Monday, March 30, 2009

Squidoo Co-Brands & Front Doors: Part 1

I intended this to be one post, but soon realized it's going to take a while. So let's jump right in, and I'll give it to you in easy bite size pieces. ;)

If you are new to Squidoo you might not realize there are more options out there, as far as format, than the basic lens. I'm not talking about by using HTML or CSS but just what Squidoo gives us to work with. I've seen them called co-brands or front doors, but whatever you call them they are special entry pages for using certain ready-to-go templates. You have to know what they are before you create the lens, because you can't switch from one lens type to another. There is one exception and that is when a brand new type is created. We ususally have a short time span to request an old lens be converted over. But you have to be on the ball with that or you'll miss the opportunity.

Squidoo has been kind enough to give us 7 of these links on the bottom of our dashboards, however they are in the tiniest little font and are easily missed. There are also many others that are not listed. I'm going to cover as many as I know, starting with the following 3...


SquidWho

SquidWho is for people either real or imaginary. Use this lens format as a fanpage about your favorite musician, artist, writer, celebrity, character, someone you admire, anyone! It could even be about yourself. Make sure you don’t just claim the lens and forget it. You have to add more than what is auto-generated for you. Get creative! The top 100 SquidWho lenses are featured on the HQ page, and the top ranked lens on any person will automatically come up in a search done from that page. I really like this lens type and have 13 of my own so far. One of my favorites is Kevin So.


SquidFlix


SquidFlix
is for, you guessed it, movies. You can write a review or share why you absolutely loved a certain movie, or, why it was the worst movie ever. You get to choose thumbs up or thumbs down, pull together info & memorabilia, and get other viewers involved offering their own opinions. This len type also has it’s own Top 100 list, or rather, set of Top 100 lists for the Best & Worst movies out there. You’ll find it at SquidFlix Lenses on Squidoo. I’m not a big movie buff, but I do have one SquidFlix lens We love Labyrinth.

Not to be confused with...


SquidVids


SquidVids. This one could be for movie clips, but it’s got a wider range of uses. Showcase your favorite commercials, tv shows, music videos, home videos, whatever you want. Just make sure any videos you want to use from YouTube are set to allow embedding or you’ll have a whole bunch of dead links. Like SquidWho the top 100 SquidVids lenses are featured on the HQ page. For whatever reason though these don’t seem to do very well. I’ve given it the old college try with 3 of them, one being Gilmore Girls Video Showcase.

That's it for now...stay tuned for more. :)

Jump to Part 2

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fan Clubs on Squidoo

How do you join a fan club?
How can you tell who's in your fan club?
And what are fans anyway?

If you’ve found a lensmaster that you like and want to keep up to date on it’s really simple to do. Joining a fan club lets you receive messages (called Squidcasts) that they send out. They might let you know of a new lens, or if they updated an old one, or that something special has happened with one of their lenses e.g., if it’s in a contest, or got recognition of some kind. (These Squidcasts can be found on the ‘My Favorites’ section of your dashboard.)

To become a fan the first thing to do is make sure you are logged in to your Squidoo account. Then go to their lensmaster page. That link brings you to my page, but you can go to anyone’s by replacing Christene with any lensmaster name. You can also get to a lensmaster page from any lens through the View Full Profile link under the avatar.

There you will find a blue Join my fanclub! button on the top right hand side of the screen.


Once you click the link a new page opens and asks if you are sure you want to join. You can choose Yes, Continue or No Thanks.



There is an option to Quit this fan club if you later decide you no longer want to receive their Squidcasts.

Your own lensmaster page is where you will find your personal fan club. You can see how many fans you have and each of the small avatars are clickable so you can see who they are and look through their lenses.

Some lensmasters “fan” everyone hoping they will all reciprocate, others only join fan clubs when they truly like the work of the lensmaster, as well as their actions around the site...That’s the route I recommend. I don't agree with joining every fan club you see. When I find spammers I take notice of their fans are. It doesn't make me think favorably of people who are listed. To me that is a statement condoning their behavior. I think it's important to join the fan club of lensmasters after you have taken the time to look through their lenses, and you believe they are a positive addition to Squidoo.

If you’d like to grow your fan base:
Create lenses, good ones.
Use an avatar (photo/graphic) so people can recognize you.
Post regularly in SquidU.
Interact on other people’s lenses.
Join other lensmaster’s fan clubs.

