Category Archives: Social Networking

3 Reasons I Won’t Follow You On Twitter

Why I Do Follow People on Twitter

I’m always looking for new people to follow on Twitter, but I’m fussy.  I want to follow people with some interests in common from whom I might learn something new.  And I want to follow people who might actually want to interact — not just post and run.

3 Reasons I Won't Follow You On Twitter
I want to follow people who might actually want to interact

Since I wasn’t sure how to find the right people to follow, I finally broke down and bought a book to teach me more than I knew.  I reviewed Tweep-e-licious in a  post on Review This! If you are also looking for help on Twitter, you, too, might want to get Tweep_e_licious. I got many new tips from reading this book. More of the right people are following back now, and we are actually talking to each other.

3 Reasons I Won't Follow You On Twitter
3 Reasons I Won’t Follow Someone On Twitter

3 Reasons Why I Won’t Follow Someone on Twitter

1 – The Twitter profile doesn’t provide enough information to make a good following decision 

Let’s say you have followed me. Have you made it easy for me to look at your profile and follow you back? Not if you decide to protect your tweets when you set up your profile. Not if you use “True Twit” so that I have to take time to verify before I can follow you. If you do these things, it’s like telling people you really don’t want them to follow you or follow you back.

If it appears someone is stalking you or behaving in ways you don’t like, you can block them or report them. As for finding out if people are real, check their profiles. I never follow someone I don’t know until I’ve done that.

How I Tell if a Tweep is Real and Active

 

3 Reasons I Won't Follow You On Twitter
Be careful not to follow fake Tweeps

Real tweeps are serious about Twitter and post an avatar. They don’t leave the default egg avatar since most serious tweeps don’t follow eggs.

Serious tweeps fill out their profiles. Savvy ones make good use of all their 160 allowed characters. This helps other tweeps know what kind of tweets they can expect to see if they follow you.  I look for a real geographic location, as well — not something vague like The Universe.

Serious tweeps have feeds that seem related to the interests in their profiles.  If the profile indicates the tweep is a social media guru who likes dogs and music, for example, you would expect so see tweets on using social media, some dog photos, and maybe some favorite music videos or articles about bands.  You would not expect to see a feed full of unrelated shocking or weird photos from exotic places and very little information about social media.

That doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be some variety, but it becomes obvious when you’ve looked at enough profiles to recognize those that don’t post anything original. Instead, their feeds are full of retweets and bizarre photos to get attention. Serious tweeps fill their feeds with links to valuable or fun resources and photos that are related to their stated interests. Sometimes their tweets are original observations or questions to encourage interaction.

Active tweeps tweet. They don’t leave a week or a month between tweets. They appear daily most of the time. The tops of their profiles will show they’ve  tweeted at least 300 times for each year they’ve been on Twitter.

My largest account at Twitter, @barbsbooks, shows I’ve tweeted on the average around 5 times a day. I probably tweeted less when I first started, and now I try to tweet at least ten times a  day not counting interactions. Someone who has never tweeted but has lots of followers or is following lots of people is probably a fake, along with many of his followers.

2 – There’s too much obvious automation

Many Twitter gurus encourage tweeps to automate their interactions with a program called Crowdfire. When people use the free version, it advertises its presence with every tweet. It loves to report on follows and unfollows, as do some other automated programs. It can leave you with a feed like this one. This is just part of the feed. It went on like this throughout several scrolls. In fact, there was nothing else I could see.

3 Reasons I Won't Follow You On Twitter
Boring Automated Twitter feed

Is that what you want to see every time a person tweets? Boring! Just a string of commercials.

Another thing Crowdfire will do is see who you interact with and send automated @______ shout out tweets to those who have interacted with you the most. Of course, the free version lets everyone who gets the tweet know that you didn’t personally send that message. When I see these automated tweets I often wonder if the person posting them ever really personally interacts with followers.

3 – I see no interaction with other tweeps

A person’s Twitter profile will give you a good idea if that person does more on Twitter than post and leave. Right above the feed on the profile is a header next to Tweets: Tweets and Replies. Click it and you will see any replies that person made to other Tweeps.

Also, check the tweets themselves to see if there are any you would be tempted to reply to. Any questions to answer? Any topic you have an opinion about? Can you find anything on their profile you want to share or retweet? If so, do it. If there is something to reply to, reply with your comment. See if the Tweep responds within a few days.

How to Make Others Want to Follow you on Twitter

You can start by showing you are an active serious tweep. Make a profile that explains what you’re about and then tweet accordingly.  I have three accounts, each with a different avatar and profile description. Each is meant to attract a different target audience.  See them below.

Examples of Twitter Profiles I Am Using
My Twitter Profiles

Before I tweet, I check my own profile to see if that tweet fits my stated interests for that account or the audience that follows me. Example: Although on @barbsbooks I mostly tweet about books, blogging, and education, I know I also have some artists and travel bloggers following that profile. For this reason, I sometimes tweet or retweet something relevant to them, usually something related to nature, which is a stated interest.

I no longer join promotion groups on Facebook that require everyone to retweet what everyone else in the group posts. That would require me to send tweets that have little to do with what my audience expects from me. Those tweets would dilute my brand.

Are You Doing Any of the Three Things Above That Might Keep People from Following You?

If you are, all those things are easy to correct.  Spiff up your profile in a few minutes. Tweet more often and tweet more of what your followers expect from you. Keep your profile visible to all and stop using “True Twit” to make it harder for people to follow you. Start doing more live interacting, or even scheduled interacting, without depending so much on free automated programs that leave their footprints.

3 Reasons I Won't Follow You On Twitter

If you make a few or all of these changes, you should see more people start to follow you.  If you tweet content that interests them, the followers you already have will probably stay with you. If you make these changes,  I would see no reason not to follow you on Twitter.

