Challenge Lens Status: 3,983 on Oct 17, up from 84,121 on Oct 10
I’d like to talk about the Snowflake Method of lensbuilding, based on the Snowflake Method of fiction-writing (which is a good lesson on how to write content). Your lens topic is the kernel of a snowflake. Like the grain of dust a snowflake forms around, that core idea, its focus, will determine the shape of what’s to come, along with weather and moisture (competition and search popularity) and other external factors.
You can’t control external factors. But you can control what’s inside.
A healthy lens needs six things:
- Focused, useful, interesting content.
- Organization and a logical flow from one section to the next.
- Graphics and visual appeal (CSS, varying text with visual elements).
- Strong writing: good grammar and spelling; compelling, crisp text.
- Avenues for conversion: links to click, things to buy, or another action you’re directing your visitors towards.
Okay, so it also needs on-page optimization based on keyword research, but I’m trying to stick to the lens core.
Now it’s time to start adding those branches.
You could think of the arms of the snowflake as outreach and publicity: linkbuilding, social promotion, on-page optimzation, and so on. However, I prefer to think of those as forces acting on the snowflake, like humidity, wind, and temperature, whereas right now I’m discussing the matter of the snowflake.
The arms are other lenses, articles, or pages connecting to the core of your snowflake. A Link Wheel is one structure these arms can take. Siloing is another (quite impossible to do on Squidoo, since Siloing avoids cross-linking). Different people have different preferences on the “best” structure, but I say: just build the arms. For me, it’s not the shape, but the contents, that matter most.
The arms could be related Squidoo lenses. My Challenge Lens is a Squidquiz on Athena, and its arms are lenses on Apollo, Heroes, Heroines, Hubris, Hollywood (whee!), Monsters, the Twelve Olympians, and an Easy Greek Mythology Quiz which would’ve been the hub of the snowflake if the challenge had permitted tier 2 lenses.
The arms can also be pages on other sites. For example, I’ve got a Hubpage on Athena. I revised it and connected it to my Challenge lens with a link. I’ve got a Gather article on Athena. Again, I updated it and added a backlink to my Athena Quiz.. Some of the arms cross-link. Some don’t. But each of them can become a new snowflake. So they are more than mere backlinks.
As a matter of fact, my Mythology Squidquizzes are the arms of another snowflake: my Greece Odyssey travel lenses telling the tale of my trip to Greece. I originally created these SquidQuizzes simply as backlinks pointing to my established Greece lenses. Now they’ve grown into producing lenses in their own right.
The point is, building content — more snowflakes — will build backlinks and will create new content which can start earning money, building your reputation, or, if you have analytics available for those pages, give you more opportunities to discover and capitalize on the search phrases your visitors are using. For example, I may see a query on my Athena lens’ traffic stats about Apollo. It may give me a clue what content to include or how to reword my Apollo lens to draw traffic better.
Let your lens, blog, and webpage network grow out slowly in every direction. Over time, your net will be wider and wider, and you will catch more and more traffic.
And you won’t have to spend so much time submitting to directories and building links.