It was October 2012 when I first discovered Squidoo. I had written for other sites in the past but was looking for a place where I could write even more articles and have it reach a larger audience. At the time, Squidoo was the perfect platform for this because traffic was good and the site was growing.
I was eager to make my first lens (what a Squidoo article is called), so I typed and published one the same day that I joined. It was only a matter of time before the community became receptive to my lens and started liking it and commenting on it. Google also found my lens quickly and ranked it pretty high, so I had a decent amount of traffic coming in.
All was going well, but then it happened - Squidoo made some drastic changes once the Google updates were released in early 2013, and the site hasn't been the same since.
Quick Squidoo Overview
For those of you who aren't familiar with Squidoo, here are a few things to know:
- Lenses are ranked according to traffic, Squid likes, comments, social media, Amazon sales, and other factors. No one knows exactly how a lens rank is calculated, but the rank is important for payment purposes (more on that in a minute).
- Squidoo payments are delayed two months. To provide an example, let's say you had some Amazon sales in the month of February. You won't see those funds in your account until around April 15th.
- Lens rank determines which payout tier you fall into (Tier 1 is lens rank 1 to 2,000, Tier 2 is 2,000 to 10,000 and Tier 3 is 10,000 to 80,000). Tier 1 lenses are paid the largest portion of the ad profits while Tiers 2 and 3 make a much smaller portion. The average lens rank for each month is what counts!
- Squidoo only has an ad pool - they don't have the option for Google AdSense accounts to be incorporated.
Sample Ad Pool Payout (from April 2013)
|Tier||Ad Pool Payout|
The Massive Squidoo Lens Lockdown of 2013
The beginning of 2013 brought a lot of changes to Squidoo, and the community wasn't prepared or forewarned about what was to come. Instead of addressing concerns regarding Google's changes, Squidoo began a massive lens lockdown that left writers angry and concerned about the site. Members who had been writing for the site for years suddenly found some of their best performing lenses to be locked down and deleted. There were even a few veteran writers who had their entire accounts removed.
Why did this happen? The clearest answer that has been given is that Squidoo needed to get rid of the spam so that it could receive better Google rankings. There were talks that too many of the lenses were just selling products rather than being informative. Most of the lenses that were locked and deleted were flooded with Amazon products and pitches to make sales.
New Squidoo Guidelines
Once the lens lockdowns started to diminish a bit, Squidoo began to release new guidelines for writing lenses. Here is an overview of some of the changes:
- Product review specific lenses were created
- Amazon products were limited to 20 per lens
- Filters were put in place to determine if material was high quality enough or not
- Personal experience and information need to be in each lens
- Several modules were deleted
Squidoo Community Changes
The Squidoo community today is much different than the one I was a part of back in late 2012. Today, Squidoo members rarely like and comment on each other's work. Most writers have either cutback on the number of lenses they publish there or have stopped writing for Squidoo completely. There is still a lot of frustration about the lack of traffic and the constant changes in guidelines for creating lenses. It seems that the site has turned their focus to damage control instead of encouragement.
In my opinion, I don't think Squidoo has been fun to write for recently. I used to enjoy making lenses and getting feedback from my fellow writers, but the site has almost become disheartening. I don't feel like my writing is going anywhere there at the moment, and that makes me sad. I do hope to see changes in the future, but right now I have to take my writing elsewhere.
To Write for Squidoo or Not - That is the Question!
I'm a big advocate for having people explore things themselves before deciding whether something is right for them or not, but I must say that I'm having a difficult time getting my hopes up for Squidoo at the moment. Although I have faith that the site will eventually recover, I don't see this happening anytime soon. I continue to monitor traffic on Quantcast and have seen no big changes in traffic. There was a little bit of a surge during the holidays, but that quickly went away once the new year came.
If you choose to give Squidoo a try, I suggest that you make sure your lens has great SEO and is promoted well because you might not see a lot of traffic otherwise. I wouldn't put a bunch of lenses up at one time; instead, feel the water a bit and see how your first few lenses fair. Keep in mind that ad pool payouts have been extremely low lately (we're talking not even $2 for Tier 1) so most of your money would need to come from Amazon sales.
For those of you looking to put a little more effort into your writing, I suggest checking out HubPages. The community is active on this site and the traffic is much better than Squidoo at the moment. If you are still wanting to work on your writing skills while also making some extra spending money, check out Bubblews (read about my Bubblews experience for more information).
If I had to give you a straight "yes" or "no" answer at the moment, I would have to say "no" to Squidoo due to the fact that your talent could be put to much better use elsewhere. I still believe that Squidoo has the potential to be great again, but it's going to take time. Do your research and check on the traffic changes each month to see if there are any positive trends. If you see the site beginning to pick up a bit, then that is probably the ideal time to get in on the action. Until then, take advantage of the other great sites out there!
dy0pxa on August 29, 2014:
Yes mine was locked on Squidoo, but I have found a niche. And be writing on HubPages and my own site.
