15 Squidoo Tips for Brainstorming Great Lenses
How to Come Up with Fabulous Lens Ideas... and What To Do with Them!
Squidoo is a wonderful place to write and be creative, but how do you come up with content that is original, exciting, and enjoyable both for you to write, and others to read? And once you've come up with those ideas, how do you get people to see them?
This lens highlights 14 ways to brainstorm ideas for lenses, and offers up a 15th tip to help you turn those ideas into great lenses that get noticed!
So, whether you are a Newbie Squid looking for inspiration for those first few lenses, or a Veteran Squid who is in need of some fresh ideas, read these Squidoo tips to get those creative juices flowing, and get brainstorming!
Photo Credit: Pencil & Notebook via Pixabay
This work is the copyright of the author (2012). Please DO NOT copy this elsewhere either in print or online. Photos are copyright of the credited sources.
Thinking Up Great Ideas for Squidoo Lenses
Where to Find Inspiration?
Ideas are great, aren't they? They arrive in a flash of inspiration, or in a jumble all at once, or on the bus, or in the middle of the night. But how to make sense of them and turn them into masterpieces, or more importantly in this instance, brilliant, beautiful lenses?
While writer's block can strike the best of us, and sometimes it can be hard to come up with new ideas, inspiration can be found all around us. From things we read or watch on TV on a daily basis, to the every day things we do best, from our jobs to our hobbies, from our hometown to our quirky idiosyncrasies, there is a wealth of potential lens material at our fingertips all the time!
Having been a writer all my life, I find inspiration wherever I can. When I'm not trying to write a book or blog about my quirky world view, my other half will soon tell you that I am always saying things like, "Ooh, I could make a lens about that!"
The best advice I can give about lens ideas is to always be open to what is going on around you, note down inspirations when they strike, always try to have a camera handy for perfect lens photos, and keep a creative mind on you - look at everything you see and do and think, how could I put my own spin on that and make it interesting for others to read or experience?
Here are some ways for you to start coming up with fabulous lens ideas of your own!
Photo Credit: Thought Cloud via Pixabay
"Don't aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally."
- David Frost
Source: Top 60 Do What You Love Quotes
What Do You Love?
Squidoo Tips #1
The first and most obvious place to start when it comes to writing lenses is, what do you love?
The number one key to writing quality, successful lenses is to write about what you LOVE. Your passion and enthusiasm will show through, you will be more inclined to put effort into the work, and if you're already knowledgeable about the subject, then you'll most likely know where to find good links, have good photos, and know what to write about. Even if you don't know everything about something, if you love it, you'll enjoy researching it, and achieve an equally positive result!
Photo Credit: Heart via Pixabay
* What do you love doing as a hobby? Write a whole niche series of lenses on it!
* Where do you love to go? Write a niche series of travel guides!
* What do you love to read? Review a book or compile a "best of" genre list!
* What products do you love in your home? Review them!
* What do you love to watch, eat, or indulge in? Share your passion with the world!
"This world is but a canvas to our imagination."
- Henry David Thoreau
Source: 50 Most Inspiring Quotes Ever
What Do You Like to Make, Bake or Create?
Squidoo Tips #2
Whenever I make something these days, I usually have a camera to hand to photograph the before and after stages, because I invariably know that I will, at some point, aim to make a lens on it (can you tell I'm addicted to Squidoo yet?)
If you have a talent for baking, crafting, sewing, gardening, flower arranging or any other number of creative pursuits, then share your creations with how-to guides and step-by-step tutorials - people are always searching for instructions on how to bake and make great things!
Photo Credit: "Cupcakes" copyright of author
* Are you a dab hand in the kitchen? Share your culinary expertise with recipe lenses or review your favourite kitchen gadgets!
* Are you artistic? Create crafting how-to's, share your favourite craft materials or teach others how to draw, paint or sculpt!
* Do you enjoy arty projects with your kids or grandkids? Inspire other parents with guides to kids crafts and activities!
* Do you make interesting and unusual things? Showcase them or share how to make them!
"Whenever I found out anything remarkable, I have thought it my duty to put down my discovery on paper, so that all ingenious people might be informed thereof."
- Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
What Do You Want to Share?
Squidoo Tips #3
We all have things that we love so much, we have to share them with others. It could be a bit of exciting news, or a fascinating fact. It could be a new project or some advice. It could be a photo, or an experience. Or it could be something that changed your life, or that you survived, and you feel a need to help others going through the same thing. How can you expand on this idea, and turn it into a lens that can inspire more people?
Photo Credit: Share Knowledge via Pixabay
* Share an experience. Have you gone through something such as an illness, bad experience, or life changing realisation? Use your experience to help or inspire others.
