Sunday, July 20, 2014

Got Broken Links in Custom Bios?

Oops!  I just discovered another of my custom lens bios with a coded link in it.  Guess what: Code in the custom bio doesn't work anymore.

If you've been around Squidoo for a long time, you may have lens bios with links, too. Now's a great time to go through your lenses, look for those, and take them out.  It's a quick and easy lens update that really makes a big difference in the look of your lens. (Incomplete bios look far from professional.)

For now the simple link in my profile/default bio works, but with the upcoming changes to the bio page and inclusion of the social connection buttons, I'm thinking that might not be the case for long (and I won't need my own link to G+ anyway) so I'm headed there next to take mine out. Keep an eye out for those changes, too, and remember to update accordingly.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Update and Share Your Lowest-Ranking Lens

Embarrassing to admit how long this one had been languishing and losing lensrank, but I took time this morning to update my lowest-ranking lens (highest number).

It's this one: Fisher Price Batman Trike and More Batmobiles for Kids

Now you know.  Care to do the same with yours?  Update your lowest-ranking lens and feel free to post its link in a comment below.

No judging allowed.

Image Credit

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Where to Find Topical Lens Ideas

Susan52: NOT in Vogue
Susan52: NOT in Vogue
I just received the latest edition of one of my favorite magazines for Kindle. Happy day!

Scrolling down the table of contents page of the new magazine, I see at least a dozen ideas that would be perfect for a dozen new lenses. From decorating to personal style to family, food, and gardening, almost anyone could take this TOC, pick a hot topic and run with it, putting a personal point of view on a subject that resonates with them, making it their very own.

I'm not exactly into current trends. In fact, in most areas of life I lean heavily to the side of cultural illiteracy. So staying one step ahead of my audience can be difficult. But ahead of trends is a great place to be when you're trying to hit that perfect blend of unique, useful, up-to-date content for a successful, new Squidoo lens. That's why I love magazines. If I'm interested in the niche going in, I just might come up with a really good, trendy lens idea going out.

Where do you find topical trends to write about? Or is that a concern in your niche? Got any tips to share on the topic?

Vogue Magazine Cover May 1917, Public Domain

Saturday, April 19, 2014

5 Steps to Increase Holiday & Seasonal Traffic on Squidoo

Susan52 in her Easter Bonnet
Do holidays make a difference in your Squidoo traffic?  They certainly do with mine.  Easter is tomorrow and traffic stats this week show a steep incline, particularly on my seasonally-relevant lenses.

Without a doubt, Pinterest is the leader in referral traffic sources for my lenses and this week my Pinterest numbers have soared. I'm very grateful to all who pin and re-pin, and especially grateful to those who click through. 

Now the question is, how do I keep the traffic coming once Easter is history?  Here are 5 steps that I plan to take to increase traffic to my holiday and seasonal lenses.
  1. Keep track of upcoming popular holidays and seasonal celebrations.  Mother's Day is next and summer is coming up fast.
  2. Update existing topical lenses by updating keywords and phrases.
  3. Make new lenses, taking a useful, unique, or even trendy approach to seasonal topics. 
  4. Choose and use outstanding photos to catch the attention of prolific Pinterest users.
  5. Make a promotional plan that includes my favorite social media sites. I don't want to depend on having all my eggs in the Pinterest basket. Facebook and Google+ are proving to be good traffic sources, too.

Are you seeing an upswing in your seasonal lenses?  Have any tips to share on how you attract traffic? I would love to read your success stories.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why Connections are Better Than Promotions

These days, using social media properly is more important than ever when it comes to promoting our lenses, articles, or blog posts. 

Something I have to continuously remind myself is that sharing on social media isn't about spreading links around, it's really all about connecting with other human beings.

Speaking for myself but surely others can relate to this, I'm often always in a rush, trying to get as much done as quickly as possible. So it's easy for me to just drop a link on Twitter or do a quick pin on Pinterest.  What's important, though, is spending an extra few seconds (and really that's all the time it takes) to compose a quick comment to include on someone else's post or lens, or replying to a tweet that catches my eye with as little as two words: "Loved that!"  Do you have followers who do that on your posts?  I do, and I just love them for taking the time.

Repinning, re-tweeting, and leaving personal responses on social media sites are the things that set us apart from link-droppers and spammers.  "Thanks for the pin/tweet/comment" are words that we all love to read, and words many of us need to use more often.

Connections build reputations and good reputations build businesses. So don't just promote. Connect!

