The Parts of a Wedding Dress

Wedding planning is a difficult venture for any new bride-to-be. But shopping for a wedding dress can be a nightmare of confusion if she doesn’t know what how to ask for what she wants because she can’t understand the lingo. With that in mind create a lens for the expectant bride detailing the different parts of a wedding dress from the different necklines, waistlines, all the way down to the different trains. Wedding Dress Back Outline

Module suggestions:

  • Use a separate text box for each section of the wedding dress. Highlight with lots of images. Since most online shops have affiliate programs you’ll have lots of images to choose from.
  • Have a wedding poll.
  • Use the Amazon Spotlight for a wedding planning book.
  • List up to ten wedding dress designers in a text list plexo titled Favorite Designers with the option for visitors to add their own.
  • Provide a guestbook for people to tell you their wedding date.

What is Tweaking a Lens?

Squidoo Lensmasters should not go more than a few months without tweaking their lenses. Tweaking and full on updates keep the lens looking its best. I am always surprised what I missed when I go back with fresh eyes. Trust me, you will be too!

I have a weekly schedule of daily updates I do for fifty lenses. Every few months I rotate the lenses to a new group. I use Squidoo’s handy Label feature to sort the lenses by days but you could easily make up a checklist in Word with each day of the week and list the lenses to tweak under each day. Placing the ducks in a row.

Here are the tweaks I do whether I think is is needed or not:

  • Spelling and grammar are a must for everyone and it is incredibly easy to miss a word here and there no matter how many times I have read my writing. Trust when I say there is an error of some sort in your lenses right now.
  • Capitalizing titles of modules: “See who is following Angie” becomes a sentence with no punctuation but by capitalizing, “See Who is Following Angie” makes it a proper title. Properly capitalized titles are more pleasing to the eye.
  • Formatting paragraphs: I see this a lot on other lenses so I am always looking for it on my own. You cannot copy and paste your content from a Word (or other) document and expect the formatting to stay the same. Paste the work, save it in the module, look at your paragraphs, then open it up and edit out the extra spaces that divide lines at weird points within the sentence. Add space where it is needed between the paragraphs so one paragraph is not right on top of the other (one space between paragraphs).
  • Play videos: I will play all videos for a few seconds even if it looks like it is still there. If a video has been removed I look for another and replace it. If I cannot find one in my theme I delete the module.
  • Replace or fix missing images (or resize images — as per new Squidoo standards for intro — at least 250 x 250 pixels).
  • Check all product links. I click on them to make sure they are still opening properly and product is still available. If the multi-amazon product module is showing a format irregularity because of a few missing images I reset the module to remove images to make it look cleaner.
  • Check all outgoing links, delete dead links, add one or two new links.
  • Check RSS, twitter, google feeds and change as necessary.

With a pen and notepad take a look at your five top lenses from top to bottom and make a list of tweaks you think would make these lenses better. Chances are this list can be applied to the rest of your lenses. Now you have a plan of attack.

Happy tweaking!

Lens of the Day

Every day Squidoo HQ features a lens of quality as a “Lens of the Day” on their main page and in their newsletter. For Canada Day, July 1, my Canadian travel lens was featured. Lens of the Day (LOTD)

When I created this lens I used a few of my images to get it started but then populated it with Flickr images using the flicker module. Mainly for convenience and time. My plan was to come back and update it with my images once I got them off the old computer. Weeks passed. Months passed. The lens got mild reviews from visitors and received moderate traffic and I would tweak it here and there.

Finally this past month, I could put off my major update no longer, the Flickr module was retired. I decided I had to stop procrastinating and add my images. It was a gradual process by region but I noticed an immediate change in the quality of the comments being left which encouraged me to add the pictures quicker.

I was up late (late) Saturday night working on some computer tasks. When I stopped by to the Squidoo main page I saw my face looking back at me with a banner for Lens of the Day across the corner. It was a nice surprise but I really did not grasp what it would mean for the popularity my lens.

When you have a lens chosen for LOTD you almost immediately notice a change in rank. Mine jumped more than a couple thousand. By the next day my lens had zoomed up to #13 across the board and #1 in travel and I still had a few more images to add.

My point? If you put in the extra work someone will notice. LOTD is a wonderful achievement and a huge motivation. There is nothing like receiving over 130 messages in your in-box telling you how wonderful you and your lens are. If you share something meaningful people will share with you in return.

