I haven't made a penny yet, but I enjoy writing too much to care about the cash. As for getting higher ratings, I try to get fans, and then I keep in touch with them, going to their hubs and responding with comments. The more you talk with them, the more they visit your hubs.
This gets rather difficult when you have many hubs and many fans, but an occasional stop by lets them know you are still interested, and they usually respond.
Also, if you can get you hub connected to the wider web, having others link it for you, that helps a lot. And I find that keeping the text readable, using small paragraphs, helps on the Internet. Sometimes you see an excellent story that is hard to read because of lack of punctuation or paragraphs, and people may just skip by it. A few pictures also help.
Please let me know if this helps, and if I can think of anything else I will write you again!
P.S., write from the heart; that also catches positive attention! Also, do what you are doing now - ask questions of other hubbers. Most will respond with new ideas I haven't thought of. Then write a hub about what you've learned!