nicpel: (Default)
I've been tweaking the layout and content of my food blog a bit more, working off a little free advice I got on how to potentially improve its performance. So far I'd say it's working, which makes me happy. I've also been looking at what are the posts that are the big traffic drivers there, and not too surprisingly it's restaurant reviews in my local little area. Obviously this is a topic where there's not going to be a lot of blogging competition as compared to writing about Philly restaurants. That's going to push me to try to get out more in the year ahead and sample some different places, even if just for a lunch bite here and there.

I have started posting a few articles for Yahoo! again as I'm surprised how well some of my old pieces are still drawing in regular traffic - and some $'s every month. I'm not going to make it a big tome commitment but my objective is one short (350-600 word) submission there a week.

I might come to regret this, but I also signed up for Zujava's "28 Leaves in 28 Days" challenge for February. Whether I complete the challenge or not, I figured it would be a good way to push myself to get a real portfolio of Leaves started there and to see what topics may actually have potential to pay off or not. There's very little competition/other writers there yet in my main areas of writing interest, so I feel like I do have a good opportunity to get in "early" there (and grab good URLs) before the competition is so over-saturated like on Squidoo.

We shall see!
nicpel: (Default)
I'm late with posting any kind of year-end wrap up - actually late to updating this blog at all for the past few months. To say it's been busy is an understatement. I won't bore with too many details, just try to hit on some of the major things...

In October I spent two weeks in Venice and the surrounding area, a topic I've been writing about in numerous Squidoo articles (including my one on Torcello which was selected as a Lens of the Day) and also in my food blog (under the Venice 2012 tag.) Of course, by the time I was getting exhausted writing about Italy and travel, I had to head deep into holiday promotions and updates for my various Christmas lenses and gift guides.

The work did pay off as I'm expecting a pretty good payout from affiliate sales over the next two months, and I ended up in December with my highest Squidoo payout ever to date: just a little under $500! I finished the year with 198 lenses published, meaning I'd completed actually exactly 100 new lenses in 2012. That's a lot of writing! I had two writing goals for 2012: one was to get to 200 lenses by the end of the year, which I just missed, and the other was to be regularly earning over $200/month from on-line content publishing. Well, I made that payout goal by August, so altogether I consider 2012 a successful year.

What are my writing goals for 2013?

1. I'd like to make it to over 250 Squidoo lenses so I can apply for "Colossal Squid" status. At that point, I think it's going to be major work just keeping my existing lenses regularly updated (at least the ones that perform well enough to deserve it) so I do plan on slowing down my Squidoo lens creation and try to branch out to a few other sites.

2. I really need to work on my Zujava portfolio, including getting back to finishing/publishing those author/artist/musician profiles I'd done initial Q&A's for back in the fall.

3. Keep up the work on my food blog by posting at least once a week there, if not more regularly. I just updated the theme/layout in a way that I find much more visually to hopefully finally make it to some ad revenue payouts this year...

4. Consider either starting another for-profit blog on a niche topic, or perhaps go back to occasionally writing articles for Yahoo. Although I haven't published there in almost 2 years now, I still get a nice little payout every month from those old articles, and Y!CN in general seems to be doing better in Google's eyes lately than it was when I stopped publishing there. Since some current events-type writing has more potential on a site like than vs. Squidoo, I might start dabbling in the waters there again. (I'm just going to avoid the snark-filled/aggravating community there like the plague).

5. I'd like to be earning a steady $500/month from on-line content by the end of 2013. I know I almost made that goal last month, but given that was thanks to a lot of holiday traffic (and sales) boosts, I know it's going to take some work to meet that target even during "slump months."

What are your writing goals for the year ahead? Did you make your goals for 2012?
nicpel: (Default)
Yesterday: working on some lens drafts but nothing much. Wasn't feeling very good so spent more time reading than writing.

New lens published: Easy Stir Fry Chicken Thighs with Chili and Basil for the September Chicken Recipe Quest

Drafts in progress: worked on several. Need to get at least the scifi quest lens done by deadline on Sunday.
nicpel: (Default)
New lens published: Martini & Rossi Collectibles and Gifts

Heavily updated: Make Money at Christmas Craft Fairs

Latest blog entry: MasterChef US – some thoughts on this season, and next year...?

