Overview: Squidoo is a collection of millions of pages made by individual users about whatever topic they so choose. While setting up your own page doesn’t cost anything and does have the potential of earning revenues from advertisements, there are a number of aspects that make Squidoo a poor choice for investing time into.

Defined: With a Squidoo account, users can make up to 10 different individual pages called lenses at no cost.  It’s similar to creating a facebook page in that you can easily add applications like Flickr photos, RSS feeds, maps, and whatever else you’d like to trick out and increase the value of your lens to others. Squidoo will also insert advertisements and links into your lens that in turn make money for you anytime someone clicks on them. Anyone may view and rate your lens once you publish it, and popular Squidoo lenses do rise to the top of search engine rankings pretty quickly. Sounds like a winning recipe for making tons of cash doesn’t it? Here’s a glimpse at a Squidoo lens I created about Harrisburg Pennsylvania:

There is really no limit to the amount of content and applications users can add to their lenses. Once a lens is created, users can then try to add it to certain groups, this Harrisburg Pennsylvania lens was added to a number of travel groups in hopes of making it easier to find. From your personal Squidoo Dashboard, users can track the number of hits on their lenses as well as advertisement revenue earned.

Unfortunately, most people on Squidoo are creating multiple lenses solely to make money. Now that in itself probably isn’t a terrible thing as long as the result is quality content, but the truth about most Squidoo pages is that the majority of content comes from other sources such as RSS feeds, Amazon, Youtube, and Flickr so unique content tends to be hard to find. Additionally, Squidoo ranks lenses on the amount of activity and updates a lens receives, so if you’re not making very regular changes to your page then you’ll notice your rank in Squidoo and in search engines will diminish rapidly. I honestly put a conscientious effort into a few different pages to see if I could generate any traffic,  but despite my Squidoo rank being significant I rarely had any visitors at all. I would venture to say that most Squidoo pages are only viewed by other Squidoo users, which doesn’t help much with making ad revenue. I think I’ve made a total of 57 cents to date.

Business Applications: With no restrictions on the type of lenses users can create, a company can certainly create their own Squidoo lens if they so desire- Yahoo, Microsoft, and even Oprah have their own Squidoo lenses. There is no cost to create a lens, and with constant maintenance you can certainly push your lens to the top of search engine rankings. But why would any company invest time into creating a web page about their website? All the energy and time spent on beefing up a Squidoo lens would be much better spent on increasing the SEO of your actual website. There is the possibility of making money through advertisements, but I seriously doubt anyone could make significant change through a Squidoo lens regardless of the time invested.

Recommendation: Save your time, Squidoo is overrated. If you have a personal interest in something and you’d like to create a lens on Squidoo instead of paying for your own domain name then this is a reasonable tool, but don’t expect to make any real money or generate serious traffic. Outside of personal use, I don’t find Squidoo to be worth investing any time into for businesses, the time would be much better spent on your own website. At most Squidoo is a way to give your other websites backlinks to help their pagerank.