Having written across of a number of sites, some that did the Google dance before dying a slow death, there's a chilling pattern that unfolds, not only for site owners but for their writers.
Owners start by making changes--sometimes huge, time-consuming, expensive ones. Earnings climb and just as it looks that things are back to normal, traffic levels drop again, so the site owners go back to the drawing board and try to pinpoint why their recent improvements aren't really making the difference they hoped for. They make more changes... They have stepped on the merry-go-round.
Meanwhile, writers are told to go in and change their articles. Now, if you are a writer who has written hundreds of articles, you might do this once or twice but you soon lose your enthusiasm for it, as you cotton on to what has become a familiar pattern: modifying articles, a short-term traffic gain, and then drops in traffic and earnings, and worse still, the site you write for ultimately either suggesting you submit articles with no expectation of payment and/or finally closing its doors.
I hope this isn't what is happening here at HubPages but it all seems eerily familiar.
On the upside, things tend to be cyclic. We already know that many site owners have phased out their blogs and websites, feeling it was no longer worth the effort. And for the sites that remain, one can foresee a day when the net is riddled with stagnant articles and little fresh content--all those writers, bloggers, et al, having lost their enthusiasm for the whole business.
Google may have created a monster of its own making.
Right now, as far as we know, one niche site is suffering. It is not the end of time. Neither demons nor aliens nor radical lispimists are emerging from the ground to drag us down to hell.
So, good luck to staff as they try to fix Healdove.
I applaud their efforts and hope they succeed where so many others have failed.
However, this is how it starts. Remember those articles at the "one niche site" had already been edited and improved for quality to conform to Google's requirements. And now, all that editing has failed to be the hoped-for oyster and more changes are deemed necessary. Two steps forward, one step back. Let's do the Hokey-Pokey.
I've seen it all before.
I can see that you are feeling very negative right now, and I understand that. But I just want to say again that no one at Hubpages has given up yet. It is your choice if you are done. Hubpages changes are reflections of the Google Quality Guidelines, WHICH HAVE BEEN CHANGED as of March 14. Seeing Hubpages working to make these changes shows us that they are still working hard to make sure that these sites survive The Internet Of Things.
By the way, the reputation of sites is very important. Threads like this seem kind of counterproductive to our reputation. Please, if you haven't read the Google Quality Search Elevator guidelines, go read them. It answers EVERYTHING. My traffic on both my accounts is going up. I attribute that to reading that document and following the guidelines.
Just out of curiosity, why do you think this thread is bad for HP's reputation? I think the site has a much higher risk of reputation damage from some of the battles on Answers and Forums.
There is a war on click bait. It is important to understand that Google is under a lot of pressure right now. They have lost major funding from advertisers who are holding them to a higher standard. On March 14 they updated the Google quality guidelines, this happens 7 days after the infamous "fred".
In the guidelines, we also see reflections of Googles war on click bait. I am not offended by the way that she feels. That isn't it. Google is making it very clear that they are finally willing to tackle an issue that many of us have been fuming about for years.
Black hat SEO created a situation where search engine results were low quality. They mislead people, and even some of the adds that google showed were inappropriate.
The Internet Of Things is an ever evolving thing. It is also relatively young, yet changed everything so quickly. Whether writers or Google want to face it, the information presented on the web can not be income driven.
It is important for writers to invest themselves into their content, and manage it over time. We have to change the way we think.
The title used for this thread is shocking and draws attention more to negative emotions drawn through personal experience. However, it is not the experience of everyone and therefore should not be taken as law.
That is the whole point of fred. The way we write needs to reflect that we understand the personal responsibility of our opinions and of the things that we see as fact. In fact, we even have to make sure that facts are real and not fake news.
I am not saying she shouldn't have posted this thread. People want to know if Hubpages is closing. This is an example of a situation where we need to learn not to take our personal experience and opinion as fact.
