Skeffling’s November 2012 Earnings Report – What was the deal with Black Friday?

by Skeffling on December 5, 2012 · 108 comments

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I just got back from a week visiting family in Skeffling, East Yorkshire, so missed out on seeing the post-Thanksgiving sales as they come in.

Nathan added up the daily sales for me and gave me the highlights on what was selling. Totals were insane, so how much does a quarter of a million dollars in Amazon sales earn you?

We only had a few lenses this time last year, maybe 30 or so, and there were random shopping sprees even on non-sales lenses, so I was curious how it would translate into sales with having so many more lenses now, and I have been surprised by the results.

It looks like people are well and truly shopping!

 

November 2012 Online Earnings

  • Adsense $195.87  (up $50 from last month and another record!)
  • Chitika $5.69 (highest ever by 4x)
  • Kindle Books $13.88  Sold 4 books of the 3 titles, (3 on Amazon.com, 1 on Amazon.de), and lent one
  • Zazzle $77.51  more Belted Galloway mugs and T-Shirts
  • Hubpages $15.16 
  • Amazon.com affiliate (Mine and Nathan’s IB/Seekyt/Wizzley/Squidoo) account $6,249.62
  • Amazon.co.uk £15.09  so $24.64US
  • Clickbank and Shareasale Affiliate $44.94
  • My 50% of the Squidoo Amazon affiliate commissions $4,457.11
  • Squidoo Conservative estimate for adshare  $535.60 (could be another $200 or so higher, it will be officially calculated by Squidoo in 6 weeks).

Grand Total is $11,618.02

 

Total Amazon sales in Nov were approx $248,440!  

We had a run from Nov 23 to 27 (1-2 days delay in reporting depending on the source) of daily sales of $14,540 (Black Friday), $16,945, $13,500, $19,500 (Cyber Monday) and $19,925,  we just broke $10K 3 times too, and average daily sales for the month were $8,281.  This was still all organic traffic with no back-linking or social promotion and was way more than I had anticipated.

There were larger numbers of cheaper items sales (like late October), but we still had a few nice biggies too.  I know there were many sales we won’t get paid for like the Sceptre TVs and some of the Breville juicers, and some sold by 3rd party sellers so we haven’t included those in the stats.

I am quite pleased that Adsense is creeping up in a significant way, we only broke $100 payout (within a single month) last month.  Zazzle sales are increasing with gift shopping too.  I had fun teaching my aunt how to Zazzle while I was in the UK.

Traffic was up overall, had some lovely spikes, though I have read some Squidooers took a hit around the Panda refresh around the 22nd.

Average Earnings

Average earnings per article is $15.70 over 740 or so articles.

Average Amazon earnings per Squidoo article (no Adshare) is $21.95 per article over 445 lenses.  I counted $5309.74 in from Squidoo alone from our own Amazon affiliate results for an estimated Squidoo income (Amazon only) total of $9766.85.

Non-Squidoo earnings were $1851.17 or 15.9% overall (up from about 10% last month), but most were still Amazon.  These were mostly other web 2.0 sites and about $300 from the new niche sites.

So how much work did we do?

With the shopping season upon us, we will be pushing like crazy until probably the 18th December or so when it will drop off, so we have been working hard as it is never too late to grab a few Amazon sales.

As far as getting work done in November, our VA posted some gift lenses for us, and at times was mired down a bit with the spam filters on Squidoo.  As a result we have applied and now have a 2nd Giant Squid account, long overdue really, but I always wonder if we are good enough, so put it off!  I have one more account that should have that too, now I know our product reviews are officially up to standard!

While we were waiting to find out about the Giant squid and being frustrated with Squidoo, we set up and worked on some new niche (eventually niche authority is the plan) Amazon review sites with no Adsense.   We were doing at least one post a day for each of the 4 sites between the two of us, some sites get 2 posts a day.  One of the sites was started early October and made it’s first real sales this month.  One of mine started beginning of Nov has earned $199 in Amazon commissions and still has more items to ship.  Another site, started mid Nov earned $40 and I am sure that is due to the shopping season, so we are pleased with the results so far.

With going away, I had to do 30 reviews in advance and set them to post while I was gone, that was lots of work but a crash course in the niches, about 8 of the reviews were outsourced, but I had to rewrite as the products have a lots of specs and require in depth knowledge that was not there.  Niches were picked based on previous success on Squidoo and low competition.  It is the most product review writing I have done in months and went pretty quickly with Dragon Naturally Speaking, and I am figuring out how to make it faster by batching, as I do plan to do the reviews myself on the technical sites for a while.

Mistakes

2 mistakes this month (or last), I forgot to add the -20 to my Amazon tracking ID on Hubpages and have had registered in average at least a sale a day from the 4 hubs since I fixed it!  Now I know HP converts pretty well.  I guess I should have checked that little experiment sooner.  Just the whole on again off again traffic still spooks me there (per my other subdomain there), but I think I will do some more hubs with my top selling kw there.

Second mistake was not going for another Giant squid before, the worst they can say is no.  I’ll get the other account done too now.

What next?

Infobarrel’s new Amazon modules are up and going now, so I will be spending my time adding them to my IB articles in the next week or so.  I will likely write an IB article on my take on how to get the most out of them.

I will also be maintaining the 3 reviews a day for the new websites.  I will be getting more outsourcing articles done for non-Squidoo sites like IB, Seekyt and Hubpages. We may get some non-sales authority articles going for static pages on the new blogs too.

Nathan is working on finding wholesalers and we have sold our first item on Amazon.ca as a seller using the new FBA – fulfilment by Amazon program.  He will be doing 2 reviews a day as well for his sites, and managing our VA posting more articles and lenses.

We can cozy up for the winter, the livestock is all in the barn and the firewood is in and stacked, and the snowblower on the tractor.

The Book

I have been deciding how I am going to share my book with those who want to read it.  I have no plans to charge any money for it, I haven’t for some time, for a number of reasons.

I will be releasing it by chapters on a schedule.  This will make me get on and do it and break it into manageable chunks.  The first section is pretty well ready to go so it is just a matter of whether it is posted on the site or done through email list.

So how was everyone’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday and whole of November?  I hope it was good!

tekaha December 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

oooh, i’ve been waiting for your update. huge congrats is in order! how your work has paid off! looking forward to your chapters, one by one.

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Hey thanks Tekaha! It is great getting the hubby involved isn’t it? I think Nathan was really surprised the holiday sales we had. He had to add them all up!

Claudine Lewis December 5, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Wow Claire! Your numbers keep astonishing me and I can’t believe you’re not charging for your book. That’s very generous. I would have bought it anyway and I’m sure everyone else would too. Can’t wait to see your Xmas earnings :)

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Thanks Claudine, the earnings are astonishing me too. Nearly a year ago on the Infobarrel forum I set a goal of making $1000 in one month online by the end of 2012! I just wanted to quit my job! ;-) I hope the info in the book will help, it is pretty thorough!

Dean December 5, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Hi Claire,
Your website has been mentioned in the following blog in England, http://howigotrich.net/lets-make-money-with-squidoo/ There are 2 postings by Ian and Gaz which are very skeptical about your earnings claim in October 2012 $5000 in a month with Squidoo. It is reported in some other IM blogs that it is incredibly difficult to make money with Squidoo. You will have to literally make thousands of lenses per month to produce $5,000 in a month. Are these posters just being negative or jealous? I am struggling to get 2 lenses done at present. Reading those postings is very discouraging for me.

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Hey, funny I was just checking it out and just commented there! Happily, they are not correct! I probably had less than 360 lenses back then. Others are making money on there like Erica Stone, Pot Pie Girl and Logan Sargeant. We all have our own ways of doing it, there are many ways IMO. Some sell clickbank products, the vast majority of mine is from Amazon sales. Many of the readers here (and friends of mine from the Infobarrel forum) are starting to make Amazon sales too, as you may see in the various comments.

The intention of this blog was not to make money, but allow me to answer the questions (that always popped up after my IB earnings reports) all in one place, I am toying with stopping doing the earnings reports, as they are getting unbelievable now and are a ton of work to do. To the people that matter, I have made my point that this is possible. Just have faith it is not if, but when you will earn online! Just work hard, smart and constantly look out for ways to refine and streamline what you are doing, no matter what it is.

