How To Search for Lenses and Groups

Searching for Squidoo lenses on a search engine can be a real pain sometimes, as the results are very often filled with non-content pages. Finding the best groups for your lens to join can also be very tricky.

SquidUtils provides two custom searches (powered by Google) that are optimised to only return the searches that you want to see. Click on the ‘Squidoo Search‘ link on the homepage, and enter the keywords you wish to find.

search toolbarThis functionality can also be found on the browser toolbar for Lensmasters »
Simply click on the down arrow next to the search icon to select lenses or groups, and type in a search query.

For advice on finding the right groups to join, visit A Lensmaster’s Guide To Groups.


How to Add a FanClub Counter

Squidoo Fan Club CounterBack in June 2008, I introduced the ‘FanClub Counter’ – an orange box that shows how many fans you have in your FanClub, linking back to your profile on Squidoo. An example is shown here »

You may have already seen this on other peoples lenses and profiles.
If you want to know how to add this to your own lenses, here’s how:

  1. Go to the Lensmaster Feeds page.
  2. Type in your Lensmaster name, and login.
    (this is your username, not your real name or email)
  3. Copy the HTML Code shown near the bottom.
  4. Go to your member profile, and edit your Default Bio.
  5. Paste the code where ever you like, and save it.
  6. The counter will now appear on your profile,
    and every lens that uses the default bio.

On lenses, only the first ~225 characters will be shown (not counting HTML tags), and everything after that those will be hidden behind a ‘More…’ button. So, bear this in mind when pasting in your FanClub Counter code…

(This is the first of many Quick Tips that I’ll be posting, with step-by-step instructions of how to use all the tools here at SquidUtils).


SquidUtils: The Story So far

Once upon a time, probably during April of 2007, I started making a few tools for Squidoo Lensmasters. I don’t know the exact date, but I figure that “2 years ago” is close enough.

The very first tool was the Lensmaster RSS Feed. I remember requesting this on the forum, but a month later I had given up waiting and built my own solution instead. Shortly afterwards, I shared this with other Lensmasters so that they too could get a feed of all their lenses – perfect for syndicating on a blog or directory.

Since then, the RSS Feed has been improved and made more widely available, and is now served directly from Squidoo HQ. Find out how you can make use of yours by reading How to Use Your Lensmaster Feed.

That was just the beginning…

Continue reading “SquidUtils: The Story So far”


A Browser Toolbar for Squidoo Lensmasters

Social ToolbarThis news has already been leaked out via a few other blogs, so this post marks the official release of the SquidUtils Toolbar. It is available for both Internet Explorer and Firefox, on Windows, Mac and Linux.

This toolbar is designed to make the job of a Lensmaster easier, by putting some of the most used functions along the top of the browser.

Here are the four main features:

  • Notification of Lensrank updates
  • Instant switch between multiple accounts
  • All the social functions in one place »
  • Easy access to all the tools at SquidUtils

The toolbar had many other features as well, including quick links to all your lenses, groups and comments, a list of all the lens types you can build, plus a quick way to paste tags on to your lens.

All this and more is described here on the SquidUtils Toolbar lens.



Squidoo Releases New Lens Workshop

Squidoo have overhauled their lens editor, and today released Workshop 2.0! The guys at HQ have done a wonderful job, and have really improved the lens editing experience. (You may need to click on a link in the top corner if you’re still getting the old dashboard.)

The first thing you’ll notice is that your lens looks pretty much the same as it does when it’s published. All the modules are the correct width and have the right font and colors. No more swapping between Edit and View to get your lens just so. Above each module is some subtle text telling you what type it is, and two small buttons to edit or delete it. Editing a module is pretty much as you are used to.

The next great innovations are in the side bar on the right; Add Modules and Reorder Modules. Click on the other sections in the sidebar to open them – the functionality is mostly the same as before (you’ll find the Category under Lens Settings).

