Sunday, January 30, 2011

Squidoo vs HubPages: Which is Best?

Squidoo and HubPages are popular user generated content platforms which work in a similar way. Both allow you to create your own web page about pretty much anything and earn money from it. Although they both work in a similar way, there are some fundamental differences and there is a certain amount of debate by users as to which is the best. So, let's take a look at how they work and their relative strengths and weaknesses.


Squidoo allows you create your own page on something that you are interested in or simply build a page with the sole intention of making money from it. The pages (known as lenses) are build from modules which a allow a range of functions. The range of modules available is huge and growing. It is tempting to put in more and more modules that have various gadgets in them, but it is important to keep it relevant and not off too much from your chosen topic. The basic module is the Text Module, but other useful ones include RSS, polls, You Tube, Link List, and many many more.

As well as these there are a number of money making modules including Amazon, Ebay and Cafepress. With these modules you receive a commission every time someone makes a purchase via a link on your lens. If you prefer, you can you your own affiliate links from Amazon, Clickbank or other affiliate network. However, if you are an affiliate with Ebay Partner Network you can no longer place your own links on Squidoo as EPN's rules stipulate that you can only place your links on your own website (with one notable exception - more of that later).

In addition, you can also earn from a share of Squidoo's Adsense earnings. This is worked out through a complicated formula involving how many visits your lens receives in a given month and what its Squidoo rank is. Also you can earn from clicks on in-text advertising. It is important to note that you do not have to sign up with any affiliate networks - all of your earnings are paid directly from Squidoo. As stated previously you can put in your own affiliate links in if you want, but this is entirely your choice.

Up until relatively recently there were very few restrictions on what you could write about and what you put in your lenses. However, amid concerns that Squidoo was becoming something a bit of spamfest, they introduced some rules and have introduced a spam filter. As a result, if your try and write a lens about some subjects such as weight loss, gambling, etc you are likely to have your lens locked. You can find a complete list of offending subjects here.  Having said that I have some lenses around one of those banned subjects which remains unlocked and attracting traffic. Go figure!

If you are looking to use Squidoo lenses to create backlinks to other projects then it is important to note lenses generally rank well in the search engines and that all links are dofollow.

Want to find out more about how to use Squidoo? Why not download this free guide.


HubPages works in a very similar way to Squidoo. Again, you can build a page (or a hub as they are known) about pretty much anything. Like Squidoo, HubPages work with modules of which there are good range (although not nearly as many as Squidoo). Again, the basic module is the Text Module - if you are writing in HTML this also has a feature to clean up your code.

Where the main differences lie is in relation to the money making model. Like Squidoo, HubPages has modules where you can sell goods through Amazon and Ebay. However, unlike Squidoo, you need to sign up with Amazon's affiliate network and Ebay Partner Network in order to earn money, and your earnings are paid out through these affiliate networks and not from HubPages themselves. You should be aware that only half of the ad impressions are yours. You can also earn from Adsense and Kontera, but again you will have to sign up with both of these ad networks to make money. If you want to, you can place your own affiliate links from Clickbank or other networks on your hubs.

Whilst you can write about most things on HubPages, if you write duplicate content or spammy hubs then you will find that your hub score will suffer and you will receive fewer visits.

Hubs do rank well, but links are initially nofollow, but will become dofollow as your score of your increases.

The Verdict

So, which is the best? Well I suppose that depends on what you want to do with them. If you are building lenses specifically with the intention of selling a particular Clickbank product then Squidoo is probably your better bet as the structure of lenses is better suited to this and it is easier to provide a strong call to action (via the Big Arrow Link module). Also, one of the issues with HubPages is that as you have to sign up with a number of affiliate networks so in order to actually get your hands on your money you will need to reach the various payment threshold to do so. Whereas with Squidoo you do not have to sign up with anyone else and you can set the payout threshold to just $1.

However, if you have other projects on the go and you are looking for other ways to boost your Adsense total or your Amazon earnings then HubPages could be for you. If you are looking to use these sites for link building then Squidoo is probably your best bet as your links will be instantly dofollow, but then why not just use both to give the search engines a variety of inbound links to look at.

So, which do I think is better? Well, I use both, but I tend to prefer Squidoo, purely because it has more options and for lenses that I am looking to sell stuff it easier to provide a call to action that grabs the reader's attention.

Do you want to find out how you could be making real money from Squidoo? Why not try the One Week Marketing Plan. You can download the first 18 pages for FREE to get a flavor of what is involved.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Benefits of Listing Your Business at a Business Web Directory

If you have a business, of whatever size, your first challenge is to make sure that your potential customers not only know that you exist, but that they are able to find you. Just putting a website is not enough to achieve this, you must be visible to anyone who is likely to be looking for the services that you provide. You could spend large amounts of money on an advertising campaign, but the reality is the benefits of this will probably only last as long as your campaign.

Most people who are searching the internet will find the service that they want through search engines, which is where search engine optimization comes in. A part of this process could be to list your business with a business web directory. The benefit of this is that it starts to make your business more visible on the internet and provides an effective backlink to your site, thereby improving your site’s rank in search engine results.

One such directory is This site is 100% SEO friendly and will be of great help in increasing your business’ visibility. Within your listing you can give a full description of your business. Your listing you can include up to five deep URLs to anywhere in your site, so you not limited to just your home page. With each listing you also get an automatic thumbnail picture of your site which is great for giving potential visitors a flavor of what you offer. The site is W3 CSS and HTML valid which should avoid any problems with usage of the site.

