Unlike most other platforms there are really no skills required to produce and publish your own web site on Squidoo. The tools are easy to use, free and there is a lot of help available for the technically challenged. A Squid squirts ink and those who produce lenses send their ink inspired writings and work out into cyber space with few hassles.
What sets Squidoo apart are its members. There is an atmosphere here which commands respect for others. The outward going approach towards helping your fellow Squids succeed is prominent. The several forums that exist allow you to ask for critiques, to find and acknowledge good lenses made by others, and to be rewarded for your own.
The exciting part concerns those awards. Every lens has a ranking in its category and then overall.. To be in the top 10% one has to work extremely hard and that is a reward in itself. Being a writer is hard for many and learning the technical side of lens making is also challenging.
Ranking is conditioned by the number of visitors each lens receives. Posting links in the forums brings some visitors but one has to also send out RSS feeds, write articles, blog about the site and so on. The more visitors the better for the lens as well as it creates more chances of making sales, if selling products, or of donations to charities if that is your choice.
My first lens was nothing special and my first lessons in lens building came from those who produced top quality lenses with a special look about them. Asking myself “how did they do that” set me on a search to find answers. These came through the sites that lensmasters had created to inform others on using the tools and also CSS and HTML.
Before long I was invited to become a giant. This meant turning out 50 top quality lenses in a 3 month period. There was no way that could happen, or so I thought.
However as the weeks went by the lens count went up and when there were some 25 finished published lenses under my belt I opted to try for Giant. Over the next 3 moths and working flat out the goal was accomplished. The email arrived welcoming me as a new Giant, a badge went up on my lenses and a yellow star announced to my fellow Squidooers that I had made the grade. But that was not the end of it.
Now going so well and further encouraged by my first purple star award soon after all I had to do to join the 100 Club was to complete 100 top lenses. Nothing was going to stop me doing that and I soon found I could almost do 1 a day.
The time raced by and with a week to spare the 100 had been reached. Making sure of my registration a few more lenses were pumped out just in case.
The day arrived and the 100 badge went up on my lenses even before I saw the email.
It was exciting stuff and then came the time to give something back. By this stage there were some special lenses credited with purple stars to add to my excitement and then came a big one. The Lens of The Day Award was given to one ot them. This is such a rare event that only 365 can be given in a year. Only 1000 or so purple stars are given so they are kept as special treats.