Skeffling’s October 2012 Earnings Report – Did she break $8000?

by Skeffling on November 6, 2012 · 76 comments

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If you are wondering how we did, it’s all here, albeit a bit late!  Despite October being an insane month and having too many demands on our time we did OK.  As some of you may know, our hundred acre farm is up for sale and we have had many showings that we need to prepare for, then be out of the house for hours.

We also have the pressure of getting ready for winter closing in and winter up here in Ontario is something you have to be prepared for when you have livestock that need water that won’t freeze, pressure washing poop from coops is far from glamorous!

Nathan professionally interviewed three virtual assistants and hired one great guy that has been helping us out the past few weeks.  Nathan had worked up an interview package for each applicant and was back in his old management zone.

There is a little bit of a learning curve on both ends having a full time employee, so things have been a little slower than we would have liked and the process longer, though Virtual Staff finders were very thorough.  We have been making  instructional screen capture videos (we learned how) and figuring out procedures to help him do his job.  Much of it I know but Nathan doesn’t yet so I had to do videos too.  We have learned how to use Skype, Lastpass and Google Docs too!  Who knew there was so much to do?  Hopefully things are on an even keel now and I can get on with my book.

So on to the numbers!  I think Capstone mentioned this number a couple months back and I honestly wasn’t expecting it…..


October 2012 Online Earnings

  • Adsense $148.67  (up $59.60 from last month and a new Skeffling record!)
  • Chitika $1.84indle Books $37.88  Sold about 13 books of the 3 titles, (9 on, 4 on, and lent one – no promotion at all (yet)
  • Zazzle $46.77  Looks like Belted Galloway calenders and Crazy Chicken Lady t-shirts are hot now.
  • Hubpages $4.71 (lowest ever! The EMD update killed traffic)
  • My own and Nathan’s IB/Seekyt/Wizzley/Squidoo Affiliate $4,282.35
  • £31.01  so $45.52US
  • Clickbank and Shareasale Affiliate $146.69
  • Squidoo Amazon commissions $2,987.85
  • Squidoo Conservative estimate for adshare  $331.00 (could be another $150 or so higher, it will be officially calculated by Squidoo in 6 weeks).

Grand Total was $8,034.28

Corrected to $8584.63 on 11/12 payday so $550.35 more from Squidoo than expected

Sales stats

Average Amazon sales per day (total of Squidoo and my own links) were $5,071, up from $4,556.67 last month, and the total Oct sales of products of $157,210 approx.   Crazy stuff!

I also had a number of Halloween costumes keywords and we outsourced after the last earnings report and posted 20 lenses between the 9th and 20th of Oct and they paid for themselves with crazy 200+ a day traffic in the last few shopping days.

Average Earnings

Average earnings per article is $11.60 over all our 740 or so articles (not including the purchased ones, negligible income there right now-per tracking)

Average Amazon earnings per Squidoo article is $16.49 per article over 429 lenses, up from last month.  I counted $3,535.48+550.35 in from Squidoo from my own Amazon affiliate results for an estimated Squidoo (Amazon only) total of $7073.58.

Reasons for an upswing on per article earnings, I need to check stats on this and not sure if I will spend that much time on it, but I think some of my everyday type articles (not really seasonal ones) published in late summer articles had higher allintitle competition overall (like in the 200-300 range) after the cherry phrases were done already in my favorite niches, and now these are maturing (or getting decent traffic and sales) a couple of months later than we were seeing before.

Also, holiday traffic is starting I think too.  We are definitely seeing holiday sales since about the third week in October, more video games and kids toys.

I am starting to add more in-text links in the Squidoo lenses to our own Amazon affiliate account and that has increased ctr and sales too.



I am pleased we are up to over $800 non-Squidoo income which means the diversification plan is starting to work.  Christmas seems to be boosting Zazzle sales and traffic and it would be nice to keep that momentum going in the new year.

I think the tips I have learned from Jason Mayers ebook about Adsense are paying off as that has nearly doubled this month (making payout within one month for the first time ever, it had been taking me two months to crack $100 at about $65 a month) after editing some of the higher traffic articles on Seekyt and IB.  Also any non-Squidoo articles our VA is posting are being optimized on publishing for better Adsense earnings.

I have 2 more Kindle books finished this month (outsourced) but not posted yet (along with about 6 others), so am looking forward to getting those all up, maybe around or after Christmas.  The three e-books I have now are increasing sales monthly, even with no reviews on them or promo at all!  Like article marketing, the more items you have published, the greater and more diverse your income streams and the more you can learn from your results to fine tune your game plan.

One of my favorite e-book freelance writers, who is not in the USA, messaged me to let me know that he can no longer take our work off the Zerys job board, and can only take assigned work. He has written a few great e-books for me so I found myself doing the research and looking for more work for him to do to help him out, and get some more books in the publishing backlog.

Nathan is working on his authority Amazon site and made a sale, so is encouraged, it is definitely labor and post-intensive, but will be worth it in the long run.


Increasing Efficiency

There is much we wanted to get done this month but didn’t, one of the universal things in internet marketing I guess.  I seem to be distracted and working way less that I was when I was home alone too.  Moving house and the associated constant interruptions doesn’t help, I crave a whole open day to get work done!  I am travelling to the UK to visit family in November-December, so that will slow me down for sure, though I can’t wait to get into the chocolate there!

So we started listening to the “4 hour work week” audio book in the truck when we have to be out of the house for showings.  We (I) are trying to become more efficient and I have fired up the Dragon Naturally Speaking and got a Blue Yeti Mic and it is awesome as I am a terribly bad and slow typer, you have no idea! Nathan has a Blue Snowball for Skyping with the VA, as the computer mics were horrible and any $40 ones we found locally.

The Market Samourai guys are doing a Business Hacks webinar next week that I will be watching and I plan to start using many of their time-saving tips.


