Thursday, 27 January 2011

Grow New Baby Lenses With Page Breaks (Greenhousing)

Tui Bird Feeding on Cherry Blossoms card
Tui Bird Feeding on Cherry Blossoms by Flynn_the_Cat
More Tui Cards
Greenhousing: Use the Page Breaks to grow lenses up until they are big enough to split off!
This is probably my favourite use for the page break module. I've often ended up writing really long lenses, which then grow some more over time - and naturally I now add page breaks.

After a while of that, I can see if I'm still adding more, and if people are actually finding the second page, and can just copy it across to a completely new lens (whether I leave anything behind depends on what I started with).

For example, the Disney Femslash lens used to have a page dedicated to lesbian media recommendations. This got no search traffic and had a LOT of content which kept growing and was good (rare visitors clicked on a lot of items), so I took it out, and created and entirely new lens, with FIVE pagebreaks - Top Lesbian Media. Which stayed happily in second tier (now up in first) and never impacted on the Disney lens' happy first tier ranking at all. This also freed up a page for my rapidly expanding Disney collection (which I am now creating a series of lenses to host, as it is STILL growing!).

A BAD example is the time I split off the How to Make a Tui Feeder topic from the main New Zealand Tui lens. Sure, it deserved it's own niche and both lenses are doing fine now, but I didn't notice that almost all the traffic was FOR the feeders. Which meant that my original Tui lens dropped like a stone for over a year, until it started pulling in traffic in its own right (I also later added a Featured lens module and interlinked them, now I get some of that traffic back and send a lot to the other lens).

The much newer lens on Mother Gothel is another good example - it grew and grew, and then I gave up and added a page break, and then I realised I was getting two separate types of searcher - fans, and would-be cosplayers - so I pulled out all the costume related content and set it up on a new lens about Mother Gothel's costume. And still had two full pages worth on the original lens! (in fact, I need to find a way to break the first page up some more).

I'm following this tactic for several other lenses as well, as they slowly grow over time. Nothing on Squidoo is permanent - make use of this to continually improve your content, and learn to narrow it down as you go, if you're having trouble with getting 'niche' enough! (Write enough, and eventually you'll get chapters out of it!)

Points to consider when breaking up a lens

1. Is a page or section on the page getting ANY search traffic or clicks? If no one is landing on that page, for that information, then it's a waste of space. If the rare people who find it seem to love it, then it needs more attention somehow. DON'T pull out the content that is attracting visitors in the first place. Use Google Analytics to see which pages people are viewing and landing on. (Here's how to add Google Analytics to a lens and here's how to understand the page break hits)

2. Is it a slightly different part of the overall topic - can it be considered a new niche? Niche is GOOD, if you've got enough content to back it up.

3. Have you got enough content to make a lens? If you don't, can you find some? Otherwise, just move it into a page break.

4. Does the current lens have a good ranking/link love? If not, it might be a good idea to wait until it's coasting along nicely. It might NEED that content!

5. When link dropping, do you feel like it isn't a good link to leave, because they'll have trouble loading or finding the bit that is relevant? You definitely need to break it up a bit!

6. Leave a signpost to the new lens. I have links pointing to pages which no longer contain the same content, and by clearly noting that it's moved, and is now 149% more awesome with its own dedicated lens, people click through. And people who weren't even looking, click through (...usually. It is a elated topic, after all!). And leave the headings and images that are pulling in the most traffic, if only to say 'looking for This Awesome Related Thing? Go here!' instead of 'Awesome Related Thing'.

7. If you don't think your lens can stand alone as TWO lenses, but you need to break it up, just add a page break. If you think you're doing twice as well as you need to for lensrank/sales, and half the traffic is 'wasted' on half the lens (i.e. skipping entire sections and only after specific niche content) then split it up.

8. And if you don't dare split your content into completely separate lenses, try adding some fancy banners at the beginning and end, and interlinking the two pages a bit more, and see if that helps people to find the extra pages!

Examples of content you could make a new lens out of
  • A GOOD review of a product on a lens where it only needs a casual mention (e.g. I started reviewing my camera and camera equipment on my Auckland Zoo photos lens, which ended up being long, so I just moved it into a new lens.) This allows you to create a nicely targeted lens, AND to feature it on the original as a resource.
  • Splitting up a series or collection into more targeted lenses (e.g. I am GOING to do this with my Graphic Novels lens, as most people don't find the following pages - plus the Amazon module limits - and there is search traffic for them). Also, my Disney femslash collection (which always puts me in a good mood because I find it so funny - I grin manically whenever I write the words 'Disney femslash') is being organised into specific character lenses.
  • Sections on lenses that end up being large enough to split off, even if they are generally related. 
    • E.g. Characters and their costumes - on most of my character lenses (Holli Would, Mal Reynolds, Illyria), the costume information is only about a third of the lens at the most, the traffic is not big, and most of the traffic is for the costumes. If I take that out, I lose those lenses. Actually, the lens about Illyria is a bit odd, as I DO have enough content for two lenses, and it is page break'd, but until the last month (it's been around for four), all the traffic was image searches on the costume page. But now, I think I can safely split it up.
    •  But on other lenses, such as Mother Gothel (described above) the traffic is huge, and clearly split into 'cosplay' and 'about Mother Gothel'. 
    • Also e.g. - how to use a graphics tablet with ArtRage and which one to buy. Each seriously needs to become its own separate lens (and to be seriously edited... that is one old, old lens! In fact, I think it could easily be a tier two if I bothered to redo it properly. But I am sulking because I still can't find my Bamboo tablet pen and am in ArtRage withdrawal)
  • Some lenses, there is just no point as the only thing keeping them 'up' is the fact that several different pages are pulling in traffic and clicks. 
Basically, look at your traffic. If the searches are mainly on the stuff you're taking OUT, then your current lens will probably die, at least initially. If they're half-half, then it may drop, or may be okay. If most of it's on the current topic, and the stuff you're moving is mainly irrelevant, then your lens may even improve!


  1. Hey Flynn
    just having a wander around! hope your fine



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