Do you need more help? Try one of these highly reviewed books. Yes, I checked the authors’ Twitter profiles before recommending these. I eliminated two books because I had more followers than their authors. I’ve also read Tweep-e-licious and found it a valuable resource.

Twitter for Writers: The Author's Guide to Tweeting Success (Writer's Craft Book 8)Twitter for Writers: The Author’s Guide to Tweeting Success (Writer’s Craft Book 8)Tweep-E-Licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business EthicallyTweep-E-Licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market Their Business Ethically

Do you have any Twitter tips you’d like to share?

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Niume! Should You Dabble or Plunge In? Update

What is Niume?

Niume is a relative newcomer to the social blogging world. Co-founders Francesco  Facca and Daniel Gennaouli pitch it as a social network based on interests. They say its purpose is to bring people who share common interests together. Site owners want to provide a level playing field for people who want to share their content. They commit to sharing revenue with the users for the content they provide. Users will earn $1 for every thousand views their posts generate.

Update, May 28, 2017: Niume has announced that they will stop paying.

Niumi Has Many Spheres of Interest to Match Your Writing Interests
Click the image to join Niumi.

Niume currently has twenty spheres of interest. You need to sign up for at least three of them when you join. Each sphere has its own leaderboard to encourage people to be active in their spheres. Users also receive “hype” as readers view their posts and give them a thumbs up or favorite them. This adds to a user’s status. This status is earned separately in each sphere. Higher status leads to more visibility in a sphere. Commenting on the content of others also helps raise one’s status.

The Nitty Gritty of Niume

There is much to like about Niume. It is easy to find readers for your content. The guidelines don’t require more than five lines of text at this time. Most of the content I’ve seen so far is of higher quality than on many other similar sites. Competition within spheres for status motivate one to be active and participate.

There are also some things I think need improvement. The editor doesn’t work as it should, especially with regard to embedded links. Those getting started may find it hard to learn how to be successful on the site. Support is scattered between videos, a FAQ page, and a number of blog posts. It almost takes a treasure hunt and an email to find the answer to your particular question.

Will Niume Help You Reach Your Goals?

Will Niume Help You Reach Your Writing Goals
Click the image to join Niumi.

If your goal is to earn money, Niume can no longer help you there. They will no longer be paying.  See details in this official post at Niume. 

Niume may also help you find a wider audience for your content and help you promote your work on other sites. Affiliate links are against the guidelines, but you can link to your website or store as long as your links don’t appear to be clickbait and your post doesn’t come across as spam.

It is interesting that one of the reviews I read of Niume was in a post written in April,   2015.  I can’t find the post again to link to it, but it reviewed six other  revenue- sharing social sites in addition to Niumi. Two of them were Bubblews and Tsu, both of which are now gone.  I believe Niume has something in common with them — the ability to distract one from creating on one’s own domains.

It Takes Time to Make Niume Pay Off

I remember when we first discovered Bubblews. Many of us who were fairly successful on Squidoo and HubPages began to neglect those sites because they could not pay as much as Bubblews. We wrote and interacted on Bubblews as much as possible until it finally stopped paying us. Then we tried to pick up the pieces of our writing lives. By that time Squidoo was gone, too, and we needed to decide where to go next.

Many of us decided it was time to forget about writing new material on sites we didn’t own. Even when sites that showed promise, such as Blogbourne  wooed us, it was fairly easy to join, make a post or two, and come and go as we had time. It was easy to do the same on MyLot.

As on the Bubblews site, interaction is the key to gaining visibility. You need to raise your status to become more visible. You need to follow and find followers, write quality content, and read, give hype, and comment on the posts of others. You also need to promote your content. It takes time to gain the status you want, daily, and as time goes on.

Niume Can Tempt Bloggers to Neglect their Own Sites

Time you spend on Niume is fun. It’s competitive. It’s social. If you have your own blog, Niume may keep you from posting as often as you should. The amount of time we have is finite. Time spent on Niume will necessarily replace time spent somewhere else. Will you neglect another social media site like Facebook? Will you neglect one or more blogs? Will you give up another of the new third party content sites?

Today I was on Reddit and had to delete a post that I had moved from BlogJob to one of my own sites. I’m constantly having to delete pins and links from social media that lead to dead sites or sites I no longer use. I have to wonder if I will later have to remove links I made to newer third party sites like Niume. Time we invest into sites we own is an investment of  time that should continue to collect dividends in ad income and affiliate sales. What we post on third party sites, no matter how promising, can disappear at any time.

What Will You Do about Niume?

If you don’t want to own your own blogging sites, you might want to put your time and best effort into Niume.  It might mean less time to spend on other sites, but at least you will enjoy yourself. Just don’t count on Niume generating any income for you now.

Niume! Should You Dabble or Plunge In? Will Niume Help You Reach Your Writing Goals?

On the other hand, if you have your own blogging sites to maintain, Niume, may keep you away from them. It’s probably more important to concentrate on your self-hosted sites.  Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t make an occasional visit to post and interact on Niume.  Everyone needs a change of pace.

Review: Will These Social Blogging Sites Survive?

A Selective History of Social Blogging Sites

The first social blogging site I joined was Bubblews. It lasted for almost three years. It was very popular and established writers from well known sites like HubPages devoted less time to writing for them because they were making more on Bubblews. This left HubPages weaker, and many people, including me, found it hard to just jump back in at HubPages after Bubblews stopped paying.

Social  blogging was easy, fun, and struck a chord for those of us who wanted to connect as people rather than just share information. Since the fall of Bubblews, people began looking for another social blogging site. Many went back to myLot, which had changed ownership and  gone back to paying members. It is a simple forum, but its new format also makes it ideal for social blogging.  This  got friends connected again, but social bloggers wanted something a bit different.

