Wednesday, February 24, 2010

How I Met Your Mother Tees Update

Well finding my How I Met Your Mother Tees lens on the first couple of pages of google seems impossible at the moment :( However my blog posts are at #5 and #6 for one long tailed keyword, for another long tailed keyword my Xomba link is at #20. For yet another two different long tailed keywords my Xomba link is at #18 and my Shetoldme link is at #19. What I had planned as my main long tail keyword has Xomba at #11, Shetoldme at #12 and another blog entry at #19.

I think that this will get better as I develop my tees niche more and interlink a few more lenses together, but I’ll let you know how that goes at a later date.

Are You Earning With Your Guest Book?

I’ve talked about how your introduction is a great place to add text links that help you sell, today I want to talk about the guest book. There are a couple of different type of visitor that you get to your web page – one will click off quickly hence the introduction text links, the other will read all the way down to the bottom which is why the guest book can make you money.

Now I’m generalizing here because obviously there are always going to be people who click away at other points on your lens, but it has long been said that the most profitable areas are at the top and at the bottom of a lens. Now I used to often just put a product or featured lens underneath the guest book as a way to use this idea, but the guest book makes even more sense.

Now I bet you’re asking why it makes more sense aren’t you? Well another piece of research shows that text links are more effective at selling than banner adds so if you add a text link in the guest book the odds are that people will click on it. I have just started to implement this idea on a few of my lenses so I’ll report back with my findings.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Super Niche Niche Lenses

I’ll say it again you need to not just do a niche on say board games, but narrow it down to Monopoly or Scrabble for example. I did a lens on Trivial Pursuit for a Rocket Moms assignment last year, I haven’t really followed a lot of my advice for promoting it so it gets very little traffic, but if someone is interested in buying monopoly or snakes and ladders they won’t be visiting my lens. Only if they’re interested in Trivial Pursuit will they land up on my I Love Trivial Pusuit lens.

Why have I mentioned this lens? I was checking my stats a couple of days ago and I’d had 3 visits in a week, 1 clickout and what do you know $1.43 on my dashboard :D Now $1.43 isn’t going to buy me a latte let alone pay my mortgage, but what if I had 100 or 1000 of these types of lenses?

It’s not the traffic to the lens that counts, but the targeted traffic to the lens, the type of traffic that is already sold on the product. Think about how you can narrow your niche lenses down even further and start seeing the money come in.

If you already have a lens on board games (for sake of an example) then keep it, but use it more as a lensography and make your individual lenses all of which link back to your main one. If people like the info you’ve provided them on scrabble they might want to see what other games you’ve written about.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is Your Introduction Earning You Enough?

The introduction of your lens is probably one of the highest converting parts of your lens so do you have it working best for you? According to a recent discussion on squidu these things are important –

200-500 words in the introduction
2 text links in the introduction
keywords bolded in the introduction
keywords used in title of introduction

Now I find the 200-500 words in the introduction interesting because earlier this week I read something elsewhere (and I can’t for the life of me think where) about hubs. (I’m trying to build an income on hubpages as well as squidoo.) This article/post/whatever suggested that high paying hubs should contain at least 400 words in the introduction. Does this mean that it’s correct? I really don’t know, but I’m willing to test it out.

Text links in the introduction are a great idea as a lot of people won’t scroll down any further so I am a big believer in their power – reducing them to no more than two does make sense in part of my brain. More could appear (to Google) as spam.

I decided to do a review on my camera and used all of these techniques in the introduction – I’ll let you know how I go. Of course I didn’t bother with keyword searches to see if anyone is even searching for this camera so the results may not be that great. I’m basically just using a product that I’m familiar with and use.

I’ve been a bit slack with posting this week as I was thinking about (and planning) a series of lenses to compliment this blog, but the job just kept getting bigger so I’m not sure if I’ll go ahead with this or not. Thoughts would be appreciated, it would basically be about how to make money on Squidoo.

Squidoo Tools - Part 3

Squidcasts – how many of you use them? I must admit this is an area that I need to improve upon. I try and squidcast regularly and I do get visitors to my lens when I squidcast which is always good. I think it would be a great idea to squidcast a lens once a day for maximum success, I’d be interested in your feedback about this.

