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How I Rate Squidoo Lenses

Updated on June 27, 2014

Awesometastic...or Jury's Out?

Star ratings are a popular topic of conversation in the SquidU forums. Every lensmaster has their own approach to rating lenses. Here's mine.

It's a simple checklist to reward attributes that make a great lens and add to the quality of the Squidoo community. Likewise, it deducts stars for things that dilute Squidoo's credibility or waste my time as a reader.

This is the most objective way I've found to keep my lens ratings consistent.

UPDATE!

Squidoo has replaced star ratings with a thumbs-up "like" button.

My star rating strategy will remain here because it's still a handy guide on what makes a good lens (at least to me).

Basic Philosophy - Lenses Start At 3 Stars

Squidoo defines 3 stars as "Pretty Darn Good". So I'm assuming right off the bat your lens is pretty darn good before I even look at the content. It can go up or down from there based on the rating criteria listed below.

If I started at 5 (Awesometastic) that would mean I'm assuming the lens is top notch. That devalues the 5 star rating and is not fair to the many great lenses that truly deserve 5 stars.

If the lens is about something fun and goofy I may start it at a 4 (Splendiferous). You're not really trying to educate me or sell me something...the lens is for entertainment so the bar's a little lower.

Please Note...

If the sole purpose of the lens is to sell me something, I am much stricter on the rating criteria.

Banner Ads At Top of Lens? -1 Star

If the first thing I see when viewing a lens is banner ads, especially unrelated ads, a star is falling.

There are some really good, informative lenses out there which are spoiled with annoying unrelated banner ads at the top...typically for link exchanges. Even if the ad is on topic, give me some real info first before hitting me with ads.

I'm not against banner ads...I use a few myself. But they are related to the topic, mixed in with the content and not at the top of the lens (ie: in the lens intro or right below it).

This only applies to banner ads the lensmaster added. Any banners that Squidoo automatically places at the very top are outside of a lensmaster's control.

Beg For Ratings At Top of Lens? -1 Star

Why do people do this? I'm a fellow lensmaster, I know what ratings are, I know where to find them and how to enter them. It's safe to assume that most lensmasters appreciate ratings from visitors. So why do some lensmasters insist on cluttering up their intro or first module by begging people to rate the lens before they've had a chance to read it??

It looks bad. Remember, your lens might be the first Squidoo lens a new visitor ever sees. Make a good impression. Make good use of your reader's attention.

If you want to remind people to rate your lens after they've read through it then go ahead and place a tactful reminder at the bottom of the lens. No stars off for that.

Did I Learn Something? +1 Star

I love learning. Doesn't matter if it's a topic I'm not normally interested in or even agree with you about. Teach me something and the stars will follow.

Default Module Titles? -1 Star

Nothing says lazy like the words "New Guestbook Module". Take a few seconds and change those default module titles.

Cool Layout/Lens Design? +1 Star

The folks at Squidoo have done a good job of providing a consistent lens look while still offering us the flexibility to be creative and innovative.

Well designed lenses where the information flows or creative (and smart) use of an HTML trick are how a lens will wow me here.

Member Of Unrelated Groups? -1/2 Star

Joining groups of everyone or a lot of unrelated groups doesn't add any value to the lens or to Squidoo. It's more clutter.

Got Good Content? +1 Star

Original content rocks! It doesn't matter what combination of text, pics, video, links, etc you use as long as it builds an informative, thought provoking or entertaining lens.

Talking about your personal experience with the topic and putting your expertise into words is a solid way to build great content.

Generic Pre-Generated Lens? -1 Star

Do you create a new SquidWho or SquidLit lens but never change what Squidoo pre-populated for you? That's lame. C'mon, change the poll responses, enter some original text and make it your own.

All Text Is From Wikipedia? -1/2 Star

Yes, Wikipedia has great information and Squidoo has modules to easily pull in text from the site. That doesn't mean you should exclusively rely on it for all of your content. The Wikipedia module exists to help support your content, not take it over.

Write some original text (not a paraphrase of Wikipedia) on your lens. If you can't do that then you're probably not an "expert" in the topic.

Unique or Interesting Topic? +1 Star

One of my favorite things about Squidoo is discovering new things or learning new stuff about a topic I'm already interested in.

Content Doesn't Match The Title? -1 Star

I like to look at lenses that have interesting titles and I expect the lens' content to match the title. If your lens has a cool title like, "How To Swap Out The Transmission On A '69 Firebird In Ten Minutes Flat" and it's really about another lame MLM scheme then you've totally wasted my time.

Is The Lens Annoying? -1/2 Star

Unless it has a good reason, if the lens does any of the following then it could be considered annoying at some level.

1. YELLS AT ME IN ALL CAPS.

2. Makes my eyes hurt with lots of crazy colored text.

3. Is one very very very long text module with no break.

4. Every other word is a typo.

5. Rambles from topic to topic.

You Paid Me $100 To Rate Your Lens: +25 Stars

Cha-ching! Money talks!

I'm kidding, totally kidding.

