Tag Archives: HubPages

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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Why It’s Important for Affiliate Marketers to Self-Host WordPress Sites

Do You Want to Blog for Money?

It’s very tempting for affiliate marketers to take advantage of “free” blogging platforms such as BlogJob or revenue sharing sites using a WordPress interface. These platforms have their advantages and many of us have used them with varying results. BlogJob is great if you want to be in a community situation and be able to earn with social activity as well as your blogs. If you are a serious affiliate marketing blogger, who wants control over the monetizing options and how your blog looks, it’s important to self-host your WordPress site. 

Affiliate Marketing Rocks! Giant Coffee Mug
Affiliate Marketing Rocks! Giant Coffee Mug
View more Affiliate marketing Mugs at zazzle.com

Advertising Options

I have six blogs on BlogJob. I wanted to try some different themes that were new to me. I chose the Arcade Basic theme for my blog Trees in My World because I wanted to feature a lot of photos and I liked the large photo header. What I could not predict when writing my posts was what would happen when BlogJob’s placed their Adsense ads on my blog. Here’s what did happen.

Why It's Important to Self-Host Your WordPress Site
BlogJob Placed Ad Covering my Text

As you can see, the ad is covering my text — not something readers will appreciate. It makes me look bad and most readers will just click away, increasing my bounce rate..

I only discovered this was happening again when I was about to promote the page. These ads are pesky because when you are writing your post, you have no idea where they will appear and what form they will take. They don’t show up until someone is actually reading the post. This only has happened when I’ve been using this theme. In all fairness, the administration fixed this for me once, but the site just had a major update and it’s broken again.

When you self-host, you place all the ads. You don’t have to put one in the middle of your post if you don’t want the flow interrupted. You don’t have to worry about ads that will compete for clicks on the products you are linking to yourself. I remember times on revenue sharing sites when I was promoting certain Zazzle products and the same products would also appear in the ads to the right, competing for clicks and commission.

When you self-host, you  don’t have to worry about nasty or questionable ads being placed by your host that you would never approve or want your readers to see. (In all fairness, BlogJob has never placed ads I was ashamed of. ) You have full control in Google’s interface over what ads you do and don’t want to see when you host a site yourself.

Third Party Display Aids

Affiliate marketers want to make their products look attractive on their pages. Some like to use Amazon’s Native Ads. I like to use Easy Product Displays. It’s a very reasonable paid service that lets you easily build attractive displays of affiliate products.

I’m still on the basic plan that lets me search Amazon and Zazzle, my two main affiliate programs. It costs a bit more to include Share-a-Sale. You can choose between several layouts to find the best fit for your page, preview it, and switch products around in the display until you get it just right. Then you copy the code and put it in the text view of your page where you want it.  Here’s an example of a display I just built. (Disclaimer: I chose these books at random because they looked interesting to me.)

 Blogging For Dummies How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog Affiliate Marketing: How to make money and create an income How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business

&

There are ways I could adjust this display in the code to make the Amazon buttons line up more evenly, but that isn’t the primary focus of this post. You can display only one product or more than fifteen, if you please, in different sizes or in rows of two, three, and four products. It’s fun to play with it before you get your code.

I cannot use this display in BlogJob because of code conflicts. Amazon Native ads also have to replace one of your Adsense ads at BlogJob. I discovered today I can’t even display the normal text/image ad from Amazon there. I have no control over how the code is written. BlogJob pays the bills and they get to call the shots. They have to make money, too, but if you want control you need to self-host.

Full Control of Affiliate Products Promoted

So far, BlogJob has not limited how many products I may promote per post, only how they are displayed. Revenue sharing sites like HubPages are the most controlling when it comes to this. I hate having robots decide where affiliate links can be placed and how many. Anyone using HubPages will understand what I mean. That is one reason why affiliate marketers are leaving HubPages to self-host. Many who have done that are making much more money after moving their posts to self-hosted sites than they ever did on HubPages.

