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Winter Author Blog Challenge #11: Tips for bringing your Squidoo author lens ALIVE

Woo-hoo! The Winter Author Blog Challenge is underway. This time around, the Challenge is just 15 days, and our focus is social media. The goal is for participants to post all 15 days, following the daily prompts provided, if they so choose. As with the inaugural Author Blog Challenge that took place last summer, I’ll be playing along with all of the posts, even though Marcie and I are the hosts!

Uh-oh. I missed another one. Ah, well, I guess I’ll be backtracking to get GoodReads in there sometime soon! However, I’m plunging ahead. Here we go with the ELEVENTH prompt of the Winter Author Blog Challenge:

Do you have a Squidoo lens? Founded by Seth Godin, Squidoo is a popular free site that enables users to create single webpages (known as lenses) about their interests and recommendations. Users can even earn money for charity or themselves. The credibility-building potential rivals Quora, but unlike question-answering sites, Squidoo users are free to create content of their choosing. The SEO rankings are quite high – but it remains incumbent upon the site’s users to double-check the veracity of information provided. Challenge questions: What are the benefits to using sites like Quora and Squidoo for building credibility? What can they offer that your website or blog doesn’t already do? How could this help you sell more books?

Squidoo is a site that allows YOU to become THE expert in your field. It’s a great place to easily demonstrate your expert knowledge and potentially get paid for it! Founded by Seth Godin, this popular free site enables users to create single webpages (known as lenses) about their interests and recommendations. Users can even earn money for charity or themselves. Squidoo users write articles, share videos, add photos, add RSSs feed from their blogs, add their Twitter feeds, favorite links, and more. Squidoo also makes it easy to earn money from eBay, Amazon, Google AdSense, and by referring other users to Squidoo.

You may wonder what the point is of recreating all the same material you may already have on your blog or website. Here’s the thing: Squidoo has a Google page rank of 8/10, which is incredibly high, meaning that publishing on Squidoo will increase the likelihood of great search engine rankings, as well as providing strong backlinks to your website or blog. Additionally, this site allows you to go deeper on a single area of expertise than you might in a single blog post or even a page of your website.

Squidoo for Authors

Start by creating an account, including fully developing your profile with a short bio and head shot. You may want to have a number of lenses:

  • A lens for your specific area of expertise
  • An author lens for yourself, especially if you’re starting to gain some traction and notoriety around your book(s)Squidoo
  • A lens for each of your titles. Include the following items on each individual book’s lens:
  1. Author bio
  2. Book summary
  3. Cover image
  4. Excerpt (or link to a download)
  5. Reviews
  6. Links to the place(s) where your book is available for sale.
  7. Link to your author website.
  8. Link to your book trailer.
  9. Links to your blog, website, and all your other social media platforms.
  10. A calendar that includes dates for your signings and events.
  11. Images from the same signings and events.

Still not sure what to use for content? If you have a special report that you’re already giving away, can you rework it (so the copy is not exactly the same) and release it on Squidoo for added exposure? Here’s an example I wrote.

Tips for Improving Your Squidoo Results

  • Even if it’s a topic you’ve written about at length before, write original content and use updated graphics for the best SEO results.
  • Begin generating traffic to your lens by visiting other Squidoo lenses related to your subject and posting comments that encourage those individuals to visit your lens. As with commenting on blogs on similar topics to yours, this will help you gain ranking and recognition on Squidoo and should be a regular part of your Squidoo success plan. You not only will enhance your traffic – but this is one of the social aspects of this social media site – and you can create lasting and valuable connections with others who may take an interest in helping you promote your book.
  • Once you create a lens, update it periodically and then hang onto it. Each lens helps your overall Squidoo status, so you don’t ever want to delete your lens as a means of updating your overall profile. Be sure to republish your lens after every update.
  • Squidoo has a built-in backup system that allows you to “export” your lens to your hard drive. Do this with some regularity, too, in case you ever accidentally delete your lens or have other problems with it.
  • Join Squidoo groups in your area of interest to further your contacts and promote your lens. Besides on-the-nose matches for your topic, search for ancillary subjects that are allied. For instance, if you’re writing about residential plumbing, it might pay to check out lenses on lighting, electricians, roofing, construction, landscaping, etc.
  • You can link your Squidoo lens to Twitter for increased exposure.
  • Create a lensroll (akin to a blogroll) with your favorite lenses, whether they’re yours or created by others.
  • Add a link to your lens to your email signature, or places you put your other social media links.

Making a splash on Squidoo requires regular maintenance. I’ll admit I haven’t given it the attention it deserves, but that will be changing! Remember that a complete lens has far more than just text content. You also want to include graphics and images, write a full bio, add your Amazon and/or eBay links, create polls, and make it all extra useful by creating a table of contents.

One of the biggest advantages of social media is the interconnectivity of all the platforms. I mentioned Tweeting your Squidoo updates earlier. Or you can create an infographic specifically for Squidoo that you repin on Pinterest and also link to your Facebook Fan Page. Here’s one person that had the right idea, but the wrong application. This is a Pinterest board titled “Why Authors Should Be on Squidoo.” Oops, though – just one measly little pin of a book that has nothing to do with this subject.

squidoo on pinterst

Pinterest/Squidoo fail…

One website contains a list of lenses about books and authors. Sign up here to have your lens listed.

If you’ve done lots of work on your Squidoo lens(es) and are still seeing little results, you can check the health of your Squidoo lens here. Just plug in the link to your lens and you’ll receive an instant analysis about what’s working and where you can improve it.

Yep, Squidoo is another potential tool in your book marketing arsenal. Nope – you won’t have time to do everything. But explore each social media option you come across to determine whether even a small presence might help enhance your reach, grow your platform, create a bigger following, and ultimately sell more books.

In the meantime, come Squidoo with me!

Laura

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