Many of those looking discovered BlogJob. BlogJob seemed to combine the best features of Bubblews and myLot. I have reviewed the state of BlogJob in Transition here.  Some people are still hanging on, but few are very active anymore. Once again the search is on for a new site. This week I’ve joined two new sites very similar to BlogJob.

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay.com

Literacy Base and BlogBourne — What They Have in Common

  • They are both a lot like BlogJob. They offer free hosting for social bloggers and they provide groups and forums for member interaction outside the blogs. Unlike BlogJob, though, one cannot have an independent WordPress Blog on either site such as BlogJob members have.
  • They are owned or administrated by people whose first language is not English. This means some of the site documentation has errors in standard English.
  • They both offer some form of compensation to those active on the sites
  • Both will pay members through PayPal. Literacy Base  also  pays through Payoneer.
  • Both provide members with referral links to share their articles and to recruit new members.
  • Both sites are currently experiencing growing pains and may go offline from time to time as they work out bugs. BlogBourne  officially launched August 1, 2016.

How Literacy Base and BlogBourne Differ: Payment

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Photo in Public Domain Courtesy of Pixabay.com
  • BlogBourne splits site earnings with members, keeping 50% for site expenses and dividing the rest to to determine the value of a coin. This system is similar to the one Persona Paper was using. Literacy Base pays specific cash amounts for specific tasks like commenting or writing posts. The value of a BlogBourne coin fluctuates and is posted every month.
  • BlogBourne will be paying seven days after a person orders payment, but the payments won’t be issued the first time until two months after the site’s launch. BlogBourne payment amounts range from $5 to $100.  Literacy Base pays on  the tenth day of the month after a person has earned $10.
  • BlogBourne currently offers the same amount of coins for any post. Literacy Base at its own discretion pays more for higher quality interactions and longer posts.
  • Literacy Base currently has placed no limits on how much a member can earn in a day.  BlogBourne has a limit of  three posts per day and varying limits for other activities one can earn for.

How Literacy Base and BlogBourne Differ: Editors and Posting

  • On Literacy Base your blog post has to be approved before it will post. That can take up to 24 hours. If more people become active, that might increase the approval time. Moderators also look over what you post on BlogBourne until a member is white-listed for immediate posting. Moderators let members know if changes need to be made and offer help before a post is approved for posting.
  • On Literacy Base your post must be at least 300 words long. On BlogBourne, it has to be 400 words.
  • Evidently on Literacy Base you can’t save drafts(even though it looks like you should be able to). It’s best to write your post in a word processor and paste it in before submitting. You can save your drafts  in BlogBourne. You can edit and delete posts there, too, but if you delete a post you will lose any coins associated with it. I always advise writing in a word processor first anyway. It gives you a backup copy and protects you if the site goes offline   while you are typing. A screen shot of the BlogBourne editor is below.
Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Screen Shot BlogBourne Editor

Notice that you can edit the HTML in the BlogBourne editor (see arrow) and that there are additional fields you can’t see below where the screen shot ends. Now compare with the Literacy Base Editor (below).

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites
Screen Shot of Literacy Base Editor

You can see that the BlogBourne editor has more options than that of Literacy Base and more closely resembles a WordPress interface. Neither editor has a drop-down menu for header text, but the BlogBourne editor allows you to change the font and text size.

Other Differences between Literacy Base and BlogBourne

  • Navigation is easier on BlogBourne. I discuss this in more detail in Five Reasons Why I Joined BlogBourne. 
  • You may  use an affiliate link in a BlogBourne post, but not in a Literacy Base post. Notice I said a link.
  • Literacy Base only allows links to site sources that support the information in your post.
  • It is easier for people to find your work  on BlogBourne and your profile looks nicer.
  • Literacy Base has a more cluttered design that distracts from reading the posts. Check My Uninvited Guest on Literacy Base and compare it to the link in the first point in this heading from BlogBourne
  • BlogBourne has a very motivating Leaderboard for those of us who are competitive. It lists members by number of coins they’ve earned with highest earners at the top.
  • Literacy Base has been around  since some time in 2014. They opened their Facebook Page in November 2014. BlogBourne launched on August 1,  2016.
  • Literacy Base has annoying  pop-up ads that drive me crazy when I’m trying to read or write posts or participate in groups or forums. So far BlogBourne has only normal  ads.

Will These Sites Survive? Should I Join?

I’m afraid only time will tell that. I don’t mind pioneering a bit. I was one of the first on Bubblews and although I didn’t  expect it to last as long as it did, I made some good money there.  I’m glad I decided to risk it.

I do like social blogging, but I believe BlogJob won’t last much longer.  I haven’t left, but I am moving some posts to my own sites.  BlogBourne and Literacy Base are the most similar sites to BlogJob that I’ve joined.  I happen to prefer BlogBourne, but it doesn’t have as much history yet to evaluate how it will do.  I believe BlogBourne has a more realistic business plan, since it can adjust the value of its coins to fit the income the site produces. You will need to weigh the pros and cons for yourself. You may want to join both.

BlogBourne realized many of its members write English as a second language and that even some who write it as a first language sometimes need help. Administrators write many posts to help these members develop better writing skills so that their posts may be approved faster.

Recently Blogbourne started a buddy system where less proficient  writers can work  with accomplished writers to  improve their work. As a result, the quality of posts on the site has improved and this should help  the site survive.

Does Your Free Blog Hosting Put Your Blog at Risk?
Read the Terms of Service

My Advice

If you enjoy social blogging and you  have time for two more sites,  join both and try them out. Join before you look around so that if you want to comment on a post, you will earn points or coins for it. If you don’t like the site,  you don’t have to be very active. I joined Literacy Base because I had friends who posted there and I was going to comment anyway. I figured I might as well earn something for it. I joined BlogBourne for much the same reason, but when I got there, I really liked it.