If You Are Serious about Monetizing, Self-Host

If you are starting from scratch with self-hosted WordPress, I recommend you spend the small amount of money it takes to purchase the course that will show you how to set it up correctly to make money and get traffic. It’s called Set Up a WordPress Site in One Day, and I have purchased it myself.  I thought I knew plenty already, since I had been using self-hosted WordPress for years. After getting this course, I was surprised to learn how much I didn’t know yet.

I recommend you host with SiteGround. I have moved my main site there.  Here’s why.

 

If you want to blog mainly for personal satisfaction or you don’t care if you make money with your blog, go ahead and join BlogJob.  You can still make a bit of money there — probably faster than on HubPages — while enjoying the community aspects of the site and participating in forums. Just keep in mind that if you want to start seriously monetizing a blog to make a business of blogging, you will get much better results if you self-host. 

If you found this post helpful, please share it. The image below was designed for pinning on Pinterest.

Why It's Important for Affiliate Marketers to Self-Host WordPress Sites

 

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 ClosesYesterday we just learned that another site I was writing on, Persona Paper, is closing. In the past two years Squidoo, Bubblews, Zujava, Wikinut, Seekyt, and sites I never even joined have closed or stopped paying. The site administrators, who have always been upfront with us, gave us  fair warning so that we would have time to save our work. It’s not too late yet for members of the site to do the four things  you need to do after a writing site closes. 

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 lines 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 as recently as last week. 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 web sites I own. Now those are all dead links. They need to be removed. 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.

Aside: As I was looking over those recently written posts I just linked to, I still saw links back to Persona Paper that I now need to remove.

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.

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. There may be an important one on right now that ends soon.

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.

Moving Writing from Content Sites to Your Own

I’m  Republishing More of my Content Here

In my article Life After Squidoo or Zujava or Bubblews, Etc., I suggested that one way to deal with the loss of these sites was to move one’s work onto self-hosted pages. I am now taking my own advice. Although this site started as a blog, I will be adding articles to it that you can access from the top tabs. As you mouse over each tab, it will show you the articles which have been revised, rewritten, or written specifically for this site. So far only  the Soul and Spirit tabs are active. Eventually the Body tab will join them.

How I Save Copies of Work to Republish

I’m sure I’m not the only one trying to find homes for previously posted work on now defunct sites. When an article was originally written for Squidoo, HubPages, Bubblews, Persona Paper, Wikinut, Zujava, Seekyt, or another content site, moving that article to a self-hosted  site can be like working a puzzle. First you need to have copies of what you have posted on those  sites.

Most people have now learned how important it is to keep the text of their articles in a separate file on a computer or in the cloud. I personally use Carbonite to back up all my computer files so that I will still have my work even if my computer crashes.

Many of the former host sites, though, encouraged writers to use special modules that WordPress and Blogger don’t have — such things as Google Maps, polls, and quizzes it is hard to reproduce. We can reinsert videos and photos, but not exactly where they were in the original article. We need to redo our affiliate links which were often encased in special modules or capsules.

I am now saving every post hosted on a site not my own as a complete webpage so that I can have a guide that makes it easier to get my photos and videos where they belong. Besides that, if you worked as hard on some those Squidoo articles as I did, it’s nice to have a copy of the original to admire. I tried to build masterpieces with the provided tools, and I think I often succeeded. Then they got transferred to HubPages and were never the same again. For now I’m leaving any featured hubs written on my original HubPages account where they are, but I will be moving as many on my transfer account as possible. Many of them will land here.

If you haven’t got your blog or website set up yet, you might go back to read Should You Start a Blog

Moving content takes time, so the articles I’m republishing here will build up gradually. If you click a tab  at the top, it will explain the sort of articles that will be found under that tab. When Body appears, it will hold articles on recipes, fitness, health, and other writing related to bodily needs. I hope to have this up soon. Meanwhile, I hope you will  check in every month or so and see what’s new, or follow me on Twitter where I   will post links to new content.

