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Low Traffic and Idled Hubs

  1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
    Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago

    This is a two-fold issue. I know we're in the middle of a Google Typhoon or whatever animal is wreaking havoc this month plus the summer traffic is, well, obviously somewhere else.

    In January/February of this year, my traffic was around 2000 views per day. Right now, I'm lucky if I crack 400. I'm hearing "edit, add stuff, tweak, do this and do that and the other thing" to get my traffic back up. Here's my issue with this: I don't know about the rest of you, but I do not have the time to make tweaking my Hubs a full time job, which is what it seems as if I would have to do in order to receive any kind of decent traffic here. Not for the $30-$40 I might make a month off of ad impressions. In this respect, after I have already spent hours working on a Hub, I believe that HubPages is asking entirely too much of me.

    With regards to idled Hubs, or non-featured Hubs, whichever the term we're using this week is, I just realized that one of my very first Hubs has idled. Or decided to become non-featured. This one is a half moon, which I suppose means that I'm not getting enough traffic for it to be seen by Google. I changed the title., did a couple other things, and now it's got those little arrow things on it, but it will likely idle again.

    What I find alternately disturbing and hysterically funny about this is that the Hub in question got a (somewhat paltry) 72 views last month and has a Hub Score of 94. I have (and I counted just to make sure) 101 Hubs that received less views than the idled Hub last month and all but nine of them have lower Hub scores. Those 101 Hubs are still featured.

    I guess, what I want to know, is why is this particular Hub idled due to insufficient engagement when others that are receiving less traffic are not? Are those 101 Hubs eventually going to idle too? And, with traffic as bad as it is right now for many of us, is HubPages cutting off its nose to spite its face by idling Hubs at all? If this is the case, then I'm sorry but HubPages is no longer something that I can devote time and energy to.

    1. hawaiianodysseus profile image91
      hawaiianodysseusposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Georgie, thank you for voicing this concern.

      You make absolutely valid points.

      HubPages earns revenue from the hard work of its writers. The relationship is symbiotic, ideally, and diligent and dedicated writers should therefore receive compensation for their earnest efforts.

      I've never made much money on HP, slaving away to get only my second payout in the 18 months I've been here next month. Heeding billybuc's example, I remain on HP because I've created its intrinsic usefulness for me.

      Nevertheless, for those writers like you who worked hard to figure out how to satisfy HP "the first or even second time around" only to now have to dance to a different Piper, I do feel your pain.

      In my humble opinion, it would work better if HP could "grandfather" the accomplishments of those who have been here for a while and proven their mettle and positive intent.

      Until HP commits to doing that and remains consistent in that stance-- regardless of what pet peeve Google releases from its menagerie--it risks losing good writers like you.

      Personally, I find that to be a very sad scenario.

      Aloha, my friend, and I wish you the very best! Whenever you write that first novel, please keep me in mind to be one of your first reader reviewers. I'd like that very much, Georgie!


      1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
        Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Aloha Joe!

        At this point, I just don't know what do to. I joined HubPages as a way to have an online portfolio of sorts to find paid work elsewhere. I am finding now that that is not the avenue I want to take. I also joined the Apprenticeship Program to become a better "internet" writer. While in that program and since I've graduated, HubPages has changed so much that it just isn't a place I enjoy visiting. Maybe the honeymoon is over, I don't know, but what started as a hobby has become too much like work.

        I also think that today's standard will change, likely multiple times before the end of the year even. I understand that the business of making money online with writing is ever changing, but maybe I'm not cut out for this at all.

        If I ever get around to writing that book, Joe, you'll be one of the first to know. I promise! big_smile

      2. LuisEGonzalez profile image81
        LuisEGonzalezposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Agree. HP seems to be guessing in the dark and while trying to please Google, it is effectively upsetting many good authors.

    2. ChristinS profile image93
      ChristinSposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Something that has worked for me on hubs that like to idle is adding something interactive to get people to engage.  Ask a question in a poll or do a quiz or something to get people participating - when they do those hubs tend to not idle, even with lower views, at least in my experience.  I know the back and forth is frustrating. 

      I find my biggest traffic now comes from social media and not Google. Perhaps create Pinterest friendly graphics for a few hubs and try that out? Good luck!

      1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
        Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I have been making Made for Pinterest graphics for some of my recent Hubs. I think traffic from Pinterest often depends on the types of Hubs you're pinning. I see good traffic from my "how to use this old stuff" types of Hubs, my recipes and a few other things but nothing that compares to what I'm seeing from Google. I get tons of repins, but not tons of views. More than Bing or Yahoo combined, however.

