Hi everyone! Today starts my review of Erica Stone’s Squid Pro Quo. I hate to say I didn’t know who Erica was, because she PM’d me and said she was a fan of mine, but I’m really bad with names and I don’t recall her. So hopefully we haven’t ever interacted and I just forgot.
One thing I’m really happy about though, is that when I barely mentioned the product yesterday, several of you chimed in and said you buy everything she puts out because you like her style. Some had this particular product and said it was good – but we’ll see if it passes the TIFF TEST (insert ominous music here LOL).
How I Found Out About the Product
After my wretched experience this past week with the Blackgator product, I went trawling for something else in the WSO section of Warrior Forum. Squid Pro Quo caught my eye because I’m a big advocate of Squidoo. I’ve used it for years. It still works to promote anything they allow.
I especially love using it for tangible sales – particularly around the holidays. Now I’ve read many Squidoo courses – some of them were stinkers and some spammy. I hope this one’s not one of those kinds. I like reviewing other people’s Squidoo products because the site is always evolving and my own Squidoo products were taken off the market previously because I didn’t feel like keeping them updated.
For my particular audience, I like reviewing this product because:
1. It covers a method that’s free (I think – Squidoo at least – not sure about what she has us doing, though).
2. It’s newbie friendly (Squidoo is)
3. It’s profitable (using Amazon)
4. It ranks fast and performs well in search engines (if you know what you’re doing)
5. This product is affordable. She kept the price point at $19 – nice! I like that.
Nobody told me about this product or about Erica Stone. I just stumbled on it.
My Review of the Squid Pro Quo Sales Copy
When I clicked through, there was a notice that it was WSO of the Day on September 14th. This never impresses me personally because I know they’ve made WSOs of the day on crappy products, too. Then there’s a graphic with a Squid and some money and some phrasing about an unfair advantage.
The sales copy says there’s not a lot of product research required (yea), that we don’t have to write tons of content (hmm not sure how the lens works then), that we can build a lens under 2 hours (I hope so because mine don’t take long).
She says she’s going to give us cut and paste code so we don’t have to learn HTML. I like this. She mentions how it’s perfect if we’re late starters to the holiday season and how this works year round (true of Squidoo).
There’s a mention of Market Samurai, which I own, or free tools that deliver the same results. She promises to teach us a cool formatting trick for images that works on Squidoo or other sites. She says there’s a 1-time backlinking strategy she teaches, and she recommends weak competition keywords to rank fast.
Ah one thing I like – for those of you who live in states where Amazon commission isn’t possible, you can use Squidoo and partake of the Amazon Associates program because they pay Squidoo – and Squidoo pays you.
Her CTR to Amazon is over 30% on her test lenses using this strategy – awesome!
What We Get in Squid Pro Quo
She says we get the main Squid Pro Quo guide of 23 pages with two sets of thorough, step-by-step instructions.
We also get bonuses that include a keyword idea tracking spreadsheet, lens planner spreadsheet, three one-time backlinking methods, and 3 HTML templates.
She also made it so that there’s an easy system for us to outsource to someone else. I like this! I just handed over content to my ghostwriter so she could create 3 new lenses for me (they’re Christmas lenses).
What She Promises
She swears there’s no upsells (hallelujah) and there’s nothing we have to buy to get it to work (yea!). She also offers a 60-day money back guarantee. Nice.
After that there’s a whole slew of review testimonials, which never mean diddly squat to me. I go through real comments on the WSO thread. Oh! I see it must be a dimesale or something? Someone mentioned that the price was $13.10, and now it’s $19, so I don’t know if there’s a cap on it or what.
Tons of comments about people saying they bought it because they buy everything she creates. Good to hear. I love that people who got review copies disclosed it. I know they’re supposed to, but some don’t. Means this lady attracts ethical followers. She says she makes $2,000 a month from her Squidoo lenses. I would be too if I hadn’t sold them all off. LOL!
Some people had been asking how it relates in terms of her other Squidoo product and apparently, this is a shortcut – different image tactic, single lenses versus groups, much less content, etc.
Someone mentioned her stellar customer support – and I noticed someone else told me personally that she’s like me in responding really fast. This is important to me. I get annoyed when my peoples’ support tickets go unanswered when I promote something.
Note: Someone asked Erica if they need to put the Amazon disclosure anywhere on the page and she said yes. I don’t think this is necessary because Squidoo built it in there for you here:
It’s at the very bottom of your page. It says, “This page and all the pages on Squidoo generate income for lensmasters and charities based on affiliate relationships with our partners, including Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Have fun.” So Squidoo built it in for us – they have our backs!
How I Got the Product
When I decided I wanted to review it, I submitted my request for affiliate approval and in the message box, I told Erica that I wanted to do a review of it. I was going to buy it, but she emailed me a free download. Very nice, although I do hope she knows how my reviews go – I assume she does since she said she’s a big fan of mine.
When she emailed it to me, she said there were two sections:
- Keyword finding guidelines
- Lens building techniques
When I unzip the file I see a folder for Keyword Tracking, one for Lens Planning, one for Squidoo Links Instructions, and one for Your Amazon Links Instructions. I also see a PDF for the main book.
Main Book Review
So I open up the main PDF first. It’s 26 pages long, starting with a graphic and the disclaimer. Then the table of contents, which ARE hyperlinked, conveniently.
The Introduction is an overview, welcome message kind of thing.
The Strategy Overview is more detailed. She mentions a page on Squidoo which I hadn’t checked in forever so I just did. This section is basically telling the newbies to Squidoo how this all works.
