Friday, June 26, 2009

My Thoughts on Squidoo Policy Changes: How They Affect You!

If you are a Squidoo member then you will probably aware of the impending policy changes due to take place in July. If you haven't read them then you can find them here.

This a very brief summary of the changes are as follows:

  • No porn.
  • Limit of 9 outbound links to a single domain.
  • No lenses on junk topics.

I have no problem with the no porn rule - not that I am prudish in any way, I just don't feel that it is good for the site's credibility.

Also the new outbound link rule I don't see as a problem - I think that 9 links to a single destination is enough for any page.

Where I struggle is the junk topics issue. I can see that there is a need to clean up Squidoo and that lenses that are nothing but sales pages with no useful content do nothing for the site, and probably don't help Squidoo's rankings with the search engines. I tend to work on the principle that if you are using Squidoo for affiliate marketing then you need to provide useful and entertaining information, after all people do not search for sales pages. It is about "pre-selling" - i.e. giving people some of the information that they are looking for, and then pointing them in the direction of where they can find more, or buy a product in keeping with the subject that you have been talking about.

However, the policy changes refer to junk topics and lists the following as examples:

  • Free movie downloads.
  • Hoodia Gordoni.
  • Acai berry reviews.
  • Toenail fungus sales.
  • LoseBellyFat!
  • Pharmaceuticals.
  • WoW gold farming.
  • Forex reports.
  • Adult content.
  • And on and on.

To me, this list is somewhat ill-defined. How do we know what is, or will become a junk topic? I would imagine most of our lenses will be just fine, but I know that a few of mine may just fall into the junk category.

So, what should you do?

Well, here are my suggestions:

  1. Review your lenses
  2. Check your outbound links and amend as necessary
  3. Do your lenses lack original and useful content? - if so amend accordingly
  4. Does the subject of your lens fall into the "junk" category - consider amending, deleting or exporting your content elsewhere.

What are your options if you want to export my content elsewhere?

  • Consider one of the many alternatives to Squidoo, but bear in mind they all have their own policies, most of which are stricter than Squidoo's new policies, so check carefully.
  • Build your own niche website - your best option is build a site with Wordpress. There are, of course, cost implications for this in respect of web hosting and domain names. Alternatively, you could use one of the free website builders such as Google Sites or Yola - hosting for these sites is also FREE!

So are the changes a good thing or a bad thing?

I think that there is currently a lot of junk on Squidoo with little or no useful content, and this can only be harmful to the site's credibility and to its authority as seen by search engines. Overall, I think that the changes are a good thing. BUT, I for one would like more clarity over what constitutes "junk" subjects.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Account has Been Disabled

Back in January I started a blog on, thinking that blogging on a paid network might bring in some easy cash. I always fancied the idea of having a political and current affairs blog, so I thought this was an opportunity to do that and make some money along the way. And so, Comments of a Nobody was born. The first month I was to be paid $1 per post and then after that it would be adjusted according to how much traffic I was receiving. Unfortunately, because I submitted my blog feed to Zimbio, I was caught out by the duplicate content rule and therefore many of my early posts were not accepted for payment.

Then, as I was not attracting much traffic the payment rules were changed to $2 per 1000 visitors. As a result of these two factors I became rather less inclined to write posts. Also, another factor was the topic I had chosen - to write decent posts, even short ones, required a lot of research and thought, and consequently, a lot of time.

The e-mail I received does give me the option to resurrect my account, but after much thought I have decided to let it go. Comments of a Nobody is still there, I just can't add to it nor will I earn anything from it - although I will benefit from the backlinks to here and some of my other projects. The moral of this is that there are only so many hours in the day and you simply cannot do everything.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Get a Free Squidoo Guide

I have talked about Squidoo on Extra Cash Challenge before, but for those who are not familiar with this site, it basically allows to write a page (or a lens as they call it) about anything you like. Squidoo can be great place to promote your blog, website or anything for that matter.

You can earn money from Squidoo in three ways; you share a certain amount of revenue according to how many visitors your lens attracts, you can add affiliate modules (Amazon, Ebay, Cafepress) and you earn if anyone makes a purchase via your lens, or you can add your own affiliate link. You can join Squidoo here.

For those new to Squidoo, it can be quite confusing at first making your first few lenses. So to help you get a head-start, here is a FREE 50+ "How to Squidoo" guide. Readers are taken from the very beginning (setting up a new Squidoo account) all the way to lens creation steps to get their first lens live and online. Anyone who is confused by Squidoo or unsure of how to make an effective lens will really appreciate this free guide.

I know that when I first started with Squidoo, I really didn't understand how to make an effective lens, and the ever growing list of modules was really confusing. So, this Squidoo guide will really save you a great deal of time.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Extra Cash Challenge is One Year Old!!

Today Extra Cash Challenge is one year old. This is my first blog and looking back over the last year I have learned an incredible amount about blogging, internet marketing and about making money on the internet in general. When I first started this blog, I knew nothing about blogging and I did not even regularly read blogs myself, and looking back at my early posts, it shows! My early posts are very short and contain little useful content. I think it actually took me about 3 months to really start writing much that was of any interest to anyone else other than myself.

My original motivation for this blog was purely as a means to promote my website, Extra Cash Review, but Extra Cash Challenge took on a life of its own and I really now see them as entirely separate projects. (Incidentally, Extra Cash Review, is on hold - and in dire need of overhauling and updating - pending the migration of Google Page Creator to Google Sites.) It took me several months before it actually occurred to me that I could actually make some money from blogs and I have gradually built a small income from blogging, albeit rather less than I would like.

Over the last few months, Extra Cash Challenge rose to the dizzy heights of PR2, before plummeting back this week to PR0!

So, what are my plans for Extra Cash Challenge for the coming year? Well, a grand plan is somewhat lacking at the moment, particularly as main my focus has been on my One Week Marketing campaigns. However, I clearly could do with recovering my Page Rank through rebuilding links. But most importantly, I need to boost traffic as it feels as if I have plateaued at present.

So, that's it then - my grand plan is....... to come up with a grand plan! Hmmmm....... some thought needed to this I think....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Total Earnings for May

Well, it's that time again to review how I have done for the previous month. So here are the figures (only counting what I have actually received):

Ebay: £18.92
Surveys: £24 (Lightspeed = £10, Valued Opinions = £10, Another survey panel I can't mention = £4
Private Review: £16.43
Blogrolled: £3.04
Blogsvertise: £4.56
Bloggerwave: £0.12!!

Total = £67.07 (or $110.22)

Not too bad I guess, and quite a diversity in sources of income. I haven't really got my act together with my One Week Marketing efforts this month - I only managed to get one more campaign up and running, so hence no more sales. I have realized that for 2 of my 3 campaigns I am up against a lot of competition which explains why I am not getting as many hits as I would like. I am still really learning at this point, so I am trying to keep my expectations realistic. I have quite a busy month ahead of me - earning some extra money
offline - so my time will be squeezed more than ever. Nevertheless, I hope to get at least 2 more campaigns up before the end of June.