Friday, February 27, 2009

Sources For Successful Squidoo Sales Sites

I enjoy making sales lenses. I sometimes even get passionate about them. It is fun to create a lens that people will enjoy and find value from. And of course it is fun to see sales develop. This lets me know that my lens was valuable for someone.

What kind of products do I like to build sales lenses around?

* Controversial products. I love it when I get a remark like "I did not even know something like that exisited" or " I can not believe that someone would actually use something like that". Where there is controversy, there is interest. People will discuss it and some may buy it.

* Widely used products. The more people that use a product, the more likely a visitor to your lens will buy it. But to be successful a lens has to have somethng unique to offer. For example an attractive price or an interesting use for the product.
* Trendy Products. There are some products that are very successful for those in the know, but are not known to the majority of the market. If you can build a lens which explains why it is successful, those who visit the lens may also get excited about it.

Where do I get my ideas for sales lenses? From a variety of sources:
Amazon Best Sellers gives me ideas about what people shop for. This is where I got my idea to build lenses about Ugg Shoes and some Ugg look alikes. I noticed in Amazon best sellers that Uggs and similar products are amongst Amazon's best selling shoes, eventhough I had been reading that so many people seemed to hate them. It was a perfect product idea!

I look at Oprah's Website to see what she has selected as her favorite things. Usually products that Oprah selects are successful and will sell. This is where I got the idea to create a lens about Clarisonic Skincare Brush.

I look at Buzzfeed to find interesting and controversial products. This is where I got the idea to create a lens about Multifunctional Slippers. The tech section will give you ideas for electronic products, style for fashion products, food for gourmet products, etc.

I wonder if others have found good sources for ideas for successful sales lenses?
Photo by Jen

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Today Contraceptive Sponge Is Back!

Do you remember the classic Seinfeld episode where Elaine interviewed her boyfriend to see if he was "sponge worthy"?

Elaine had heard that the Today Contraceptive Sponge was being withdrawn from the market, so she bought all she could find and jealously protected her stash. Well, Elaine, good news!

The Today Sponge is back!

Why do Elaine and other women prefer the Today Sponge:
The Sponge has a triple mode of action:

* Blocks the cervix, preventing semen from passing
* Contains spermicide which kills sperm
* Absorbs the semen.

But one of the best features is that, since the sponge is effective for 24 hours, it can be inserted well ahead of sex so there is no need to interupt activities. And unlike many other forms of contraception there is no need to reapply if there is repeat sex.

What caused Elaine to hoard her Sponges?

The sponge has had an unpredictable history. The sponge was withdrawn from the market, because the manufacturing plant had complaints from the FDA. Then the sponge came back and after a few months the manufacturer filed for bankruptcy and the sponge again disappeared. Hopefully, the Today Sponge is here to stay.

Who should consider the Sponge?
* Women who smoke. Due to increased blood clot risks, many smokers should not take the pill.
* Women who have problems with the pill's side effects (weight gain, nausea, etc).
*Women who have infrequent sex and do not want to be constantly exposed to hormones.
*Couples who are seeking a convenient, 24 hour effective which does not get in the way of the passion.

But since only male and female condoms decrease the transmission of STDs, the sponge should only be used in monogamous relationships where STDs are not a concern.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Burn Out

At the beginning of this month, I hit burn out. Instead of working on my blog, my Squidoo, or anything else worthwhile, I played computer games and re-connected with my Wii. This burn out, which I figured would last about two days, lasted two weeks. At first, I felt guilty for not plugging away at something that may end up being profitable, and therefore doing my duty as a mom and bringing in a bit of extra income. Yeah, that guilt didn't last too long. I would sit at the computer looking at the "make a new lens" link, and draw a complete blank. I would look at my lenses, and hit edit on one that needed a bit more tweaking, and just stare at the screen with no passion for it what-so-ever. I knew if I didn't take a much needed "vacation", then I may risk loosing interest in my lenses altogether, and this burn out would last for months. If you feel that burn out creeping up, take a vacation, do something fun, but completely useless. Refresh, regroup, relax, and reconnect with things that make you laugh. Now that my burn out is over, I have a new found vigor and passion for my lenses, and I'm happily getting back in the game!

Monday, February 16, 2009

My Two Year Anniversary With Squidoo!

Today marks my second anniversary in the magical land of Squidoo. Thankfully, I followed a link in a newsletter and signed up for a Squidoo account. I started building lenses, hung out at SquidU and never looked back.

