After observing fluctuations in my hubscores, position/rank of my hubs on topic pages, pageviews, and number of comments from hubbers, it just hit me that it really is all about traffic. I say this primarily because my more recent hubs are waaaay better than more older hubs that are ranked higher and are doing better, getting Google traffic. What say you?'
Writing articles is like setting up a restaurant; make it have great ambience with awful food and soon you’ll lose customers, it might have great food with average or unnoticeable ambience but still customers will throng there, have both and you win the game. Low quality hubs will always struggle in performance no matter how much ambience (share, comments, pins, tags…) is created for them. On the other hand, a high quality article comes with a raised, high flying green flag for search engines. Rarely do you need to promote it and search engines find it naturally, they are that intelligent nowadays and it is almost impossible to cheat them with short blurbs in the name of articles.
If you check on the list of top 100 hubbers in terms of traffic (Here: www(dot)alexa.com/siteinfo/hubpages.com) one thing is common, quality, quality and quality content. I like picking a hubber randomly from this list to find what is that that they write about but top on the score is quality. Oh, and you are very right, traffic is the key to earning here. I like to balance, that feeling of being “human” on hubpages is more rewarding and just like Marisa Wright put it, I think I have never been terribly disciplined on the money side.
Yes, honey, that's what we've been trying to tell you!
HubScores, Hubber Scores, comments, votes up or down, forum posting - they're all virtually irrelevant. They're all designed to create a community feel which encourages loyalty and helps motivate members, that's all.
Many business-focussed Hubbers make money without ever reading other Hubbers' Hubs, or commenting, or spending time on the forums.
Took me nearly 8 months to get it; OK I GET IT NOW!!!
Good for you!
I think you hit another nail on the head in another post: the social features of HubPages are enjoyable! One day, if you want to make real money from your Hubs, you need to find the discipline to step away from the HubPages forums and reading Hubs, and use your time more effectively by building your reputation outside HubPages.
You can probably tell by the number of forum posts I've made, that I've never been terribly disciplined myself...
It took me a long time to realise that there was a huge world out there apart from HubPages. I was pleased with a few visits from fellow Hubbers, and comments, and the scores.
It wasn't until I started seeing some search, direct and referral traffic, that I started to understand what I was doing and what the possibilities were.
I would agree that it is all about traffic - for reads and money - but getting there is a continual process of learning, understanding and improving your offering.
edit: That sounds way too up myself. I am not there yet. I retain a small hope of getting there one day.
Yes , but still I think it is important to read others hubs and to then pitnit or tweet it, etc.. I am going to continue to do this. There is little a person can do to drive traffic to their hub anywey, I think, tell me if I am wrong.
I can't tell anyone. Everyone has their own view and experience, and different content. Maybe social works, or keywording or some other method. I would quite like each search visitor to share my article with another 1,000 people. That would help.
I love to appease the search engines for it is what brings home the digital bacon per say. However I also love to write to my hearts desire and create a plethora of online series that I never ever complete, because I plan them all to last as long as I live. LOL
I hope this message isn't taken wrongly but I care more for sharing with others today, and if the traffic comes then so be it. I do love it, but if and when I focus on it alone it tends to disappoint me, and I never wanna feel that way again, so I steer away from the traffic stats fluctuation issues and all.
Cool forum post though thanks for the thought provoking entry here.
Hey Cloud, I agree that enjoyment comes from writing, sharing, creating, etc. It's just funny that after I took a step back and observed objectively what is really going on within my own domain, it all started to make another kind of sense to me. It will help me not to stress so much anymore.
You just said it yourself.
Those hubs that find a sweet spot in SERPS are your bread and butter. They've had more time to gain traffic and orgainc links, which Google loves. Newer hubs have a harder time, but with the right shares and links, they will eventually climb into higher positions if you use the right keywords in your title, URL, text, images, and if people are searching the topic. Also if your newer hubs can be linked to some of your older (relevant) hubs, this can help bring traffic.
The Learning Center has helpful advice on how to find traffic.
As you gain experience, your writing should improve (hopefully) and this in itself can lead to a better reading experience for the reader. (your audience) 'It's actually all about the audience'
They will more readily share something well written, than a piece full of spelling and grammar errors.
The age of the article, is only one of over 200+ separate signals that Google use to assess web pages.
