I've been online for almost 4 years, 2 1/2 of which have been spent writing for HP. There are a few thoughts I would like to share with my fellow writers that I feel might be helpful to them.
First, we should never forget that behind all of the figures are real people. People who seek information and help. That is why we should never write what we do not know.
Second, we should understand that the internet is fluid, so what works once may not work again. Writing online is like trying to build a house on shifting sand.
Third, we should be careful about taking advice from other writers because everything is relative. What one person assumes to be "good views" to another might not be enough, so the term "good views" should be carefully considered and even investigated prior to making changes.
Fourth: We have absolutely no control over the internet or Google. Thinking that we do is a waste of time.
Fifth: If we do not have the most basic skills required for writing, we should not publish on the internet or anyplace else. A hard copy publisher would never accept poor grammar, spelling and structure, and we should not accept it within ourselves. To do so harms the entire writing community.
Sixth: Trying to game the system may work temporarily but in the long run is a waste of time.
Seventh: As writers, we should keep the financial end of writing in perspective. 100,000 views seems quite a bit, but in dollars, it often only amounts to $500 in most cases. You can make more than that in two weeks working on a minimum wage job. To get that many views, the average online writer must do a great deal of work and spend a great deal of time.
Eighth: Writing on HP is no longer a means of earning decent passive income because to stay well indexed on Google, you have to constantly refresh, add and renew. The days of writing a good article and then just sitting back and collecting ongoing amounts of decent money are gone. If you do not prune your garden regularly, weeds will kill it.
Finally, we have a great community here, but it seems to be shrinking. If you check the current stats, we are down to a bit more than 58,000 published writers, which is about one fifth of what it used to be.
This worries me, and it should worry you...so keep doing your best, and I will do the same.
While the community is shrinking are the overall pageviews shrinking in proportion? Perhaps some people left because they were not able to pass QAP or attract readers.
When you lose almost 200,000 writers, the number of overall page views are bound to drop and along with them the total revenue for HP.
Yes, some left due to the QAP or lack of views, etc, and some left out of frustration due to required changes to keep up with Google...however I think many left simply because they were not earning what they thought they would be able to earn. HP is not a place to get rich in most cases.
What you said makes a lot of sense; in fact, you could have written a Hub on this subject! I do agree with what you said. I really need to take the time to go back and refresh my old Hubs, rather than just have them sit there and not "grow".
So many excellent points I don't know where to begin.
I would add a couple of things to this from my own perspective - hopefully that's ok
As you pointed out writing for the net is like building a house on shifting sand. I agree and for that reason, it is necessary to not only focus on Google, but on other ways to "modernize" what we are doing. In web design for example, once i graduated, my skills were already almost outdated. Constant change is something we have to be willing to face. Writing for the net means not only focusing on search results, but branching out and learning PROPER networking and social media skills. Spammers and those who only self-promote hurt everyone.
I think all writers need to focus on at least one social media platform and they need to spend some time there - engaging others and spreading information from many different sources. My genre of choice is Pinterest because I'm visual, and because I write a lot of things many like to Pin. For others, Pinterest may not be ideal and they may want to focus on other platforms.
Regardless, focus on one or two of them and make them something special. It's easy to start groups on Google and Facebook for example. For those who write hubs about "dog breeding" or something let's say that is highly specialized - develop a group or participate in others and cross-promote that interest group etc.
I think honestly search engines won't die, but not everyone competing for Google's attention is going to get it. Diversify and focus attention on other things too.
You're so right about no longer being able to just post something and forget about it. This is where I find quality is definitely better than quantity. I'll be honest - I kind of cringe when I see things like 30 hubs in 30 days. Unless one is an extremely prolific and good writer with nothing else to do; how on Earth is it possible to create 30 high quality hubs in such a short time?
I think HP has focused a lot on improving quality the past couple of years and that is why we see the radical decline in number of writers. Yes, it worries me in some ways, but in others, I take comfort in it. It means this site can regain a more positive reputation by being a difficult place for just anyone to write. When we weed out the crap and spam we all win.
I wish there was a way though for good poets and creative writers to also have QAP that was geared more for them. A lot of really good creative writers get frustrated here with good cause, but that's another can of worms.
Anyway, I'm getting windy - sorry Excellent points you make.
I was sure that I read that HP didn't want poetry or fiction when I signed up. Was that changed at some point, or am I just confused with some other publisher?
If HP takes poetry I might actually have a reason to post here.
I have never read that they don't WANT it, it just doesn't do well online.