Squidoo has become a place where I talk about my varied interests, silly stuff, and products I recommend. I promote my online magazine and talk about all the things I am passionate about. I have met all kinds of lovely people, who have advised me on all kinds of topics. It's a place where I can laugh and learn.

Now I have reached the 100+ lens mark, I plan to make my lenses even more profitable. With study, research and practical application, I plan to make my small but steady Squidoo income grow. I have book projects that are prospering because of Squidoo, and my writing skills have improved 100 fold. I get such a kick out of Googling my name and seeing all my Squidoo lenses pop up!

I know that my experience with Squidoo will continue to be a wonderful experience. Hope you can join me!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Make Romantic Memories At Home On Valentines Day or Anytime!

Don't let the state of the economy affect your love life! There are plenty of ways to keep the love light burning without spending a bundle. All it takes some creativity, a little effort and a whole lot of love. Make your Sweetie a home cooked, romantic meal at home. You'll be glad you did.

Keeping things lively and special in a relationship is very important, and sharing intimate meals together can add an extra dimension and sparkle. It's not the meal itself, it's the thought behind it. Have mac & cheese on your best china, take a picnic to a free concert, or eat take out by candlelight. Anything that says to your Honey "I'm glad you're part of my life!"

Not feeling all that creative and have very little time? Don't know what to make? Can't even set a table? Don't worry, I have you covered! Just check out the best lens for Sweethearts, At Home: A Romantic Dinner For Two. You'll find tips, recipes, and fun ideas for romance that will have you looking forward to your next date night.

I've done all the research, the rest is up to you...have a great Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Happy Squid Half-Anniversary to Me

Squidoo Wallpaper for iPhoneImage by coreyweb via Flickr

February 7 marked six months since I skidded through the doors of Squidoo. It wasn't my destination. I hadn't planned on staying long. But as most of you may remember, once the toe of your shoe hits the Squidoo welcome mat, it's hard to pull back. That very day, I sat down and built my first lens.

One lens looked pretty silly sitting there alone, so of course I had to make a second and a third and a...Well,
I'm sure your story is similar.

So, what have I learned in these six months?
  • A good lens may require vulnerability. When I published A Quilt Story: Voices from the Great Depression, I knew that I wanted this quilt to somehow connect three generations. It was a sad-but-sweet story I'd been wanting to share for two years, and Squidoo offered a way to do that with pictures and modules that helped shape the topic. But...I would need to open myself up to strangers in order to tell the story. I'm glad I did, because of the wonderful friends I made through that lens.
  • Let go of ideas that can't be revived. I've begun a few lenses on an enthusiastic high, only to find them in need of CPR the next morning. I've learned to let them simmer for a week and if they don't excite me anymore, I toss them. No use wasting time on something that's destined for failure.
  • Appreciate those who know more, as well as those who know less. I've learned so much about Squidoo techniques, by visiting lenses and hanging onto the coattails of lensmasters who have more experience than I. If I don't learn something new every day, I'm disappointed. I love to write, but a good recipe for a lens takes more than just one skill or ingredient. (Try leaving out baking powder and see what happens to your next cake.) I so appreciate how open Squidoo lensmasters are to sharing what they know. I now try to contact a few newbies a week just to encourage them, because that's what kept me going in the beginning.
  • Know when enough is enough! Years ago, I used to watch a painting program on tv. One day this guy was demonstrating the final steps of portrait painting. He sat back for a long moment, cocked his head, and said he was finished...except for one thing. He dipped a thin brush into a light-colored paint and added a reflection of light in his subject's eyes. "There," he said, setting down his brush. He had added life to his work--a final gleam. It's the same with lenses. Knowing when to quit is as important as knowing how to begin.
  • Laugh! If I want to mope, the early morning news offers plenty to drag me down. Humor lightens the load of lensmaster and reader alike. Maybe that's why some of my favorite lenses--both mine and others--are in the Humor category. Blame it on Squidoo struck a chord with many of my Squidoo friends out there. Help! I've Lost my Hippocampus gave us a chance to laugh at our ever-aging brains. Laugh therapy is good for the soul, especially in these financially-strapped times.
Thanks, everyone, for making my Squidoo experience such a joy!

Seedplanter (Bonnie)
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Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Broadway Revival of Hair

Hair was one of the must culturally influential plays that ever hit Broadway. In 2007 The New York Times wrote that "Hair was one of the last Broadway musicals to saturate the culture as shows from the golden age once regularly did."