It is up to you what to believe, belief can limit you or open up a whole new world, but it is so hard to know who to listen to especially in the online earning area, so be careful and trust your own gut.

Kevin December 5, 2012 at 11:07 pm

@Dean – Yeah, it is possible to make great cash on Squidoo. I posted 15-20 articles the last week of October and made $1,000 from those lenses this month. Don’t let the haters get you down.

@Claire – Good showing, once again. Congrats! (You need to start cranking some eBay now :))

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

That is awesome Kevin, good for you. So that’s $50+ per lens in the first month, nice. I knew you will kill it there. You are relentless too! haha. You are right on the Ebay, we were just talking about that today! So much to do, so little time! Thanks for reading, hope December is even better for you!

dave December 5, 2012 at 11:20 pm

11G?? OMG. wow.

So are you going to make more amazon posts in hubpages now?

Skeffling December 5, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Hey Dave, thanks for reading. I know eh? It doesn’t seem real. It all looked fairly normal til about 2 days before Thanksgiving then all hell broke loose! ;-)

I think we will do some HP, but I figure is more risky, it could all come to nothing, quite quickly (so could any of it really!), but it is almost worth the risk when you get a return so fast. I would have done it before, but it was showing no earnings on that tracking ID. I should have checked the clicks too and seen they were zero before. Seekyt and Infobarrel may yield less, but will be more stable long-term, so I have bigger plans for those too as well as the other diversification plans.

Tiffany December 6, 2012 at 12:09 am

WOW Claire I am so happy for you. I think I made this prediction a few months ago LOL..

I’m a little annoyed by the hater aide on the other site up thread referenced..I actually think its a childish way of engaging you in dialogue, instead of emailing and asking for an interview :) . It sort of reminds me some stuff I read about no one ever achieving the 4 minute mile decades and decades ago. Then when one person did it, several people came back to back and accomplished the goal same goal many times over, and I think its even been bested by 17 seconds.

Its all about perspective and how one wishes to see things. I think you’re actually in good company on Squidoo. I KNOW for a fact there is one person making 5k+ just with the tier 1 payout, they’ve really found a niche writing about something really cool and VERY low competition. Its obviously her passion and she does it well. And I really feel like this Amazon thing is ours. You’ve found a system and you’re working it. But if Ian and Gaz were really smart they’d know that a good portion of your income is also NOT coming from Squidoo.

I say all that to say that as great as Squidoo is, they aren’t the only game in town and Seeyt converts VERY well (and not only for Amazon, but for Adsense too).

A whole new economy has opened up online. It gets me wondering where the fiscal cliff actually is-at least on the internet.

But maybe its a good thing that other people (to weirdly make new friends or just out of pure ignorance) believes none of this is possible…it frees up more money for those DOING it.

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 12:26 am

Hi Tiffany, great comment! Thanks. I don’t feel I need to sell this way of earning income to anyone, they can take it or leave it. I am actually amazed how many people have given it a real go, maybe because I got to know them gradually on IB, and have answered queries along the way.

I think you did predict the amount! I am just amazed it keeps coming, I know it will drop off in the New Year and that is not a big deal. I know I look at others on Squidoo and I can take a good guess at what they are earning based on their lenses and ranks and I know I am not alone, they are just not telling anyone! I know I am certainly not at the top on there.

I agree Seekyt is a great site, the new 300×600 adsense ad is going to make it even better I think, though tricky to work around for now if you have a lots of images, but he’s working on it. I actually feel way more valued on there than on Squidoo. It is hard to get replies on Squidoo sometimes, with Tyler you usually get a reply same day! It’s all good anyway. People will gravitate to what they are comfortable with!

Elle December 6, 2012 at 12:23 am

Hi Claire,

WOW , you had a great month. I managed to reach my first amazon affiliate payment and should be receiving a check shortly.

The first couple of weeks of November were quite slow , but the last 2 weeks I have been getting a sale nearly every day which was great. Managed to get 40+ sales from my squidoo lenses.

It is great to see that Infobarrel has added the amazon module. Will need to update my current articles and also add some new product reviews there. I am looking forward to reading your book and it is nice of you to give the book away for free.

Elle

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 12:40 am

Hi Elle, Thanks for reading and commenting and letting me know how you did. I am glad to hear about the sales. Good for you! I think it will be well worth taking a week or so to get everything updated on IB. I think some people are seeing results already which is awesome! Here’s to a great December! ;-)

Meggie December 6, 2012 at 6:17 am

Awesome Claire!!!

I’m interested to see how your niche/authority sites end up. I’ve had mixed results with keywords between Squidoo/niche sites. Like a keyword will work amazingly on a niche site, and do nothing on Squidoo, or vice-versa. I haven’t built new sites in awhile after Google updates screwed things up, but I’m really itching to.

I’m sure you will be having a great December as well. Keep crushing it.

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hi Meggie. Thanks! And thanks for reading and commenting. I am doing the niche sites a different way, doing model product-specific reviews and not doing any kw research at all. It made sense to me as a model and it seems to work fast, if it works at all! I hope to expand on it more when I can.

Eric | My 4-Hour Workweek December 6, 2012 at 7:27 am

Pretty inspiring stuff here, Claire! Been following you for awhile, and it’s great to see your massive growth (especially with Squidoo).

One quick question for you: Is there a reason or benefit to having multiple Squidoo accounts? And do they allow one person to have multiple accounts, or do you have them under different names?

Thanks!

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 8:46 am

Thanks Eric! At the time when we set the extras up the first couple were more niche related, then after that we kept getting lenses flagged for triggering spam filters and thought maybe a profile got “blacklisted” as it seemed to happen more frequently on the new accounts, so we tried a few fresh ones in hubby’s name.

I think we maybe be combining down to 3 or so, as it is a lot of work adding up sales separately etc and I had read somewhere one lensmaster can only have 3 giant squid accounts, but you can have the under the same names I think, mine are. Hubby would like to have his own Giant squid accounts too, but we are the same IP so likely won’t be allowed that, I am not a rule breaker! I guess we can try and ask, they can only say no!

Quinton Hamp December 6, 2012 at 7:36 am

Congrats on the incredible numbers!

Sorry to hear about the haters. If they spent more time experimenting and less time hatin’….

Since Labor day I’ve gotten about 70 lenses up. Just cracked the $300 mark this month. Good Stuff. Thanks for turning me onto it.

Even if you stop with the earnings reports, I’d love it if you’d keep us posted on your journey. Kindle eBooks? eBay? Sounds like you have a lot of ideas up your sleeve.

Diversification is key. (Or so they say)

Thanks for being an inspiration!

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thanks so much. That is awesome Quinton, good for you for taking massive action. I figured you would do OK! I hope December is even better for you!

I am finding as long as I keep adding lenses, the earnings keep growing. It has to slow at some point, but the diversification will help, we have many plans. There are things Nathan is happy to work on things like ecommerce on Amazon, but that seem like too much work for me, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to stuff I don’t want to do! It’s so hard to leave something that is working well though. It’s a fine line deciding between continuing and moving on. It’s more learning which keeps things interesting anyway.

Mike December 6, 2012 at 8:15 am

Hi Claire. Congrats on your great earnings. I’ve been quietly following your Squidoo exploits and rooting for you. I’m working on my own lenses and you are a definitely an inspiration. While other people are spending their time saying it won’t work, you just keep getting it done. Keep up the great work, and good luck!

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

Thanks Mike, I am glad you have been reading and decided to join in! I am still not sure what makes it all work so well, but others seem to be making it work on Squidoo too, and there are no real shortcuts, it’s more about giving the reader exactly what they are looking for I think. Good luck with your lenses.

Southerngirl09 December 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

What an amazing job you and your hubby are doing! Your success has opened new avenues for many online writers to follow in your footsteps.

I have eagerly awaited your book, and knew that purchasing it would be money well spent. Now, you are going to be sharing all your knowledge with us gratis – what a gift!

So, many thanks for sharing, and I am looking forward to the first chapter!