Thousands of people are searching Google for "How To Grow Tomatoes", no one will be searching for the title of your poem, no offence intended, it's just that if no one has heard of it, no one will be searching for it.
Yes, better to stick to posting recipes, RV jiber-jabber and articles about one's toenails.
When will I ever learn?
I guess if you really want to promote your poems you should look at other traffic sources than Google.
Join Google/Facebook groups, websites, forums etc., target places online where your poems will be seen by people who have an interest in the reading/writing of poems. Offer advice, comment and share others work, they will, in turn do the same for you.
Another hubber, http://crazyhorsesghost.hubpages.com/ offers some excellent advice on how to promote your work without relying on Google, considering he has over 10 million views I would check out his Hubs.
Wow, if they don't want poetry or short fiction, what am I doing here? I have been writing it almost exclusively (just a few articles thrown in occasionally) and every hub is featured (over 130). Poetry may not pay well or ever win Hub of the Day, but it is popular with other hubbers and has a place.
Poetry and short fiction is welcome. I think the idea that "HubPages doesn't want poetry" started when there was a big Challenge, the 100 Hubs in 30 Days Challenge, and all the creative writers got their knickers in a knot about people writing "commercial drivel" (which, frankly, the 100-Hub writers did!). Unfortunately the stoush expanded to become a creative vs commercial fight which encompassed ALL Hubbers who wrote for money vs those who wrote "for their art", and a number of creative writers left in high dudgeon, for reasons which I never fully understood.
The fact is that HubPages exists to make a profit, so it prefers writers who have the same goal. However, ALL good writing enhances the site so they're quite happy to host writers who can write well, whether their Hubs are commercial or not.
Jodah, if you look on the landing page of HubPages you will see that they mention poets and poetry with pride. Also, most hubbers truly appreciate good poetry like yours.
Very insightful observations. I enjoyed reading your post, and many of the comments as well.
Thanks. I know that with a small staff like yours it is very difficult to police this many writers, so the teacher in me felt the need to let others here know that we need to serious up about what we do and want we want from HP if it is to survive.
I can see that much of what you did that people complained about in the past has vastly improved HP. This is evidenced by the fact that, so far at least, it has outlived many of the other online writing sites.
Keep up the good work!
I have to respectfully disagree with your first point about not writing about subjects you don't know. Quite a few of my hubs have bee the result of research I did on a topic with which I was unfamiliar. For instance, I recently started growing vegetables and wanted to know how to deal with the pests I found in my garden. That research has led to an entire series of hubs on garden pests that have been well received. They are among my most popular hubs precisely because vegetable gardeners are looking for solutions to their pest problems.
I agree with the rest of your points. This is a very helpful post for new writers on Hub Pages.
I don't think this is what TT is talking about. You weren't familiar with growing vegetables but you learned from experience how to deal with pests, and you shared that knowledge in your Hub series.
What TT is talking about is the widespread practice of identifying a popular topic, then spending a few hours researching online to get the material for a Hub. Unless you're able to produce something new and useful that way, which isn't all that likely, it's not a recipe for success.
How is that in any way different reading about gardening, and then writing about any differnt than what he was criticizing? TT is just denigrating transformative work that is the result of extensive scholarly reading, rather than sage life experience, to justify what he writes about his toenails, because it's 'what he knows.'
My best article is based on hours of research, and I loved every minute. It is the best I have done, and is a money maker.When I put everything together, I had a unique article, not just one you would see every day. Many writers are at sites where they must research to get job assignments. I understand that it is great to write what you know, but the other side is to expand your knowledge. I guess I believe that it is a personal choice. The list is super, and I commend TT and others for ideas. Thanks.
Brake12: I know there are many here who research and write good articles on subjects they previously knew little or nothing about, and I commend them, and you as well.
However, even though you find success doing this, I think it is hard to do and time consuming.
My very best and most money making article was one that I wrote when first coming to HP. All of it was written solely from my personal experiences.
So, there you go! If it works for you, that is great, but as Melisa Wright said on this forum, far too many only "lightly research" and simply regurgitate information that is already out there.
Obviously, you are not one of them.
You have started a wonderful discussion. Your tips are very fine and helpful. Can you find the reason for why the community is shrinking day by day. Is it because of less traffic or earnings. I hope someone will answer this query as well. Anyhow thanks a lot for starting a healthy debate here. I will take care of your points and do my level best to improve more and more. Hope rest of the members too will take serious note of these helpful tips and tricks.
