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How to build a lens

Updated on April 29, 2015

Lens Building is Child's Play

Forget the plans and the hardhat. This form of building is simple, easy and lots of fun, So many newcomers to Squidoo struggle, as I once did, to understand what it is about and how one should construct lenses? The mysteries continued in the many abbreviated and shortened forms of instructions and the missing links to tell you what something is or where to find it.

Hopefully this lens will help you out if you are in that situation. The ins and out of doing it right will come easier as you get into it but to start with it might be a bit of a mystery and you will need to juggle things a bit. So come with me and explore a little about the fundamentals of lens building.

FREE e-book on Norma's Reincarnation Experience

Finding Your Way Around

Where to Start

Always think of your visitor in the best possible light. Make them feel welcome and find some relevant but good images to display that emphasise warmth, knowledge and that target your subject matter.

It can be a bit of a minefield to start with but the list on the side are your tools. And you should start with them as they are going to help you build your lens from the ground up. Look them over and experiment with them to discover their purpose. They can be moved around by click and push up or down. If you want to remove one or two put a tick beside them in the box and press save.

When building your lens the first place you will visit is the Dashboard. This brings you to the lensmaster page where everything will happen. Here you will see a big button which says Create a Lens. Press it and you will be asked what your lens is about. Think of the right words here so that others will find your work when it is published. Be creative as well. What would you put into the search engine box to find your lens.

Once you have named it you get a chance to type in the url you want. This is very important. What you add here can take you to the top of page 1 on Google or to any page thereafter. This is where you need to be clever but not too much so that you defeat yourself. Your heading should also be keyword for the benefit of SE ratings.

If you are writing a story on swimwear, for example, you might put in /thehistoryofswimwear. But I put dashes between my words so that Search Engines have less trouble understanding the string. So enter /the-history-of-swimwear. Now if someone is looking for the background of it or where it originates the chances are they will come to your lens. You can also do searches to pick better keywords and even a better url, but that is not what this lens is about.

Once you name your url you select the category under which it should appear, then the rating. Most are G rated. then press next. You might get a message that states Bummer - this url is not available. That means going back and picking another until you have the right one. When that is done press Create My Lens and you are taken to an editing page where you add your modules and start writing.

Lens Building is a lot of fun and once you get the hang of it you will find it is also very addictive.

Build a Lens
Build a Lens

Now to Build a Lens

First things first

You probably have a fair idea about what you want to talk about but you may not know how it will shape up. That's OK and quite normal because you can go back again and again as many times as you need to in order to correct it, fix up errors, typos etc. So don't worry about that at this stage.

When starting a lens it is usual to select the modules required as well as the theme before you start to write. In other words you are working to a plan.

Look to the right hand side of the editorial page and you will see a section that says 'Add Modules'. It also has a shortcut and here you can quickly get your list of them. I like to go to the 'Browse all Modules section." When that opens there is a list of things to choose from and here I generally select 'Text module' and by pressing it 6 times I get six boxes. I also select 'Twitter follow' and a couple of 'Duel'. Press apply before you do the next step/

Now look on the left and you will see a box in the middle labeled 'All Modules', now go there. Here you will find a lot of nice things which you can experiment with over time. My choice is always Bookmark, Twitter follow, and About me. Also you can add the Black box (at least 2) a couple of New Video and the New Table of Contents'. The only other ones I worry about are the 'Featured Lensmasters' and the 'featured lenses'. These allow you to put a list of lenses, either yours and/or someone else on, and the featured lensmasters is the way to credit angels who visit and bless your lenses. or to put in lensmasters whose interests favor your own. These are better added later when you have lens or angels to add to these.

Once you have done selecting press Done Adding and these will be added to the box on the right of your page.

Now for some fine tuning. IMPORTANT - Save your lens at regular intervals with the save button on the top right, otherwise you might loose your work if the browser crashes.

Have You Built Anything on the Web Before? - Do you know HTML or even what it means

HTML means Hyper-text-markup-language and this is the code by which all web pages are built. But you don't need to know that with this lens building tool. The editing page does it all for you.