* Share your knowledge. Accumulated a wealth of knowledge on something? Got a head full of useless but fascinating facts? Share them with the world!
* Share your tidbits. Been somewhere fun, seen something fantastic, or heard something hilarious? Expand on it and turn it into a fascinating or quirky lens!
"A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning."
- Brad Henry
What (or Who) Inspires You?
Squidoo Tips #4
We all have our muses. We all have our creative places. What inspires you, what makes you tick? Who fascinates you, who do you admire?
The most simple of things can ignite a flash of inspiration, from a photograph to a feeling you get when you go somewhere beautiful. You might stumble across someone on the net, or someone from history, and be inspired by what they have said, done or achieved.
Share that inspiration! After all, it's greedy to keep such wonderful things to yourself, no?
* Inspired by a famous person? Write about them or what they do
* Inspired by a historical figure, event or quote? Enlighten the rest of us
* Read or seen something awe-inspiring? Personalise a review by sharing how it made you feel
* Do you find inspiration often? Teach others how to do the same with a top ten list
Photo Credit: Euterpe - Muse of Pleasure. Image in the public domain
"A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm."
- Bill Vaughan
What Do Your Kids Love? (or your Grandkids, or Nieces and Nephews, or even Pets!)
Squidoo Tips #5
If you are a parent or pet owner, you will undoubtedly already know how much inspiration you can glean from them! Even if you're not, you might have other family members or friends who inspire you, too. What do they love? What do they enjoy? What do they love to read about, or experience, or discover?
Since becoming a mother, I've accumulated a massive list of ideas of lenses just from the day-to-day fun things that I share with my daughter, from toys and books, to craft projects, nature trails and fun activities indoors or out. What have you done today with your family that others might enjoy doing too?
* What do you teach your kids? Whether you are a working parent, stay-at-home parent or homeschooling parent, we all teach our kids in one way or another. Share learning tips, favourite educational toys or books, fun activities, creative projects... the possibilities are endless!
* What do your kids love? Review their favourite toys, books, bedding, room décor, clothes, characters, TV shows, activities and more
* What pets do you have? Tell your readers about them. What is their history? How do you look after them? What do they eat or play with?
* Does a friend or family member inspire you? Write about sisterly connections, brothers in arms, parenting tips, family advice, family trees, relationship issues, gift or celebration ideas
"Creative thinking inspires ideas. Ideas inspire change."
- Barbara Januszkiewicz
What Cause is Close to Your Heart?
Squidoo Tips #6
Charity is close to Squidoo's heart, and as well as donating to a good cause via your lenses, you can also write about good causes too.
Whether you are moved to support a particular charity, general cause or an injustice in the world, Squidoo is the perfect platform for sharing your views, opening the debate up to your readers and raising awareness of what is important to you.
Photo Credit: Poor Box via Pixabay
* Do you support a charity? Help raise awareness by sharing it with readers and writing about what they do
* What is important to you? Are you an environmentalist or passionate about social change? Write about your concerns and ideas in a series of inspiring lenses
* Are you involved in a good cause? Share what you do to get the word out! Maybe you run a charity or rescue centre, or you actively protest or fundraise for charity. Share your experiences and explain how others can do the same
* Educate others. Create an educational lens about an important cause, with useful links, a quiz, or a series of interesting facts
"Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
Source: Big Dog's Learning Quotes
What Do You Want to Learn More About?
Squidoo Tips #7
Although it is good to write about what you know (and certainly this is always a good place to start when you are new to writing online), it can also be good to write about what you want to know. It might be something you want to learn more about, or something you want to build resources on. The important thing is that you write about things that interest you. It's all well and good picking out keywords that might generate lots of traffic and sales, but if you have no interest in the subject, then you won't have any unique knowledge or content to offer, and no motivation to finish or maintain the lens. If you have a great deal of interest in something, then even if you don't know much about it, you'll be inspired to research it properly and understand how others can learn about it in the same way that you are teaching yourself.
Photo Credit: Equation via Pixabay
* Discover a new world. Want to visit another country? Put together a guide to visiting it
* Learn a new skill. Teaching yourself how to crotchet, play guitar, speak a language, or cook from scratch? As you learn and gather resources, use this to create a lens that others can learn from, too
* Want to learn about a period of history, or grasp a scientific concept? Share the information you find and write an interesting, understandable account of what you learn about it
* Research a topic of interest. If you want to learn more about a person, event, place, technique, animal or subject, have fun researching and use what you find to make a series of lenses about your chosen topic
"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."
