HubPages: The Yearly Review

Imagine...I'd never heard of Adsense?

In keeping with the semi-tradition of some hubbers who feel inclined to share their thoughts on "my first year at hubpages" - I thought I'd do the same. Such things might be of interest to newcomers, as they were to me when I arrived. First off, it's hard to believe it's been a whole year. Whoever said the older you get, the quicker the time goes, was spot on.

I stumbled upon HubPages during one of my fruitless searches on" how to make money writing online"...I was only half-serious, since every site I'd come cross thus far had I Don't Think So written all over it. Anyhow, i found HP and put in a very short three paragraph on the first thing that came into my head, not really expecting to ever come back, or rather not even thinking about it much. Little did I know what was in store....

Sucked In

The next day I half-heartedly looked at my hub and noticed I had a comment from someone called "The Voice", who had thoughtfully written "Nice hub Unique thoughts" beneath my little clump of words.. Well whadya know I thought, someone actually read my hub and thus, from that small act of kindness, I was on the hook, dangling like a sardine in a great big ocean of "online writers". I later discovered that "The Voice" made a point of commenting on just about every new hubbers work -to this day I'm not sure if he's not some kind of aut-bot, but nevermind.

Over the next couple of weeks I began moving around the site, reading other people's work and leaving little comments "interesting", "thoughful" "hmm, yes, I agree" and so-on.I'd never written online before so it was all a new experience. It was fun and I really enjoyed the variety of different styles and personalities. For a while I worried that everyone was "too nice"..was it a mutual wank? I wasn't used to the polite conversation as I'd come from YouTube and political forums where "you retard" and "what a moron" peppered every second sentence. But you know, the civilized conversation was refreshing and I appreciated it. I decided to view it not as 'mutual wanking' but rather as 'mutual support'...and I'm glad I did. I've met some terrific people here and that alone has been worth my involvement. I put my big toe in the forums and retreated again not long after. Not that I couldn't take the heat of debate but it was altogether too much of a distraction from writing main purpose for being here.

Everything about HubPages seemed designed to foster addiction - the scores, the accolades, the interaction, adsense, Amazon, the constant checking of traffic was like some sort of bizarre, really challenging game and I was fast getting hooked. I found myself getting thrilled over sums of money that wouldn't even buy a meal for my cat. In the real world people would roll their eyes when I announced with pride that "I'd made 20 cents today". They didn't understand and who could blame them? It was a bit of a joke.

Yet the thrill of being able to instantly publish was a powerful pull and every time I pushed the 'publish' button on a hub I felt like I'd given birth - to what remained to be seen. Could it be the Golden Hub..the one that would attract millions of views and enable me to fulfull my lifelong dream of buying a yacht and retiring to some warm, tropical corner of the earth? Ok I'm just kidding with that one..I am a bit of a fantasist but even I am not that unrealistic. I still do believe however, that HubPages is a fantastic publishing platform and at the very least, it has enabled me to build up a stock of articles that I otherwise wouldn't have had.

The Two-month Itch

A couple of months in and I was starting to feel a creeping sense of dissappointment. Negativity was getting to me and I reasoned I was spending a great deal of time here for little result. The comment exchanges were nice and I really did enjoy the interaction with my fellow hubbers but it seemed there was no light at the end of the tunnel as far as money went. While I never deluded myself that I'd get rich quick writing for HubPages, I was hoping to make a a very modest supplementary income...a few dollars a month even, would be a help but even that wasn't happening and didn't seem likely to happen in the future either. Occasionally I'd read on the forum that someone who had been here only a few months had may payout and I felt a pang of jealousy and resentment...I must be doing something wrong or I just haven't got what it takes to succeed in this game. I was forced to examine what it was I really wanted from this site - was the writing experience and social interaction enough to justfiy my remaining on the site?

Back With a Vengeance and The Crap Account

Well, the break proved to be a tonic, because after a couple of months off I returned with a renewed commitment to writing -I was going to crack this online income thing, come what may. and despite, no, in defiance of, what people in the real world were telling me.."you're wasting your time''s a mugs game'..'the time for making money online is over'...and so on. I ignored them and began to slavishly read up on "what the experts were saying" know, the importance of keywords, backlinking etc. Most of it went in one eye and got lost somewhere in a brain cavity but I did start to write with a new consciousness of "search engine traffic". I set a goal to get 50 hubs out by Christmas, which I achieved.