P.S.  I love the graphic, don't you? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Marc Guberti's Squidoo Challenge

Lensmaster, Giant Squid, and boy wonder Marc Guberti (I use that "boy wonder" title in the most complimentary way) recently put pen to paper (well, fingertips to keyboard) to offer a solution to re-grow traffic to Squidoo.

Marc's only 16, but he's been a lensmaster for a couple of years now. In the same period he has established himself as a Twitter expert, has written several books and publishes a popular blog, and he's making his presence known on YouTube as well as spreading his wings to encompass other social media platforms.  I'm not privy to his master plan, but I'm pretty sure it includes becoming Guru of Everything.  Again, I use that title with the utmost respect; Marc is wise beyond his years and I respect him as a serious force in content creation, online marketing, and social media.

Back to Marc's Squidoo Challenge.  You can read it here, but to briefly summarize it's a seven-step plan that almost any lensmaster can follow to earn more traffic to their Squidoo lenses.  And, according to Marc, if large numbers of lensmasters commit to following the plan and follow through on their commitments, Squidoo's traffic stats should begin rising in no time with the goal of a million visitors a day in sight within months or even sooner. 

I like the plan.  In fact, a printed copy of the steps is hanging prominently from the bulletin board above my desk.  I've highlighted the three areas that I need to work on (the others I already do every day) and I'm happy to say that I've met my goals for this week including creating two new lenses, adding content to three old lenses, and pinging lenses that I update (a simple habit I'm not sure why I ever fell out of, but one I'm determined to reestablish). 

Whether the million visitors a day goal is reachable in the manner Marc lays out, I really don't know.  Whether tier payments will increase to their previous height, I don't know.  But I do know that my business can only benefit from following Marc's seven steps. And if I can help him spread the word and five, 10, or 1000 lensmasters follow suit, there's certainly nothing any of us has to lose - and there's plenty to gain. 

So what do you think?  Will you set a goal to follow Marc's plan for a month to see what happens?  If you will, visit his lens and let him know, and let me know, too, in a comment.  Then let's meet in a month and compare notes.

I'm in.  Are you?

Photo from Marc's Blog

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

How to Make a How-To Lens on Squidoo (tutorial)

Squidoo's own magazines editor, Stephanie Mangino, recently put together this video featuring one of the great how-to lenses on Squidoo, then breaking it down, step by step, to demonstrate how easy it is to put together a how-to page (or tutorial) on Squidoo.

If you have a talent and want to teach it to others, Squidoo is a great place to do that and the how-to format is the perfect tool to use.  Watch the video then, if you haven't already, sign up for Squidoo to get started on your first how-to lens.  Heeeere's Stephanie!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Cookie-selling Lesson for Girl Scouts (and the rest of us)

Pssst, Girl Scouts, you want to sell twice as many Girl Scout cookies?  Then you really need to read the sales concept proposed by bestselling author and marketing superstar Seth Godin in this post.

What's his magic formula?  You'll have to read it (it's short) but I'll summarize the secret to the concept in Seth's words: "A question that avoids a 'no', a question that starts a conversation, a question that opens the door to emotion."

You'll benefit from this even if you're not a Girl Scout or a scout leader.  But definitely don't miss it if you are.

Photo attribution

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day Tip for Squidoo Lensmasters

It's Valentine's Day.  Why not change up your lens theme and even your lens intro photo to match the occasion ... like I did here on this lens.

Squidoo has themes (lens backgrounds) for most major occasions and seasons. St. Patrick's Day and Easter are coming up, so keep this tip in mind for those special days, too.

BONUS Quick Tip:  Love your friends and family?  Of course you do!  So why not send them a special Valentine's Day greeting that includes an invitation to join Squidoo.  You'll find three to choose from on this page. And if you haven't joined Squidoo yet, here's a greeting from me, with love.

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day on Squidoo?  Let me know in a comment below!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

We'll Miss You, Shirley

I love having spikes in lens visits, but it's sad when it happens because someone died.  I have a couple of lenses about Shirley Temple, and last night she passed away, surrounded by loved ones at her home in California.  If I hadn't seen the headline early this morning, I would have figured it out by the sudden interest in her life, based on lens traffic.  I hope people found out what they wanted to know about her.  I'm proud that I could contribute a little something to honor her memory.

Shirley Temple Black always has been one of my favorite famous people, a true lady, and I'll miss just knowing that she's still around.  I'm happy for her family that she lived to be 85 (she would have been 86 in April) and I hope that her passing was easy.