Squidcasts do get overused however and if I get 20 squidcasts all at once from one person I won’t be checking out their lenses. I do go into the my favorites tag everyday to view my squidcasts so I’m sure other people do as well.

Now you can get an rss feed of your squidcasts from squidutils and I’ve actually added this to my lensography so that it keeps that updated regularly. Now apparently Google looks at your squidcasts as well so it’s a good idea to add keywords into the title and body of your squidcasts…..this is another failure of mine, but we can (hopefully) all learn from it.

In a nutshell think of your squidcasts as blogs and post small, but good seo based, posts everyday.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Squidoo Tools – Part 2

Today I’m going to talk about the discovery module. The discovery module has caused quite a heated debate on squidu. Personally I like the discovery module and I have got a lot of traffic from it. However, I do believe that the large lenses at the top of the page are a bit too ‘in your face’, but you can manipulate them to your advantage….want to know more?

First up lets look at how the discovery module works, let me start off by saying that Squidoo does not just pluck random lenses that are totally unrelated despite what some people have seemed to suggest. Squidoo actually uses the tags to match your lens to the ones in the discovery module. Now if you use a really broad tag that someone else has used then their lens may appear.

If a lens is appearing in your discovery module that you don’t feel is appropriate then check out what tags you have in common with it and (if you choose to) you can delete those tags and not have that lens showing up.

How to manipulate the discovery module? Use your tags wisely. The first thing you need to do is make sure that all of your lenses have your lensmaster name as a tag. This seems so simple, but I’ll put my hand up to say that until the end of 2009 I hadn’t been doing this. I read a post somewhere and had a ‘doh!’ moment :)

As I mentioned yesterday I changed some of my tags on my HIMYM tees, this was because I had other people’s lenses showing up on mine… of this morning all of the lenses that show up are mine :)

Now choose a lens of yours and open it up in the right hand column you’ll see an area that says Related Topics and this is where the tags you have chosen to use will show up. Now click on one of them and this will show you all of the other lenses using that tag, if your lens doesn’t appear on the first page then get rid of that tag. There is an exception to this rule – if you have several other lenses on this page for the tag then I would leave it there as there’s a chance that they’ll be the ones showing on your discovery module.

If you have a number of lenses around the same niche then you’d really like to have all of these lenses show up in your discovery module, but what do you do if they don’t? Well I had an epiphany last night….use a unique tag. Now I haven’t actually done this yet, but I remember a discussion over a year ago about the use of a module and manipulating it so that your own products appeared in it (something like Zazzle or Cafepress) and a number of people said that they used unique tags on their products – why not do the same on your lenses?

For an example let’s say that you have 7 lenses on widgets, but there are a number of other lenses on widgets that rank higher than you. Now you’ve got the external traffic coming in so you’re not worried if other lenses are found internally. Your lensmaster name is peterrabbit so you add as primary tag – peterrabbit widgets to all of your widget lenses. In theory this should mean that on each of these lenses you should hold all of the spots in the discovery module.

Well that’s all that I’ve got for you today as I have a heap of other work to do so happy Squidooing!

Friday, February 5, 2010

HIMYM Tees Update

Okay so I’ve left this lens alone to see how it would cope in the big wide internet all alone and this is what I’ve found… got lost:(

I searched google for How I Met Your Mother Tees and went through the first 100 results and this is what I found –

Xomba link to lens #8
She Told Me link to lens #10
Another Squidoo lens on the show (not one of mine) #15
One of the posts on this blog #16
She Told Me link to lens (again!) #30
Another post from this blog #50
My Barney Stinson lens #55
Xomba link to my Barney Stinson lens #62
Twitter link to site # 84
Twitter link to site #90

Yes the poor lens is lost, but at least it has friends pointing the way in Google and a great reason to be using Xomba and She Told Me if you don’t already.

Now I looked at this weeks stats and the lens has had a total of 5 visits this week – oops!

3 from Xomba
1 from She Told Me
1 from Google (someone managed to find it!!)

