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Common Newbie Squidoo Mistakes

Updated on June 23, 2011

Avoiding the Squidoo Pitfalls

Making a Squidoo lens is easy. Making a good Squidoo lens, well, that's another story. A lot of Squidoo newbies ask veterans to critique their lenses, and most of these lenses are not nearly as good as they could be. (There are exceptions!)

Hopefully this lens will help new lensmasters avoid some of the more common Squidoo pitfalls.

My Experience as a Lensmaster

I have a confession to make: My first lenses sucked. They had all the marks of a newbie's efforts: Few modules, no pictures, and not very much content. Blech.

I know how to make good lenses now, and I've even had one lens chosen as a Lens of the Day. But to reach that point, I had to study other lenses and read tips from more experienced "squids."

If you want to learn how to make the best lenses possible, I'd recommend doing the same.

Mistake #1: Not Enough Modules

Your lens needs to have at least three modules (not counting the guestbook or introduction) to be featured, that is, to show up in Squidoo search results.

Some new lensmasters create lots of content for their lenses, but they make the mistake of dumping it all in one or two modules. I once saw a lens that had nothing more than an exceptionally long introduction module.

Bust up your content into different modules. Make each module zero-in on a specific topic like a magnifying glass. Not only will this help your lensrank, it will make your lens easier for people to read.

Mistake #2: Not Enough Content

Sometimes a lens just doesn't have enough content to be interesting or useful. It's possible to have a lens with lots of modules and very little substance.

Without good content, your lens will suffer. There's a lot of stuff to see and do on the internet, and if your lens doesn't offer anything of value, your visitors will go elsewhere.

Mistake #3: Few or No Pictures

You Need to Add Pictures to Your Squidoo Lens

"And what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversation?"

Just as Alice appreciates a book with pictures, people appreciate a Squidoo lens jazzed up with pictures. Humans like visual aids. I guess that's why they invented pie charts.

Try to include at least one picture in every text module, preferably more if it's a long one.

Mistake #4: Not Using Tags to the Best Advantage

How Tags Help

For some time, it was thought that adding as many relevant tags as possible to your lens would help it get indexed and rated higher by Google. This may have been true at one time, and many lensmasters diligently followed this practice. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. In fact, adding too many redundant tags may even hurt your lens.

Tags matter a lot, though. Ever notice that section below the introduction module that encourages you to explore related pages? Squidoo sniffs out the lenses with the most relevant tags to display there.

If you have a series of related lenses, and you make sure they all have the same tags, odds are good that YOUR lenses will keep showing up in the "explore related pages" section of each lens.

Mistake #5: Not Having a Bio or Personal Picture

Who are You?

People pay attention to that little corner where your name and profile appears. They want to find out who you are and why you made this lens. You don't want them to see this: "This is my bio. I can edit it later!"

When you add a picture of yourself or an avatar you like, eventually people will start recognizing you. They'll say, "Oh, that's Jim_Bob, he always does such great lenses about tractors. I wonder what else he's been doing lately?"

This is all part of branding. Use it well.

Mistake #6: More Ads than Content

It's fine to fill your Squidoo lenses with Amazon modules, but please, balance it out with good content! If you have Amazon modules and little else, you just come across as someone who's trying to make a quick buck. You're not giving value to your readers.

Entertain us, inform us, knock our socks off! Then maybe we'll think about buying something.

Mistake #7: Poor Writing

Some people go into "professional-business-guru" mode when they write for the web. They may ramble, load their paragraphs with buzzwords, use stilted language, and bury their key points in verbosity. They're trying to sound professional, but that kind of writing style doesn't hook readers.

Some folks are way on the other end of the spectrum: Their writing is filled with misspellings, poor grammar, misused punctuation, and muddled sentences.

You should write clearly, but you should also let some personality shine through. In other words, try to write the way you wish you talked.

Also, be sure to break up your writing into smaller paragraphs. When people see a large block of text, they may not bother reading it.