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Hi Southerngirl, That is a great way of looking at it, that we have opened up a new way for others! I was going to let you have the book for no charge anyway when released as you were the first to suggest it, so instead, email me if you need any help with getting going on Squidoo and I will help you! Claire

Jim December 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Your message is so inspiring. I’m glad I found your website.

Thus far I have been reluctant to post my hard work on someone else’s property. Looks like I need to re-think my stance and start following “The Skeffling Method”.

I look forward to your updates.

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Hello Jim, Thanks for reading. I think Panda, Penguin and the EMD updates have shown it can be just as risky to have your own properties too. Things can change so fast online, there will never be any guarantees. I don’t imagine Squidoo will last forever, it would be nice if it did, but I think earning whenever it is possible and makes sense is well worth a go. I love that we got a method named after us, lol!

Tom December 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I am new to building websites with amazon affiliates. How do you setup your sites? Do you use the page for the homepage or a static post with other posts below it?

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Sorry just lost my first reply, grrr. I have a slider or 3 item showcase front and centre then the last 5 or 10 recent posts in summary form. I imagine most people come in via a blog post review page that has come up in the SERPs, so I don’t worry too much about the main, but have never used a static yet – no scientific basis for that, just haven’t tried it as I am fairly new to these!

BUT if they don’t go out to Amazon, I imagine a trip to the main page should get them to the most relevant related posts ASAP, and I attempt this with prominent, precise use of Categories, so give them a “shortlist” of related type articles or reviews to choose from. Go by brand, or item types, cordless, etc, or price or by desirable features etc. There are many ways to split up a niche, so think like a consumer when choosing categories! Some themes let you pick multiple menus based on categories.

Hope that helps

linda December 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Wow, Claire you are doing awesome. How many squidoo lenses do you have altogether now? I’m hoping by this time next year I can have even half your results.
Congrats and enjoy your holidays!

Skeffling December 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Thanks Linda! We have about 445 lenses at the moment. We have worked really hard, many hours a day to get here and kept reinvesting what we earned, but before last year, I had no experience doing this at all, so it can be done! You have a great holiday season too!

Lydia December 7, 2012 at 4:11 am

I am so happy for you Claire. You are too kind. I know a number of people following your website and looking at your lenses ever since you publically announced your earnings. Are you worried about your method becoming saturated if you give out your strategy for free? Happy Holidays.

Skeffling December 7, 2012 at 9:08 am

Hi Lydia, thanks for reading and your kind comments, and your great question. I am not that worried in the grand scheme of things. I guess I have been giving it out for free for months. There are many people who have already got started from studying the pages, posts and comments here.

I think any saturation on Squidoo will drive higher quality content overall, though looking at some of the thin content link and Amazon module-heavy lenses being featured, I hope some changes happen soon on content standards. I know there are a few other ways of earning on Squidoo that have ebooks and courses being sold and promoted right now, so urls will be claimed and it will get saturated by many methods and the post Penduin/EMD renewed interest in it as a way to earn. I imagine there will be some kind of crash or crisis with Google if Squidoo does not stay on top of quality and standards with the influx of new users, and those types of events tend to get rid of a lot of the less committed users.

This is really hard work, most people won’t bother, or they will give up after 20 lenses. It is not passive income, unless a lens gets a ton of Google traffic, it is not likely to stay indexed on Squidoo a long time if the owner is not updating, or even logging in regularly. I predict the ones having early success will be hooked and keep at it. Squidoo is a game that is very tricky to play, some people won’t get it and will choose other sites or things to do to earn as it is not for everyone. Many people give up after a few months then the smart ones come back and try again. I think as long as you are giving readers what they want, you have a chance to succeed anywhere online.

This just happens to be something I have cracked early on in my online career, but I don’t intend for this to be my primary income over time. Having my own royalties for artwork/images (Zazzle, Fotolia etc), royalties on the written word (Kindle, Smashwords etc), having my own physical products and wholesale products to sell (Fulfilment by Amazon), commissions/advertising revenue (maybe eventual sales of websites) and income from other smaller more responsive Web 2.0 sites can make the Squidoo income less vital over time. If this does get to the point where income is declining from increased competition, it will only make me work on the new stuff quicker!

Cathy December 8, 2012 at 1:23 am

Hi Claire,
Are you getting your Adsense from your review sites? If so, how many review sites do you have? And how are you attracting traffic to them?
Thanks and congrats on your increasing success!

Skeffling December 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Hi Cathy, thanks for reading.

Most of my nearly $200 Adsense came from Infobarrel ($86) and Seekyt ($70), next highest is Wizzley at $19 last month. The new review sites have no Adsense. I know I have them set up for Amazon, they are Amazon buyer reviews and I can earn more that way, so have no plans for it on the blogs. I have Adsense in a handful of chicken blogs but pay can be single digit pennies so not a big earner. I have maybe 5 EMD reviews sites I did early summer that are doing nothing, but they have very little pages like 1-5 pages of content!

No backlinking or paid traffic, just model numbers, this last (more succesful) batch of 4 are not keyword researched at all but in (apparently) low comp niches.

Anne-Marie December 8, 2012 at 10:08 am

What a GREAT read! Thanks so much for documenting your amazing journey. You’ved inspired me & motivated me to get going on my 1st lens.

Do you know about Payoneer.com? They provide non-US citizens with a Mastercard and Amazon can deposit your earnings into your Payoneer account. Once done, you’ll receive an email notifying you and the funds can be withdrawn or the card can be used like a normal debit card. I’m in South Africa & have had my card for nearly a year. There has never been any issue and I can highly recommend them.

I’ll be bookmarking your blog – this is a breath of fresh air. Much thanks.

Regards from a sunny Cape Town
Anne-Marie

Skeffling December 8, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Hi Anne-Marie, Thanks for visiting and sharing! That sounds like a good service. We are lucky so close to USA that it is easy and cheap to have a US bank account, but that would be ideal for UK users too as bank charges are criminal there in other currency cheques. Good luck on Squidoo. From Snowy Wiarton, Ontario. ;-)

Mei December 8, 2012 at 10:48 am

Hi Claire! I’ve been lurking for a while but wanted to finally drop in and say how really amazed and inspired by your work I am. Have you made the book available yet? I can’t wait to read it. I’m wondering… would you suggest getting started on infobarrel or squidoo first? Seems overwhelming to work on both to me but maybe it can be done?

Skeffling December 8, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Hi Mei, Thanks for your kind comments and reading the blog. The answer is up to you. If you are the type of person that is easily distracted and needs change, do both. I did 4 at once for about 6 months (but I was able to work full time many days) and learned the pros and cons of each inside and out. This 2 part article may help you decide what to do,

Write on Seekyt, Infobarrel, Squidoo, and Wizzley to Earn the Best Return – Why?

Write on Seekyt, Infobarrel, Squidoo, and Wizzley to Earn the Best Return – How and When Strategies

since written, IB now has a better Amazon module that may convert better for product review type articles. If you are a steady one-foot-in-front-of-the-other person like the majority, pick one!

Squidoo is much harder, but you can earn more. Not much good if you are put off, but if you persist it is very rewarding. IB and seekyt are more supportive, interactive with real people and earn OK for Adsense and Amazon, and are a nicer place to learn how to do all this stuff!

Good luck with what you decide.

Josephy December 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Hi Claire,

Wow! I predict 15 or 16k earnings for December, hopefully it even tops that! Talk about exponential growth.

You mentioned in an earlier comment that you don’t promote articles and let them move up the SERPs naturally.

I’m a bit unclear, does that mean that for the first x weeks or months there isn’t any visitors, because it is still not up there and slowly moving up the search positions?

Also, how long before you start seeing visitors into the site?

Great job, and keep it going!

Skeffling December 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

Hi Thanks for reading Josephy! I’m pretty sure we won’t get up to those earnings though that would be great! haha!

You do get some google traffic, I think some more obscure phrases with zero comp, it ranks for right away and then gets added to more keywords’ search returns as time goes on and it is re-crawled and that is what brings a bigger volume of traffic. It seems to me, the incoming phrases evolve and change with time.

Most of the incoming phrases are fairly unique, a few incoming phrases account for more traffic (maybe 10% of it), but the vast majority of visitors coming in are from super-longtails. Actually when I look at quite a few lenses, the top incoming phrase is not even in the title, not what the articles was (very mildly) targeted for! When I see that with a big enough source of traffic, I may do another lens based on that incoming (easy to rank for accidentally) traffic phrase.