At one point Hubpages had some seriously bad writers on here. They didn't have a clue how to write proper English. There were others that wrote hubs in minutes that didn't have any real content. Once they were weeded out, the number of writers declined, but the hubs were better.
Sometimes less is better. It makes me think of pruning a tree. Pruning some of the branches makes the tree produce better fruit.
Barbara, I totally agree. The quality of writing here is very good, if not excellent. Most of the new hubs I read are filled with information and go well over the recommended word count of 1,250. They have beautiful pictures and quick-reference tables. Good writers will make their way back here and the writer count will swell again.
I enjoyed your article. Some interesting points. I know that I will not be able to support myself through HubPages or other blog pages like it. I believe that I have to write fiction, personal essays, and articles through magazines, and articles through newspapers. I still don't make a living at writing, but I'm happy.
I sell some of my books at mental health and writing conferences in Iowa.
The point I'm making is the more income streams we have as writers the more successful we are going to become.
A lot of great points here, but I especially want to address the third.
If I do not take advice from other writers on this site, who am I going to ask for help? Granted that good views is a relative thing, and I realize all the advice has to be "taken with a grain of salt", but still, what else is there? I think we can still learn more here than anywhere else, even if the community is shrinking.
Dr. Mark 1961: I did not say to "not" take advice, I meant to be careful about taking advice. If you have been around for awhile, you get to know who the successful writers are, not because of their views but because when they give advice, they really know what they are talking about.
Why would you take advice from some one with a hubber score of 83 who only has 20 articles?
Also, it is human nature to embellish. You do not know people's individual circumstances and from what I've seen, some like to make others think they know more than they do or get more views than they do.
They rarely tell you if they are paying for extra help with their writing or how much it is costing them out of pocket to sign on to professional photo sites.
All I am saying is to choose carefully.
Yes, I know what you mean about embellishment, since almost every day I see a new profile and the person states that he is an "SEO expert".
On the other hand, there actually ARE a few people who write here who do SEO for a living and are successful. Writer Fox, ThePhoenixLives and a few others, for example. Their advice is worth taking and their articles are well worth reading.
Good post, but I must respectfully disagree with your second and fifth points.
I love writing about topics that I only know a little bit about, and in doing the research for the piece I find myself learning quite a bit about a diverse range of topics. Building knowledge on diverse subjects this way is beneficial in developing charisma, since much of charisma involves being able to speak with confidence on any virtually any subject.
If one does write about a previously unfamiliar topic, they just need to make sure to invest the required hours reading varied sources on the subject. As long as you aren't writing about how to perform surgery, pilot a helicopter or make fireworks then your readers should turn out OK.
As for the fifth point, grammar spelling and punctuation are all things a writer can improve on over time. Though I think that if as a fledgeling writer you aren't comfortable with your skills then you should stick to a personal blog, take some continuing education courses and work with a developmental editor.
I got my start as a writer using dictation software, and have a pretty humble educational background. Improving my grammar was a struggle, one I'm still working on. I would argue however, that the layman working joe/jane need a voice too. The writing community should be welcoming to those of modest skill, as long as they have something interesting to say, and strive to improve.
Regarding your seventh point: Yes, hubpages doesn't seem like a major cash cow, I tend to use it as a home for my orphaned works that don't pitch well. That said it has a great interface and a nice community so I still think it's a decent publishing option. I'd be nice if they promoted more of our work though social media though to draw in some readers.
I am not sure that I agree with some of what you said because, in the end, if HP is to survive, writers need to already have honed their basic skills before coming here.
HP does a great job of helping people improve their online writing skills, but this is not public school. This is a business. That is why they developed the QAP, and I applaud them for doing so, even though it seems it is not working as well as originally intended.
Also, while you think that researching topics about which you know little is good, I cannot totally disagree. However, if you can research those topics, so can other people, so why would they read your work when the information is already out there.
Knowledge is good, but knowledge coupled with experience will always trump research.
I think it is great that you self teach, and if you are finding success here, that is great. However, HP should not be a dumping ground for posts that did not do well elsewhere.
We all need to remember that this is a community of people who support one another, and one of the ways we do that is by writing top notch, creative articles that are what people need and want to read.
Sorry for the lecture, but I would be remiss if I did not respond to your comments with my own views.
Well the old adage goes: "You get what you pay for." With what HP pays, they get aren't going to get my best. Mind you I don't just post every old thing I didn't get published elsewhere, just a handful of titles that I liked well enough despite a few unreceptive editors. I'd also consider posting pet projects about subjects which I find personally interesting, but I know don't have broad reader appeal.