Do you feel you are learning something here?

Its Just So Easy

Building lenses is easy with Squidoo as all the coding is done for you. The difficult part is knowing what to write about and to present it in the best possible light.

An easy Way to Get a Site with Google

But you won't get an easier one than here on Squidoo and its about as good as they get. So let's persevere here

Fitting the pieces together
Fitting the pieces together

Order Your Modules

Do you know what you are going to talk about?

Once your modules are added you can go to the side bar and change them around. Simple put the curser over them, one by one, and left click to move them up or down. The one that should appear at the top of the list is Bookmark followed by the New Table of Contents, then your text boxes, all of them, come next. Then move the guestbook til it is just under the text modules. Then add the flicker and Google blogs etc. If you want to keep all the other boxes that's OK. But you may find it easier to check the box beside the unwanted ones and when you press apply they are removed. At the same time your modules are set up in the order you have chosen. If you ever want to redeem a removed module just go to browse modules where we started.

Yoou might also want to add some Amazon and other sales modules so you can sell products through the lens,

Now to write. Start with the Introduction. What is your lens about, who are you, what's your authority for it, How will it help anyone and what should it achieve. Readers like to know up front whether this is worth reading so you put in your best punches right here. When you finish typing press Save

Most people start a lens with nothing more than an idea and they let the flow happen, as I do, when the story develops. But, if you are not a writer and are struggling with ideas then you have a perfect tool in the modules to help you.

On a notepad or piece of paper note down the main points of your debate. Try to get 6 to start with. That's enough for any lens. The points you note here can be the heading for each of your text modules. You are told to add a picture and this helps tremendously to create interest and keep people focused. I get my images here . But there are lots of free image resources as well but I find I can more easily negotiate and find what I want with this Company and the images are dirt cheap but very good and you have them for life. That means you can use them again and again as I have done on many of my lenses.

Its my policy to pay for what I get as I know that others go to a lot of trouble and they deserve to be rewarded.

You might like to read my lens How to Write Well to get some ideas on writing, before you start

Add Borders for interest
Add Borders for interest

Decorate Your Lens to Create More Interest

Add a border to your modules

Learn how to add borders as they help to make your modules more attractive. It also gives the code for bigger font sizes and aligns the text for you. But go easy. you don't want it to be too gaudy so choose the best color scheme to fit in with your pictures and theme, etc.

You can also learn how to add your own pictures and align them with text, etc, You should bookmark these sites and put them into a folder named Squidoo Tools as you will get a collection of them as you go on.

There are a lot of handy hints available which will help you when you need to know.

This lens will help dress up your work with style. Again take it easy until you know what you are doing.

This is another tool to use on all your lenses.

It will come to you over time.

Most important is to make sure you rename ALL the modules in your own words. If you leave any as default titles you will get penalized by those who might otherwise rate you highly.

Also in the top right hand corner there is a block with your bio in it. Press edit here and redo your bio to suit the topic you are writing about. Some people are very fussy about that one as well..

Latest News
Latest News

Now You Can Publish

But only when you have your lens ready for viewing by others

Before you press publish make sure your have plenty of content. Modules with only a couple of sentences or such will quickly let you down. People want content and to learn something new from you, so don't just rehash someone else's lens as that will get you banned from Squidoo all together.

Make sure you have it as you want it, although you can alter text, the pictures, borders, and other things by choosing edit at the top of the page on the lens afterward at any time. Only you have access to that tool. You can also add to it as much as you want at any time, correct errors, edit and eliminate typos, change the theme, and so on. You cannot alter the url or that side of things so make sure to do it right first time.

Before you publish there is an area on the right that says Tags. Here is where you can add keywords, one per line. Some will tell you to put in strings of words while others say not to use more than one or two words. What you need to know is how people will search for your topic and arrive at your site. If you are selling cheese then 'cheese types' might be Ok whereas 'types of cheese' would be better. You can get a lot of advice on keywords in Squidoo.