Finished reading: The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi's Venice (soon to be a book review quest lens)

Started: profile interview with [personal profile] reudaly, new Star Trek lens for SciFi theme quest.
nicpel: (Default)
New lens on Squidoo: Campari Gifts, Posters and Accessories

Updated lens on Squidoo: MasterChef US 2012: Season 3 (finale spoilers and recap)

Other work: added 5 more jewelry listings at Designs by Sockii
nicpel: (Default)
I've been terrible about keeping this blog regularly updated. Time to do something about that.

I'm going to try to use it more as a daily update page, to share my daily writing progress: new leaves on Zujava/lenses on Squidoo, updates in the food blog, etc. So with that in mind...

Published today:

* Peroni Beer Gifts and Accessories - a new gift guide on Squidoo

* An Interview with Emily Davies - a spotlight feature on Zujava

By the way, I'm still looking for artists, musicians, crafters and other creative people to spotlight in my new Zujava interview series. Interested in being showcased? Please drop me a note!
nicpel: (Default)
...because it surely can't last for long, but, as of this morning my What is Gelato? lens on Squidoo is the Number 1 Lens on the Entire Site.


That's...something I always kind of dreamed about hitting, but never thought I'd ever manage. Especially about a specialty Italian dessert instead of laptop bags, coloring pages, or Justin Bieber. :)

It's really kind of amazing when you consider that there are typically about 400,000 active, published pages on Squidoo daily (and over 1.5 million more in progress, unpublished status, etc.)

Seriously. 18 months of work on Squidoo, but I really feel like it's starting to pay off.
nicpel: (Default)
So, it's been about 18 months since I joined Squidoo and in that time I've managed to publish just over 150 lenses, which is no small achievement. I'm definitely a Squidoo junkie and fan, even while I am fully aware of some of the (many) ways manipulate rank, publish dubious content, get away with it and in effect "steal" profit from lensmasters who play by the rules. But, you know, I figure it happens just about everywhere and I'm not a Squidoo-naysayer like some on the forums are these days.

But I also know it's not a good idea to keep all of one's eggs in one basket. With that in mind I've finally put the time this week into starting to publish a bit at zujava, a similar platform which is going to look awfully familiar to anyone who's read or published on Squidoo before. Indeed, they almost look so similar I kind of wonder how they get away with it, but that's not for me to figure out. Zujava only launched earlier this year and is still working on developing a lot of coding features, more advanced modules, and key affiliate programs (right now while you can add eBay modules to your "leaves", you earn no affiliate commission on any sales. But you do for Amazon products.)

There are some things I definitely like about the set-up and ethics of zujava as compared to Squidoo. For one, they are EXTREMELY concerned about having quality contents. New members who sign up cannot publish live to the web until they've submitted three Leaves for review by the site admins. That way spammers, con artists and people just looking for cheap and quick backlists don't get past the front door. Certain topics which are woefully abused and full of copyright abuse at Squidoo, namely coloring pages and Wallpapers, are completely banned at zujava.

Also, right now ALL leaves earn a slice of the tier rank profits every month. Of course the top 10% get the highest cut, the next 20% a lower amount, but even "the other 70%" are still added in the revenue pile.

There are a lot of things I can do on Squidoo lenses that I can't do (yet) on zujava leaves, so it's not like I'm going to pack up and move completely - or even primarily - there anytime soon. But I think it's worth exploring and building upon, especially right now when someone can still get in the game very early on, and not have to fight so hard to get a top-ranking position on site. Here are the first three leaves I've experimented with creating (I'm sure I'll be tweaking and adding to them more in the future) - and if you're interested in trying out zujava for yourself, just click on the banner below and get started exploring for yourself!