Mistake #8: Unrelated Content

If your lens is about gardening, why have a module promoting Tommy Hilfiger clothes? That's an extreme example, but this kind of situation comes up a lot.

Everything on your lens should tie straight into your topic. If the connection isn't obvious, you'll need to explain it to your readers.

For example, on my lens How to Prevent Lost Luggage, I promote Toy Story 2 DVDs. When I was working as a baggage agent, I always wanted to tell people to watch this movie. The airport scene gives you a pretty good idea of what happens to your bag once you check it in!

But I couldn't just slap an Amazon module there and expect people to figure that out. I had to explain the connection.

Mistake #9: Not Changing Default Text

If you add a guestbook to your lens, please remember to replace the default "New Guestbook" title with something else. If you add an Amazon module, replace "Great Stuff on Amazon" with your own caption. And so on.

If you don't, your lens won't be as professional as it could be. People will notice and think, "This person must be a noob." Even if you are a Squidoo newbie, you definitely don't want them to think that!

Mistake #10: Never Updating the Lens

It's best to think of each lens as a work in progress. Try to go back and add something new to each lens you make. Keep it fresh.

Updating your lens gives people a reason to come back, and it helps keep your lens from sinking in lensrank. Oh, and Google likes sites that update periodically.

Mistake #11: Not Allowing Contact

What if someone wants to tell you how much they appreciate your lens? What if someone wants to ask you a question? Don't hide from your readers by not allowing them to contact you.

You don't have to worry about spam when you allow contact on Squidoo, because no one actually sees your email. There's a nice little form between you and your readers. It comes complete with an "anti-spam" tool that stops bots from contacting you.

Mistake #12: Expecting Overnight Success

Some new lensmasters create one or two lenses and expect to make money or drive traffic to their website right away. Although this happens sometimes, this is not the norm. When it does happen, it's usually a result of picking just the right popular niche and going all-out to make a darn good lens.

Even if you have a fantastic Squidoo lens about a popular topic, it will probably need a little time, updating, and promotion before it gives you satisfying results.

Mistake #13: Thinking Your Lens is Perfect

This is dangerous thinking for any lensmaster, but it's especially harmful for someone who's just starting out. Unfortunately, almost all of us have a way of tying our fragile egos into everything we make.

Sure, maybe you worked hard on your lens. Maybe you spent hours on it. But that doesn't mean your lens is perfect. You may need a cold, impartial eye to give you a verdict.

If you make a lens and ask for critiques in the SquidU forum, don't do it if you're just looking for praise. Do it because you want honest feedback.

Mistake #14: Stealing Content

Google Penalizes Duplicate Content Anyway...

Copying someone else's article, pasting it into your lens, and passing it off as your own is bad, bad, bad. Just because you found it online does not mean you're free to republish it as your own!

Copying content from multiple sources, cobbling them together, and changing a few words is also a big no-no. You're still not creating original content.

If you must use someone else's content, at least ask for permission and give them credit for their work. However, it's far better to write your own stuff or hire a ghostwriter to do it for you.

Besides, Google devalues duplicate content. If Google recognizes your content from elsewhere, they could penalize your lens.

Mistake #15: Going Crazy With HTML

Most new lensmasters don't know much if any HTML, so Squidoo mistakes involving CSS and HTML are actually not very common. However, the ones who know just enough HTML to be dangerous will sometimes do things like display their text in bright, funky colors. Or change the background color of their text modules to lemon yellow. Or change the font to Comic Sans MS.

Sadly, these faux pas are almost as old as HTML itself. Tutti-frutti text colors didn't look good ten years ago, and it doesn't look any better today. It's hard on the eyes and kind of a turn-off. Please avoid doing this.

Mistake #16: Spamming Guestbooks

The last thing you want to do is make a bad impression. Leaving vacuous, self-serving comments on other people's guestbooks just to promote your own lenses is bad manners. Such comments frequently get deleted.