First google visitors are usually next day after publishing, but some can be a few hours or up to 2 days for the first.

Ddraig December 9, 2012 at 7:56 am

Hi Claire, I just knew when you updated the figures would be going in an upward trend.
I am so sorry I couldn’t meet you last week but the car is in a bad way. I hope you get to come over next year and that we can go for a meal somewhere.

I bit the bullet and invested a good sum in to buying extra Squidoo lenses during November and I have noticed an increase in sales. As you stated in your post, with just around 30 you noticed the infrequency, so you can see where my position is right now.

There is enough of an improvement in my income to get my husband’s backing, finally after 3 years of being online. He has no clue about the outsourcing or he would go mental, yet he has no business accumin so I just don’t tell him.

Another thing that has changed I think is that I am now projecting months down the line with growth in lenses, rather than panicking over this months earnings, as I did in the past.

Nici has mentioned about eBooks also and once I have Squidoo rolling to the point that I can outsource, I will look in to that side of things.

Meanwhile, the old blogs are slightly neglected as usual, yet I seriously need to do at least my monthly progress report.

Take Care Claire, I miss you.x

Skeffling December 10, 2012 at 11:02 am

Hi Emma, no problem at all, it was an insanely busy week and feels like I was never back there! I won’t go for 7 days again, way too short! I think Nathan and I may be coming back for a proper holiday in the next year or so, so we will be more mobile too. I can show Nathan where I went to high school and a meal out sounds great! Is Poppins still there in Sunny Donny?

Yes the increase is great! The recent change on Friday has made some things look better and some look worse and we are working hard to get the most popular articles updated with better layouts. Sales are steady as far as I can tell.

That is great you got your lens numbers up. You need that for larger earnings but also to see what type of lenses earn the best. And at this time of year, any lens with an Amazon search has the potential to be the initial location of someone’s Christmas shopping spree! You are right about things building the down the road, even if you stopped work now it would go up a bit. But that is why we kept pushing all summer and fall, we many not get much benefit for months but it will eventually come for most of them. Even this and last month, I have lenses from April suddenly taking off, not because they are seasonal, they just are mature.

Good luck with the sales and earnings this month!

AJ December 9, 2012 at 11:52 pm

Wow, you guys! Geez. You’re killing it! Amazing… too bad there are some crazies. I know people that make $25K or more online that never (or no longer) post income reports both for privacy, copycatters, and the time-factor involved. My day job has been taking too much time lately — and being really annoying too — so I do what I can from 9pm to 2am. 2013 is my year! Onward & Upward!

Skeffling December 10, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Hey AJ, thanks for stopping by! I know it surprised me and we’ll see how this month goes. I know it will drop off soon, so hope the next week is great for everyone. We have a ton of fixing up to do on Squidoo after the update on 440 lenses, but ctrs are way up on the ones we have tweaked so far.

Yes it is taking me close to 2 days a month to add up and write a report, which is crazy. I am sure there are people thinking I’m making it up anyway, haha! And I know I have helped a lot of people get going and earn their first money, which is awesome!

It certainly is a busy time of year! 2am, that makes for a long day, but I bet it makes you more efficient though. I used to do that when I first graduated dentistry and took a childrens writing course. I usually got 4-5 hours of sleep before work, but I never felt tired. It is amazing what will drive you to keep going when everyone else is either watching TV or sleeping. I am betting 2013 is your year too! You have the knowledge, it’s just multiplying out that content to earn now. Go for it!

Ddraig December 11, 2012 at 5:52 am

No one that knows you would think you were making it up Claire. 1) You are too honest and 2) You are qualified in Dentistry, so it would have to be more income than that for you to leave Dentistry. You keep flying me Girl x

Skeffling December 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Yes Emma, I guess you have a point on the Dentistry! I am so glad I am done with that ;-) Hey you keep it up too!

ash December 10, 2012 at 5:56 am

i will check out the payoneer card i cannot withdraw money easily

Skeffling December 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Great. I bet a few people can use it! Better than having to spend Amazon gift cards!

Linda December 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Claire,
On some of your updated lenses how are you doing the 5 across, is that special html or?

Skeffling December 10, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Hi Linda, I don’t do special html for no other reason than I have not got round to learning it, haha It’s a Squidoo module (their affiliate links). It’s the regular Amazon module (not spotlight) and default is the 5 down the page which were OK before, but are huge now.

If you are editing that Amazon module, there is a second appearance tab about 1/3 way down after the description area and you click on it. Bottom left is the show as thumbnails (yep or nope) pick yep. You used to be able to show availability and price etc and I don’t think that works now so just click save then take a look.

It seems to size the images based on width so tall images get cropped, but it does not seem to have affected ctr at all. I have many doubled, some lenses increased from 65% to 130% over hundreds of visitors, some 40% are now 80% and some 20% to 40% so try it and see. Give it at least a couple of days so you can be sure results are not random based on too few visitors.

Since we have done this on about 30 lenses none have lost ctr on average over a 1-2 day period. I think it will convert for clicks better among text modules than the Amazon spotlights which have more white space, but it is not based on fact, just a gut feeling, as it looks way better between a chunk of text (those chunks look less daunting now anyway due to the wider page making them less lines) and it is clearer what the reader is seeing, I think, with the 5 thumbails framed by text.

Tomorrows Sqiudoo sales stats will be a real proof of a full day’s traffic for the first batch of the lenses the new way and see if sales are up or just the same. Hope everyone sees an improvement soon. I am amazed at the increased ctr after editing them all this way though, it is definitely significant. ;-)

Joe December 11, 2012 at 5:51 am

Claire,

I remember you mentioning somewhere during your computation of Amazon, that it was just an estimate and you expected something like it could go down because some items are excluded and other third party ones won’t pay. Can’t remember where it was so I’m just writing as I remember it.

What do you mean by third party ones aren’t going to pay? And can you tell which ones before linking to the product in Amazon?

Thanks.

Skeffling December 11, 2012 at 5:48 pm

Hi Joe, there is a list here of “zero commission” items here. I have been reading the Amazon forum and it seems the items that have “other buying options” and not “add to cart’ on the yellow/orange buy button on the Amazon page won’t pay.

I believe how it works, and is especially noticeable at this time of year if the regular Amazon sellers sell out, it defaults to the extra vendors through the other buying options link. I have so many links, any new lenses we are not sending to these times, but I am not going to change too many of the existing ones for now. I am more inclined to change the zero commission ones first as the alternate vendor ones may come back to fulfilled by Amazon if restocked.

Jack December 11, 2012 at 6:25 am

Claire,

I read in an earlier reply to Josephy that you mentioned visitors start coming in to the lens by the next day or two, sometimes even earlier.

I’ve noticed that on my end, it takes a long time, like weeks before visitors come in, and not all of them, sometimes longer, and not many come. I do know that by the next day my new lenses are indexed in google, using site:www.squidoo.com/

I hope you could care to share what you think are the factors that contribute to getting visitor in quick as opposed to taking so long just to get your first or second visitors.

Skeffling December 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Hello Jack, I am not 100% certain but I think the below things are important.

I think the top factor is most likely low competition primary search phrase as opposed to high search volume. Low competition niches and topics overall help too, things that not many people write about, though that is almost impossible to find now.

It also makes sense to me that a longer LSI rich article may get picked up more quickly or one with more social signals/likes early on. It would get traffic for more phrases too than one with more filler words or higher keyword density of the main phrase, but that is also a guess. Mine are generally close to the same quality, only number of words and amount of keyword competition really varies significantly I think. Competition versus search volume ratios are fairly close between articles.

Also having good buyer keywords where they are definitely searching for something to buy spurs them on to visit, more than a casual browser information gathering type of visitor.

Steve December 11, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi Skeffling,

I just started started reading on your blog and want to congratulate you for your great success!

You seem to have a talent for this.

I’m new to this so hopefully this isn’t a silly question.

After you’ve found a lot of keywords, do you run them through traffic estimator or the keyword tool?