* Being a Convention Dealer
* 5 Secrets to Authentic Italian Cuisine
* Infertility During Halloween: It's No Treat

Sign up for Simple online publishing.
nicpel: (silly)
I realized last night that while I talk a lot (ok, primarily) about Squidoo here, some of my friends don't actually really know what Squidoo IS. What's a lens? Who is a lensmaster? What's all this about, anyway?

Let me see if I can summarize quickly and simply :)

Squidoo is a platform for publishing on-line, individual webpages - which in Squidoo-language are called "lenses". Anyone who publishes a page on Squidoo is a "lensmaster" - just like "webmaster" elsewhere.

Squidoo lenses can be about virtually any topic you want (although some topics are prohibited for legal reasons, and due to past spam abuse.) You can make a fan page for one of your favorite musicians, blog about personal experiences, share a favorite recipe or even publish a travelog. There is a large assortment of modules you can add to a lens: simple text modules (write anything you want!), photo gallery modules (share your pics!), quizzes and polls, formatted recipes, rss feeds, Twitter streams, Google news search results, link lists, voting lists, you name it! With the variety of modules available, you can really come up with a unique-looking and varied spotlight on a particular subject - part of why Squidoo pages are called lenses.

A successful lens in many ways combines not just your own original content but serves as a gateway for the reader to then go out and explore the topic from your lens. Indeed, my top-performing lens at the moment, about MasterChef US, combines both my own episode recaps and polls with lengthy link lists of where you can find all of the contestants on-line (their blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter streams, etc), YouTube preview videos, and yes a few products and cookbooks by the Master Chef judges themselves.

Because that's the other type of module you can add to your lenses: sales modules. Ebay, Amazon, CafePress, Zazzle, Etsy...these all have preformatted modules you can add to your lenses to promote related products (even your own, if you have say an Etsy shop!) If something sells from most of these modules, you earn a commission (split with Squidoo) on the sale. There are other ways you can earn sales commissions as well on Squidoo, by joining affiliate marketing programs like those offered by or Commission Junction. Doing so is perfectly fine with the Squidoo TOS, as long as the affiliate program is on the up and up and not selling products against Squidoo's TOS.

But it's not just via sales that you can earn money with a Squidoo lens. Every lens earns a "Tier rank" on the site, and at the end of the month you can earn a payout based on Squidoo's overall ad pool revenue for the month (any clicks on Google and Infolinks ads on Squidoo lenses go into the general ad pool, not directly to the person who created the specific lens.) Lenses in Tier 1, the top 2,000 or so lenses on the site, earn the highest payout - these days around $50. Lenses in Tier 2, which have ranks between 2,000 to 10,000 approximately, earn around $10. Lenses between 10,000 and about 80,000 are in Tier 3 and still will earn perhaps $0.50.

If you rank worse than 80,000, you won't earn a tier payout - put you still get any sales commissions you might have earned. So it's different from other content sites which pay directly by the "hit", or by ads clicked on your pages alone. When Squidoo overall does well, the top lensmasters do well.

This system naturally makes Squidoo a bit of a competitive environment - everyone is out for one of those coveted Tier 1 positions, and at first it can seem impossible to achieve (at least if you want to play by the rules and avoid BlackHat techniques, which can get your account closed if caught immediately.) But there are many great lensmasters at Squidoo who work to encourage new lensmasters to do well, and to encourage good lenses to improve in their rankings by "Liking" lenses or even "Blessing" them (SquidAngels are lensmasters given "extra powerz" to Bless lenses they consider exceptionally good.) Yes, there are people who don't understand copyright and intellectual property, and Squidoo HQ hasn't always been the best at following up on content abuse unless directly served with DMCA notices. But they're getting better about it, particularly as Google continues to try to push down "junk" and promote Unique, Updated and Useful information (which are in fact the "three U's" of Squidoo lensmaking :) ).

You aren't going to make thousands of dollars overnight joining Squidoo. In fact, you have to have a lot of patience because payouts are 2 months delayed, and it can take quite a few months to learn the tricks of good keyword research, promotion, and lens structure to start building your rank. I can say that after about 18 months on Squidoo, I'm earning a steady 3-digit amount from them monthly - enough to pay at least a few household bills regularly, which is nice. My to-date best performing lens on Squidoo has earned over $400 alone since I published it last year. Squidoo is also a great tool for promoting my other businesses and activities, like my artwork and jewelry. I would recommend that some of my friends who are fiction authors might want to investigate setting up a Squidoo account, as you can easily create pages to promote your writing blogs, published books, or just continue to create a web presence for yourself in a different environment.