November is the time to be writing gift articles on Squidoo!

I cannot bring myself to write first person for general gift articles, despite Squidoo Quests asking for that.  But, at worst, I recommend following the Quests and try to get that additional front page exposure if you are not confident in your keyword ratios.  This helped me a ton last Christmas and I highly recommend it.  Squidoo gives little mini-leaks and hints on what searches traffic are hot and that they are getting, so you can grab last minute shoppers and traffic.

I am finding the Top 10 a nice format.  Multiple product options (up to 5) per type of gift give the best click through, though I have not made many sales yet on this years new ones yet, still early I guess!  The more product options the better, but they have to make sense and be selected carefully, making each lens take over 2 hours to post even when the content is pre-written/outsourced.

So how was October for everyone?  Are you starting to get some Amazon sales? What are your plans for the upcoming shopping season?

Kevin November 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Very nice. The next few months should really take your earnings to a whole new level. Do you have eBay earnings in those numbers? I’ve noticed a huge uptick in eBay sales lately and I’m wondering if you have seen the same.

Skeffling November 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Hi Kevin, thanks for reading. There’s really no Ebay to speak of, maybe $100 in sales as I have just a couple of “how to buy antique linens on Ebay” lenses that don’t do much! I have been thinking about adding an Ebay module to each sales-type lens when we get the VA to update them, but maybe 1-2% have an Ebay module right now. I am glad you are seeing an increase now, that is awesome. I hope Halloween went well for you, and I am glad you are seeing results on Squidoo, it seems easy to convert once you get the traffic!

jenny November 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Just had a quick question for you if you have a minute..
Where you have your own amazon income, how much of that is from squidoo still?
And are you using your own amazon affiliate links for that?
I’m just wondering if I should give squidoo a try?

Skeffling November 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm

For my own Amazon, $3,535.48 was from Squidoo out of the total of $4,282.35 of our own Amazon affiliate. The rest was Wizzley, InfoBarrel, Seekyt, Hubpages and a (very) little from niche and chicken/homesteading websites. Hope that helps, Thanks for reading.

PS. I’d give Squidoo a try, either product reviews, Top lists etc, or gift list for various hobby niches, types of people or specialties may now be your best bet for earnings.

Olof Maximilian Pape November 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Another great month for you. What are your expectations for November? I’m still waiting for my first Squidoo sale. Hoping November will bring it.

Skeffling November 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Thanks Olof! Thanks for reading. I never have any expectations, seriously! More would be nice! I don’t think you can predict this stuff, and it is not related to how much work you do in a given month either. I have 2 months of daily sales amounts now, to try to guestimate, but all I can see is it seems there is more sales at the beginning and end of the month, with way less on the third week.

I hope you start to get sales soon. It is nice when people go on Christmas shopping sprees from your lenses. It is thrilling to see the sales add up! It will come, it did for me last year when I had less than 50 lenses! Gift lists are awesome at this time of year! Make sure you do some, and don’t forget to check keywords! Claire

Meggie November 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Wow Claire, you are just blowing everything away. I’m always most excited to see your earnings reports. Thanks for being an inspiration.

Skeffling November 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Thanks Meggie, it is unreal! I am so happy to inspire, but you already know you can totally earn money online! Now to get the hang of diversifying! ;-)

jenny November 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Thanks Claire, looks like I will give squidoo a shot and see how it goes. Thanks for posting your income updates, keeps a lot of people motivated..

Skeffling November 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Thanks Jenny and Good luck!

Danielle November 6, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Wow – you continue to amaze me!!! When is your Squidoo book coming out??

Skeffling November 7, 2012 at 9:38 am

Thanks Danielle, Soon I hope. It seems there is always more to add! ;-)

AJ November 7, 2012 at 12:19 am

Wow Claire! Good for you… Geez $8K! Amazing! You’ve come a long way! (Thanks again for your mid-month advice to me with traffic and such. You’re so generous with time and advice!) I keep tweaking and adjusting my content (articles, lenses, and more) as well. As I climb the SQ ladder, I need to keep in mind that I remember you really piled your earnings BACK into more content all along. Reinvesting so much of what you made along the way (through outsourcing!) was a smart AND strategic move, the same way diversifying is now. Each day I go to my FT job and think how much I want to work ONLY for myself, your numbers continually prove that it’s out there… it’s possible. (Sure other make real $$, but IM people like Pat Flynn, Chris Guthrie, and others make so much of their money getting others online [i.e. hosting referrals, plug-ins, WSO’s etc…] In many ways that seems LESS sustainable than what you’re doing… I’d rather sell to the SHOPPING masses, then hope for a new STREAM of internet marketers to show up and buy tools for internet income pursuits. They’re selling SHOVELS to gold rush speculators, and you’re selling small gold necklaces to teenagers to wear to the prom! YEAH! (How’s that analogy!!]

Once you sell the house and things settle more, perhaps you and Nathan will even diversify AWAY from internet marketing as well. As I’ve mentioned before, my long-term internet $$ strategy includes stocks, dividends, (like Meggie!) and specific conservative options strategies, and making $6~8K a month puts you in a position where some real assets could be generated that way. Have you considered that stuff?

Your Kindle results are very interesting too!! No promotion… Cool! (I have so much to do!!!) Thanks again for sharing all this! BACK TO WORK… Congrats on the VA hire!

Skeffling November 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

Hey AJ, great to hear from you, no problem. I certainly have come a long way! Last October I earned a whopping $9.94! It certainly is possible to stop working for someone else, but considering the big picture is key. It is amazing how much less you spend when you are not commuting and buying things to make yourself feel better about working so hard and being away all day.