Plus, toward the end of the year I opened a new account which I called the "crap account". Not that it was really so crappy but I meant it specifically for Amazon oriented hubs, though it has become a kind of experimental account where i try out new things. Needless to say the crap account has proved slightly more successful than my main account.

The Panda Thing

In March it seemed Hubworld got shaken up and turned upside down as their was much flurry, debate and discussion about the changes to Googe's algorithms. In truth I wasn't getting enough traffic to really tell how much my own hubs had been affected, although I did notice my my most viewed hub "Men's Pyjamas" (of all things) had gone from up near the top of page one to total obscurity, so far back in the search pages I couldn't even find it.

As a novice in the online writing world, I was, am still, unsure of the implications. I noticed some people bailed out...was it all over, before I'd barely begun to get serious? I decided to plug ahead, still unable to let go of my dogged determination to make a supplementary income online. In fact recently I've begun to get ambitions about starting my own webstie..reaching for the sky and have a few, admittedly as yet not fully formed ideas.

I'm still very fond of's become a home on the web for me and perhaps in the end, it will have proved to be a good starting point for writing online. I've certainly got faster at article writing, particularly on my crap account where i'm churning them out like a production line.At the end of last year I said to myself, I'll just get to a hundred and then if I haven't made money I'll quit...but now I'm thinking I'll just get to five hundred and quit. I've already invested so much time here, I feel I can't quite quit yet. I figure since my SEO practices leave something to be desired, I'm going to have to get there through sheer volume. Part of me feels like a fool for persisting, the other part feels I should keep the faith. If you're reading this you may want to now if I'm making any money? I know I would. The answer is no..not really....just over 20 dollars a month. Since I've been writing alot of hubs recently, I'm hoping to see this increase but if it doesn't..? Well, I don't know...I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. Sometimes I do feel this place works through the perpetual dangling of a carrot that most us never quite get to eat....

Update: Two Years at HubPages

Yes, incredibly, amazingly, another year has slipped from my grasp and it has now been two full years since I first set foot on HubPages virtual soil. Iv'e done very little with this account, having produced only five hubs in the last year. I did however write many hubs for my alternative account here - the one where I tried to be commercially viable. For a while that account was going swimmingly well and I almost believed I could make a success of it but then, in January the whole thing crashed and burned and my views were reduced to a pitiful trickle. I had, apparently been too commercial and had incurred some kind of mysterious Google penalty, from which I still haven't recovered. It was extremely disappointing, considering the effort I'd put in and the slide brought home to me with full force, the dubious wisdom of trying to make money online.

Although I'm sure some people can manage it, there just seems to be too many unpredictable variables at play - it's too insecure. I do understand, even vaguely believe, Google's mission statement to push 'quality' to the top but at the same time I resent them having seemingly changed the rules mid-stream. Just when I felt I was beginning to master the whole 'commercial' thing, whatever I was doing (and it was nothing at all Black Hat) is no longer acceptable. However, I must try not to be bitter and twisted. Perhaps I deserved to crash - I'm still not sure about that. Ironically, at the same time my alternative account crashed, this one, which I have ignored, has shot up, though it has not compensated for the loss. The commercial workings of the internet are still a mystery to me.

Outside of HubPages I've had more success. Halfway through last year, I began my own blog, which is really more of a mini-content site than a traditional blog. I've been a little bit astounded by the amount of views on that site which have been far more than I have ever had here. This has encouraged me to continue with writing online and I do also intend to put more effort into this account - I at least want to get to 100 hubs, if only for symmetry!

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Comments 33 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

So far I have not made enough to count.It seems like when I catch up with the technology they change it. I am pretty certain my grandchildren understand it better than I do.

When I get the time I will probably go through my old hubs and see if I can improve them from the standpoint of fitting the new rules since my traffic has dropped also.

I admit that being retired I indulge myself in writing mostly what suits my whims. If one really wants to make money at this it appears that you have to figure out the SEO factors first and write to that model. I suspect that who write do-it-yourself articles, product reviews and such do better.

I voted this hub UP and Useful.