You should leave thoughtful, intelligent comments that show you actually took the time to read the lens. People appreciate that. If you sound interesting enough, someone might click on your name to see what kind of lenses you've made.

If you do include a link back to one of your lenses, it should be RELEVANT, and it should add to the discussion. Even then, think twice. Many lensmasters deal with so much guestbook spam that they disable the ability to include HTML links in comments.

What do you know of some other common lensmaster mistakes? Want to leave some feedback? Feel free to sign the guestbook!

Note: If you need help with the technical aspects of building lenses, your best bet is to ask questions at the SquidU discussion forum; it's an active community filled with many helpful lensmasters. If you're experiencing a bug, report it to Squidoo.

Penny for Your Thoughts

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    • intothesunset profile image

      intothesunset 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your tips. As a newbie, I will definitely go back and make my lenses better.

    • profile image

      hideki7771 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I went back to my lenses and updated them. Your lens is really helpful.

    • jethrosas profile image

      Jethro 4 years ago from Philippines

      The only I find difficult to deal with is when you are ready to publish your lens, a message would appear that your lens is low quality and cannot be published.. Anyway, I think I should stick with my style when it comes to publishing. Thanks for sharing this lens. :)

    • profile image

      SuzyShopping 4 years ago

      I'm not completely new to squidoo, but I still found lots of reminders of good Squidoo practice here, thanks!

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 4 years ago

      This is an excellent lens Victoria with lots of pointers to enable newbies such as myself, to improve. I must confess I made too many lenses before reaching a clear understanding of how things really work. Now it's back to the drawing board.

    • TonfaGuy profile image

      TonfaGuy 4 years ago

      Helpful advice - thank you

      TonfaGuy

    • profile image

      chaitea 5 years ago

      wow, there is a ton of great info here....one question I have though is how do I add a specific lens so I can refer back to it?

    • KarolinaShenton profile image

      KarolinaShenton 5 years ago

      I am just starting on Squidoo, and this was a FANTASTIC intro read. I will remember to update my lenses and definitely allow contact! Bookmarked.

    • BackyardChickenK profile image

      BackyardChickenK 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens for any newbie! I've looked at some of the other "getting started" lenses and yours is by far the best one I've seen! The information is all straight-forward and very well put together, plus it's just the type of information I wanted to know when I first started. Great job!

    • justmelucy profile image

      justmelucy 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your experience in this lens. All of your Squidoo how to lenses have helped me. However, I still have much to learn.

    • profile image

      Moonbeam2906 5 years ago

      I'm a newbie. Before starting to create a lens, I've gone to a lot of advice and tips available. Yours are very helpful. Thanks for sharing

    • ATTHED LM profile image

      ATTHED LM 5 years ago

      really helpful, thanks

    • BLemley profile image

      Beverly Lemley 5 years ago from Raleigh, NC

      Great info and help ~ thanks! B : )

    • topcaribbeantours profile image

      topcaribbeantours 5 years ago

      Great advice, you've really helped me a lot

    • RedHairedRockHead profile image

      RedHairedRockHead 5 years ago

      Thank you for this lens, it's very kind of you to offer a hand up to us n00bs! I am pretty new here, and I am constantly surprised by the grammar mistakes, poor sentence construction, and typos, even on VERY high ranking lenses. Makes me hyper-aware of my own writing!

    • DeepaVenkitesh LM profile image

      DeepaVenkitesh LM 5 years ago

      I loved these tips, thanks for taking the time to educate us

    • kate-cleary3 profile image

      kate-cleary3 5 years ago

      On point brother!

    • profile image

      LoveToClean 5 years ago

      I like your thoughts on not expecting overnight success--- I think it takes time and work to be rewarded (both on Goggle and within Squidoo).

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      VatsalMakhija 5 years ago

      Thanks a lot. I'm just starting out and your advice is very helpful. BTW, I love the way you've added little images emphasizing your points.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for some good tips on creating a better lens. It sounds like I need to add more photos and fix tags on my lenses.

