Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Take Advantage of the Flickr Module's Demise

As you're probably all well aware Squidoo's Flickr module has bit the dust.   Now if you have been using a lot of Flickr modules on your lenses then I'm sure you've been following some of the suggestions on Squidu about the changes and ideas for dealing with it.

I have only had the module on three of my lenses, although earlier this year I had looked at putting it on a lot more of them.   Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be the images that came up in the Flickr module just weren't right for the lenses I wanted to use them on.   I was after clickouts and the Flickr module was great for that.

What do I mean by taking advantage of Flickr's demise?   Well there are a lot of people with well ranked lenses who suddenly find themselves possibly losing alot of clickouts which means there's opportunity for you to gain some lensranking juice.

Let me tell you a story which I'm sure is familiar to a few of you, I'll call it The Tale of Two Lenses.   I have a couple of lenses that don't make sales (that's not their intent), one of them got 282 visits in the last week the other got 796 visits in the last week.   One of them is in tier one and the other is in tier three (actually this morning he's visiting tier two, but his visits are usually very brief ones).   Can you guess which is which?   If you guessed that the lower visited lens was in the top tier you would be correct.

The Reason - clickouts!   Yes the one with nearly 800 visits has only a 1% click-through rate which is something that I need to work on.

If you have some lenses that aren't performing as well as you think they should have a look in the traffic stats and see what the click-through rate is.   You'll see the rate under the traffic stats of your lens -

As you can see this lens doesn't get a lot of traffic, but it does have a good click-through rate of 30% which sees it perform better than some lenses with double or triple the traffic.   

Personally I want to get all of my lenses to have a click-through rate of over 20 (although the higher the better).   Now is the time to start looking at your lenses and seeing how you can improve your click-through rates while some other lensmasters are scrambling to fix up their Flickr modules - it should pay great dividends for you.

How to improve your click-through rate - that is the question and it's really hard to know how to do it with some lenses, but here's a few ideas.

Make sure all of your images are linking out to somewhere - depending on where I've gotten the images from some people are happy to simply have the photo linked to their website other's want a text link, but even if I've given them a text link I'll also link the photo as well because it's amazing how many people will click on that which equals a clickout.

I use a number of posters to illustrate my lenses and these all link back to allposters or amazon (with my referral link of course) and whereas I don't expect to sell these posters they do give me clickout juice as well as nice images.   On one of my lenses - Lady Gaga's Tattoos - I found a poster showing Lady Gaga's unicorn tattoo, but you could also see her bottom so I put a black box over her bottom uploaded the image (linking back to the amazon poster) and put in the text that you could see the poster without the 'blackbox' by clicking on the image.   I think this is the biggest click out I get across all of my lenses!

What if you use your own images?   Well one idea that I've just started for one of my niches is a photo blog on posterous.   I started writing some wedding lenses this year and one of the fun things about them was making my own inspiration boards - I started the photo blog this week and it's called Wedding Bells - it's basically so that I can link all of my inspiration boards back to it and hopefully get some clickout juice.

It's not just images that get clicked on!   Last year I made some Google docs with printable recipes of some of my cocktails/mocktails and even a party planner - checking through stats on one of my lenses this week I've found that this is responsible for quite a few clickouts which tells me I must definitely work on getting the other recipes onto Google docs as well!

Videos also count as clickouts, although directing traffic to other lenses does not.   If you write on other sites then I think it's time to write complimentary articles that you can link out to as these also work well with the added bonus that you're not just sending people to a different site away from your work.

Of course the best thing for people to clickout of your lens on is a product because not only is that a clickout, but it could also result in a sale which is a win/win scenario.

How are you going to try and increase your click-through rate on your lenses?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Welcome Back - Let's Get Busy!

Well it's been nearly a year (well 11 months) since I had to take what I envisaged as being a short break from this blog.   I've had a lot happening in my offline life as well as online and things have been falling through the cracks, my offline dramas still continue, but hopefully I can still manage to keep this blog updated again.

One thing that I've noticed on Squidoo is how important it is to keep a lens updated.   People have been saying this for absolutely ages, however it's only really been the last 12 months that I've noticed it really making a big difference to my lenses.   I'm not sure if it's a change in the algorithm or if it's because so many people are refreshing their content, either way I think it's a great idea to set up an updating system for your lenses.

You don't have to do a major update every single time, just a few little things count as an update like these -

  • Check that you've filled in all 6 spaces in your related pages spaces.
  • Update tags.
  • Check for spelling mistakes.
  • Credit images.
  • Change a theme.
  • Make sure you're using your sidebar widgets.
  • Add a bookmark widget.
  • Change your featured lenses to do-follow - I use this tool
  • Check that your links all work especially sales links.
  • Change modules/products/images around - think of it as a shop, shops change window displays and shop displays regularly.
I also make notes as to major changes that I can do at a later date and plan time to go back and do them.

Don't stress if you haven't updated your lenses in a while I have a number that were last updated in January 2011 and only one of these exceedingly 'old' lenses have gone into wip.   However I will be working a lot harder on updating every single one of my lenses after noticing some huge jumps in lenses I have been updating over the last couple of weeks.

I'm continuing to also use Wizzley, both to produce content in it's own right as well as to provide backlinks to my lenses.   Interlinking of your relevant work is always a great idea.   I'm finding Wizzley to be really good and thoroughly recommend it.

It's the sixth month already so you should be working on updating your Halloween and Christmas lenses as well as making any new ones that you want to add to your collection.

I will be endeavoring to update this blog once a week from now on to include tips (as usual) and I might also be adding some lenses of mine that I'm needing to do some serious work on so that you can see how I try to 'rescue' some of my lenses when they're not paying their own way.