Some would say "Why not just monetize a blog, why use a platform like Squidoo?" Because getting high enough traffic to a personal blog, unless you devote an EXTREME amount of time to it, can be difficult. And generally a blog needs to have a tight focus to do well from ad revenue, so if one wanted to write, say, about 10 different topics (art, music, food, travel, etc etc) you'd need 10 different blogs to maintain. That gets to be a lot of work. In over a year of having a personal food blog, I haven't even earned enough to get a threshold payment from Google Ads. Compare that to how the money comes in from Squidoo, and...yeah. There's good reason I like the platform.

Does Squidoo sound like something you might want to try for yourself? If so, just click thru to Squidoo here and see how easy it is to set up an account. And be sure to let me know your lensmaster name once you get started!
nicpel: (Default)
First off, I would like to say how absolutely THRILLED I am that I placed 2nd in the very first "SquidWoot" challenge. As soon as I got struck by an idea, I was obsessed with working on the lens all day - including being barely able to contain myself when I had to spend a few hours in Philly before I could rush to the farm stand and buy some fresh fruit, whatever was on hand, and hope I could make a great-looking batch of gelato, photograph it, and write it all up by the deadline. I got my submission in around 4pm EST yesterday, got word I'd come in second at about 9:30pm - a half-hour after the deadline. It was thrilling - and also sweet to come right in the middle of my favorite TV show, MasterChef!

What WASN'T so thrilling to me was seeing all the negative comments and complaints about the challenge all over the SquidooHQ blog, like here. I get it that it sucks when a particular challenge, contest or other activity doesn't exactly fit your schedule. And I do think it might be nice if HQ could change the day of the week for some of the future challenges.


Let us remember a few things, here.

1. It's VERY VERY EASY to look up time zones around the world on-line. Hi, WorldClock!

2. Yes, I know some of you have "real jobs" so can't put time into Squidoo on a weekday. Remember that for some of us Squidoo IS a real job. I have spent enough years of my life while slaving in a retail store, and still working craft shows, to appreciate my time off on the weekends. I get the bulk of my Squidoo writing done during weekDAYS because that is when I try to concentrate on my WORK. A challenge that only ran on a Saturday or Sunday would likely be impossible for me to complete as those are my "days off" to work on other things.

3. Sure, it's nice to win a prize. I would have loved that 1st place iPad. But longterm-success on Squidoo does not come down to contest/Quest entries. It's about building a solid portfolio of lenses that will pay out over years. Hey, sure, it's sweet my Gelato lens shot right to Tier 1 overnight-but guess what? It sort of means *nothing* unless it has staying power, because I won't see any ranking payout from the lens until NEXT MONTH. Unless my keyword research is good, unless I build links, unless my *content is solid and unique*, it could just as easily drop like a stone into T3 or worse by the beginning of August, and then it's worth nothing more than the (admittedly cool) hoodie I'm getting for being in 2nd place.

So yeah. I think perhaps a bit of perspective is a good thing. Quests and challenges are great things on Squidoo. But they won't make or break your overall success.
nicpel: (Default)
For those of us dealing with infertility, this weekend of the year is one of the most difficult to get through. I tend to get angry at the world and find it generally best to just stay away from Facebook (and the internet in general) to escape all of the generic, commercialized, thoughtless Mother's Day posts and greetings.

And it's sad when still the infertility community itself is so fractured and contentious that we can't even come together for each other at this difficult time. I just left an infertility awareness "support" community today for good, because the community organizer took down someone's post because she DARED to talk about finding hope and good things about being infertile/childless. Excuse me? I'm supposed to live my entire life in misery and not appreciate/give thanks for the good things I do have - a beautiful home, a wonderful partner, general good health and great friendships around the world? And then it turned into a round of what I call the Infertility Olympics - who does or doesn't deserve a child because obviously if you haven't gone through 10 IVF cycles, multiple lost babies, and put yourself in bankruptcy taking fertility drugs for year, you don't "deserve" to be part of the community/ever beat IF.