Then you’ll be able to send out your own Squidcasts. :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Squidoo Payday!

That usually leads to confused new Squids. ;)

Our earnings today are for the month of January 2009. Squidoo pays us two months after sales were made (and ads were clicked on). If you haven’t made any sales your very first payment might come three months after you started on Squidoo. This is because we are given our share of Ad revenue based on a tier system that uses a lens’ average lensrank for the month. Sometimes new lenses take a while to have an average high enough to reach the lowest tier. The last we heard the cutoff for that bottom tier is an ave. LR of 85,000.

You won’t see Ad revenue on your dashboards, it only shows up on payday. So if you are looking at a bunch of 0s you will still get a payment. Our dashboards show us our pending sales earnings.

If you did not reach your Cash Payout Threshold, unfortunately, you will not be able to see a breakdown of how much each of your lenses earned. Because of this I recommend setting your Threshold to $1. To do this go to your My Profile page and scroll down to Payment Settings. Click on Change next to Cash Payout Threshold. Select the amount and hit Save.


If you have reached your Threshold you can see your stats for each lens. On your dashboard click on Stats, and then the Royalties tab for each lens. You’ll see the Date, Type, and Amount of payment.

Once you see that blue box on your dashboard you know that your $ is on the way but don’t worry if you don’t see it in your PayPal account right away. Sometimes it gets deposited the next day.

If you haven’t seen it yet it looks like this:



There really is a lot to cover with regards to Squidoo Payouts, and I’ve discussed it further on my lens Squidoo Payday Questions & Answers.

One last link I’d like to show you is for your Payment Settings Manager. This makes it easy to double check your settings for each lens as well as your Paypal email address, Cash payment threshold, and Global default threshold.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Let's Talk Traffic Stats

The Visits stats on your dashboard are almost live...they update constantly, but run a little behind real time. These stats show us Unique Visits, not the number of page loads for a lens. Each visitor is counted once every 7 days. If they come back again later that day, for example, you will not see your total increase. It’s also important to note that when you are logged in your visits to your own lens do not get added to your total.



The number you see is based on a 7-day rolling window. This is not where you find out the lifetime visit total for a lens. We can see that stat on the individual Traffic statistics for each lens. From your dashboard select the Stats link and take a look at the Traffic tab. You will see Life of lens just above the title Traffic Sources.



So, what is a 7-day rolling window? It continually shows you how your lens is doing for a 7 day period. The visit count can go up and it can go down. Seeing traffic decline is normal. Don’t panic, your stats aren’t broken. ;) If you first promote a lens it’s can get a rush of traffic…once that rush drops off the count, if you haven’t been getting the same steady traffic each day after that the drop can be pretty significant.

Let’s look at an example:
Unique Visits per day (at the same time of day)

Day 1: 127
Day 2: 131
Day 3: 116
Day 4: 34
Day 5: 55
Day 6: 21
Day 7: 5
----------------
We’d see 489 on our dashboard.

If the following day you receive 8 visits it looks like this:

Day 1: 131
Day 2: 116
Day 3: 34
Day 4: 55
Day 5: 21
Day 6: 5
Day 7: 8
----------------
We’d see 370 on our dashboard. That 127 has dropped off, and we picked up the new number 8. This process happens around the clock.

'ello.

I've been away since the 4th.
I'll return to my regularly scheduled posts shortly. ;)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

How to Add Flickr Photos to a Lens

Back in the day we could add any ol’ image we found on Flickr to our lenses using the Flickr Photos module. Since the module links each thumbnail photo back to the original image and gives the owner credit it was meeting their terms of service. But, many Flickr users were unhappy with this and Squidoo & Flickr (I’m assuming they both worked together) came up with a solution that was acceptable the Flickr community. SO…where does that leave the Flickr module?

If you’d like to use an image from Flickr it must be Creative Commons-licensed AND ok to use commercially. (This requirement, unfortunately, also affects our own Flickr accounts.) It does whittle away at our choices dramatically, but it’s still worth a look.

The trick to finding images that will work in our module is to use Flickr’s Advanced Search.

You can do so through the direct link, or if you don’t have that handy, after starting a typical search you will be given the option to do an Advanced Search.



Scroll down the Advanced Search page until you see the creative commons section. Select both check boxes as you see below and click on search. All of the results you are given will be a-ok to use.




