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Hubbers, Hub Topics and a Potential Problem for Niche Writers

  1. Gordon Hamilton profile image97
    Gordon Hamiltonposted 3 years ago

    This weekend, one of my favourite novelists caused me a big disappointment. On Friday night, I went to exchange my library books and was delighted to see a new novel by one of my favourite writers, Peter Robinson. "Assuming" it was the latest installment of his DCI Banks series, I snatched it immediately from the shelf without bothering to read the blurb on the dust jacket and added it to my books for check out. It was only later that night, when I picked up the book, I discovered that the book did not feature his famous police characters but was instead about some recent widower buying a haunted house! It was a total diversification from his normal subject matter. It may sound stupid, but I felt cheated by a writer I so admire for writing about something other than what I expected from him. I actually set the book aside and picked up another one, from a different author - though I probably will give it a chance when the disappointment wears off...

    So how may this relate to Hub Pages and Hubbers? Obviously, many very successful Hubbers who are also great writers do write on a wide variety of subjects as it is, so the point I am making is unlikely to affect this type of Hubber. Equally, however, there are Hubbers who write only on one or two very specific subjects, many of whom will have a substantial following both on and off HP. So what if such a Hubber chose to write on a totally different subject?

    As an extreme example, imagine a Hubber with a huge following for his/her Hubs on the thrills and spills of white water rafting suddenly decides to write a Hub about how to knit warm woolly socks for Winter. Would their fans (particularly outside the HP community) feel as I did on Friday night with the novel?

    I am of course aware that separate HP accounts can be created for different subject matter and that the domain system lends itself particularly well to niche writing topics. I never realised before, however, just how important this consideration could prove to be. Any thoughts?

    1. Barbara Kay profile image86
      Barbara Kayposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I've wondered about this myself. I write about home remedies and homesteading issues and then have a lot of crochet hubs. For those who don't crochet, I'm sure they get tired of me writing those.

    2. tammybarnette profile image60
      tammybarnetteposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Very interesting...when I came to hubpages I had intended to write on many subjects but have sort of found my niche with political and social issues. I do read an assortment of articles from the many great authors of the hub community. I have wondered if my niche actually hurts me...

  2. WriteAngled profile image91
    WriteAngledposted 3 years ago

    With respect to authors of novels, I would be willing to try something written by a favourite author outside his usual genre, provided it was not in a genre I abhor such as romance or westerns. However, if the experiment failed for me, I would probably never read another book by that author again, because  would not wish to risk being let down once again.

    With respect to an author of articles, I would not care less either way initially. I would be following such an author in a newspaper or magazine. If one of their articles bombed with me, I would simply ignore it. However, if they continued producing stuff I hated, I would stop reading their column.

    I do not "follow" anyone on the Web in the sense of reading everything they write, so cannot respond to this question with respect to someone publishing exclusively on the Web.

  3. Len Cannon profile image89
    Len Cannonposted 3 years ago

    There's no audience on HubPages for people with a "following."  If you're writing here, you're almost certainly writing for search engines.  There aren't going to be too many people outraged that you wrote an odd article or two about your favorite vacation spot instead of sharing a new recipe.  Why? Because they've never read your work before and probably won't read it again.

    It's possible to get followers on HubPages and I'm happy to have people from here read and comment, but they're not earning my money. Now, there are SEO reasons to maybe consider having odd articles separate from your niche account, but I am comfortable saying you are completely safe from "regular readers" getting huffy about you going off the reservation for an article or two.

    1. Marisa Wright profile image92
      Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Len is absolutely right.

      Yes, HubPages has "followers", but followers are other members of HubPages.  That means they are writers, and will understand another writer won't always stick to a single subject.

      Your main audience comes from the search engines, and those readers won't even look at your profile.  They probably don't even notice there are different authors on HubPages.  They are far more likely to browse other Hubs on the same topic by other authors, than browse Hubs by the same author.

      Besides, if you have a niche where you feel you could write a large volume of material, I'd always recommend putting those articles on your own blog, where you can build up a following.

      1. SylviaSky profile image91
        SylviaSkyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Blogs are overrated. People don't have time to read blogs anymore. People Google for information specific for their needs right for that moment and don't care if it's on a blog or a Hub or ask.com. I am glad to fulfill their needs with the best Hub articles I can write, whenever I can. Write what you want. Quality is the only issue.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image92
          Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          Yes, that's absolutely true.  However, Google has stated clearly that it is now favouring "authority sites" in its search results.  An authority site is a blog or website with a solid amount of good information on one subject area]

          So, for instance, you could write a great Hub on dog training, which deserves to do well on Google - but if someone else has a whole blog on dog training, it's likely to beat your Hub (even with poorer quality articles), because it's viewed as an "authority site". 

          So it's not about whether people read the whole blog or not - it's about impressing Google so that searchers will be presented with the individual blog post which is relevant to their needs.

          Obviously, it's not a good idea to try creating an authority site unless you know you have the knowledge or ability to create a large amount of good content on one topic.  I would never advise someone to start their own blog if they didn't have a specialist topic they could excel at.

          1. SimeyC profile image88
            SimeyCposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            This is one thing that reallllllllllllly annoys me about Google. When I search I want to read the BEST article - I don't care if that's the only article has ever written. Just because someone has written a hundred articles on the same subject doesnt necessarily mean that all the articles are factual or good!

            I know I have to play Google's game - but I feel it's wrong and  feel I'm cheating the reader if I create dozens of articles simply to gain authority - surely the reader would benefit more to an article that I could dedicate 100% of my time to!

            1. Marisa Wright profile image92
              Marisa Wrightposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I know what you mean, Simey, but that's life.

              The thing is, if you know your subject, it should be possible to write a hundred articles on the same subject, each treating a different aspect of the topic.  That's why Google has decided to go the "authority site" route - because someone who can contribute a lot of good content MUST know their stuff.

              Unfortunately some people will try to game that system by writing a lot of articles which are basically just the same thing repeating itself - but Google is also trying to do better at identifying spun articles so that may help downgrade those sites.  All you can do, as a writer, is try to outrank them by doing it better.

              The trick is not to be too narrow with your subject.  The old advice was to pick a narrow niche for your blog - the new advice is to pick a broad topic, so you'll have plenty of material. For instance, in the past I had three separate belly dance blogs - one for performers, one for DVD reviews and one for costumes.  I've now combined them all into one larger site about belly dancing in general. I've even been told I'm not thinking big enough, and that I should consolidate all my blogs into one about "dance".

  4. cperuzzi profile image95
    cperuzziposted 3 years ago

    Caveat emptor.

    While it's certainly good to have a niche within hubpages, it is not a requirement and, for the exercise of being a writer, it's good to be able to communicate on several different types of genres.  One of the reasons I enjoy reading Jim Butcher is that he can write equally well with a character like Harry Dresden, who speaks in first person, and then switch gears to Codex Alera (a more middle earth type topic) in third person voice.   The same can be said about Anne Perry, Agatha Christie, and Arthur Conan Doyle - three mystery writers that have done work in scifi and fantasy.

    Writers have their niches.  Mine are zombies and comic books.  That does not stop me from writing about beer, hangovers, and emergency preparations for disasters.

    Personally, I get attached to an author because I like the way they write.  Terry Pratchett, even through his Disk World novels, has written several types of fiction depending on the character.  Every so often, Pratchett will write a book that has nothing to do with the Disk World and I've found them to be equally enjoyable.