And that's an attitude I just can't abide. Yet sadly it's far too common in the IF "support" world.

Anyway, back to the topic of Mother's Day (ugh). Which I will spend with my own mom, and I hope she just doesn't spend the entire time on my case about my own lack of children. But I think it's important that the ORIGINAL Mother's Day Proclamation by abolitionist Julia Ward Howe was an anti-war statement, after the devastation and losses to all families during the Civil War. As Consortium News observed, "Like most other holidays (including religious ones), Mother’s Day in capitalist America has been transformed into just another expectation of gift-buying and gift-giving.

What was originally a call to mobilize outraged mothers to keep their sons and husbands from going off half-cocked to kill and die for some corporate war profiteer or other, became just another opportunity to market non-essential consumer goods."

Julia Ward Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870:

"Arise then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

"Say firmly: 'We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.'

"From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, 'Disarm, disarm!'

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor does violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar but of God.

"In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."
nicpel: (Default)
Honestly, I wish mainstream media (even Public Broadcasting Mainstream Media) would just try NOT to analyze/talk about fan culture. At all. They just inevitably mess it up and make me cringe, like they did in their recent "webisode" of a series called OFF BOOK.

OFF BOOK: Fan Art proposes to look at the creative world of fan artists, where "Limited only by the imagination of the artist, the fan art world is full of surprises and brilliance."

Only according to PBS, it seems that the world of fan artistry is limited to men.

How could they not include a single solitary woman fan artist in this nearly 10-minute program? Particularly when they even include some brief mentions of slash-themed art, an area that is basically, um, completely dominated by female fan artists? When I think back on my many years of attending media conventions, I'd say at least 90% of the most well-known and beloved fan artists in my circles were/are women: TACS, Suzan Lovett, Karen Rivers, Leah Rosenthal, Lorraine Brevig...there are countless more.

Could it be that many female fan artists - unlike the male "fans" presented by OFF BOOK - are not graphic design students/hopeful-professionals looking to build and promote a portfolio? Most female fan artists I know do it out of pure love for their fandom sources, as complete amateur artists (even if they are extremely gifted, talented, and trained in art techniques.) They aren't looking to "break in" to a graphic design job. They just want to share with others, and what little money they might make off art sales is just to pay their way to attend fannish conventions and other gatherings.

The whole program struck a really sour note in me - not just from the "outsiders" perspective on the subject that felt off, but this disturbing erasure of women's importance in fan art and general fannish history. If it bothers you as well, I encourage you to leave a comment on the PBS Arts website about it, or tweet @pbsoffbook where they might actually bother to take a look.
nicpel: (Default) start the month of May with four lenses in Tier 1 instead of my usual two. However, I'm not sure they'll be able to all stay in T1 for the entire month, but I'll be happy if two of those stay where they are and I at least get a T2 payment out of the others.

I'm feeling a bit burned out on lenswork at the moment, as in April I really went a bit overboard and finished 14 new lenses and did a lot of work on some older ones. But that's okay as I have a lot of other things I should be focusing on this month, including getting back to my jewelry work in time for this summer's conventions, the first of which (Media*West) is only a few weeks away. I also need to get outside more as soon as the weather is less unpredictable, and work on my vegetable garden. The seedlings I started inside are getting crazy big, but we still had frost last week, and then this week was too rainy to get outside much. It is exciting though to see some of the foxglove I started as seeds last summer just getting ready to bloom. I've missed having foxglove in my garden the way my mom does, and they aren't the easiest plants to get started from seeds. It encourages me to pick up some more seeds this week and see what other varieties I can get started for next year.
nicpel: (Default)
Well, let's see. I published my entry for the Squidcademy Awards, a lens about Philadelphia's Magic Gardens, on Saturday. By Sunday it was featured on the Squidoo homepage for the week and it's already ranked at #2,683 - nearly in Tier 1. Of course the question will be if it can keep performing like that after May 1 when I can begin earning Tier payments from it...

