Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Third Purple Star!

Yesterday, I was awarded my third purple star for my recent How to Camp Safely in the Winter lens.  Actually the honor really belongs to my husband.  He did all the writing.  I just assembled the lens and added  Amazon products.  So kudos to him!!  It is always exciting to get a purple star.  I look forward to collaborating more with my husband on lenses in the future.  He is a veritable wealth of camping information.

I got another new lens finished this morning AG Doll Winter Accessories.  Yes, it's another American Girl Doll lens.  If you could see my daughters' doll collection, you would know why I write about it so much!

I have been on a roll lately with all the lens creation.  Hopefully it pays off in a few months with increased paychecks from Squidoo and Amazon.

Happy Squidooing!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Continuing in my American Girl Doll Niche

Surprise! Surprise!  My latest lens is another one on American Girl dolls.  Well it's always good to write about what you know, right?  With two of my daughters currently obsessed with American Girl, I know a lot about it!  I am focusing on Portable AG Doll Room options in this new lens.  Once again, I started out trying the Squick method and ended up adding a lot more.  I think I am just overly wordy!

This makes lens number 48 for me.  Just a couple more and then I need to start going through all my lenses, making sure they are up to scratch,  so I can apply to the Giant Squid 50 level.  I have 3 in-progress lenses that I need to finish building first.  I keep getting distracted though with different ideas and quests.  Like the Valentines Craft Quest.  I will probably build a lens to submit to that challenge sometime this week.

So that's what I have been up to today!  Now I am off to write a couple of blog reviews that are due this week.

Happy Squidooing!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A New Sales Lens - AG Doll Boots

Hot off the presses is another new Squidoo lens - AG Doll Boots.  This brings me up to 47 lenses.  I am getting close to being able to apply for the next Giant Squid membership level which requires 50 lenses.

I started out thinking this latest lens would be a quickie, using the Squick Money: 15-Minute Squidoo System method, but then I got into the keyword research and discovered a lot more potential.  I figured I might as well get the lens completely built now rather than just putting up a quick starter lens.  I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.  One more lens to add to my American Girl doll niche.

Sites to Promote Your Squidoo Lens

So you've written a great Squidoo lens.  Now you need to get some eyeballs on it.  Here is the list of sites to promote your Squidoo lens that I use.  I don't do a huge amount of backlinking.  The sites listed below are generally enough to get the ball rolling.

  • Ping with SquidUtils - this option comes up when you first hit publish your lens if you have the workshop addon installed. If not, just click on the link to submit there.
  • SubmitStart - this free service will submit your site to Google, Yahoo, and Bing.  I only submit here immediately after I publish a lens.  If I don't do any lens promotion until a day or two later, then I check to see if I am already on Google, by searching first for my main keyword.  If I don't find it on the first couple of pages, then I search by the url.  If my lens is already on Google, then I don't bother submitting to this service.
  • Squidoo Forum - post in the new lens thread.  Be sure to visit a few other new lenses while you are there.
  • Link to your new lens from other Squidoo lenses you have on a related topic.  You can do this both through the Discovery Tool in the intro module and by using the featured lenses tool on SquidTools.

If I am crunched for time, the above sites are the only ones I do.  However, if I have more time, here are even more sites to promote your Squidoo lens.

Facebook Communities - You will have to join these groups and be approved before you can post.  
Don't just drop your links and run.  Be an active member in the community and comment on other people's posts as well.  Both of the groups below allow you to link to new lenses.  **Be sure to follow each group's guidelines for posting**  Each one operates a little bit differently.

Squidoo Lens Directories
Quick Post Submissions
  • Redgage - You can either write a short post or promote your lens with a link or a photo.  You can also make money on this site depending on how often your content is viewed.  The blog posts get more page views in my experience, but any of the options are good for backlinks.
  • Netleeks - write a short blurb about your lens
  • List My Five - Write short top 5 lists and link back to your lenses in the resources

Your Own Properties - Be sure to backlink to your new lens from your own properties.
  • Blogs -  If you don't have a blog of your own, you can start one for free at Blogger.  Giant Squid Quest is hosted at Blogger.  I also have a mom blog, A Heart Full of Love, and post "Sharing Sunday" where I add links to all the writing I have done weekly around the web.  You can do that with your own blog.
Social Bookmarking - Share your lenses with these social sites
  • Facebook - you can even start a fan page for your Squidoo lenses if you like
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest - link is to my profile page.  Feel free to follow any of my boards.  Pinterest can bring in a huge amount of traffic.  However, don't just only pin your own stuff.  A good rule of thumb is one self-promoting pin for every 9 other pins.
  • Google+ - feel free to follow me
  • Stumbleupon - Don't just stumble your own content.  Be sure to participate and stumble other people's content as well.  The StumbleUpon toolbar makes this quick and easy.
Other Backlink Methods
  • Commentluv Blogs - leave relevant and meaningful comments on blogs with the Commentluv plugin installed.  Use your Squidoo lens url in the url box.  I usually leave about 5 comments per lens.