In my book, Shirley Temple Black was an American hero.  Rest in peace, Shirley.

Image from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Author Interviews on Squidoo

So much new going on with Squidoo in recent weeks.  Besides the Contributors program that I've been talking about, there's an even newer Squidoo Authors series that is really just heating up.

If you're an author in need of an interview, check out the link for details and contact information.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Everything Kindle on Squidoo

Have I mentioned that I'm the new "Everything Kindle" Contributor on Squidoo? I recently talked about the new Contributor program here on the blog, but at that time I hadn't volunteered for an assignment. Well, now it's official.

Slowly but surely, I'm coming up with opportunities to promote lenses with a Kindle-related theme.  I'm also reaching out to Kindle lovers and readers who aren't on Squidoo yet by creating lensmaking challenges like this one which solicits reviews of nonfiction Kindle books.  Current lensmasters are encouraged to participate, too, so check it out if you're a reader.

I'll be offering more challenges as time goes by.  For those who respond with a new lens, I'll be pinning those to my new Everything Kindle Pinterest board, tweeting them on my Twitter account, and promoting them in several other places.

This is a new program, but many of our Contributors are quickly building great networks for promoting lenses and lensmasters who write in the same niche.  It's a win-win-win situation, benefiting the Contributor, lensmasters who want to take advantage of opportunities to have their work promoted, and the population of Squidoo as a whole.

If you're a Giant Squid and would like to apply for a Contributor position, keep your eyes open for an announcement coming up soon.

Don't Let Your Written Voice Fade Away

As I was reading this article by Tom Maybrier about Using the Power of Voice to Improve Your Writing, it occurred to me that Squidoo writers have quite an advantage over print authors when it comes to revising our work. 

As writing styles change, as our personal style changes, as our audience (constantly) changes, we can go back anytime and revise or even totally rewrite an old lens to fit all those new things.  Had we published the same content in a book, it would eventually become totally outdated and just dry up and fade away. 

Do you have lenses that you're allowing to dry up and fade away?  I have a few.  What a shame to let that happen.

Time to do some revising. I don't want my written voice to fade away.  Do you?

Photo from DieselDemon via a Creative Commons license

Friday, January 31, 2014

A New, Easy Way to Find Images for Your Lenses, Blogs, or for Pinterest

If you ever get stuck looking for images for your Squidoo lenses, for your blogs, or for Pinterest posts, then keep reading.

I've found a great resource that I want to share with you.  It's called Image Monthly and it's a very inexpensive way for bloggers and marketers to not only learn about and keep in touch with the best web image advice, tools, and resources, the monthly subscription includes all that plus royalty free stock photos, quotes, and backgrounds you can use as you promote your online real estate.

This is a new program, just opening, and if you grab it now you'll save 50 percent.  It's only $5 monthly and you can cancel anytime, so my advice is to sign up right now, try it out, and see if you find it helpful.  As for me, I'm pretty sure it's going to be exactly what I need.

Rather than trying to explain what the program includes, I'm just going to send you to the information page where you can read all the details. Just click the graphic:

This is an affiliate link, but my commission doesn't increase the amount you pay.  This is just produced by a very smart, very generous marketer who always - always - impresses me with everything she does.

Have you signed up for Image Monthly?  I'd love for you to use it then let me know how this resource works out for you.

P.S. Here's a direct link to Image Monthly in case you have trouble clicking through the image above.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Celebrating the Cow

It's always great to see a sale - of any amount - on my Squidoo dashboard.  Sometimes, though, I wish I could ask someone, "Why did you buy that?"

This morning, for instance, there's a sale for a cow mascot costume from my How to Make a Cow Costume lens.  I just have to wonder, here at the end of January, what's the occasion?  Those costumes aren't cheap, so there has to be a reason someone sought it and bought it. 

Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day, the Super Bowl, Valentine's Day, and President's Day are coming up.  None of those conjure up visions of people walking around dressed like cows.  Mardi Gras is just over a month away and things get pretty crazy down in New Orleans during that celebration.  But cows?  It's hard to know for sure.

I'm not complaining, mind you, just scratching my head and wondering. Perhaps I should add a question to my guestbook on that page, "Why are you planning to dress up as a cow?" Not that it's any of my business (helping people find or make cow costumes is my business), but sometimes I just have to wonder.

Why might you dress up like a cow? What are you celebrating?  I'd sure love to know!