Doesn’t sound too good does it? However it has had one clickout onto a tee (unfortunately this didn’t result in a sale) which means that the click-through rate is at 20% and that is good.

Now I just need to get more visibility to the lens which will hopefully lead to more traffic, but let’s hope that the click-through rate doesn’t drop. Now the competitor’s lens that shows up at number 15 got 119 visits this week (you can check this out on Squidaholic). If we could get to 100 and maintain a 20% click-through rate we should start seeing some sales.

Time to make some changes to the lens, and this is what I’ve done –

I’ve added the words How I Met Your Mother to the introduction in a couple of places (the phrase wasn’t in there originally) and I changed the intro heading to How I Met Your Mother T-Shirts instead of How I Met Your Mother.

I added the phrase How I Met Your Mother tee to the text above Barney’s Suit Up tee. Under the heading Barney’s Bro Code I added the sub-heading A Classic How I Met Your Mother Tee. In the ebay module I changed the word tee to read How I Met Your Mother tee.

Next I moved on to the tags. I took out the tags barney stinson and how I met your mother and left in the primary tag of how I met your mother tees along with these tags – barney stinson tees, suit up, the bro code, lou16. In the discovery module I only had two lenses listed – Barney Stinson and Barney Stinson for President, so I added Lou’s Tee-Ography.

I then pinged the lens via squidutils.

I’ll also promote it on a few other sites (probably on Monday, although I may get to it this weekend) and evaluate it’s performance later in the week.

Squidoo Tools- Part 1

When you first start doing things online it’s hard to know where to start there’s SEO, backlinks, social bookmarking – arrrghhh! Then, just when you think you’ve got a handle on what you’re doing, something else pops up. Welcome to the fast paced world of the Internet. So what should you do when you’re first on Squidoo? Use the tools they give you first.

Squidoo have a number of great tools which will help you to become a success they include the discovery module, squidcasts, squidu and stats. Today I want to discuss stats because I think that what you find there and how you use it is very important.


If you don’t know where to find your stats then go to your dashboard and as you hover over a lens title you’ll see options underneath them like edit, label, stats, cast, health – probably not in that order, but you’ll get the idea. You just need to click on stats this will take you to your summary page. This shows you how many people have rated you, when the lens was created, current lensrank and highest lensrank achieved and how many days spent in the top 100.

It also mentions a few other things like clickouts and amount of times favorited and shows you a graph. Honestly I don’t spend much time on the summary page as I want to look at the lens in a little more detail.

There are four tabs on your summary page – summary, traffic, earnings and royalties. The one I want to take you to is the traffic one, this page is a huge help.

Traffic Sources

Looking under here you can see where your external traffic came from which is excellent

Traffic Sources
Source Visits
Google 10912
Referral 2879
Bing 1091
Direct 988
Yahoo 672
Discovery 161
Ask 46
MSN 43
AltaVista 1
AlltheWeb 1

This is an example and as you can see I’ve got traffic from a few search engines – Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. Now when you get traffic from search engines you’ll see that next to it are the keywords and number of people who found you from those keywords.


Now I used to add these as tags, but don’t do it! We’ll talk about tags in another post. I read somewhere on a lens or in Squidu that you should add these terms as keywords in your lens.....I don’t see why you need to as you’ve already been found from these terms. However what you could do (I haven’t, but it’s a good idea) is to open google and type these keywords in and see how high your lens ranks. Depending on where you are you could add them or not.

What do I see as important with these figures? What people are interested in. I look at my lens and think okay if I wanted to know about widgets and this lens came up would it answer the question. If it doesn’t you have a couple of options – change it so that it does address it or write another lens. To give you an example of mine, I wrote my Lady Gaga lens and after a while I was getting a lot of hits using the term Lady Gaga Tattoos in fact my lens was ranked higher for this term than it was for Lady Gaga alone. What did I do? Well if you’ve looked at my lenses already you can probably guess. I created a Lady Gaga’s Tattoos lens and linked from what I already had written in my Lady Gaga lens to this new lens. This new lens also linked back to my original.

I increased one top tier lens to two top tier lenses in this niche.