Listing your business in a business directory such as is one positive step towards raising the profile of your business, not only increasing the ways in which potential customers can find you, but increasing the ranking of your site within search engine results. And certainly more cost effective than spending your money on an advertising campaign.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snipsly - Another Place to Write and Earn Online

Just when I thought I had found pretty much all the sites where you can write and earn online, I have just found another one. At Snipsly you simply write an article and post it and you will earn 80% of the Adsense revenue from your article. There are no modules or anything fancy, just straightforward articles. The site is powered by Wordpress, so WP users will be used to the user interface. The minimum length for an article is just three sentences!! However, you are likely to get more visits for something a bit longer.

The links on Snipsly are "dofollow" so it is great way of promoting your other content. And it is open to users all over the world. At the time of writing the site is PR3 and seems to get a fair amount of traffic.

The only downside I can find is that all articles have to be unique, so you are not able to copy and paste your articles that you have already written for Ezine and other article directories. Also there is no referral programme available.

Overall, I think that Snipsly is well worth a try for promoting your other content and topping up your Adsense earnings.

Signup with Snipsly here

Monday, January 10, 2011

End of Year Report 2010

Well, there goes another year and time to reflect on how I have been doing at this making money online thing. Over the year that has passed I have been gradually switching my focus from surveys, cashback shopping, pay to click sites, etc towards internet marketing. With surveys I have focused my attentions on those panels that are nearest payout and then once I have received the money I have moved onto the next. Eventually I will probably phase this source of income out altogether, or I may keep a couple on maybe. They take up way too much time and the returns are not high enough.

In relation to cashback shopping, two of the sites I was using, R Points and Rewards Central, have ceased to be, and unfortunately the money that I had made with them has gone with them. The only one I continue to use is Mutual Points

In terms of my internet marketing efforts, I am pleased in one way that my returns from Clickbank have increased significantly from last year, but it is still way short of where I want it to be. This is the first year that I have made any serious efforts at making any money as an Amazon affiliate and it has been very slow going. As a non-US resident I have to earn $100 before I can get my hands on the money and I am frustratingly to getting my first payout.

One great thing this year is that I have received my first Adsense payout which has taken me nearly two years! Within recent months my income from Adsense has increased significantly, and as a measure of this I am already half way to my next payout.

So, here are my totals for the year:

Squidoo = $54.32 - this is quite low, but I don't use the Amazon modules, preferring instead to use my own affiliate links.

Ebay = $232.44 - These days I mostly just list what I find around the house that we don't need any more, so not bad, but I could do with listing more consistently.

Blogsvertise = $25 - This is rather low. I haven't had many paid post opportunities recently.

Surveys = $358.09 - This is rather higher than I had expected, but I am anticipating this source of income to drop off as I phase them out.

Swagbucks = $45 - This has been a great find this year. Will not make me rich, but has brought in a steady $5 every month.

Clickbank = $364.08 
Other Affiliate Income = $45.23
Adsense = $101.42
Total internet marketing = $510.73 - This is about 4 times as much as I earned through internet marketing in 2009.

Private advertising = $60 - Not something that I have gone out of my way to attract, so this has been a welcome bonus.

Mutual Points = $31.12 - A slow and steady source of income

Cash for Cartridges = $39.61 - Not strictly online earnings, but I am going to count it anyway.

Amazon Marketplace = $10.99 - I don't list much on Amazon, so this isn't too bad.

Grand Total for 2010 = $1367.30

Not a bad total overall, but actually my short-term target remains at $500 per month. I have only actually broken through $200 once in 2010, so clearly a way to go.

What for the Coming Year?

One thing I think I have learned in recent months is that it is better to concentrate on one thing at a time rather than try and juggle several projects at once. Having said that there are a number of ideas I want to try out.

  • More One Week Marketing Campaigns, but this time really work at them, writing lots of articles, and exploring as many ways to get traffic as I can think of. I am working on one currently and I really want to try and figure out what really works.
  • I want to try my hand at list building, possibly linking into a OWM campaign. I also want to use a Squidoo account as a springboard for building a list. This is a process I have started, but this has ground to a bit of halt while I focus on something else.
  • Create and sell my own product. Well actually my wife is going to create a product based on an interest of hers and I am going to try and market it.
  • Create more niche sites. I started this last year, but I did not build any more as I was concerned about the rising cost of my domain names. However, I do intend to do more of this over the coming year as I have shown that I can make this work, even if they make a few pennies daily through Adsense, they are still worth doing.
  • More Squidoo lenses/Hub Pages with more tightly focused keywords and building more backlinks for traffic.
  • Learn more HTML, CSS, PHP and Javascript. Over the last few months I have learned some HTML and CSS. I intend to focus my skills in this respect more and learn PHP and Javascript. This is with a view to being able to market my skills once I have perfected them.

This is enough to keep me going for the time being I think. In terms of earnings, as I said previously, my initial target remains at $500 per month. If I achieve this then I will aim higher. Let's see what 2011 brings shall we?

What do you think of my goals and do you have any for the coming year?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Total Earnings for December 2010

The last month of the year and how has it gone? Well, quite a mixed picture really. My overall earnings have been pretty poor in terms of what I have actually received, but there have been some definite positives. Firstly, this has been a record month for Amazon sales - 13 sales in all bringing in $30.47. Not huge, but it is good to see that some of the strategies that I have been trying through Squidoo have been paying off. Not far from that $100 payout threshold now. On other fronts, I have made three Clickbank sales, which seems to be about my average over the year (although not reflected in this month's earning as I haven't received payment for these yet). Also my Adsense earnings have been ticking over nicely.

So, here are the figures (based on what I have actually received):

Surveys: $35.84 ($12.47 Pinecone, $23.37 Toluna)
Squidoo: $5.73
Ebay: $15.07
Blogsvertise: $20
Swagbucks: $5

Total = $81.64

Not great really, but not truly terrible either. Let's see what 2011 brings shall we?