It has a few days later and my lens is holding its own at the #15/#1 mark. I know it will gradually decline as traffic lessons but it was a nice ride and I encourage you to not hold off on making your lenses better because you never know which of them will be honored with so much fun exposure.

Closet Organizers

Your first instinct may be to make a lens filled with Amazon modules showcasing different kinds of closet organizers. Resist the urge. A lens like this will get low rank and not be looked on kindly by any visitors that do happen to find your lens.

Instead, pick a closet in your home and document its makeover step by step with pictures and content you have written. You can so something as simple as organizing the items in your closet or intermediate like adding an organizer kit or advanced like gutting the closet and rebuilding it.

What to include: clothes in a closet

  • An introduction explaining your project’s current appearance and your plan to improve it along with any steps you plan to take. Include a before picture.
  • A gallery module showing the closet at different stages of completion.
  • A text module with an elaboration of the steps you took.
  • One amazon module with three products you used
  • A Youtube module with 10 personally selected videos of other people working on closet transformations.
  • A Polaroid showing off your after look.
  • A guestbook asking visitors what their dream closet would look like.

Celebrating Canada Day with LOTD

Squidoo helped me celebrate Canada Day by featuring my Seven Places to See in Canada Before You Die lens as the Lens of the Day (LOTD). A LOTD lens gets prominently featured on the main page of Squidoo for 24 hours as well as getting mentioned in the main newsletter and blog.

flagI knew something was up when I logged on and there were 30 new comments. As the day progressed it grew to over a 100. With so much traffic from fellow lensmakers and visitors my lens quickly climbed from 2000-ish to 18 in their ranking system.

This was actually good timing because I was in the process of updating the images from the old demised flickr module to the “shiny” gallery module. I still have to dig some photos out of an album but the lens is looking better than it ever has so I am proud of the placement. If you have not made it over there, please visit my Seven Places to See in Canada Before You Die.

Romantic Massage

You do not need to be a massage therapist to deliver a romantic massage but it helps to have a light touch and a few tips. Create a lens about how to deliver a romantic massage from your perspective. You have the option of tailoring this lens to a man or a woman or both. I am going to talk about this as if it were one lens but you could easily do a series.

If I were doing it I would simply title the lens “Romantic Massage” to keep it simple. Then within the lens I would divide the lenses into three main parts: 10 General Steps to the Perfect Romantic Massage (no matter who you are giving it to); How to Give a Woman a Romantic Massage; and How to Give a Man a Romantic Massage. I would wrap it up with a section on the end about the etiquette of receiving a massage. I guess I should clarify too that I am talking about “romantic” massage and not a “sensual” massage.

man receiving a back massageWhat to include:

  • A poll module asking, “Do You Like Massages?” (yes, no, depends who’s giving, never had one)
  • Use a text List for the 10 general tips for giving a massage (for both men and women)
  • A least two text modules, for one for men and one for women. Write a short essay on romantic massage for a specific sex, do not refer to other items in your lens. Make these complete.
  • A few block modules to divide and label content.
  • An Amazon spotlight highlighting a popular massage oil (again, not sensual).
  • Finish it off with a guestbook asking people to offer their own tips or ask questions based on problems they have had trying to deliver or receive a massage.

How to Use the Gallery Module

One of my favorite modules to highlight images is the Gallery Module. It nicely highlights 1 to 10 images in a gallery format almost like a projector with the large image on top and smaller images below. As the viewer clicks on the smaller thumbnail images it replaces the larger one for better viewing of each image in the gallery. Here is an example from one of my lenses:

Gallery Module Example on Squidoo Lens

My three main recommendations for using this module properly are:

  • Re-size your images to make them a consistent size! If you do not have any software on your computer to re-size images then use an online method (do a search, there are more than a few). I use a very old Corel Photo House program to re-size my images. Do not use this module if you are not willing to put in the time to re-size your images.
  • Use 5 OR 10 images so you have an even row right across (see image above) the module. It is more visually appealing at first glance to see a complete row (or two) than three or seven images making an incomplete row.
  • Use the supplied description area to add a few words about the image. This is handy for telling your story in pictures in case the image loads slowly.

The trick to making this module work properly is to use images that are all relatively the same size. I recommend no larger than 500 pixels in width or height so the module will fit in the viewers screen without them having to adjust their browser when looking at photos. I also recommend that they be in the same view — all landscape or all portrait — do not mix them within the same module (i.e. landscape, portrait, landscape, landscape, portrait etc.) or else it creates a jumping motion of the gallery as they click on each image and the viewer has to constantly adjust the image within their browser so they can click on the thumbnails.

