Evil Truths About HubPages and Making Money: What the FAQs Don’t Tell You.

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© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

I’ve technically been a member of HubPages since July 2008, but abandoned the site after three articles because they produced no income. I returned in May 2011 to give the site another try, and realized some unpleasant truths since that time. Note that if you’re not on HubPages to make spare cash, you can ignore this information since it won’t apply to you.

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The writing you learned in school doesn’t count for much.

The expository writing you learned in grade school and high school is great, if you’re main audience consists of English teachers who are paid to read your efforts. Today’s modern online readers don’t have time for languid exposition, complex sentence constructions and descriptions like the “rosy fingers of dawn reached into the waiting sky.” Instead, they prefer incomplete, slang-ridden phrases; special effects like multimedia; and the punch line up front.

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Quality writing and good grammar aren’t enough.

If you don’t incorporate Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques such as long-tail keywords, link building and site optimization into your writing, you might as well keep your hub in a drawer. Your work will be buried on page 100 of Google search results and will remain unread. Instead, users will read articles by others that appear on page 1 of Google search results because they use SEO techniques.

If you can’t recognize bad writing, it’s probably yours.

If you don’t know the difference between a well-written and poorly written hub, then you most likely have bad writing to begin with. And the sad part is, you’re never going to improve because nobody will want to hurt you by telling you the truth.

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You’ll spend too much time on the care and feeding of Followers.

The ideal followers are hubbers who find your work so worthwhile that they want to know when you publish your articles, which are known as hubs. You can follow someone whose writing you find interesting. The more followers you have, the more visitors your pages receive, and the higher your income.

In reality, many people follow you because they expect you to follow them, and vice-versa. They rate your hubs and leave comments, expecting your to visit their hubs and do the same. As the number of your followers increases, you may be devoting more time to following and being followed than to writing.

If you don’t bother to market your hubs, the market won’t bother with your hubs.

Writing is only a small part of making money on HubPages. You have to devote as much or more time to marketing your hubs outside of the site. This means publicizing your efforts through social media, email, blogs and related websites. Otherwise, no one will know your hub exists.

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You won’t earn enough to make a living.

About 65 percent of HubPage writers, known as hubbers, make less than $10 a month. Or so says a poll by Relache in her excellent article called Improving Your HubPages Earnings. Her 260 respondents show 65 percent earning under $10, 24 percent earning $10 to $100, and 6 percent making from $100 to $300. Less than 5 percent earn higher than that. Many only reach the higher threshold only after many years of regularly writing articles. This makes earning a college degree a faster way to make living.

But WAIT, there’s more!

Feeling a little shaken up? Dreams of an online cash cow all dashed? Think this is too pessimistic? Don’t give up hope yet. Just go read Happy Realities About HubPages and Making Money: What the FAQs Don’t Tell You. It shows you the opposite side of this angst-ridden point of view. In the meantime, disagree, agree or otherwise critique this hub in the Comments field below.

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Comments 33 comments

Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

My income grows every month. I suspect that it will even grow this month after my biggest month ever, last month.

That stat of hubbers making so little is full of persons who have thirty or less half hearted articles about random topics.

It's nowhere near so bleak a landscape as you've painted - it's a matter of common sense, applied effort, and of course, writing.

backlinking is nothing. I can do all the marketing I'll ever do in less than five minutes. It's not hard at all.

There are people that make two thousand $$ a month here, and more. It's more productive to look at what they are doing to see how success is achieved than to look at this "65%" that are merely following a "star" hubber who's made some money.


Dale Hyde profile image

Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

Interesting and thought provoking. Thanks for an informative hub. I am wondering about the eBay Related Auctions. Is there a "reason" you picked those related items to be displayed? :) You do not have to answer that one, I believe I can "see" the relation.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

A lot of what you say is true. However, on a plus note, your followers can be fun and interactive ... a social and learning experience. Also, Paul today announced that Hubpages has almost hit its highest traffic level ever, meaning that it looks like Google Panda may be behind us and positive earnings could follow. Keywords are important though! As search engines need an easy way to know what you are about and who to send to you.

Voted up and interesting.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for stopping by, even before I've put the finishing touches on this hub.

Be sure and read the Happy Realities About Hubs, which is linked in the last paragraph of this one.

To answer your question, Dale, I just put the keywords in the eBay auction capsule. The system does the picking, so those items can change whenever the hub is browsed.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

Oh how depressing - I think I should have read your other hub last instead of first. It is true though - we can get stuck if we don't understand quality writing, or spend too much time following our followers.


Dale Hyde profile image

Dale Hyde 4 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

Okay, aloscin, I understand that, but you can use a combination of keywords in there, to narrow down the selection, and I was thinking you may have done that to get the related results. Still like the hub, but for some reason those eBay ads jumped out at me, in a weird way...normally I never even notice them!


Barbara Kay profile image

Barbara Kay 4 years ago from USA

I think those that took the poll were mostly new hubbers. I agree with everything you say here, but hubpages can be a good way to make money.

This was an interesting hub.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Hope you all get to read my other related hub on the good parts of HubPages. Dale, maybe they stood out more, because they were in side-by-side column format. I think the only keyword I used there was HubPages.


molometer profile image

molometer 4 years ago

Ha ha nice one alocsin,

I read the other good hub first. But as in all things we have to have balance.

I do all of the above. I know that most of the people that I follow do the same.

BTW:- I make more than $10 a month too, and have done since week 4 on hubpages. I have been on hubpages just 3 months. So I guess the method is working.

Great hub showing both sides of the issue in a fair way.