I have piled a lot of the earnings back in whenever I could, the past couple of months, I haven’t had time to (wisely) spend it all on more content etc so am getting a backlog in the paypal and bank! I was looking into the direct loans like Meggie is doing to get our money earning (but we can’t do it in Canada, I read even certain states you can’t), and had considered buying a website or two, but that is risky and still depends on Amazon affiliate or Adsense and Google traffic. Investing it traditionally is too slow right now for us and we figure we can do better ourselves for a while.

So we (Nathan) are looking at setting up Amazon sales through drop shipping quite soon, and eventually private label sales or something (I love designing products and labels – I did it before with my lavender soaps etc). With over $100k monthly in sales of other peoples stuff, I bet we could do our own and make more even with way less sales. Nathan would do the business side of it, dealing with wholesalers etc and I’d do the research, niche picking and marketing, so we can up the earnings and start to put cash away so we can live off the dividends or interest at some point. We have online selling skills now, and intricate knowledge of Amazon and what sells and what doesn’t. The recent withdrawal of various top selling items from the Amazon affiliate program, like TVs and Juicers has us thinking about the future of that income stream down the line, and it is 95% of our income right now.

You are right, I could build up a brand here teaching and marketing, and I like helping people, but I really don’t want to do that for money, though I am glad those guys do as their blogs, podcasts and products have helped me no end. I think selling physical products that people need for their homes is a better bet long term, bigger market too, and you are giving people what they want and need.

Kindle books titles are based on keyword searches and ratios so that is why we have some sales, I haven’t even linked them to each other. When I get the others posted later on, I will do them all at once. Thanks on the VA, he is a great funny guy and hard worker, we are happy to have him.

roro November 7, 2012 at 4:04 am

This is awsome. I have a question though, how many clicks per day you have through Amazon. I have a terrible convertion rate, that’s why I ask.

Skeffling November 7, 2012 at 9:36 am

Hi there. Is the conversion rate low from visitors on your page to clicks? Or Clicks to sales? Both have different reasons, IMO, and having a well-written, well laid out sales page about popular best-selling tangible items solves both for the most part, not that I am saying yours aren’t, but if it is not commercial enough that may affect things. If your clicks from Squidoo to Amazon are low, then it may be your product choices or the article is not a salesy topic, or the links are hard for readers to recognize. If the sales conversion is low once they get to Amazon, it may be you are writing about a “nice to have” item, not a necessity that they need to buy, a more optional easy-to-leave item would be a new purse or clothes, or a book about the lens topic.

I can’t tell you the Squidoo numbers exactly as it would take hours to figure out, but I consider ctr to Amazon 20% decent on a 3 items top list review (based on the Squid utils which includes the odd Adsense clicks out) and 70% overall on a lens is very nice. My post on how to get 60% ctr may help. If you email me a lens or two you are concerned about, maybe I can help you figure it out.

Ddraig November 7, 2012 at 9:29 am

Yet again you are on fire Claire! Your monthly earnings are 6 months wages from my husbands job… if that doesn’t motivate people, nothing will!
Surprisingly for me, I am having my greatest results on InfoBarrel, even though I haven’t had time to write there for months.
My Website is still bare so I may concentrate on that as No1, with Squidoo coming a close second.
I am still getting drips and drabs there but really need to work more, typically leaving everything half finished.

Skeffling November 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

Hey Emma, Thanks. It is just insane! Great you are having some good results on IB. I made more on Adsense on IB this last month than I ever have! So maybe that year’s maturity on the articles makes a difference as I have added very little new since the summer. The gift lists will be big on Squidoo for the next 6 weeks, and are fun to do! I find if you have enough things half-finished and keep going back to them, you get lots done in the end! ;-)

Ddraig November 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Very true and I happen to have a couple of Top*** lists half done on Squidoo.
I noticed you repaid the visit to my site but I had not yet put my report up.
I have placed it up there now, here it is –

Ps, if you don’t want my link in please remove it xx

Skeffling November 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hi Emma, sorry for the delay. It looks like you are doing really well now. It certainly makes you want to do more when you start to see results from the work you have done. I certainly hope the holiday season pays you well. You have to get those top gift lists done ;-)

Belinda342 November 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

Just wanted to leave you a very heart-felt thank you! I thought I was serious about Squidoo before but I just couldn’t get it to work for me. But the past month, I’ve been really applying your advice (and I purchased Stealth Keyword Analyzer!). Wow! Okay, I’m still not breaking the bank, but I made around $45 in Amazon last month from Squidoo. And I’ve already sold 19 items so far in November…and most are from the ultra-new lenses I have created by using your advice!

Can you tell I’m excited? So once again, thank you! You are such a wonderful person to share all this great information like you do. You truly are a Squidoo Angel in every sense of the word.

And yes, when that book is done…I’m buying it!

Skeffling November 7, 2012 at 10:53 am

Oh Belinda, that is great! I am so happy for you and glad I could help. That’s great you got the Stealth program they do help. The sales are a thrill aren;t they, they certainly motivate you? It gets you up in the morning to check stats! The Christmas season helps too. That is great start for November, well done.

Now look at those sales and see if you can write about more products in that niche or make more of the same types of lenses. Look at the keywords finding your articles and if you have a lot of traffic from a phrase that is not in your title, just write another lens right away with that title, as it must be super easy to rank for.

Thanks for letting me know about your success, it is why I set up the blog to help others do this, and knowing it’s working makes me feel great! Thanks for your kind words. Claire

Darren November 7, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hi Claire, could you elaborate on a few things for me?

“My own and Nathan’s IB/Seekyt/Wizzley/Squidoo Affiliate”
Is this amazon affiliate links you are placing in your articles on these services?

“Squidoo Amazon commissions”
What then is this?

“Squidoo Conservative estimate for adshare”
And this I assume is from adsense ads on squidoo, correct.

Just trying to understand what is what, because the first two terms look similar.