    • IncomeFromHomeT profile image

      IncomeFromHomeT 5 years ago

      It was nice to read this lens and realize I've only made ONE of these mistakes! Time to find a good avatar . . .

    • bluebatik profile image

      bluebatik 5 years ago

      Great tips on what to avoid as well as some tips on what to be sure to include. Thanks!

    • Thankfultw profile image

      Thankfultw 5 years ago

      OMGosh, a lot of little items can add up to a lot of mistakes, most of which I have made on my first two lenses. Better get back there and start cleaning up the mess, lol. Thank you for great advice!

    • Ardyn25 profile image

      Ardyn25 5 years ago

      I wish I'd found this article earlier...I made mistake #9 and didn't change the guestbook default settings on my first two lens, when it comes to anything technological I can be very nooby!! I honestly didn't even realize I could, but thankfully some very kind lensmaker's guided me in the right direction. Its lovely to see the kindness here at Squidoo.

    • spikeyflower profile image

      spikeyflower 5 years ago

      Thank you for posting this. It is very helpful to be able to learn from the advice of others, so hopefully I can make fewer mistakes.

    • profile image

      TamarWrites 5 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I am new here and am going to change one thign that I noticed was a mistake. But I am not telling!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great Advice! Thank you!

    • BowWowBear profile image

      BowWowBear 5 years ago

      This is a great summary of what I have been gleaning from a number of "get started" lenses. I've got it bookmarked now! Thanks for the info!

    • Mikewrites LM profile image

      Mikewrites LM 5 years ago

      Cool advice. Something for me to take on board when making new lens

    • profile image

      mouse1996 lm 5 years ago

      Great lens. I'm always looking for newbie tips. I seem to be doing ok so that helps me feel better. :-)

    • profile image

      GinnyMac 5 years ago

      all helpful information for a newbie, thanks.

    • Zebedee32 profile image

      Zebedee32 5 years ago

      Some interesting info hear. You have helped me a lot.

    • profile image

      urskam 5 years ago

      Thank you for this tips! I really appreciate your good work with this lens.

    • MBurgess profile image

      Maria Burgess 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Thanks for the help tips! I am every polishing my lenses. We need ALL the help we can get!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great information. I had a couple of mistakes and didn't know. Thank you..

    • mary-humphrey profile image

      mary-humphrey 5 years ago

      thank you for taking the time to write this lens...the information here can help out so many new lensmasters...great job

    • profile image

      IncredibleArtWorld 5 years ago

      Wow, this is a really helpful and well-crafted lens. Thanks!

      I am definitely guilty of a few mistakes you've mentioned... As for other common mistakes, one that I've picked up is a generally cluttered way of writing. People appreciate order and some lenses seem a bit cluttered. Having a lot of sub-sections definitely helps to solve this problem, and subsections keep people focused on the content because it's in bite-sized chunks.

    • iwellbc lm profile image

      iwellbc lm 5 years ago

      sometime i'm still make Mistake #13, any way thank you for remind me to not doing that

    • profile image

      minerva19 5 years ago

      3. I love your way of describing this theme, so everyone cancomprehend the point. I like it.

    • rallo-smith profile image

      rallo-smith 5 years ago

      Nice lens thank you

    • robertjgriggs lm profile image

      robertjgriggs lm 5 years ago

      Thanks. Some solid tips there. I'm fairly new to Squidoo so these tips have been a good starting point for me.

    • profile image

      Jeandre 5 years ago

      Great stuff...definitely will take these points to heart. Just starting out and want to go about it right. Gluck people!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 5 years ago

      I think I am making fewer and fewer of these mistakes as time goes on, but when I first started, I might as well have published my lens under a bucket.

    • Nomadabstracted1 profile image

      Nomadabstracted1 5 years ago

      Great info! Thanks!

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image

      IMKZRNU2 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thanks for all the helpful tips!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens. God bless!

