This spring the Squidoo site advised we should limit our Amazon products for sale on a page to 20 items. Grumbling, I started adjusting the items as I continued the chore of adding more text, adjusting keywords and fixing lenses to suit the new guidelines.
This week, the decree came down from headquarters that the limit of 20 was no longer a suggestion, but would be enforced. Yesterday they rolled out the software that hides the links for any excess Amazon products.
On my list of 660 lenses (Squidoo term for a web page), it flagged 50 that needed to go on a diet. It didn’t surprise me that many of them were Halloween lenses. I’d postponed updating those out-of-season pages, but now must buckle down for some hard work.
Over time, I’d identified some terrific products that fit my varied topics. For example, to trim 10 items from my Barely There Costumes for a Nudist Halloween or Costume Party, for the Eve costume I featured tropical leaves, a rubber snake, an apple and a long flowing wig. I needed to drop some of these, but I hated to inconvenience the shopper.
That’s the kind of decision lensmasters are making as they perform plastic surgery on overly plump lenses. Sigh.. I settled for showing a complete Eve costume and talking about the accessories. No links to those extras. Many Internet users are impulsive shoppers and when they find something they like, they click-through to Amazon and go on a buying spree.
The worry is that although the page may look cleaner, be easier to load and be visually less cluttered, will the reader actually buy if the items I’m recommending are not just an easy mouse-click away?
Back in 2012, I bought a whole account from another lensmaster who had almost 200 lenses. That brought my Squidoo account to over 800 lenses which I quickly found crazy-making. Getting the new lenses adjusted the way I wanted was a huge job, so finally I sold off quite a few of them plus some of my own that I’d lost interest in. I gave some away over the years too in my lens giveaway and to entice new Squids to get started.
In the meantime, I kept making lenses on topics, some for quests and some just because they interested me. By February my account was around 600 or so lenses. Then it grew to 666. Is that a bad number??
Recently a few lenses were bumped down to Work in Progress and 1 locked. In my non-giant account (Christmas lenses), 12 suffered locking. Obviously it is worthwhile getting giant status..
As Squidoo more and more discouraged product lenses and frowned on “shopping cart” lenses, I recognized the need to change. Trying to personalize and fatten up so many sales lenses meant I was working nonstop on Squidoo just to keep level. Day after day, new instructions came out to change and adjust lenses. Applying those changes to over 600 pages was a massive chore.
A few days ago I finally saw the light. I’m paring my lens list down considerably. In the last 2 days I’ve deleted 60 lenses. Since I have many personal topics about my family history and lenses that are important to me about library services, the Civil War and my photography, I’m sacrificing many sales pages to protect those.
Recently Squidoo closed some large accounts citing the number of “thin lenses” which is their terminology for sales pages. This purge that I’m doing is to hopefully reach a balance that puts my account less at-risk.
Today Squidoo popped up with this message, “You are a master poll giver. 23,000 of your polls have been taken so far.” When I first started making lenses, I didn’t bother with polls. I missed out on some good information.
Reading other lenses, I began to realize how useful a poll could be. It adds some interaction with the reader that keeps them on the page a little longer which impresses both Squidoo and Google. It adds variety as the eye skims down the page, breaking up blocks of text or batches of products for sale.
Best of all, it gives the lensmaster feedback that can be used to improve the page over time. Ask questions about what people found most helpful on the page or what they were looking for. Ask them their preference on products (colors, features, price range).
Get some demographic information as far as age or gender to tailor the page to the visitor. Is the visitor a kid looking for cool pics of their favorite toy or is it a parent or grandparent looking to buy?
I adjust my pages based on the numbers revealed by the polls. Once I find that more of the visitors are students or history buffs or casual readers, then I can revise my history topics accordingly.