A Squidoo lens is a snazzy webpage that allows you to integrate lots of user-generated content on a single, traditional webpage. The term "lens" is just a fancy term probably used as a play from the Squidoo mascot's enormous eye. Making a lens seems to be redundant, but Squidoo is really taking off as a Web 2.0 phenomenon. With almost half a million lenses made as of this writing, it seems like it wouldn't hurt to ride of the Squidoo wave just in case it really ends up being a huge tsunami in the future.
Lenses can contain anything. Think of it as a page with built-in feed aggregators, a Twitter section, a Flickr corner and a comment section. Squidoo lenses have been used for various purposes, from a list for someone's favorite Britney Spears songs, to a public advisory page for a missing girl in the US. The connectivity sure makes it easy to promote on Facebook, Twitter, Digg, del.icio.us and other networks thus giving the page some sort of captive audience.
Here's how you setup your own Squidoo lens:
- First off, go to the Squidoo website and register an account. After giving your desired username, password and other personal information, you're definitely ready to go.
- Decide on a name and determine the category that you want your lens to be in. Be careful in choosing your Squidoo address as well. You may not change this after you've clicked OK. Just like in deciding on a domain name or page name, think about the terms that are relevant to the topic that you want to talk about. Since Squidoo also offers pay outs to the popular lenses, it may also be advantageous if you strategize from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint.
- Next, you will be asked to list keywords that you want to be linked to your lens. This should be quite easy for you. If you're writing about a music artist, you may write hit songs or album titles on these fields to make sure that people searching for relevant content about the artist could easily find your lens.
- After fixing these details, you can then proceed to customize your lens. You may publish your lens bare, but the site would warn you if you have two or less widgets on your page. This will be to your disadvantage since Squidoo doesn't prioritize lenses with minimal content.
- To maximize the strength of Squidoo when it comes to harnessing the power of web 2.0 make sure that you link it to your various networks through the widgets for Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the like. You may also use the feed aggregator to feature relevant blog entries on your lens.
- If your topic catches fire, Squidoo can actually choose you as the site's "Lens of the Day" and you will probably gain thousands of hits just for that accolade.
On top of these advantages, you can also receive comments on your lens. It's literally like having one micro-community on just one page. The web is moving without you so make sure you have your lenses on!