I would suggest you join one or both sites, but don’t write any photo essays that would be hard to move later on. Read the terms of service for each site carefully before joining. They are called FAQ on Literacy Base.

I’ve been around the social blogging block a few times and gotten burned, just like many of you. My sixth sense tells me that I probably should invest more time into BlogBourne than Literacy Base. My common sense tells me I should really invest the most time into my own blogs.

You can sign up with BlogBourne hereYou can join Literacy Base here. These are affiliate links and I will be grateful if you decide to use them.

If you think this post will help someone else who is trying to decide, please share it. The image below is just right for Pinterest.

Review: Two New Social Blogging Sites: Literacy Base and BlogBourne

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Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site Closes

Writing Sites Sometimes Close With No Warning

 

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site ClosesIt seems almost every few months another writing site closes.  During the past three years Squidoo, Bubblews, Zujava, Wikinut, Seekyt, and sites I never even joined have closed or stopped paying.

When Persona Paper gave notice they would close, the site administrators, who have always been upfront with us, gave us fair warning so that we would have time to save our work. As it turned out, a new owner took over Persona Paper, but it’s no longer paying.  Not very many people are still active there.  Many of us have already backed up our work — just in case.

Besides Persona Paper, I belong to other sites which may or may not be around a year from now. The owners of Blogborne and Niume seem to have lost interest in them and activity has decreased. As income on these third party sites goes down, more and more people are moving work to their own sites.

Checklist for Exiting a Writing Site

  1. Make copies of your work
  2. Delete links to your work
  3. Edit your social media automated feeds
  4. Invest more in your self-hosted sites

Make Copies of Your Work

If you’ve been through a sudden site closure with no warning before, you probably already know you should be making backups for every single post or article you write. When Bubblews closed, many were caught off-guard and lost their work.

There’s another lesson I learned at Bubblews, though. A site can also make a site-wide change that will butcher what you have written. This happened during an update where Bubblews stripped most of the content from many posts that had used multiple images. I lost many photo essays, even though I had drafts of the text.

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site ClosesFrom now on, I plan to save every post with multiple images as a complete web page through my browser. In Chrome this is really easy. Just go to the dots in the top right corner. Click. Choose “More Tools” from the drop-down menu that appears. When you mouse over it, you can click “Save page as.” A window will appear to allow you to choose a file to save to. Choose and save. Wait for the download and you’re finished.  What a simple way to have a model of your page exactly as it appeared when published so you can reconstruct it later.

Delete Links to Your Work

This is the part that is not fun. If you’ve been writing very long, you have probably been crosslinking articles you’ve written on different sites. When Squidoo closed I had lots of links going to my lenses from my blogs and from my Hubs on HubPages and from articles on other sites. Fortunately, many of those links forwarded to HubPages for pages that had been transferred, but I didn’t allow all my articles to transfer.

I have 350 articles on Persona Paper, and a good portion of those are articles I tweeted recently. I have linked to them from blogs. I have pinned them on Pinterest and shared them on Google + and Facebook. I  have linked to them from content websites I own. If Persona Paper goes away for good, those will all be dead links. I will have to remove them. Maybe you also have some link cleaning to do if you have backlinks to work on closed or closing sites.

Edit Your Social Media Feeds

Many people have automated collections of tweets and Facebook posts which they set up ahead of time for a couple of hundred evergreen posts in a service like Hootsuite. They just keep being posted over time until you change them. If links to posts or sites no longer functioning are being tweeted, you will lose credibility.

Invest in More in Your Self-Hosted Sites

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round. Gather closes so I post an old Gather post to Bubblews. Bubblews closes so I republish that same post to Persona Paper. Persona Paper closes… Then what?

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site Closes
Are You on the Content Writing Merry-Go-Round? Courtesy of Pixabay

People are still trying to find new homes for their old Squidoo lenses and hubs that aren’t doing well. Many are starting their own blogs or spending more time creating or republishing content to blogs or sites they already own. I wrote recently about how to move writing from content sites to your own site.

If you’ve been stuck on the content writing site merry-go-round, maybe it’s time to get off and invest in your own self-hosted sites. If your sites are already set up, invest more time in updating them and adding new content. Many who have moved posts from HubPages to their own sites are seeing increased earnings from them now. Check out the great hosting deals for WordPress sites at SiteGround. They are very helpful there.

If you don’t yet have your own blog, join Pajama Affiliates so you can learn to set up a self-hosted WordPress site correctly from the beginning.  It’s a small investment up front, but most get it back in earnings if they apply what they learn there.  I have found it valuable for myself.

My Pajama Affiliate Courses are Worth Every Penny I Paid for Them. The teachers are making thousands a year in affiliate income without being spammy.  They can teach you to monetize your own blogs in a reputable way. The courses go on sale often. While you’re waiting for a sale, you can clean out your dead links in cyberspace.

Hope this post helps you set goals that don’t depend on a third party site to help you earn. Be adventurous. Step out on your own. Take control of your own destiny in cyberspace. I think you will enjoy creating and looking back on your accomplishments.

The Bubblews Bubble Has Finally Burst

Soap Bubbles, CCO, public domain.
Soap Bubbles, CCO, public domain.

After three years, Bubblews has shut down. A visit to the site shows  only a brief announcement that Bubblews  can no longer stay in business with  what they earn from the ads they  show.  I’m not surprised. I expected it. That’s  why I haven’t wasted any more time there since the beginning of the year.

If you  wrote on Bubblews and don’t know how to find your Bubblews friends, I suggest you go to myLot. Many people found their way to Bubblews when  the old version of myLot stopped  paying. Most of them have returned since it came  back under the original ownership and started paying again. I noticed many new people there  from Bubblews today. Connect with me at myLot and you’ll find most of the old timers among my friends. Just click on their profiles to  follow them and get acquainted fast.