Personal expertise is a valid thing, but we have to write in a way that shows that we understand this. Not write as if it is the solid fact.
Your right, for forums inciting feelings, this might be a fine thing to do. I just want others to know that we can not become rigid in our thinking when they very question of what is fact and fiction are in question. Not just on the internet, but on the world scene. As a collective consciousness, the people demand to be treated fairly and with dignity.
Your right, the battles on answers and forums is not good for our reputation. However, let's remember that Google demands we update our content. They use terms like freshness and relevance.
This means that what is said now, tomorrow and the next day will matter. Furthermore, people are more likely to complain than compliment. This matters, too.
This is the official Hupbages forums. Honestly, while I know Hubpages has things it needs to improve, I believe that we each make a difference. We as a whole matter. We need to talk to each other.
I just feel that the title of this thread could have been written more responsibly. Fred wants that, google wants that, readers want that. Most writers on HubPages are responding, and working hard to understand all of this. For many of us, this is about breaking old habits, and being more conciensious how we word things.
It is up to each of us to prove to Google that we understand all of this, and reflect that in all of our online actions. We write like we understand when we actually learn to change the way we think.
If you want to keep up with technology, you must be willing to be open minded. We must allow ourselves to seeing things a new way and to truly hear the opinions of others. You must be willing to compromise. People who update their content in a way that reflects that they are willing to work with the system, and not against it are rewarded.
This is my opinion. I don't work for Hubpages or google. Why should you care what I have to say? I spent an entire month reading and rereading the Google Quality Guidelines. I went to the personal social accounts of Google employees. I researched and studied.
What happened? My traffic on both of my accounts is increasing, not decreasing or standing still. I hope everyone on Hubpages can see this same trend so we ALL succeed together.
Pardon the mistakes. I am so glad you asked this question. We must continue to ask each other questions. We must continue to search for answers together. We must question Google and Hubpages. I just think that we need to make sure to stay away from those sensational titles that might lead some people astray.
Most importantly, if you have not read the 149 pages of the Google Quality Guidlines, you need to do it ASAP.
Maybe Google has created a monster. I don't know. What I do know is that this is progress. The fact that Matt Cutts now works for the goverment is progress. Progress is not always plesant or fun, and is usually difficult to understand.
Many of us have been more than willing to go in and improve our articles, hoping it would make a difference.
This was even more germane when it potentially meant either a retention of monthly earnings or an increase in same. Many of us learned SEO, CPC, keyword optimization, etc., then as times changed and the net evolved, we changed how we crafted articles. Some of us have modified hundreds of articles trying to conform to Google's requirements.
So those of us who have been there, done that, aren't necessarily being negative, rather we are taking a realistic look. Simply being willing to change how things are done doesn't necessarily translate to site viability.
In the old days, it was easier to place your writing eggs in more than one basket and I used to encourage writers to do this, so if a site went down and they lost that revenue, they had other passive income to rely on. Those were the days of multiple streams of income. Not so easy to do this now. Not by a long shot. The playing field has changed considerably.
Well said, DragonBringer - back during the panda crisis everyone ran around wailing doom for HP, including me. When HP attempted to address the situation, my traffic eventually rose higher than it had been before panda. I was glad that I did not throw in the towel. We need to change with the times, even if we don't like the changes. We can't just coast along on old articles, hope for the best, then get mad at HP when Google tries to clean up. My traffic has dipped thanks to fred, but I refuse to waste my heart on despair.
As I stated, I applaud their efforts and hope that it makes a difference.
Hi Dragon, I wouldn't say I'm done. I'm taking a wait and see and hoping that the site will remain viable. So many have put in so much time and effort and it would be a shame to see it all go by the wayside.
I understand the concerns but am confident HP staff can give of their best - they're trying really hard to negotiate, navigate, work their way through the choppy seas. And I for one have had great results over the past few months so I see a brighter future for HP. IF WE CAN MAINTAIN high quality hubs and yes, jump through the Google hoops, there's no reason not to be optimistic?
