Monday, September 29, 2008

Updating Squidoo

Since reaching 100 Squidoo lenses last Wednesday, I've been going through some of them and doing updates. Mainly I've been working on lenses that have a lot of Amazon book links in them. For many, I had been using a link created using SquidUtils. However, I found that most of the links didn't show the book cover, so the lenses didn't look nearly as good as they could've.  I wish I'd known that was going to be a problem because I spent a lot of time a few months ago switching links over to that, and now I'm switching them back.

I'm probably better off using the regular links provided by Squidoo itself since I don't get a whole lot of people buying stuff from Amazon as a result of clicking one of my links. Therefore, my commission is in the 4% area, whereas Squidoo gets about twice that and splits it with lensmasters. Also, the guy who made the SquidUtils link utility has it set so one out of five links send commission to him. So at the level I'm operating on, it doesn't make sense to use it.

The biggest task has been switching back all the links for my Hugo Award and Nebula Award lenses. There are seven Hugo lenses representing each decade of the award's life, and four for the Nebula. So I have to deal with around 50-60 books in each lens. I'm using the Amazon Spotlight module for each year's winner, and a regular Amazon module for the nominees. 

Also, I decided to put in a text link for any book that has a Kindle edition. The text link directs all the commission to me, so if someone does buy a Kindle edition, I get more money. This adds up to a lot of work. So far, I've got all the Hugo lenses done, and the one for the Nebulas for the current decade done. I already had blurbs done for Hugo Award winners, but not for the Nebulas. So for most Nebula winners, I have to write a short blurb. For some years, the same book won both awards, which makes things a bit easier.

I've also revamped Spider Robinson's lens, Sarah Vowell's, Tony Hillerman's, Nevada Barr's, Bill Bryson's and will have to revamp lenses for Molly Ivins, Jasper Fforde, and Allen Steele. I'm awfully glad I made the decision not to use the SquidUtils links with my Celtic music lenses. I have 32 regular lenses in that niche! The 16 Celtic music video lenses have links as well, but mostly just using the regular Amazon module.

I'm pleased to see some of this revamping, and sending out Twitter tweets and SquidCasts when I finish each lens, seems to have resulted in some visitors. Such work also boosts the overall lens ranking for the revamped lenses. A good lens rank is nice, but more visitors, and possible buyers, is better.

I've been having problems with Firefox not getting along that well with Squidoo lately. It'll work OK for a while, then crash. I'm not sure what the problem is, but it seems to be happening when Squidoo is open, even if I'm not working with it. So finally I decided to finish up the last lens I worked on, the Nebula one for this decade, using Safari, which I hadn't used in a while. It seems to be working fine. I may have to disable some scripts in Firefox for Squidoo and see if that helps.

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