When your lens is published you can press the view lens at the top to see what it looks like. it may take a while before it is featured, however, and that is when you can go to Squid Utils and use the tools available to ping your lens and do other things.. You can also use Facebook, Twitter and Squidcast to let others know of your publication and to get back links. When you get your link from View Lens make sure you put it in the Critique Forum for others to look at and comment on. There are other forums where you can also post your link but get used to the CF first.

Has Your Confidence Improved?

Are you ready now to build your lens?

Special Things to Know About Squidoo

It's a huge community

To start with its a huge community of web masters who use lens building for all types of things. Some just use it to write stories about things they know and are interested in. Others use it to advertise products, and you can do that either through affiliate sales you generate on your own or through sites like Amazon, eBay, Zazzle, Cafe Press, and so on. You will find there are modules for each of these in the Browse Modules section. They are simple enough to follow.

(My lenses add to my marketing efforts as I send the url to my lists of subscribers who have opted for information about my Malls. This saves me writing huge newsletters all the time.)

You will also be able to put in links to your blog as well as to blogs or news reports on Google. The video modules you included can lead you to some more great material to enhance your lens. Just click uTube or one of the others and type your subject in the search box. Select the video you like the best and copy and paste its url from the top of your browser into the slot in the video section. Press save and then move the video module to the most appropriate spot in you lens.

We also added some duel modules. These help to engage your audience in your site. Ask a simple question, preferably with a yes or no answer and its done. Again add these in the most appropriate spots.

Black boxes: These also add to your lenses, as I have done in this one. Just type in some text and select the color from the bar on the left and you're done. Then move them in the side bar to the most appropriate position.

Finally add an inviting sentence to encourage people to leave a comment and follow this with your star rating module.

You will notice that I have an additional text box and this is what I do with it. On all my lenses I have an invitation to join Squidoo and you can get paid if others join under you. You can check the details out in your Stats at the top of the Dashboard.

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

© 2010 norma-holt

. . . Please scribe your note here before you leave. Thanks Remember do these quizzes to earn yourself heaps of points

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    • norma-holt profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Girlwiththorns: So glad it has helped you. Nice to see you here as well.

    • Girlwiththorns profile image


      5 years ago

      Great easy to understand introduction. Thanks :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      It's only very recently that I started feeling it's fun building these lenses.

    • GreenerDays profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for collecting all these useful lens building resources in one place!

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      5 years ago

      Wonderful for beginners and wonderful for a refresher course. Thanks you.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent lens for beginners on Squidoo and even for some more advanced lensmasters.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is wonderful. Now I'm going to go back and check out the many resources that you cited. Thank you!

    • designsbyharriet profile image


      6 years ago from Indiana

      There is so much to learn. I appreciate this lens as well as all the lenses that help new squids to create great lenses.

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 

      6 years ago from United States

      Very helpful lens. I will need to come back. Thank you.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for all your building help!!! Blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips and wonderful use of the duel module. It's always fun to read before and after testimonials from lensmasters.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens... Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This was just what I needed, as I was reading it was almost as if you were in my head lol, a really useful and helpful lens. Thank you for putting it all together and sharing...


    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 

      7 years ago

      This lens is very helpful and easy to understand. Thanks so much for taking the time to create something so useful to many people :)

    • marckq profile image


      7 years ago

      Your lenses are very helpful, thanks for being very generous. Building great Squidoo lenses can be very challenging

    • marckq profile image


      7 years ago

      Your lenses are very helpful, thanks for being very generous. Building great Squidoo lenses can be very challenging

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 

      7 years ago

      I liked the 'Order your module' section. I have published few lenses yet I do not know all the options and modules available. This lens is very helpful...

    • akumar46 lm profile image

      akumar46 lm 

      7 years ago

      Nice tips for making great lenses...thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Learn a lot here........great lens....thanks for sharing..............

    • sdtechteacher profile image


      7 years ago

      Very helpful, thank you!

    • Coffeebreak9am profile image


      7 years ago

      Love it...thank you for the help!