MyLot pays a few pennies a day  just for interacting with  other myLotters in the discussions that interest you. You can also  start your own discussions. It’s an easy site to visit and relax with friends while  watching your pennies add up. For more information on using myLot, be sure to read the blog post by @owlwings,  one of the most knowledgeable members. You will   also want to  follow him.

How do you feel about the demise of Bubblews? I think I’m relieved that I no longer have to worry about deleting my posts one my  one. I lost almost  $20 in unpaid earnings, but many lost more than I did. Now I’m wondering which will be the next site to close.

I just revised my Hub that Reviews Bubblews to reflect on what we can learn from what happened there: What Can We Learn from the Fall of Bubblews?

What Happened to BlogJob?

What is BlogJob?

BlogJob is a social networking community. One can make friends, socialize, and discuss important topics with no minimum number of characters required. These discussions can take place in groups and in forums, as well as on  one’s wall.

Pro and Cons of BlogJob

BlogJob is more user-friendly than Facebook and tsu, though loyal fans of either of those sites will probably stay put even if they also join BlogJob. Facebook still offers groups I would not want to leave because they are important in my writing promotion. And, of course, family members and old friends aren’t likely to leave Facebook either. BlogJob is more of a blog host and networking community for Bloggers.

When I joined Blogjob last year, I thought it was a great place for new bloggers to start. One can write multiple blogs there with a WordPress interface. Bloggers can choose between hundreds of themes and customize them. One can use affiliate links with no problem, as well. There is an interface for putting ads on your blogs to monetize them.

There are some limitations on using third-party interfaces such as Easy Product Display and Amazon Native Ads. They just don’t work because of underlying coding problems. You don’t find out about the missing functions a WordPress user is used to until your site is built and you try to use them.

New bloggers used to be able to earn reward points  that could later be redeemed for gift cards or money in one’s PayPal account for each blog post. Those points combined with those one earned for the networking and commenting one does in the site’s walls, groups, and forums. *

Review of BlogJob.com

One knew that if one went to the trouble to make a 300-word minimum blog post, it wouldn’t be wasted effort because one could get at least a small financial reward. Not only that, because Blogjob is a community, your new blog, even now,  is likely to get visitors, comments, and even some help with promotion on social media if you did a good job.

Unfortunately many decided to put a lot of their writing eggs into the Blogjob basket and cut out some productive work on other sites.

Review of BlgoJob.com
Don’t put all your eggs in one writing basket. © B. Radisavljevic

 

I would not advise putting all your eggs into the Blogjob basket. If you want to be a successful affiliate marketer, this is probably not the host you should use for your main source of livelihood. If blogging for a living is your goal, see Why It’s Important for Affiliate Marketers  to Self-Host WordPress Sites.

I no longer recommend joining BlogJob, even if they open membership again. The site is now in flux and reward points have been “temporarily suspended.” Any money you make will have to come from monetizing your own blogs. As I write this today, I get error messages when I try to read posts my friends have shared — blogs hosted on BlogJob.  Many technical issues will have to be sorted out before the site is reliable again for blogging and promotion.

It appears many people are being patient, hoping the site will once again be what it was or better. I’m not holding my breath. Yes, I hope the site will solve its problems and recover, since it was important source of income for many who were close to  a payment threshold.

The administration said it will be paying those who have earned the required number of points. Some report they received their payments. Most are convinced the administration is honest and appreciate his telling them upfront what is happening. I tend to agree that he’s doing what he can to solve the problems . The question is still whether that will be enough and whether the site will generate enough  to bring advertisers back. 

Important Updates

*Update May 5, 2016As of May 4, 2016, the rewards system has been “temporarily suspended.” Members can continue to blog and interact, but will not be earning any more points until the site owner manages to fix some problems on the site. Members should still be able to redeem points earned if they have enough to qualify for redemption. Many voices in the forums say they will leave their work there and carry on as usual. Some are taking a wait and see attitude. Some are leaving. Membership is closed again.

The administration says the site migration to a new server killed traffic and he is trying to test various plugins to see if they are having an adverse effect on traffic and resources. He is hoping to get things, fixed, restore traffic to produce income, and start giving points again some time when all this is settled.

Update May 3, 2016: There is an application process in place now, and there is no guarantee of acceptance. Be aware that some people who have been accepted have received emails within 24 hours that their memberships have been declined.

An unwritten policy seems to be that you need to fill out a complete profile, including the bio part at the bottom of the edit profile page, right away and start a site or post to forums to let the administration know you are serious about adding content. If you have written for other sites with a good reputation, be sure to include that in your profile and link to any blog you might currently have elsewhere as your website. They want to know you are a writer, not just someone who wants to earn points by collecting friends and joining groups without adding valuable content to the site.

 

Review Comparing Bubblews, Tsu, and myLot

MyLot Back in the Game

The online writing community is abuzz with conversation about the return of myLot with its former owners in charge again as a revenue sharing site. Back in 2013, myLot was a vibrant community that had a forum to discuss anything and everything that was on members’ minds, as long as it was G-rated. People made friends. People recruited friends. People earned a bit of money as they got to know each other. I found out about myLot through online friends.

Then, in the first part of 2013, myLot’s ownership changed hands and stopped sharing revenues. They also changed the way the forum looked, and changed the rules to allow the sharing of links from which members could profit, and the site became spammy. Some people continued to be active, but many people left or stopped using the site, hoping that the site might someday become what it had been once again.