Underneath this you have a list of Referrers which can also be illuminating – although to be honest these can sometimes be frustrating. I don’t belong to facebook so if someone links to me from there I can’t read what they’re saying. I’ve also been linked to from non-English written sites and again I don’t know what they’re saying.

If you come across a site/blog post that links to your lens and you like it then you can tweet it, stumble it or dig it and hopefully that will lead to more visits for you (but you’re not digging or stumbling a squidoo lens!). I think Greekgeek mentioned that on the forum one day and I’ve done it a few times since. Now don’t do that if you don’t really like the site that your link is on or your followers may think – what the??

Discovery Tool

Underneath this you get to the Discovery Tool and you can see where your internal traffic has come from……now there’s been some heated debate about the Discovery module since the lens design has changed and I’m going to address this in another post because I think it deserves it’s own discussion. It is very enlightening to see these stats though.


At the bottom are your clickouts. These will really help you to identify with your audience, you can see if they’re interested in buying (clicking on products) or if they’re after information (clicking on links) and they can also provide ideas for more lenses.

Another example is when a product was being clicked on by about 10% of my visitors to one of my lenses and yet other things were being clicked on by 1% or less. I created a new lens focusing more tightly on the product and a link for people to click on. Now the number of clicks to this product hasn’t noticeable decreased, but I am getting 4% clicking through to the other lens which has sold more of the product.

If you find that a number of people are clicking through to another site, check it out and see if you can add your link to that site as they obviously have something in common. This won’t always be possible, but I found that there have been some where I’ve been able to add a link on certain parts of the site for example I added a link to the NY Times which is a nice backlink to have even if it’s just for hubby to see and be impressed by (I didn’t tell him I’d manually added it, he thinks they found me!).

This lens is getting soooooo long I may have to stop there and discuss other benefits of the stats in another post. The long post will hopefully make up for the fact that after the excitement of the purple star yesterday I forgot to post then! But talking of purple stars (did you see how I did that, man I’m good :D ) if you’ve been lucky enough to get one then add a link to my plexo at Lou’s Purple Stars.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

President Barney (Stinson) Sees Purple

I just had to share some really exciting news with you before I do anything else today (I'm still not dressed and my dd's not ready for school yet!!). I check my emails first thing in the morning and it looks like Barney Stinson for President has been awarded a purple star - woo hoo!

Okay that's all, I'm going to get ready to start my day's a fantastic way to start a day "....I'm walking on sunshine...." (Sorry to subject you to my singing, but I'm really happy this morning.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

80s Movies Tees

Yes it’s the big reveal….I was working on an 80s Movie Tees lens. I already had A Nightmare on Elm Street Tees lens which has made sales and is interlinked with a number of relevant lenses. I found, however that a number of classic 80s movies had a lot of t-shirts available so I had to make a few other lenses to link to –

Scarface Tees
Blues Brothers Tees
Rocky Tees

I made the offshoot lenses (above) first before publishing the 80s Movies Tees. I haven’t optimized or promoted any of them yet as I’ve been juggling too many balls, but let’s look at what I have done.

The first one I made was the Blues Brothers one. The first thing you’ll notice (if you remember any of my other lenses) is that I haven’t changed any of the AllPosters text. I was basically just trying to get these lenses posted so that I could work on them over the next week.

I tried a new technique in this lens where I copied a picture of a shirt from Amazon and uploaded it to the Polaroid module and then going into my associates account got the referral url and uploaded that so that if anyone clicks on the tee to buy it I’ll get the commission.

If I had filled the lens with text modules and amazon spotlights and just listed tees it would be a pretty boring looking lens so I decided to add a little more value. I added a poll and a text plexo which will hopefully increase interaction and the longer a Blues Brother’s fan stays on the page (I hope) the more chance they’ll buy a tee :)

The next lens I made was the Scarface one. In this one I used the blackbox module in a red to add a tee from Shareasale. I just uploaded the html code that they gave me straight into the module. Red seemed an appropriate color for Scarface, plus it’s supposed to be a buying color and I’ll take any subliminal help I can get!

Now this lens is basically just a list of tees so I decided to add a link list module with lots of different fan sites for fans of the movie. I think it needs quite a bit more work, but it’s okay for an initial lens.