Then, on Tuesday, a lens I'd just done a little touch-up work on to try to improve its rank received a Purple Star and got a write up on SquidooHQ for Purple Spotlight. The lens, on a pretty obscure niche topic in painting (Verdaccio), jumped from about 11,000 in rank to #742. Of course, not soon enough to average out in T1 for April but I should at least get a T2 payment for it now, and perhaps it can keep building momentum for a while.

So yep, a good week for Squidoo and a good way to end up the month, looking at 2 lenses easily averaging in T1 and probably my most ever in T2 at one time. Things just keep getting better and wonderful Squidoo is so addictive!
nicpel: (infertility)
This post is in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, April 22-28 2012, and the Bloggers Unite challenge.

The Infertility Community on-line can be a wonderfully supportive place. In a world that so often ignores the pain and hardships of discovering you suffer from infertility, it is a huge relief and blessing to be able to find others who have been there, who understand, whom you can rant and rave to when faced with insensitivity and lack of understanding from friends, family members, and even random strangers who don't get why a casual question like "Do you have children?" can hit you like a slap in the face.

Except, sometimes I actually feel like I don't belong in the infertility support community, or am not as welcome in it as others. Because I'm not going through any fertility treatments yet - nor am I sure if I ever will, or pursue alternative family building methods including adoption.

So much of the emphasis on a lot of IF messageboards, blogs and Facebook pages is about fertility treatment discussions, triumphs and tragedies with them, and I totally accept and am fine with that, really. But...what about those of us who are not sure we want to go down that path? Right now it's a simple matter of me not even being able to consider it, because I'm not in a financial position to do so. I went as far as the first $500 bloodwork screening last year, and then was told the next step would be a laparoscopy (my second; the first I needed because of a dermoid ovarian cyst cost me over $5000 several years ago) and that's when I stopped. I'd only just finally bought a house that cost me nearly all of my life savings because, being self-employed, I couldn't get a mortgage or even then a loan against my house. The idea of needing anywhere from $10,000 - 50,000+ more to undergo treatments that may or may not work, it's just not gonna happen for me right now.

Beyond the financial aspects, I'm not sure I want to put myself and my partner through the emotional and physical turmoil of IF treatments. I see how difficult it's been on friends of mine (both "real life" friends and "on-line" ones), many of whom had their relationships nearly fall apart from the stress - some even were driven to such depression that they became nearly suicidal. Adoption is a possibility I have been starting to research, but again, money is a factor, as well as mine and my partners' ages, the fact we aren't married yet, and a lot of other reasons that I know will not make the process particularly easy for us whether we were to try domestic or international adoption.

I do want to have a child, but I also love the life I have right now. I love my partner, I love our relationship, I love saving what spare money we are able to sock aside to enjoy traveling and art and making a wonderful life together. I'm not willing to put that life on hold for something that may be impossible or cost us too much beyond the financial price tag. And sometimes I feel like, within the Infertility Community, that means I don't want a baby "enough". Because I'm not willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of that dream. And it is still very much a dream that I hold on to, but right now, perhaps, I have to put more of my efforts into coming to terms with a future that may mean my family remains a family of two (plus cats), not three or more. A child-less future - not child-free, because I still consider that a term that implies an active choice of not wanting children. I want children, I just can't seem to make it happen naturally. And so I'm left right now trying to find peace and acceptance, giving it up to God and His Will as to what my future will hold.

So yes, I'd like to see more room in the Infertility Community for those who are trying to accept a childless life. I'd like to see organizations like RESOLVE give us more support too, and not make it seem like this is merely the "last resort option" for those who have tried every method desperately to have a child and failed. I don't consider myself a failure; I just consider myself someone who wants to accept and enjoy the life I have now without sacrificing it to a dream that might never be realized. Don't ignore me because I'm following a different path in my infertility journey. Don't treat me different if my choices are different from your own. Let's all learn to respect and support each other, please, because we face enough challenges and misunderstandings from the fertile world already.

