Monetizing a lens means different things to different people. When I first joined Squidoo, I didn't want to come across as one of those overbearing types who hammer their readers with one sales item after another. Unless I was specifically creating a shopping lens as I've done with Diaper Bags Central, I didn't want visitors to feel like I was reaching for their wallet. I wanted to connect with them...make them laugh or cry, or encourage conversation.
So I foolishly avoided adding links or modules connected with sales.
I've since learned from more seasoned lensmasters that it's not only OK to monetize--it's foolish if I don't. So I set out to learn about various ways to monetize, and in the process I ran across an excellent lens: How to Add Amazon Widgets to Your Lens, by Squidster. Now, I've read dozens of Squidoo-related lenses, and have a growing list of helpful notes I've saved in a Word document. But Squidster's advice opened my eyes to a new way of approaching lenscrafting. I learned that I can easily monetize IF I can find a natural way to weave product offers into my lenses. We've all seen lenses that have a gazillion different "buy this!" links. I didn't want that. Squidster's instructional lens introduced me to the Amazon widget (using Clearspring.com as a launchpad into Squidoo) and it has proved to be the perfect solution for me.
I created a Slideshow of novelty egg timers in my lens, Cooking Disasters I Lived to Tell About. Why? Because I had this quirky little habit of forgetting what I'd started in the kitchen--usually when I was sidetracked with a lens project. (Maybe I should sell fire insurance as well?) I also took Squidster's advice and added a "Make a Quilt!" widget to my A Quilt Story: Voices from the Great Depression lens, to offer beautiful fabric squares from quilters on Amazon.
Because I'm offering tie-in products that enhance the subject of my lenses, I don't feel like I'm hammering anyone to buy. I'm simply completing the lens "package" by giving them choices.
How do you feel about monetizing? What have you used successfully, or avoided for fear of overwhelming visitors?