 

 

 

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.

Earthquake in the Online Content and Social Blogging World

Update, February 1, 2016

Since I first wrote this, a lot more shaking has been going on. Bubblews is gone. It just disappeared a few months ago.  People who hadn’t backed up their work had no way to get it. Persona Paper announced at the end of January it will be closing. It is no longer showing ads or issuing coins. They will be paying those who are owed most as long as the money lasts. People are being given notice so they can make copies of any work not yet backed up. The owners of Persona Paper have acted with integrity, keeping members in the loop at all times. I am sorry to see the site closing.

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In the past two months online social bloggers and content writers have been scrambling to make the best of changes in their online world, I among them. Many who had written for Bubblews had their work truncated by the July 15, 2014 site update that eliminated everything written in extra content boxes or photo galleries. On these posts, only the introduction remained.

Squidoo writers were greeted in the middle of August with the news that Squidoo had sold out to HubPages and their work would automatically be transferred there unless they opted out. Many of those affected by this change were still madly editing their ruined posts on Bubblews to try to make sense of them again. Now they had to deal with making their former lenses into work suitable for HubPages. Shortly afterwards, Bubblews took away the ability to edit any post over 24 hours old, leaving a lot of angry writers who could not fix their broken work.

As I personally was trying to make the best of all this, I discovered Persona Paper and joined. It was everything I was wishing Bubblews was – except for the pay. No one could beat what Bubblews was paying. In spite of their lack of respect for their writers’ work, evidenced by what they did to it, in spite of payments taking longer and longer to reach them, in spite of the lousy writing interface, Bubblers kept posting because they couldn’t get paid as much anywhere else.

 

This month  whose writing their worlds on Bubblews find their world there rocking again. First came the announcement that pay would be going down and that those from certain countries would have to wait longer for payment than those from other countries. Then came the news that everyone would have to wait at least two months before they could get paid. They would also only be able to redeem once every thirty days, no matter how much was in their bank. There was another outcry when the number of views posts got stopped appearing.

Then, just this week, Bubblews decided that too many posted recipes had been plagiarized. This led them to say they would no longer pay for recipe posts unless the writer could prove the recipe was their own. They offered no way to present this proof. So most people have decided they will post no more recipes.

The only good news coming out of Bubblews this month is that Bubblers can now delete all those posts the update destroyed, without the financial penalty that used to make deleting bank-breaking.  Now we will also have to delete the ones we fixed before the editing stopped, since Bubblews “helpfully” restored all the text in our extra content boxes last week, including overwriting the edits we’d been able to make. Those posts restored all the obsolete portions we had edited to make them up to date. It restored all the references to photos that the site had deleted. Hardly anyone had used the extra content boxes to include only text. It would have been unnecessary.

Where does this leave Bubblers? Most have decided Bubblews is no longer worth their best efforts, since the site administrators cannot be relied on to leave their work intact. Posts aren’t earning what they were, and residual income is hardly worth mentioning anymore.

I used to make between one and two dollars a day most days, even if I had not posted anything new. Now if I make a new post, I’m lucky to earn a dollar in a day. On October 5, I posted one article, bringing my total number of posts to 841. My bank read $44.17 the morning of October 5. The morning of October 9, without any additional posts, my bank was reading $48.70. I had earned $4.53 in that time.

That isn’t happening anymore. I cashed out on October 14. leaving my bank at zero. By October 15, in the morning, it was reading $.68. Since then I have made two posts. Today my bank reads $5.12. So in the seven days between Ocober 15 and today, October 24, I earned $4.44. That’s an average of $.63 a day. Compare that to the average of $1.13 a day I made before the change with no new posts – all residual income.

