So, Squidoo has put out a new look for Squidoo lenses for lensmasters that choose the ‘max’ option when creating their lens. This new layout is certainly different than we are used to seeing…but is it effective?
New Squidoo Layout
No doubt, this new layout on Squidoo has met some very mixed reviews. I’ve been holding off on my review and opinion of it until my initial shock wore off (yes, it is THAT different). I also have great respect for the staff at Squidoo and trust that any changes they make are changes made to improve Squidoo. No one knows the Squidoo site like those folks, and I trust their judgment. I also have a great deal of respect for any company that continually strives to be better, especially when what they have is ‘good enough’.
Also, I have to admit that I am one of the few lensmasters that does NOT max my lenses. I prefer the clean two-column look of the un-maxed option. While this may cause me some loss of Squidoo earnings, I feel it offers a better experience for readers of my content. Personally, I believe that above all, any content should be created first for the reader (my two cents).
Wondering what this new Squidoo lens layout looks like? I ‘maxed’ my Home Energy Conservation Tips lens – go ahead and take a look (it will open in a new tab/window) . I haven’t done any adjustments to the content..this is just how it looks after changing it to a ‘maxed’ lens.
My initial reaction? Its wayyyyy too squishy…too cluttered. It looks as if too much information was attempted to be squished in above the fold. To me, it is distracting and devalues the content while putting more focus on things to click to LEAVE the content.
My first reaction when met with a page like this would be to click the back button. I like to find exactly what I am looking for in a clean layout (that’s just me…I can be quite picky..lol)
As for the background color…. yeah, well, its ‘fine’. It’s a bit dreary and does not truly reflect what a ‘happy place’ Squidoo is, but the color is no biggy for me. Would be WONDERFUL if lensmasters could CHOOSE their background color!
The Squidoo Badges in the top right hand corner are a cute addition. They’re a neat feature that allows a boost to a lensmasters ego…and also a nudge to work harder.
SEO Observations of New Squidoo Layout
Other than the above aesthetic observations, I have one very important concern over the new layout for maxed lenses on Squidoo.
The title tag ( <title> ).
It looks as if any title over 5 words will get all squished and stacked…and that displeases me immensely. When SEO optimizing a Squidoo lens, the title you choose is VERY important. No, it is UBER important! The title you choose becomes the <title> in your source code and also becomes the words you see in the top blue bar of your browser window when on a web page. This title tag is so important SEO-wise, and if lensmasters are forced to reduce the words they choose to give a better look to their lens, the Squidoo site could possible suffer from less organic search traffic (traffic from the search engines).
I also find this same issue with the module titles that come early in the lens. These module titles are <h2> tags in the source code of a lens…and these are also important SEO-wise. This new layout appears as if we lensmasters will have to choose either SEO optimization OR user first impression…and that is not a choice a new and improved layout should force. The goal of a new layout should be BOTH, not either/or.
What I AM impressed with is the fact that the staff at Squidoo is TRYING new things. Bring ’em on, Squidoo staffers – I love it! However, asking opinions is risky business, isn’t it? People (like me) make blog posts (like this) and actually give their opinion! haha!
I will be maxing some of my lenses. I plan to go thru and pick a few lenses that I feel the new ‘maxed’ layout will bring an enhanced experience for my readers. I want to be able to watch these changes and see the impact they have on my stats, and the stats of the Squidoo site.
I sincerely hope that the next ‘tweak’ will be to make this new layout a bit more SEO-friendly…and a bit less cluttered.
What do YOU think of the new Squidoo Layout?