Writing Goals for September 2014

Often goals for writers might involve producing a certain number of words or articles in a given time frame. My goals for September involve a lot of the behind-the-scenes work that writers do.

Editing – As soon as my web pages from Squidoo transfer to their new home at Hubpages, I’ll do a damage assessment. I’m hearing that certain modules won’t transfer into Hubpages’ capsules. The worst pages I’ll just have to unpublish until I have time to do remedial work on them. In some cases, they may not suit Hubpages and later I’ll repurpose them to my blogs or other sites.

Finding New Markets – I mentioned this above, that some of my Squidoo topics won’t stay at Hubpages. Some friends are starting new sites, so I may join in with them. It is past time for me to set up a commercial web page of my own and stop counting on space at sites like Squidoo and eHow.

Saving – Two other sites have considerable content that’s crucial for my future writing. One is the MyFamily site which Ancestry.com is closing at the end of September. There’s considerable urgency for me to salvage our family photos and memories stored there. The other site, Our Echo, seems stable, but I need to preserve my mother’s writing and my own from there as well.

Researching – I need to ramp up my research on the Civil War and on my Tower family genealogy. The book about my great-great grandfather depends on thorough work here.

I Was Wrong

In a previous post, I shared some upward trending stats on a Squidoo lens. Grasping at straws, I suggested that maybe it was a sign of traffic starting to rebound on the site. I was WRONG.

Here’s the end of Squidoo and in another week, the pages lovingly crafted there disappear. Hopefully people took the lifeline of moving their pages to Hubpages or scrambled to repurpose them for their own web site or blog.

The demise of Squidoo...
The demise of Squidoo…

I’ve deleted manually 37 pages that need not go to Hubpages. Hubpages wouldn’t want my lensographies, Squidoo tips and some personal pages created for quests. Compulsively, I saved even those to my cloud storage with Evernote. Perhaps I can glean a few paragraphs from them to use in blogs. The rest are saved and transfer to Hubpages where I’ll deal with them later.

I feel sad, I feel sorry for anyone depending on the income they’d developed on Squidoo and for all those beautiful personal pages and family history pages that may fall by the wayside. I feel angry that Squidoo tortured all of us for a year and a half before finally setting us free.

If you took your content and escaped last year, consider yourself fortunate. Unfortunately, this is not a new story on the Internet. I survived the debacle on eHow when they killed their Writer’s Compensation Program. We learn a lot for each site and take those skills with us wherever we go online. At least on eHow, they offered a buy-out. I do appreciate the 5 figure check they sent me.

Now, it is onward and upward. There are new opportunities opening for us and new skills to learn. My fingers have been pried away from clutching the rail of the sinking ship. It is sink or swim. For many of us, Hubpages provides a life raft. That gives some of us a little more time to take some swimming lessons if we need those.

Deciding to Kill a Lens

The first flurry of blocking by the filter on Squidoo has led to a flurry of activity by lensmasters trying to save their work. Indeed that is the very first thing you should do, save each complete lens to your own computer or to the cloud.  I’ve posted Cathy Rogers video tutorial for saving Squidoo lenses for you to view on What I Learned on Squidoo This Week.

The next thing to do is think through what to do first, second and third. Just having a plan will ease the stress a little. Although the giant accounts have not gone through the filter yet, I made adjustments to my lenses based on what we’ve learned about the new requirements.

First improvements went to the lenses that have money on the dashboard. (when a lens is locked, the money disappears from the dashboard) Then I improved all my tier one and tier two lenses to preserve their earning ability.

Next were my purchased lenses so I wouldn’t lose what I’d invested in buying those. Then I worked on the purple star lenses, followed by personal favorites and family topics. I almost forgot about seasonal lenses (Christmas and Halloween) which will be the earners later on. Get those fixed up.

At this point, you’ll see some lagging topics like lensographies, some quest lenses that never got on their feet, wacky holiday lenses, and angel blessing lenses. Also dragging along behind are the poorly conceived and poorly executed or unfinished lenses. What to do with all of those?

How much energy and time do you have? In my Christmas niche account, of the twelve lenses receiving a Heads Up warning (yellow exclamation mark), I did want to rescue at least six of them.

In looking at the STATS for the other six, I found some that were not worth trying to save. They hadn’t made any money other than a dollar or two during their peak season. Each had only 50 visitors a month at best. The products were inexpensive and I’m guessing most people went to Walmart for those items rather than search online.

They had come to me in a batch of lenses and I’d put minimal effort into dressing them up before the holiday. A great deal of added content and a great deal of deleting of products would be needed to make the filter happy. Too much work for too little reward.

I’m leaving the lenses up until Squidoo removes them. That lets me observe the process and also means I can post them here for your information.

Ball Christmas Ornament

Christmas Lights And Decorations

Animated Christmas Decorations…

Christmas Car Decorations

Blacklisted Links or Too Many Outbound Links

Ah, the filter grabbed me again. While updating my Make a Victorian Fan Christmas Ornament lens, at time to publish, the filter gave me this message:

Whoops! Blacklisted links or too many outbound links to the same domain.

 Making a lens to recommend or sell something is great. To help you focus your lens and not come across as overly promotional, we have a limit to the number of links a lens can have out to the exact same site. You can have hundreds of links on a lens; just not links to the same place over and over again.

This lens has 1 or more links to blacklisted domains, or more than 9 links to a standard domain. Please edit your lens to remove some of these extra links, then you can publish it live to the world.

P.S. If you think you’re seeing this in error, you may dispute the outbound link limit for this lens.

I’m puzzling over the message, as the lens does not have 15 links to Pinterest.

I hosted 1 of my own photos on my blog, then pinned it to Pinterest so I could use their embed feature to place the photos on the lens. Sounds convoluted but I don’t have a very good procedure for scaling down my photos to put them in a text list module or an Amazon module. Squidoo does not give a photo upload for those modules, so an embedded html works instead.

Another photo is my own and I uploaded it directly to Pinterest then embedded it on my lens. I don’t want to remove those photos as they are the finished examples for the craft project and they are my own pictures.

There were 2 other Pinterest images which I did remove. It is iffy whether we can use Pinterest images on our lenses at all.  I scaled those down to thumbnails to force the viewer to go to Pinterest and then to the original site for the content. They are gone now from the lens.

I replaced those with Zazzle images that I’m an affiliate for. The lens published immediately after I removed the 2 Pinterest images.

I don’t think it is giving Pinterest as a blacklisted link as it let me publish with my personal Pinterest links remaining on the lens. It must have been the number of Pinterest links, which all that I could see was 4. I removed 2 and left 2.