I hope you're right because many others tried to bring their sites into conformity to Google guidelines. Many site owners were more than willing to make changes, to change the way they created content, to work on quality, etc. but in the end, it didn't amount to a hill of beans and the sites went under.
I hope HubPages staff knows something the other site owners didn't.
The HubPages team has been changing/evolving the site for years. It's the nature of the beast.
Well, I wish other Pethelpful folks would weigh in. Am I the only one experiencing pre-niche site levels of traffic? I threw up in my mouth when I looked at today's pageviews.
Janderson, may have been onto something, perhaps Google is making manual adjustments to the sites.
In response to Google HP has tried to raise quality.
I had a look at the Google Quality Guidelines and description of high and low quality sites and the comments I get from HP about pages that almost made it to a niche site seem to have nothing to so with what google says. There is a lot of fiss about capitalising headings and not using bold text and not under any circumstances referring to your own hubs (citing your previous work is common in al ot of fields) but nothing about content, reputation etc.
IN other words I think HP could well be going about this in the wrong way, focusing on nitpicking detains rather than the big things.
I've been working online since dialup bulletin boards in the 1980s. I have seen many companies come and go, and I usually see a pattern to their deaths.
I don't see that pattern here. HubPages has survived much longer than any other major site of its type. Although I don't agree with everything the staff and owners do, I have the greatest respect for their skills.
Of course the positive side is that if HP did go under, we all have a ton of content for new websites of our own! I transferred all of my herb hubs to my own site which is now booming. With the hubs I have now, I could easily create 2 or 3 more websites. Running websites is hard. HP is easy, so my hubs will stay here for the foreseeable future.
Well done on the new site, Old Roses. I always thought you'd do well with your own site. If you've got the expertise, it's a no-brainer really. However the big difficulty with having your own site is understanding how to make money from it - that's much harder work than on HubPages, where advertising is taken care of. So good luck getting your head around that side of things!
Thanks, Marisa. I also teach workshops on herbs. The website and the speaking engagements feed on each other. I earn more income that way than through advertising.
Aha, it sounds like you're already on the right path! In reality, most bloggers and website owners don't rely on Adsense and similar ad programs these days. They make money by building a rapport with their readers, collecting their email addresses and then using a newsletter to market products or services to them. If you get a good following, you can charge suppliers high prices for the privilege of mentioning their product. Obviously to do that well and keep it going for the long term, you need to choose only products and services that you genuinely recommend!
I clicked through and found it and visited your site.
A couple of years ago I would have totally disagreed with you, but today I really think you could be right. While I think HP has done really well with the site and adjusting to changes in the search engine, there seems to be a constant battle that indicates possibly that the reason there is a constant battle is because the site and sites like it are on the way out. I hate to say it, I love HP, but I think you might be right about that pattern; putting people through a lot and it might be a fruitless endeavor. It's too bad, too, because a lot of people, admin and writers, work hard and should have something, at the end, for all the work.
I saw something similar happen for one of the sites I wrote for, a site that only accepted professional writers, so it was a cut above the content mills. The site had fairly stringent article criteria. Then came Panda and Penguin. We were directed to go in and change our articles. At the time, that meant changes to over 100 published articles. A daunting task! However, believing it would make a difference to revenue, I did so. Things improved for about three months, if I remember, and then the site was hit again, and more changes were suggested. At this point, I was hitting the wall. I stopped publishing new articles and took a wait and see, and as I suspected, things only continued on a downhill slide. A short while later, the site was asking for free submissions, as they could no longer afford to pay their writers.
I read some of the comments here and I have a different take. The problem with hubpages is not our doing. The problem exists on the web and with google. Believe it or not, we have good content here on HubPages for the most part. The problem is with these SEO groups that try to game the system and by getting their fake content to rank high on google search. Google and its sophisticated algorithm of indexing, for the life of me, can't seem to separate the good from the spam. That is the crux of the problem. No matter what we do to improve HubPages, this will not change until GOOGLE changes...