Skeffling November 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Hi Darren, thanks for reading. It is a bit confusing and they are very close amounts. You are correct, “My own and Nathan’s IB/Seekyt/Wizzley/Squidoo Affiliate” is our own Amazon affiliate income from those websites. They can be in text, widgets (not in Squidoo) or images.

The “Squidoo Amazon commissions” is my half of the commissions from the sales through Squidoo’s Links (you split it 50:50 unless the sale comes from a side widget then you get 100%).

You are right, the “Squidoo Conservative estimate for adshare” is the income based on your lens ranking and the tier it is in for the month, from Adsense and other advertizing Squidoo earnes then pays a portion of.

Dave November 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm

wow. you guys rock!

Skeffling November 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Thanks Dave, I am glad you are still reading. It certainly is hard work, but it is worth it.

Anisul November 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm

Hey Claire,

Glad to see your progress ! I sent a PM to you :) Expecting a reply from you …

Skeffling November 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Hi Anisal, thanks for reading. I will check out your e-mail now, sorry for the delay, have been crazy busy year. Claire

Anisul November 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Thanks for noticing me Claire :) Looking forward to hear from you

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

No problem!

Jeff November 9, 2012 at 1:08 am

Claire – Your results are phenomenal! I’ve expanded my squidoo portfolio quite a bit in the past couple months, both by creating lenses and purchasing some. I’ve implemented some of your tips and have seen some sales but nothing like the success you’re having.
You definitely inspire me to keep trying and all of your tips and advice are most appreciated. Thanks for being so willing to help others trying to make it online.

Skeffling November 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Hi Jeff, thanks for reading, and your kind words. It is a little bit crazy, it seems like we are getting a fair bit of traffic on the lenses, and then that traffic is buyer traffic too. It really is as simple as looking to see what is working, and then doing more of it as quickly and as well as possible.

That is great you are building up your profile. At this time of year the more lenses you have, the more money you will earn. It seems like each lens is just a portal for people to come and go on a shopping spree. Even non-commercial type lenses occasionally have shopping sprees too, that is the neat part.

I am glad that I inspire you to keep trying, it is well worth tweaking and increasing click through’s, and sales, while trying new areas the niche is too. It all takes time, but it is nice to have this kind of money coming in. I feel like I now need to find out how to make this kind of money other ways to so all our eggs are not in one basket.

Anita November 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Hi Skeffling,

First of all thanks for all the invaluable advice in this blog, I have been squeezing pennies from the internet over the past few months, writing informational articles (about stuff that I like, which appears to be pretty iconoclastic) and had pretty much given up on Squidoo in favour of HubPages. Then I came across your story last month, and decided not to be a snob about sales lenses, and to put them on Squidoo rather than HP, Google really leaves one no choice. I’ve also bought the stealth keyword programs. It’s really too early to say whether any of this will work, but you’ve given me new enthusiasm for making money online.

Now to my questions: the main problem I have with Squidoo is finding topics that aren’t saturated there already. Right now there must be hundreds of lenses about Christmas gifts for all members of the family, from Great Aunts to the family hamster. I was wondering when you feel that a topic is too saturated to write a lens for it. If ska tells you a phrase is amazing, and it has a lot of searches, but you find another lens on Squidoo that has it in its title, would you still use it? If there are 3 lenses? It might be I spent too long in the UK, but I feel that it is “impolite” to compete with somebody who is already taken taken the phrase.

What if there are no lenses using the specific keyword phrase, but several lenses (5-10) covering the general topic (e.g. Xmas gifts for girlfriend)?

The other thing I am surprised about is how few of my Amazon clicks convert to real sales. On the lenses I’ve written so far, I am not dissatisfied with the traffic, approaching 400/week, a large portion of it organic, and my CTR is between 10-20% which is no-where the 60% you had on one of your lenses, but I think is the average. However, the vast majority of ppl who click through to Amazon don’t buy anything! My converstion rate is about 2-3%. Is this normal or do I need to rethink the items I am recommending?

Skeffling November 9, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Hi Anita, thanks for reading. Those are some good questions.

I was worrying about lenses being saturated after reading Pot Pie Girls blog, but once I started to notice was if I typed in a certain phrase with the site search on Google, there were different lenses ranking for the same keyword, but the titles would be different. If you see one or two lenses on a topic you do want to write on, you can change the title so it is not the same as theirs. Maybe put a new spin on the topic, and get a ranking that way. So I would say go for it, do not worry about what others are doing if you know you can write about it well.

I was being too picky with my keywords, but what I am finding is even the ones with less favorable ratios still sell Amazon products. So I say, go for it. Especially if it is a commercial topic and you know you can do justice. I know I even have similar keyword phrases competing with each other on different accounts to, that would have bothered me before, but I tried it a few times and they all seem to sell anyway.

I think anyone writing articles online is lucky if one in 100 readers is a buyer as well. I think even for AdSense just somebody clicking a link on more info (not even a guaranteed sale or decision), the rate can be lower than that.

I think what increases this purchase rate and click through rate are 2 slightly different things but they are related. I think the more motivated your buyers are, the higher that buying rate will be. And honestly I think the difference is if somebody can take or leave whatever they are looking for and buy on another day, that buying level will be lower. If it is something that they really need to buy right now, and you have a decent selection, I think you are a lot more likely to garner a sale.

The click through rate is something else again, the more motivated your buyers are, the better. You will get the best click through rate if you have as many product options as is reasonable and that have been chosen carefully for somebody that needs that kind of thing. It is hard to know exactly what somebody is looking for, but if you put yourself in their shoes and choose something that is inexpensive, high-quality and hasslefree with good ratings, the chances are higher of the sale. That will save them time, trouble and money, they are more likely to buy it, I think.

