The Seven Things I've Learned in My Five Years on HP


I recently read an excellent hub by a hubber who had just finished her first year here on HubPages. She listed seven things she'd learned so far. Those seven things were instructional for even old soul hubbers like me. I've been here five years, though there are many who have been here twice that number and more. I'd love to see their lists of things learned.

It got me to thinking about what I've learned over these years. Much of it I wish I'd picked up in my first year. But some of us are slow learners. Here are my seven gems of wisdom. I'd love to read others.

1. HubPages is run by a group of people who came up with an idea for an online business and are running it to make a profit. The first rule of marketing is find out who your most profitable customers are, and go out and find others just like them. By the end of your second year here if you are not making regular payouts, you probably never will unless you completely change what you write about and your style of writing. HP is looking for writers who make them money and will keep tweaking the process in order to do that.

2. Many successful hubbers, I'm convinced, simply paraphrase Wikipedia and call it a hub - usually a how-to hub. Nobody knows that much detail on that many subjects right off the top of their heads, but you never see a source listed for the majority of hubs. I say, live and let live, but take with a grain of salt any advice from hubbers who fit this description.

3. Deleting comments that you don't agree with or you think are off-subject diminishes your hub. Let the discussion go where it will. If you only want to hear from people who agree with you, stick to the forums. But if you go to the trouble to write a hub and post it, understand that you have just published your thoughts in public and asked for people to tell you what they think: good or bad.

4. Don't call people names. Besides being rude and unprofessional, it weakens your argument. If you can't express your heartfelt opinion while at the same time showing respect for the person on the other side of the argument, it's just as well you keep your opinion to yourself. Expressing it obnoxiously only diminishes your position.

5. Write. Just write. Don't write to improve your hubscore. Don't write to increase your page views. Don't write for the Google gods. Write what you are interested in. Write what you care about. Write what you know or are willing to find out. That's the hook HubPages used to attract us in the first place. Featured, editor's choice, apprenticeship, hub of the day, awards and accolades be damned. Just write. That's what you signed up to do.

6. This is not the place for most people who need to write to pay the bills.

7. Participate. You get out of this experience - like most in life - what you put into it. My goal in my fifth year is to read more hubs, more hubs by new writers, more hubs by writers I follow. Questions and forums are window dressing. Hubs are what this place is all about. My goal for the next four years is to read as much as I write.

Please check out the first year hubber who inspired this hub:

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Jodah profile image

Jodah 20 months ago from Queensland Australia

Hi Kathleen, your list of things you have learnt here is a good one. I can't argue with any of it. I have been here over five years now, and my main incentive is just to be able to write. Many in the forums said poetry won't do well here and you are wasting your time but I persisted. I have actually found the best way is to write a hybrid hub that contains poetry, additional information relevant to the topic of the poem, plus a recipe or how to something, videos etc. As you say "participation" is the main thing here. The more you read and comment on other's hubs the more people interact with yours, and it is a great community. Voted up.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Jodah: I'm so glad to get a response from a hubber who is "older" than me here on HP. My poetry is my least viewed topic, but I might utilize some of your suggestions. The few recipes I have here are in the context of a story. Why not do that with poems? Great idea.

I hope the first year hubber I "inherited" this idea from doesn't mind me using her idea from the other side of this experience.

somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 20 months ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

The Seventh is probably a good goal for all of us but might be difficult to accomplish.

Having been here almost four years as well, it is difficult for me not to be cynical but what saves me is that I don't write for anything but me and to plant the seed of knowledge . . . whether it grows isn't up to me.

Jasmeetk profile image

Jasmeetk 20 months ago from India

very motivating!!! hubpages increased the level for featured hubs. Now, they are looking for very high quality and it is a little demotivating to see unfeatured tag on you efforts...:( but this is the only way to improve our content quality.... voted up for your hub!!