I noticed that there is sometimes a difference in the search between the two. Also, if you use traffic estimator, does this count local or global searches, considering that I noticed a lot of amazon products only ship to the US.

Here’s to your growing business!

Skeffling December 17, 2012 at 11:16 am

Hi Steve Thanks for reading and your kind compliment. It is amazing what you can learn in a year. The more results you get back from this, the more you have to analyse and fine tune with!

“After you’ve found a lot of keywords, do you run them through traffic estimator or the keyword tool?”

One or other or both, always local US. It sounds vague, but being lazy, I usually only go through the keyword tool if there are less than 100 phrases (which there hardly ever are) or if I let it make some up from it’s own “archives”, as it only takes in about 100 kw at a time and I am not spending all day doing batches! The Estimator is a trade off as you can put about 1200 phrases in at once, and I find it gives more positive, hopeful results (higher), but you have to mess about with the output and multiply them by 30 for the month! Hope that helps Claire

Andrew @ JRC Web Design & SEO December 12, 2012 at 6:37 am

Massive well done to you both with those earnings Claire! :-)

Looking forward to seeing the book and I think its fantastic that you are able to give it away for free. I’ve experimented with adsense sites this year and am starting to show some good sites there but there is such a big delay between a site going live and starting to rank even if all goes well – plus there are the constant SERP changes to deal with but its been a good learning experience and might be profitable yet! lol

I’m definitely going to refocus on squidoo etc. next year and if I can get half the earnings you’ve managed I will be more than happy! :-)

Hope you enjoyed your time back in Blighty, keep meaning to head over that way and visit Bempton/Flamborough but might get there over the Christmas period – well wrapped up mind! lol

Cheers

Andrew

Skeffling December 17, 2012 at 11:26 am

Hi Andrew, Thanks. It seem like a dream! It is great the Adsense is working. It is hard to wait, even to tweak the keyword ratios when researching new for new sites and determine whether you need a bigger search volume or lower competition to make it pay. I hope they work out well for you and the Squidoo too.

Yes it was lovely being back, though it flew by. We actually had a few nice crisp clear days and frosty nights whiel there and not that much rain, and I missed a foot of snow at home that came and went while I was away! I was going to go to Spurn Point but it finally broke up to an island since the last time we were home, so you can’t drive to it any more. You certainly do need to wrap up near that coast especially if the wind comes from the East! ;-)

dave December 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Hey Claire,

Been reading your blog for around a month and thought its time to leave a comment. I admire what you’ve achieved in a year, Amazing Earning!

I’ve been successful online in ecommerce over 10 years but lost it all recently.

I’m starting again and now and have tried 99% of things online, my issue is I get bored too easily!!

I really hate writing but going on your Earnings and Stats I’m giving this one a go – last 4 days I’ve knocked out 7 lenses. I knew it would come to this ironically!{having to write for a living} Google justs want content, Simple really and I’m pretty sure it can become Passive with planned outsourcing. {something I am very good at}

I have read all your stuff and also a Squidoo Course {very in-depth, forgotten the name} anyway I love it that you are determined and have the desire to make it happen. Its getting past the “not giving up stage” that’s tough for me!

The keyword as you say is the single most important part of making money with Squidoo and like Google Sniper if you know it getting the GEMS below 10,000 exact with a decent search volume and buyers keywords is a skill in itself!

I’ve used all the software you have been using and I have decided that LongTailPro Wins Hands Down. I hate having to use and open up tons of software then go to google to check “exact match” or allintitle etc….Boring again. (especially working in Excel!!)

I am really going low though to see what happens {below 50 Global in some cases} with 0 competing pages. Then I just re-write Amazon reviews as I hate writing.

This is until I can afford to outsource 4 Review Articles per day at 300-600 words.

Thanks for giving me a kick in the Ass to Try This as it’s something I don’t enjoy but guess it beats REAL WORK and if I can get anywhere near what you earn I will be loving it!

;)

Skeffling December 17, 2012 at 11:46 am

Hi Dave, I am so glad to see your comment! Sorry to hear about the ecommerce thing. What a shame after all that work. One thing I have learned about working online is never take any of this income for granted, and the things we learned to do well in one thing online can apply to most other online work, the principles are the same.

I find is very easy to give up after I have no results, but the slightest hint something is going to work here and I can get stuck in. I just think of the alternative, looking in people’s mouths day in a day out and trying to give needles to little kids and it is easy!

I find it is very hard to make myself things do things I don’t like or bore me though, that is why I have so many things on the go (and why I outsource). I have kept it interesting by doing lots of different things since I started online last year, writing for multiple Web 2.0 sites at the same time, but you learn more for doing it and have so much you can compare. I have seen mostly the advice for newbies is stick to one thing and master it, then move on and that is definitely not what I feel I did as it would have bored me stiff. I ended up spending more time and money one on thing later, Squidoo, because it was making the most money.

I had a weird experience with LTP when I trialed it, and would love to have it do all in one step, but I think you will always have more eventual competition that way too. I don’t mind doing the steps, I love looking for a needle in a haystack, and I think keyword research is one of my favourite parts of online work.

I hope you have success on Squidoo, it is getting very competitive on there as there are a lot of new people trying it, with some help from ebooks and courses.

dave December 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Hi Claire,

One quick Q, how often do you ping/re-ping your lenses?

And do you get a virtual assistant to do it for you?

Skeffling December 13, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hi Dave, we do them when we first publish at that is it for the most part. If they are publishing it, they ping and copy the url into an excel doc. If I change the title or add any links I re-ping only through the Squidutils thing, and it is me doing it, as the link is right there when you republish and it takes half a second. Many have never been re-pinged a second time and it is definitely not scheduled every so many days, months or weeks or anything.

Anthony December 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Have you noticed a drop in traffic since Nov 10-15th? I see people on the forums complaining about losing up to 20% of their traffic.

Skeffling December 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi Anthony. Not significantly. I saw that on there. I hope you are not affected. Traffic stayed steady after 20-21st Nov too. I just took a look at all my most popular lenses and it actually looks like 1-7th Dec was cut off way lower on some lenses on one profile, then went back up around the time of the site update, it does not look random on the graph.

One of my higher lenses is falling in steps (starting at Halloween) and just sent down on 9th Dec, but I have figured it is a competing lens taking traffic. Some of my everyday, really non-Christmas, lenses are steadily slowly declining (due to the nature of the items) not giftable really, so nothing unusual I am guessing. With the increased ctrs with the time of year and update of layout, we are probably even or up to what we would have been.

Claudine Lewis December 17, 2012 at 9:00 am

Hi Claire,
I’m hoping you can help me with this question. Have you seen traffic estimator return vastly differing daily impressions for a keyword on 2 consecutive days? Yesterday I was jumping up and down when I found a keyword with daily imp of 39 that had very low comp, but today the same keyword has a value of just 2! I’m pretty sure I didn’t make a mistake yesterday. I also got lower allintitle searches today. The global monthly searches using Google’s keyword tool stayed the same. Not sure what to think, since I got a nice ratio of 0.17 yesterday but 1 today! Any help would be appreciated.

Skeffling December 17, 2012 at 11:51 am

Hi Claudine, I hadn’t noticed it, but I rarely go back over the same kw once I have them in my master file. Remember the estimator you have to multiply the output by 30 to get the monthly amount as it is daily impressions. If the 39 impressions was though adwords, then the other through estimator, that could explain it.

For your allintitles, are you in the US and were you on google.com both times. Did you use “quotes” one way then not on the other? Unless you are targeting the UK, do US local if you can, not global. I hope that helps.

Claudine Lewis December 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

Yes, I multiply the impressions by 30 to get no. of searches. I took impressions only from estimator and I only use US local exact match for both adwords keyword tool and estimator, so the huge discrepancy is mystifying.

For allintitle, I don’t use quotes and use .com only. I did read somewhere that any google search varies and the accurate number is what you get when you go to the last page. Maybe that has something to do with estimator numbers too? It’s mystifying to me!

Oh well, I think I’ll run with the keyword anyway. I’ll let you know if it works or not. Thanks for clearing up the method to use, and I’m already itching to hear about your numbers for next month!

