How to Write a Great Hub: Adding Visual Interest

Spice up your Hub!

Line after line of text can be boring and hard to read. There are several ways you can add visual interest to your hubs. I'll tell you how to include photos, create a sidebar and add a video.

A picture is worth a thousand words

The most common way to break up long blocks of text is by adding pictures. Hub Pages encourages hubbers to take their own photos.

There are several rules you need to know about using pictures in your hubs:

  • no pixilated pictures. Google the term and you’ll find examples of what not to have

  • no photos with watermarks. That means don’t copy an image from a stock photo gallery such as istockphoto.com and drop it into your hub with the words “istockphoto” printed across it

  • the best photos are those you take yourself. If you can’t do that and want to add a photo you have two options:

1.purchase credits from a site such as shutterstock.com. Then you can use the credits to buy photos, illustrations and videos. You have the right to use them in your hubs (but it’s always a good idea to read the license)

2.use public domain photos

  • don’t confuse royalty-free with “free.” Royalty-free means you don’t have to pay the photographer or model each time you use the photo but you will have to purchase the photo or illustration


Screen shot of a photo capsule
Screen shot of a photo capsule | Source

Tips for adding pictures

  • once you decide to take/buy/find a picture, you upload it to your hub. When you do this, you begin to create an image library for yourself and once a picture is in it, you don’t have to re-load the image
  • from the display style drop down menu, you can add a border around your photo. This would be especially helpful if your photo has a lot of white in it so it doesn't blend into the background
  • you can check the "view original size on click" box if you want your reader to be able to 'enlarge' the photo when it's clicked on.
  • you can make the picture one of three widths: full, half or quarter, depending on the effect you want. The widths refer to the width of the capsule.
  • if your hub has five or more pictures, it automatically makes a ‘slideshow’ that appears at the top of the hub
  • you can make thumbnails of your photos as well. This might be particularly useful if you are writing about a do-it-yourself project and to show the sequence.
  • have a caption. The ideal caption should add information. A picture of a bunch of tomatoes surely can be expanded on beyond “A bunch of tomatoes.” How about “Tomatoes supply important nutrients including lycopene.”


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Artfully arrange your photos

If you have a several photos that go together, you can arrange them in a cluster. Then add your captions, indicating which caption goes with which photo.

Boats parade for a Blessing of the Fleet ceremony (above). This year’s theme was “Mermaids.” Three of them let their hair down at the ‘after-party’ (right). A party boat decked out as a pirate ship travels the Mississippi River on the lookout for mermaids (below).

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Create photo thumbnails

You can create photo thumbnails by choosing the “Thumbnail” option from the Display Style drop down menu. Add photos by uploading them or choosing them from your image library. When you’ve added all you want, click the save button. If you want, you can add a text capsule with a description of the thumbnail photos. For instance, this one could be named "Stay fit with these activities."

Click thumbnail to view full-size
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Add a sidebar in 3 easy steps

  1. create your text capsule. The sidebar will be narrow so keep that in mind when you decide what to add.

  2. save the capsule, then click the arrow next to the edit button to push the capsule to the right

  3. change the background color so it stands out from the main hub. Click on the edit button again and choose the colored background from the options in the upper left corner of the text capsule.

Adding visual interest

Adding a sidebar is another way to add interest. Sidebars are used frequently in magazines and newspapers. They expand on a point in the main article without interfering with the flow of it. Or a sidebar may be used to add additional info that doesn’t quite fit in well in the main article. An article about the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11, 2011, could include a sidebar listing organization accepting donations for disaster relief. Or insert a “pull quote” – a quote taken from the main article or hub so that it becomes both a visual element and a teaser.

Screen shot of the video capsule
Screen shot of the video capsule | Source

Videos add action

Videos add another dimension to your hubs. Here a few things to keep in mind:

  • look for videos at BlipTV, Metacafe, Revver, Vimeo, Yahoo! Videos, and YouTube; Hub Pages supports all of these platforms
  • make sure they are of good quality. Like pixelated pictures, a poor quality video detracts from your hub
  • unless the video is very engaging or it’s crucial to your hub to have a long video, keep them on the short side, under five minutes. Even better would be three minutes or less.

Uploading a video is easy!

  • fInd the video you want to upload
  • copy the URL and paste it into the URL box
  • add a title to the video to give readers an idea of its content
  • hit preview. If you're satisfied with the video, hit save

Like the text and photo capsules, you can align the video capsule to the right which will make it smaller. But if you've found an awesome video, why would you want to?

Here’s a video I took of Crystal Stevens, one of our farmers at La Vista, demonstrating how to make her herbal lemonade.

Crystal Stevens' Herbal Lemonade

Read more....

Read more in my "How to Write a Great Hub" series for New Hubbers:

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Comments 38 comments

Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Wow Danette, I LOVE this new series and have already found many useful tips that will help improve my hubs. Thanks so much for sharing this information in such a concise, clear manner with many examples. Rated up, useful, awesome and interesting!


