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Took a month to interview the right people and write. It's too long...

  1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
    TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago

    http://hubpages.com/travel/Cape-Town-Pu … -and-taxis

    So relocating back to Cape Town after a 30 year absence, it was a whole new ball game. I found the public transport system difficult to negotiate and Cape Town websites don't provide any information. So, in the end, I went to the officials, got the information, and decided to write a hub for tourists (you have never seen so many tourists in your life) and for those newly arrived in Cape Town (People from all over South Africa and Africa are relocating here).

    I took photos, did a video, etc. Lots of work.

    Now it's too long.

    Any ideas?

    1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image97
      Greensleeves Hubsposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

      Tess, I honestly don't think you should worry about the length of the hub. Yes, it's nice to write short pieces as it enables you to get a lot more work out there, but you have to think about what matters to the people who are searching for information on the Internet.

      It's true that your HubPage followers who only have a casual interest in the subject may be less inclined to read a very long article, but to be honest, it's the hundreds of millions of people who aren't members of Hubpages who are the key to success.

      I suspect we all get irritated when doing an Internet search when we waste huge amounts of time clicking on links which are just superficial pages giving very limited information. So I think any of those people who seriously want to know about public transport in Cape Town will be looking for comprehensive information - everything they need to know in one page. They don't want a superficial coverage that only gives half the information.

      None of my articles are less than 1000 words, and some are nearly 10,000 words. Most are much more than 3000 words. For the record I wrote an article entitled 'Thailand Pages; A Tourist's Guide to Bangkok Transport' - very similar in style to yours. It is 5,500 words long. I make no apologies for that. Many of my followers may not want to read it, but hopefully anyone interested in travelling to Bangkok on holiday will find it far more useful than a 1000-2000 word summary.

      Hubs should be the length they need to be to convey the relevent information - no longer, no shorter. Your hub looks to be useful and informative. There's certainly no need to shorten it. smile

      1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
        TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

        Thank you, that's really interested. I have to admit I was concerned about traffic, and I'm not sure what the SEO parameters are for very long hubs. Might I ask you what your traffic is like for 5500 words?

        Thanks.

        1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image97
          Greensleeves Hubsposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

          Tess; For that particular hub, traffic is not yet good, but that is not due to the length of the article as such - it's down to the subject matter and whether people can find it on Google (maybe I need to pay more attentiion to SEO, key words etc smile ) Hopefully traffic will grow in time.

          But two of my most successful hubs are 'Shades and Tones of Purple and Mauve' which has 3,700 words and 81,000 views so far (over 5 years) and '30 Favourite Christmas Carols'. Despite the very seasonal nature of interest in Christmas Carols, that hub has 27,600 views over 4 years and even in the past 30 days has more than 300 views. That hub on Christmas Carols is my second longest ever - 9,914 words!

          A short hub will probably attract more immediate interest from HubPage members  as it's quick and easy to read, but if you want to build up an Internet reputation for quality, I think the important thing is that the article is good, and gives the reader everything they want, irrespective of its length.

          1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
            TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

            I've been on the web for 22 years and been writing for most of that time. I'm not quite sure why I don't get all these people approaching me, but it's not because I don't have good reviews. So when you say develop a reputation for quality, what do you mean? With who?

            That said, I'm glad to hear that longer articles don't necessarily lack in readership. The reason I am particularly interested in that is because I would like to publish some fictional stories here. smile  I have avoided doing that in the past because it wasn't the right venue for it, but if I can get some on to letterpile (hopefully), I would be very happy. smile

            1. Greensleeves Hubs profile image97
              Greensleeves Hubsposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

              Tess, the ones that get the big traffic are very much the minority for me. Currently I've got 153 hubs, and of those only 14 have more than 10,000 views so far (including those on 'Purple' and 'Christmas Carols') and the great majority receive less than 100 visits per month.

              Length of article may affect the number of comments from HubPage members, but in my experience I can't see any effect on Internet traffic. Some of my top performing hubs are relatively short, but others as I've indicated are very long. Same goes for the low traffic hubs. I guess what matters most is subject matter, and getting the hub on to the first page of a Google search. I'm not the best person to ask about that, as I really don't understand that side of it - though I'm trying to learn how to market hubs better. At the moment all I'm doing is promoting them on Facebook, Twitter etc. The 'Carols' page for example has been linked to at various carol / hymn / Christmas groups on Facebook.

              As far as developing a reputation for quality is concerned, I don't think I've got there yet! Otherwise I'd have a lot more traffic on ALL my hubs. But the hope is that as time goes by, more people out there will link to or reference a page which they think is well written and useful. Sadly I think it does take time.

              Regarding fictional stories, I guess the problem with those is that there are no useful key words to search for on Google. Letterpile may be very useful in that regard as a dedicated creative writing site. I do have four hubs on Letterpile, and all are doing much better on there. So I'd urge you to go for that. (I'd like to have more on there, but I have some issues about changing the layout of some of my other creative writing hubs to suit HubPages specifications smile ).

              1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
                TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

                My point about reputation is that I have a good reputation as a writer. It has made no difference to traffic on my hubs. People link to topic - not to people. smile

                1. Marisa Wright profile image92
                  Marisa Wrightposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

                  Yes, I'm afraid that's true.  Newbie writers persist in thinking their name is their brand and they'll be famous one day, but there are only two ways your name ever gets known:  either you write successful novels, or you establish yourself as a specialist in a particular subject.  If you can't do either of those, most readers will barely even notice your name.  It's a blow to the writerly ego, but it's the way of the internet.

