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I made two new lenses on Squidoo today. Guess I had a sudden rush of inspiration come over me =) Ok – truth is that I came across some good keywords and decided to test them out. I like to test niche markets on Squidoo. The stats Squidoo offers on our dashboards are pretty good these days and that makes Squidoo a wonderful testing ground for potential niche markets I’m thinking of expanding on. And hey, Squidoo pays, too…. not a bad deal, is it?
Anyway, as I started making my first lens today, I wrote down what I was doing as I went through the lens creation process the way I do it. As I was looking over my notes I thought, “Hey, this would make a good blog post for my readers!” So – here we go:
How to Make a Lens on Squidoo
How PotPieGirl creates a lens.
Step 1: I call this step the “Chicken/Egg” step. You know, as in, “What came first, the chicken or the egg?”
Before I ever step “foot” into Squidoo, I do some brainstorming first. Sometimes my brainstorming comes from a product idea, sometimes it comes from a keyword idea – hence, the “chicken/egg” nickname. Regardless of what came first, the keyword or the product, both product research and keyword research are required.
If I found a product that looks promising, I do heavy keyword research to find those little golden nugget keywords that have decent search volume but little competition. I use Wordtracker. Wordtracker is flat out the best keyword research tool around – hands down. (Note: Wordtracker is not free, but you can get a free trial run with it by clicking here)
On the other hand, sometimes I am playing around in Wordtracker and I find some sweet keywords, so then I do product research to see if there is a way to monetize my idea. Either way it happens, I always have at least one product in mind and a list of keywords to focus on.
2. Write my content: To me, having my main content written before I get to Squidoo to create a lens is very important. I can focus completely on my content and make sure it is keyword optimized properly before I get to messing with any of the modules, etc. I want to be sure that my content is high-quality and could stand on it’s own without all the other whistles and bells. In essence, the above steps are just like article marketing.
Sometimes, I use PLR (Private Label Rights) articles for the content on my lenses. PLR means I didn’t actually write the content, but I have rights to it that I can change it up, edit the article, and add my name to it as if it was my own work. Problem with PLR content is that most likely, it has already been indexed on the internet – meaning I am not using unique content on my lens. That’s why I re-write the PLR articles to make them unique. I use a free web-based program called DupeCop to make sure my re-write is at least 30% unique from the original article. Therefor, my Squidoo content will be seen as unique content by the search engines and I won’t suffer any duplicate content penalties.
3. Create a lens: Yup, time to go to Squidoo. I have my keywords, I have my content, and I have my products. I go to Squidoo, click “create a lens” and go through the steps.
— First, I give my new lens a title. I don’t stress over this too much because this can be changed at any time. I also always tend to choose “do my own thing” when asked what I want to do with my lens. Why? I guess just because I like working with a “blank piece of paper”. I guess that is really just personal preference.
— Second, I give my lens 3 main keyword tags. Again, not a big stress thing either – these tags can be changed and added at any time. Key thing to remember is that if your title is a strong keyword, make sure to add it to your tags.
— Third, its choosing a url time. I believe the words you choose for your url are very important. I like to get my best keywords in here if at all possible. There are over a quarter of a million lenses in Squidoo now – odds are, your first choice might already be taken. Don’t be afraid to use hyphens if needed – I use them all the time. I think that when someone sees your url on Google as a search return, that it is easier for them to read puppy-training-tips than it is to read puppytrainingtips. Google doesn’t “read” hyphens, so it’s all good to do it that way.
Thats all for the actual set-up part. Enter your capcha code and get into edit mode for your new lens
4. Putting the lens together: Since I chose “do my own thing” in the original set-up for my new Squidoo lens, I get into edit mode and only have an intro module – and nothing else.
Content comes first. I choose “add more modules” and get 4 or 5 new text modules, click save and get to copy/pasting my pre-written content in.
Some things to remember –
— Your intro module is VERY important. Make sure your keywords are in there and you follow good SEO rules here. (Hint: I offer some great SEO tactics for Squidoo lenses as part of my nine-ebook Squidoo Profit System).
— My pre-written content is never intended to fill only one module. I will use all 4 or 5 modules and fill it with the content I have already written. When I wrote the content, I broke it into sections. Each section/module will have its own well keyworded title. Module titles are also VERY important.
5. Linking/monetization: Now, I take the steps for my lens to do what it is intended to do. For some, it is to drive traffic to a site, for others it is for affiliate products… whatever the purpose is, I go back in my lens and link as needed.
6. Beautification: Time to “dress up” my lens. I add images, Rss feeds, guestbook, etc, etc to make the lens flow, look better, and suit my needs.
7. Tags: Remember that keyword list I already had prepared? This is where it comes into play. I used that keyword list at first to write my content, now I use it to add relevant tags to my lens.
8. Pre-Publish: Now, I usually hit publish to take a look at my almost finished product. I read through it, check for typos and bad grammar and look for opportunities to bold this, space here, italics there – all to make the readers experience more enjoyable.
9. Clean ‘er Up! Last shot in “edit mode” as I make any edits I feel I need. Then I hit “publish” and git’r done!
10. “View This Page” and admire my work! Thats all folks!
10 steps to create a Squidoo lens – that’s it. Honestly, the hardest part is step one- the chicken/egg thing. Finding what you want to make your lens about, and get it to where you have a chance in the search engines is most important to me. The actual creation of the lens takes time and patience, but not too much brain power.
When those 10 steps are done, I leave the lens alone. Remember, your new lens is still considered a “work in progress” lens until the next Squidoo lensrank update. Don’t do any marketing or pinging to it until AFTER Squidoo has had its chance to rank it. All others will see is an “Under Construction” sign on your new lens, anyway.
In my opinion, the single most important part of your lens is created BEFORE you even get to “create a lens” – the content. It needs to be unique and well-optimized. While lensrank is really cool when you hit a Top 100 lens status, the main purpose, to me, is for the search engines to rank me well and send visitors to my lens – let me re-phrase that… for the search engines to send me targeted traffic to my lens.
So, what do I do to my lens AFTER the next Squidoo lensrank update? How do I promote it? How do I use it to test a niche market?
I think THIS post is plenty long enough…. I’ll save those steps for another day.
Have a GREAT weekend!
P.S. – If you use this link for Wordtracker, and look about half way down on the far right, you will see a link for a free pdf eBook called, “Keyword Research Guide“. This 52-page eBook is totally free, no need to even give your email address or anything, and is excellent. This is a case study by nine keyword experts written in “real” language – and it is really, REALLY good.
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