As you say, they are a business, but so is my writing. Let me give you a window into my experience as a professional:
My best work gets a few hundred bucks an article up front, some also offer royalties after the fact. Now back when I joined HubPages two years ago, as a relative newcomer to the writing industry I was still making a decent double digit per hour wage writing elsewhere even then. The rewards just aren't here, which leaves HP only a step above a private blog in terms of publishing priority. I don't expect HP to pay me up front, that's not their model, but they do need do a better job of getting out there and involved with social media to promote general readership. They could try a more cohesive publication style approach rather than a virtual archipelago of isolated writers. This is a good site, but it is not above rational criticism, nor is it worthy of blind faith.
My lack of participation over the years is no mistake, it's the result of evaluating the opportunity in front of me and prioritizing where I put my work. If I were to post my best work here I'd would be surprised to make five bucks. That's the cold hard fact of why I don't and can't devote much time to HP. To do well here in terms of readership you have to build a personal following here, around a highly specialized niche and that's not my forte. That's why my titles here are only projects which have failed pitches, to curated websites, with professional editors.
As for your comment on the development tools here on HP, it's great that they exist, good on them, but as you say it's not their job to teach. That's why I recommend working with a developmental editor. I also go to workshops, seminars, and take courses online. Yes I pay for them, because that's how you beat the competition.
I won't trade blows with you regarding your denigration of my research based articles. Suffice to say that the depth of your work speaks for itself, for good and for ill.
Likewise speaking for itself, is your down talking attitude towards less invested observers like me. It isn't doing anything to build the "supportive community" you claim to want to promote either. I don't think you really want to help anyone, I just think you just want to feel important by putting down others, while patting yourself on the back for your fantastic hub score. Well good job, mission accomplished.
Anybody who knows me here on HP knows that I have done plenty to help other writers here, and that I am most sincere about building a good site for all of us.
I was not downplaying your research. I have not even read your posts, so how could I? I do know that what Marissa Wright said here about the quality of "research" many people do here is minimal, and you, yourself, just said you do not want to bother to do well here by giving it your all, as so many others here do, so why would I assume you are doing in depth research for your HP posts?
You are assuming that you cannot do well here, but if you are as successful you say you are in other venues, why wouldn't you do well?
It seems to me from what you have written on this forum that you do not want to follow the rules for online writing or do what is necessary to do well here.
While it is true that there is not much money for most writers here, some still are successful. Furthermore, they enjoy their craft and do feel a sense of community with one another and display an honest desire and effort to do well and help one another.
If you are disinclined to do the same, please do not lay blame on my attitude. Blame yourself.
So now your suggesting I'm a liar for saying I have better paying work elsewhere, do expect me to provide a bunch of hostile strangers on the internet with my paypal earnings report? I've had over 600 articles published, if you want proof go look for them yourself. You say I don't follow the rules of writing online writing. What rules? Hubpages rules? SEO BS? Or your personal, plodding approach of: keep on keeping on? Is the site getting more traffic with bigger payouts?
I'd rather not be solely responsible for driving my readership as this site requires. Awkwardly begging for page views one reader at a time. HP should have a look at Entrepreneur.com, some of their content is just awful, but it's got great circulation, and the writers don't have to spend half the day searching for page views.
Want more proof of why HP is a waste of time for most writers? Go to Freelancer or Odesk and you'll see lots of assignments that pay way more than you'll get here unless you're generating those million reader articles. Those are just the bottom of the barrel when it comes to freelancing, and still they pay better.
Hell even Constant Content, which is terribly stagnant these days, has paid out about ten times what HP has, and for less effort. Selling articles that I didn't even consider fit to post here and were otherwise on the way to the recycling bin.
Strange ideas drafted at 3am by a disturbed sleep deprived and caffeine addled brain. Hardly edited, full of poor word choices and insane rage filled ranting. The kind of stuff you look at and go... what the hell was I thinking? ( Well maybe not that bad, but go watch a Hunter S. Thompson interview and then go back to read that last few lines... Pretty good right? )
Anyways, that's about all the time I have for charity work around here. I'm sure many writers have seen the wisdom in what I'm saying, they just haven't chimed in because they don't want to be browbeaten.
To your point: "However, if you can research those topics, so can other people, so why would they read your work when the information is already out there."
Sometimes I spend 2 full days researching a topic. Sure someone else can spend 2 days of their time or they can get the condensed version, with all of the information I uncovered compiled in a 10-15 minute read. So I think there can be value in a well researched piece, whose subject you initially had some vague and perhaps incorrect ideas about.