The Ideal Keywords section is very different from anything I’ve ever done! I’m anxious to use this strategy to test things out. The note is kind of shocking to me on what does NOT matter. Ah part of what she’s teaching, I kind of Frankentiffed from Info Product Killer long ago with my toilet seat site 🙂
Good insight on what to avoid because I KNOW some newbies will think they struck gold, when they really got a dud. She shows us a sample live lens of hers. Actually three! I’m shocked at what’s missing in the introduction module. And she wasn’t lying when she said minimal content – I could create THOUSANDS of these in a flash I feel like.
Okay I do a little sleuthing in an incognito window. Checking to see how her lenses rank:
- Lens #1 ranks #10 on page 1
- Lens #2 ranks on page 1 of Google in spot #7
- Lens #3 ranks on page 1 of Google in #10.
All page 1, so that’s good.
Kinda cool the way she does her module titles with keywords.
How to Find Keywords is a section I’m excited about! I love doing research like this because you stumble on a nugget and then you feel so proud of yourself.
She has a good starter ideas strategy. Love the kids one. Mine will be all over that. Okay Scarlett’s home today and she just brainstormed with me and MAN my daughter came up with some good ones!
Oh shoot I uninstalled Market Samurai since I preferred my Google keyword tool, so I’ll just go with that version. Ick it has me download a free tool. I hate downloads. LOL!
Okay the free tool is very cool. But I’m lost on what to put in her spreadsheet. I get the first two columns, but what am I entering in the last ones? No clue… it’s not registering with me even though they’re trying to explain it.
Okay shoot. I got all excited because I found a phrase with all the criteria, but then I realized it was 3 words long. LOL! I registered the lens URL anyway. Gotta stick to the exact criteria she has listed here. Oh crap I did another rule breaker! UGH – shame on you, Tiff! Oh well, another good lens idea with hits on all the other criteria so I’ll grab the URL. lol
Okay Scarlett and I sat down and replaced the keywords I screwed up on – again, she blows my mind! She came up with all sorts of stuff and I’m going to clue you guys in on my overall topic so you can see what I’m doing with this one example.
Her keyword she picked out was “baby dolls.” So we went and did the extensive research for this. Now I have to say there are some sickos out there. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
Nowwww we’re on a roll! Finding some gooood stuff! Really love this research method and now I know why she’s making bank on Squidoo.
I found 7 awesome keyword phrases for this niche that meet all the criteria! Woot!
Now the next step is not something I like – I feel like it’s link leakage. I never put this on my lenses, but I’ll adhere to her instructions. Okay but I did it the way she talks about so it’s not like what I normally see. I find the elements I need.
Boy this research stuff is fun, but time consuming – once I know what I’m doing it won’t take as long, but right now I’m carefully implementing.
Got my planners filled out! Must say here that usually, I never use people’s planner stuff but these are really well done, except for the 4 columns where I’m not sure what I’m supposed to put in there.
I’m onto the lens building portion!
Oh gosh heart attack. I just realized after ALL that work that I forgot to check and see if someone else had that lens URL – they don’t! Woot! Kinda surprised, too!
I open up the lens building PDF she gives us, which is 14 pages long. She gives instructions on what to do if the URL is not available. I disagree – just take out the dashes. Instead of her options, I’d rather include another word like “the” or “best” or something. But that’s not an issue for me because mine was available.
Another link leakage problem I see, but I’m adding it anyway. I want to revert to old habits. LOL! But I’m not.
Building my lens is slow, but I’ll get faster. I watch her video tutorial on hyperlinks. Her voice is pleasant. No slurping. No splicing. She’s a pro.
Lots of work for me here. I like the way it looks – kind of like using the Amazon modules, only this gives you 100% of the commission. Hmm okay my image above the video looks kinda wacky. Not sure if it’s supposed to look like this. Maybe it is. I’ll leave it for now! LOL
Oh wow the last Text module trick is cool – and for a good reason, too! Very nice.
Okay she goes over some of the sidebar steps but I’m going to opt out of the ads (the middle one) and I’m customizing the bio on that page.
Oh. My. God.
I was so aggravated just now. I finish the lens. I’m DONE after working on it all day now. I go to look at it and what is the FIRST thing that pokes me in the eyeball?
A MISSPELLED URL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Calm down, Tiff. CALM down! This *&^%$#@! keyboard of mine pisses me off SO bad! It makes me skip letters. It has to be perfectly aligned with some thingy plugged into my hard drive or it doesn’t work perfectly. Oh I’m so mad. I just had to copy the whole lens over to the correct URL.
I had originally built it on squidoo.com/baby-dolls-for-TODDERS (note the missing L) and I had to fix it to this: Baby Dolls for Toddlers.
Okay that part is all done. Tomorrow I’ll continue on with the PDF on backlinking, etc. This was draining – not because the info isn’t good. It is! It’s draining because I have been using Squidoo since 2006 – I have my own fast system where I fly through it. So anytime you learn other people’s stuff, it feels like a sort of obstacle.
I did notice that as I continued on with the modules, it got faster and faster. And I like to work from a Word doc and then paste it into notepad rather than paste it directly into Squidoo and fill stuff in from there.
Now that my heart attack is over, I’m going to go to the grocery store. Today I enjoyed what I learned in Squid Pro Quo! Gained some tips and I like some of her formatting tricks. I REALLY loved the way she researches. This is going to do well for me in Squidoo AND on my own websites, and the free tool she mentioned did just fine in helping me!
I’ll be back tomorrow 🙂