He is prolific, proficient, professional and personable.
He likes to build tools to make our lives easier and more profitable.
I give you the man… the legend… the Fluffa Nutta!
Glen: How did you discover Squidoo?
thefluffanutta: I joined Squidoo back in September of 2006 after reading about it on someone’s blog. Initialy I used it to promote my own websites, but I soon realised the far greater potential of Squidoo, and started expanding my lenses to cover other topics. My early lenses are not my best, as I learnt so much more about lens-crafting during my time as a Lensmaster.
Glen: Where do your lens ideas come from?
thefluffanutta: Most of my lenses are about things I’m passionate about, like Wii Games, or are to answer specific Lensmaster questions. When I’m building a new commercial lens, I look at the products I am interested in, and then at how best to promote them. I sometimes do some keyword research, and rule out the topics that have simply too much competition already.
The Squidoo-related lenses tend to write themselves, and I don’t add any moneymaker modules to them or do keyword research. Most of the traffic is internal to Squidoo as Lensmasters search for answers, or from the SquidU forum.
Glen: What’s your favorite television show of all time?
thefluffanutta: I’m enjoying Doctor Who at the moment, the 4th new series of which is currently broadcasting on UK TV. Yes, I do have a lens: Doctor Who Returns
Glen: What’s the topic of the next lens you’re working on?
thefluffanutta: Writing content is actually something I really struggle with, so I tend to concentrate on the presentation of the lens, and rely on other sources for the content. While this is not ideal, it just about works for me.
Glen: What is your own favorite lens and why?
thefluffanutta: I’m not sure I pick any one of my lenses as a ‘favorite’. My most successful lens is probably Harry Potter Book 7; I built it in advance of its release last year, and I promoted it as much as I could in the US and the UK. Since the creation of the lens in May 2007 to the end of the year, it sold a total of 225 copies. The lens also got a mention on the LOTD blog just after the book’s release.
Using the lessons I learnt from that lens, I went on to create a couple more lenses in time for the Christmas shopping season, and those proved to be equally successful.
Glen: Do you have a favorite html trick?
thefluffanutta: My favorite ‘trick’ is a simple one: I increase the font-size to 14px in my Introduction module, and a few of the other important modules. By making the font that tiny bit larger, I feel the Lens is easier to read.
I have some other simple tricks I like to use, such as using the Squidoo colors for links and titles. I documented some of my favorites on my lens, CSS tricks.
Glen: How often are you updating your lenses?
thefluffanutta: Sporadically. Whenever I happen to be visiting or referring one of my own lenses, I take the time to check it over. Some of my lenses are related to each other, so if I’m updating one of them I’ll also check the others too.
Glen: How many Lensmaster accounts do you have?
thefluffanutta: Just the one. I used to have a second account dedicated to Movie Reviews, but I found I was struggling to keep up with all the new movies that were coming out. So, I sold the account and all of its lenses to someone who could give it the attention it deserved.
Glen: What success secret can you divulge?
thefluffanutta: I’ve been experimenting with tags quite a bit recently, and I think I’m beginning to gain an understanding on how they work. If you’re the only person to use a particular tag (i.e. long tail), then I don’t believe it has much contribution to your lens. It’s much better to use tags that are popular amongst other related lenses. However, the tags you pick must closely match the content of your lens, or they’ll have no effect at all.
Glen: What common mistake do you see even experienced Lensmasters make?
thefluffanutta: The biggest problem I see on some lenses is a lack of focus. A ‘lens’ is called such for a reason – it is supposed to focus on a particular topic. The better focused a lens is, the better it will do with the search engines. I wrote about it in detail in my blog post titled Relevance is King!
Glen: What is it about Squidoo – be it a person, feature, reason – that has caused you to stick around?
thefluffanutta: Hmm… good question. I think the main reason is the great sense of community on the forums, plus the flexibility of the Squidoo platform itself. I have dipped my toe into one or two other similar sites, but I have always preferred Squidoo.
Glen: Tell us about SquidUtils, why you made it, and how it can help Lensmasters.
thefluffanutta: The first tool I built was for Amazon, about the time when IFrames got disabled on Squidoo. I had just started putting my own product links on to some of my lenses, and I wanted a way to continue to use them. So, I developed my own version of Amazon product links, which were a) compatible with Squidoo, and b) had colors that matched.
I had also started creating RSS feeds from profiles, so that Lensmasters could syndicate their lenses elsewhere. This grew and developed over time, and other tools got created, such as the Advanced Dashboard, ping and backlink tools.
Glen: How did the opportunity for making the Squidaholic site for Squidoo come about?
thefluffanutta: I had been doing some contracting work for HQ for a few months, building some modules for them. Then, just after Christmas, I was asked if I would like to work on something a bit bigger. I said yes. So, I worked on the backend scripting for Squidaholic, while Corey made the front look fab.
Glen: What tools are you working on at the moment?
thefluffanutta: One of my new tools has a working title of “Health Check” (what it will end up being called, I don’t know yet). It works in a similar way to Squidaholic, and it will check your lens for some common mistakes made by Lensmasters. Hopefully, this will be great for showing newbies how they can build great lenses, and make it easier to get traffic from search engines. It is still work in progress…
Glen: If you were given a day in the Squidoo HQ office what would you do?
thefluffanutta: I would spend some time with the fabulous team over there, and find out what they’ve got cooking for Squidoo 2.0.
Thank you Fluffa!
This and the other interviews I’ve published over the past few months are well over a year old, and given time things change. Which in TheFluffa’s case means he’s got even better! As I get more involved with blogging not just here but also at the new site Startpoint.Biz you can expect to find me revisiting some of these prominent Lensmasters and finding out what they’ve been up to. Be sure to bookmark both blogs as I won’t be making duplicate posts!