Jereme Causing from Philippines on August 05, 2014:
Yes I would agree with you. Recently a lot of my lens were shut down. Most reasons were because they had a low rank especially when nobody views your lens. But I used to like squidoo a lot. Maybe they are doing these because of budget cut.
Also their payment has decreased most probably due to decrease in adsense payments which I believe is caused by modern ways of advertising brought by social networking. Anyway I hope everything in squidoo is still going to be alright. Yeah by the way Bubblews is also a good site. I hope they don't turn into what's happening right now on squidoo.
Tori Canonge (author) from North Carolina on July 30, 2014:
I also had two of my lenses get randomly locked yesterday, both of which have been on the site for a year and a half. No warning... Not sure what they are doing over there!
Steel Engineer from Kiev, Ukraine on July 30, 2014:
SQUIDOO = HEADACHE !!!
Do not waste your time over there. If you are looking to make money, forget it. I realized I was selling the same book on both Squidoo and from my own page. Squidoo gave me $2 and change. On my site, my commission was $16. So, I removed the Squidoo shared ads and linked over to my own site.
In response, Squidoo flagged the article (2 years old at the time) as unworthy of their squiddly standards. I am sorry I ever wrote there.
smw1962 on July 29, 2014:
I'm just about at the end of my rope with Squidoo. I wrote a lens in February which received a purple star. Then, two months later, they locked it for "low quality content". What changed? When I went in to edit it, it was still showing 100% on their meter. When I wrote to them to ask them what I could do differently, they didn't even give me the courtesy of a response. Now that I see two more of my lenses have been locked (no warnings, just locked out) I'm considering moving my content somewhere else. It's not worth the frustration.
Thanks for letting me blow off steam!
Tori Canonge (author) from North Carolina on July 13, 2014:
I agree Tricia1000 that there have been too many changes and there is a lot of gray area deciding which lenses are ok and which aren't. I am not a fan of their filtering system at all right now which is why I haven't written for them in a long time.
Tricia1000 from South Africa on July 13, 2014:
Just deleted my account there after three years. They will not be missed. Too many changes, no guaranteed payment. If you do not reach their new payment threshold within a year, your money will go to charity. Also their filters are problematic, even the best of lensmasters' lenses get locked for no apparent reason.
CANDLE on July 04, 2014:
Very informative article, Torrs13. A must-read for anyone who is contemplating joining a free content-publishing platform such as Squidoo, in order to be made aware, beforehand, of the intricacies, machination, and manipulation that such endeavor entails. Whoever thinks that content-publishing is just a simple matter of writing and publishing articles is in for a rude awakening, after reading your article.
However, we can't help but noticing a common thread (with few exceptions) among the complainants: a failure to create their own platforms, as an alternative or a backup plan, to avoid being at the mercy of a free platform's whimsical policies, in the first place. Platforms hopping is not the solution.
Be the master of your own destiny. Go ahead, create your own platform. It's not an easy process, admittedly; but if they can do it, so can you; for we are, after all, endowed with the same ingenious gene. If you heed this wise counsel, the next time there is a lock down or lock up at Squidoo, or at any free sites for that matter, your content won't be left in a vulnerable position without a place to showcase it.
We can assure you that if you pay attention to those suggestions, the next time there is a shakeup at any free sites, you won't be complaining; instead, you'll send them flowers (and chocolate!) to thank them the opportunity and for having set you free. In life, it's always good to have options. "Top 10 Reasons To Own Your Website” http://tpublish.com/top-10-reasons-website/
God (sorry atheists) bless the child that's got his/her own!
Torrs13, don't settle for a niche, just one niche. You are multi-talented, multifaceted. As such, diversify your portfolio of niches. The more, the merrier. Broaden your horizon!
Tori Canonge (author) from North Carolina on June 30, 2014:
Happy to be of service ajwrites57!
AJ Long from Pennsylvania on June 30, 2014:
Interesting Hub Torrs13! Appreciate the info!
Tori Canonge (author) from North Carolina on June 28, 2014:
Kiersten - I agree with you about the HubPages community. I'm definitely liking it a lot more than Squidoo. Thanks for stopping by!
Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on June 28, 2014:
Sweet, great hub Torri! I have thought about writing for sites like Squidoo but would prefer to focus my energy into one place, and so far, Hubpages has just been my favorite :) It's a good community of writers and my ad-revenue multiplies each month. Good stuff!!
Briana on June 17, 2014:
Hi, I was considing Squidoo
Jessica Peri from United States on June 16, 2014:
I hope HubPages stays just the way it is, as I get a decent amount of traffic and do make some revenue. A while back I was wondering about Squidoo, but after reading your hub I think I will just stick to publishing my articles here. I feel that my time writing here has become fruitful, even if it took a while to become more of a presence. Voted up, thanks for the review!
Maggie.L from UK on May 31, 2014:
I was considering Squidoo so thanks for all the information regarding the position over there at the moment. Really informative hub.
Tori Canonge (author) from North Carolina on May 29, 2014:
Csmiravite-blogs: I remember Helium as well! I used to write for them a long time ago but I have done nothing with them after the drastic changes they underwent. I have done a few blogs before but I never stuck with them because I'm still looking for my niche. I hope to find that one day soon! Until then, I will enjoy writing for Hubpages. Thanks for stopping by!