Those 60 to 70% click through lenses, have at least 15 items for the readers to choose from, some have 30. Those items are chosen and selected and sorted by common traits or benefits to the reader, saving them time when they are looking, and giving you more chance that one of the items is exactly what they want. I find the 10 to 30% click through is if I only have three items on offer or I guess six if you include the site widgets and then the search widget at the bottom.

I think the current conversion rates do fluctuate throughout the year, and at times where there is really nothing going on seasonally, those purchase rates are lower, people just buy what they came for.

When there is a major holiday approaching, I have noticed the click through rates do increase as people buy more items when they are shopping instead of maybe one or two they might buy five of six, and overall that will increase that sales rate. So you may find this is something that fixes itself over the next couple of months. If the low rate is the same for a given lens or niche all year round, it may just be that it is not that commercial of a topic or as popular of a niche, or maybe people buy off line.

ash November 10, 2012 at 10:08 am

yay for you skeffling you can hit 10k next month six figures! I earnt $40 for halloween and its going on your ebook (I guessing its goning to be about that price) i also got skealth keyword compeition analyser and sales for halloween were great, I was wondering what you asked to outsource your halloween lenses.

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

Hi Ash, thanks. Not sure if we will reach 10K, but it will be fun getting close, anyway. That is great you had some Halloween earnings, you might be surprised by the book. That is great that the stealth is helping.

I am lucky enough to have a fairly reliable writer that will try her hand at new things for me, so with each lenses theme, she compiled some great outfits and came up with numerous in text links for me to use. It meant posting them was a lot slower, but I think the conversions probably work better for it. I was going to cut and paste my outline for you, but I just went back into Zerys and that section is blank. So I most likely ask for a number of well-rated fun costumes that fit the theme, and I think she wrote maybe 150-200 words per costume with an intro and short conclusion, as I think they were all 600 to 700 words.

Kingper November 12, 2012 at 12:36 pm

I want to know how do you receive payment about your own amazon affiliate sites, gift card or other items?

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

Hi Kingper, thanks for reading. I am in Canada and get paid by US check. I probably could get paid by gift card but with shipping and duty, ordering for From to here is expensive and I would not be able to use them on Better to have the cash!

Kingper November 14, 2012 at 11:56 am

Thank you for your reply. So far as I know, gift card is sent to your email address but not shipped, it’s only the code.

By the way, what’s the percentage that Squidoo gives the people who post the amazon product reviews about amaon advertising fees?

I’m sorry for my poor english. Ok, that’s all, thanks in advance.

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Hi again. I meant once I have the Amazon gift card credit, I would have to buy from to get the money back out, and that would cost me extra with duty and shipping up to Canada. I know some people sell their gift cards, but again you are looking at selling them at a discount, why not just have the check in your account. My also comes as a check, which in Canada, is very inexpensive to cash.

Squidoo shares 50% of the commission from Amazon items sold in the main body of the article, and any commission earned in the side widgets, you get the full amount 100%. They are subject to the same caps and lower commission on electronics, so your commission can be as high as 8.5% off from the side widget on a the sale of a none electronic product, to as low as 2% on an electronics product sold in the main body of the article.

You can put in your own affiliate links to Amazon as well, and it seems like a lot of people do that. That Squidoo commission on the Amazon sales is paid out by PayPal.

Dave November 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

this might be a stupid question, but..

how important is it to ping your lenses over various pingsites?

I see that submitstart pings your lens for google and bing, isn’t that all you need?

the other pingsites are something I’ve never even heard of…

aren’t google and bing webcrawlers all you need? or is it important to get as much pings as you can?

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 10:31 am

Hi Dave,

I honestly cannot tell you, as I see it, all you need to do is get indexed, that is the main goal. I really just keep to the 2 sites Pingomatic and Submit start, I could probably get away with just one, but I am set in my routine for now, and do not want to risk it making a difference.

I had heard about Submitstart when I first started writing on infobarrel and that it was to help your item get indexed quickly. I started using pingomatic about six months ago when Tyler, the Seeykt admin recommended it as part of the link building process to index quicker. I believe the fastest way to get indexed is to tweet the article, but I can never seem to have the right Twitter login while I am doing that, and do not want to spam the system.

I am pretty backward when it comes to promotion and back-linking to my articles. I had always planned to get better at it, but it just seems like if you pick the right keywords, you do not seem to need to worry about it too much. Claire

Craig November 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm

I’ve also seen on many SEO sites that using Google+ will get your article indexed right away. If you already have a gmail account, setting up a Google+ profile is easy.

I’ve tested it myself and it does seem to work, I don’t even have anyone in my “circles” lol I just post the link with public visibility with a good title and Google finds it. I guess it’s one more perk Google is using to lure people over from Facebook?

Anyway, just my little tip that I’ve found in my online writing adventures.
Great month Skeffling! We all appreciate your openness about your income

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Hi Craig, thanks for the tip. I occasionally remember to +1 my blog posts here, but it is very occasionally. ;-)

I am glad you are enjoying the blog, I never imagined the income would be this high this year. It is so nice to have so many supportive readers on here, it makes it all worthwhile. Money is just money, but having a great camaraderie with other Internet marketers makes something that is good, into something that is great.

Dave November 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Oh, thank you. I get the idea.

Yep. Twitter and linkbuilding are a hassle for me too :)

Anyway, wow, I can’t wait how much you’ll get in the holiday season!

Skeffling November 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm

I figure time, energy and effort is best spent creating the primary content rather than having to promote it, that is the content that is going to in you money, so why spend your time trying to drive traffic instead. I understand driving traffic is important for some people, but for now I am quite happy with the Google traffic that I get. I guess have figured workaround with the keywords to be able to just ignore the whole promotion thing.

mommymommymommy November 14, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Congrats on another outstanding month! I am looking forward to your book!