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 20 months ago from Minnesota

Great tips about what to do and not do on Hubpages. I agree that being on this site does not make one rich but that's not why I'm here. I heard about this writing site from a friend who knew I use to write in a journal-Five years ago I got back to my love and passion of writing by coming here. I can't even tell you how much happier I am. It's been a healing ride and journey. Thanks for a helpful hub. Voted up and hit many buttons.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I can't argue with that. It's noble. How involved we are with other people's work is an option HP offers. Individuals will feel differently about that. Thanks for commenting, and I'd like to take the option to read some of your work.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I guess it depends on how you define quality. I'm not going to argue that because we all have our reasons for being here. I appreciate your comment and the encouragement.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

The best part of writing this hub is turning out to be meeting so many hubbers I haven't read before. Thanks for taking the time to comment. And I have some reading to do!

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Sorry. I responded in the comment que and they didn't come out under each hubber. The previous responses were for somethingblue, then Jasmeetk, and finally Minnetonka Twin. Thanks!

fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 20 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Kathleen.....7 excellent and well-shared lessons. I am especially fond of Number 5. That's my mantra here.

You have inspired me to write on some valuable lessons I too have learned in my 4 years here. The lessons for me are a bonus in addition to simply having the opportunity to share the creations of my muse, as well as interacting with the fabulous people I've come to know and love.

I hope others will follow this lead and pass on their lessons. Thanks so much, Kathleen. Peace, Paula

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 20 months ago from southern USA

Hi Kathleen,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight here after four years on HP. I certainly do not write for money and I have been remiss here of late in publishing, although I have plenty ideas for hubs in the future. Just have to sit down and write, write, write, as you state.

Even when I am not publishing as much as I once have, I do take the time to read the writings of those I follow, just because I follow them and I love to read their work. I believe a huge part of belonging to this community is actually participating in the community by reading, commenting and sharing!

I have been so blessed to meet so many gifted writers who are now my lovely friends I never would have thought I'd meet so many and that so many actually read what I write LOL. However, that first year, did take a lot of participation in the community, which I think is key to making one's time spent here a pleasure and a blessing.

Peace and blessings always

Up +++ and sharing

Kiss andTales profile image

Kiss andTales 20 months ago

Great hub of Subject that I can truly relate to .thank you for writing and reminding us what are journey is on HP.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Paula and Faith: Thanks for the feedback from two great HP friends (from whom I've learned a lot!) Kiss and Tales: Love your handle! Must take a look at your hubs! Thanks for your comments.

somethgblue profile image

somethgblue 20 months ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

Paula (Effer the Heffer), makes a good point as this subject matter could easily become a theme oriented Hub, allowing all HP writers to share their experience, lessons and goals.

I agree with the philosophy of letting all the comments to remain, without deletion, as I abhor censorship in any form. Plus it also has the added benefit of showing others how writers deal with criticism, trolls and negativity.

It seems clear to me that most writers on HPs aren't here for the $$ but to fulfill a passion. Sure getting paid for doing what you enjoy is icing on the cake but the bottom line is that we enjoy, writing as its own reward.

Writing for me is a way to organize my diverse thinking process and unique paradigm with the world, as I tend to explore ideas, concepts and information most writers wouldn't touch if you paid them.

I do not fear being wrong only stagnation, as learning keeps the heart young. Jimi Hendrix said it best, "Knowledge Speaks, Wisdom Listens!"

Again, Great Hub, I generally don't read Hubs twice but deemed yours worthy!

phdast7 profile image

phdast7 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Kathleen - Wonderful Hub and I like all seven, but I think I like number 5 the very best. :)

Write, just write. No expectations, no five year plan, just write. Thank fully, and with much encouragement from you, that is how I began.

Not expecting many readers or any income, gave me the freedom to follow and "not follow" HP's writing suggestions as I chose. So i wrote longer essays with footnotes and poems with lots of illustrations. And surprisingly, altho it took a while both types of Hub eventually found an audience.

And I owe it all to you. Without your suggestions and encouragement, I would never have given HP a try. Glad I did. :)

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are welcome, and surely the statute of limitations has run out on the credit I get from bringing you here. You are an institution on HP and you did that all by yourself. Anyone who sees this and hasn't read phdast7, head to her profile and you can thank me later.

Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

This hub was very helpful and interesting. I really enjoyed the read and soon I look forward to reading all of yours and future ones.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Linda: Welcome to my hubs! Hope to see your comments on more of them. I'm glad, too, to have a new author to read.

Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

Hello Kathleen thank you and will read your new one tonight looking forward to it. Love your talent and your creative attention getting writing.

Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

Exceptional and a terrific helpful informative hub.

poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

Definitely some interesting insights. I can see I will remain a hobbyist since I don't know that I want to do what is needed to make this a business proposition. I still want to write what I feel like when I feel like it.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 20 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Linda and poetryman6969: Thanks for commenting and I look forward to reading more of your "just write" efforts.

Linda Robinson60 profile image

Linda Robinson60 20 months ago from Cicero, New York

Thank you Kathleen so nice meeting you. Take care. And talk to you again soon. I agree it is super meeting other talented and inspired writers.

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Larry Wall 19 months ago

Excellent observations.

I have written two "how to" hubs, and they have been my highest scores. I tend to write more about politics, social issues and similar topics. I made money my first year, but have not the last two. Too many hubs turn into arguments, and the comments will go on forever, with the original subject getting lost. Hub Pages is a good place to get writing practice, but what I write does not meet the standards. I have written about the same number of Hubs as you, and my followers are about the same, though I think, some are not really there any longer. I took a couple of breaks and lost some of my following. As a teaching tool, it is a good place to help you find your niche. I make much more money on TextBrokers and HireWriters. You get some feedback, but not as much as you get on Hub Pages.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 19 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I have a couple of "how-to" hubs as well, but most of what I write doesn't meet editorial standards here either. Oh well. My views haven't been the same since last summer's massacre (for whatever the popular consensus thinks was the reason). Never heard of the two sites you mentioned. I'll have to check them out, though I put my real efforts into my novels in hopes (!!!) that's where my retirement security will come from one day.

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Larry Wall 19 months ago

I wish you much success. I attempted a novel, and I got bored about halfway through it and that was being generous. My current plan calls for phasing out of Hub Pages and to concentrate on Short Stories. I wish you much success in your efforts. Hub Pages has its good points, but the atmosphere has changed over the years, and it is just not as much fun as it used to be.

peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 18 months ago from Home Sweet Home

write, just write, don't expect for more. Great advice

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 18 months ago from Long Island, NY

You're absolutely right Kathleen. Hubs are what this place is all about, as you said.

Sometimes I see lengthy posts in the Forum or in comments that could have been applied to creating a Hub instead. I guess people don't realize that it's better to make a hub if they have something important to share. It will bring more attention to it and have a longer lifespan for residuals. Money is not made from forum posts. At least or directly.

I spend a lot of time in the forums, mainly to keep up with what's going on. And I'm sure some of my hub traffic is due to my participation in the forums. But once again, it's the hubs that bring the money.

I hardly ever use the Q&A , as they don't get much attention as compared to hubs. But it's a good source of ideas to write about in a hub.

So I related to everything you said. So true.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 18 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Glenn: I value your opinion. Don't know what's brought me to your attention lately, but I appreciate the feedback.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 18 months ago from Long Island, NY

Kathleen - To answer your question, when you started following me, I added you to a list of people to check out. Whenever I have the time, I review that list to find hubs to read that are engaging and well-written. I guess I had more time lately to catch up with that.

ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 17 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Hi Kathleen, Only been here one year but have read many interesting hubs. It has been a pleasure for me to read and have a place to write about my guitars.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 17 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

ladyguitarpicker: I have to guitar-picking sons myself. Have to take a look at your work. Thanks for commenting.

Cyndi10 profile image

Cyndi10 15 months ago from Georgia

Hi Kathleen, I enjoyed your hub. For me, simply put, I like the community. There is some really creative work found here. I agree that some of the work may look a little staid, but as you said, that is the style most people look for when searching and Hubpages was created to make money. I get that. I do like that it has been a pretty stable platform for a few years now and as long as I don't think about the writing to make money end of things, I'm ok.