        I understand about adding polls and what not, as it was drilled into my head when I started the Apprenticeship Program last September. However, after already deleting over 60 Hubs, I just don't have the energy to go back and edit and add to those old Hubs.

        Since the Google emphasis is on "freshness" lately (which is a double edged sword, because those jerks that are scraping our articles now are ranking better on Google than we are for some of them), this likely means that everything we have will get old and eventually idle. If "temporary" articles are the wave of the future, I'm not interested.

  2. brakel2 profile image86
    brakel2posted 3 years ago via iphone

    I agree. My hubs had better traffic until March of this year. Many hubs were in the 90s   My hubber score has been in the 90s for three years. Nothing else has changed. Ten days ago I had a score of 100. Now it is 89. My hub scores are lower than ever  My hubs are all featured. II ask on behalf myself and others to allow leniency at this crucial time to sustain motivation.

    1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
      Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      The Hubber Score I just don't understand. I played with it a bit by spending some days commenting on Hubs, some writing in the forums, some answering questions and others by publishing Hubs. Oddly, my score seems to rise more after a few days of inactivity on my part. Maybe it takes a while to catch up?

  3. Silva Hayes profile image94
    Silva Hayesposted 3 years ago

    I just now noticed something that might be the cause of idled hubs.  Two of mine were not featured, but rather, they had a half-moon symbol beside them.  When I opened them, I saw that there was a message in the upper right side that said something to the effect, "Uh-oh!  You have too many eBay capsules and/or Amazon capsules." 

    I somehow missed it when we were informed that we now must limit our eBay items to TWO instead of three (even though 3 is still shown as an option).  So I cut the eBay listings down on both these hubs, and I deleted one Amazon capsule that somehow had a totally unrelated item in it (don't know what happened there; originally I had selected a specific book to be shown there). 

    You might want to check your eBay and Amazon capsules, make sure they are only listing TWO items, and check to make sure that any items listed are relevant to the content of your hub. 

    My earnings this month have taken about a 40% nosedive but I am trying not to get discouraged yet; I will wait a little while and see what happens.

    1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
      Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I just checked the Amazon thing, and the Hub had the same message. There were three products grouped together, the only Amazon capsule on the page. I'm just going to delete all my Amazon capsules since I'm not making money with them anyway. If HP is going to restrict how many products we can plug (somehow three in a 1500+ word Hub is too many), then we need to be told this.

      1. Silva Hayes profile image94
        Silva Hayesposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        ITA, George, I don't recall that we were ever told.  I only noticed it by accident today after struggling for months, editing, adding a word here and there, changing titles, adding pictures . . . . . Well, we will see if this makes a difference.

        1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
          Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this


          You are definitely right. I just checked some of my best Hubs and the ones with more than one item per capsule have that warning. I do not know if this is why they are being idled, though.

          1. Jean Bakula profile image96
            Jean Bakulaposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I understand what you mean. I see no rational plan or sense to the changes they make. The hub they awarded was one of my most popular, but one of about 10. It was also part of a group, and if real people are reading them, as they said, the logical choice would have been the FIRST one, that explains the rationale to my readers.

            I think I have many hubs of the same level as that one, or better, so does this mean only one of my hubs meets their "Stellar" standards? This is especially galling, when I see the total crap that gets put on here. I never thought recipes had a place on a writer's site. It's something you COPY from a  magazine or someone you know.

            Also, all of my hubs are featured. I write about Astrology, but there are a lot of book reviews, and other topics in my pages, often I am motivated by writing about what I have read. I see a line in blue on the upper right that tells you the hub would be better if you add more pics, or take down some Amazon products. Frankly, the Amazon is such a waste. I have been writing a series, and have to finish the last 4 pieces, and then am not adding content until we see how this goes.

            1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
              Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this


              I'm just starting a series on making graphics and I almost don't want to with all the issues the site is having. And, yeah, I'm nuking all Amazon capsules.

              I just checked an old Hub a few minutes ago and it told me up top where the check boxes are that the Hub only had two images when it does, in fact, have three.

              Honestly, I think I'm going to have to take a break from the site until they fix whatever they've screwed up this time or until they get a solid set of rules that we're supposed to follow instead of having to figure it out ourselves.

          2. Silva Hayes profile image94
            Silva Hayesposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            Just now checked at random another hub of mine, one that is featured, and it had a "Style Tip" warning in the upper right-hand corner that stated:

            "It looks like you have only used one Text Capsule in your Hub. We recommend that you break your Hub up into multiple Text Capsules."