Skeffling December 18, 2012 at 8:27 am

For me it is not the number as such, though it is a guide, but that google has recorded it as a “phrase”. I think these reported numbers are generally lower than actual search numbers (based on looking at my Squidoo stats as an independent indicator). Once you start to write, you can get an infinite number of very close longtail variations making up your traffic as well. If the keyword is buyer oriented, like “best product”, “top-rated product” or “product reviews”, I’d give it a go too!

Claudine Lewis December 18, 2012 at 11:07 am

Thanks Claire! I feel much better about it now. I published the lens today. Long tails make sense. Even if the lens turns out to be a dud, at least I’m learning. BTW, I made my first 2 sales on Squidoo after posting 4 lenses! One was an item I had but the other was completely unrelated. They are tiny sales, but they be SALES!!!

Gie December 17, 2012 at 11:09 am

Hi Claire!

I just got my first Squidoo payment – $25! :) that’s from the adpool and also from Squidoo Amazon modules.

November wasn’t that bad, I had added about 8 lenses for that month (I had surgery so I had to rest) – earned over $400 total on Amazon (I have a few niche sites, although the bulk of that income came from a seasonal Christmas site). Still not sure how much I have with squidoo (it’s time-consuming, and I’d rather focus more on creating more lenses as I don’t have much time, I still got a fulltime job).

I have a few queries, if you don’t mind.

How do you keep multiple accounts on Squidoo? (I think I sent you an email about this, but you were probably away on holiday, and it got buried amongst your pile of emails)

1.) Do you use proxies?
2.) Is it okay to have many accounts on Squidoo? How much is too many?

I’m trying to make separate accounts for different niches.

Also, you’ve shared about having kindle books, and that you outsource it.

Outsourcing is not new for me, so I’m open to the idea. How did you learn about writing for kindle? Do you recommend a course? I have seen a lot of marketers promoting writing kindle books courses that I worry that it’s just “another shiny object” or IMer’s promoting the “next big thing” (making it a fad).. but since you’re doing it (and you’re trustworthy ;) I want to give it a go, as I need to diversify my income as well (although I intend to focus on Squidoo and my niche sites for the next couple of months). I figured I can start learning about kindle publishing when I have a few hours to spare.

Looking forward to your book!

Gie

Skeffling December 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi Gie, Sorry I just lost a huge long reply, grrr. Well done on the payout. Hope you are feeling better after the surgery. I don’t use proxies, no need, I wouldn’t have more than 4 accounts, as it is hard to keep track of them, and the only no-no is don’t “like” your own lenses with your other accounts.

I learned about Kindle through here http://www.makemoneyontheinternet.com/podcast-12-how-to-make-35000-per-month-selling-kindle-books/ There is a podcast, then a webinar, and the $1000 course by Ty is OK, but I wouldn’t buy it again. It is the only course I have taken so have none to recommend. We knew we could likely figure it out on our own (and the webinar will get you started), but er were in a hurry ton get started ASAP, but in truth, it is still sitting on the back burner. We have about 7 manuscripts are written, that need formatting, covers done and publishing, and have 3 published since August. I wanted to get my own book out before getting the others done or I knew I’d never get it done! Now Nathan will likely be taking the outsourcing and publishing Kindle over while I find more topics, as we need to diversify more too! Claire

Joseph December 18, 2012 at 8:07 am

Claire, of behalf of all of us, thanks for helping us all by answering our questions.

I’ve noticed that bulk of my traffic and thus, clickouts are coming from a few lenses, something like 15% making 80% or so of the traffic, and earnings.

Is this what you are experiencing also, or do you have a better balance? I’m feel uneasy that the proportion is skewed significantly.

Also, I’ve been running some numbers and at 4-6% or so on commissions from amazon it does take a ton of visitors. If it’s okay with you, what number of visitors a month did you have before things started to get good? Is the main factor the visitors or am I missing the point?

Thanks again.

Skeffling December 18, 2012 at 8:23 am

No problem Joseph. I think that is normal for online articles. Mine were like that in the beginning, then it evened up a bit, now it is back to that as some of the top one have take off more, which seems to fall in with the Pareto principle.

Look at your top lenses and look for patterns and see why they are so successful, what is the difference? Are they just older, then the others may imrpove by doing nothing. Look at your layout, niches, ctr rates, whether your top incoming phrases are the one in your titles or not. If not, do another lens with that popular incoming phrase as apparently it is possible to rank accidentally with it and they are buying too! Now you are seeing results, you have info no one else has, so make the best use of it and use it to your advantage.

You know I have never thought of total monthly visitors so don’t have a benchmark in my mind. I knew generally if most of my sales lenses got 10-30 visitors a day, I’d start to get (a) monthly sale (s). Ones getting around 70-100 views a day tend to get daily sales, but it hinges on how urgently they reader wants to buy. Some items are more of a necessity than others. eg. Diapers for the baby versus and new dress for herself that Mom may change her mind about! Hope that helps!

ash December 18, 2012 at 12:41 pm

pat flynn’s got a much better podcast on kindle publishing than chris gunthrie and they talk about how to gauge your compeition by looking at the sales rank (I think they said the top book in the niche should have a sales rank of ~20,000) meaning there is a flow of buyers and worth pursuing

Skeffling December 30, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Hi Ash, thanks. We’ll check that out. Happy Holidays!

Melissa December 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hi Claire,

At this point which keyword tools are you using? Do you still use them all, from what I’ve read in your blogs, you’re using Stealth KW digger, Keyword Researcher, KW optimizer, and Stealth Competition Analyzer. And lately Long Tail Pro.

Which ones have been most useful, and could you explain why you think it works better than the others (at least for you). Also, how did LTP pan out, does it work well?

Skeffling December 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I haven’t done any kw research for Squidoo in about 2-3 months. We had a backlog of about 150 articles that needed posting and since working daily on the new blogs since early Nov, I am not do doing any keyword research at all for the main product reviews. We just spent all of Dec updating Squidoo formats after the update on 7th Dec and still have many more to update.

If/when I do get back to making more lenses, it will likely be Stealth Digger for Squidoo lenses (just does a general scrape-good for new topics) and I’ll use Squidoo stats and keyword results to see what I am accidentally ranking for. I’ll use Keyword researcher for informational niche blog posts (for longtail questions etc) and my allintitle program. Everything is still evolving and improving, I am learning new stuff all the time so it is hard to pin it down to one thing.

I am not using LTP, I can’t say what happened when using it, it may have been a coincidence, but I did get one decent run out of the trial, but am happy to keep doing it my way. I think if it works as advertised for people they will be very happy with it and it woudl be a good way to get that allintitle data. Hope that helps

IM Newbie December 19, 2012 at 10:53 am

Dear Claire,

I am completely new to IM. I really appreciate your generous free advice on this blog to help me start from scratch! I read your “5 Quick Tips for those new and learning to earn money online” and it saved me from wasting my money on scammers who prey on people like me.

It is wonderful how you take the time to respond to each post and even to cynics like Ian and Gaz positively. I thank you in advance for giving me your book for free, as it is the perfect Christmas gift to help me prepare for next Christmas.

I would like to thank you for your kindness and save my time too. Just a suggestion: could you have a page that lists all of your referral links for me (and others who are new to IM) to sign up under you at one go? Nathan’s Resources has a few but not all of your referral links, right?

A few questions, if you don’t mind. It is great that you and Nathan have diversified with separate PayPal and Squidoo accounts. Can I diversify with separate PayPal Business and Personal accounts? Are they considered one and the same, as they are both linked to me? Can I sign up with my Business Name for Squidoo, Amazon, InfoBarrel, etc. and then sign up again with my Personal Name for two separate accounts?

There is a PayPal Merchant Referral Bonus program too. Please give me your PayPal referral link, so I can sign up for my Business Account under you or Nathan. If you do not want to put it in your blog, please email me.

I hope to earn my first penny online soon and it is all thanks to you for encouraging me, like when you wrote, “The only way to fail is to never start.”

Yours gratefully,
IM Newbie.

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 11:46 am

Hi there, thanks for your comment and questions. Sorry for the delay. December was a pretty crazy month. There certainly is a lot to read here and you have to go through the comments to get it all. I prefer to answer questions in the comments rather than e-mail, then everyone gets to read it, if it is useful to them.