Voted up with the other one.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Good info. And now, I'm going over to that "happier" hub and reading that. :)


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I have to say... while it is almost a negative stance... that this was definately a breath of fresh air. All to many times people come on here and think that after a year of writing for hubpages they are going to be a millionaire. Now I am not going to lie. Last year I spent the last 3 months of it doing a minimum of 1 hub a day. In that time, my earnings jumped... well enough that I could actually take my first payout. However, the reality of it is very sad. Payout or not, I might be able to treat myself to something I wouldn't have been able to otherwise afford, but it definately isn't going to pay any of the bills.

I also like the point about the followers. We all want followers but a true writer wants a follower who wants to see what they wrote regardless of whether the writer returns the favor. Now I am not against community interaction. But I do notice that some only come over and visit me if I go over their to visit them. It really is a shame for those who truly want there stuff to be seen. The outside stuff really takes the joy out of the writing. Yet, I will admit I love the community as well... so regardless of the lack of consistent and billworth paychecks... I have met some outstanding people and have come across some really great hubs. I just wish they weren't all buried.

Kudos to a hub well done. I really do hope this gets found! :)


PaulGoodman67 profile image

PaulGoodman67 4 years ago from Florida USA

Some brutal truths there, but hard to disagree with you. I thought you might be out to attack HP from your title, but you're just telling it as it is. I spent the first few months on here learning some of the lessons that you've written about. And I'm still learning about writing on HP 11 months later...

Good hub, voted up! :-)


justateacher profile image

justateacher 4 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

Good information for those trying to use HubPages as their main source of income. I stumbled across this site and fell in love with the community. I am one that still isn't earning much!


Seek-n-Find profile image

Seek-n-Find 4 years ago from Illinois

I see your point. Good advice and written to the point and with some humor, which is always nice. Now I'll have to go read the positive Hub that you linked. :-) Thanks for sharing!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 4 years ago from California

There is some truth to all of this--I read the positive article first--then this one--and it doesn't make me want to stop--poetry doesn't seem to earn a lot, but then I haven't added Amazon or ebay yet--


formosangirl profile image

formosangirl 4 years ago from Los Angeles

Writing articles to earn money is an art. I can see why some people ignore the community because SEO is everything. My 2 holiday hubs drew readership that was beyond my expectation. I write for fun and for slow pocket money. I am here to learn about others' thoughts rather than be on facebook to catch up with friends' lives and spontaneous comments in life. I love the fact that I could take a lot of time off without writing to gather inspiration.

Plus, I am experimenting to see how Hubpage compares to Squidoo. It is neck to neck, with Hubpages coming out slightly ahead, although I do a lot better with Amazon on Squidoo. And even with Squidoo, I have notice a big purchase not being compensated (whether it is an exempt item or not...who knows).

What I like is that unlike magazines that pay you per article, I see the good ones generating good readership on an annual cycle. The potential is great with online writing. There is an art form, and I am better at it each time, although sometimes I do my thing and just write for the sake of writing. I also like the forums...thought provoking.


amymarie_5 profile image

amymarie_5 4 years ago from Chicago IL

You can make money on hubpages but it takes time and you also have to be smart about it. If you write poor articles, you won't make money. If you don't market or back link, you won't make money. That's true for hubpages and anywhere else online.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Hey folks, thanks so much for stopping by. But I hope you realize that this is just the bad part of HubPages. There's also a lot of good, which I put in the companion article to this one. Link to the the "good Hubpages" article is at the end of this hub.


CJWood71 profile image

CJWood71 4 years ago from Florida, USA

Interesting Hub, I think alot of peple join up with the idea of instant wealth. Sometimes it is nice for a reality check. Making money requires dedication and hard work.


kikalina profile image

kikalina 4 years ago from Europe

Interesting article. I sure never thought hubbing would make me rich.


smiileyfacexo profile image

smiileyfacexo 4 years ago from New Zealand

Thanks for that article! I like how you followed it up with your previous article. That is so true. It is not a get rich system. If you want to succeed, you have work hard. I don't expect too much from HubPages since I like writing. Money will just come later on.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Very helpful and honest, which I appreciate. I will be looking at your other Hubs on this topic. Thanks for writing this one. :)


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for your comments. It's rather interesting that more people are reading the Bad Part of HubPages article rather than this one.


oliviaharrisbrown profile image

oliviaharrisbrown 4 years ago

I enjoyed reading this hub. I found it useful and a bit of a reality check. However, I am still hopeful of making some cash though and will continue to work at it.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks, Olivia, and be sure to read part 1 of this article, which shows that HubPages has a lot of good points as well.


moiz17 profile image

moiz17 4 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

This is one terrific hub. Great advices on the things that I have ended up doing in the past few days 'writing less and following more'. Some great advices and an excellent reality check.

The other hub was quite interesting as well. I ended up reading this one later and I am happy I did it this way as I now know that money is there to be earned but I just can't think that writing and following people on Hubpages would be enough to bring me millions of dollars.

Thanks a ton!


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

You're welcome, moiz17. I always like to present two sides of the coin.


thelyricwriter profile image

thelyricwriter 4 years ago from West Virginia

Up, useful, and awesome Alocsin. Great article and info.


thebestyou profile image

thebestyou 4 years ago

Great information for us newbies


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

alocsin....I didn't join HP to make money nor do I care if I ever do....but I wanted to read your hub anyway, just because you're an incredibly interesting & enlightening author. Just as with anything we take on, it's important to know the keys and the secrets. Up ++


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you all found this useful.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I relish all your good Hubbing advice, and find it useful and encouraging. I am going on month 6 and things are picking up slowly but surely.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA Author

Thanks for reading both the hubs, rebeccamealey, and congrats on sticking with HubPages for so long.

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