February 20, 2013

Update On The 50 Lenses In 7 Days Challenge

I know it sucks but hey, I can't do anything about it.

I was going to start this challenge to myself roughly 48 hours ago but after I started doing my keyword research and niche selection I found out that I couldn't publish to the account I was going to use - it was locked due to an account authentication error. :/

In any event I put this project on hold until earlier this afternoon when I finally got access to the account for publication purposes.

Anyway, in a weird sort of way I gave myself some time to do research on what the lenses would be over the past two days and now I have 7 days to get these suckers up and out of WIP.

What's the secret to doing this so fast? 

Batch work.

How do I publish so much stuff?

I publish super thin lenses as "rough drafts".

How do these super thin lenses stay out of WIP?

I publish them and then open them all back up a couple days later and edit them for more content - you know, to make them less thin. I do it again a couple days later to add sidebar stuff and internal linkage and on the last day I tweak whatever is lacking and add update the products and add the occasional contextual link to Amazon. The multiple "updates" end up making my lens far less thin and keep it out of WIP.

Will they stay out of WIP?

They should do to the frequent updates and the internal links but who knows - we shall see.

My Progress So Far

My son has been fast asleep since I gave him a bath this evening. Since then I've reviewed some stats on my established Squid accounts and looked at various lenses CTRs to see where I could improve. This was somewhat wasted time as I was delaying starting.

I finally did get started though and in the past hour I've published 3 lenses and typed up this blog post. I will work for another hour and try to get 4 more up at least.

The biggest thing about all of this is that you have to get the drafts up ridiculously fast so that you can interlink them all and pad the content out a few days from now.

Though I don't want to be going to bed at 3am just to get up at 8:30 when the little dude wakes up I do need to work my tail off and get as many published as possible as he doesn't often let me do a lot during the day other than read and brainstorm.

Good luck all.
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February 17, 2013

Chezfat's 50 Squids Challenge: 50 Squidoo Lenses In 7 Days

I'm introducing a challenge I'm making to myself publicly here on the blog.

Starting right now I am challenging myself to publish 50 quality Squidoo lenses in the next 7 days.

The goal however is not to just hit the publish button but to actually setup 50 quality lenses that will get traffic and will stay out of WIP permanently on a brand new account. In time - maybe not the first 7 days - they will convert well and make good money.

Obviously without sharing the account or lenses with you you will have to trust me but quite honestly it's not about proof. I am not doing this to prove that I can - I'm doing this for accountability and to shed small nuggets of my process with my readers (however few they may be).

I believe it's entirely possible to do this and make good money in a relatively quick manner and I don't think it requires 24-7 dedication or extreme measures socially to do so.

Due to the nature of my life - full time dad - I don't have the luxury of doing a ton of prose here on the blog but I will update daily with a brief synopsis of my progress.

For those of you in the Pond forums I will share a bit more detail because it's in a more private setting but not too much more - just enough that you may want to follow along in closer detail.

That's it for now.

Over the next 5 hours I will be doing my initial keyword research and will begin the publication process. Expect a short update not too long from now.

Get to work all - there's money to be made!
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February 11, 2013

The Easiest Way To Keep A Lens Out Of WIP

A couple days back I said I would be focusing roughly 95% of my time to Squidoo for the remainder of the year - assuming nothing major comes up to shake things up.

Today I wanted to dispel a myth that keeping lenses out of "WIP" or "Red" is difficult.

First of let me reiterate that I don't have a huge amount of Squidoo experience. I joined there in late 2009 and had somewhere around 4 lens published to my name by September of 2012.

Sine then I've published hundreds and over the course of the last five months I've gone in and edited 1 or 2 lenses in the vicinity of once a week for the sole purpose of adding content and pulling them out of WIP status.

When I publish a lens that lens basically goes green and stays green with very few exceptions.

Do I do amazing keyword research? I'd like to think it's good but I don't think that's what does it.