To add a new module to your lens, simply click on the green plus icon next to the name, and press the Apply button. To add more than one module, keep clicking on the plus icons until you’ve got the right numbers in the squares. As you would expect, the minus icon will decrement the numbers.

To change the order of your modules, go to the Reorder Modules section and drag them up and down with the mouse. Once you’re happy with the layout, press the Apply button and the Workshop will reload with the new module order.

You’ll also be pleased to know that the Workshop Addon Script for Firefox has been updated to support the new Workshop, giving you quick access to the Ping Lens function as well as some other tools on SquidUtils. I’ve added one or two other surprises to this version too.

Update your script via the link above, or the link on your dashboard.



Spreading the Social Butter

A couple months ago, Seth Godin wrote a blog post about critical mass, and how it applies to social networking. There was this particular paragraph that resonated with me:

“If you have a presence on twitter, squidoo, blogs, facebook, myspace, linkedin and 20 other sites, the chances of finding critical mass at any of them is close to zero. But if you dominate, if you’re the goto person, the king of your hill, magical things happen. One follower in each of twenty places is worthless. Twenty connected followers in one place is a tribe. It’s the foundation for building something that matters.”

With every new social network that crops up on the Internet, there comes yet another opportunity to register your name (or pseudonym) and go hunting for your ‘friends’. Yet another user interface to master. One more platform to learn. Subtly different netiquette from the other sites. Is it really worth it?

Continue reading “Spreading the Social Butter”


The Best Lens Directories

Some of the best places to get backlinks to your lenses are directories. These are websites that collect and categorize links to other websites, and there are a growing number of directories specifically tailored to Squidoo Lenses.

I have been assessing the relative merits of these Squidoo directories, and I have put together this review of the best ones for your lenses. The ones I’ve listed here have been proven to provide backlinks, and will pass PageRank and maybe even a little traffic.

Continue reading “The Best Lens Directories”


Statistics for Your Amazon Links

This tool is for anyone who uses the Amazon Links or RSS Feeds provided by SquidUtils (read the introduction to these tools for more info), and it will show you which lenses and products are getting the most views and clicks. In the run up to Christmas, this could be a valuable tool for fine tuning your lenses to maximise your profits.

» Check out these demo stats, featuring real data from actual lenses:
Amazon Link Stats Demo

Summary of Features:

  • see views and clicks for every lens that uses Amazon Links
  • see views and clicks for each product within a lens
  • sort the lenses by views, clicks or CTR
  • the data you see is live and instantenous
  • includes data for this month and last (retrospectively)

Continue reading “Statistics for Your Amazon Links”


Give Your Squidcasts More Legs

SquidCastSquidcasts. These are short messages that you can send out from your lens, and they will be seen by anyone who has favorited your lens, or joined your fan club. To see the squidcasts from the lenses and Lensmasters you have subscribed to, you have to visit the Favorites tab on your dashboard.

On their own, this is about as exciting as they get.

But here at SquidUtils, the messages that you cast can do so much more, and reach out many more people (and search engines)…

Continue reading “Give Your Squidcasts More Legs”


Making the Most of Squidoo Tags

When you create a new lens, the creation wizard asks you for one Primary Tag, and three other tags. When you edit your lens, you can add more tags to the list – up to 40. Knowing what tags do will help you figure out the right ones for your lens.

Tags help Squidoo choose the right lenses whenever someone uses the internal Search facility, but tags aren’t the only it factor uses. Squidoo’s search tool also uses the text from within the lens itself too, so if yours contains a particular phrase then it’ll appear in a search for that phrase.

The Discovery Tool directly connects lenses that share the same tags, which is much better than indirect linking via tag pages. These appear in the blue box immediately after the lens Introduction, with the title ‘Explore related pages’. This can result in a dozen or so links to your lens from other lenses.

The Primary Tag has more weight than the regular tags for searches, so make sure you use your main keyphrase (not your title!). For more details, see the previous blog post How To Pick Your Primary Tags.

Continue reading “Making the Most of Squidoo Tags”