I agree with you black hat SEO was a terrible thing. I just wish Google had found a better way to deal with it, and sooner than they did. It got way out of control. I know people who work for some of the "big dogs" who admit they used black hat SEO.
This should not be rocket science. Any high school graduate that can read english will be able to see what sites are bogus and which are legitimate.
If google can't figure out a way to separate them, then they have no business being the seach engine giant guru they claim to be. It is only a matter of time, some other smart person come along to unseat google.
This is exactly how I feel.You've nailed it and why I haven't posted a new hub in two years or so.
Same sentiment here. I've been losing interest due to the unfair changes happening online when it comes to writing articles.
HubPages has survived when other sites didn't. Time will tell if they are in the crosshairs.
People have been predicting HubPages' imminent crash-and-burn ever since I joined in 2011, and were probably doing it long before that too. I'm not particularly worried about it,
Obviously the general public doesn't have access to all the top-secret goin's on behind the scenes, so only the Powers That Be know for sure.
It would certainly suck to see HP go away, but I have backups for all my stuff, so in that event I'd have to get off my a** and finally learn how to set up my own site, I guess. (shrugs)
Yup, been here done this a few times over the last 4 and a half years. But this feels different: 1.) Because of the unpredictability of the niche sites, and 2.) It seems like there are less of us still here to keep it afloat. I hope and pray for the best.
No, actually before the Big Panda Disaster in early 2011, we all thought we were going to be rich - I remember working out my New Year resolutions at the end of 2010. At the time, I had around 100 Hubs and I expected, even if I never wrote another one, to make $20,000 in 2011. So naturally, one of my New Year resolutions was to write a whole heap more! Then Google Panda hit.
Kudos to management - they've performed miracles keeping the site afloat since then. Just look at how every major competitor has crashed and burned! So it's tempting to think this is just another challenge, like all the others HubPages has faced since 2011, and it will come through.
I think it's different this time. You've got to realise, when the niche sites were announced, it was because the main site was no longer viable. If HubPages had been profitable in its original state, there is no way they would've started the huge, expensive, labour-intensive work of converting to the niche sites. So if the niche sites fail, reverting to HubPages.com is not an option. This is the last throw of the dice, IMO.
Pre-2011, many of us were trying to reach 1000 articles and we figured if we did, we could create enough of an income stream to "retire" and work on our other projects, like books we wanted to finish.
You've put into words what I've been thinking about the main site and the niche sites, Marisa.
I understand the concern. I was with Helium when it folded. The big difference with that site, however, was that R.R. Donally (sp?) bought and within 6 months it was discontinued. This happened after a major reorganization and design of it. It looked bad and traffic and revenue drastically dropped. In this case, the writer left in droves before it was realized that the platform it was built on couldn't be supported anymore.
I see some of the same changes happening; however, I hope that Hubpages learned from the debacle that destroyed Helium.
For those of us who have been writing at HubPages for a few years, this is nothing new. Google is constantly changing its criteria, so those of us who depend upon Google must change too.
Athlyn has been here for 10 years. I wonder what she sees that is different than the other times. I've been here 7 years and I've seen this happen about this time every year. Google gets to be tiresome since they are like dictators.
I don't know about Athlyn, but for me the difference is that I think HubPages is running out of options. Each time we've had a setback, they've set about tackling the problems and trying to fix them. But NONE of the fixes they've applied since 2011 have restored the site to its former success. The move to niche sites seemed, finally, to be the key to pushing the site into true profitability - but if they don't work, what's left?
I don't think they're thinking strategically about this. (I say this as somebody who used to be paid to think strategically before I retired).
