Three things I Learned while Writing my First Squidoo Lense
What is Squidoo?
“Squidoo is the popular publishing platform and community that makes it easy for you to create “lenses” online. Lenses are pages, kind of like flyers or signposts or overview articles, that gather everything you know about your topic of interest–and snap it all into focus.”
This description I found on a squidoo lense. Squidoo is free, you can built as many lenses (pages) as you like and you can earn money with it.
Publishing my first lense
Having a blog at wordpress.com I haven’t got the possibility to have adverts on it and be part of an affiliates program. And I would not like to do it, even if it would be possible for me. It would not match with the blog’s character.
But why not try out something different? I’ve got some knowledge about Berlin and some nice photos – why shouldn’t I make a lens out of it?
I joined Squidoo, played around with the tools and modules given there, took two spoonfuls of those courage pills (very useful they are, aren’t they?) and published my first lense.
And what did I learn?
Having done that I noticed that there are two important differences between blog posts and squidoo lenses:
- You have to do some careful planning before writing a lense.
When I began with my blog, I had a very general idea what I would be writing about. I wanted to present my photos and I wanted to have some writing going with it – something about the photos or a little story. Now, almost one year later, my blog has developed into something going beyond presenting photos. It is not so much the result of a planning process but the result of constant development.
I wrote my first lense in a similar way. I had a very general idea of how my views of Berlin – both as photos and writings – could be useful to foreigners visiting this wonderful city. So I chose a quite general URL. While working on the lense I noticed that every squidoo lense should focus on one special aspect, which in my case could be the tourist side of Berlin, or the green parts of Berlin, or the waterways of Berlin, or… Note to oneself: next time draw a mindmap, get a picture of the general theme and of the subthemes and then – work on the lense!
- Try to be useful!
Other blogs are focused on “How-to” subjects – how to manage your time, how to work efficiently, how to avoid writing mistakes. My blog is not a “how-to” blog. I am sharing my experiences, views, even moods and feelings. Of course I am pleased if it is “useful” for somebody else, but that is not my primary goal.
Squidoo lenses should be useful – so you have to have that usefulness in mind while writing a lense. As I see it that’s a kind of writing which is quite different to the one I am used to.
- Learning is fun!
The past days I enjoyed a feeling of pure fascination – I have reanimated my knowledge of HTML and CSS, tried it out, made mistakes, looked for help, corrected the mistakes. And I am already planning (Yes, I am planning this time) the next lenses.
And here it is, if you like to have a look: