I have just caught up with a recording of the Blogtalk Radio Show Giant Squid Open Mike and the chat and the tips were so interesting, I made notes so I could pass them on to our readers on Squidlog. Joan and Kate’s Guest was Erica Stone, who is known on Squidoo as Sojourn.
Erica started off the discussion reminiscing about how, when she first started on Squidoo, it was so hard to find ideas for lenses and since then she has developed some very simple methods for deciding what to write about. Erica plays a sort of a Wordgame, that has a few variations and here’s two that she shared:
1. Pick a color, then pick an item you have in your house. Here’s some examples:
white flower vases
blue bar stools
Then go to the free Google Keyword Research Tool and check that people are searching for these products. If they are, then the final step is to go to Amazon and then check they are actually selling these products.
Erica said she had learned from Lensmaster Michelle Willow that in order to make sales, it is essential to go very “nichey”. Even 100 searches a month to a very specific, narrow niche is enough to get you traffic that will potentially lead to sales. The reason being that this is very targetted traffic.
2. Think of a group of people or possibly animals and add the word “for” before it, e.g for girls, for dogs. Enter them in the free Google Keyword Research Tool and in the left hand side bar, use the filter to get “exact match” results. You will only get keywords that include the words you entered in the search box. In this way you will find items that people are searching for, eg “white nightstands for girls” “makeup mirrors for girls”.
The point of all this is to make Google do the work for you.
The other big tip that Erica passed on was that it is “routine” that helps keep her focussed and manage her time well. Erica admits that when she first joined Squidoo she used to spend too much time on a lens and it was developing a structure that she follows religiously with each lens, that has helped her.
Erica made the point that we each need to develop our own structure, that works for US. What works for one person, may not work for another but it is crucial to find the right balance between publishing a lens and promoting it.
Erica follows the same 10 steps as soon as she publishes a lens. This involves creating 10 backlinks. She will write articles, bookmark, drop a link on Facebook and Tweet the link. Then she will leave that lens and move onto the next one.
After every 5 or 10 lenses, Erica will stop, take a step back and do some analysis of the lenses she has published. She will check to see how they are ranking and if her top keywords on each lens are appearing on the first page of Google. If any lens has failed to make it to the first page, she will establish another 10 backlinks.
At this stage Joan intejected that she likes sites that allow you to post groups of related links at one time. Loveblinks is a good site for that and I have just started using Best Reviewer.com. Joan also like to use Delicious Stacks.
The trick is to create you own personal “perfect” list of the sites that work the best for you.
Finally, Erica said the danger is, that in our efforts to make a success of our online endeavors, we can spend too much time researching what others are doing and we end up getting nothing done ourselves. She said you need to put on “blinders” and just get on with it and try it.
Erica made the point that if you can’t get your page on the first page of Google, then in her view, once you have tried adding extra backlinks each time you do a progress review, there comes a time when it is just a waste of time. However, she never deletes a lens, because you never know when it may just take off.
When it came to discussing figures, Erica finds that providing the niche is properly targetted, then just 70 visits in a week should be enough to get some sales. Erica also said she would be looking for a clickthrough rate of 50% on many of these lenses.
One final comment that Erica made, which I thought was very pertinent was that you succeed by presenting choices to your niche market better than Amazon does and for me that just about sums it up.
You can hear the full broadcast at Erica Stone Joins Kate, Joan and Friends on Giant Squid Open Mike on Blog Talk Radio.