Monday, October 15, 2012

What is Squidoo? A review

I must admit that despite having heard many positive things about Squidoo over the past year, it has taken me three attempts to get going on the site, with my first couple of attempts ending up as false starts. Why? I think all the cartoon monsters on Squidoo (they dish out the points and trophies) is off-putting to me for one thing – I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that the site is not targeted at my demographic group (middle-aged men), but rather one that is younger and possibly more female? Anyway, I have overcome my aversion to cartoon monsters and I am here to give you my Squidoo review.

What is Squidoo?

Squidoo is online writing and earning site where you post one page articles, known as “lenses”. There are some rules that Squidoo imposes regarding what lenses can be about, but generally speaking, you can write about any topic that choose (preferably something that you know about!) Your lenses are given a rank by Squidoo. There is scope for them to gradually rise up the rankings – if this happens then you will receive a payment from Squidoo, with the payment varying according to which “tier” of rankings that your lens reaches. Squidoo (and you) make their money from the adverts and sales made via the lenses with the pot getting split fifty-fifty. There are a variety of different affiliate advertisers that you can use, such as Amazon, eBay, etc.

How do you rise up the rankings?

Squidoo keep their exact formula secret. However, there are a number of factors that have been picked up anecdotally by writers over the years. Traffic levels and the number of sales made through specific Squidoo lenses seem to influence rankings the most. Positive feedback from other writers seems to have good effect (interactivity with other users is encouraged), with the number of “likes” lenses receive seeming to affect their ranking too.

How much can I earn on Squidoo?

Like with most writing sites, the majority of writers don’t make much money and what they do earn takes many months to accumulate. However, there are a tiny proportion of writers who seem to do rather well from Squidoo, earning hundreds, or even maybe a few thousand dollars each month. It does seem to take a lot of lenses and months (years?) of work to achieve this, however. It also helps if you have a basic understanding of the search engines rank web pages and follow some simple SEO tips, plus and have some online writing experience. (Although I know from experience how much money can I make with HubPages, my knowledge of Squidoo is still fairly minimal, as I only joined relatively recently. I do know some Squidoo writers from HubPages, however, so I understand that the earnings can reach two, three, or even four figures per month for some people).

How do Squidoo pay me?

Part of the ethos at Squidoo is that they encourage writers to give at least part of their earnings to charity (Squidoo give you a large choice of good causes) – it’s completely optional what proportion, if any, of your earnings that you give, however.
How Squidoo calculates earnings is one of things that Squidoo’s detractors sometimes express a dislike for. Unlike writing platforms like Wizzley where you generally earn through Google Adsense and affiliate sites such as Amazon, and the details of how your earnings are made up can be viewed, the Squidoo system is pretty opaque – you have to more or less trust Squidoo to allot the earnings in a fair and reasonable way. I generally prefer the Wizzley way overall, but the Squidoo method has the advantage of being simple and straightforward, as you simply get a single payment to your PayPal once/month provide you pass the threshold (which you can set at just a dollar if you wish).
Squidoo use PayPal to send you your money. I have no problem with this, although I know that some people don’t like PayPal, I have never had any trouble with them.

How do I join Squidoo?

Squidoo is free to join. You give them basic details like a name and email address, write your first lens, fill out some profile details and you are away.