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada


Congrats on your one year at HubPages. Some days it get very discouraging when I go to my Google Adsense account and see 0.00 for that day, or for the past seven days and I just keep telling myself hang in there. I really enjoy all the great people that I have met on HubPages and I think that is what keeps me here. Who knows maybe after a year I might hit a payout.

Enjoyed your hub.

drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

You may have discovered the solution, Jane. One hub like this one for writing brilliant prose or poetry, and another 'crap hub' for exercising ingenuity in creating reviews or advertising products. Could be the answer.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Well, I am not in it for the cash, Jane. I suppose I want to be recognized as a writer and to get it known I have a few novels out there. Apart from that there is the exploring of my own interests in history, literature, art, etc and other people's interests as well.

I have gone through a half dozen of my original hubs and have made improvements. Usually I just flesh them out more.

It has been good Jane, dahoglund. Keep up the hubs.

Mike Marks profile image

Mike Marks 5 years ago

truly an excellent Hub, I think, because it is personal, unlike some of your Hubs which are generic articles on the Monkees or whatever, yet Universal for this audience, you know this audience, you're one of us, personal and universal at once. Do you know a message you sent me is "you are unique" I didn't know at the time you were passing foward the Voice's encouraging word.

secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

You were one of my early followers if I'm not mistaken. We've been here for about the same amount of time, and clearly you have done much better than me. One thing I notice about you is that you write on a wide variety of topics, whereas I tend to concentrate on a narrower set. Also you write a lot more articles.

So diversification, quantity and quality. That seems to be the trick for getting views and making money. Not that I'm really concerned with the money. At the end of the day, I write about things that I like and enjoy the discussions and debates. I've been recently considering opening a new account to write about different topics.

Oh, and I'm with you on the "mutual wank" bit, haha. When I first joined, I was like "wow, these people are REALLY friendly... kind of weird." But as I started doing what I do best--disagreeing with people--that illusion was thrown out the window! Haha!

So, in the interest of you keeping my comment on this soon-to-be massive hub, allow me to say:

Congratulations on your first year!! LOVE the hub, voted up! :) :)

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Thanks everyone,

Dahoglund, yes I'm sure you're right. Successful SEO is the missing ingredient from my "business plan", though I have tried, in my other account at least, to write some product reviews using the keyword thingey. It's a hard game, that's for sure.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Susan, thanks for that. It's somehow comforting to know I'm not the only one facing a bunch of zeros...and yes, the people here are a big factor in my motivation to stay.It is a great community.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Ah drbj, it's people like you that help make this place. You're so supportive to so many people.

From what I can tell, there's quite a few people here with second accounts. It's worked out for me to have the double account.I don't usually have comment boxes there, as I'd feel a little duplicitous if someone I knew it's become a real 'word factory' with no distractions.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod, I do feel a little grubby being in it for the cash...but I'm poor! Any chance of an extra income, however small, is welcome by me. I often write from the perspective of my own interests too. There are some topics I just couldn't bear to write about, not matter how popular they are in the search weight loss for example or *finance*. Although, maybe in the crap account....:)

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi Mike...if i was passing on Voice's message, it was unconscious! I thought it was coming from me.

Yes, I am one of you. There is a kind of cameraderie at this matter what personal reason drives us to be here, we all have one common factor at least - and that's writing.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

secs, dear secs..yes, we did arrive at the same really stood out. I don't want to get maudlin, but you've always been one of my favourite writers here. I write about whatever comes into my head. You have a niche and you fill it exceptionally well. So well that I can't imagine you writing about other things! However, I'm sure whatever you wrote about, it'd be done with great aplomb.I'll always be a fan.

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Not rich myself Jane. Weight loss is one I wouldn't touch either.

secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

Oh, Jane.

Stop trying to start a mutual wank! :)

I appreciate that, my friend. Means a lot coming from someone like you. You're also a terrific writer, with great taste. I love reading your stimulating, accessible work. Your discipline, work ethic and versatility are something to admire.

And fear not--I'll always have a passion for anything that falls under the "One thousand and one reasons religion is for suckers" umbrella. But above all, I'm concerned with the truth, and there are so many other interesting topics to explore... if I ever get to it!