My thoughts exactly. I wouldn't call the university papers that I find myself reading for my articles light reading either. We can't all write articles about our toe nails eh, TT?
I had to laugh, I just read the one about vinegar foot baths. Gave it a thumbs up and useful!
If you are one of the writers here who really does in depth research, you should know that comment was not directed at you.
Not everybody takes the time or makes the effort to do that, and even many who do still cannot write articles in the same way as someone who has specific experience with a certain subject.
Can you say that a person can write the same level of article, for example, about the Holocaust that PhDast can? She actually has relatives who were in the concentration camps, and much of her research is based on their true life experiences. She also has a PhD in history, which does not hurt, either.
I'm glad you liked my article about toenails. Actually, I have written several, all of which are based on personal experience as well as discussions with doctors and also a wee bit of research.
They may seem like fluff to you and Wordsmith Mueller, but they are well received because they actually do help people.
Not fluffy to me - I love to learn about anything that's natural and really does work.
I'm glad to hear that because I think it is important for all of us to learn as much as we can about as many things as we can in order to have a well rounded life.
This also is important for people who write because it broadens their insights.
That's true - the sad thing is that most people don't. They content themselves with researching online, which means all they do is regurgitate what's already available. And since there's so much misinformation online, the resulting article is often inaccurate. I cringe when I look at what's written about belly dance online for instance - at one time Wikipedia had a fanciful entry about its history, and now every second website presents the myth as fact.
I don't really see how charisma is relevant, anyway. We don't build a following here on HubPages - 90% of our traffic comes from readers who arrive at a single Hub, looking for an answer to a question. The navigation of HubPages is set up such that they probably won't even notice who wrote the article.
Yea that is how the traffic works on this site, and that's why it's more or less at the mercy of fickle search engines.
I disagree about the charisma being useless though. It really helps for freelancing on job bid style sites, another avenue of writing work which usually pays more than HP, unless you happen to be amazing at self promotion and driving your own traffic.
I don't think you understand how actual academic research works, it's not just reading other public market articles and parroting them, you have to dig deep and read complex research papers, some of which are above the ken of the average reader. When you're doing that kind of reading you are basically acting as a communicator, removing, simplifying and explaining technical jargon. The transformative value is in creating something that allows people to understand complex subject matter, and how it might relate to their lives. By your logic the entire school of philosophical study has no value because it just for the most part builds upon other sources.
I remember having these same conversations over at suite 101 a few months before the end, I hope HP doesn't end up the same way.
It's not all bad here, the publishing tools are great and finished pages look awesome, I hope they build upon that and take steps to increase readership streams that don't rely on Google. Sites like Entrepreneur.com have the right idea. Lots of social media engagement, topic specific invites to well put together article roundups that go straight to the readers email to pull in repeat traffic without being too pushy.
I was discussing HubPages in particular, not freelance writing. There aren't many freelance writers on HP any more, because the earnings potential is far short of what it was pre-Panda.
Yes I do, what I'm saying is that most people don't. And anyway, if you're spending the kind of hours needed for academic research in the production of a Hub, then you're unlikely to see a reasonable return on investment - which is why writing from your own knowledge makes more sense.
Entrepreneur.com is a specialist magazine aiming at a niche market. HubPages is a writing platform. HubPages makes it clear that it provides the platform, and it's then up to the writers to earn the income (with HP taking a share as payment for the infrastructure). Entrepreneur.com can market itself as an authority site in its niche - HP doesn't have a niche. Different animals.
Good post, and I agree with almost all of what you're saying. A couple of comments though:
Re: #3, I do agree that we should be careful of advice from other writers here, or anywhere else for that matter. But the thing I find surprising is how so few HP writers seem invested in getting out there on the web and digging up the answers to their questions on their own.
Most of the things that apply to success here at HP also apply to success elsewhere on the web, and there are countless pages written from very knowledgeable sources on just about any question that could come up.
Unfortunately, we don't see those discussions here as much anymore. Going back a few years, there were many writers who would debate SEO, content strategies, marketing etc. They'd often disagree, and sometimes they would fight tooth and nail, but even if you split the difference you could learn something.
Re: Your last point: I think one of the things that has hurt the site, at least as far as new members, is that newbies aren't totally convinced they can be successful here anymore. I agree that you can no longer throw up a 700-word article and expect it to earn. It's a lot harder now. But the opportunity is still there for people who are willing to work at it.
The term "willing to work at it" says it all.
People who are earning here have put in a great deal of time and effort in order to do so. Those who do not want to do that, frankly, are wasting their time here.
