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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Squidoo Merger With HubPages and What It Means for Writers

If you've ever used the free website-building platform Squidoo, you are likely to have received an email from them today concerning the effective takeover of the company by HubPages. An excerpt from the email is reproduced below...

"Here’s some good news, big news, news that will open some new possibilities for you…

HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo, creating the largest site of its kind in the world.

For nearly a decade, both Squidoo and HubPages have provided a home for content creators online. We’ve made it easy for people to use our platforms to share content that they care about, to tell stories, write articles and link to places that matter to them. Over the years, more than four billion visits have been made to the two sites, which host content from more than five million people.

Today, we’re announcing that as a result of this acquisition, Squidoo is moving the best of its content to HubPages. They’re the industry leader, continually pushing the envelope in terms of their content, its presentation and the traffic and traction they get online. The best way we know to serve our users is to give them an even better place for their content, and when I talked with Paul Edmondson at HubPages, it became clear to both of us that combining these platforms leads to a stronger, more efficient, more generous way to share great stuff online.

Starting in a few weeks, all traffic to Squidoo will automatically be redirected to the relevant pages on HubPages instead. We’ve been busy building transfer tools that will make it easy (and mostly automatic) for content to move from the Squidoo site to HubPages. Together with some members of the Squidoo team, I’ll be working with HubPages to ensure that we make the best possible transition and impact going forward. Squidoo pages will cease to be visible in September or early October."

I've never been a huge Squidoo user, but it's a platform I've always been interested in, and over the years I've created a number of lenses (as Squidoo pages are officially called).

Currently I have just two, these being Greece Travel Tips and How to Write a Book. The former is really just a fun project to share my interest in Greece, while the latter is a promotional tool for my Write Any Book in Under 28 Days course.

Over the years I've made a (very) small sideline income from Squidoo. I've never really had the time or inclination to pursue it more seriously, although I could certainly see the potential there.

If you're at all like me and have one or more Squidoo lenses - even if (again like me) you've done little with them for months or years - it's essential to take action in the next few weeks if you don't want to lose them altogether.

If you wish to have your lenses transferred to HubPages - which seems by far the best option to me - you should log in to your Squidoo dashboard now and check their status. If any lenses have been marked as works-in-progress (red cross) it's especially important to take action immediately to bring them up to featured lens status. Otherwise they are unlikely to be selected for migration to the HubPages platform, and will simply vanish from the internet.

Even if your site has featured lens status, however, it's still a good idea to check and update it and then republish it. You can also promote it via Twitter, Facebook, and so on.  All of these things will demonstrate that your lens is still active, and hopefully boost its ranking and get it out of WIP status (if required). Doing this should greatly improve the chances of your site being selected to make the transition to HubPages.
  • Please feel free to post the URL of any lenses you may own as comments below this post. I will then visit and 'like' them, which should help boost their rankings. Please take a moment to do the same for any other lenses that may be listed, and my own Greece Travel Tips and How to Write a Book lenses as well. Thank you!
The other thing you should do now is click on the 'Set Up Your Transfer' button on your Squidoo dashboard (see screen capture at the top of this post). You will then be able to set up your HubPages account (if you don't already have one) and add information such as your PayPal email and your Google AdSense account number.

Not only will this mean that you are ready to hit the ground running when the transfer is complete at the start of October, it appears that people who have done this will be prioritized when accounts are transferred over.

Finally, it's a sensible idea to download the content from your lenses now, just in case they don't get picked for the transition. You should find a link allowing you to do this quickly and easily on your Squidoo dashboard.

Overall, though, I am quite optimistic about this change. Squidoo and HubPages have always struck me as similar operations, so there is an obvious logic to their merging. Squidoo has, in my view, lost its way a bit in recent times, so this may be the perfect opportunity for users to rediscover their enthusiasm and start generating more money and clicks from their lenses (which will now be called hubs, of course).

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please feel free to post them below and I will do my best to answer them. And, as I said above, if you have any Squidoo lenses you would like to get extra traffic and 'likes' for in the weeks prior to the merger, please do post the URLs below.

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Blogger Marisa Wright said...

There are some excellent reasons why Squidoo members should do what you suggest, and allow HubPages to transfer their lenses for them - it will preserve their original publish date and link juice.

However if you have only two or three lenses, it may not be worth it. HubPages operates on a sub-domain system, and while each Hub benefits from interlinking with the whole site, Google sees each sub-domain as its own website, too. Google doesn't like small sites, so if you have only a handful of Hubs they're unlikely to do well - you need to be working towards 50 to 100 Hubs to get decent traffic.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thank you for your comment, Marisa. I bow to your greater experience with HubPages.

I do, however, think that even if you only have a few Squidoo lenses, it is still worth making the effort to try to ensure they are migrated to HubPages.

At the very least, this will ensure they remain present on the internet. At best, they could form the start of your new HubPages empire, if you decide to build a network of hubs as Marisa suggests.

In any event, I still strongly recommend backing up your lenses, so that in the worst case all your hard work on them does not vanish forever.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

As a matter of interest, I just checked both my current lenses and the ranking of both has improved since I started promoting them again earlier this week. I was also particularly pleased to see that my "Write a Book" lens has gone from being a "work in progress" to a featured lens, rising by over 100,000 in the rankings at the same time. So it really is worth making a bit of an effort to promote your lenses now!

11:22 AM  

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