Skeffling November 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

Thanks Triplemommy. I know you had a pretty good month yourself, good for you. This certainly does work! Claire

Knighttrader November 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm

What a fantastic month, I’m really happy for you and hope to emulate some of your success. I’m having a tough time with Stealth Keyword Digger and it’s not working so I’ve emailed Alex Safie and I am sure he will rectify the problem. Hopefully in another weeks time I will be up and running so I have the right keywords. I think I can write commercial lens now and hopefully competition and keywords are the final piece of the Squidoo puzzle.

Also thanks for your advice and guidance, along with Jason Mayer you have been an inspiration to me and I wish you get to $100k per month now!

Also where are you coming in the UK? if you ever come to East London then your invited to my house for dinner.

Skeffling November 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

Hi Knighttrader! Thanks for the kind words. I hope you can emulate it too. It seems as though people are having some success doing things the way I have figured out, so anything is possible. I am not sure about $100! But we are looking into being Amazon sellers, so that may be more stable over time than just affiliate income, and gives us a bigger percentage of the cut of a sale when we have them. Just have to figure out wholesalers and sources now.

Alex Safie is great to deal with, a great example and very positive. Sometimes the Stealth keyword digger will get hung up if you only have one Adwords ID, and it is maxed out for visits. I find I can do three or four runs in a day or two then need to take a break for a few days. The Digger will store a few profiles and logins now and switch them out, but I never seem have the right passwords, so mine often cut out at the 70% switchover mark. It is still plenty to play with.

Me and my sis are flying into Manchester on 26 November, unfortunately I will not be heading down south though I would loved to meet you and your family and have dinner, maybe next time. I will be back. It’s just a quick drive across to Hull for the week, then back to Canada. Much later into the winter, and we never know if the weather will allow us to get to the airport (2.5 hours away) so that is why I often go in November ;-)

Donny November 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Hey, Skeefling!

Congrats on the serious cashflow you have going here. It feels good doesn’t it? I have a quick question for you. About how many days after you post a new batch of lenses does it take for traffic to start to pick up. Obviously at least a couple days for the lenses to get indexed, then Google must start ranking them in the SERPs. Is it about a week? Like an average across all your lenses because I know some lenses will take off quicker than others.

Also, do you get a lot of duds? I believe you said you have like 400 lenses at Squidoo, but your profile says only about 97 are featured, so that must mean the other 300 or however many were duds with no traffic? My conversion rate for Amazon usually triples during the month of December, so hopefully the same will happen for you, and maybe you will break 10k next month! Good luck; I look forward to your reply! Thanks!


Skeffling November 16, 2012 at 9:24 am

Hi Donny. Thanks for reading. You are right it does feel great! That is really hard to say on the timing for traffic, depending on whether there is a peak in search, some can have 30 views a day after two or three days, but I guess it takes about a week to get some decent traffic, depending on the keyword, all things being equal, which they never are.

Depending on the keyword ratios, and competition that can be as long as three or four months to get over 10 views a day. Just because it takes that long, does not mean that it is a dud, often those lenses, which I think are ranking for larger, more competitive keyword phrases, have more potential to earn big bucks over time due higher monthly search numbers.

I think and another factor to increasing traffic quickly is the number of lenses you have, it seems like there is some kind of critical mass needed. I think around 30 to 40 lenses (and really 10 minimum), where you start to really have a steady amount of traffic. Maybe that is coincident with more time passing, and articles maturing, and maybe the lens-making expertise increasing but it seems like even some of the smaller profiles I have set up do not get the sales and traffic that the large profiles do.

That brings me to your next question I do actually have about 450 or so lenses on different profiles, I forget the exact number. I would say maybe 20% are duds, may be less than that, I think this last payday, for September, (which was not the most amazing month) I think 75-80% of the lenses earned something even if it was just the tier year payment. Some of those non-earners were great in the Summer, so there is a definite waxing and waning of earnings with seasonal lenses. I have the odd lens that does not make tier 3 payment but make sales, but they are probably less than 1%. I would think many of those non-earners are also lenses that are only a month or two old, so maybe that rate is actually lower. Part of reducing the percentage of duds is if you have a lens that does well, make more related lenses on the topic.

I hope that helps a little, it is so hard to quantify exactly, but a guess a big part of it is just looking for patterns.

Chris Desatoff November 17, 2012 at 5:25 am

Hi Claire,

I just started on Squidoo and published my first lens two days ago. It took me forever to handpick the Amazon items, but hopefully it’ll do ok. It’s a fairly typical Top Ten gift lens like you recommend above. I’m new to this kind of writing (product reviews/sales), so it kind of took a lot out of me.

Well, it’s time to go back to do some keyword research. Thanks for the tips and encouragement.


Skeffling November 17, 2012 at 9:26 am

The fact that it took you forever to handpick those Amazon items, tells me that you have a good lens! That half a day’s effort to post just one lens with carefully selected products, means you are saving your readers that time over and over and over again. This is why I think people read articles with on “top lists” rather than going straight to Amazon and reading through all the reviews and product listings themselves. People are in a hurry, and want you to cut through the chaff, with a short-list of the best rated, most popular or most reliable, or unique or whatever items. They will tell you in the keyword phrase, what they are looking for. When you are good at that and do it successfully, you get paid well for it in the affiliate commissions when they buy. Pay attention to your click through rate and sales between lenses, and you will see which ones can use more tweaking.

I have been doing some gift articles and some of those take me five or six hours to choose all the gifts, but like anything, it is an investment. I hope your lens does well.

Dave November 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Hi again!

I’ve been wondering. Do you have a price limit?

I mean, do you only sell products $50 upwards? Or you have no preference, and sell anything, even products $5 and below.

