Squidoo will showcase it on your designated category page.
One week I published three lenses, all within the same category. Those three lenses all ended up on that Books, Poetry & Writing page. When they dropped off of that page (you’re only up a week or so in the main category), they landed on the Publishing Tips sub-category page and the Self-Publishing sub, sub-category page.
At one time I had six lenses in the sub and sub, sub categories. This is where I saw the most traffic volume.
With 6-7 lenses up and running you can almost take over a niche in less than a week, depending on how busy the categories are. Obviously some categories are going to be a lot busier than others.
What Squidoo ISN’T for
I know I mentioned this yesterday, but I don’t delve in the whole spun article thing on Squidoo.
I use Squidoo as a source of traffic. Sure it’s a backlink, but I don’t really care about the whole backlink debate.
My priority is sales. At the end of the day I count dollars, not how many backlinks I’ve gotten. If the dollars aren’t where they’re supposed to be, I look at my traffic and the conversion rate.
That’s what matters to me, so I try to do things that match my overall strategy. I can’t see this working out favorably if all you’re doing is spinning a bunch of really generic PLR articles. I think readers are getting tired mish-moshed content. Google certainly is.
Take all of this into account as you embark on your Squidoo adventure.
And good luck!