I have a similar goal for next year and that is to post more here and to get more involved in the community with comments and questions.

Thanks for sharing your reflections.

Take care, be creative, and write on.

Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 15 months ago from Ruskin Florida

God one, Kathleen - Your points are right on. We, the writers are here, on this commercial site because, well ...... it's the best one we can find!

As you mentioned, we must write, and the statistics and money we make, although minor, are a type of positive feedback for our writer's egos.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 15 months ago from California

There is a lot of wisdom here--and I think many writers here follow these gems --but not all--

Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 15 months ago from Orlando, FL

Bravo!! Your tips are well stated and excellent advice. I've been on HP for almost 5 years which is difficult to believe, I continue to learn and my HP peeps are the bestest! :)

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 15 months ago from sunny Florida

These are tips that newbies would do well to ferret out and read.

One thing I have learned is that this is a welcoming and friendly community of writers....

Angels are on the way to you ....this is my fourth year as well...


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 15 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Cyndi, Don, Audrey, Sunshine and pstraubie: Thanks for the feedback, especially from hubbers with so much experience. Write On!

ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 15 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Thanks for your tips, and your very good hubs. I wish I would have read this when I first started. Will continue to read your hubs, Stella

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 15 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks, Stella! I wish I'd read something like this when I started as well.

Au fait profile image

Au fait 12 months ago from North Texas

Sounds good! Great advice for newbies and oldies alike. I always know I will learn something when I read one of your articles and that it will be well written as well.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 12 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Au fait: High praise coming from a writer as skilled as you! Thank you and look forward to more of your work.

lindacee profile image

lindacee 11 months ago from Southern Arizona

Great reflections and advice, Kathleen! The one that rings true for me is #6 -- writing for HubPages will definitely not pay the bills, but it is fun and I've landed several gigs from clients that liked my Hubs.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 11 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

lindacee - Who knows what doors will open for any of us because of this community of writers? I keep hoping some of the folks who tell me how much they love my writing will buy some of my books! In the meantime, I sure appreciate the encouragement! As I said in the hub, I'd love to read some other hubber's lessons learned. Thanks for commenting.

Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 8 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Kathleen thanks for that lovely article. I started writing articles here because at least it was an opportunity to find readers who are willing to leave a comment. That in-itself is inspiring. Yes also to promote my own novels, but now I just write for the fun of it. In the two years that I've written just over 100 posts I have earned one payment, but meeting other writers has been far more beneficial all over.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 8 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

A late welcome to you, Nadine. Writing here has done nothing for my book sales (I have three on Amazon) but the benefits of friendship have outshown anything else I might have hoped for. Thanks for your comment. They keep me at the typewriter as well.

elnavann profile image

elnavann 6 months ago from South Africa

Thank you. I have recently dusted my Hubpages and started to write again. That was after the hub I thought was not very insightful surprised me with a $50 payout (after more than 2 years I must say). I have decided to use Hubpages to flex my writing muscles. In doing research for some longer piece, I have decided to start using Hubpages as the repository of my research - not to expect something for that. Even so, I often glance at my views, in the hope of some surprises. Your hub made me remember that I should stick to my own resolution, rather than hope for miracles.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 6 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Happy to encourage another writer. HP doesn't exactly pay the bills, but it hones the skills.

TessSchlesinger profile image

TessSchlesinger 2 months ago from South Africa

24 years on the web have taught me to delete comments that are uneducated as it lowers the tone of one's article. It is also a waste of time. One of the reasons that my following on Google Plus was highly intelligent and international was my very strict politicy to delete comments from trolls, the intellectually limited and the uninformed. That way, one could have a decent, well informed education.

Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

To each his own, Tess. I'm so glad you found this one and hope you find others of mine that spark a comment. It does add so much to the quality of the work. Happy New Year

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