I have not thought about a page of affiliate links, it is funny, but I just feel awkward with things like that, yes, I am backward in coming forward as my mom used to say.

What a PayPal business account allows you to do is, I believe you get lower rates or charges on your transactions, and it will also allow you to accept credit cards, whereas the personal account will only allow others to transfer the balance to you. We got a merchant Paypal account about 13 years ago when we started selling on eBay. E-mail me and I will send you the PayPal link as I do not think I have your e-mail. If you are already signed up no problem at all, my fault for not getting back to you sooner.

I hope you do well online, there are some great people out there giving good information, and it is always fun to read earnings reports, so they are generally the best blogs to follow.

Joseph December 24, 2012 at 12:44 am

Merry Christmas Claire!

Thanks for the response. Makes a lot of sense.

I wanted to ask about # of words in the article and % density. It’s kinda a weird question so bear with me.

When you say 500+ words, is this the article itself written (which I believe is). Because when I try to run the page (squidoo lens) in any keyword density tool onlinie, you get a lot more than the 400 or 800 words in the article, because of all the things squidoo adds.

Just so I know I’m doing it right, the # of words means the original article (just text and not the extra squidoo adds), and the % kw density also refers to this one, right?

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 11:58 am

Merry Christmas to you Joseph and a happy new year! Sorry for the delay in replying.

You know I never actually measure keyword density as such. There are tools for it on a page. I guess any measurement I do is based on what I received from the freelance writers, And is generally if it shows up more than twice, I either break it up or use synonyms-I do have some earlier articles that would be higher than that, where I was what not so meticulous at breaking up what the writer had written for me.

Some keyword targeting, eh? So you are right it is not based on the extra words included in the final lens. I have some articles on squidoo getting 100 views a day and maybe only five of the google visits are from the same keyword. All the rest are unique longtail phrases. I guess I just want to make sure that somebody is looking for that phrase somewhere, but how you interpret and answer that keyword phrase or question is what will help you convert your visitors to buyers.

I guess with subheadings (H2 tags) I end up with a few more shorter tail phrases, maybe two or three words long, but I always want to make them synonyms of the keyword really rather than just the same thing over and over. In my opinion this gives you more chances to rank for more phrases. And keeps you out of trouble with Google.

Steve December 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

When you find keywords/phrases that are similar, like for example, best running shoes and best shoes for running, or things like that. Or something like cheap xxxx, and another good candidate that is like best affordable xxxx.

Do you make one for each or do you just put all similar phrases to make one article?

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Hi Steve, that is a very good question. I do both ways, sometimes I try and put them all into one article, other times I will do both. Especially if the keyword stats look good. You are competing with yourself, so you may expect diminishing returns on the additional articles, but if it seems like a promising niche and you can write about it easily, why not?

Winston December 28, 2012 at 9:14 am

Hi Skeffling,

I’m trying out some of the tools you mentioned and haven’t been getting keywords that are low competition. I noticed that the more detailed the initial word you entered, the better the chance.

Could you give an example of what a good initial keyword to enter into the software would be vs. something that will give you a lot of high competition words.

For example, when I try something like ‘best running shoes’, I do get a few (very few) candidates. What would be a better term to enter as your seed(?) keyword into the software to scrape. (not sure if that’s the right term to call it)

Another issue I bumped into while trying out all in titles is the captcha from google. After I get it I stop for fear of getting into problems or getting banned (is there such a thing?). Do you get this, and how do you avoid this when trying out a lot of keywords?

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Hi Winston, I totally agree, I use pretty long tail entries to start the keyword digger and others. It seems to make them scrape deeper as they have more words in the phrase to expand on. I do not know what would give you hide, petition keywords specifically, but I would put something like “top rated treadmills for beginners” in and see what it brought up. With the stealth keyword digger it does give you the shortails to, which usually are crazy high competition. You will get this when you enter long or short tail phrase anyway and I often delete them from the text file right away. I guess as a rule I try and enter at least four words into SKD.

I think longtail Pro will allow you to choose a certain number of words in the output. So if you do not want two word or three word phrases, and want to just pick through the four word phrases and above, that would be a smart thing to set in your initial settings.

As far as the captcha, it does look nasty and official (and scary), occasionally if you have a program that is running really fast and flags it, it may ban/block you for two or three days. I have had that before, not for months, though. But for the most part, if I am doing them by hand and just get it every so often, I always continue. Sometimes it comes up because of the type of search you are doing, the allintitle”, “allinURL”, and other advanced search terms will flag it as well as the rate of subsequent queries.

John December 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Claire, I was REALLY hoping that our Christmas present from you was going to be the release of your book! :( I saw you where going to be releasing it in chunks, and that the first was pretty much ready to go?

Please, I really need the help with squidoo, I’m lost as to what to do! I’ve read over your keyword selection process, but it’s sort of complicated, and I’m left with keywords that I’m not sure I should go after or not? Also, when it comes to actually making the squidoo lens – I just have absolutely no clue what to write about! Am I supposed to be just listing general information about the item, or am I trying to “sell” it to the person? Squidoo lenses I look at for example, are absolutely horrendous to me – just filled with words to up the word count and not really telling people ANYTHING USEFUL about the item… is that what is successful???

I know you make a lot of money on squidoo, so you obviously know what you are doing – please, PLEASE help us out with your info Claire!

Lost, and really need to make some sort of income
John

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Hi John, yes is that it is a lot harder to do a book than you think. Especially on all of this marketing stuff, where there is a responsibility to give people your best, as they will spend time and efforts trying things out, based on what you have told them. I think this is why the book has taken me so long to do because I wanted perfect and I guess that is impossible as things constantly change online. I have pledged to release the book in chunks, it will be through the e-mail list, once I have Decembers earnings report ready to go, which will hopefully be later today.

I had hoped to have it out before Christmas when I got back from the UK, but you may know, Squidoo did some big changes to the layout in early December, and we have to work on correcting the messed up lenses to give ourselves a decent chance of sales in December.

As far as the articles, I do not really “sell” as such, it is a combination of explaining features and highlighting what the best features are and how that will improve the person’s life, or save them hassle, time or money. I want to highlight the best features of the best items based on what it will do for the reader, just listing a ton of features does not help anyone, though you will still sell some stuff.

Squidoo is quite good at converting readers into buyers, and the better you answer the buyers questions, the more likely you will sell, but you may accidentally sell to even with poor information if you have an image of the product. People want to buy, they are looking for things to buy, so you have to arrange and explain things well, so a higher percentage of them buy.

Do not worry too much, you will likely still sell something anyway, but if you get this right you can sell 10 times as much from one lens if you organize it well. Some of that organization just comes from experience and will vary from person to person. Here is an example sentence to help you get started, but at least start something, even if it is wrong, it is still something and a chance for a sale.

For example, “the XYZ model has a titanium blade for cutting”. OK
Or the “XYZ model’s titanium blades cut quickly and are simple to clean”. Better

This is where you will that do better to know the products you are writing about, because if you have experienced frustration using that type of item yourself, you know what features are important to make things run smoothly. So really you are weaving the features in with the benefits, so what those features will do for someone.
in
I personally hate to see an introductory paragraph and a page full of links, but I am learning how people shop online, and when everything is collected all in one place like that, it is still valid and useful for the reader. Though maybe not as useful as a top 10 list with a buying guide and a couple of thousand words of content, but not every one needs that to make a purchase. I think long term they may not work and more content gives Google more to find and rank you for now, but it is tempting to slap a few up and keep adding over time….. I am fine with doing them the way I do, even if it is more expensive, as it is working OK so I see no need to change it for now! I hope that helps a bit Claire

klaird December 31, 2012 at 12:18 am

Wow! Awesome Sales! The last few months I have been focusing on building up my Zazzle stores so I haven’t made any product review lenses in months! Now I have a whole year to sulk over not making any Amazon lenses for the Christmas shopping season! lol I was trying to get 100 lenses done promoting Zazzle items because the commissions are great when you figure in the volume bonuses. Consequently, my Zazzle earnings topped my own Amazon Associate commissions in both Nov and Dec and were more than $1000 for both months. (I’m not sure what my Squidoo payments will be yet). Nothing compared to your earnings, but I’m very happy to have a viable income source that doesn’t rely on Squidoo at all. Like you, I’m want to diversify my income streams, especially when they come from a website that I don’t own, control, or make the rules for.