If I was HubPages I'd be creating web hosting for people to run their own sites under their own domains (i.e. no problems re content farm scenarios) then create a template - like they have at present - which makes them really easy to use to create informative articles.
A sort of web hosting for article sites - but the difference being they are ALL independent - AND the content farm model does not apply (buy bye Google concerns) - AND the bad or poor content by some can NEVER infect the rest.
Then offer options on pricing which take account of
* whether or not people use adverts and amazon;
* what level of support they want;
* whether there is any cut for HubPages
i.e. free hosting = you must take HubPages adverts which are tailored to your specific content + you only get to share the income once you generate enough traffic to your website
I call it the "win win" solution.
However, to do this they must generate MUCH better statistics and much better tailoring of adverts.
Just a thought. I've only had it for two years....
(because when I came to HubPages when Squidoo went down, my first thought was "how is HubPages going to reinvent itself to be sustainable in the long term?" alongside "what am I going to do if they don't?" i.e. take my content to my own sites)
To my mind, the niche website option was a totally obvious move to make - but it's obviously not enough.
If I were sitting at HubPages HQ I'd be working out where they go next.
Hosted independent websites is the way forward which
* continues to maximise use of the software they have already built
* AND generates income
* and divorces them from the business model which Google so very obviously dislikes.
Great idea, but it only works with .5% of the hubbers here.
Many have broad accounts on varied topics so that their articles are spread over 4-5 niches. Others like me just have a few - 50 articles, that will not generate the traffic that they currently do, being part of a larger group of articles in that niche.
...and therein lies the rub for those who have written with a modicum of knowledge on a wide range of subjects.
My own view is that those who are making money typically make it in a niche area or on one or two hubs - so maybe my solution is not so irrelevant?
I wasn't trying to come up with a solution for everybody - because (assuming 80:20 rules exists) 20% of the hubbers will be making 80% of the income.
I'm not sure if a hypothetical person was trying to reinvent HP for the future they'd necessarily be very focused on keeping everybody happy. I'm assuming that keeping the people afloat who do make the money which subsides the site would be the logical priority. (It's what they did when they prioritised who got to go to the niche sites).
However, let's just suppose that HP's owners one day decide that they've had enough of trying to keep the site(s) going. After all that's what Seth Godin did. They decide to stop.
So what do you do then? Have you considered that?
I don't think you're correct in saying that those who make money here do so in a niche. Like you, many of HubPages' niche writers moved on to their own site long ago. And even those who do write mainly in a one niche, also write on other subjects - for instance I started out writing on dance, but actually my non-dance articles make most of my income here. And that's in spite of the fact that I have only a "modicum" of knowledge on those subjects.
"I'm assuming that keeping the people afloat who do make the money which subsides the site would be the logical priority. (It's what they did when they prioritised who got to go to the niche sites)."
No, that's not what they did at all. If they'd taken that approach, they would have looked at their high-earning Hubbers and moved every single one of their Hubs over to the niche sites. They didn't do that. They cherry-picked the top 20% of Hubs based on traffic. For most of us, that meant a small percentage of our Hubs.
Hmmm, so they only looked at traffic and didn't look at earnings? How very odd!
They may have looked at earnings - but all the discussions mentioned Google traffic. The rationale was that the purpose of the niche sites was to please Google. Therefore populating them with Hubs that were already pleasing Google (evidenced by the high volume of traffic) had to be the best way to create them.
That might please Google - but it's not a good business model!
As in there are sites with
* low traffic which earn a lot - because they are highly focused on a specialist interest and satisfy those who visit (eg Amazon purchases)
* sites with high traffic from a lot of people who use adblockers!
I like the idea of HP webhosting and offering their features. Not sure at this point, but I think I'd probably pay for hosting here if the features and ads were part of the deal.
There you go - I thought it would be an idea which would interest at least some of the current hubbers...
It's sort of the equivalent of having your own sub-domain - but under your own domain name.
