I’ve been tardy getting to all of the lenses in the Tier One Challenge. So to make up for it, here’s a lightning tour. I’ll give off-the-cuff comments on what make these lenses tick, suggestions if I’ve got any. Of course, I’m no expert– take my comments if they’re useful, or ignore them!
Here we go!
Linda’s Top Ten Horse Movies Christmas Gifts lens
(not the official title … here, have some related anchor text.)
Great stuff: She’s been busy with CSS to make it visually sharp (slightly larger type for grandparents, good call), calls to action and benefit-specific copy (kids love horse movies and watch them again and again), and careful keyword research for both headers and body text. Also she’s doing all the backend work, off-site backlinks and promotion.
Possible tweaks: With review lenses, especially Top Ten lists, reviews can start sounding the same, so how do you encourage visitors to choose? Personally, I listen more closely to “I saw this great movie, and what I loved about it was…[something unique to that movie]” rather than, “Oh, I loved it! It was my favorite! It’s just fantastic!” Linda’s got specific, thumbnail blurbs on the first six, which gives me a tiny taste of them. But say I’ve been living under a rock and I’m Sammy the 10 Second Surfer who’s too laaaazy to click the videos (which are nevertheless a great hook for more leisurely surfers), I’d love to know more about the last 4.
EclecticEducation’s File Folder Math lens
Great stuff: This Homeschool Club lens was the first to crack tier 1, and it’s staying there– no surprise! Eclecticeducation is an experienced teacher with a whole batch of great homeschooling lenses, building up a reputation and visitors who know what quality they’ll find and come back. This one explains a homeschooling activity, has one (1!) quick video for people like me who had never heard of File Folder Math (Oh, now I get it!), suggests a few choice Amazon File Folder games (just a few!), gives a hand-picked list of File Folder websites (clickouts!), and then a featured lens module sending visitors onto closely related lenses in the same niche — now that is a simple, well-organized lens firing on all cylinders.
Possible tweaks: *drool* Sorry, I got nothin’.
Timehacker/Nnaij’s Nokia X-6 Review
Great stuff: Product-specific reviews are great: people don’t tend to Google “phone” so much as “I want to know about THIS phone.” This lens is well-optimized for the phone’s name and related searches like features, apps, parts, details. LOTS of details. After all, geeks are one segment of this market, and geeks want details. Details are also good for search engines, which (I think) tend to prioritize concrete nouns (“[product] [model number] review” rather than “my incredible personal story which is an a great read but no one would ever think to Google for it.”)
Possible tweaks: I’m always half afraid to say anything about product review lenses, since I know nothing about marketing. But I find this lens to be so full it’s a little intimidating. It’s got everything one can find on the net, even Facebook fan pages and Tweets about the phone. But I think I’d like a more brief, focused, personal review of the phone. Possibly the best thing there is a video demo of the phone, but I wonder if it would work better to have one demo than 5?
JollyvilleChick’s 40+ Things My Husband Does Right
Good stuff: This is one of those “my incredible personal story which is a great read but who’s going to think to Google for it?” lenses that I really want to see succeed. The writing is fun, the list is a great list of real, authentic things one can relate to in one’s own life, and the underlying message is so good: keep that relationship going and stop to enjoy it by noting what he/she does that you love. It even manages to slip in a few products that will appeal to the spouses (especially gents) who might be reading this lens. Also, it’s well-presented (lovely but understated CSS). She manages to slip in a few “selling stuff” modules like an apt iTunes theme song that are so appropriate that one forgets it’s an ad. I think social media and word-of-mouth may help this lens have legs to make up for the challenges of SEO.
Another great thing is that by following excellent blogs and Tweeters on her topic, they may actually follow the social juice back and find the page. Which has good enough content that they might pass it on.
Possible tweaks: hmmmmm. Maybe when the challenge is over, I’d move the critique/challenge-related modules off the lens onto a blog post as a keepsake, just because this lens is a little long. But maybe not. It’s a great lens.
Photahsiamirabel’s Cute Cartoon Hedgehog Gifts Cards and Calendars
Good stuff: Oh, they ARE cute, and that lens logo graphic plus the simple yellow/green theme really draw you right in. This is a personal recommendation for someone’s hedgehog art, which is best (yay for promoting a Zazzle artist), and there’s excellent shopping opportunities interspersed with personal notes and comments that fit, plus one adorable hedgehog video module. There’s some Hallowe’en art to catch seasonal traffic; I’m betting this will get fresh content for Christmas.
Possible tweaks: Tiny nitpick; I had no idea what “spinewise by mothlight” meant in the introduction module. Maybe quotes plus a link to the painting? Or save cryptic jokes for a little further down. Also, possibly, a poll module right after that video module on which hedgehog is the cutest– but this would require hand-picked videos rather than letting YouTube pick. I would’ve been receptive to a poll right after watching those . (I click polls on things I don’t have strong feelings about, whereas I don’t participate in duels unless I have a strong opinion and something to say.)
Okay, it’s late and I’m getting sleeepy. I will get to them all though, I promise! Stay tuned for part 2.