CoinsBut what has happened at HubPages is even more dramatic. Between my two HubPages accounts, with no affiliate sales, for this month I’m making only $.22 a day residual income. That is with 137 featured hubs between the two accounts and no new hubs posted this month. Last month those earned $.39 a day. In April, the earnings from only the original account with 81 featured hubs, earned $.43 a day.

If I trace that account through from April 20, 2011, that account has earned an average of $.45 a day, but you must consider that on April 20, 2011, I had only four hubs and during the rest of that month in April, they were averaging $.19 a day. Most of my best hubs were beginning to be written in November of 2011 and the number of hubs did not start increasing much until 2012.

Enter Persona Paper. It’s new. I joined at the end of July. It’s requirements are much easier to meet than those of HubPages. It pays not only for the views on your posts, but also for comments of 30 characters or more which you make on the posts of others. Its threaded comments make real discussions easier than on either Bubblews or Facebook or Chatabout (a pay to post forum.) You always know who is answering whom about what.

What’s most important to me there, though, is that the owners of the site are themselves writers and they respect our work. To prevent spammers, spinners, and plagiarists, they read a sample of your writing before accepting you on the site as a writer. They are also very responsive to suggestions from members and reports of violations.

Their writing interface is almost as good as that on WordPress. You can use bold, italics, and other necessary formatting needed to write in accordance with common usage standards. You can also post multiple photos in posts at the present time, though as individual galleries get more crowded, that feature may not last. I have confidence that the owners will not take away what is there, but the ability to add more at at later date could go away.

But, you may ask, does it pay as well as Bubblews and HubPages? Not yet. When I started at the beginning of August with my first post, I was making an average of .06 a day counting comments. As of today, October 24, I have earned $5.84 and written 128 posts. I now earn an average of ten cents a day when I post. Posts only have to be 500 characters, but I usually write more.

Since I joined, the site has grown as more people are seeing Bubblews as a ship about to sink or a place they no longer enjoy the uncertainty of what will happen to their writing or earnings. While earnings at Bubblews and HubPages are going down, earnings at Persona Paper are heading in the other direction and slowly increasing.

I’m not ready to give up on HubPages yet, since I still believe it’s smart to have many baskets for my eggs.

If you have found some good baskets for content I haven’t mentioned, please tell us about them in the comments. I do moderate comments, but I will let appropriate links be shared to any sites I have not mentioned after I have investigated the sites linked to. I still have a no spam policy.

Photos (apart from those leading to Zazzle) are in he public domain courtesy of http://pixabay.com/

 

The Nitty Gritty of Turning a Lens into a Hub

My writing life on Squidoo was unique. I wrote a lot of lenses to express myself around themes to evoke a mood or combine thoughts, videos, music and photos around a topic. A prime example was a lens called “The Blessings of Rain.”It was revised to post to HubPages when Squidoo sold out to HubPages.

I wish I could show you the unedited version.  I wrote it after a three-day period of mild rainstorms that came after a very parched period of months without rain. I wanted my readers to understand what a blessing the rain had been to the parched county. I included some lighthearted music videos with songs about rain, such as “Just Walking In the Rain,” just after my introduction.  This was followed by an Amazon module with umbrellas for sale, some photos to evoke a mood, a poll on how rain affects the readers, and another music video.

Then I switched the mood to a more spiritual theme by introducing the lyrics to “Joy is Like the Rain” with some photos of rain on a window.  I had put a video of the song there, but YouTube took it off so I had put one of Squidoo’s modules there that would play samples from an album that had the song on it.

From that point on the thoughts, photos, and videos were more devotional in content. The lens  ended with the comment section, as they all do.  I deleted the featured lens module which usually came after it.  HubPages doesn’t offer that as a capsule.

Here’s the best I could do so far from Squidoo to turn this into a hub.  First I had to change almost all the photos. Most had originally come from Photobucket and at a time when they were seemingly not restricted, but they aren’t able to be used commercially anymore. That meant searching my own photos and Pixabay for replacements. The replacements aren’t as effective, since they aren’t animated so you can actually see the rain coming down.  I may have better ones on my home computer when I can access them, but I wanted to put something in as place holders now.

