Where is the Cheese?
It Is About Value
Previous to the writing on Hubpages, many of us participated in the now defunct site of Squidoo. While it had its problems, there were many features of the site that helped writers and online entrepreneurs.
The most important thing I think I learned from this site was the lesson that "while content is King, it has to have a kingdom, and traffic is that kingdom".
Now that it is no more, you might think that the sum of everything consists in the idea that if Google is unhappy the traffic will collapse. The visitor traffic disappearing to places other than your content, will thus collapse the kingdom.
I don't think that is the lesson that I learned.
Aside from the basic importance of king and kingdom, the characteristic of creating something of value was outlined, fleshed out in a practical way that has molded the plans for my future writing online.
I believe I learned these lessons, which I will discuss further on....
- It is okay to sell a product, as long as you make it fun and informative along the way.
- Making money from writing also supports more writing.
- The internet is changing, but people always appreciate value.
- Value is what something adds to our experience of life.
- What does good copy look like?
While examples of just a few of the lessons I learned while at Squidoo.com, they outline the basis of earning income through writing. The lessons continue, in a different way on Hubpages.
How did I learn about online marketing?
Of course, I had been reading Problogger through the years. Not religiously, but enough to have some ideas about how to keep my blogging afloat. I didn't seem to get the idea of how to have an income, but I did learn about headlines, and content, and how to keep my blog alive.
That was useful information. I also learned about niches to a certain extent, enough to know I didn't really have a viable one (too large, and not very generous with links).
Squidoo offered the opportunity to write about whatever I wanted, much like Hubpages does. And it was that free-wheeling range of topics that started to teach me about how some topics are more open to offering a product and were of wider interest to people (like me, actually) who are looking for information on things they need and reviews they trust.
Writers wrote helpful articles, and this went a long way to educate me about how to improve my content, refine my focus, and otherwise improve my "branding' and marketing.
"Quests" enticed me into new fields of interest I would otherwise have never attempted.
What was a "quest"? It was like a writing prompt which helped me understand the type of articles the team running the site felt was of interest. For example, there were Halloween topics that were encouraged. For me, that was totally out of my comfort zone since I don't celebrate that holiday. However, the idea of making an article that focused on costumes did interest me. I had already attempted a very ambitious quest to make my own niche with lots of articles in different categories centered upon one subject. Mine just happened to have lots of costuming involved.
What was my subject? Belly dancing.... since I had taken belly dancing some years previously and had an almost obsessive interest in everything to do with it: the history, the music, the instruments. the costuming.
So, you see how the quests built on each other in stretching me to write more ambitiously, to look from a different perspective than I was used to. It nurtured my creativity.
Applications in Various Venues
Later I was to see how we can do a type of marketing that Martha Stewart made famous. In a book of hers I recall how she used one article or effort to become repurposed in many ways. Squidoo was showing me how this was practically accomplished, and was a lesson I started using in my blogs, website, and now hope to incorporate on Hubs.
It is a way to explore one's expertise in a way that expands the box, even if it isn't completely "outside of the box".
Martha Stewart's Business Secrets
Did I Make Money Online? What Did I Learn?
I did make a little. I used to joke with my husband about the pennies a day that seemed to be the sum of my income, but with my writing at Squidoo I seemed to be earning enough to support the hosting for my garden website. And I was beginning to make a small but steady income from Amazon affiliaties, and then a bit from Zazzle.
Without tutorials by some of the writers at Squidoo I wouldn't have understood how to do that. I mean, for years I thought Amazon affiliate income was a hoax. And I totally did not understand how to do anything at Zazzle until only a few years ago, despite the fact that I had an account with them from early in my blogging career ( around 2004 or '05).
I'm a bit of a slow learner technologically speaking.
Here on Hubpages I only earned a small amount. It was necessary to make a second account for transferring my Squidoo work when the merger took place.
It was a learning curve to have two separate accounts. It went against my bent for transparency online. I just had to think of it as two different niches.
As time went on, what was a comparable to the amount earned at first turned somewhat sour. On all fronts, income levels dropped. Some of that was due to changes made in the new of the Hubpages policies requirements, but far more has been due to changes on the global scale, online.
I noticed that every portion of my online efforts to earn an income that there were steep drops.
I'm not the only one who has experienced this.
The work is harder and takes more know-how. The "cheese" has moved, and online bloggers, writers and entrepreneurs must now innovate and find ways to better serve their readers.
I wonder if old marketing hasn't met with the new.
Okay...let's get to lessons learned.
- Online income takes hard work.
- It takes time, so patience is necessary. Don't get discouraged by small beginnings.
- Write, write, write. Income requires freshness. Or maybe it is Google is who demands it. Or readers with less time and more demands? Feed the reading machine lots of fresh content!
Hosting Can Disappear
I didn't learn everything all at one time or in one place.
The Free Hosting Of Geocities
One reason I have taken the Squidoo to Hubpages changeover in stride is the fact that I learned something the hard way. That when hosting is "free" online it belongs to another.