Maralexa profile image

Maralexa 5 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

WOW! Your Hub is so clear and informative. Great information. Thanks so much. I look forward to following you. Sincerely, Maralexa


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks HBN and Maralexa. I admire people who can write the "touchy-feely" stuff (i.e., Denise Handlon) or other topics I wish I could explain well (i.e. ChristinS). But I know I'm more the 'non-fiction' technical kind of writer.

I'm glad the information is useful; I wondered if it would be too long but I had a lot of fun putting it together.


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Great job-rated up. Have to run--they changed the flight gate now!! !!!!! Geez its been crazy this morning.

I love this hub and the tutorial was very helpful!!! re: sidebars.


conradofontanilla 5 years ago

I still have to improve on my visuals.


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

Some great advice here and thanks for sharing.

I vote up/useful/interesting here.

Take care

Eiddwen.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

This is a fantastic series of informative hubs! There is always room for improvement and you have given many useful tips here! I haven’t tried the sidebar in another color yet, but I will:) Thanks

Tina


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Great tips about the formatting of a hub - before having read it I have found I do most of what you suggest anyhow. The only one I haven't done is the sidebar - I suppose up until now I haven't found the need for one.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thank you all for reading and commenting. I was afraid it would be too much info and the others won't be this involved.

Regarding the sidebars --

@thoughforce: colored background just makes it stand out more from the rest of the text capsule


ChristinS profile image

ChristinS 5 years ago from Midwest

Danette - this is an awesome series and very helpful :) So glad you took this on. The advice on photographs also is one that many people need to read! I know it can get confusing about "royalty free" and "free" and "public domain" etc. you explained everything very well.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks for the compliment Christin. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.


lzlpio90 profile image

lzlpio90 5 years ago

Hi Danette Watt! Thanks for referring me here in this hub... You answered my question on how to put thumbnails on your photo gallery.. .This is exactly what i'm looking for!!!Great hub... very concise and detailed...


Escobana profile image

Escobana 5 years ago from Valencia

Voted you up! I could use all of your tips! Looking forward to use them in my new Hubs:-)


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

@lzlpio90 - I'm glad I was able to answer your question and thanks for the comments!

@Escobana - I'll be watching for more pics in your hubs! :)


Giselle Maine 5 years ago

Absolutely awesome hub. I loved your Table of Contents - how did you do that? and your great idea of how to use thumbnail photos (I'd never known why to use them before). It's great to get these superb tips on how to improve hubs with visuals. I'm definitely bookmarking this hub!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Giselle, Thanks so much for the compliment and for bookmarking! Look up Darkside - he wrote a hub on creating a table of contents. You'll have to do a little bit of HTML code but it's pretty easy.


manmade76 profile image

manmade76 5 years ago from Kolkata

A very informative article.Definitely i will try to follow.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks manmade76. I'm glad you found my article informative and helpful. Watch for more in this series!


elizabethmcgriff profile image

elizabethmcgriff 5 years ago from South Alabama

This is a great hub! Thanks for explaining, I love the thumbnails and had no idea how to create them.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Great! So now I'll expect to see a series of thumbnails in your next hub or two! :)


Denise Handlon profile image

Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

Wanted to review this one more time re: sidebars especially. You did an AWESOME job on putting this tutorial together. Voted it up again. Thanks for sharing your expertise.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Denise. I'd be happy to give you some "tutoring" on any of this stuff. Too bad it can't be in person :(


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

Very well organized hub with a lot of useful ideas for newbies. Even though I've been here for two years now, I'm still learning new things. Thanks to you I now know about the thumbnails presentation in the photo capsule. I'll have to use that someday. Voted up and useful.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

thanks Glenn. I agree, I've only been here a year but suspect I too will be always finding out new things. And isn't that great, though? I love learning.


A.A. Zavala profile image

A.A. Zavala 5 years ago from Texas

Thank you so much for the information! Will apply the techniques to help my hubs stand out.


mary615 profile image

mary615 5 years ago from Florida

I'm so glad I read this Hub. I never understood about the sidebar before, now I do. I learn something new every single day around here. Thanks.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

@A.A. Zavala - Thanks for stopping to read and comment. I'm glad you found the information useful.