    • profile image

      pinoyrecipe 5 years ago

      thanks for the info, I'm a newbie here on squidoo and I admit - i've done few of those.

    • TriciaLymeMom profile image

      TriciaLymeMom 5 years ago

      Great reminders in there...thanks :)

    • profile image

      9to5refugee 5 years ago

      Very very helpful. I'm sure I'll be back again and again!

    • profile image

      dgerryd 5 years ago

      thanks for the indept info you provided here its helped me to become a step closer on starting my first lense cheers

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Adding this to my helps page. Appreciate it.

    • ccmushroom profile image

      ccmushroom 5 years ago

      Lots of good info! Trying to get brave enough to create my first lens, and doing some research on how to do a good job. Found many helpful hints in your lens. Thanks!

    • profile image

      kendrafowler 5 years ago

      Very helpful indeed! Fresh content is very important for the search engines today and it is essential to have the lens updated constantly.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      definitely helpful. Thank you!

    • top101 profile image

      top101 5 years ago

      really helpful. I'm a newbie on squidoo, i'm going to make sure I don't make these mistakes.

    • Angelgirl1976 profile image

      Angelgirl1976 5 years ago

      Very good lens, very helpful tips that I will put into practice. Thank you again :)

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      Not publishing their lens after they have created their lens. That will be the biggest mistake a newbie will do.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Since I'm always looking for ways to improve, this lens is Priceless to me! Not my first nor my last visit! Thanks!

    • TrendyBoots profile image

      TrendyBoots 5 years ago

      Hi there, I am returning to the squidoo world after a long break and your information is really helpful. thank you!

    • CherryTriggerCola profile image

      CherryTriggerCola 5 years ago

      I especially like the part where you say try not to look like a total noob. Everyone has to start somewhere and putting your best foot forward is always the best way to interact with anyone with more skills in something or with more years. Thanks for a really great lens.

    • curious0927 profile image

      curious0927 5 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to present such a detailed, concise, and helpful lens to rather new lensmasters!

    • profile image

      CharlieHash 5 years ago

      Thanks for showing my mistakes. I think, now I know what to do next on squidoo.

    • PastorCher profile image

      Pastor Cher 5 years ago from United States

      Very helpful. These suggeestions we can all benefit from on all levels. Thank you.

    • MCB2011 profile image

      MCB2011 5 years ago

      I'm glad that these tips are spread around, it really helps. Thanks for your lens.

    • mercin12 profile image

      mercin12 6 years ago

      Thorough list. Thank you. The hardest thing not to want or expect is overnight success. Good warning!

    • niceman91 lm profile image

      niceman91 lm 6 years ago

      Good advice.will improve my lens from time to time.thanks!

    • profile image

      Tenzho 6 years ago

      Thank you, I remembered when I first started creating my first lens. I fill up my lens with tons of HTML code and made it super colorful.

    • profile image

      Jack-in-the-Box 6 years ago

      Good advice. Thanks!

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 6 years ago

      Thanks for a great lense. I see that I can improve my lenses some but not makng any obvious mistake. The problem always is how to get people who likely to appreciate your lense find you other than by chance ? Can you coment on this sub topic ?

    • Bluemoongoddess1 profile image

      Lisa Musser 6 years ago from Kansa, USA

      Very informative lens, thank you for sharing from your knowledge and experience.

    • profile image

      StoryBuilderToys 6 years ago

      Thank you for this, as a newb it's hard not to be overwhelmed by all unknown variables and this lens helps me understand them a bit more.

    • profile image

      Chispy 6 years ago

      Thanks for the tips! I think I may have commited some of these mistakes.

    • yourselfempowered profile image

      Odille Rault 6 years ago from Gloucester

      Thanks so much for this! I'm not new, but I hadn't read a list like this before and it's good to have it all there, clearly explained. :)

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 6 years ago from Albany New York

      Thanks for the tips.

      I learned a few new things.

      There is so much to learn on Squidoo!

