Just got through reading a post on seven habits of highly effective lensmasters over on Glen's lensroll blog. He asked seven megamasters what they do with each and every lens they publish. It's interesting to see how much overlap there is in the processes of each lensmaster and yet how much is different. So I started pondering my own steps and here they are, for your edification and amusement.
- Keyword research - This involves figuring out what people are looking for. Sometimes I do the research after I have the idea, sometimes the other way around. What I'm looking for is the right phrases to use in the URL, header and intro copy to improve the odds it will get found by searchers.
- Gather info/products - Second stage research to see what else has already been written as well as what I could/should put on the lens in terms of items to sell. (Sometimes this is step one as I have a product first that I want to promote.)
- Figure out the visuals (pictures, colors, sizes, etc.) - In this step, I'm looking for anything that's going to help break up the text to make it more visually appealing. If I have a lot of videos, I might not feel the need for many pictures. Sometimes I break up the text by using drop caps or colors. It's rare that I can't find a picture to use. I have been known to create my own art as well to get a good intro image.
- Write the intro - This is sometimes the only piece of copy I really have on a lens, particularly if it's a one-stop-shop-type of lens. I focus on ensuring I get my main keywords in there, checking for typos and a lack of clarity. My style tends to be quite conversational so sometimes it's a challenge to get those keyword phrases in there naturally!
- Modules, modules, modules - I start going through the modules and just throw on a bunch. I'm never entirely sure sometimes just how I'll use them or what I want. I try to always have a poll, video and a guestbook. Sometimes the countdown is appropriate, sometimes the prediction. I usually end up taking more than I can figure out a good way to use to start with. (Note: Link List and Poll both show up on your lens even if you haven't put anything in there. Most other modules you can add to the lens and leave them empty without them showing up in the published version.)
- Add content - At this point, I fill in modules (changing out headers, but rarely adding a subhead. I'm a bad girl.) and reorder them in a logical fashion. I rarely know just what order things should be in until I actually get the content in there. I'd love to think I could follow the exact same formula every time, but it just doesn't work out that way. Even my local lenses and bedding shops have variation based on what content I find.
- Promote, promote, promote - I am working through adding every lens I have to lensroll.com, as well as my "usual places" - delicious, Backflip, Furl, Spurl and Squiddit. With ones I really want to get out there (and quickly), I'll stumble them, add to Propeller and look at a few other services. I'm also working on making sure I have blog posts on all my major areas and then that gets recycled out to several other places. I also put links to new lenses in my Squidoo diary blog. My main motivation for this work is to garner backlinks from several different sources to my lenses, but they occasionally do generate a little traffic as well.