Saying Goodbye to ClearSpring Widgets

To those Lensmasters who were around last year, you may remember a platform called “ClearSpring”, which allowed Lensmasters to add their own funky widgets to their Squidoo lenses. Popular examples include Amazon widgets, opt in forms and music players.

Sadly, in December last year, Clearspring announced that they were discontinuing the platform after acquiring AddThis. A little while later, Squidoo also announced that they were phasing out Clearspring modules. Squidoo are unlikely to support the new AddThis platform instead due to security concerns.

Since then, we have not been able to add new widgets, but any existing ones have continued to work: “existing widget installations will continue to be served through January 1st, 2011 with their last known configurations.”

However, there are some alternatives for some specific types of widgets:

- for Lensmasters: Love This Lens (now an official module)
- for Bookmarking: AddThis Bookmark Widget (now an official module)
- for Amazon Associates: Product Links and Ads (including a Carousel-like widget)
- for ClickBank Affiliates: HopAds via RSS
- for Music Publishers: Yahoo! Media Player
- for Google Analytics: Track your lenses
- for Lensmasters: FanClub Counter
- for Twitter: ReTweet Button

If you have a particular widget you wish to keep using, let me know and I’ll see if there’s another way to do it.

 

Adding “ReTweet” Buttons To Your Lens

The TweetMeme retweet button is for website and blog publishers who want to encourage their audience to tweet their content on Twitter. The button shows a live count of the number of times your webpage or blog post has been tweeted. You may have already seen buttons like this one appearing on this and other blogs all over the ‘net:

retweet « Here’s a working example. Give it a try…

Now, you can have it on your Squidoo lens too. Best of all, you don’t even need an account on Twitter, but you can help your visitors spread the word about your lens for you. This looks great in either the Guestbook module, or the Lens Love widget, or anywhere else you like.

And here’s the code you need (edit as required):

<a href="http://api.tweetmeme.com/share?url=URL of lens&source=username" target="_blank" title="retweet"><img src="http://api.tweetmeme.com/imagebutton.gif?url=URL of lens" alt="retweet" width="51" height="61" align="left" /></a>

Notes:

  • You must put in complete URL of your lens, for example: http://www.squidoo.com/squidoo. Don’t forget to put in both places, once for the link and again for the image.
  • If you have a twitter account, then put your username after &source=, so that you get credit when others do a retweet. Otherwise, leave it blank.
  • The code above will display the button on the left, with any following content wrapping around it. You can change it to be align=”right” if you prefer, or remove the alignment altogether.
  • If you get a big question mark after adding it to your lens, you should double-check your code. Make sure there aren’t any spaces or blank lines were there shouldn’t be.
  • Login to TweetMeme.com with your Twitter account, and see stats for all of your the lenses that have been tweeted.
  • Don’t feel you have to add this to every single lens you own – start with just the few that get decent traffic and a semi-technical audience.
 

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.

Note:
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).