Merlin Fraser profile image

Merlin Fraser 5 years ago from Cotswold Hills

Hi Jane,

Congratulation on staying the course thus far, like you I tend to write about anything and everything. Earning an income was never my first intention and thus far I have been greatly sucessful at not earning anything.

I write for fun and to promote myself as a novelist, my Inner Space triology of Murder Mysteries and the name of Merlin Fraser were an International secret....

So hang in there and here's to the next year.

Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

Jane, well done on your year at hub pages. There is quality in your quantity and I love the idea of the ' crap' account for selling our writer's souls! You are an excellent writer and always highly readable! Congrats!

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod, we're agreed on the weight loss issue then..:)

Lol secs..thanks wanking buddy. I'll refrain from coming back with a counter compliment, lest we go blind!

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Merlin, thank you. Lol, well, the promotion is paying off, as "Merlin Fraser" is practically a household name. It is around here anyway. Congratulations on the Inner Space trilogy Murder Mysteries..I consider it a great achievement to have produced an actual book (or three, since it's a trilogy).

And yes, here's to next year..(raises glass)..cheers! It'll be interesting to see where we all (and HubPages) are by then.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hey Docmo, thanks for stopping by. Haha, yes, I have to admit, it's handy to have an another outlet to jettison the er..stuff through!

Thankyou for the compliment too. It's mutual...:)

Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

I think over the months we have agreed on a lot of issues, Jane. We have also had some fun as well.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Rod, definitely! I'm really glad I met you here..:)

Lee B profile image

Lee B 5 years ago from New Mexico

If I weren't already your fan, I would be after reading this hub. Your thoughts and experiences on hubpages sound so much like mine. Now I don't regret not writing my own one year review.

I think I've dropped off writing hubs lately because of that addictive aspect. I really appreciate your analysis. Yeah, that is what happened!

Oh, and the crap account--brilliant! I'm gonna do it!

jrsearam profile image

jrsearam 5 years ago from San Juan, PR

Congratulations on the anniversary Jane. You're the "wanking" intended! JR

secularist10 profile image

secularist10 5 years ago from New York City

BTW, Jane, this "crap account" you speak of... It wouldn't happen to go by the pseudonym "James A Watkins" would it?

Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 5 years ago from Illinois

Hi Jane,

I could have written this hub myself - you expressed my frustration and vacillation perfectly (even down to the "dangling the carrot" phrase and checking out all the other online writing sites who just seem to accept crap).

I often feel like a latecomer to the party and now that Google changed everything up and the experienced writers are seeing falling hub traffic, what chance do I have? Plus, my state doesn't allow me to be an Amazon affiliate, so there goes another income source. So I try to keep my focus on improving my writing regarding optimization as well as getting them out there faster.

Thanks again for expressing my own thoughts so clearly. Voted up and useful.

profile image

Bethany Culpepper 5 years ago

Well done and thank you for being so honest. It's fun - that's the best reason to do it. I haven't made much, but have enjoyed the journey.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Lee, you were among the first people I met here and still the only person ever to comment on that 'Cultural Confetti' hub, so that endears me to you for a

You really don't need to write a Golden Hub because you've already got the yacht! ((envy))

Thanks for dropping in

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

haha..thanks jrsearam! Appreciate that.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Oh boy Yes I really enjoyed debating with myself in that Darwin hub!

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Hi Dannette..and thanks. I'm glad you could relate - it makes me feel comfortable somehow knowing others might feel the same about this place! That's a bummer about Amazon being inaccessible...not very fair. Not that I've ever made a cracker with Amazon myself...:)

As you say, with Google changing the rules and all that, it does seem like a very hard task to get anywhere as far as adsense goes but I think you're on the right track focusing on the writing.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

Bethany, thankyou and I too, have enjoyed the journey. Good luck with it all!

Perspycacious profile image

Perspycacious 4 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

Who said making money writing is going to be easy? Who said getting peer recognition of one's writing was going to be a slam dunk? Who said learning SEO, keywords, backlinks, good titling, layout, photography, and all the rest would be just second nature? Are we learning? Is it getting easier? Do some meaningful comments stir the juices now? Am I better prepared for having been here? What counts on the HubPages adventure? To each his/her own.

Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 4 years ago from The Fatal Shore Author

I don't know..who said it? Not me.

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