So, what do you think is the best way for veteran Hubbers to help out newbies?
I suspect there are many new Hubbers who become overwhelmed and quit before they get to that tipping point where they realize their work will pay off.
That is a good question, but frankly, I think it is up to the individual to use the learning center to gain as much knowledge as possible himself.
Those with simple questions can use the forums, and there is a special forum for people who want help improving their hubs.
I think writers here have all they can do to keep themselves afloat here, but some do offer help from time to time.
Help is already available, but if people are too lazy to seek it out, then their chances of succeeding here are minimal.
Perhaps HP should make incoming writers go through a kind of "boot camp" before accepting them, but with only 15 people on staff, this would be difficult.
It all boils down to personal responsibility, which is basically what I indicated in my former answer to you.
If you want to do something, get or have the skills to do it, make sure you know and are willing to follow the rules and then correct as you go. What else can you do?
HP does have a "boot camp" for newbies -- however, I do not see that it works very well, for too many newbies expect veteran hubbers to answer all their questions in the forums. I think newbies should have to pass a more thorough training program and graduate before they begin writing hubs.
Just this morning I read two hubs from supposedly two different newbies -- both hubs are way too short, no capsules, no images, no real effort in writing, misuse of words AND, guess what? -- both hubs are identical.
You are correct, but the problem is that HP needs writers, so they do not want to scare newbies away. If you make "getting in" to strict, many will just not bother.
Thus, if a new writer does not take responsibility and learn what he can as he goes, he winds up writing the kind of drivel you are discussing.
People do have to learn that this is not Twitter or Facebook, but a community of serious writers who take pride in their craft and want to create a site that is credible because THIS is how we all will be able to earn.
It's a tricky business, to be sure!
Hi TT2. You say that " If you make "getting in" to strict, many will just not bother." and that is quite true -- yet I still hold that a good training course will bring forth the writers HP needs, the ones that are serious and passionate about writing. The ones who would "not bother" are most likely the ones HP does not need to spend time on. I have been writing online with several sites since 2007 and the sites that have a good training program are ones who have good writers that are dedicated to quality and contributing in a good way to the community.
Ah the old shiftless lazy young people argument, well done. That must be the reason for the drop in activity.
Say I wonder how long you'd bang your head on a wall if it dropped a penny once in a while?
I agree and it's a good reminder that the internet is full of real people who are seeking answers. I am searching for answers all the time. Hubbers may not even realize they possess the answers.
I was in China and had a 24 hour layover in Shanghai, but wasn't sure where I would stay, what the airport was like, etc...and through my internet searches found all the answers to my questions, but it took several forums for me to get the answers. It would have been nice if I landed on a HubPage article that gave me all the information.
Something as simple as the knowledge of an airport is valuable information to people.
TT....I so appreciate what you have shared. Every word of this is absolute fact and should be read and taken seriously by all. If nothing else, it is worth some sincere consideration.
Being a strictly "no frills" kind of person, my thoughts on writing here are in line with your post, but simplified in my own way--"You get out of anything/anyone.....What you put in." Even then, in terms of being a writer, it's wise to accept that we may put in a whole lot more for a very long time, before getting back any measure of reasonable reward.
I had no idea our great community has shrunk so sharply! One fifth of what it used to be?? This is disappointing news, because with that high a percentage, we have to know that we've lost some truly talented writers as well as those who "needed to GO anyway!!"
Once again, I appreciate that you have listed these "thoughts about writing online (HP)".....For me it is reconfirming and a boost to my occasional doubts about my own thoughts.
Dr. Mark.....never fear I will profess to being an SEO expert. That's even laughable. It's taken me 3 years to grasp the damned concept! LOL..
While the loss of writers here has been a bit of a shock, I go by the old "quality over quantity" way of thinking.
I would rather write on a site with 100 excellent writers than one with 1000 poor ones.
Yes, we have lost a great number of people, but I do believe if we maintain quality standards here, many will return.
At least that is my hope.
Thanks for this thoughtful and insightful post, TIMETRAVELER2. I hope every wide-eyed newbie stops to read this, as well as those hubbers, like myself after 23 months, who are just beginning to understand the bigger picture of internet writing. HP is my first experience with internet writing, forums, etc., ever, so it has literally been 'learn as you go' for me.
Regarding #3, I am always open to veteran hubber advice, have run with some that ended up not applying, and some that elevated my hubbing in major ways. So I'm aware that it's all relative but for the most part, I find any advice helpful and apply it accordingly. That's how we learn what works and what doesn't. I'm grateful for the forums that allow us to ask questions. I have said before that the Learning Center is great but when you're clueless and don't even know exactly what you're looking for, it helps to talk to a real person.