Don't get hung up on the age of the hub.
For example:- I have several hubs that took off within 1 hour of being published, and still get good traffic every day, and have done since they were published.
Not even the constant PANDA updates affect daily pageviews of these hubs.
Go for quality, first, second and third.
Thanks for the pointers, molometer. Good to know. I'm OCD about spelling and grammar so I think I got that covered. I have been making quality a priority from day one. I just need to increase experience with writing more and doing a better job with titles, SEO, and targeting an audience who I can keep interested in coming back for more. Thanks so much for your advice.
There are a lot of great tips in this thread. I definitely agree that traffic is the big key, everything else is just complimentary.
The second lesson* I teach -- or preach? -- is:
"Traffic isn't everything, but everything comes from traffic."
You want money? Then you need enough visitors that the puny amounts of income you get from ads amount to something.
Or do you want sales? Then you need enough targeted traffic -- people interested in what your page has to offer -- that some of them buy something. (for sales, the kind of traffic is as important as the amount; your products need to match your audience's tastes and needs.)
Or do you just want readers and feedback? They're still a function of traffic. Moreover, readers generate readers, since they'll share and tell other online friends about your work if it's good enough. (But it has to be exceptional, because people only share a small fraction of what they see on the web.)
Every website has its badges and points, but they are meaningless beyond that site's bounds. The community aspect is fun for members, but is only tangentially related to one's bottom line.
*The first lesson I teach is:
These ideas are super. I just have one question. Does quality get marked down on word count, and does it matter? Does a long article get more traffic? My opinion is if it is an appealing quality hub, it does not need 1100 words. Some topics might need more words and others can do well with 700.
Thanks Janshares for your enlightening post and for all the other opinions.
Although I have some successful short hubs, length IS BETTER.
Why? Because Google doesn't look at your content as "A great 200 words on tomatoes" it looks and goes "Only 200 words on tomatoes, no backlinks to it, only one image, not many keywords to choose from, not much in the way of content for LSI."
In other words, YOUR hub needs to impress Google more than the 3,000 other online articles on the same topic! That's easier to do with more words.
I agree that HP is a business and making money is all about getting traffic. Where I have a problem is being told "someone else used that title so you cannot use it", writing what I consider to be a nothing hub and have it pull in lots of views consistently, writing really good hubs and watching them struggle to survive. I have watched Hubs that scored 100 drop into the 60's for no apparent reason. To me, once a hub is worth a 100 score, why wouldn't it stay that way? Furthermore, I learn a lot from reading other people's questions and forums and think they are important and thus feel that following them is time well spent. I will add here that it really "gets" me when I see someone with a relatively small number of hubs getting 100,000 views when I have worked my butt off and written a lot and never come close to that figure. This is all a maze to me, even after a year, and I hope I can figure it out one day.
You DO know that scores have nothing to do with getting money or traffic right? They're just a way to encourage site interaction. They're just a way to stop spammers getting quality links to their spam sites.
You can't just write something and hope that Google loves you. For instance if you write a 500 word hub on weight loss, you have THOUSANDS of other people out there who likely have older content, with more words, with better content who Google will rank higher than you.
If you know how to use keywords then you can get an idea of how to pull Google traffic. If you know how to create relevant Made For Pinterest images, you can drive Pinterest traffic. If you write on attention grabbing topics that make people go "Uhuh" and/or start a related Facebook page, you can draw hundreds and thousands of Facebook likes.
Your content is either time based (Big Improvements In Health Care Coverage Are Coming Soon) or in very saturated topics (Money management, Forgiveness, Home Interiors.)
You are spot on, Wry Lit, but I also write articles (my main niche) about the RV lifestyle, which is where two thirds or more of my views come from and relationships where I sometimes get decent views as well. I have read your guides on Pinterest, joined, and still don't "get" how it works. I try to do keyword work, but am not sure whether I do it correctly or not. I really appreciate that you took a look to see what I'm doing, and would like to hear further analysis from you as I do get disheartened. As you know, this is VERY hard work, and to not get some decent rewards is upsetting. I try to write Evergreen, but once in awhile feel it's important to do an article like the Health Insurance one you mentioned. Maybe I've got this whole thing wrong...what do you think?