I then had to remove all links to Zazzle products because HubPages doesn’t allow them or have a way to put affiliate link codes into their capsules. One of the hardest things about the overall transition for me is not being able to use Zazzle products as illustrations. Some of my best illustrations come from Zazzle.  I had two modules, one with a couple of posters of people in the rain, and one with rain T-shirts, that served as visual breaks before the poll. I had to eliminate them.

I left the MP3 Amazon module in just in case HubPages might add one as a capsule. It didn’t happen so the song did notsurvive the change. I don’t expect I’ll have a  way to include this important song in a way it can be heard.

I also had to find something to replace Squidoo’s call-out module, formerly known as the black box, which used to be a module by itself but had other former modules offered within it as choices. I had used the black box often in various colors, as a sort of transition quote . I decided to use Quozio to make a replacement for one of these black box quotes.  You can see it above. For Quozio, you don’t need to have a photo of your own. The site provides a choice of many backgrounds and you provide the quote.  It’s actually better than the old black box.

I made the replacement for another black box on Picmonkey, because I wanted to use my own image.  It’s a free online image editor. It produced this for me.

I made this black box replacement with my own photo edited on picmonkey.com
I made this black box replacement with my own photo edited on picmonkey.com

 

Another site where you can add text to your own photo is Share As Image.  They try harder to get you to go pro for a fee, but you can use either a choice of their photos or uploading one of your or choosing a background.  You can see photos I’ve produced from all three sites as featured images on this blog and its sister blog, Bookworm Buffet. You are limited only by your imagination.

The conclusion I have come to after this project of trying to turn “The Blessings of Rain” into a hub is that to really work I’d need to totally rewrite it.  I’m now debating the wisdom of having the lenses transfer over and having two accounts. If I  have only ten suitable lenses or less I may cancel the transfer and rewrite them for the existing account.  There are many, including my best lens, that I will have to put on my own pages.  There is no way I’d be able to turn them into hubs.

Eat. Sleep. Edit. Tshirt
Eat. Sleep. Edit. Tshirt Browse Editor T-Shirts online at Zazzle.com

What problems have you encountered in moving work from content writing sites to other sites or to your own websites?

Sold Out: Checklist for Exiting Squidoo

After spending almost five years as a Giant Squid at Squidoo, like all other Squidoo writers, I’ve found my featured lenses are to be switched to HubPages. Once there, we will have an as yet unstated period of time to bring them into conformity with HubPage’s own Terms of Service.  For Giant Squids that will be a harder task, since we have had more freedom to link outside the site than other Squids.

Since several tasks need to be completed in the next two weeks, I thought I’d make myself a checklist. I’m sharing it with you in case you might also find it useful.

  1. Make new backup copies all all lenses I care about.
  2. Delete any lenses I don’t want to transfer to HubPages from Squidoo.
  3. Complete setting up my HubPages account for BarbRad, since I can’t use my already existing HubPages account as WannaB Writer for the transferred lenses. They have to have their own account.
  4. Edit existing hubs, blogs, and other pieces of work that dealt with information on how to use Squidoo, etc., that will no longer be applicable.
  5.  Change links to the transferred articles as soon as possible.
  6. Start editing the transferring and already transferred lenses into conforming hubs.
  7. Move any lenses I don’t want on HubPages to new homes that suit them better or just kiss them goodbye.
  8. Breathe again.

Have I left off anything I should add to this list?

Meanwhile, if you want a new home for lenses that don’t have affiliate links, you might consider Persona Paper. It is a friendly and welcoming community, but they don’t allow any affiliate links in your articles there.

Photo of vintage alarm clock in public domain courtesy of Pixabay

Persona Paper Still Alive but in Transition

Update: Persona Paper is in transition. It will soon be under new administration. Currently there is doubt as to whether it will become a revenue sharing site again.  Most of this post is now historical. 