Seriously, if you feel the need to bribe someone to rate your lens, then you and your lens both have serious issues.

Allows Guestbook Spam? -1/2 Star

Many good lenses are spoiled by a guest book that has become a billboard for spam. Full of links to unrelated lenses or web sites this is more clutter.

Worth My Time To Visit The Lens? +1 Star

Hopefully I learned something on the lens. If not, it still could have been useful and worth my time. Maybe it led me to an interesting link or I saw something that gave me a chuckle or started me thinking in a new direction. The possibilities are endless.

Rate My Lens Rating Strategy

See results

How do I resolve 1/2 Stars?

Yes, sometimes I'll total this all up and end up with a 4.5 rating (quite often actually). Squidoo doesn't give me a way to assign 4.5 stars. So, do I select 4 or 5 stars?

This is a judgment call. If the overall feel of the lens and its information are good then I'll go with the higher rating. If I think that there are big opportunities for improvement then I'll round down and give it the 4.

Do I Give 1 Star Ratings?

Rarely. Even a one star rating gives the lens a small, temporary lensrank boost. For a lens to get a one star from me, it has to be pretty bad and probably spammy so it's unlikely I'll reward it by giving it any rating.

Final Thoughts

I try to stick as closely as possible to this checklist but sometimes I will make a judgment call to give a higher or lower rating. Usually because there was one attribute that really stood out above (or below) the rest.

Anyway, this is how I rate lenses, your approach is probably different. Feel free to give this a try and let me know how it works for you.

What do you think of this lens rating strategy? What are your thoughts on star ratings?

Let's Hear From You...

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    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Mac33 you are just too much (lol). I've gotta give it to you though, that's a pretty good rating system and your logic makes sense.

      Again, your humor is stellar - thanks for sharing.

    • minecraftmaximi profile image

      minecraftmaximi 4 years ago

      I definitely think people should follow this strategy before liking spammy lenses. Squidoo shouldn't be harmed in Google for terrible lenses, so we should keep them un-featured.

    • birthdaybluepri profile image

      birthdaybluepri 4 years ago

      Also being a newbie, I was wondering just where and how to rate a lens. Of course the bright yellow orange box at the top of this lens clarifies Squidoo's change, but my attention skipped right over this box to the text below. Could you update that box with black text on the yellow background to update other newbies? Thanks, Chris.

    • profile image

      WWurpleW 4 years ago

      I came to learn about how to rate a lens, and you definitely helped. This is a very informative and entertaining lens and reminds me of what I need to keep in mind when creating my own lenses.

    • msparrow82 profile image

      msparrow82 4 years ago

      I like your checklist great idea and actually learned a few good tips from what you mentioned.

      Great Job!

    • marriemb lm profile image

      marriemb lm 4 years ago

      I want to add a rating module on my squidoo lens how do I do that

    • irminia profile image

      irminia 5 years ago

      I was thinking about my lens all the time, being a newbie with two lenses.

    • OrlandoTipster profile image

      OrlandoTipster 5 years ago

      good checklist to follow especially for newbies like me!

      thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      With only 2 lenses under my tenticles, this is a very informative lens for me. I will try to use this checklist when I am creating my many,many and hopefully many more lenses. Thankyou for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • MillBucks profile image

      MillBucks 5 years ago

      Great tips, these are things I try to consider when I'm building a new lens. As a noob sometimes things fall through the cracks so I keep updating things as I learn more. Thanks for getting this information together and sharing.

    • davies86 profile image

      davies86 5 years ago

      good honest outlook of rating lenses pity you just have to click a button now

    • yayas profile image

      yayas 6 years ago

      Thank you so much. I wasn't really sure what it took to rate a lens, but apparently I was on the right track... mostly... I think. :)

    • JeremiahStanghini profile image

      JeremiahStanghini 6 years ago

      Interesting to see what Squidoo was like before I stumbled on it.

      With Love and Gratitude,

      Jeremiah

    • BarryKrost profile image

      BarryKrost 7 years ago

      I appreciate the thought that went into this. Thanks.

    • profile image

      SevenHeavens 7 years ago

      Thanks. I'm new here and this gives me a few things to think about!

    • TalkStoryMedia LM profile image

      TalkStoryMedia LM 7 years ago

      This is an "awesometastic" checklist for creating new lenses. I'm still pretty new at Squidoo, and this lens will help a lot as I work out the kinks of creating content. Thanks for the guide!

    • KarenTBTEN profile image

      KarenTBTEN 7 years ago

      Wow, that is very analytical -- it sounds like you are a good rater. I think I'm a little easier in some areas, but a little harder on the lenses that rely too heavily on Wikipedia for their content. Fairly often, I am noncommittal and squidaddle along without leaving a rating.

    • MacPharlain profile image
      Author

      MacPharlain 7 years ago

      @JollyvilleChick: Good question, Jollyville. That's only for banner ads added by the lensmaster. The automatic banners weren't around when I came up w/ this checklist so I'll update the text. It wouldn't be fair to penalize someone for ads that Squidoo places on the lens.