The Brief Era of Bubblews in Social Blogging

Them, seemingly out of nowhere, Bubblews emerged, inviting people to write their worlds. It sounded wonderful. Arvind Dixit said that the people who created the content, the little people, should profit from their work, and that he would share the ad revenues with those who accepted the invitation to “share your world” in posts of only 400 characters.

Bubblews became known as a social blogging site. People were paid a penny each for the views, comments, and likes they got on their posts – a rate that far exceeded what those who wrote for Squidoo, HubPages, and many other revenue sharing sites paid their members. Word spreads fast. Everyone said no one could afford to keep paying those rates, but many decided to concentrate their efforts on Bubblews for the easy money while it lasted. This is especially true of those who felt homeless after what happened to myLot and Gather, another site which had suddenly closed. People swarmed from myLot to Bubblews and were delighted with the pay rate.

Review Comparing Bubblews, Tsu, and myLot

 

Then, at the end of 2014, Bubblews announced they were not going to pay their writers what they were owed. Some simply were denied payments they had earned and submitted for redemption before a certain date in November. Bubblews administrators announced they were out of money and could no longer pay the same rates. No announcement was made on how pay rates would be determined. Many people just quit. Bubblews closed its site before the end of 2015.

 

Tsu Emerged as a New Social Network

Then, suddenly, tsu made its debut. I never made money there and found it a bit too busy for me. Many were very happy there, but many also left because it wasn’t a good fit. I got less and less active there because I found it overwhelming. In August, 2016, the site went dark, and its founder stated that those who had reached the payment threshold of $100 could email him, and he would pay them.

The Return to MyLot

 

At myLot There is Always Someone to Talk To
There’s no excuse for being lonely at myLot.

Now myLot is back in the hands of the original owners and the site is sharing revenues again. Not only are former members who had migrated to Bubblews returning, but they are bringing new friends they were close to on Bubblews with them. They are bringing people who used to write for Squidoo and who still write for HubPages. The result will be a more diverse membership that in the past.

So how do Bubblews, tsu and myLot compare now? MyLot is the only one of the sites that has survived.

Review Comparing Bubblews, Tsu, and myLot

 

MyLot is full of people excited to be back. They are earning their daily few cents again, and they are happy that they can cash out after earning only $5 as opposed to the $50 on Bubblews or $100 on tsu. Some of the old perks people had to earn (like being able to copy and paste and use emoticons) are now available to all as soon as they join. The old star system that made some people earn more than others is now gone and everyone is equal. One earns with all activity – posting and getting interaction on a post, and commenting on the posts and responses of others.

This is unique in the online world. On myLot people get paid for all their interaction on a post, and this encourages the long discussions that myLotters love. There is no set length a comment has to be, so people don’t say anymore than they need to in order to make a point.

MyLot requires members to write in English. It does not, however require that the English is proficient and many posts and comments can be hard to understand for that reason. It’s a great place for those studying English who want to practice.  You can join myLot here to party with us. MyLot does not currently have a referral program.

 

Review Comparing Bubblews, Tsu, and MyLot over the Long Haul

 

Life After Squidoo or Zujava, or Bubblews, Etc

Immediate Actions  after Squidoo Closed

My Squidoo shirt I got for being a Giant Squid has only sentimental value now.
Now this Squidoo shirt has only sentimental value

It’s been almost a year since Squidoo lensmasters received the announcement that Squidoo was closing. They learned that unless they took immediate action, all their work would be automatically transferred to HubPages, a similar site with some very different requirements. On one hand it was a relief to know that the work would not disappear into cyberspace if one did not retrieve it quickly, since many lensmasters had hundreds of articles that had been making money for them. On the other hand, we knew that many of those articles would not meet HubPages’ terms, and they wouldn’t fit those terms even if we rewrote them.

After backing up all content to keep it safe, the next thing was deciding what to do with the content that was not right for HubPages. Income on both HubPages and Squidoo had been going down since Google’s new updates had kicked in. Both sites had also seen less content being posted because there were more competing content sites. One of them, Bubblews, had been paying writers much more for short posts than Squidoo or HubPages paid for a well-researched article that took much more time and effort to write. Many writers had been putting their time where the easy money was and were writing very little new content for Squidoo and HubPages.

Then, at the end of 2014, Bubblews stopped paying those high rates and cut payments for money already earned but not yet paid. They announced that some earned payments would not be made at all. By the end of 2015, the site was gone. It just closed one day without notice. Most of the members moved to myLot, a social discussion forum where former Bubblews members and now Persona Paper writers continue to communicate with friends made on those sites.  Persona Paper owners  announced at the end of January that it would be closing.

Coming to Grips with Changes in the Writing Content Communities

Courtesy of http://pixabay.com/en/smiley-emoticon-question-mark-funny-681575/Most of us were asking ourselves, “Where do we go from here?” Many had already starting writing more at Wizzley and Zujava, but Zujava just closed – earlier than it announced it would. Persona Paper will also be closing soon.

Many of us are tired of moving content from site to site as sites go out of business. Many of us started putting more time and energy into our own blogs and websites. Most of us have one or more individual niche blogs, but some have gone beyond that. I’d like to show you some of the sites these ex-lensmasters have built. They have inspired me and given me ideas for what I might do next. Rather than reviewing each site, I’ll say a few words of introduction and send you to the sites for inspiration. I have found that seeing what others have done is enough to give me new ideas.

Cooperative Websites

Courtesy of http://pixabay.com/en/we-unity-cooperation-together-566327/First there are the collaborative sites where several writers who met on Squidoo (or possibly another site) share a blog or website and each contributes posts or articles to it. The groups are usually small enough to help each other with promotion. Each writer can promote her own affiliates and keep any income made from those links on her own posts. Terms and requirements on different sites will vary.

