Archive for the "Squidoo" category

The Final Blog Post

Well, here we are. The time has come. This is the end of the line.

Today’s the day when lenses start being transferred over to, leaving behind an empty shell that will only serve to redirect visitors to new URLs. Some Lensmasters may have opted to take their content elsewhere, while some will have abandoned their lenses long ago.

The end of Squidoo also means the end of SquidUtils, which has served Lensmasters since 2007. As all things Squidoo gradually winds down and servers get put out to pasture, here’s a quick overview of what’s going to happen here:

Lens Dashboard – your list of lenses is frozen as of September 1st, and will remain archived for a while even after Squidooo disappears for good. You can also get a list in RSS, text or HTML format on the Export page.

Bonus – SquidUtils will continue monitoring your old lenses, and detect when they get redirected. The exported lists above will then point directly to the new hubs, especially useful if you happened to submit your RSS feed to other websites.

Amazon – Unfortunately, HubPages won’t allowed the HTML code that SquidUtils provided for lenses, so those are probably going to disappear during the transfer. The Amazon capsule is the recommended way to add products to a hub, and the HubPages Amazon Program will give the highest rate of commission for most users.

SquidUtils will continue serving the images and the links for as long as they are needed, but it won’t be possible to create new ones. Amazon RSS feeds will also continue to be served, if HubPages includes them in the transfer.

eBay Feeds – if any feeds make it to HubPages then they will continue to be served, but it’s recommend that these are replaced with official  eBay capsules as soon as possible.

Other Lens Optimisation and Workshop tools will also be deprecated, as they no longer serve purpose. HubPages has some very tools built in to their site, for example the Table capsule is excellent. This means the end of the Toolbar or Workshop Addon too.

And that is pretty much, as they say, “it”. I’d like to say a big Thank You to everyone who has supported the site over the years, and I wish you all success wherever the future takes you.

“May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face”



Google Analytics comes to Squidoo!

Here is some news that is sure to delight all you stats junkies: Squidoo integrates Google Analytics for Lensmasters. By this I mean properly integrated, with all that yummy Javascript goodness that we haven’t had until now. Why is this so exciting? Well, for two main reasons:

  1. There’s a single place on set it up, and it automatically appears on all lenses (as well as your profile, trophies and other pages).
  2. You get the full set of available statistics, much more than with the old image based trackers, including: search engines, keywords, referrers, bounce rates, length of visit, click events and much much more.

For more information about this, read How to Track Lenses with Google Analytics. There is also some additional tips on how to get the most out of GA, and how to interpret the results.

Now for some specific advice for Lensmasters looking to transition their stats:

Continue reading “Google Analytics comes to Squidoo!”


New Lens Workshop and New Addon

This week Squidoo have updated the lens workshop. You probably won’t notice it looking any different, but it is now much quicker when editing and publishing lenses.

This means that the Workshop Addon for Firefox and Chrome has also been updated to keep up with the changes. This is also an opportunity to include some new features, such as filtering the points to see just sales or blessings.
If you are an existing user, you will need to update to the latest version.

Also this week, Squidoo HQ have unveiled their new official news portal. This will become the central place to get the latest official news and announcements, include Status Updates, Lens of the Day and Morning coffee. They have also opened up the commenting on the site, so that you can join in the conversation.

Be sure to follow @Squidoo on twitter, SquidooHQ on Facebook
or subscribe to the RSS feeds or sign up for email updates.

Here’s a quick round up of some other, older news:

  • Squidom lens directory is now run by SquidUtils. All Lensmasters are invited to create accounts and submit their best lenses. Don’t forget to visit other peoples lenses and vote for the good ones.
  • Another good lens directory to join is LensLike, run by DeeGator.
  • Amazon Poster Ads are proving very popular amongst many Lensmasters, and are working really well for them. If you’re an Amazon Associate and have tried them yet, read this post.
  • The Squidoo Toolbar has been updated, and should now work on Firefox 4 and Google Chrome.

That is all for now. Happy Squidding!



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.


SquidUtils Directory – Showcasing YOUR Lenses

Featuring lenses from SquidooNestled at the back of is a lens directory, which features lenses in a hierarchy of categories and tags. What makes this directory different from others is that is grows automatically, including new lenses that it finds. Today it has a little over 23,000 lenses.

How does it work? Well, the key is in the Primary Tag. Whenever SquidUtils finds a group of lenses in the same category and with the same primary tag, it creates a page in the directory. For example, Harry Potter in Books.

A lot of lenses (over 90%) are not featured, often because they use the lens title as their primary tag but no other lenses do. Get your lenses featured by either picking a primary tag that is already featured, or by picking a new unique tag and adding it to 3 or more of your lenses.

To help you figure out the best primary tag to use, the Advanced Dashboard has a new feature – login and look up in the top right corner, and you’ll see a link that lets you sort by Primary Tag. You’ll be able to quickly see which lenses use the same tag, and which of those tags are featured in the directory.

Continue reading “SquidUtils Directory – Showcasing YOUR Lenses”


Improved Tag Pages at Squidoo


Recently, Squidoo updated their tag pages to be more useful to visitors and search engines.

If you’re not familiar with tag pages, these are pages that list lenses that use a particular tag. Have a look at the Lensography tag page for an example. There are hundreds of thousands of tags on Squidoo, providing an additional method of navigating and linking between related lenses.

Here’s a summary of the main improvements:

  • 20 lenses are displayed (it used to be only 10), with snippets from the Introductions. This will make the tag pages a lot more ‘content rich’, which the search engines will appreciate. The title of the page is also improved.
  • Priority is given to the lenses that use the tag as their primary tag, so that those lenses will be listed first, followed by the other lenses that use that tag. This means it’s more important than ever to pick a good Primary Tag.
  • Tag pages link to other related tag pages, based on the lenses that use them. This provides the perfect system for navigating through the tags to find the right ones to add to your lens. But, remember: less is more when it comes to tags, so choose your tags wisely – limit yourself to just 10 – 15.
  • Finally, in stark contrast to my sensational post this time last year, tag pages are once again indexable by search engines. As a result, your lenses will get a share of the PageRank and search traffic that these pages get. With any luck, this will also boost the overall authority and traffic to Squidoo.

In other news: Continue reading “Improved Tag Pages at Squidoo”


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.



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”


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”