 

I am a pioneer of sorts when it comes to exploring start-up sites. I often sign up for new social networks that show promise, but they don’t always live up to the promises.  The  owner of Zurker, who had hoped to create the new Facebook, got discouraged and closed his site. Scrazzle,  which wants to be the new Twitter, still survives.  Someone built each of these social networks, hoping people would come. Not enough did come to make Zurker successful. It appears Scrazzle is struggling, even though it has possibilities There’s a lot to like there but I keep forgetting to go there. I notice a many self-pubished writers are there.

Now I’m pioneering again. I have discovered a fairly new community of content writers and bloggers who like to post short (or long) articles or observations and earn a few pennies as others read them. Content providers aren’t earning much yet, but I have a feeling this site will grow.  This new site is Persona Paper. There’s a lot to love about it.

Like many content writers, I have been discouraged about writing at Squidoo  (now sold out to HubPages) and Bubblews lately.  Bubblews’ new format change has broken at least half my posts by removing all but one photo from my photo essays.  The best writers at Bubblews,  the ones who used the extra content boxes that made photo essays possible, were hit the hardest, since everything in those boxes disappeared overnight in the new update to the site’s format.  (July, 2014) As of January, 2015, Bubblews is paying almost nothing, when it decides to pay at all.

Persona Paper, however is strong where Bubblews has been weak. The post I referenced above talks about those strengths. I see many other frustrated Bubblers discovered Persona Paper before I did. We all love it there. There is a special sense of community when a site is new. Persona Paper members have that pioneering spirit, the owners are responsive to member needs, and the writing editor is wonderful. I can again write photo essays without having to stuff my articles with polls (though I can post one there), videos, maps, etc.  We just write, link and illustrate with photos we have the right to use. We get to post our work without having to post a lot that came from somewhere else.

Many are most curious about the money to be made. Right now, not much. I speak after only two days of being approved to post. (Yes, your first post is sent with your application to join. It is  read by a human to make sure you can write like a literate person in English.  That’s true no matter how fat your writing portfolio is, whether you’ve won writing contests, whether you are published, whether you are a former Giant Squid.)

So far I have published six articles at Persona Paper. I have been there since Sunday night, commenting and getting acquainted. I have so far only sixteen followers and have made twenty cents. I cannot use any affiliate links in posts there. But thoughtful comments I make on the posts of others earn me a little. And I get twice as much as that if someone views my post.

As I post more and acquire more followers, I expect to increase my earnings to at least what HubPages is paying me, and I won’t have to wait until I accumulate $50 to get my earnings. Persona Paper will pay after I reach $20.  If you want to connect to some great people and are willing to support a new site and let your earnings grow with it, please join with my referral link and start looking around while you wait for posting privileges. You will only need to have the first post approved unless you do something you shouldn’t.  Update: I have corrected this with information  about recent changes at I Received My First Persona Paper Payment Today.

 

I am not very active on HubPages these days because I’m so busy on other sites making corrections. and editing.  That’s why I’m thankful for anything they currently give me, which so far this week has averaged 41 cents a day.   I have only 90 hubs, and nine of them are snoozing, waiting for more activity to become visible to Google again. But at least a direct link will result in a visitor not being turned away.   I still l love HubPages as a writing platform when I want to write serious content and need their bells and whistles and want to use a referral link.

If you enjoy writing and have time to socialize with others who like to write content, or even books,  Persona Paper is for you. I urge you to join and help build a site which may someday pay you back for your efforts. You will be in good company, make new writing friends, and gradually earn some dollars you won’t get by doing your socializing on Facebook.  It only takes 500 characters to make a post (not counting spaces and punctuation.) Spammers don’t survive there, and those who only come to try to scam the system will never be seen. It’s a refreshing change from Bubblews in that respect. Best of all, the owners have shown that they respect the writers by keeping communication open, taking suggestions seriously, and creating a great platform.