Squidoo readers love photos so I highly recommend you take advantage of this handy image display module.

10 Things to Do with Oreos

I was going to start this one today because I thought it would be a fun lens to do but then I thought of you. I got the idea after seeing this recipe lens No Bake Cookies and Cream Bars (you will have to scroll down to see recipe) on Pinterest.

The first thing you would have to do is brainstorm some ideas of things to do with Oreos. So get out a paper and pen and start writing things down. Think of all the times you have seen Oreo cookies used in some sort of recipe. Even if it is silly, list it. Try to go for fifteen. When you are done read over your list highlighting the best ideas — do not go to the internet for ideas first — use your own brain and if you are really stuck use Google for ideas.

The first four that come to mind are: Oreo cookies naked as is with milk (that has to be the starting point), Oreo cookies crumbled over ice-cream, an Oreo cookie layer trifle, breaking them up and putting them in brownie mix before baking, plus the idea above, that only leaves five more ideas for you to come up with.

In the main introduction module you could give a very brief history of the Oreo cookie perhaps with a childhood memory of your own.

Other modules to include: milk and cookies

  • Ten text modules, each with directions on what to do with Oreo cookies and links to necessary sites i.e. if you were to make the recipe linked above and take a picture of it be sure to give credit to the blogger for the idea and encourage people to visit. Make sure you take pictures for all ten modules!
  • Add a poll module asking: “How do you eat your Oreo?” with possible options — Split the chocolate and eat the creamy filling first. Split the chocolate and eat one, then creamy filling, then other half. Eat it whole. And of course “other”.
  • A text list plexo for readers to submit their ideas of things to do with Oreo.
  • A Polaroid image close up of an Oreo cookie with the “parts of a Oreo” labelled.
  • An Amazon spotlight module for Oreo cookies (I looked you can buy them on Amazon).
  •  Guest book asking visitors to share an Oreo memory from their childhood.

Long-Term Lens Commitment

What is a long-term lens commitment? Most lenses probably take anywhere from one to eight hours to complete and then only require monthly (or less) tweaking. A long -term commitment lens involves more time and generally content and can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete.

Do not be afraid to make a long-term lens commitment. I have made lenses that have taken 30 days and up to a year to complete. I highly recommend it because it creates a well-rounded lens and because readers sincerely appreciate your efforts.

BoulderThis week I completed a lens on the Bleasdell Boulder. Now when I say completed, I mean the main goals of my lens — in this instance, taking photos at a popular trail park during all four seasons — the lens is complete but I will still continue to tweak it as the months and years pass (I already have some ideas floating around). But for the most part I consider it completed and can relax as far as it is concerned. It feels good to have it done.

The good thing about long-term lenses is that it encourages your readers to revisit to view your updates. One of my most popular long term lenses is the one I did on my eye surgery. I had no idea when I started it that it would be so popular. I have had people come and ask questions and return to tell me about the outcomes of their own surgeries even though it is over three years old.

I highly recommend the seasons lens that I discussed first. Think of a pretty landmark or park in your area and commit to taking pictures of it every season.

Things to include so you can publish immediately:

  • In the intro give a brief overview of the landmark and what it means to you. You can mention that this lens will be a work-in-progress for the next few seasons but it is not necessary.
  • Include a poll asking if they visited the landmark or plan on visiting.
  • Gallery module or a few Polaroid modules to show off images of your landmark from all angles.
  • Text module sharing any history.
  • Use a sticky note module or text module to provide directions
  • Add a link list with reasons why people like to visit.
  • In your guestbook invite people to comment about their visit.

Be sure to put notes on your calendar at the beginning of each season to remind yourself to revisit your landmark, take fresh pictures, and load them to your lens.

Bleasdell in the Spring

A year ago I decided I was going to document the seasons at the Bleasdell Boulder, a “glacial erratic” or in layman’s terms a very big rock. Last night after resizing and uploading over forty pictures for spring I was officially completed.

creek and shrubs

One of the things you will learn while visiting my boulder lens is that the Bleasdell Boulder is more than a giant rock. There is a beautiful trail that circles from the parking lot to the rock and back again as well as offshoot trails. The view above is from a bridge crossing the clearest creek I have ever seen.

I really enjoyed getting to see the different seasons and of course dragging Jeff and the dog along for the ride and walk. I hope you enjoy viewing all the pictures from the four seasons at my Bleasdell Boulder Lens. Make sure you sign my guest book while you are there.