Wednesday 25 May 2011

The Glorious Revolution of Treacle Mine Road Occurs Annually on the 25th of May

Wear the Lilac day is the date that Pratchett fans celebrate the Discworld and raise awareness of Alzheimer's Disease.

I started a Facebook group for this last year, and while it may not be large, it is quality. You cannot bribe people like this to join.

My evidence? This comment thread

(to clarify, the second Wear the Lilac comment at the end is from one of the other moderators!)

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Coping with the Page Break Changes on Squidoo

If you haven't noticed, Squidoo is getting rid of the Page Break module. They announced this on the new (and very nice, but hard to find if you didn't know about it) site.

Apparently Non-Giants were never meant to be able to use it and the fact that they HAVE for the last year escaped official notice. Everyone who is NOT a Giant has already lost their Page Breaks.

Your first decision: Do you split your page break lenses, or try and keep them on one page? Which do you work on first? And should you publish the changes before you lose the page break (Giants)?
  • Can the other pages stand on their own as a new lens? (or could they with a bit more work? I wrote a post about this - that assumes page breaks are still an intermediate option of course - here: Greenhousing: Growing New Lenses With The Page Break Module)
    • Briefly: if a lens will simply be too long on one page, you must either delete or move content
    • If you don't have enough content, can you write more?
    • Old lenses will offer amazing opportunities for improvement
    • What are your priorities? Tidy up the ones you're leaving now, or start moving your big pages into multiple new lenses? I suggest the latter, because it means you can keep the page breaks to help get them established for now.
What you can do in advance (for Giants, sorry to the rest of you who already lost it)

  • Start changing in WIP and do not publish until you are ready
  • Create new lenses and leave the Page Breaks - especially if Google actually knows they're there. Then you can either wait to publish the changes and the new lens or:
  • Publish and replace the content with a big link (e.g. Big Arrow Link) to the new lens
    • This means both Google and any visitors arriving can follow that link, and hopefully, the new lens will naturally replace the original page in Google search and (maybe, in some cases) people's bookmarks.
    •  Supplementary pages (i.e. ones that are really there just to complement the main page) can still become separate lenses. They may pull no traffic on their own, but you can still link to them from the main page (just make sure you have enough content - in fact, if you have a similar extra page on several lenses, you can just make one new lens and link them all to it).

For lenses that will become multiple lenses
  • This is both a lot more work and an opportunity. You will end up with more lenses, and a chance to really re-work and improve the content. 
  • Remember that if you created a table of contents across the pages it will still work, just change the links. And you now have the choice of using the Featured Lens module instead.
  • Keeping the same number of lenses to pages is less confusing and less work for navigation.
  • It's a good idea to publish the new lenses when you finish them, so that Google can find them sooner, and you'll be eligible for the next month's lensrank payout. 
  • Do you have any interactive modules? Polls, Duels, Guestbooks? You can't transfer these (unless HQ comes up with a magic solution soon). 
    • If they have no responses, delete them and maybe rewrite them on the new lens.
    • If you don't have many modules with responses, move them onto the original page and use the poll, or whatever, to introduce the 'related new lens' (e.g. I wrote a lens about Illyria, moved the second page on her costume to a new lens, moved the poll asking if anyone had ever cosplayed Illyria, and followed that with a Big Arrow Link to the new lens).
    • If you have a LOT of polls and other things, and people are using them, and you can't move them (e.g. like my LOTD on Dermographism!) then you are either a) doomed or b) you should make the second page the main page of that lens and move the first page instead.
  •  Otherwise, open up both the new and the old lens at once, and copy the content over. 
  • Don't forget to interlink and change existing links! These are still good things to have!

For lenses that will stay as one lens
  • See this as a good chance to streamline your lens a bit
  • This is the quick and easy route. If you're going to keep it all on one lens, tidy it up as soon as possible and then you can forget it.
  • If they can't be split, delete everything that's duplicated - e.g. if you have two guestbooks, two About Me modules at the end, delete one. If one has no interaction, then that one goes.
  • Change all the links in preparation - if it's staying on one page, just delete the Page Break title, and leave the module number. Otherwise put in the link to the new page.
  • Keep any extra table of contents modules, and take the opportunity to have distinct sections in your lens, or to have one at the end as well as the beginning, or even in the middle. People do like this.

For me, I have a mix of every kind of problem!
  • My sister's non-Giant LOTR Fanfiction lenses have already been converted and one fits on one page, the other doesn't. Unfortunately something buggy won't let me edit them!
  • I have successful and non-successful multi-page lenses that get traffic directly to each page and are too much content to load on one page. These MUST be moved into new pages and probably should have been moved already (in fact, at least one used to be a single page in another 6-page lens and ...expanded!) The fact most are tier 1, and the work involved, is the main reason I hadn't moved them yet.
  • I have successful two page lenses that will work just as well as separate lenses - but I wasn't sure at the time, and would probably have been moved when they grew a bit more.
  • I have lenses without much content or visitors on the extra pages, that can be reconfigured into a single page
  • ...and I have a few pages that I cannot figure out what to do with. They will be too big on one lens or too diverse in topic for a single page, but have too little content (or poll modules I can't transfer) to create new lenses out of. Ironically, my How to use the Page Break lens is one of them (although I guess that one doesn't matter anymore!). Unfortunately, so is my current top lens and LOTD.

