Links For Weekend Reading and Squidoo Learning

blog reading  links I love doing link posts on the weekends to link to the other things I find interesting during the week. Here at Thoughts of A Squidoo Lens Author I hope to share links that are Squidoo related (obviously), but I would also like to share links that are not always obviously related to Squidoo lens mastering.

Here are this weeks links. I hope you find the info as useful and interesting as I did.

Seth’s Blog is always interesting to me. This week he challenges everyone to write like a blogger.  Is there any other way to write? I have a hard time these days helping my son write papers for his homework because I think of everything in short blurbs.

I think he shares some great advice here for your Squidoo lens. Break your text modules into short blurbs with photos, Amazon modules, videos, or links in between. You will hold your readers interest longer than a long block of text (like this blurb is turning into).

Linking to others without ulterior motives is also a great thing to do on your Squidoo lens. You shouldn’t always think about how the link will benefit you. You should focus on how the link will benefit your reader. Your reader will appreciate it and be more likely to share your information with others.

If you don’t check out the Squidblog, you really should. This week Megan wrote about catchers and throwers. I think she shared some excellent advice. I love it when people leave meaningful comments on my lenses and blogs. When they just leave a short message with a link back to their website it usually just gets deleted. Maybe I’m super sensitive to this because there is such a problem with comment spam in the blogging world, but I don’t think so.

If you want a lensmaster to come visit your lenses and leave you positive feedback, and comments you should do the same for them. I’m a big believer in karma.

A couple of my favorite bloggers (Jennifer and Deb) just started a blog, Network Blogging Tips.  Each of them shared a list of where they find their blog post ideas. Here’s Jennifer’s list, and here’s Deb’s list. I think both lists are great for finding ideas for blogging, and for your next Squidoo lens. 

Where do I find ideas? I usually find my inspiration while I’m outside in the garden, or walking. I always carry a notebook with me wherever I go (sad I know). I’m constantly reading books and magazines. I have over 200 blogs in my RSS reader, I skim through and read the titles that catch my eye.

Captain Squid finds new Squidoo lens ideas by using Stumbleupon. I love Stumbling, the only problem is once I start, I can’t stop.

My favorite way to get inspired? I love children (and children related topics), and I’m always truly interested in what my son is thinking. I substitute teach, and listen to what the kids are saying, they always know what’s going on in the world. Sometimes ideas come to me based on these conversations, so talk to your children they know what’s cool:)

 

Happy weekend reading!

Image Courtesy of: stock.xchng

Where Can You Get Photos For Your Lenses?

Stock image butterfly (c) Linette Gerlach If content is queen, then photos are queen. I’m sure you’ve heard a picture is worth a thousand words. I think images can make or break a lens. I have some lenses that get more hits from their images (from Google or Yahoo! images) than they do for key words or content.

My Easter Bunny lens received over 2000 hits the week before Easter and over 90% of the traffic was from Google images. I created this lens for fun, so it doesn’t have much content. I wanted to create something for kids to check out and have fun with.

Give your photos meaningful names, use keyword descriptions and names for your photos. If you insert the photo into the lens yourself with html code, don’t forget to add alternate text. Use the alternate text to describe your photo for the search engines. It’s one more place to add keywords relevant to your lens topic.

I love to take my own photos whenever possible. Since one of my favorite topics is gardening, and I have a huge garden, it’s not difficult.

There are many times when I just don’t have the image I’m looking for to add to my Squidoo lenses or blogs. Here are some of my favorite image resources.

We’ll start with a few of my favorite free image sites. Check each site’s terms and conditions. Some require a mention, others require a link back, others don’t require anything.

Stock.exchng

Free Range

morgueFile

Wikimedia Commons

Picture Sandbox

Free Foto

Every Stock Photo

Open Photo

PD Photo

Image After

Share a Pic

Tiny Pic

Flickr (Do an advanced search and look for Creative Commons photos only)

Public Domain Pictures

Sometimes you’re looking for just the right image, and you don’t mind paying a little to get just what you want. Here are my favorite low cost royalty free image sites. Again, take a look at the terms and conditions before you post any photos.

Dreamstime

istockphoto

stockxpert

What are your favorite places to find stock photos for your lenses?

Build a Squidoo Lens For Charity

Working together for charity Squidoo lensmaster Bdkz has a new project, The Squidoo Charity Challenge. She’s challenging everyone to build (or convert) at least one lens a month for the charity of your choice. Check out some of the great lenses by even greater lensmasters donating their lens proceeds to charity.

Check out all the Q and A here.   You can also find out all the April details on Bdkz’s  Squidoo Charity Challenge for April 2008. This month’s charity is the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. 

So make a lens, or convert a lens for charity this month. I’m working on a brand new lens that I hope to have published by early next week.

If you make a lens for April make sure you share it here in the comment section.

Image: stock.xchng 

Why A Blog About Squidoo?

bad-hair-day-web.jpgHello, I’m Linette (Barkely at Squidoo). Two of my favorite things are blogging and creating Squidoo lenses. This blog combines the best of both worlds. I started a little Squidoo blog in blogger last summer while I was interning for Squidoo, but got busy with my other blogs this fall and stopped posting there. Here’s a photo on a bad hair day.

The problem? I see all this great Squidoo talk going on and I want to be a part of it! I want to get in on the action. I’ve had a great time commenting on other Squidooer’s blogs, but it’s just not the same. So this blog is like an extension of the blog I started last summer.. only bigger and better.

I hope to cover some of my favorite blogging, and lensmaking subjects. I’m serving as a Squid Angel right now so I hope to bring you some of the great lenses I stumble across. I’d also like to share some of my lensmastering tips, and let you know what other bloggers are saying about Squidoo.

Above all I just want to have fun, and interact with other Squidoo members.

I love to blog and I love to write. You can also visit me at:

My Squidoo Lensmaster Page

The Kid’s Birthday Fun Review

Mother Earth’s Garden (at b5media)

The Home and Garden Cafe

Kid’s Movie News

Follow me at Twitter