No cross-referencing to others. No listings of hubs. You have to generate your own traffic.
Yeah, I like the idea that I'd get webhosting but actually more features than I have with current webhosting I'm using; much of what I lack is offered by HP.
I'm trying to work out what HubPages would offer that ordinary webhosting doesn't.
The only thing I can think of is the advertising.
What I was saying, but who am I?
Everyone in agreement must have hundreds of hubs in micro specific niches, seeking to cash in on the technical largesse of HP which is not afforded by Wordpress or Blogger.
@Marisa - What HubPages offers is
* familiarity with the template
* guidelines on how to make your site work
* lack of effort required to start somewhere new.
Familiarity with the template and lack of effort required to start somewhere new - yes, but thost advantages only work for existing Hubbers. In the long term, those are not features that will attract new members who will be looking at choosing a HubPages blog vs a Blogger blog vs a Wordpress blog vs many other competitors.
I like that idea a lot. BQ Hope the HP crew are reading this.
To me it makes sense.
It might even be possible to run it alongside the niches on a "suck it and see" basis.
Let's face it at some point good people will move content. Why not give them a good reason to stay?
I love the idea. This would offer features for my site that I don't have now.
I love that idea! One of the features I loathe about HP is the featured hubs by other hubbers on my hubs. I prefer to only have links to my hubs as ads.
On your own island...with no other hubs to attract interest to yours. Why have you not already created your own website, if being a solitary author is so much preferable.
Try it! I think you will find it is not as commodious as being on HP with fellow writers of the same subject matter.
You're assuming most hubbers get their traffic from other hubbers
By way of contrast I always got the bulk of my traffic from Google and my blog and my Facebook Page. (You can check your traffic sources from http://hubpages.com/my/hubs/traffic-sources)
Funnily enough, HubPages is only just staying ahead by a nose from one of my NEW niche sites which generates traffic for a very small amount of content not yet moved.
My theory is that if you get most of your traffic from search (Google etc) and/or your own blogs (like me) then you have no need to worry going it alone. All you are losing is that very small amount which is generated by HubPages.
If you know the traffic is out there all you need is a very specific site, unique and relevant domain name and excellent content and marketing to capture it.
My example is that one of my new websites - which is a macro niche site - i.e. hosts several former hubs and a lot more new content on a VERY specific topic (think subset of subset of a HubPages category) - now generates about 20 times the traffic I ever got before (50 times at specific times of year). It's had 250,000 pageviews for a topic which doesn't generate huge traffic but does have a very faithful audience - who like books.
That's because it has a domain name which is very specific to topic, meta descriptions and text which are very specific, absolutely no irrelevant content (e.g. referrals to other non-related hubs), has its own blog for signalling new content and it's marketed through two linked and dedicated social media sites on Twitter and a Facebook Page.
On Alexa it's now the top site for its topic in the world. (Try this link - it's very useful http://www.alexa.com/find-similar-sites in giving you a ranking relative to very similar sites)
No, Solaras is not assuming most Hubbers get their traffic from other Hubbers. What she is saying is that by getting together with other writers and creating a site on a niche topic, it's possible to create a much larger site than if you are working alone.
You are amazing prolific in what you do and have produced a huge site all on your own. Not everyone has the time or expertise to do that. The HubPages niche sites open up the possibility of creating a large niche site by bringing together numerous writers to contribute on that topic.
Agreed - and it was the obvious and logical thing to do.
But isn't this thread about what happens if they don't work? (as in "Is HubPages on a Slow March to Oblivion?")
PS Two huge sites, one medium sized site and two more in the offing!
Yes, but that doesn't mean I can't correct a misunderstanding when I see it. I agree that the niche sites were the obvious thing to do, but at the time I felt some of the combinations of subjects were unwise - and I still do.
As for whether choosing Hubs based on traffic was a good business model - I'm not debating the point, I'm just telling you what they did.