@Mary615 - I just passed my 1 year mark here on HP and am still learning and trying to get a handle on keywords and SEO. Thanks for reading and I'm glad I could help


WD Curry 111 profile image

WD Curry 111 5 years ago from Space Coast

I am a graphic artist (among other things). I don't have time to glean tutorials. I owe you one, big time. I am used to user friendly and I'm allergic to Quark. You didn't cure the allergy, but you helped relieve some of the symptoms. Thanks!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois Author

WD Curry, thanks for reading and I'm glad the info here was helpful to you. I used to use Quark many years ago when I had a "borrowed" copy on my computer. InDesign is the industry standard now. One reason I love to be in school, either as a student or - now- as an instructor, is that it keeps me current on all the latest software and technology. Not that I always use them, mind you, but at least I'm familiar enough with them.


alissaroberts profile image

alissaroberts 4 years ago from Normandy, TN

I am loving this series of hubs - really useful information for all new hubbers to read! Now I must go read how to generate hub ideas because it seems I have some kind of writer's block at the moment. Thanks for sharing your great tips with us newbies - voted up and useful :)


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi Allissa, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Getting ideas can be a challenge at times but hang in there, the slump will pass.


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Dear Danette:

I am brand-spanking new to Hub Pages. I am struggling with my first Hub. I have all the text where I want it, but I cannot place the individual pictures where I want them to go.

I cannot click and drag these pictures like I can on Microsoft Word...the only options I have to work with is "float to the right", "up" or "down", which places my picture all the way up or all the way down. This is to say that I do not get to control how far up or how far down the picture will go.

My plan was to align the 1/2 width pictures in accordance with the corresponding text, but I cannot get the individual pictures to go where I want them to.

The bar over to the right allows me to rearrange the order of the pictures, but does nothing for me in terms of placing the pictures exactly where they need to go.

Is there any magic under the moonlight or sage advice you can spare a newbie? If you can, I sure would appreciate it. Thanks!


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi CJ Sledgehammer and welcome to Hub Pages! I'm glad you found my hub and I hope you found it useful, beyond the problem you're having with your pictures.

(CJ is my son's name, well actually he was named for his grandfathers and we just called him by the first initials)

I read your first hub and I assume you either got help from someone else or were able to figure it out. The pictures seemed to align with the appropriate text, near as I could tell. My advice to you would have been to make multiple capsules rather than put your poem in one long capsule. Then place the picture with the corresponding text in the same capsule. That should help with the spacing problems.

Let me know if that helped, if you got help before I responded or if you figured it out, I'm curious to know.


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Dear Danette:

Thank you so much for your response and for freely offering to help a total stranger.

I am so new to this, that even the most basic information seems to be over my head, so to speak. I am so lost, it is even a major challenge just to figure out how to respond to comments. Is there no tutorial for newbies? If there is, I have not seen one. :0(

I decided that the best recourse would be to erase my entire post and then create multiple capsules with correlating text and pictures, hence taking it piece by piece. I had copied this text from a Microsoft Word document and slapped it down nice and easy. I couldn't have been prouder of myself, but as they say, "If it seems to good to be true, it probably is."

I cannot tell you how frustrating this was. It took me two days to try and incorporate a few little pictures next to predrafted text.

Danette, why did Hubpages make this so hard? Why couldn't a person just add pictures like in Microsoft Word? Import, click and drag, what could be easier?

What makes matters even worse, is there doesn't seem to be any viable tutorials addressing these issues. By the grace of God and a little luck, I found you! And, please do not ask me how I found you, because I no longer remember...I'm just glad I did!

So, is that how it's done? One must write a little...add a picture...write a little more...add another picture, and so on and so forth? Seems like there must be a better way, and if not, there should have been.

I hope your son is doing well and I pray that you are, too. Thank you so much for helping me troubleshoot...I would have been lost without you, though I do not believe I am out of the thicket just yet.

Best wishes to you and yours - C.J. Sledgehammer


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Hi CJ, I can understand your frustration. There were times when I wished I had someone sitting next to me tutoring me along. I have a couple suggestions for you which I hope don't come across as condescending since I don't have any idea of your level of expertise.

First, check out the Learning Center. Here's the link. There are some videos listed toward the bottom.

http://hubpages.com/learningcenter/contents.

Explore the site and read everything you can in it. A good hub to read is this one: http://hubpages.com/learningcenter/Elements-of-a-S... Check out HPs blog as well. It mentions a lot of stuff like adding video, polls, etc. but just take one step at a time and master one thing at a time.

Second, browse the forums if you haven't already done so. Ask questions of fellow hubbers and read what others are asking. Basically you're going to have to just immerse yourself in HP, learn all you can and experiment.

I don't know what your goals hare for Hub Pages but if it's to make money, count on being here at least a year before you really get anything unless you're very SEO (Search Engine Optimization) savvy (meaning you know how to use keywords to get Google's attention).

Try not to get discouraged and just keep writing and playing around with the technology and it will get easier.


CJ Sledgehammer 4 years ago

Thank you, Danette!

I appreciate your encouragement and for pointing me in the right direction. I will do as you asked and I thank you for spending your time helping me.

Who knows, if I get good at this, I will have you to thank!!!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Very useful Danette, well laid out too.


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 4 years ago from Illinois Author

Thanks Jools99 and thanks for taking the time to read it!

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