I have had many sites simply disappear during the early days (around 2000 to 2003) when free hosting simply closed up shop and people who made websites on them were left hanging. It slowed down after that, with Geocities/Yahoo being the most notable of the last ones in my own experience.
If something is given free it also may be taken away rather more easily than you might expect.
Hosting Can Degrade In Experience
Just because you once had a great online thing going doesn't mean it will last forever. The nature of the internet is to constantly change. That is true for marketing practices, businesses, and income revenues.
It always changes.
You Must Constantly Learn
That is probably the only constant.
Is Marketing Dependent On Google?
There is definitely a relationship between search (Google is the biggest search engine), marketing, and sales and business.
Online Marketing: Google Explains It Best
Learning To Write Good Copy
I'm still a novice on this one, but much improvement came from helpful articles on Squidoo.
- Making better headlines
- Breaking up long pieces of writing with pictures
- Interesting visuals.
I also have spent time reading Copyblogger, but the manner in which the best writers created and presented their work was an education in itself.
Where to place Amazon or eBay selections helped me understand their support of value to a post, as well. Useful articles give guidance, many of which can be found here at Hubpages.
I also am grateful for the way the "templates" help newbies to construct and properly layout a good Hub.
I am trying to change some my writing on my blog to reflect the clarity such a layout provides for a reader.
Is Everyone Mad At Seth Godin?
Not me, but it seems like lots of other people are. Do I have an opinion about that? No.
What I do have an opinion about is that Seth Godin still has lots to tell us about what makes a business tick, now. Is the closing of the present Squidoo a failure? I'm not sure you can say that, but if it were, most very successful businessmen that I feel I can learn from have a failure or two in their past.
There is a famous saying somewhere or other about failure being a new opportunity. Or something like that.
I still think that the marketing online should be about being the "purple cow" and seeking to "race to the top", rather than to the bottom of the hill. His ideas make a lot of sense to me.
And in the bible is a concept that has always stood me in good stead, and I think I could make it apply even to online marketing. That is that we can "take the precious from the vile". Stop thinking about what is wrong with something or someone. Try to find the good and concentrate on that.
So what if someone has moved our cheese? Let's go find our success. I believe it is out there somewhere, and maybe that is the biggest thing I learned about online marketing from my time on Squidoo.
© 2014 Ilona E
Jeff Zod from Nairobi on January 05, 2019:
Thank you for sharing this informative article. I really enjoyed reading Who Moved My Cheese. It is a great book that illustrates the need for constant change. As writers we need to keep evolving or we become as extinct as dinosaurs. The internet keeps evolving, what worked yesterday will not work today.
Anne Harrison from Australia on November 08, 2015:
An interesting hub which remains fresh with relevant points - thanks for sharing
Cecilia Karanja from Nairobi on September 14, 2014:
I am also thankful for the lessons I learned at squidoo. I am applying them in other platforms.
jill of alltrades from Philippines on September 11, 2014:
Very good and useful lessons. Thanks for sharing. I really learned a lot! Online marketing is something that is still an unknown territory for me.
VioletteRose from Atlanta on September 02, 2014:
Very useful, thanks so much for sharing what you have learned :)
Ilona E (author) from Ohio on August 30, 2014:
I am not as familiar as you are with this part of the internet, SandyMertens. You could probably write a book on it if you haven't already :)
Sandy Mertens from Frozen Tundra on August 30, 2014:
There has been a lot of sites closing this year. Squidoo did teach me a lot about marketing.
Rhonda Lytle from Deep in the heart of Dixie on August 21, 2014:
Nice to see you here and I really appreciate you what you learned about online marketing, blogging and being successful.
MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on August 21, 2014:
All good things....so they say :)
Fay Favored from USA on August 21, 2014:
I agree with you that Squidoo was a vessel in which I was able to learn so many things I may not have sought after on my own. What I treasure the most is meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world. That's something money can buy.
Ilona E (author) from Ohio on August 19, 2014:
That is great :)
Edith Rose from Canada on August 19, 2014:
I also must have learned something at Squidoo, as I have published my first successful hub with no pproblems.
Ilona E (author) from Ohio on August 19, 2014:
I feel incredibly upbeat despite the initial shock. Thanks for the input, and bringing the wonderful friendliness of Squidoo here with you :)
Dorian Bodnariuc from Ottawa, Ontario Canada on August 19, 2014:
Great hub Ilona. I think this is going to be a good move for us the writers.
Cheryl Fay Mikesell from Mondovi, WI on August 19, 2014:
Great hub article! Thanks sharing your thoughts and what you learned. Refreshing to read something not negative.
Ilona E (author) from Ohio on August 18, 2014:
I need to read you hub :) It is a great book and covers this situation well.
Scott A McCray on August 18, 2014:
Good to see you here! Funny - I featured "Who Moved My Cheese" in my hub about the move, too!