Just curious :)

Skeffling November 24, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Hi again Dave, I do not really have a price limit. I guess any of the less expensive items I write about, are top top sellers on Amazon, so I figured they would be decent number and frequency of sales for those items. I prefer that an item is over $20, but I do not choose low-priced items just to get the number of Amazon sales higher to increase commission levels. You will pick those up anyway as you sell slightly more expensive items too and people buy the staples while they are there shopping.

Ron November 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm


I am new to IM. Found your site a couple of months ago. Am on your newsletter list. Let me know when you publish your book.
Question-what is your opinion of writing on Hub Pages for Adsense or Amazon?


Tom November 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Are you finding it hard to get any new lenses on squidoo? Every time I try in the past week they have been going to “Work in Progress”. This is so frustrating and I can’t figure out what to do. The content is written by an article writer but it is not getting flagged by copyscape or other methods. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Skeffling November 24, 2012 at 11:08 pm

Hi Tom, yes we have been having a hard time getting new lenses up on the non-giant squid accounts. It seems there are some kind of filters kicking in, that are supposed to flag low quality content. It is frustrating, when you know you have a decent quality article, with good information that is not stuffed full of links, then you see a lens of the day that is one paragraph of text and nothing but private affiliate links as well. We often end up using copyscape a couple of times before we have an article published, Zerys lets you use it for free, and we also check it again once our titles and subtitles are in place just to make sure it is okay.

We have found some of the articles will publish if the H2 tags, the module titles are shortened. Especially if you have full Amazon model titles, they can be quite long and seemed to trip the filters. I believe there are trigger words as well. That will stop an article from being published, but Squidoo is not telling anyone what they are. I know how frustrating this is, and as far as I can see the best thing to do is to keep plugging away, and as soon as you have 25 good-quality lenses, apply for giant squid status. There are duplicate content filters for them, but these low quality, spam and trigger word filters do not apply to them.

Ash November 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

Skeffling I just looked at my Squidoo dashboard today and found out I sold $1700 worth of computers (4 sales) netting me a commission of almost $40 at 2% commission I am really happy the lens is 3 months, thanks for all of your help

Skeffling November 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm

Hi Ash, that is awesome! And it is better to to sell more small computers than one large one, as computers are capped at $25, or 12.50 through Squidoo. Those computers would have been sold on Thanksgiving day, so you may find tomorrow morning you have even more sales. I am glad this is working for you, I think at this time of year, the more lenses you have, the more portals you have for people to shop even if it is for more unrelated items.

We had a crazy sales day for own affiliate accounts yesterday and Thanksgiving day for Squidoo stuff, $14,540 in sales, a new record! It will be interesting to see what sales look like tomorrow!

Keep up the good work, it is not too late to add more new lenses, Ash, so go for it.

Donny November 24, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Hey, Skeffling!

Thanks for answering my last question. I have another for you. I assume that all of the traffic to your lenses is longtail since you don’t do any backlinking. What types of keywords send this longtail traffic. For example, is most of the longtail traffic because you have long product names in the articles. Like Sony model 123456 blah blah blah. Or, does the traffic come from slight variations of your targeted keyword(s). So, if target keyword was best shoes for small feet, is most of the longtail traffic from keywords like “how do i find best shoes for small feet”, “best shoes for long feet under 100 dollars” and “best shoes for grandma that are under 300.”

I made about 20 lenses, each with about 1,500 words of content, some more some less. I use my own amazon text links so I don’t have any amazon modules that would have long product names and such. I’m just trying to figure out what keywords your longtail traffic comes from with no backlinks to the lens. Out of these 20 articles, the best one is getting maybe 10 visitors a week, and the lenses are close to a month old, so they’ve had time to get indexed and ranked for their respective keywords. All of the lenses target buyer keywords with very low competition and search traffic, and I had about 10 or more secondary low comp keywords spread throughout each article.

I’m just trying to figure out how your lenses with no backlinks are generating enough traffic to net you 6k per month. Please let me know! Maybe you can share some stats for some of your lenses such as the keywords that are driving traffic and such. Thanks!

Skeffling November 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm

I Donny, welcome back. The traffic certainly is long tail, only the tiniest portion of it is product model numbers. Like may be less than 2%! You are right it is just from slight variations of targeted keywords, variations in grammar and plurals as well. I have also noticed that many of the phrases that find my lenses are not even present in the article. It certainly seems as though Google is using synonyms too. For example I never write an article with “cheap” in the title, but “affordable” and “inexpensive” titled lenses rank for the keywords with the word cheap in them.

I guess at that competition and search level, Google is doing its best to serve up any content at all. Maybe that is why the shoppers are so hungry to buy when they get to my lenses, ha ha. I just learned this week that the regular Amazon modules, that have five items in them are not shown at all to Google, so if one did want to insert model names, the spotlight module would be the way to do that, or just within the text module.

I find traffic takes time to build sometimes, I can luck out when the allintitle competition is very low (like single digits) as the content gets served up front page much faster. But for all these extended variations of the keywords, for example the ranking for cheap keywords can take months to occur as the articles mature and are repeatedly crawled. At the same time as the articles ranked for more long tail keywords, they can begin to rank for shorter and shorter keywords to and this can bring a big increase in traffic for some lenses one or two keywords providing much of the traffic. This is hardly ever the keyword that I have targeted in my title. My keyword density is very low for the most part, definitely under 1%, so I have many synonyms in there myself for Google to find, and as I said a single mention or no mention at all can rank you for that keyword if you are writing about something that nobody else really bothers with.

I hope that helps, and was not as clear as mud. But it sounds like you on the right track, you can give it more time, but I would bet if you write even more Squidoo lenses with that low allintitle comp, you will find some taking off faster while the the slower ones are building too, and then you start to get the increases in income because you never stopped to wait to see if it worked. Partly why I kept going in the spring when I was not hundred percent of what I was doing was I was part of an article writing challenge group so I was not really looking at my results, I just kept writing more lenses.

kevin November 26, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Hi Skeffling

I have been busy building lenses but had one locked today (duplicate content they said) I had forgot to change the product titles about a bit. Once I had done that and re run it on copyscape it was fine. So my question is have you had any lenses locked and what do you do then.