Your comment about "good views" is so correct. If I get 10 views a day on a hub, that's good to me because I measure success by whether those views are building consistently over time, no matter how slowly. I'm just happy to see any progress.
Your final point about decreased number of writers is sad but not surprising. I can feel it. When I started in 2012, it seemed like the place was booming. This was also the beginning for me of so many changes, HP and Google, within a concentrated time (about a 1-1/2). I think that's when #s started to trickle downward. I miss the days of so many interesting and lively forums that you were bouncing from one to the other. I miss a lot of those veteran hubbers who were so supportive and always had something profound to share.
Sometimes I wonder how much longer I'll remain as active as I am due to the grueling work, high expectations, and the reality of what it takes to make the hard work worth your while. If I did this full-time, I wouldn't even wonder about this. I'd just pour myself into it and do it. But it is really hard and time-consuming.
[Funny Side Bar: As I'm writing this, I get an email from HP Earnings Program. Okay. This will help me stop wondering so much if the work is worth it. I'll keep doing my best. ]
That was so funny!
I know it gets depressing at times, and it does take a lot of work, but look back and see what you already have accomplished!
You are good at this, and what you write is meaningful.
Do not give up. Persevere. I did, even after getting smacked down three times by Panda....hard. Guess what? Today I'm at 176,000 views and am making way more than payout every month.
If I did it, you can, too. Besides, I would really miss you if you left!
Thanks for the encouragement, TIMETRAVELER2. I plan to stick around for a while. I just need to rethink my commitment/obsession level, i.e., make time to write a little more, chat a little less. I actually do love it here. I have a ways to go before I see your stats and earnings but I do know that it is possible. Thanks again.
Let me remind you that it has only been within the past four months that my figures started popping. For two years prior to that, it was all work and very little pay.
I do believe that learning to write here is a process, and it is one that takes time.
Far too many people think that you somehow succeed or fail here due to "unknown" forces. There is nothing unknown about any of it.
Some writers will say, for instance, "Oh, I changed the title and started getting views!", but they do not know why that happened. Until you understand that, you cannot do as well.
A good title is extremely important, it must contain well searched keywords and perk reader's interests. It must also be worded in such a way that someone might look for it in that same way.
For example, I recently wrote an article I originally titled "Online Dating Facts". Now it reads "Interesting Online Dating Statistics". The word "interesting" perks interest, and the words "statistics" is more searchable than the word facts. The result likely will be more views!
There are still some people making a full-time income. They seem to work on a number of revenue-share sites, as well as their own sites. One veteran writer/affiliate marketer says if we persist, we'll eventually see financial rewards.
Yes, but a lot depends on their definition of a full-time income! I gave up online writing some time ago, because when I calculated my hourly rate, I realised I could make far more $ per hour doing almost anything else.
I can earn the same income working one or two days a week as a shop assistant or clerk, as I can writing full-time online. Personally, I prefer to work those two days and have the rest of my week absolutely free, than be a slave to my computer! Not everyone will feel that way, of course - and some people won't have that choice.
However I could also make more money selling yard sale finds on eBay than writing, for the same number of hours. I could earn more doing mystery shopping for the same number of hours. There's any number of small business opportunities which I could do in a small way, and earn more than writing online - including freelance writing, of course.
Writing on article sites like HubPages is an easy option to try when you need to earn an income, but it's also one of the least profitable these days. There are still people doing well, but they've usually been writing for years and have already built up a large network of blogs, websites and online articles. Although Google likes freshness, it also likes age, so having a lot of long-established pages is a big advantage.
TT - I really enjoyed reading your observations. I think that there are not as many writers here as in the past for several reasons.
For some time sites like HP were thought to be get-rich-quick schemes where people could spout almost anything and the money would start rolling in. Many were disabused of that notion. Then, HP seemed to have decided to root out the rubbish. I remember reading hubs on the hub hopper that were unbelievably bad. Horrendous grammar, laughable spelling, hubs containing 3 sentences, hubs that were long but with no paragraph breaks, and hubs that made no sense at all. I see a lot less garbage on here so good for us all!
Thank you, and I agree with you.
This is why it bothers me so much when people with few hubs and few followers complain that they are not doing well here.