            Did you know that?  I never knew that we should break our hubs up into multiple text capsules!  None of mine are done that way!

            1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
              Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this


              This one, yes. You want to have several different capsules with a different title or headline for each - as well as paragraphs that are shorter than either books or magazines. That makes your page easily for people to scan. Apparently, a lot of people who use the internet have very short attention spans. I don't know what the requirement or ideal number of words per capsule is, but I try to keep it between 300-500 per.

              I didn't know that HubPages was handing out warnings or alerts about how many capsules we're using, though. sad

            2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image94
              TIMETRAVELER2posted 3 years ago in reply to this

              Silvia:  HP has talked about this numerous times and it is very clearly stated in the learning center.  That is why every one of my hubs has numerous capsules.

              1. Silva Hayes profile image94
                Silva Hayesposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Thanks, I need to pay more attention.  In the future, I will place text in multiple capsules.

      2. Millionaire Tips profile image88
        Millionaire Tipsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        The Amazon change was announced in April.

        http://blog.hubpages.com/2013/04/amazon … y-updates/

        They want only two products per capsule. There have been studies that have shown that when people are presented with too many choices, they wind up not picking any, but given a smaller number of choices, they can choose one.

        I agree with this rationale and therefore the change, but do find it frustrating to have to go back and redo all of my capsules.  They will remain as they are, but when you edit the capsule (or create a new one), you do have to reduce the number of products.

        1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
          Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          At the time, the Amazon change only affected the capsules when you let Amazon pick the products for you via keywords. If you chose your own, there was no problem. Now it's doing it if you choose your own.

          From your link:

          "The total number of manually-entered Amazon products one can feature in an Amazon Capsule (entered by ASIN or URL) remains capped at ten, however we do not necessarily recommend featuring ten items in the capsule just because you can."

  4. Bard of Ely profile image89
    Bard of Elyposted 3 years ago

    All I can say is that my traffic is at its all time lowest ever!

    1. My Esoteric profile image87
      My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I don't think I am your league, the best I have ever done is around 2,000 hits a day in the month prior to the 2012 election, I write a lot of political/economic-type hubs and then fell off dramatically.  Even so, I am way down now, but then I noticed the same thing last year around this time.  I will be curious as to what the traffic does after mid-September.

      I have also noticed all of the "helpful hint" HP leaves lying around, and I for one appreciate them; being an old statistician of sorts, I appreciate the value of their research.  My take is the more they do to generate $$ for them, the $$ the writers get, so long as they don't reduce the sharing rates.

  5. socialcx profile image61
    socialcxposted 3 years ago

    For those of us new to HubPages this is a little depressing and makes me wonder if the effort is worth it. I hope this is a temporary phase and the visitors come back quickly.

    1. My Esoteric profile image87
      My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Depends on why you came to hub pages, I would think.  For me, it is gratifying to get a few bucks, but it is more gratifying to see people actually reading, or at least glancing at my effort.  Since most of my writing is of the persuasion kind, maybe I can change a mind or two along the way or at least get people to rethink how they feel about things.  My most looked at metric is the Google Analytics "Avg Time" statistics.  (I would be interested in the "Bounce" rate, but I don't understand it.

      1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
        Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Bounce rate is people actually staying on your page. If your bounce rate is good, they're going from link to link in your domain. If it's bad, they're reading what they came for and bouncing off to someone else's page. I actually wrote a Hub about it, but I don't think we're supposed to link to our Hubs on the forums.

        1. My Esoteric profile image87
          My Esotericposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          I think that was your first hub I read, Georgie.  My problem is in how to interpret it in relation to other metrics, so I started investigating; which I am in the middle of now. 

          One neat thing I found is a better way to interpret Returning Visitors.  I was always depressed by the low frequency of returning visitors, which more me, is important for it shows interest in what I write.  If you multiply it by visits, then you get the raw number of returning visitors; that made me much happier to see that, over time, I have around 400 - 500 returning visitors per month.

          1. Jean Bakula profile image96
            Jean Bakulaposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            I have some hubs that spotlight certain groups of people, usually 5 people in a hub. Can I put 5 Amazon capsules with one item in it, so each of them has a book or album made or written by them? They used to tell us the Amazon capsules had to be before the fold.

            I'm afraid to change stuff the wrong way. I began deleting some Amazon capsules, and truthfully, don't make much on them anyway. It may be easier to delete them all.

            1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
              Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this


              You can't have more than two items per Amazon capsule. I don't know how many Amazon capsules you can actually have, but HP wants the products to be directly related to your article. I've deleted all Amazon capsules for books or music because I'm just not making any sales so it's like free advertising.