I was just earning from Zazzle by referring sales to other’s people products, but the last few months I have focused on getting products into my own stores. So far I’m really impressed with the potential there. My products will be up for sale “forever” and I don’t have to do any maintenance once they are posted for sale. And I’ve really seen the potential of making sales from the “3rd party” referrals, when other people refer a sale to your item. In December about half of my sales were 3rd party referrals. It’s like having your own marketing team working for you! Anyway, I’m rambling…congrats on your great month!

PS…what is your Zazzle store?

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thanks. That is a compliment coming from you, because I know when I first started on Squidoo. I was following your earnings reports early on. ;-)

I totally agree on the Zazzle, I am amazed what even a few hundred dollars in sales will earn you in commissions. I just helped my Aunt in the UK help get set up a store, and she has made sales already and is thrilled. The thing I like about Zazzle is how passive it can be if you want it that way, I really have not done any promotion this year, at all, and still earned $500 on Zazzle all year from about three weeks of work last January. I would like to spend some more time working on my stores too, as it is nice to have that ticking away and PayPal is always a convenient way to get paid. ;-) Do you have yours Zazzle lenses on your main profile? I would love to see how you set them up. I am pretty horrible at using code, so I am sure that takes some time to do.

I have four Zazzle stores, the middle two sell the most, images of our own animals! What is your store?

Antique Easter Postcards & Gifts
Rare Poultry Gifts
Belted Galloway Gifts
Images of Antique lace, linen & lavender

Ivan January 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Hey, thanks for sharing all the info here! Do you know when will your ebook be released? I’m in a dire need to make some money, but I can’t invest into anything (except maybe Keyword Researcher), because I’m just a poor student and Squidoo money would come in great. Thanks for being an inspiration!

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Today hopefully! ;-)

Deborah-Diane January 5, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Wow! You are doing an amazing job. If I can earn just 25% of what you are earning on Squidoo, I will be thrilled. Thanks for sharing your tips. I really appreciate it, and plan to keep working on those lenses!

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Thanks Deborah-Diane! Yes keep up the good work on squidoo, once you start to get those sales, you will be hooked and then you realize all you have to do is more.

Dee January 6, 2013 at 6:28 pm

Just discovered this blog and Skettling! Wow, I am somewhat amazed that I have not ‘discovered’ you before now, and yet it does prove what I have always believed – those making the ‘real’ money are not hanging out in Squidoo forums and Facebook groups, but quietly and busily adding to their online portfolios.
The timing is perfect because I have set myself a goal to reach $10K for the month of December 2013. This December I have made an estimated $3K or slightly below and for me that is fantastic. I unfortunately got hit with a big dip in traffic late November and it never really recovered fully throughout December, so I estimate I lost about $1K in income from that.
I am so looking forward to emulating your success! It does take a lot of hard work, and long hours and at this point I am doing it all myself (no outsourcing as yet) so anywhere between 10 and 16 hours at the computer is quite normal for me. I have lofty goals and am not afraid to put the time in NOW so I can enjoy free time later.
Congratulations on such a successful November and hope you will take the time to share your December earnings, even if you decide it is the last month of earnings figures you will share. Inspirational for me, without a doubt.

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Hi Dee, thanks for reading and commenting. It is funny, you sound exactly like me. Well done on your December sales! That is great. You are well on the way and if you can keep up that rate, you will likely break $20,000 in December especially if you can outsource-you can always add to or tweak the articles to improve them, but having them published in working and maturing will only help your cause. I think your goal is totally doable anyway, especially if you are willing to put in that 10 to 16 hours a day, as I have for the past year or so. But if you have the skills and determination to get to $3000 already, you can apply what you already know, and you will have the experience to improve your lenses and even increase you sales rate further. It just seems to get better and better.

Sorry to hear about your traffic woes. I would be tempted to start a new profile if you cannot shake it, but we all know how much more work that is, and then you have the approval to go through again for giant squid.

I will be doing one last earnings report for December for the time being, it is half written right now and I will be publishing it today so check back. :-) I hope we can share tips!

Gary January 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi, Claire
I have just joined your list and its very nice to see a marketer who wants to help others succeed.

Thank you and I look forward to learning and making money online. I’m a newbie so hungry to learn.
All the best for the new year
Gary

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Hi Gary, that is great you signed up. Hopefully you enjoy the content coming your way. Do not worry you will not have any junky e-mails! I only send something if I think it is useful for people. I hope you do well online, it is a lot more work than you expect, but it is definitely possible to make money if you keep at it.

david January 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hey Claire,

Happy New Year!

Updating you – I’ve only managed 10 lenses haha god it is boring! I’m outsourcing all the writing now at $4 per article.

I am going to outsource adding them to Squidoo too as I know have a procedure of how I like them based on your tips and from a Squidoo course. My main worry is the person working for me seeing my income on the admin panel. Hmmmmm…

This has always put me off total 100% automation but I might just bite the bullet and take a PUNT!

Also they need access to my Amazon login for adding my Amazon links – the only way around this is to use a plugin via wordpress for them to use to search using my Affiliate ID this way they wont see my earnings hehe

The only thing I would do is the fun easy part of finding the Golden Keywords which is easy really.

What are your thoughts?

Cheers ;) (oh what did you earn in December as that will probably just make me hungry for it even more haha)

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Hi David, Happy New Year to you too! 10 lenses is better than zero lenses. It sounds like you have a good plan going forward, and having help to get you started stops you going crazy from the repetition.

We use Lastpass.com to give our VA access without giving the actual password. It will notify you if they attempt to change the password too. I think finding those golden keywords is the most fun of all too, and then checking back in your stats to see how you did.

Let me know how the automation goes for posting, I tried Macro marketer in the spring, but the learning curve was is way too steep for me. I would love to be able to buy macros already set up for the steps I want to do, but I have no patience to do that much trial and error and programming myself.

Winston January 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Claire,

Thanks for the response.

You mentioned earlier you used an allintitle program. Hope you don’t mind explaining what it is and what it does.

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I had a guy on Fiverr make it for me back in May. Malonie in Germany. I paid for six gigs, so it was about $30. The people who are asked about it and gone to him, he has quoted 50. It was a lot of work, trial and error for weeks getting it going, but it still works. I have not found anything I like more yet.

It takes a simple text file with just the keywords in the first column, searches those for allintitle and produces another text file where the second column is the allintitle count. I then cut and paste the information into my original adwords or whatever spreadsheet that has traffic for each keyword too. When I get the chance, I may get him to expand it and do more of the manipulations automatically, but I do not know if I have two or three months of spare time to do that. I have to fill out catchas as it goes along, but I usually do it while I am watching TV or something.

Joseph January 7, 2013 at 8:00 pm

When using synonyms, I’ve run into some words that seem to not have synonyms so I end up repeating them.

Hope you can explain how you deal with terms that don’t seem to have synonyms (or I probably just don’t know how to find the synonyms, is there a way to do this, BTW?). For example, tablet, shoes and some others.

Skeffling January 7, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Just use it, this etc. Also use item, equipment, device, machine, product, gadget, accessory etc, just general terms. I can’t think of a specific resource to find synomyms, though there most be something online.

Christine February 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

Hello Claire,
I’m fascinated and encouraged by readying your blog here. Just what I needed to keep going. So far, with 86 lenese on Squidoo, I am still waiting to beat $30 month and go up and down in faith that I can. Thanks for raising my faith again! There seems to be so much info online to read about it, it feels a bit overwhelming at times.

I notice you write on several different sites. What is the advantage in that, rather than simply building up more on Squidoo and supporting that say, with a blog?

Congratulations on your success!

Skeffling March 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm

Hi Christine, thanks for reading, I am glad you are enjoying the info and the story! I am sure you can increase that. Pay attention to the ones making the sales and try to do more related ones. I haven’t written much on the other sites for a few months. I think it is smart to diversify so all your eggs are not on one basket, is mart and the other sites may have other advantages, like help speed up Adsense payouts or relieve boredom as well. Hope that helps answer your Q

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