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Squidoo is dead, Long Live Hubpages

by Katinka Hesselink on August 28, 2014

On August 15th, Seth Godin announced that the website I have long been making a living on, Squidoo, is going. The content and it’s authors are moving to Hubpages (and therefore the money making opportunities as well). It was a stressful day, so I had to process information quickly. I decided within half an hour that I liked this news. While I once loved Squidoo, I had come to distrust its management. Hubpages was always slightly annoying, and boring, but it is run by competent people. The kind who actually know how to build a site.

Was it really that bad at Squidoo? Yes, it really was.

I’ve been silent on Squidoo’s many mistakes in public, over the last year, because I was still making money there and it was becoming clear HQ wasn’t listening to feedback anyhow. The only thing I did was advise people to stay out of Squidoo if they weren’t already in.

Now that the take-over is official, I can finally open my pen. This is mainly about the stuff that happened after the panda update that penalized Squidoo late 2012, early 2013. [click to continue…]

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Google+ help: circles vs communities

by Katinka Hesselink on February 15, 2014

Google+ is the upcoming social network according to industry stats. Google+ shares are directly correlated to high search rankings. This may mean that shares actually help stuff rank (which I doubt) or it can mean that stuff which ranks, tends to be shared (which seems likely). For that reason I think it’s time to revisit Google+ and see how it fits into my online strategy.

Over the years I’ve occasionally been active there and the result is that I have over 1000 people following me right now. Pretty amazing for a network I haven’t been active in. There are two ways to share posts with specific groups within Google+. The first is ‘circles’ the second ‘communities’. For a newby the two can be confusing. Here’s a quick summary I gave on the topic on facebook:

The circles are the way in which we can organize public shares – the google+ communities are like facebook groups: people can join them and they can be private or public or whatever. Circles are your private way of organizing that feed, so you can actually find the posts by your friends among the link-drops you’d rather not see. I have a ‘noisy’ circle for instance, for people I know, but whose posts I don’t need to see, because there are just too many of them.

So, if you want a share to only go to your friends who like baseball, you create a ‘baseball’ circle. If you want to FIND people to discuss baseball with and ask them a question or discuss the latest game, you join a baseball community. Communities on Google+ can be really fun. They’re a place where real discussion takes place. You can join communities around all your interests and find interesting people there. You can also decide whether or not you want the discussions in those groups to show up on your general Google+ feed. In most cases I’ve chosen not to have them there, because there are just too many things going to my Google+ feed anyhow.

However, it’s up to you. Google+ is a bit weird. On the one hand everybody who has a Google profile (Gmail users for instance) automatically has a Google+ account. So many users aren’t actually users. They just have an account because Google forced them to create one. The service is also a bit complicated.

However, it does solve some of the issues that are cropping up on facebook. One is privacy – Google+ circles make it very clear to whom your post is visible and you get to make that choice with everything you share. So some things can be public, others will only go to the people you have in circles (aka follow) and some will go to specific groups of people.

For general usage the main issue with Google+ is likely to be that it just has too many options. However, since the use of Google+ is apparently on the rise, perhaps people are learning to deal with that. Or they are finding simplified ways of using it that don’t use many of the customization options the system has.

In terms of privacy management Google+ is definitely a step up from Facebook: the default is to decide on a post-by-post basis what goes to which circle. Sure, the system remembers your last setting and uses that as a default, but changing that is not only easy, but a prominent interface option. To share something to a community you have to actually go to that community page. 

Duplicate content on WordPress – hey, Google indexed my tag pages!

February 4, 2014

On Facebook I’ve recently seen people ask about duplicate content on WordPress blogs. People are panicking. It’s logical to panic, unfortunately, because Google has been acting strangely lately. However, no-indexing ALL your tag and category pages is a mistake. You do want normal links between pages of your site. You do want Google to FIND […]

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Squidoo vs Hubpages vs Wizzley vs Zujava summer 2013

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Panda and Penguin are thoroughly messing with the Web 2.0 online marketing / online making a living business. The result for Squidoo is that has a lot less traffic than this time last year. Hubpages was caught earlier and seems to be recovering decently. Wizzley and Zujava were started when Google was already making it […]

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How to change your WordPress admin username without going into the database – WordPress security

April 19, 2013

The blogging web was roughly awakened to the security issues around running a (self-hosted) WordPress blog last week as a botnet with 90.000 ip adresses at it’s disposal tried to hack all WordPress sites it could find.  Matt Mullenweg has three tips – and this post is about the first and hardest one to implement: […]

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WP Engine WordPress Hosting experiences 2013: my review

April 11, 2013

When I got into hosting trouble last year, I found help with Anne Corcino at SEO Praxis to carry me over the busy months before Christmas. I told myself that March next year (that was last month) I’d decide on a permanent hosting solution. I had figured out just how tough WordPress hosting can be if […]

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Thesis – the best CMS-style WordPress Theme

March 14, 2013

Lately someone bought Thesis off the affiliate banner on this site. I felt somewhat guilty. After all, it’s been years since I did my Thesis review and I have no idea if Thesis is still the best theme on the block for affiliates.  The new Thesis (Thesis 2.*) is so different from the Thesis I […]

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How to speed up your WordPress blog on shared hosting

September 28, 2012

Yesterday’s post was about how I was forced to find myself a new host and ended up with shared hosting (again). Today’s post is perhaps more useful: the tips I was given from various sources on how to speed up my blogs. There are several advantage of speeding up your blog: Google likes fast sites […]

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What I learned about WordPress hosting this week (Hostgator vs VPS.NET)

September 27, 2012

Hosting is complicated Hosting is not as simple as you think it is WordPress hosting is definitely not as simple as you think it is Wow – that was eloquent, wasn’t it? The reason I’m writing this post is that I think my experiences with Hostgator and VPS.NET over the past week are probably instructive […]

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What to do when your Squidoo lens becomes WIP

June 28, 2012

WIP – Work In Progress WIP lenses show up on your Squidoo dashboard in red. When a lens is new, just published, it will show up as red till the next lensrank update. In order to keep it in the green you need to get it some traffic and squidlikes. Some people find that their […]

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