Consolacion Miravite from Philippines on May 29, 2014:
I would rather do my own blogsites than jump to another site like Squidoo. It was a big thing before, much like Helium where you see most of the big guns there.But, I'd pass this time. Looks like I am staying put with just Hubpages and my own blogsites, this time around.
Barbara Badder from USA on May 28, 2014:
I just have one lense left there. I wondered about doing more writing there. It still isn't the right time from the sounds of it.
Matthew from Florida on May 18, 2014:
I am a big fan of hubpages for writing articles that matter to people. Not a big fan of squidoo. I have done some writing in the past but haven't gone to the site as of recent.
Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on April 30, 2014:
I'm kind of undecided about Squidoo and I knew they've been having problems. I actually joined there a couple years ago but hardly did any writing there and focused almost all my efforts over here at HP. I've been doing a little bit over there at Squidoo recently, testing the waters and trying to find more baskets for the eggs as they say. Thanks for sharing your experience, it's always good to get a perspective on writing sites to help me figure out what I want to do.
Lana Adler from California on April 24, 2014:
Although I'm not super crazy about HP, Squidoo is even worse in my opinion. First, I don't like the layout. I find that creating an article that's readable and isn't stuffed with all this extra "fluff" is challenging.
Second, the traffic is horrible now (although I don't see that much traffic on HP either), so if you want to write for a content mill site, I think HubPages is the best in the long run. The payout is slow, but the article templates are very neat, and the community is very supportive. Thanks for the hub, good luck to you!
Consolacion Miravite from Philippines on April 15, 2014:
I toyed around the idea of joining squidoo a few years back. But doing lenses baffled me. I can't fully understand the mechanics and opted to write for ezine (which does not pay) and hubpages instead. It looks like a fun site before. It is sad to see it getting a bashing from many of its writers now. It is a good idea, gone bad. How sad....
Nuien Wainwright-Harrower from Malaysia on April 15, 2014:
Even though the changes squidoo made are for the better development of the site in the future but I'd still be sad and pissed off if I was treated that way considering of how long I had been a member. I don't think I'd write for any other website at the moment as I'm comfortable and happy with hubpages
ShravanKAcharya on April 14, 2014:
I have heard of Squidoo. But, I think HubPages is way better than Squidoo. So I would not consider it in the mean time. Thanks for your valuable information. Cheers!
Colin Neville on April 06, 2014:
I had 40 lenses on Squidoo but have started to remove them and rewrite them for this site. Squidoo are currently heavily promoting product review lenses, which is fine if you want to write short pieces advertising 'stuff' and sell it via Amazon. I don't want to do the former, and prefer not to do the latter, so I won't be writing any more for them. Traffic on Squidoo has also been appallingly low in recent weeks. This site seems the better of the two for writing full-length articles that people seem to actually read and comment intelligently on.
Bernadyn from Jacksonville, Florida on April 03, 2014:
I was thinking about writing on Squidoo but never made the leap. I haven't seen many good reviews about it lately and after reading this, I think I'll wait for awhile longer before signing up there. Informative hub, thanks!
Zack Love on April 03, 2014:
I tried Squidoo briefly before Hubpages (about 4 years ago). I made no ad revenue, and found it to not be worth my time.
Hubpages is way better, in my opinion.
Tori Canonge (author) from North Carolina on April 02, 2014:
Thanks for all the comments everyone! I agree with you all about the constant updating on Squidoo. I would much rather spend my time creating new material for an article than updating lenses once a week just so they can maintain rank. I guess we'll see if Squidoo implements any changes or sees any traffic increases in the near future!
Shelley Watson on April 02, 2014:
Thank you for the information, you have saved me a lot of time. Up, interesting and useful.
Sushma Webber from New Zealand on April 02, 2014:
I prefer Hubpages too. Dwelburn is right, if you don't update the Squidoo lens they are taken out of reach of search engines. I have around 80 Hubs, imagine trying to keep them all updated every month instead of writing more articles and also adding new info on old hubs. Thanks for this article, I was contemplating writing on Squidoo again, but will reconsider.
David from Birmingham, UK on April 01, 2014:
I recently started writing on Squidoo again. I put up 6 lenses, but I have to keep updating them about twice per month just to keep them in tier 3. It's not worth the effort really, so not sure if I'll continue with it. I much prefer Hubpages as I don't have to concern myself with constant updates and I actually get traffic to my hubs whether I'm active in the forums or not.
crazyduck on April 01, 2014:
I have tried Squidoo last year, but I didn't like it much. One reason was, that I couldn't get any traffic to my lens and their payment system is rubbish as well as confusing. I find that Hubpages actually gets me more traffic and it features my articles. Something which squidoo never let me do!
ologsinquito from USA on April 01, 2014:
This is an excellent analysis of what has happened there. I joined just before things started to fall apart. I feel badly for all the people who had invested years there.