    • jojokaya lm profile image

      jojokaya lm 

      7 years ago

      very informative lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very helpful for newbie like me

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      good lens fundamentals, nice job :)

    • jvsper63 profile image


      7 years ago

      I am so glad i decided to come here tonight. I was having a problem with my tags,other stuff also but now i know i wasn't putting them in right! Thank you..Great lens

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This lens is a great resource for information. Even though I'm not the newest of newbies, I know I still need to learn a lot. I got a lot of valuable information from this lens. Bookmarked, liked and favorited. I'm sure I'll refer to it on a daily basis for a long time! This is one of the most easy-to-understand "How To" lenses I've seen. Thanks!

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      This is great info, and well explained, I have been here a while, but I have spotted a few resources I have not seen, and I know you find the best resources, so I am off to check it out! You make it sound so easy, wait a minute....that's the fun part it is so easy that you don't need to be put off, learn from these great lensmasters and you will soon have lenses building up nicely.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      This is great info, and well explained, I have been here a while, but I have spotted a few resources I have not seen, and I know you find the best resources, so I am off to check it out! You make it sound so easy, wait a minute....that's the fun part it is so easy that you don't need to be put off, learn from these great lensmasters and you will soon have lenses building up nicely.

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image


      7 years ago

      I learned some new things from this lens. I plan to print it out and highlight some things in it.

    • Alfiesgirl LM profile image

      Alfiesgirl LM 

      7 years ago

      Ok have read your lens, as I also read other lenses which are supposedto (& indeed do help other people) why oh why am I still none the wiser as to get my lenses read by people other than those I know, nor about how to know that I not breaking copyright laws etc...grrr how come everyone else..even kids seem to pick it up so damn quickly whilst I just go round in circles...still exactly where i was this time last year...more miles yes but...apart from more lenses with a few more readers...getting nowhere fast ? Maybe I should consider ..Giving it up as a bad idea altogether & be happy writing as I have , foe..almost no-one or...Aaarghhhh lol x

    • profile image


      7 years ago


    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great tips and small steps to build a lend in Squidoo. I remember as a newbie how I started and got used to the Squidoo interface and that I have fallen in love with it.

    • jennikitten lm profile image

      jennikitten lm 

      7 years ago

      I'm still getting the hang of Squidoo, so I've favourited this one as well as giving it a thumbs up! Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my lenses :)

    • hayleylou lm profile image

      hayleylou lm 

      7 years ago

      This is a great resource. Wish I had found it when I started out here. **Blessed** and featured on My Time as a Squid Angel :)

    • Philippians468 profile image


      7 years ago

      love your lens! thank you for such an informative lens! cheers

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      7 years ago from Vermont

      Thanks for featuring Squidoo Tech Stew - it's really a group effort of how to build and market Squidoo lenses created from the best how-to lenses right here at Squidoo, lenses like this one!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      7 years ago from United States

      This is an excellent and helpful guide. Sure wish I had it when I started, but I had you and that was even better. Thanks for all of the help!

    • danny79 profile image


      7 years ago

      Very helpful, a summery of a sea of material on the web and on squidoo

      Will use it


    • DallasNicole LM profile image

      DallasNicole LM 

      7 years ago

      Great lens! As are all of yours!

    • reflectionhaiku profile image


      7 years ago

      Thanks for this helpful lens, skiesgreen! Just started my twitter account and I would like to tweet this first.JM

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This how to build Squidoo lens is so great .. dear, Norma. I love it .. Add to my favorite .. and I think this how to lens will help a lot of Squidoo newbies to do the lenses easier :)

    • Khalid-Osman profile image


      7 years ago

      Very nice lens. Love it!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Just had to return, now that I have a bit of 'Angel Dust', to ~~Bless~~ this Very Helpful Lens

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      7 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I remember when I first started out, I didn't have a clue. Too bad I hadn't read something like this then. Wonderful how to build a lens article. Thumbs up all the way!