Skeffling December 4, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Sorry to hear that Kevin. Yes we had our first lenses locked, looks like it was a glitch/false positive on a non-giant squid account. You can send an e-mail to once you think you have it fixed, it may take weeks to hear back. You may get them looked at sooner if you apply for Giant Squid around the same time.

This forum has some great information on troubleshooting and what to do

Gabe November 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm

What do you consider low allintitle comp? What do you shoot for and what is your limit?

Skeffling December 4, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Hi Gabe, I consider less than 200 low, I shoot for less than 10, and will not go higher than 300 if I can help it, that can add another two months to the article maturing. I am more likely to go with a higher allintitle on a more expensive item where potential earnings may be more.

ash November 30, 2012 at 9:38 am

zerys wants a company name (I dont have one) what do I do or am I on the wrong sign up form I went to the sign up form for marketers

Skeffling December 4, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Hi Ash, it has been a while since I signed up, I think you can just use your own name and or a user-type name. I hope you take the plunge, that is the way to multiply this.

Joseph December 3, 2012 at 2:31 am

Wow! This is great Claire, congrats, hope things continue.

I’m new to internet marketing and am learning so much from your site.

I have a question regarding outsourcing, what would you say are the important things you need to know going in so that you’ll get quality articles with LSIs and good keywords and not just be wasting money.

Also, what amount (ballpark figure) would you say per article should you be paying so as not to be overpaying since you need to have quite a bit of them made over time, and yet not underpay such that you get crappy results.


Skeffling December 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Hi Joseph, thanks and thanks for reading I am so glad it has helped.

You can look at different writers sample work to get an idea of their skill level. What I have done really is the shotgun approach, I have been fortunate enough to be able to afford to outsource quite a few titles at a time. With Zerys, I look at what I get back from the Smartpost board at the one cent a word level, and I systematically blocked writers whose output is not what I am looking for, and have spent ages editing and improving the not so good articles. I would not do that now, as the time is more valuable to me than it was before, but it was not a bad way of getting content while learning what to ask for, and who to get.

I feel weird bargaining and reducing somebody’s asking price, so I just give work to the capable writers who have automatically lowered their client specific rate for me (and originally taken jobs off the job board), but I have never paid more than two cents a word. I guess cost for an article is some indication of quality, but paying a lot for an article does not guarantee that it will be good. You may be better testing out a few writers and seeing who does the best job for you. Some writers may be excellent with one niche, and do not do as well in another for you.

Giving constructive feedback to your writers is a great way of getting exactly what you want from them, LSI wise. If you are really lucky they will be able to anticipate, but that is very, very rare in my experience. You will certainly know when you find a writer that you enjoy working with. What you can also do is increase the amount you are willing to pay once you know your odds and timing of making that money back too to attract more writers.

Joseph December 5, 2012 at 11:28 am

Thanks Skeffling.

In your reply to Gabe above, you mentioned looking for keywords at 200 and below, and preferably under 10.

I just tried a few and noticed that a lot of them also have very low monthly searches in adwords keyword tool. A lot were <10 and some showing – also.

How low monthly searches do you think is acceptable, to say that the keyword/phrase is viable or do you go forward with?

Thanks again.

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Hi Joseph,
I have gone as low as 12 monthly searches but prefer over 100. It makes it like looking for a needle in a haystack, and I discard a huge percentage that I find, but it is worth it when the sales come in. They will, as you will rank for many other phrases as the article matures.

I am more likely to go with a lower search volume if the item is a high dollar value or if I already have successful articles in the same niche. Also the phrase should be a strong buyer phrase if you go with a low search level, one where poepel are looking to buy right then. Hope that helps.

Jack December 5, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Hi Skeffling, your’e inspiring!
I’ve been at squidoo for a while but haven’t really gotten much out of it. I know some of the stuff I’m writing about aren’t ‘buying’ items though.

How long does a low competition keyword take to mature on average, and when do you start accepting that a lens is a dud. Also, is there a way to sort of repair or upfix a dud?

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Hello Jack, thanks and thanks for reading! I just popped in to get my Nov earnings report done and saw your Qs. I am working on a troubleshooting section, but in the meantime, here’s some answers.

On average with my usual parameters, by 3 or 4 months with no significant sales, I think they may be duds, but they can take off at 6 or 8 months too, so don’t sell or delete them! I generally try to write for seasons 2-3 months ahead, but it doesn’t always happen, but that can sway search and traffic volume (and appear to make more of a lag) as no one is searching right away on that topic.

Fixing duds, look at you title, if you have not done your keyword homework, take a trip to adwords and make sure you have a searched-for phrase, you can look at competition, but just having a recognizable phrase should help. Or try making it hook the reader, and get the ctr from the SERPS to your page higher (maybe add Google+ author tags to your profile) for that. For sales lens titles, maybe add a top 3 or best 5 in there, or however many items you have in your reviews.

If ctr is low (say under 15%) make sure you have relevant absolute top-sellers on Amazon in the side widgets. You could try an in-text link in the intro module to a search page through your own Amazon affiliate link. That may increase ctr by 10%, and will help your Squidoo rank too.

Increasing traffic itself, I don’t bother trying to drive it but a well placed promo on twitter if you have a niche following may help, though I have no idea on conversions. Sprinkling other related kw phrases judiciously in the headings (H2 tags) may help drive traffic too, but don’t overdo it or the Squidoo spam filter will nab you. I hope that helps. I certainly struggled when I was doing non-sales lenses.

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