What do I do? It's Easy.

How To Publish A Lens And Keep It Green

I publish my lenses in groups under the same general niche or topic. When you do that you can easily include hand-coded or automatically generated links in the body of your content to all the other lenses in your published group.

How do I do that however when all the lenses are getting published one by one?

I publish 1st draft lenses quickly and then go back to each lens one by one cleaning up the copy, adding descriptive text, optimizing links for better CTR, and finally adding coded links to every other lens in the group.

Say I publish 12 lenses in one general topic. If all the lenses relate to one another I can link out to 3-4 lenses from the group from each lens in the group  That ends up giving me roughly 4 internal links pointed at every single lens I publish.

And because I publish the lenses in two stages I get the added lens rank bonus of updating a lens.

Sure, add some eBay modules comment modules, polls, Google News, etc. but don't forget the thing that moves traffic from one page to another: internal links.

I use the sidebar "Related Lenses" feature in the intro module to link to 6 related lenses and then I use SquidTools Featured Lens Builder to quickly and attractively code 2-4 links to put into a text module.

After a few days to a few weeks you'll likely see one lens getting more traffic that the others. Go into it and add a manually crafted link in the intro module pointing to the worst performing lens in the group. You will get a trickle of traffic flowing to the lower ranked lens and the trickle of page views will ensure this lens stays green.

In time enough page rank and seasoning will happen for all the lenses to start snowballing. Your traffic will grow, you will get likes, you will get sales. You will never again see a WIP lens.

Things You Better Not Neglect

Everything I said is important but you do have to ensure you use a lot of good tags. Find them and add them quickly using the Squidutils browser plugin while editing or building your lens for the first time.

Also make sure you use keywords that are actually going to generate traffic from buyers. This is easy enough for me to do on a small scale by hand using no tools but it's even easier to do on a larger scale with various proven web-based paid tools.

I've used Jaaxy and I've used Keyword Researcher. Both are amazing tools that cost very little but they do make it quicker to build a large list of lens titles for your net set(s) of lenses.

A lot of the time I just do it all in my head on on Google's search page but I do sit down with both of these tools quite a bit. I may get around to discussing one or both of these tools in greater depth at some point in the future but for now I'll leave you to search Youtube for your answers - or the comment box - that works pretty good too.
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February 9, 2013

Why Do Internet Marketers Fail To Achieve Their Dreams?

It's been ages since I really blogged. I make no excuses. I started out in this game as a blogger and quickly learned that internet marketing was far more interesting to me.

In March of 2011 I had a bad accident. I broker my knee really bad and I didn't even walk for a month or so. I didn't walk without crutches for almost 10 weeks and at that exact time my first son was born.

What happened next?


I was making decent money online. Not enough to support my family completely but quite a bit. With the challenges of injury recovery and a new baby, not to mention gearing up for an out of state move I just kind of dropped off the map socially.

Sure, I continued working a bit on my websites, this one not as much despite my occasional effort, and I continued working on InfoBarrel under different names predominantly, and I even dabbled in setting up a mini network of blogs.

I worked on a project for a couple of my "dark months" on a series of 1-page websites revolving around newly released products and aged domains.

I worked on learning the art of building a legitimate twitter following. I kind of did so too before I felt like I had learned what I wanted to learn.

Why Do So Many Marketers Fail?

They fail due to a lack of focus.

They fail because they think that focusing on internet marketing is something worth focusing on. They fail because they don't realize that knowing and dabbling in a bit of everything is akin to watching TV all day every day and not actually living life.

I still do pretty well online - financially speaking - but I still can't pay all the bills with IM income. My wife's a doctor for goodness sake. It's going to take a huge income for me to even rival her earning power in life.

What I can say is this - over my time in IM (which is fast approaching it's 4-year mark this May) the times I've been most successful is when I chose one "thing" and just did it without thinking.

