I let this lensblography lapse a while; it seemed no one was reading it. But apparently a few are! So on we go.
My sixteenth lens, Funny Signs and Bizarre Billboards, was created on July 6, 2007.
What This Lens is About
It’s a photo gallery of funny billboards, church signs, shop notices and other weird signs.
I suppose revealing the actual height would take all the fun out of it…
Photo Credit: josephleenovak
One of my favorite websites at the beginning of the web, funnysigns.com, hadn’t been updated in years. (It now redirects to a new LOLcats/FAILblog style website.) I wanted to carry on the tradition.
Also, my Mom keeps sending me photos of funny signs.
So I scoured Flickr for Creative Commons photos of funny signs, and featured the best. I also featured my Mom’s photos, and a few of my own.
This lens has gotten very long, so I just “repotted” it: my Mom’s photos and mine are now featured on “Fish Grooming and Other Funny Signs.”
Things I Learned Making This Lens
How NOT to do on-page optimization!
In February of ’09, I decided to apply on-page optimization to this old lens. I was still getting my feet under me about how best to apply SEO. This is my biggest failure to date. Look what happened:
What on earth did I do? Well, I had learned that webpages without much text can’t get indexed as easily by search engines. All my images on that page had phrases like “billboard” and “pic4.jpg”. So I thought I should rename all of them things like funny-church-sign.jpg and “Funny car dealership sign.”
That meant DOZENS of graphics all with the key phrase “funny sign” in their file names and titles. Over and over and over. According to studies I’ve seen since, it actually takes a lot of keyword repetition in the body text of a webpage to incur the penalty, but apparently I tripped it.
Google dropped the page like a rock. A rock with poop on it.
In June of 2010, I repaired some of the damage, added more signs (which I do from time to time), and added page breaks, which means multiple pages pulling in traffic instead of just one. The lens has never totally recovered from my screw-up. And in fact, today, I think I’m going to take a big risk and rename the graphics again. But THIS TIME, I’m saving COPIES of every single module before I tinker with it!
Other lessons learned:
- Don’t screw with a successful lens. Or, if you do tinker, save a copy of everything before you start messing with it.
- People love galleries of funny pictures. The problem is optimizing so your page stands out from all the OTHER galleries with funny pictures.
- A Zazzle gallery can drive clickouts. This is actually the lens on which I discovered the power of clickouts for boosting lensrank. I posted a Zazzle module that had provocative-looking pictures with funny captions that were too small to read. I don’t know if anyone’s ever BOUGHT from the Zazzle module, since it earns no commissions, but it attracts tons of people clicking on the pictures to read the captions. (And I am now going to convert Squidoo’s Zazzle module to commission-earning affiliate links using my Zazzle Products on Squidoo hack.)
Lens Stats and Milestones
As of today: Lensrank #771, 60 ratings, 18 favorites, 8,993 lifetime visitors.
Best lensrank achieved: #408. Lifetime earnings: $149.04.