I am active in one such site: Review This. Several of us write reviews in our own areas of expertise. Currently there are seventeen of us. I believe this site was started by “Sylvestermouse ” Cynthia, since she owns the connected secret website. She kind of stays behind the scenes, promoting the other members’ work as much as her own, if not more. We all appreciate what she has put in place for us and all who help her.

Some contributors are committed to writing one post each week. Others fill in for people who don’t have time to write their posts that week. We read each other’s work and comment on it much as we did when we were on Squidoo.  We share posts we enjoy to social media sites we belong to. We have a private Facebook group where we encourage and help each other when we get stuck. It’s a great system. By working together, our blog posts get more views than they might on an independent blog or even on a content site. Many of the writers have moved work over from content sites and see it getting more traffic than it did on HubPages or wherever else it was before.

This screen shot is copyrighted and used by permission of the creator.

Another collaborative site is Jaquo, an online magazine with several contributors. I have not yet contributed to it for lack of time, but the quality of articles is excellent. I constantly find work there I am eager to pass to my social media followers. You can learn how to be published there at the bottom of their page. I dare you to go there not and find something you want to click on to read. The variety is amazing.

Jaquo is the brain child of Jackie Jackson. She says she was inspired while on a Facebook group, The Writer’s Door (see below), which many of us belong to. She saw many of her writing friends struggling to create their own sites while facing steep learning curves to get the job done. She saw she could help by creating a site for them. All they have to do is email their articles in and Jackie sees they get onto the site. Since she bought the domain on December 2, 2014, it has acquired over 1,300 articles.

I’m sure having all this content brings in more traffic than the content one person could have built alone in the same time. Of course, what you submit is seen by human eyes before being posted, and that is one way the site maintains its quality control. Human eyes are much better than the mechanized screening some content sites have used. Human eyes know if an article is interesting and worth reading as opposed to spun content or spammy writing. Only good writing gets posted. I don’t know how it works, but Jackie says each writer can include affiliate links and even their own Adsense.

Review This and Jaquo have much in common. First there is human quality control. Since most of the writers have known and read each other before, the site owners and other writers can decide to accept a writer as a contributor on the basis of past experience or a writing sample. Since the reputation of a site is affected by the quality of all the work it posts, site owners have to be sure all articles offer readers value.

Another common characteristic of cooperative sites is shared responsibility for content and site promotion. If one only has to post to the common site periodically, each contributor still has time to work on individual sites or blogs. Facebook groups, such as The Writer’s Door, provide meeting places for writers to share ideas and let others know about their individual work so they can cross-promote. This helps everyone.

Lastly, although writers work together on these sites, each is still responsible for producing content that will produce income. These are not revenue sharing sites like Squidoo and HubPages. We need to bring in our own revenue through affiliate selling or back-links to our articles on revenue sharing sites. If we aren’t earning, we can’t blame it on site owners not sharing enough with us. They are giving us the opportunity to have our work seen and read and we alone are responsible for making it earn for us.

 

Multi-Author Sites for Writing on a More Casual Schedule

Copyrighted Screen Shot, used by permission.
© 2013, Spacial Anomaly, used by permission.

Some former members of content sites like Squidoo and Bubblews, which have closed, have started their own sites. Here are some I know about.

Nicole Pellegrini started her site, Spacial Anomaly, in August 2013. to focus on niche topics she felt were being “drowned out” on Squidoo because they could not seem to make the top tiers. She says the site took some time to gather enough content to bring in traffic, but now she’s getting as much or more traffic than she did for her work than when it was on Squidoo. She is now moving work from many sites there. She has opened the site to other authors, and the requirements are similar to those on many of the content sites writers are familiar with. Authors keep all income generated by their affiliate links , as opposed to sharing it with the site owners. You can find out how to join here. Nicole has also begun limited Adsense revenue sharing. You will need to see the site for details.

 

Sites Individual Writers Have Built as Homes for Content Moved from Other Sites

Most of those who were discouraged at the closing of Squidoo hurried to copy and preserve all their best work. The next step was finding a new home for it. Not everyone knew about the collaborative sites, since they were also new. In fact, some weren’t started until writers saw HubPages was not a good fit for their work. They wanted to keep more of their work under their own control. Many of us put more time into new or neglected blogs because we didn’t have any other ideas. Others, with a larger vision of the possible, started their own multi-topic sites. These are ideal for those whose writing has not been concentrated into a few small niches.

Screen shot used by permission.

The first of these sites I came across was Lorelei Cohen’s Lady Mermaid site. It went live May 1, and what Lorelei has accomplished in that time is amazing. The first time I saw it, it blew my mind because it showed me what one writer could achieve. Lorelei has seventeen topic headings as of this writing. Her site is visually appealing, and the articles are quality. One of the first I shared widely was “Feeling Lonely? You Are not Alone.” You might prefer to sample an article on gardening, pets, frugal living, or one of her other topics. You are sure to find something with useful information. This site has articles to appeal to a wide variety of interests.

Nancy Hardin started All Things of Life, another multi-topic site. So far she is writing to ten different topics. The beauty of this is that she does not have to limit herself to that. If she becomes interested in another niche, she can add another subject to the top menu in the WordPress theme she has chosen. One thing that was frustrating on Squidoo and other content sites was that sometimes they did not have the right category for what you wrote. When you create your own site, you can create the categories you need instead of trying to find the closest fit. Take a look at Nancy’s site and sample some of her articles. You are sure to find one that you will want to read, and it will give you a feel for the design of her site and how it works.

Screen Shot used with permission.
Snip from Dreya’s World Homepage

Dreya built her multi-topic site Dreya’s World on the Weebly platform, which is an easy drag and drop site builder. It’s free to use, but you can buy a premium version if you want more features. Most web hosts also have it as a free installation. I know HostGator does. I’ve noticed it in their C-Panel. Dreya built her site to have a place to bring her writing and photography together in a way it’s not always possible to on someone else’s site. She’s off to a great start.