With that, now it’s time to move on to Squidoo. To find the Flickr module select:

Add Modules
.. All Modules
.. .. Flickr Photos

I always use Let Me Pick. That way you always know what is on your lens. You would be surprised what random tags and titles are given to some images. I’ve seen many pictures having nothing to do with lens content…you know those modules are set to Let Flickr Pick.

You can copy and paste the entire URL, then click Add Items. If you see them appear below that Add button you can be sure it worked. The module displays 6 images in a row, so it’s nice if you use multiples of six. It looks unfinished to me when one row isn’t full.

Some of the photos might bring text in with it. I think it looks cleaner if you delete that text.

If you’d like to reorder the pics you can, and once you are ready hit Save. You can always go back in later to rearrange, add or delete images. :)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lens Categories (Topics) and How to Change Them

When creating a new lens you are asked to pick a category for your lens. I find it odd that the field in which to do so says “Choose a topic”, and not “Choose a category”, but I suppose it’s because it’s referred to as “topic” everywhere else on the site.

If your lens fits into more than once category take your pick. I like to see which category my lens has a better chance of ranking highly in. Some categories are more competitive than others. If your lens doesn’t seem to fit well in any of them, as long as there is something for sale on the lens, Shopping will suffice. I’ve had to reluctantly choose that before a few of the newer categories were added.

Don’t stress when trying to decide on where to place your lens, you can change it later. This ability also comes in handy when new topics are added to the list.

Here is the current list to choose from:
(as of 3.2.09)

* About Me
* Animals & Nature
* Arts
* Cars & Trucks
* Books
* Business
* Computers, Gadgets & Tech
* DIY & Hobbies
* Duels!
* How-To & Education
* Entertainment
* Food & Cooking
* Green Living
* Health & Medicine
* Home & Garden
* Humor
* Local
* Movies & TV
* Music
* News & Politics
* Parenting & Kids
* People
* Nonprofits & Volunteering
* Pop Culture & Celebs
* Religion & Spirituality
* SEO & Affiliate Marketing
* Shopping
* Sports & Recreation
* Squidoo Tips
* Travel
* Video Games
* Work At Home

You can browse lenses by topic from the aptly named, and very hard to find, Squidoo Topics page.

--

A few notes:

1. You can not list a lens under more than one topic at a time.

2. You also can't "remake" the same lens just to put it in more than one category. If you choose to make a second lens on the subject it must have different content.

3. Do not list your lens in a category you know it does not belong. If HQ sees it, they will move it.

4. There aren’t any sub-topics or sub-categories…just the one large umbrella to be listed under. Your tags can help narrow the focus.


--

So, how do you go about changing the Topic once the lens has already been published?

There is a Topics pull-down menu in the Lens Settings section of the lens' Workshop Tools. (That’s the tall bar on the right hand side of your workshop.)

Lens Settings


Click the blue arrow and you'll see:

Lens Topics


Select your new topic and hit Apply. Then save the lens and republish.

Your lens has just been moved from one topic to another. :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How (and why) to Transfer a Lens

I’ll start with the reasons you may want to transfer a lens from one Squidoo account to another.

1. If you’ve started building lenses under one account and later decide you’d like to break them apart by niche, or separate out business lenses from personal ones.

2. If you’ve made multiple Squidoo accounts and later want to combine them into one account with the hopes of becoming a Giant Squid or to get into the Giant 100 Club.

3. If you want to give away or sell your lens to another lensmaster.

Now the how.

You need to have at least 3 lenses to see the Transfer a lens link on your dashboard. You will see it under the heading Don’t miss this tool!

Transfer a Lens Link


(If you have less than 3 lenses try the direct link http://www.squidoo.com/lensmaster/transfer_lens. If that isn’t working you can create 2 temporary lenses, make the transfer, and delete the temp lenses.)

You will also need the email address of the lensmaster’s account where you are sending the lens.

Once you are on the Transfer a lens page it will look like this:

Transfer a Lens Page


There you will select the lens you want to transfer from the pull down menu, enter the email address of the recipient and click Send. That person will have to accept the lens to complete the transfer.

A note of caution:
If you have money pending on your dashboard for a lens you are transferring to someone, that $ now belongs to the new owner.

What about Groups?

They can also be transferred, although they require one, very important, extra step. Because so many people have had a hard time transferring groups I built a lens to help with that. How to Transfer a Group.

Welcome to Squiddicted!

I hope this becomes a helpful resource for new lensmasters.