    • JollyvilleChick profile image

      JollyvilleChick 7 years ago

      Nice way of quantifying things in order to give it an appropriate rating. Question about banner ads you talk about. Do you mean the ones that show up automatically at the very top of a lens, or a sales module added by the lensmaster?

    • profile image

      FrederickWebPromotions 7 years ago

      Now I found this one cool:

      "Default module titles..."

      I'd not thought of that, being new here (well I joined a while back but got caught up in hubpages for a time) I assumed the default's "belonged" there.

      So I learned something useful from you (actually I learned several useful things from you), therefore in my rating strategy I give you a 5

      thanks!

    • CCGAL profile image

      CCGAL 8 years ago

      I probably use a lot of the same criteria as you do, but it all happens practically unconsciously, so I go with what I feel at the end of my lens visit without pausing to examine what it is that's making me feel that way. Except, of course, if the lensmaster is a newbie and I'm left with a less than 3 star feeling, in which case I'm much more likely to send him or her an e-mail via the "contact me" on his/her profile page and offer helpful suggestions before rating.

      Still, it was good to read a codified list of things to look for when rating a lens, and so I'm going to lensroll this and assign some stars to the top of the page. Good job!

    • profile image

      poutine 8 years ago

      Very well explained lens on how to rate Suidoo lenses.

    • profile image

      Jon_Lyles 8 years ago

      great lens.

    • Maripa LM profile image

      Maripa LM 8 years ago

      You speak with authority, because you know what Squidoo is inside out.

      Your system to vote however is a little strict for people who just started

      with. Squidoo is a place to teach and to learn. I learned a lot

      from this lens,so I give you ***:)

    • profile image

      SlapThatBass 8 years ago

      Good Info...

    • Happiegrrrl profile image

      Terrie Marcoe 8 years ago from Gardiner, New York and Joshua Tree, California

      Thanks, Mac33! I loved your phrase "a star is falling!"

      I am new to Squidoo and, frankly, feeling a little like I'm walking around in the dark. Came here in search of actually finding out how I physically rate other people's lens'!

      Guess what...I just figured it out(simply press the star that says "Awesometastic"(at least in this case - hahaha) at the top of the page. I feel so much better..... But it does seem to me that the Squidoo FAQ/answer section and search tool is a little.... scatterbrained.

    • Mihaela Vrban profile image

      Mihaela Vrban 8 years ago from Croatia

      Interesting. You obviously gave this a lot of thought! Me? I go by my feeling! In many cases, if I find lens not worth 5 starts, I'll skip rating and commenting!

      But Joan is right! This would be a good guide how to improve lens! So, you got 'rolled to Fresh Squid FAQ!

    • MacPharlain profile image
      Author

      MacPharlain 8 years ago

      Hi Shaynne. You can go back and change the rating you gave a lens at any time. The overall rating shown is the average of all ratings the lens received. That's why you see 3.5 or 4.5 stars on some lenses.

    • profile image

      Shaynne 8 years ago

      Yeah, finally I know how to rate a lens! I saw someone asked and you answered. Thanks a lot! Now I'm wondering if someone actually gave say--the dreaded 1 or 2 stars--can't someone give their rating and then a better 4 or 5 star show up next time? I'm mean, even this lens shows it's rated 5 stars by 9 people. What if someone rated it something else? Does it just not show up because it's already been given the highest rating? What the dealio? Anyone, anyone?

      Thanks

    • The Eclectic Muse profile image

      The Eclectic Muse 8 years ago

      This is a great way of looking at it. It's nice to see other perspectives and criteria.

      I'm going to check all my lenses based on your specs...

    • MacPharlain profile image
      Author

      MacPharlain 8 years ago

      nyfamily5, underneath the lens title, there's "Your rating:" followed by 5 gray stars. Hover your cursor over the stars (they'll turn yellow) then click the one you want. You have to be logged in to see it.

    • Gamganny profile image

      Gamganny 8 years ago

      Great Lens, but how do I rate someone's lens? I've looked for a place to rate it on the lens but can't seem to find it, or am I just blind?????

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 8 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I find your strategy interesting because I have been doing it a little more intuitively but ending up in pretty much the same place. I have been working pretty darn hard to improve my lenses to meet a 5* standard, trying to look at examples and learning from critiques. 5* is something we should be proud of.

      Very clear and easy to understand your ratings.

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 9 years ago

      I think my ratings are mostly an emotional response, but it's interesting to see your formula, Thanks for figuring it all out and letting us know :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Thank you. Useful lense.

    • PositiveChristi1 profile image

      PositiveChristi1 9 years ago

      This is much better than the method I use, which will differ depending on my mood :)

    • profile image

      Joan4 9 years ago

      This was very helpful. Thank you. Will use your thoughts as a guide when I create lenses (and improve older ones!)

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 9 years ago

      Great summary of how you rate lenses. I have a similar strategy. How do you feel about people rating 1 star on 5 star lenses?. Join the discussion.