Infertility 101
Learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week
My personal page about NIAW
nicpel: (silly)
So, yesterday I published my lens about Philadelphia's Magic Gardens - my entry for the Squidcademy Awards contest. And in one day, the lens has already not just scored 100% (meaning getting 20+ likes among other criteria) but is featured on the Squidoo homepage.

Dang! Whether or not it wins the contest, I'm pretty chuffed at how this one seemed to hit a target just right.
nicpel: (Default)
Despite saying we wouldn't get our Squidoo payday this month until after the 16th, it actually showed up on my dashboard today. Yay! My second month earning over $200 on Squidoo. I'm happy. I have a goal to get to $500 a month, but I know that will take a while.

Meanwhile, I've been cranking out more "quick" lenses which I may eventually put up for sale, once I build a few niches and establish if they're salable or not. To date, these are my potentially "for sale" lenses:

* Moss Agate Jewelry
* Rainbow Fluorite Jewelry
* Labradorite Jewelry
* MercyMe Fan Page
* I Blame Coco

I of course reserve the right to not sell any of these if they suddenly shoot up into T1 in the meantime :)
nicpel: (Default)
So I've been following the Buying and Selling Squidoo Lenses Facebook group for a while, even though I've never bought a lens before - and I'm not especially interested in doing so, either. I like working on my lenses from the ground up, using my own words, etc.

But I'm thinking about working on some new lenses with the sole purpose of selling them. Not lenses that would take an awful lot of time to set up, but good basic starter lenses for people that are more interested in doing things like constantly monitoring Amazon links for expiring/sold out products and stuff like that. Which happens a lot on jewelry lenses, and I find them tedious to maintain.

So I basically want to try to create a starter set of about 20-30 lenses, ones that shouldn't take me more than 1-2 hours each to build and basically promote, and then see if I can sell them after a month's "test marketing". Because while I hate to give away lenses that might eventually become big successes, it would be nice to get some quick cash for lenses that don't take me a lot of time to build and create.

I'm going to be starting with jewelry sales lenses featuring different, more unusual stone. This is the first one I've created for this project/idea:

Moss Agate Jewelry.
nicpel: (Default)
My favorite conspiracy theory so far regarding Squidoo and the new duplicate content filter? Is that it's all part of an evil liberal government conspiracy to shut down conservative and (Christian) religious content on the internet. Because if a Bible scripture lens got locked for duplicate content, it's OBVIOUSLY all part of some greater left-wing conspiracy to censor the 'net and stifle right-wing thoughts.

Clearly. Of course. Because Glen Beck, Jesse Ventura and their fellow ditto-heads said it, it must be true.

(Note I'm not even a liberal. I'm a Libertarian. Which makes me more subject to mocking than just about anyone ELSE these days.)

Meanwhile, I'll just keep writing original content about things that I love and know so well, I don't need to copy and paste from elsewhere. Like my recent Stewart Copeland Soundtrack Discography. Obscure topic? Maybe. But it's what I know, and what I like.
nicpel: (Default)
I haven't had a single lens locked or flagged yet since the new Squidoo filter for duplicate content was launched. Of course it could still happen, I suppose, but I do write all of my content myself, and have very, very rarely copied any product descriptions or reviews from Amazon or elsewhere. My method/motto is, if I don't know a product well enough to talk about it from personal experience? I shouldn't be trying to sell it. I link out heavily to all of my references, I only write about topics I'm personally passionate about. I think that goes a long way toward creating quality lenses.

I'm not saying there aren't "false positives" resulting from the new filters. But. But. I feel like some of the extreme resistance to the new filter is coming from folks unwilling to admit that just copying & pasting content from Amazon and elsewhere, based on trying to jump on the newest "hot topic" bandwagons, isn't going to keep up with those who are writing about things they know, love, and want to share for reasons beyond commercial success. I can only write about things I love, and I only want to try to sell products related to the things I'd love.


nicpel: (Default)
Nicole ("sockii") Pellegrini

January 2013

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