              I'd say to test it. Put five capsules with one item in each and see if you still get the "Oopsie, you've got too many ads" warning. If you don't, then you'll know!

    2. Georgie Lowery profile image95
      Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this


      Traffic goes up and down and up and down. I hope you have your seatbelt on! This, actually, is NOT HubPages fault for the most part. We are all at the whim of Google, whether we write here or on our own domains or other sites.

      I came to HP to learn how to write better for the internet, and I think I've accomplished that. It's just very frustrating when things are changing so fast that it's difficult to keep up. I understand that HP is doing these things to play nice with Google but, like I said, it's very frustrating.

      Hang in there, I reckon there will always be bumps in the road, this is just a very trying time for some of us.

  6. ptosis profile image81
    ptosisposted 3 years ago

    When something is in the news I add comments on to it and shamelessly  add the short link to the related hub. But that is just on single day, and then the attention turns to something else.

    For instance, when the book "Confessions of a Sociopath" came out, I got a BIG bump.
    Today I commented on 5 news items a bout Google's doodle for the birthday of Erwin Schrödinger. So I got 15 hits today. BFD.

    I used to be a 93 and now I'm a 84 so I am now invisible from any search engines and will continue to freefall to a big fat zero. 

    I feel tweaking is not going to do it.

    1. HollieT profile image89
      HollieTposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I agree, there are hubbers here who write exceptional hubs, well researched and a pleasure to read, you will not find better on the internet. Unfortunately, due to the knee jerk idling for low engagement, those exceptional hubs will no longer be visible to the search engines. A tragic waste, and instead HP will be featuring nonsense hubs from ridiculous people whose literacy is questionable at best, deplorable at worst.

      This is not how HP will recover.

    2. Georgie Lowery profile image95
      Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this


      I get weird traffic bumps on certain Hubs, too, and have to investigate to see if I can do it again. When Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes got divorced, I got a big bump on my Scientology Hub and again when Leah Remini defaulted or defected or whatever it is they do. When they found the bones of Richard III, my Hub about the Princes in the Tower went nuts, and again this week when the BBC aired the episode of The White Queen that covered the boys. I have two Hubs about The Walking Dead that go crazy every weekend when the show is running new episodes.

      Unfortunately, there's no way to predict these things, though.

  7. aa lite profile image92
    aa liteposted 3 years ago

    I don't think anybody has addressed the issue of why a hub with 72 views got idled, if so I apologise for being redundant.  It is important to see where the traffic is coming from.  You need far fewer than 72 views a month to keep a hub from being idled, but they have to be organic search views.

    Basically if a hub gets no traffic from Google at all, HP suspects that there might be something in it that offends Google, and might contribute to a Google penalty so they remove it from G's view.  So if a hub gets a lot of views from social media, but nothing from Google, it will be idled.  Another hub that gets less views, but some Google hits, will stay featured.

    Not saying I agree with this, just saying what happens.

    As to "updating" hubs, I think this should only be done if you don't feel you really did a good job to start with.  I know I've written some hubs in a hurry, I don't think they are downright bad, but I'm sure they could be much better.  However, there are some hubs that I'm pretty happy with.  I don't really see the point of "editing" them. 

    There is the possibility that Google has suddenly started to really value "freshness".  I think this is pretty stupid of Google, and might well be reversed soon.  A lot of topics really don't need "freshness".  I'm going to wait a bit to see how Google proceeds with this idea before doing a lot of useless work.

    I think HP is obviously under a bad Google penalty.  Other than making sure our hubs are good, I think this is something HP staff will have to solve rather than us.  It's possible that HP will find a way out of the penalty, and we'll get the traffic back.  Or they won't.  The best thing we can do right now is diversify and write on different sites, including our own.  I don't think constant "editing" of perfectly good hubs is the answer.  Of course if somebody has hubs that are not good then they should do something about that.

    1. Georgie Lowery profile image95
      Georgie Loweryposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      aa lite,

      I didn't even think about the traffic origins. I just checked and, indeed, every view I've had for the last 30 days on the Hub that idled came from HubPages. At least that explains why it got idled. I don't like it, because I'm still getting views, but I guess Google hits are worth more.

      The "freshness" thing really bothers me. What's the point of having the evergreen content that everybody keeps screaming about if we have to edit every month to stay new in Google's eyes. Like I said in my original post here, I don't have that kind of time.

      Thanks for the answer, though. I really appreciate the help!