- Albert Einstein
Source: Big Dog's Learning Quotes
What Have You Learned that You Can Teach Others?
Squidoo Tips #8
We never stop learning. From things we learned at school, to things we studied at college, to things we learn in our jobs and every day lives, there are lots of skills and knowledge that we accumulate. Sharing what we have learned enables others to learn, and what greater satisfaction is there in writing, than knowing we have helped and inspired others?
Turning your knowledge into a helpful lens is a great way to share what you know. Remember, we are all unique individuals with our own experiences, opinions and thoughts, which can make up wonderful and inspiring "unique, useful and updated content" for others to enjoy!
Photo Credit: Teaching via Pixabay
* Share your skills. Good at your job? Got a degree? Passionate about something you learned and still remember from school? Share your tips and expertise!
* Been to a seminar or attended a course? Share highlights and useful tips that you learned (without infringing on the course content, of course!)
* Knowledgeable about a specific subject? Turn it into interesting lenses for people to enjoy, create teaching resources for students, or share your favourite resources on the topic
* Watched an interesting programme on TV? Write your own interpretation of the subject matter
"Certain aspects of my personality are always going to come out on-screen.
I guess that's just me - if they say I'm quirky, I'm quirky. It's better than being boring."
- Zooey Deschanel
What are Your Quirks?
Squidoo Tips #9
Our uniqueness is what makes us special! What are your quirks, hidden talents, geeky secrets or style of humour?
The web is full of weird and wonderful things, and can make for some of the most interesting and/or entertaining reading!
Adding your own style of humour or voice to a lens can really make it come alive, and sharing your weird ideas or habits can often produce surprise hits!
Photo Credit: Quirky Faces via Pixabay
* What do you collect? Weird objects, funny stories, or obscure facts? Share your passion!
* Are you a fan girl or guy? Write about your favourite comic book, cult TV show or hero
* Have a fascinating or unusual hobby, habit, job or world view? Enlighten us!
"Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration."
- Charles Dickens
Where Do You Live (or Where Do You Want to Go)?
Squidoo Tips #10
What do you know about where you live? It might surprise you how much, when you really think about it. What can you share about your hometown, city, state, or even country? You have a unique perspective on where you live that you can use to help others who are thinking of visiting.
Similarly, where have you travelled to? Where would you like to travel to in the future? Can you share reviews and tips on the places you have been, or compile the best resources on your dream holiday to share with those who also wish to visit?
Photo Credit: Chester Eastgate Clock via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) License
* Share your home town. Make a guide to where you live, and all the best places to go
* Discover your local history. People love to know the history of where they live. What is the history of your home? Provide a useful resource!
* Be a travel guide. Been somewhere wonderful? Share all the best places to visit, the best places to eat, the secret little finds that no-one else knows about. Create an entire niche on an area of interest
* Know your destination. Research somewhere you really want to go. Put together all the most helpful information, links and resources, and curate them to help others find the best information on their chosen travels
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
- Jawaharial Nehru
Source: 50 Most Inspiring Quotes Ever
What Have You Experienced (or What Would You Like to Experience)?
Squidoo Tips #11
Experience, whether it was a one-off exciting adventure or experience gained in a particular environment, is much valued when it comes to sharing knowledge on the web. Sharing your firsthand experience of something makes for unique content that others can enjoy and be inspired by,
Think about the things you have done in your life, and the things you would like to do. I bet you can come up with a really long list of things that you can then turn into ideas for lenses!
Photo Credit: Machu Picchu via Pixabay
* Where has your job or hobby taken you? Have you been somewhere unusual, or done something out of the ordinary?
* Have you enjoyed an experience day, extreme sport, or done something fab from your bucket list? Describe the experience, explain how to do it, or put together resources on how others can experience it
* Been somewhere amazing? Climbed a mountain or seen a wonder of the world?
"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself."
- Oscar Wilde
Source: The Quotations Page
What Advice Can You Give?
Squidoo Tips #12
We all have ups and downs in life, and these experiences (hopefully!) make us wiser. What lessons have you learned? What advice could you share? Have you found the meaning of life, or the answer to a puzzle? Have you been through something that could inspire others, or help them face adversity?
No matter how big or small your experience, we all have something we have learned that can help others learn, too. Don't be afraid to speak your truth and share what you know.
Photo Credit: Lost in Thought via Pixabay
* Life lessons. Have you learned the secret to beating stress, or living a happier life? Have you experienced something that made you change the way you view the world?
* Sage advice. Have you learned important truths thanks to an experience, situation or event in your life, that others can learn from?
* Helping hand. Have you gained a wealth of experience in a certain career or skill, that allows you to offer others unique and significant advice?
