Okay, I think things have died down enough to do some analysis on the effect of having a Squidoo lens chosen as lens of the day.

A couple of factors complicate this analysis: first, as a result of being chosen lens of the day, my lens was pushed into the top 100 lenses. This may have brought additional traffic. And the lens was also placed into the Explore section on Squidoo’s front page, which may have also brought other traffic. The first couple of days were all lens of the day effect, though.

Rather than show results for all my lenses, I’ve picked three to highlight. The Roleplaying with Kids lens is the one that was chosen as lens of the day. The Computer Game Making for Kids lens was on a similar topic. And the Who Is Jay Shaffstall? lens is directly linked to from all my lenses.

The Effect on Lens Traffic

This is the traffic chart for the Roleplaying with Kids lens. As a niche lens in a niche without much search engine traffic, it normally received two to four visitors a day. The spike to 229 was the day it was announced as lens of the day. This represents everyone on the Squidoo mailing list who checked their email that day and decided to look at the lens. The 119 visits are the people who don’t check their email daily (and my Mom, thanks Mom!).

The third day is when the extra factors come into play, but it seems as if the traffic is dying down naturally, so perhaps the extra factors didn’t affect traffic significantly. By the fourth day traffic is back to a normal level.

In terms of high traffic sites, this amount of traffic is a drop in the bucket. But for anyone doing niche marketing, this is a great opportunity to get a lot of people who might not otherwise see your page to look at it. Not targeted traffic, certainly, but exposure.

This is the traffic chart for the Computer Game Making for Kids lens. This one receives about half a dozen visitors on a normal day. The spike to 69 is the day of the lens of the day announcement, so represents spillover traffic from the Roleplaying with Kids lens.

My other lenses, on different topics, did not experience this same level of spillover traffic. So visitors who were interested by the Roleplaying with Kids lens went looking for other lenses I’d made on similar topics. In fact, they had to go looking, because this lens is not linked to from the Roleplaying with Kids lens.

This is the traffic for my Who Is Jay Shaffstall? lens. I had just created this and linked all my lenses to it a couple days before the lens of the day announcement, so I can’t judge what its normal traffic would be. I suspect it would be next to nothing, since the only keyword it targets is my name. The purpose of this lens is not to attract search engine traffic, but to provide an easy way for a visitor to one of my lenses to find the others.

The day of the lens of the day announcment, the number of visitors was 5, with 14 page views. This tells me that 5 people clicked from Roleplaying with Kids through to this lens. While here those 5 people visited other lenses, and each time returned here to visit more, for an average of three other lenses per person.

So this lens did what I wanted it to do, serving as a way for visitors to discover my other lenses.

Interestingly enough, the number of visits to my Who Is Jay Shaffstall? lens cannot account for even a portion of the spillover traffic to the Computer Game Making for Kids lens. So most people, when looking for other lenses I’d made, used the “More Lenses By” link Squidoo puts onto each of your lenses, rather than clicking through to my personal page.

Note that the analytics provided by Squidoo are nearly nonexistent. The above traffic charts were provided by StatCounter.com by embedding their tracking code into a text module in each lens.

The Effect on Lens Rank

Before the lens of the day announcement, my Roleplaying With Kids lens was ranked #2,184 out of over 100,000 lenses. This isn’t as impressive as it sounds, since most lenses are what Squidoo considers to be “unimproved”, which basically means the authors have put as little work into them as possible. Any lens that has had some loving attention put into its creation will automatically be in the top 10,000.

The traffic the day of the lens of the day anouncement pushed the lens to #105. I fully expected it to drop in lens rank after this, since it was clear the traffic was short-lived. However, the next day, when traffic dropped, it went up to #57. Traffic over the past 7 days, as reported by Squidoo, was 365.

The lens rank on the Computer Game Making for Kids lens started at #537, jumped to #237 on the day of the announcement from spillover traffic, and then down to #250. Traffic over the past 7 days was 92.

The Who Is Jay Shaffstall? lens started at #21,308 (its default rating from just having been created), then went to #3,423, then to #1863. Its 7 day traffic was at 13.

My conclusion from this is that lens rank depends highly on traffic over the past 7 days. I’ll expect to see the Roleplaying with Kids lens drop in lens rank as the traffic spike ages, unless being in the top 100 creates enough traffic on its own to keep it there.

Ratings from other Squidoo users also affects lens rank. Roleplaying with Kids has 23 ratings, Computer Game Making for Kids has 9, and Who Is Jay Shaffstall has 4.

Lessons Learned

This has gone on a bit long, so I’ll save for tomorrow a list of tips I’ve developed to get the most out of having a lens named lens of the day.

If you have any thoughts or insights on the analysis, please leave a comment.

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