Finally I did the Rocky Tees lens. I couldn’t believe that the original Rocky was in 1976 as I always think of it as an 80s lens, but by doing a separate lens I was able to span the 30 years between the first and last movies.

I’ve added two poll modules which could lead to more lenses depending on results, but I’m not planning on any just yet.

I’ve also broken the tees up into sections ie Rocky, Mickey’s Gym etc and have written a couple of sentences about each to help break up the tees a bit without detracting from them. I also incorporated one of the tees in an attempt to get people to leave comments. I’m probably going to get my own associate code and uplink the tee straight into the guestbook module eventually. As I said I just wanted to get the lenses published quickly before working on getting them just right.

Yesterday I finally published my actual 80s movie tees lens. I’ve added a custom vertical table of contents thanks to Greekgeek. Again I’ve basically just added a list of tees and I haven’t even changed the text from AllPosters or Zazzle.

I was also planning on incorporating this to another lens of mine, but I need to expand that lens somewhat as it’s very sparse. It was based on an idea from Seth Godin, but it’s never really worked. I also need to work on my updating my 80s Movie Store so that I can promote that in conjunction with these lenses.

The reasoning behind so many tees is that they are evergreen. I have some seasonal lenses that make sales, but I want to make sales all year so I also need to work on evergreen sales. They say you should write about what you love and the 80s were my youth and full of memories so they’re an ideal thing for me to write about.

I already have a few tee lenses and although they don’t get a lot of traffic they seem to make sales – only small ones, but they all add up. Personally I buy tees, my hubby buys tees, our friends buy tees – it seems a good thing to sale :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Updating Lenses

How was your weekend? I seemed to be quite busy and yet still didn’t get everything done! We decided to get up and go to a Sunday market that we haven’t been to since I held a market stall there with my friend (we were making jewelry before Christmas 2008). Well it’s probably been the first time that we haven’t watched the news in a couple of days – there was a king tide due that morning and with a bit of a storm (thanks to Olga who was further up the coast) the sea was up onto the road in places and the market was closed! I did take my camera, but hubby was reluctant to stop until the rain stopped so I only got a couple of snaps :(

The most exciting part of the weekend occurred on the Saturday night however, my dd had been playing at the next door neighbors when she came running up our steps calling out something… turned out there was a baby koala in the tree outside of our houses. I took heaps of snaps – a couple of them are in my Zazzle store. We had to call the Wildlife Rescue team though because there was no sign of his/her mother. S/he was remarkably calm though merrily chomping her way through the ‘wrong’ leaves off of the ‘wrong’ tree. I don’t know if s/he was going through a rebellious stage or they’ve had to adapt their diet because of the change in habitat.

Now back to Squidoo. How often do you update lenses? There has been a discussion on Squidu about which lens was the oldest to be updated and mine has been a while, although not nearly as bad as if the question had been asked a month ago.

Now I don’t really know how often you should update them because when I update some it seems to give them a new lease of life, however others can tick along with nice traffic and only get updated a few times a year! During January, however, I was making a concerted effort to work my way through my lenses, just updating the tags and anything that was glaringly obvious. I was about a week into it when I realized that a number of my discovery tools were empty! There must’ve been a bug at some stage so I started checking those too.

When I do something little like that I also have a notebook and write down the lenses that need major work done – I do it that way so that I can keep working through my lenses and leave those until I can schedule enough time. The last time I totally revamped a lens it took me all day (and that was after I had made lots of notes in longhand as well and knew what I was planning). It was worth it however and I’m much happier promoting it.

The last week I’ve been spending a lot more time on Zazzle and Hubpages than on Squidoo because I’m trying to diversify my online income streams. I am working on a big project however which involves t-shirts. I have published a couple and have one in WIP, but I haven’t promoted them yet. I sometimes have an idea for a lens and I realize that I really need to break it up – once I’ve decided on how to break it up I work on the off-shoot lenses first – publish them, but don’t do any promotion until the whole thing is finished.

I promise I’ll reveal all later on this week, it’s just been really busy with pretty mundane ‘real life’ things getting in the way.