"A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."
- Bob Dylan
Source: Top 60 Do What You Love Quotes
What Do You Do Every Day, but Really Well?
Squidoo Tips #13
We've spoken about jobs, hobbies, kids, things we've learned, places we've been... but what about the every day things that we do, day in, day out, without giving them a second thought?
Are you really good at something around the house? Are you a good listener? Are you a good neighbour? Is there something that everyone turns to you for at work?
Often it is the little things that make a difference. Perhaps you are super organised and get lots done in a day, or are fantastic at getting household chores done in a flash, or with joy rather than dread. What little tips can you spread to others to improve their day?
Photo Credit: Cleaning Brushes via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) License
* Share your household tips. Are you a speedy cleaner, a super organised parent, or knowledgeable about making your home look effortlessly cosy? Share your tips in a how-to or top ten.
* What are your invaluable skills and contributions in your job? Can they help others be more productive or successful in theirs?
* Are you naturally optimistic, helpful or kind? Share your tips on how to be like you!
* Do you have a life philosophy? Make a lens on how to be happy, healthy, successful, spiritual, grateful, or any other number of positive things!
“We are all experts in our own little niches.”
- Alex Trebek
Source: Expert Enough
What Are You an Expert at?
Squidoo Tips #14
One of the key things Squidoo encourages is to be an expert in your field. Of course, you don't have to be an expert in everything you write about, but if you are building a niche on something, it certainly pays to be knowledgeable and passionate about it.
Being an expert in something invariably means you have experience in it as well, which means you have been there, made the mistakes and got the T-shirt. So you can offer an invaluable insight into the subject matter, thus helping the reader immensely by sharing your advice and experience.
As Seth Godin, founder of Squidoo, often emphasises, "!". If you are an expert in something, and have unique, interesting and helpful things to say on your niche subject, then you will build that tribe, garnering a following that will visit (and hopefully, if you do a good job, share and promote) your work. Build a tribe
Photo Credit: Einstein via Wikimedia Commons. Image in the Public Domain
* What jobs have you had? Have you gained a wealth of knowledge on a particular career that you can use to build resources or advisory lenses about?
* What do you know everything about? Whether it's cooking from scratch, sculpting animals, looking after horses, training dogs or homeschooling kids, find your audience by sharing your expertise.
* What do you do really well? Are you fab at taking photographs, writing fanfiction, creating successful blogs, selling stuff, making stuff, or networking? Whatever your key skill is, teach others how to build on this talent for themselves
“Use what talents you possess, the woods will be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best.”
- Henry Van Dyke
Source: 50 Most Inspiring Quotes Ever
What To Do with all that Great Brainstorming! - Squidoo Tips #15
Photo Credit: Word Cloud via Pixabay
Now that you've (hopefully!) come up with a long list of lens ideas, how do you turn them into successful lenses that get read? Here are five simple tips to help you do just that:
* Do your (Keyword) Research. It's all very well having an interesting lens, but if no one is searching for it, then it won't do very well. Use a keyword tool like Google Keyword Tool to find out what search terms people are using to find your subject. If you don't get the results you want, put in different phrases that you think people might use to find your topic (think like your reader - what would you type in if you were looking for this information?). Use the best and most relevant keyword as your lens title and URL, and integrate into your introduction, links and headings. This will help it get found on Google and other search engines. Learn more about Keyword Research here.
* Write clear, concise content. The best looking lenses are those that are to the point, without being too cluttered or overlong. Some subjects lend themselves better to being long than others, but on the whole, it is more beneficial to write a series of interlinked lenses on a subject, than trying to cram a lot of information into one lens. People don't read webpages like they do books - they prefer short articles to great big essays.
* Quote your sources. Provide links to the source of your photos and quotes (and make sure the photos you use are either in the public domain or licensed for non-commercial use via Creative Commons. Or even better, use your own!) Also, if you have researched information, provide sources in the way of links to websites or books that you have referenced. This is a good way to get more clickouts and sales, too!
* Be professional, but have your own voice. Write with good grammar, check for typos and spelling errors, and write according to your subject. A serious topic will call for a more professional style than a humorous one, but remember to retain your own voice throughout, whatever the subject. Share your own thoughts, reviews, anecdotes and ideas, to ensure a unique and personalised work.
* Carve a Niche. If you are writing on a subject that you love, then chances are you will have more than one lens idea about it. This is good! Creating a web of different lenses on a related subject means that you can interlink the lenses and create an expert niche for people to read, which tells both Google and your readers that you know your subject.
How do YOU brainstorm ideas for lenses?
Photo Credit: Girl on Laptop via Pixabay