I hope this list of sites to promote your Squidoo lens was helpful.  Do you have any to add?  Share them below.

Tips for Tagging Lenses on Squidoo

I recently read several good articles about tagging lenses on Squidoo.  Prior to reading these, I had it in my head that I should be using my longtail keywords as tags.  How wrong I was!

A good rule of thumb is specific for keywords and broad for categories.  So in the case of my newest lens, Safe Winter Camping,  I used "camping", "outdoor recreation", "winter sports", etc for tags.  Very broad topics.  Tags are used internally by Squidoo to help choose what lenses show up in the related section on the sidebar.

For more reading on the topic, be sure to check out these great articles by fellow lensmasters.

I highly suggest installing the Workshop Addon from SquidUtils as it is a great help with picking good tags.  The color coded system tells you at a glance whether or not the tag you picked is a good choice.

Have any tips and tricks to share about choosing good tags for your lenses?  Share them below.  Happy Squidooing!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Quick Lens Creation

So as I was surfing around looking for lenses to bless today, I came across a new Squidoo ebook - Squick Money: 15-Minute Squidoo System, written by Squidoo veteran Britt Malka. I have not yet bought the book as I have already spent the money I budgeted for educational materials for the month. I may very well purchase it next month though.

I was intrigued enough though that I went looking for reviews for it. I found a couple and they both linked to sample lenses. Both lenses followed the same format and used the same modules. Basically this is a method where you use the same template to churn out quick sales lenses. You are testing the waters, so to speak, with these quick lenses. Then if they show promise, you can go back and beef them up with more content. If they don't pan out, then you are only out 15 minutes of your time.

If you are a giant squid, you can set up a template to have all these modules ready for you when you start a lens. I hadn't made use of the templates before, but I decided to go ahead and do one for this.

The lens I made using this quick method is Hidden Book Safe.  It took me about 30 minutes, but considering I typically take 3-4 hours making a lens, that is a great improvement.  There's not a lot of content, by my standards.  However, I am looking at it as a test.  If it ranks in Google and starts picking up traffic, then I will definitely go back and add more content to it.  If not, then it will sit.  This method actually is probably great to use to create starter lenses to sell.  I know there are a lot of people who make good money doing that.

I am looking forward to seeing how the lens does.  I will write a full review on the Squick Kindle book next month after I purchase it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

New Lens and Some Goals for the New Year

collectible holiday nutcrackers 

 It's been awhile, but I just published a new lens. Writing is always more enjoyable when it is on a topic you enjoy. Just published today, my newest lens is Collectible Holiday Nutcrackers. I have a holiday nutcracker collection of my own so it was a lot of fun putting together this lens.  That's my newest addition to my collection there in the photo.

Although I haven't been creating a ton of new lenses lately, I have been adding content to my assorted blogs.   I have been using the Jaaxy Keyword Research service for a little over a month now and what a difference it has made in my earnings.  My Amazon earnings for this month so far are $74, which is nothing by most people's standards.  However when you consider I had been making $5 a month from Amazon all last year, it is pretty amazing.  Jaaxy has totally changed the way I am approaching Squidoo and blogging.  Although I earn pretty good money online through the advertising packages I offer at Blog Giveaway Directory, I want to work more on increasing my passive income this year.  So when my advertising orders are done for the day, I have been focusing on churning out quality content.  And my sales are increasing accordingly.

So a couple of goals I have set for myself for the coming year...

  • Finish 2 Squidoo lenses per week
  • Make the Giant Squid 100 level by the end of the year.
  • Increase my monthly Squidoo income to $500 a month by the end of the year
  • Increase my Amazon income to $500 a month by the end of the year
  • Focus on keywords and monetizing on my various blogs to increase their earning potential.
I think by focusing on the right keywords (with help from Jaaxy) and putting a lot of quality content out there, this is totally do-able.  As a side note, my husband is now on board with writing for my Squidoo account.  So hopefully he will be able to do a lens a week for me as well.  He is going to be focusing on camping, hiking, and other outdoor fun.

Well that's all for now.  What are your Squidoo goals for the coming year?