The Basic HubPages Rules - What You Really Need to Know
Making Money on HubPages - the Nitty Gritty
The first question on many people's minds will be money. Whether you make money from HubPages depends entirely on one thing - whether you can get an Adsense account.
If you're a good writer and write magazine-quality Hubs, you have an excellent chance of getting an Adsense account, so don't let that hurdle discourage you (and read on to see how to ensure you're accepted). However if you know you can't get an Adsense account, or if you've ever been banned or disqualified from having one, then stop reading now - HubPages will not work for you.
That's because you need Adsense membership to qualify for ALL other aspects of the HP Earnings Program, including the HP Ads Program, eBay and the HP version of Amazon. Without access to that program, the chances of making any money at all on HubPages are remote.
Adsense - How to Apply
If you already have an Adsense account, you can use it on HubPages (in fact you must, because an individual can have only one Adsense account). If you don't have one, you'll need to apply, but Adsense will want proof that you're committed to writing online. If you've got an existing blog or website or Youtube account, you can apply using that as your evidence.
If you don't have a blog, then Adsense won't even look at your application until you've been a Hubber for at least a month, and have at least 20 Hubs published. I know the wait is frustrating - but experience has shown that Adsense never gives approval on the basis of brand new, untested Hubs, so be patient!
The Rules You REALLY Need to Know
Like any writing site, HubPages has rules, and it can be confusing to work it all out. The Learning Centre is vast! In a nutshell, though, most of that information is advisory not compulsory. So you can start writing once you've grasped these golden rules:
- There's a maximum of one Amazon or eBay product per 100 words of text (so, a 400 word Hub can have 4 products). In reality, you'll be wise to use far less than that, due to the next two rules:
- Products MUST be VERY closely related to the topic of your Hub. If they're even slightly off-topic, your Hub may be unpublished. For instance, a sewing machine on a Hub about a sewing project is not sufficiently related, unless you need a specific machine for that project.
- The products must be selected with care, not at random. If that's not obvious from your text, then you need to add something in the "description" section of the capsule, to explain why you're recommending that particular product.
- You can have only TWO links to the same domain in a Hub. If you have more, you'll get a warning that the Hub is "overly promotional" and it will be unpublished!
- Links MUST be very closely related to the topic of your Hub - if you have unrelated links, your Hub may be unpublished. So, no links to your other Hubs on different topics, your profile, social networking links, or your blog (unless it's related to the topic).
- Hubs are likely to fail the QAP (Quality Assessment Process) if they're too short. Don't bother publishing anything under 400 words, unless you have a LOT of images and/or videos.
- A Hub must be not currently published anywhere else on the internet (see below in the Duplicate Content section for more details).
- You must not write about prohibited subjects (based on Google's "Prohibited Content"). HubPages applies these rules more strictly than Google, because Adsense is absolutely critical to the site's earning capacity, and they can't afford to take chances!
- Do not use HTML affiliate code, including Zazzle links. Most HTML code includes two or more URL's, so they can trigger rule 4. Instead, extract the URL you need from the HTML code and create your own hyperlink.
Rules vs Guidelines - Stellar Hubs
Most of the other "rules" are actually just guidelines - how you lay out a Hub, what headings to use etc etc. It's important to understand that they are NOT rules and you don't need to feel bad if you don't follow them.
The most important guidelines to follow are the "Stellar Hub" guidelines. HubPages has analysed the most successful Hubs and encapsulated their features in the Stellar guidelines. You'll see the the group of check boxes in the top right hand corner when you're making a Hub. As you meet the various criteria, those boxes will be checked - but they are just suggestions.
The thing is, not every subject lends itself to all the features. HubPages is not asking you to artificially inflate your Hub with useless information, just to reach the "Stellar" word count. They don't expect you to include irrelevant videos just to get that box ticked, and they don't insist on a poll if there isn't a relevant question you can ask. The closer your Hub gets to reaching those "Stellar" goals, the higher your HubScore will be - but that's another thing about HubPages. Scores are meaningless.
How to Avoid the Duplicate Content Penalty
HubPages hates duplicate content. When you publish a Hub, an automated dupe content checker looks to see whether the text exists anywhere else. If it does, you get whacked with a duplicate content penalty and your Hub will be unpublished.
The HubPages duplicate checker works by checking Google, and a page doesn't disappear from Google the minute it's deleted from a site. That's because Google isn't instant - you have to wait until Google's robots go back and crawl that site again, and discover the page has gone. When that happens is unpredictable - it could be a few hours or it could be a month.
What does that mean for you?
If you let HubPages transfer your Hubs, they'll take care of that problem for you. If you transfer manually, you'll need to wait for your lenses to disappear from Google before you republish them here. The neatest way to do that is to create the Hubs, and save them unpublished for a week or two before you publish them.
UnFeatured = Invisible
Hubs can be Featured or UnFeatured. It's important to understand what that means, because an UnFeatured Hub, though it's still published, is effectively invisible.
This Hub explains why and how that happens, and how to decide what to do about it.
HubScores and Hubber Scores
You'll notice that every Hub has a score and every Hubber has a Hubber Score on their profile image.
Both scores are, pretty much, meaningless. Scores are not used by HubPages to make ANY decisions about Hubs or Hubbers, except for one - if your HubberScore drops too low, links in your Hubs will become "no follow". That doesn't matter to most people: all it means is that if you're writing a Hub to promote a website or blog, you lose the value of that link. It doesn't hurt the Hub itself.
HubScore is not a reflection of quality. It includes the QAP score and how close you've got to the "stellar Hub" criteria, but there are so many other factors that you can't make any meaningful judgment from it.
HubScores have absolutely NO impact on a Hub's ability to get traffic, or to make money. They are an internal measure, intended to motivate Hubbers (although some of us feel that, because they're impossible to interpret, they do more upsetting than motivating).
There are no other rules. You'll see lots of people on the forums offering advice on what you are and aren't allowed to do - but anything they suggest is just their opinion, not a rule! So don't exhaust yourself trying to follow a host of rules that don't really apply!
There are so many more tips I could offer, but there's also only so much a person can absorb at one time - so I'm going to stop there. Joining a new site is a learning curve and you'll learn more gradually as you go along. You'll find more tips about HubPages on the slider on my profile if you're interested.
Good luck and welcome to HubPages!
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