      Thanks so much for featuring. "How to Promote a Print on Demand Shop on Squidoo"

    • MisterJeremy profile image


      7 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Great advice for beginners. I still consider myself in that category. Blessed

    • rachsue lm profile image

      rachsue lm 

      7 years ago

      As always, a great lens, So much advice. Thank you so much!!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      How did I ever miss this lens? It's filled with wonderful advice for creating lenses, plus the bonus of some terrific resources. Bookmarked for future reference!

    • felixthecat12b lm profile image

      felixthecat12b lm 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for letting me know about your lens. I'm not sure why I haven't found it sooner! One place with a wealth of info.

    • Carole11 profile image


      7 years ago

      I never realized what all was possible with Squidoo. Thanks for teaching me so much and keep up the great work!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Lens ! Thank you for the information- lots of features I was not aware of

    • Pete D profile image

      Pete D 

      7 years ago

      Great lens. Rated and favorites so I can revisit it later. Thanks

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! Lots of help to people just getting started. Blessed and lensrolled to my Newbie's Guide to Squidoo lens.

    • mich1908 profile image


      7 years ago

      What a fantastic and useful lense! I particularly liked the images and decoration part. Thank you.

    • profile image

      the777group lm 

      7 years ago

      I hope it get some mini Squidoos wriggling into their first lenses.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great help and intro to new lensmasters! I remember when I first heard about Squidoo and a lens, I wondered if I would need a camera LOL - Kathy

    • profile image

      MrLewisSmile LM 

      7 years ago

      Very creative lens!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great lens with very useful and practical tips and advice for anyone who want to successfully build Squidoo lenses. Thanks for featuring my Squid-School lens. Keep up the good work! :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great guide for referring back to. Excellent advice

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Squidoo does make it pretty easy to make a great looking lens. Thanks for this guide, very helpful.

    • jolou profile image


      8 years ago

      Great info. I've been making lenses for some time, but didn't know how to make the nice borders and other things. Thanks for linking to other lenses as well. 5 stars for sure!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very helpful lens, and a beautiful looking one too! Thanks for all the information :)

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Wonderful guide for building lenses. Well done!

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image


      8 years ago

      Great introduction to squidoo! 5* and fav'd it

    • Shades-of-truth profile image

      Emily Tack 

      8 years ago from USA

      Wish I had seen this, when I first started. Great info, and thanks!

    • pajamamoma lm profile image

      pajamamoma lm 

      8 years ago

      great lens and so helpful! I will be coming back to refresh my memory often as I continue on my squidoo quest!

    • poptastic profile image

      Cynthia Arre 

      8 years ago from Quezon City

      This is a wonderful resource, especially for newbies! How could I have missed this one. Nicely crafted too. *blessed*

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image

      Diana Grant 

      8 years ago from United Kingdom

      I wish I had seen this lens in November 2009 when I first started writing Squidoo lenses - it would have saved me an awful lot of time struggling to find out how to do things, getting it wrong, and editing bits over and over again to get them halfway decent!

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 

      8 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Very comprehensive and a great help to newcomers. A great refresher course, too, for those of us who've been around. Lensrolling and featured in Squidoo Help Videos since they do go along quite well together. Thanks so much.

    • semas profile image


      8 years ago

      A well presented lens to guide newcomers! 5*

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Thank you! Very helpful!

    • bbudoyono lm profile image

      bbudoyono lm 

      8 years ago

      This is awesome! Thanks for it.

    • ZenandChic profile image


      8 years ago

      Nice job on this lens. Great for Newbies!

    • Hearts in Ink profile image

      Hearts in Ink 

      8 years ago

      Hi Norma

      Some useful ideas here. Thanks. I've bookmarked the links in the Decorate your lens module as they look pretty useful to me.

    • Ram Ramakrishnan profile image

      Ram Ramakrishnan 

      8 years ago

      Your lens that describes the basic steps to create a lens will certainly be of great help to newcomers on Squidoo. Those who send out email invites to friends to join squidoo can include the link to your lens. It would get prospective newcomers that much more interested when they see how easy it is to make a lens.


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