You do well when you work hard and persevere, and even then, it is difficult.
thank you timetraveler2, yes indeed, nobody can control the internet, it is a seesaw, back to writing
Hey there, thank you for the tips! Most likely I'll never earn as much as the big time Hubbers here, I earn few like 10 cents a day lol that's because I only have 7 hubs and there is only 1 hub that pulls the traffic (like 35 views a day lol). I just started with Hubpages 3 weeks ago and I don't really write that much. I hope I can write hubs about once daily. I'll do my best.
I just started on HP recently, and since I'm weary about putting my information online, I don't write for the money anyways.
I have always loved writing, and English has always been my best subject. That being said, I agree that people should have those skills before trying to publish on HP. I've reviewed many hubs through hub hopping and cannot believe how terrible the grammar is, let alone the organization of the hub.
I am happy to join a community of writers. I've always wanted to start a blog but never had the exact niche on what I wanted to focus on writing about. HP has been an opportunity to share my personal knowledge and opinion on a variety of subjects that I could not relevantly fit into one blog "brand" if you will.
All I do is compute what I earn vis-a-vis the time that I put in. There are other works (other than writing) that give me a decent living, so they become a priority. I was with the academe before and what I earn versus the hours that I put in made me cry in despair. Freelance work was enough to pay for weekly groceries, and nothing more. Writing is good for the soul. It makes a person whole. But earning is a different ballgame. I need to do hardcore work (real estate brokerage, farming, accountancy etc.) in order to live decently and survive.
Again, just my one cent...
I admit that I only write about what I know. For me, as a college student, I spend most of my time studying. Because of that, the length of time it would take me to look something up isn't worth the interest in writing about something I already know or am passionate about.
You know what they say, "If you enjoy what you do, it shows," (or something like that).
Excellent and cogent forum. #5 Grammar allowed in hard publishing has become increasingly disturbing.
tireless traveler: I was not aware that publishers were allowing grammar, etc. to be less than acceptable. This troubles me, too, but I do believe it is the result of the dumbing down of the general public. If you could see what goes on in the schools today, you would understand. I spent 26 years in the classroom and can tell you that the politicians have done (and still are doing) everything possible to ruin education. It is likely that many who read hard copy wouldn't even know the difference between good and bad grammar!
Well spoken TimeTraveler, although the people who aren't so hot at writing usually aren't adept or self aware enough to know that they're "bad" writers.
Also, who really has the heart to let them in on it?
The truth is that nobody really has to tell them, because the market will. I feel sorry for them because many struggle to succeed and never know why they don't!
There are many superb writers too who earn a pittance. Earning takes into account many things: market positioning, knowledge of SEO, marketing skills, and a good material. A well written piece is no guarantee that you will earn. I see badly written ones that are making a killing, due to good SEO skills.
Good thoughts. I think writing online is a labor-intensive undertaking, and I think a lot of people underestimate the effort involved if they actually want to make money. I think there are a lot of poor writers who work to spin some words together over a short period of time and expect to make a fortune. To have a chance at actually making money you have to be an above average writer writing about things that people are looking for, and then you have to worry about whether or not people can actually find what you wrote. I write about subjects I'm interested in for money on Hubpages, and I turn around and write my blog for pleasure. Neither of these are raking in a lot of money, but I get some money out of it, and I also get to fulfill my drive to continue writing. You can see my blog from my profile, and you'll notice it's completely different than what I write on here, lol.
I tried doing what you are doing, and immensely enjoyed the blogging...however, it was a great deal of work and I didn't make a dime doing it!
Instead I turned to Bubblews to make money, and HP to produce my better articles.
Because of that, I am now earning decently on HP and still go to Bubblews briefly every day to add another $1 to it.
Many writers here subscribe to the thinking that writing in a lot of different places protects you, and while there is some truth to that, you have to be willing to spread yourself pretty thin to do so
So, I try to write what I know and what I like, try out different techniques and keep it simple.
I do not make anywhere near what others here make, and I doubt I ever will, but just knowing that my work is getting recognized, at least a little bit, makes what I am doing worthwhile.
I could not have done that article better myself. You were spot on
TT2. When I was still with bubblews, I saw great writers with exceptional work. I cry whenever I read their piece --- so poignant and melancholic (ex. darian9991). His works were that of a master who knows his craft. But you don't see his work flying high in cyberspace for lack of SEO skills. I think, those types of articles should be published as ebooks. They won't do well in social sites like bubblews or HubPages, even. Another bubbler who writes superbly is candlelight. This fellow has wits, writing skills, and marketing savvy that he gets massive views for every post that he makes. That is the same thing here in HP as I see great poems not getting the views, but a number of mundane articles fly high in the Google landscape.
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