              2. Marisa Wright profile image92
                Marisa Wrightposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

                Yes Greensleeves, if you can't rank high on Google then you will never get decent traffic.  So when deciding whether Hubs should be long or short or anything else, your first objective must be to impress Google - because without Google you won't get readers.

                And Google is where the length comes in.  Sometimes you'll be lucky and get a short article to rank well - but Google wants to see lots of keywords in an article.  You can't "keyword stuff" into a short article or Google will regard it as spam - so the only way to use a lot of keywords is to write a long article.   Research by HubPages and by some of our top Hubbers suggest the "sweet spot" is between 800 and 1,500 words - that's long enough to get a good mixture of keywords and synonyms.  Any longer is just extra effort for diminishing return.

                So, you need the length to impress Google, but then we have a problem - today's internet readers are impatient and want instant answers. How can you design a Hub that's long for Google, but short and to the point for your readers? 

                The solution is to turn your natural inclination on its head.  Instead of a long introduction explaining the logic of your solution or the circumstances of the situation, you give them the answers right at the start, and then amplify on the whys and wherefores after.  Or you use a table of contents that allows them to jump to the section they want (Darkside has a Hub on how to do that).

                I do know of a few Hubbers who get good traffic from social networks, but they are always specialists in one subject, and have built a following for a Facebook page and Twitter account on that topic, which then drives traffic to their Hubs.  If all you're doing is sharing with friends and family on Facebook, Twitter or any other social site, it's not worth the time because your audience is so small.

  2. EricDockett profile image95
    EricDockettposted 4 weeks ago

    I don't think its too long, or especially long at all. Anyone who wants to know about getting around Cape Town is going to want lots of info. The more you can provide the better. I think you did a good job.

    Not sure what HP will think of your links. They seem useful in context, but some of them are to email addresses, and one to your G+ page. hmm

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
      TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

      The email addresses are necessary as there is honestly no other way (outside of phoning) or going to the terminus to get that information. If you were in another city, you would need that information. I don't know why there is such a scarcity of information on the website, except that South African internet is still stuck in the 90s.

  3. Marisa Wright profile image92
    Marisa Wrightposted 4 weeks ago

    It's about double the length I would normally be happy with, but not unacceptable. 

    The thing that strikes me is that there's a huge amount of detail about the two bus services, so it looks as though the Hub is all about buses.  Then as a kind of afterthought, other modes of transport appear at the end.

    I would be tempted to create another Hub dedicated to "Cape Town Bus Services".  Then move all the Golden Arrow and Myciti information over to that Hub.  I would still have a paragraph or two about each, ending with something like, "There is very little timetable and fare information available online or at bus stops in Cape Town so I have collected as much information as possible and you will find it in this article (link to the new Hub) which will help you navigate the buses successfully". 

    Not very well worded but you get the picture.  Small point and unlike you to miss it yourself - watch for repeated phrases like "for the sake of clarity" and "that said".  Oh, and the title is too long again.

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
      TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

      Yup. Shortened the title by removing 'public transport.' And am going to shorten bus information and do a second hub on just the bus service. There really is a dearth of information about these services on the websites.

      I've been able to shorten it to just over 1500 words which is about 1/3 off. I'm going to do a second hub on the buses (I had more information, anyway) to put in what I took out. smile

      Essentially, I removed all information which would be more suitable for locals than tourists. The piece is aimed at the tourist market.

      It's still a bit long, but 1500 words is better than more than 2400.

      Thanks for your help.

  4. Marisa Wright profile image92
    Marisa Wrightposted 4 weeks ago

    1500 words is the sweet spot. perfect length for a Hub.

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
      TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

      Just did the second one!
      This just over 1400 words. I had expected it to be less, but it turned out not so.

      http://hubpages.com/travel/Cape-Town-Bu … and-Myciti

      Thanks for some excellent advice.

  5. Marisa Wright profile image92
    Marisa Wrightposted 4 weeks ago

    Looking good!

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
      TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

      Thank you. smile

  6. earner profile image84
    earnerposted 4 weeks ago

    There are many things you can take away from writing a hub .... that took too long.

    Firstly, at least you did it - maybe you discovered places as you were doing that that'll give you an "edge" or an idea in the future that makes you the fortune.
    Maybe you learnt a new twist, or a new skill, something that, next time, will leverage your writing into the stratosphere of popularity.

    While "it's not all about the money", sadly, for some of us, it is isn't it - relying on our activities for a 100% sole income.

    But, all is not lost.

    With everything you write, you do/learn something new, that is another piece of the "riches that are due my way" jigsaw smile

    It can be soul destroying at the moment you launch your masterpiece, only to see it fall flat on its face ... but, over time, who knows, it might pay you for your time. 

    I know that's not much consolation if the income's needed today, to pay a bill, today .... but everything that we do makes a difference somehow ... it's just not always immediately evident.

    All the best in your new life/location/writings

    1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
      TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

      I have been writing and published for half a century. What do you mean new life?

      1. earner profile image84
        earnerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

        You said you relocated back to CT, that's a new life isn't it?

        1. TessSchlesinger profile image93
          TessSchlesingerposted 4 weeks ago in reply to this

          Yup. smile

 
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