After seeing what these ladies have done with their sites, I’m hoping to start my own multi-topic site one of these days for the content I can’t put on any of my niche sites. Currently, though, I’m preoccupied with getting my Books to Remember site off the ground. It’s a redesign of my old book selling site. Now it’s strictly a book review site with a connected blog, rather than a site to sell book inventory as it used to be. It’s built completely on the WordPress platform. I’ve used the same theme on all my book and writing related sites, including this one,  to bring them all together while retaining the separate identity of each.

Individual Blogs

Many of us had blogs before Squidoo failed. I imagine there are others like me that didn’t put as much effort into them as we did into Squidoo and other content sites. As we see one site after another go down, we’ve taken a second look at those neglected blogs and even started new niche blogs. What you are reading is part of one of those newer blogs. My newest niche blog, to which I’m most committed, is Capturing the Paso Robles Area with My Camera. I love my local area and I take photo walks as often as possible. When I heard about the City Daily Photo blogging network, it looked like a perfect fit for my interests and the time I had available. It requires one post a day, but it doesn’t have to be long. Now I can take one or more photos a day of interesting and beautiful scenes in my community and share them with the world. Links to the City Daily Blogs all over the world are shared on the organization’s site. Each blog is independent, but blogs that meet the requirements get publicity on the network site.

Many former Squidoo members have started or are putting more time into niche blogs. Some blog topics appeal to a wide audience but have a lot of competition. People who write to those more general topics have to work harder to get traffic than those who chose very specialized topics without so much competition. Here are samples of some of the more general topic blogs. Please note that I have received permission from each blog owner whose screen shot I have posted before posting.

Maria Logan-Montgomery’s In the Garden with Maria seeks to answer questions about a topic of wide interest – gardening. Her site is simple and visually appealing with its beautiful photos of her plants and her information-packed posts. She had done much of the planning and writing before Squidoo shut down, and Squidoo’s demise gave her just the push she needed to start publishing what she had written into the blog. She hopes to move some of her hubs there, too, eventually.

Cheryl Patton’s Art on Products blog displays and markets her print-on-demand products. Marketing Zazzle and other POD products is difficult on the remaining content sites. Many don’t allow any affiliate links at all and most allow only limited links, or links only to sites on a certain list. By using her own blog to promote her work, Cheryl can make her own decisions about which links to share and how many is too many. She can also choose her means of displaying her products to the best advantage.

Ruth Cox has many blogs. One of them with wide appeal for dog lovers is Dog Pawsitive Tidbits. From the minute you open the site you will see it’s all dog. Ruth shares great photos of her dog Valentino and the adventures they have together, along with a lot of hints on how to handle dogs and live happily with them. If you have a dog, you will want to check out Ruth’s site. Although Ruth has chosen a popular topic in competition with a lot of other dog blogs, her unique treatment of the topic should win her many readers.

Copyright L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved; used with permission.
Copyright L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved; used with permission.

Kathryn Grace has a much narrower niche – sourdough. Her Sourdough Journals come straight from her own baking experiences and experiments with sourdough recipes. She tells us what worked and what didn’t, and it’s all beautifully illustrated with her original photographs. Perhaps I’m partial to this blog because of my own experiments with sourdough, and I can see that Kathryn provides the kind of information that’s hard to find – the things the recipe books often leave out.

Another blogger using a narrow niche is Susan Kennedy with her Country Porch World. Just visiting her site is relaxing. She shows you all you need to know about making your porch appealing, from the furniture to the wind chimes. You’ll want to plop yourself down in a comfortable chair and wait for someone to hand you a glass of cold lemonade. Beverly Owens’ Review of Country Porch World appears on Review This. Reading it will acquaint you with both sites, and you will see how different the sites are from each other. I have learned a lot about how I want my own sites to look just by visiting a lot of other sites.

Beverly Owens has her own narrow niche site – Native American TotemsDiscovering the medicine and lessons learned from the spirits of animals and all living things. Her simple design makes it easy to find her posts on the topics she writes about. Her most recent post shows what she learned from an earthworm while she was gardening.

The Possibilities are Endless.

I hope you have enjoyed this exploratory tour of the many ways people have moved work that was once published on Squidoo, HubPages, or other content sites, to new homes. I hope you now have some new ideas about what to do with your own homeless content. You can start your own blog or website, join an existing cooperative site, or grab a group of trusted writing friends and begin a collaborative site of your own.

If you are just beginning, decide which will work best for your content and make a plan. Decide how much time you have to commit to a new project. One needs to commit more time in the beginning stages of a blog or website than will be necessary  later on. You need to get a lot of content up before it’s wise to start monetizing with ads. Probably few people except some family or friends will read your first posts. But if you stay committed and put in the necessary time, your readership will grow and Google will find it. Here’s some helpful information to  help you get started with your own blog: Should You Start a Blog?

When you go it alone, you will need to spend more time in promotion than you may be used to if you have only posted to writing communities like Squidoo before. Each writing community has a potential audience built in and you can access it by making friends or connections. WordPress.com and Blogger also have ways to make connections with other bloggers on the same platform. If you have even one WordPress.com hosted blog, you can tie into some useful plug-ins for your self-hosted WordPress blogs, as well as join their network.

Whether you are hosting your own site or tapping into an existing site owned by someone else, be sure to join one or more social media groups of content writers or bloggers to keep current and for mutual support and promotion. Facebook and Google+ both have many groups you can choose from. It is useful to join at least one group where you don’t know most of the other people because that expands your potential reach.

None of us has time to keep up with everything that may affect our work or income. We need to be eyes and ears for each other. We need to share articles we like written by other bloggers. We can remain independent and still work together for the good of all of us. Let’s do it.