Also see:

    Wednesday 18 May 2011

    Amazon Conversion Rate and Sales

    A history of conversion rates from my Amazon Associates account:
    When I have a little more data, I'll compare my Squidoo vs. Amazon rates of sales.

    • Oct: 6.19% Tier: 6% (very few links, mostly very targeted - 7 orders, 113 clicks)
    • Nov: 3.47% Tier: 6% (I started spreading the links around, and got five times as many clicks - 20 orders, 576 clicks but some didn't ship till Dec)
    • Dec: 6.43% Tier: 6.5%(Christmas shopping season - most people bought several items; 90 orders and 1399 clicks)
    • Jan 3.26% Tier: 6%
    • Feb 1.48% Tier: 6%
    • March 1.89% Tier: 6%
    • April 3.80% Tier: 6.5%
    • May 1.13% Tier: currently 6% but due to a very large order in April, which shipped in May, I should easily make the 6.5% tier

    But wait - what about the lead up to Christmas versus the period after?

    Dec 1-24th: 7.87% (87 orders, 1106 clicks)
    Dec 26th onwards: 1.16% (huge drop-off after Christmas but still some orders, of single items only - 3 orders and 259 clicks)

    Overall to date: 5.60%

    After Christmas, my conversion rate dropped significantly, but I always made the 6% tier (in some cases only just, in others I was only a sale or two short of the next tier!). On average, I made about 20 sales a month.

    I am seeing an increasing number of sales via my Squidoo lenses, and a decrease in sales from elsewhere (whether my fault or the whims of Google I'm not yet sure). Tracking sales from each site, I've found that I make the same or more sales from Squidoo each month.

    Also check out: Is It Better To Use Your Own Amazon Associate Account On Squidoo?

    Friday 6 May 2011

    March 2011 Squidoo Tier Payments (For May)

    The pending ad payments are up in the Earnings tabs of the lens stats pages. Overall a tiny increase on last month (very tiny). Payday will probably be by Friday 13th (although with that date, it may not be...) as the next working day is after the 15th.

    Tier 1 $30.11 (up 34c  from Feb, down 30c from Jan)
    03/11 Ad Pool $23.50 (+$0.35)
    03/11 Chitika $0.96 (-$0.05)
    03/11 Infolinks $5.65  (+$0.05)

    Tier 2  $5.12 (up 6c from Feb, down 5c from Jan)
    03/11 Ad Pool $4.00 (+$0.06)
    03/11 Chitika $0.16 (-$0.01)
    03/11 Infolinks $0.96 (+$0.01)

    Tier 3 $0.25 (no change from Feb, down 1c from Jan)
    03/11 Ad Pool $0.20 
    03/11 Chitika $0.01
    03/11 Infolinks $0.05

    Monday 2 May 2011

    Travel Photography: Seven Postcards From Egypt

    A friend of mine visited Egypt recently, and was there during the riots. They came back with some fantastic photographs of the landscapes, buildings, people and desert, and I persuaded them to open a Zazzle store. Which they did, testing the waters (or the sands?) with a few amazing postcards. My favourites so far are the donkey and the sunrise, but there are some even more incredible ones that aren't even uploaded yet!

    In Petra, Jordan (yes - the place Indiana Jones visited!), we have a donkey, standing in the pathway to the Higher Sacrificial Altar, amongst the ancient sandy rocks.

    Petra Donkey Postcard postcard
    Petra Donkey Postcard by PetraPhotography

    ...and the dramatic broken-off pillars of the Great Temple.
    Petra Postcard postcard
    Petra Postcard by PetraPhotography

    Lastly, a couple of kids relax in the corner of one of the ancient ruins carved into the rocks of Petra.
    Kids in Petra Postcard postcard
    Kids in Petra Postcard by PetraPhotography

    From Egypt itself, we get to see the roofs of Abul Hole in Giza.
    Building of Giza, Egypt postcard
    Building of Giza, Egypt by EgyptPhotography
    Sell art online at Zazzle.

     And here are some amazing rock formations on Mt. Sinai on the way to Dahab from Sharm el Sheikh, with triangular strata like rows of camels along the base!
    Sinai Strata postcard
    Sinai Strata by EgyptPhotography
    Design Full color post cards at zazzle

    And a breathtakingly beautiful sunrise in the very early morning from the top of Mt. Sinai.
    Sunrise on Mt Sinai print
    Sunrise on Mt Sinai by EgyptPhotography
    View more Sunrise Posters

    Lastly, back in Abul Hole, some colourfully burdened, ungainly camels take a drink.
    Camels Postcard postcard
    Camels Postcard by EgyptPhotography
    Postcards by zazzle