First tip: DON'T work on getting your worst hubs to work. Ignore them and work with WHAT IS DOING WELL. You can pour 100 wasted hours into a crappy hub and get nowhere, but a couple hours of tweaks and promotion on a hub already getting good traffic can double its traffic.
(For the record, I've deleted over 100 articles that I found weren't working or I looked back on and laughed at after learning more.)
Second tip: The images I can see on your latest articles are NOT MFP images. There is NO reason that I'd want to click them on Pinterest to see where they came from. People on the internet are idiots. You need to be in their face with content that says CLICK ME! PIN ME! And put the image TOP RIGHT. That way if people want to come back to it, they'll pin it to come back to later.
Here is a quick example of what I'd try for your latest hub:
Third tip: There is way too much space in your hubs. You have dot point lists, numbered lists, big spaces... people won't know what to look at first. You have 4 seconds to grab the average user's attention and it's just as hard to keep it. Divide content into easy to see and attention grabbing subtitled boxes. Stick to one list if you have REALLY interesting attention grabbing points.
WryLilt, you are on a roll, excellent advice that we can all use. Please pick one of mine to critique if you have a moment. I am in the process of tweaking, editing, and switching out images with correct attributions. It is all very time-consuming but needed.
WryLit: Thank you soooo much! While what you have written depresses me, please know that: 1) I am afraid to touch my best hubs because I don't want to mess them up 2) I was advised early on to use a lot of white space and that Google likes lists, etc. 3) I am just now starting with Pinterest and have almost zero knowledge about how to use it, do pix, etc...I don't even understand what an MFP pic is! You obviously have been very successful here, so I will be making changes soon. For now, I'm walking away for a few weeks to take a short trip...but once I've rested up...I'll be BACK! I am most appreciative of the time you have taken to share. Thank you.
One more thing: When you say put the image top right...are you talking in the article or on Pinterest? The reason I ask is that I was also told Google does not like to see images above the fold, so I purposely have moved ALL images down a notch to comply.
On the article. Google doesn't like HUGE anything above the fold. But if you don't have an image there, an advert will appear anyway, which Google doesn't like either.
Google doesn't mind images above the fold. It doesn't like advertising above the fold, and it doesn't like it when there isn't much content above the fold. Personally, I don't like it when the only thing at the top of a Hub is a full-width image, because I think it's important for Google (and the reader) to see some text there. But a small image on the right still gives you room for some text.
One of the problems with advice is that it's all too easy for it to get exaggerated. For instance - yes, Google likes a list but that doesn't mean you should have more than one in an article!
I don't know who told you Google likes white space, that's a strange one.
Online, it's important to consider the visual appeal of your writing as well as the content. When text is in a single column, especially when it's squashed up with a photo or advertisement beside it, a normal-sized paragraph can suddenly look long and indigestible, causing the reader to skim over it. So perhaps someone was trying to tell you to break up your paragraphs more.
Marisa Wright: Actually, I got the white space info from something Brett Tesol wrote, if I am remembering correctly. His reason was that white space makes reading easier on the eyes. I have also seen this elsewhere. I wasn't aware that the number of lists per article should be limited. Most of mine are short, but many are required due to some of the types of articles that I write. I'll be making some changes when I get home, that's for sure! Thanks for your input.
I'd say he was referring to breaking up your paragraphs - but it's like everything, there's a balance. You need a line of white space between paragraphs to break the text down into readable chunks - but that doesn't mean that two, three or four lines of white space is better.
What Marisa said.
And you can get a brief guide on MFP images here: http://hubpages.com/forum/topic/111570 or on the hub I wrote on the topic.
I'm feeling you, TIMETRAVELER2. I have struggled with the same, even still now after this lightbulb revelation. But it looks like this online writing thing is a fierce beast that we are going to have to learn to tame and ride. I will probably eat these words next week when I see another hubber with a hubber score of 99, 15 short hubs full of typos that pass QAP, and a HOTD accolade. But for now, I'm letting it go with a smile.
janshares: to be honest, I doubt i'll ever learn all I need to know. I am an old timer (soon to be 70) and am a bit slow on the uptake. I never intended to make much money on this site, but do want my work to be quality and to be read. 50,000 views plus right now after an entire year and not much money to show for them! Maybe next year will go better.
Thanks for the priceless info. It's all really starting to click now.
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