Most Broadway plays are almost unknown to people who have never seen them. But Hair was different. By the 1970's everyone knew and heard of Hair:

* Four songs from Hair made it to the top of the charts and became standards.
* Hair was nominated for two Tony Awards.
* Hair was one of the first main-stream plays to feature nudity and so it was widely discussed.
* Hair was incredibly controversial. During its run in Cleveland, dynamite was found in the theater and a bomb was thrown. A suspicious fire in the hotel where the cast was saying cost the lives of four family members.
* In 1979, Hollywood released a movie version of the musical.

Next month there will be a Broadway revival of Hair. For my 99th Squidoo lens, I have created a tribute to Hair the Musical. If I were living in or near New York, I am pretty sure I would go see it.

I would love to know your thoughts and memories of Hair, even if you are younger than the play. Did you see the play? Did you watch the movie? What have you heard of it? What do you remember of it? Would you like to see it? My guess is that 41 years later Hair still remains widely controversial.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

How To Review Your Own Lens Development Progress

I found a cool tool today and I wonder if other people are aware of it? I was able to organize all my lenses by the creation date, from the very first lens I ever made until the most recent. Why was it cool? It allowed me to review my own Squidoo development progress. It allowed me to take a walk down my own Squidoo Memory Lane.

It will be two years this month since I started with Squidoo and I had forgotten which was the first, the second, tenth, twentieth lens. It was interesting to line them up and click on each and see how my lens making skills had changed. What tool allowed me to do this?

The tool I am talking about is found on Squidutils. Login and click on your Advanced Dashbord. At the top of your screen you will see "Sort" this allows you to sort your lenses by a variety of criteria including "created", or the date you created your lense. See the image below for a screen grab, the arrow indicates what you are supposed to click (if you click on the photo it will enlarge).

In case you don't know Squidutils, it is a very cool website given to us by TheFluffaNutta, a well known Giant Squid from the UK. Thanks very much Fluff. Perhaps everyone already knew about this except me? Are there any other easy ways to do this?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

8,219 Unplanned Pregnancies Every Single Day

Birth Control. For many people it is a topic they prefer not to think about. Some find it uncomfortable or awkward. Others just ignore it all together. As a result every single day, in the US alone 8,219 women have an unplanned pregnancy! That number is just astounding.

Why is there such a large problem? One reason is that people are uninformed or unprepared. Another reason is that many women prefer to leave birth control up to the men. But many men are simply not up to the responsibility. If the man is not responsible, it is the woman who will suffer. It is her body and she will have to make the tough choices. Abortion? Keep the baby and change her life? An unplanned pregnancy will force a woman to make very difficult decisions. Like it or not, nature has determined that women must deal with the consequences for not using proper birth control.

Fortunately, women have more and more options for birth control. American Pregnancy Association offers an excellent review of all types of birth control, from abstinence to the pill.

In addition, there are more and more forms of birth control which women can control and which are easily available without a prescription. To simplify the subject, I have created a lens which reviews five female contraceptives including the female condom, the contraceptive sponge and several forms of spermicides which are available without prescription. I have reviewed each type including pros and cons.

When it comes to birth control, every woman owes it to herself to take control. This is not a problem that will go away if ignored. 8,219 women daily are forced to deal with the reality of an unplanned pregancy. If you are a woman of child bearing years, I urge you to review your choices. There maybe an option that you are not aware of. If you have a female relative of child bearing years, I urge you to bring this information to their attention.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

There Aren't Enough Hours in the Day

I don't know about anyone else but I sometimes get overwhelmed. I absolutely love Squidoo and anyone who knows me is aware that my topics are wide ranged. I also belong to just about every social network known to man. I am a content writer who typically writes about 10,000 words a day (for another Marketing company). I'd like to make the most out of affiliate marketing and use Squidoo as a part of it as much as I can, but the things I love most just don't have many products. I even thought of starting my own products but then I'd have to think about the sales page and working on the website (such as for a clickbank product.)

Does anyone else feel like they are running a race against themselves? I work and get nowhere it seems! I get all of these brilliant ideas that I end up going nowhere with because I don't follow through or I get another brilliant idea. Things were so much simpler when I just wrote Squidoo lenses and that was it! Good times...good times.

Information overload is a problem we all face at one time or another. We almost have to spend so much time promoting ourselves that we lose sight of who we are and what we care about. We stop writing about what we love and start looking for things that will make us money. There has to be a happy medium. Instead of trying to work on 15 different projects I need to complete one to the end and then begin another. Does anyone else find themselves running ragged like this?

I miss Squidoo. I miss the community, the committment I used to have to writing and the creativity that was available. There just aren't enough hours in the day