Catch of the Month: My Favorite Quotes by JRR Tokien

Each month I’ll feature a lens that I discovered while exploring Squidoo.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Deluxe Edition CollectionThere are many good lenses on Squidoo. When reading them, I look for the unique and good elements of the lens. Yet I’m often tempted to think about what I might do differently if it was my lens.

Not with this month’s catch. My Favorite Quotes by JRR Tolkien is the best lens I’ve discovered on Squidoo in many moons.

Lensmaster Greekgeek has crafted a personal tribute to one of her favorite authors, JRR Tolkien, focusing on Tolkien’s quotes. She explores the meaning behind each quote and how it relates to her (I loved the English teacher story).

The lens seems so simple but is very powerful. Greekgeek’s elegant use of language in her descriptions and the way she weaves a consistent flow through the intro, module titles, sub-titles and body are a lesson in good writing and lens crafting. She keeps everything focused. There’s nothing to distract the reader from the purpose of the lens. Best of all, the content is interesting.

I found this gem while reading Greekgeek’s blog post on using CSS with Squidoo’s new responsive design. She used it as an example of using CSS smartly to serve a functional purpose. In this case, for highlighting Tolkien’s quotes.

Enjoy, learn and have a Happy New Year!

Image credit: Jemimus, used under Creative Commons.

Year End Review and Goals for 2013

Sunrise during anchor watchIt was another interesting year for Squidoo lensmasters.

The year’s events included the Flickr module fiasco; the front doors (SquidLit, etc) were retired; Kimberly left; Megan left; new magazines started (I cancelled my subscriptions to all magazines); the SquidU forum closed; a new official forum opened; the release of Squidoo Postcards (still don’t get the purpose of them); the ill timed and poorly communicated (but good for the long term) responsive redesign; and tier payments continued to grow (the tier 1 payout for December 2012 was nearly 50% higher than December 2011’s payout!).

How did I do on Squidoo this year? I missed every one of my goals for 2012.

New Lenses – Only 4 new lenses launched this year, including my 100th published lens. I used most of my Squidoo time for maintaining existing lenses, stats analysis, reading forum posts, a few blog posts and repairing lenses after the Flickr fiasco (still plenty of work to do there).

Revenue – My Squidoo payouts grew 18% over last year thanks to a mix of higher tier payouts and increased sales. Revenue growth was trending higher, but several lenses that normally get to tier 1 or 2 had weak lensranks in the last half of the year. In the last two months of 2012, only one of my lenses made tier 1. Other affiliate income from my lenses grew 4.5%.

Blog Activity – Only 9 (including this one) posts made this year.

So my goals for 2013 will be a repeat of 2012’s…but with a strategy for better execution.

1. Have at least 120 published lenses by end of the year.
Four new lenses in one year was inexcusable. New lenses will be a higher priority for my limited Squidoo time in 2013.

2. Grow Squidoo revenue by at least 50 percent over last year.
Relying on old lenses to repeat past lensrank and tier earnings performance isn’t a viable long term strategy. New lenses and sales performance are the key focus areas. I also want to increase other affiliate income by 50% but 25% may be more realistic.

3. Maintain a consistent posting schedule on Lens Harbor.
Two posts a month minimum, not counting lens launches. I’ve done this the last two months and need to continue.

My challenge across these goals will be focusing on a specific task each time I sit down at the computer. I tried that when working on my last lens with good results, now I have to make it a habit.

Have a fun and prosperous 2013!

Image Credit: sky#walker, used under Creative Commons

Lens Launch: Signs and Symptoms of a Stroke (My 100th Squidoo Lens)

One hundred lenses. Finally. It took a long time to reach this milestone, nearly seven years. Although it’s a symbolic one, I wanted to mark it with a lens that meant something.

Both my grandmothers died as a result of stroke. Both my grandmothers-in-law have suffered a stroke and are dealing with its debilitating effects on them.

The damage caused by a stroke can be reduced if it’s caught early. Everyone should learn how to recognize a stroke. That’s why my 100th lens is on the warning signs of a stroke.

Yes, there are already lots of websites and publications with this information. No, it won’t rake in big earnings (its proceeds will all go to charity anyway). That’s not its purpose. Hopefully, someone somewhere will read it and be prepared to recognize when someone near them is suffering a stroke and get them the care they need in time to make a difference.

This is the most personal lens I’ve written. It’s dedicated to my wonderful grandmothers and grandmothers-in-law.

Time to go work on lens #101…