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02. Write a Lens

Writing the First Squidoo Article

My First Squidy Lens

This is a little guide to help you write your first Squidoo lens. Not the content coz only you are the real genius at that. But the how-tos .. coz as I am discovering, there are a number of ways to go. I love easy, so I will be on the lookout for that.


Squidoo Make a New Lens

Make a New Lens

One possible way to start is by clicking the "Make a new lens!" link at the top right of the page.

You can also use the Magic Builder on Squidoo. Initially I thought this would be easier. It looked easier but the the other route is much better as it turns out.
Comforting Thought: you can always make changes later or even delete it if you don't like it.

When you make a new lens, it does not immediately get published (phew!). It goes into WIP (work in progress) mode. You can find it/them at:
Log in > My Dashboard > My Lenses 
and you can edit it to your hearts content and when ready, publish it to the world!

Don't worry about all the fields you have to fill in. Life is a learning process. And you can change them later.

The only one thing you want to pay extra attention to is the URL. That can not be changed. 
* No spaces allowed.
* handy if relevant to your lens and contains some of your keywords.

Edit Page

Lens Title

Squidoo Lens Article Title

Image here shows an example (mine!) of a Lens (article) title. This is what others will see in a list of Squidoo articles. Can be edited.

You can use html in most of the edit boxes. Which is very handy! However make sure you test, view, and change if you have to. Squidoo's underlying CSS styles are seemingly module dependant and will I am sure affect some of the HTML tags you might choose to use.
Squidoo Edit Page

When you go to the edit page, you will see that there are a lot of features/modules there. It can seem a bit over whelming so I will walk through them as best as I can with you.

Modules: Help Available

Squidoo Edit page help

There is some help available about the modules right on the edit page.
Right at the top of your Edit page, you can find some help and tours. Go ahead and click on them to find out what they are. (No, don't click on my pictures. Go to your Squidoo Dashboard and click there (after you have created a WIP page).

If any module you want is not showing up on your page, you can just go to the "Add Modules" and find it there either by name (alphabetically) or by categories (it might be in). Once added, you can just rearrange it (from the right hand "Workshop Tools" column).
You can also add more than one of the same module when needed.

All the modules on Squidoo are optional. You can use or not use them as you see fit.
Except for the "Introduction, Contents & Discovery Tool" which cannot be deleted.
For the modules, whenever you put in your title (to each module), it will replace the it's default name.

Module: Introduction, Contents & Discovery Tool

Squidoo Intro Tool
Addendum (19 Oct, 2009)
I have just noticed that Squidoo has improved this. Now there is a WYSIWYG editor in the first compulsory module. And it recognizes your hyperlinks. So very cool. However this WYSIWYG editor is not part of the other (optional) Text Modules.

First module on the (every) page, is the Intro Tool (module cannot be deleted). Just click the "edit" button to go into it.

This module is meant to be used like an Intro section. So here I am just going to introduce what my Squidoo article is going to be about. Much like the preface to a book, the forward to an essay. a teaser, a marketing come-hither-and-look-spiel. Not too long. Not too short. Just let your visitor know what this lens is about.

inside Squidoo Intro Tool

When you go into this tool (by clicking the edit next to it), you will see that it contains 3 tabs.

Intro Text tab - Here you can give a title to your introduction section, write the text for your intro, and include a picture for this section.

Table of Contents tab - Within this, you can turn it on (recommended) or off. It is a table of contents (of themodules) - which are like sections of your lens/page. It helps your user see at a glance what's on your page and for them to use as navigation. And you can choose which of the modules you add to be included in your table of contents.

An example of what it might look like. (Appears right after your page's Intro text) Squidoo lens Table of Contents

Discovery Tool tab - Again, you can choose to have this On (recommended) or Off. Basically it allows links to other lenses within your article (lens) and then other lenses might also point back to this article. You can let Squidoo decide which other lenses will be exchanging links with your current article or you can specify specific lenses of your choice.




Modules: Text Module & Text Module with Big Picture

2 modules you are likely to be using a lot of. Both are very similar. Used to write text sections for your lens.

example of Squidoo Text Module

Example of Text Module - what it looks like.

Module puts (optional) image to the left/right of your beginning text.

Squidoo seems to automatically alternate left/right images for each next Text Module used.
example of Squidoo Text Module with Big Picture

Example of Text Module with Big Picture - what it looks like.

Module puts your image at the top (centered) above your beginning text.

Believe it or not, that is all your really need, if that, to get your first lens published. But before you do, just let me point out your ...


Workshop Tools (Right Hand Column)

Squidoo Workshop Tools

The right column of your edit page is very interesting and useful. It is pretty much self explanatory as well as it has some help links to provide further details. You should take some time to check this out. You can change the look of your lens, either globally or just for that article. You can vary your earnings distribution, and more.

Save/Publish

You can save your WIP at any time. Or if you are happy with it, then just click Publish (top right).

view your lens on Squidoo

After you publish, look at it (View Lens).
If not happy, edit it again.
My Dashboard > My Lenses > Edit


My First Lens

In doing this little guide, I have written my first lens: My First Squidy Lens. It ain't great but it does give you and me an idea what one end result could look like.

Now I think I will just go and play around with Squidoo for a while, try out some of their hundreds of modules, and maybe prepare a Useful Beginner FAQ to navigate better.





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