    • destination lm profile image

      destination lm 6 years ago

      Thank you for your lens. It really helps. ciao, Andrea

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Hi Victoria, I'm a newbie...been with Squidoo about six weeks. Thanks for sharing these tips with us. In my short time with Squidoo, I have been impressed with the number of lensmasters like yourself who provide newbies with helpful info. Thanks a million!

    • profile image

      Jellyfresh 6 years ago

      Great Ideas for Newstarts

    • Serenity30 profile image

      Serenity30 6 years ago

      Excellent tips! Really helps put things into perspective about what mistakes I have been making.

      Thank you.

    • profile image

      jasmine11911 6 years ago

      capture.....record .......and LEARN

    • profile image

      ThisAndMoreofThat 6 years ago

      Thanks for all the tips.

    • BoyScoutPopcorn profile image

      BoyScoutPopcorn 6 years ago

      I think I avoided the items on this list, but I'd appreciate a once over on my lenses. The one item that really applied to me is the "Overnight Success" one. That one is hard!!!

    • Gayle Mclaughlin profile image

      Gayle 6 years ago from McLaughlin

      I have been writing at Squidoo for a year--but just really started seriously in June. This is a very helpful article for all--not just newbies!

    • OOPSY LM profile image

      OOPSY LM 6 years ago

      Wow, thank you for all the advice!

    • bhthanks profile image

      bhthanks 6 years ago

      thanks for the info

    • dubsport01 profile image

      dubsport01 6 years ago

      Great lens, thanks for all the tips!!!

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 6 years ago

      Great tips for this newbie. Thank you.

    • franstan lm profile image

      franstan lm 6 years ago

      I am not a newbie either, but I am still learning. I read and reread all the lenses about Squidoo

    • profile image

      Watercolor World 6 years ago

      Its so easy to get complacent. My sister has just restarted her lenses and she is finding all sorts of things I hadn't noticed. Keep fresh keep checking for new modules or HTML or just new squid ideas, this way you wont make this mistake. Thanks for a great lens. It never pays to assume you know everything so I love to pop on and see where things can be improved.

    • profile image

      celeBritys4africA 6 years ago

      I am still learning even I am not a newbie anymore.....

    • BryanLSC profile image

      BryanLSC 6 years ago

      Very informative and useful lens for newbie lensmaster like me! Thanks a lots!

    • profile image

      neoglitch17 6 years ago

      Very interesting information, a must-read for anybody new to Squidoo. I'm also relatively new, but fortunately I've never committed those kinds of mistakes. Thanks for sharing! :D

    • savenlives profile image

      savenlives 6 years ago

      This was very helpful....thank you!

    • profile image

      unqedomain 6 years ago

      Thank you so much for the guide. I am learning .

    • profile image

      Kirilov 6 years ago

      It is great to read a well researched and meaningful lens on a topic like this. Most people think the above mentioned tips are something that is in the air and everybody has the know how of creating and maintaining a good website. Reality proves them wrong. You have my "Like" not exactly for originality but for a good systematization of tips on creating valuable content. Thanks.

    • Dianna206 profile image

      Dianna206 6 years ago

      This was really, really good! MORE PLEASE! Thank you!

    • shaleigh profile image

      shaleigh 6 years ago

      good info, I just made my first lens today and know that I struggled trying to figure out how to add pictures and change text..reading and researching is going to help "this proud noob" ;) create better lenses in the future. We were all new at one time, I am not ashamed, I won't learn if I dont explore and ask, and if I am called a "noob" I think i will survive. Great info and I appreciate all of the great sharing you all give!

      Take care! shannon

    • profile image

      TopTenLists 6 years ago

      Sound advice. Thank you

    • LigaSuper profile image

      S Kurniawan 6 years ago from Bandung, Indonesia

      Thanks for sharing useful tips.

    • avorodisa lm profile image

      avorodisa lm 6 years ago

      What a useful and instructional lens! Thank you very much for the helpful tips!