Squidoo: It's Quite Simple Really
So, as you survey the battlefield amidst the faint cries of "medic, medic", what are your thoughts as to the future? I'd say they will probably depend on why you came to Squidoo. If you're one of the get rich quick hopefuls, conned by the hype on certain forums, you're probably realising that you've made a mistake. If you're one of the conmen, you're doubtless realising you need to change your business model.
What if you're just a good, honest writer? Well, you need to realise that a knowledge of outside forces is a good thing. You don't need to know the ins and outs of Google or what Matt Cutts has for breakfast (he doesn't, he just watches Youtube clips of himself). You do need to exercise a bit of commonsense though.
Look how things have changed - the cry used to be "get backlinks" and people scrambled to spam everything from other lenses to forums on stamp collecting. It was the equivalent of selling elephant-sexing services by putting flyers on car windscreens but people bought into the hysteria. Now they're suffering.
|Aurelijus Valeiša - Creative Commons|
People wrote lenses with lots of product links. They got a few sales, or someone said on a forum that they were selling huge amounts, whoopee, let's write some more. Now, HQ tells us that thin content with lots of crappy product links is bad.
"It's not fair," you cry, "everyone was doing it." And those good old words from your mother come to mind: "if everyone was jumping off a cliff ..."
You're a one man band, you can't do market research or follow industry trends. Well, you don't have to be: lots of websites do it for you. Even go down to the level of product selection for a lens - half the people I know don't even look at bestseller views or customer reviews. Hands up anyone who's added a product because it had a pretty picture or to pad out a lens on a theme.
HQ jumped on the responsive design bandwagon - rightly, though belatedly. People with masses of ugly (usually) styling were caught out.
Now I'm saying, go for defensive design: content, structure and appearance should be aimed at giving visitors what they want, in a manner that is not likely to cause problems a few months down the line. I don't mean produce bland lenses, I don't mean jump on another bandwagon of the Best Baby Stroller With A Q In The Name 2013, I mean pick products that you'd use, or that your friends would.
Forget trying to game the system and chase longtail keywords until you disappear up your own backside. Find some products that people want, group them sensibly, present helpful information clearly. Bang, you have a lens, a lens that stands a good chance of seeing in the New Year.