I didn't learn. I didn't explore other ideas. I didn't do anything but that one thing.

In the beginning of my online mmo lifestyle I started a blog over at http://www.howtolivealongerlife.com which is actually still live. I didn't know IM when I started that. I wanted to develop a successful blog so I posted about 100 posts in 3 months and in my first 6 months I had a couple hundred RSS subscribers and a number of contacts that I regularly emailed back and forth with.

I focused on one thing and it worked... until I started looking for other outlets.

The next big thing I worked on was InfoBarrel. It was my primary source for backlinks until I started really learning a bit more. Quickly it became my primary source of income when I stopped using it for backlinks but instead used it for income generating articles.

I started writing like a mad man there doing basically nothing else but that and small backlinking campaigns to the Infobarrel articles and my earnings started soaring. I was featured as a success story at IB and my earnings climbed to over a grand a month... until I moved on and then they flatlined.

Niche sites became the next big thing followed by super niche sites and ad optimization strategies, and social strategies and this and that and this and that.

Today I'm looking into ebooks and just published my first but I can't help but think the times I've been most successful I've only done one thing.

Considering what many IMers have gone through in 2012 I have been relatively lucky. My earnings dipped about 50% from their peak after penguin but that's nothing compared to some people out there. I still feel exceptionally good about the cash I have coming in every month but as I figure out where exactly I want to go in 2013 I have to keep in mind focus.

Had I stuck with my original blog where would I be today?

Had I stuck with pumping out 60 InfoBarrel articles every month where would I be today - over 2000 articles actually and raking it in probably.

Had I stuck with my social experiments where would I be? Would I have an audience that I could actually influence by now? Maybe I was heading in that direction.

I'm tempted to start an ecommerce site these days and try to drive traffic through PPC. I think that would be good if I could figure out how to optimize everything well. I am analytical after all but that's just changing games again.

Right now I, and likely you too, need to stop, relax, and focus on one single thing that's working for you right now. It's called focus and it's what so many IMers lack - myself included.

What am I focusing on right now?


Funny I first mentioned Squidoo in the fall of 2009 on this blog when I opened an account there to send a backlink or two to my human longevity blog. Had I only stuck with Squidoo where would I be now?

I am setting a public goal right now.

For 2013 I will focus 95% of my energy on Squidoo. I've read all the crazy numbers put up by Skeffling on her blog and over on the IB forums and I've started my process. It's been nearly my main focus over the past 5 months and I've done well - gone from $10 or so in Sept all the way to $600 in Jan this year. I will build this out to the max day in and day out without fear of anything.

Across all my Squid accounts I plan on buckling down and milking this cow for everything it's got. I will focus and I will succeed.

What's the end goal? I swear to you the end goal is 5 figures in December of 2013. Who knows if I'll get there but I believe I will and I will do everything in my power to make it happen.  Do I need that much money to get by in life? No. That's excessive to say the least but so long as I am at home with a toddler and he takes naps I refuse to sit idle doing nothing with my life. I do what I can to the best of my ability.

If can post a handful of lenses every day all year long just think where I'll be by Jan next year. I aim to exceed expectations. My goal is to get my focus back on one thing and keep it there for another 12 months.

Eventually the little guy will start heading off to preschool and I'll turn over a new leaf in life. I'll tackle that when it comes but for now I embrace the present and I face the future with my head held high.

The other 5% of my efforts?

I'll blog on occasion here, I'll spend some time in the IB and Pond forums for community and learning, and I'll be marketing some ebooks for a close friend. Anything else I do will be incidentals - tag on projects that tie into things that are more important to me or random stuff to occupy my mind when I need a break.

I suggest to all you folk out there to do the same thing. You don't ever see traditional business owners selling candy, shoes, baby clothes, laptop bags, while trying to become popular in the auto racing circles and quilters groups at the same time. Why should IMers be any different.

What do you think? Am I off my rocker? Why do you think so many IMers fail?
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