The blank page thing - HubPages used to present a blank page as well. The templates are a recent innovation and I suppose they, and the stellar guidelines, are some help. I wonder, though, if people would rely on them too much.
Some people need guidelines.
I thought that was one of the ways HubPages differentiated itself from those who could just go out and start a blog or a website on a topic
However I'm out of here - just found the most amazing domain name for one of my websites which I can't quite believe is still available as a .com!
The main way that HubPages has always differentiated itself is the fact that their writers don't have to be subject matter experts, and that writers don't have to specialise in one topic. Another of their big selling points is that they take care of the placement of advertising.
As you've probably noticed when you advise people to start their own blog, many Hubbers don't have the depth of knowledge in a subject to do so. Or if they do, they don't have the time to create the size of website needed to make an impact. Your proposal won't help those people.
But to get back to the original question. I think the solution for those people is to start making connections with their fellow Hubbers in the same field. Then if the HubPages niche sites go belly-up, those Hubbers can get together and collaborate on a joint website.
Not so long ago, the creative writers got together and started their own website in exactly that way. It's called CreativeExiles.com (I did the basic setup for them). And I know another Hubber who gathered a group of frugal living writers together for the same purpose.
I agree - I think the co-operative model can work.
The issue at the end of the day with that model is whether competitors are prepared to become potential collaborators.
Also could get messy around money though unless thought through properly and how it works documented before people sign up!
Well, competitors have to be collaborators on HubPages so it wouldn't be very different. The only thing I'd say, having been involved in a couple, is that the project has to be somebody's baby and that person needs to keep control. Trying to run a website as a commune does not work.
I agree about the money side of things - I know CreativeExiles was wrestling with that issue when I was doing the setup. In their case, it was a little easier as they are creative writers so there are no related products to sell, so I think one idea was that they were allowed to place a mention of one of their own ebooks at the end of each post.
Also on Wordpress there are a number of plugins which allow sharing of advertising income from Adsense, similar to the way it's done on HubPages.
Exactly, Thank you. It seems my every utterance is deliberately misconstrued, and taking off on a long strange diversion.
Solaris, I do have my own website and it attracts much more traffic than my hubs. I keep hoping HP will turn around so that I don'the have to create more websites. They are expensive and difficult to maintain. Community is nice but it doesn'tdrive traffic.
Barb, I hope I'm wrong. I truly do. So many of us appreciate the monthly income afforded via HubPages.
I'm a bit surprised but the doom and gloom in this thread. I can only go by my own numbers, and while I've lost some traffic is hardly seems like end times to me.
I went into 2016 having pretty much decided I was moving my content away from HP. I decided to stick it out and see how it went with the niche sites. So, 2016 turned out to be my best year ever on this site, ending with a bonkers holiday season with traffic and earnings through the roof.
As awesome as all that was I really didn't expect the niche sites to continue at that level indefinitely. Did you? They were new sites, and traffic immediately skyrocketed. I assumed, at some point, there would be some leveling off. I think we all got a little spoiled.
At least 50% of my traffic loss right now I know is due to typical seasonal fluctuation. The spending of the holidays and tax season is over, and the extended daylight and warmer weather in the US means fewer people are engaging in the indoor hobbies I write about.
Another chunk of my lost traffic was, I think, pages that were unrealistically boosted due to the niche sites. In one case I had a page go from ~50 visits a day to over 500, just because it moved to a niche site. That's ridiculous! It's dropped back to ~150 visits a day, and that I am happy to get that. The page just isn't that good, and I was stunned and a little embarrassed when it got so much attention.
I do have a few pages I think were unjustly persecuted by Fred, and I'm working on improving those.
As for Healdove, sites fail all the time, even when the owner thinks they are doing everything right. With 20 niche sites or whatever, I expected at least one to bomb in the first year. It would have been more surprising if one didn't.
If you have content on Healdove I know that's little solace, but it does appear HP is trying to resurrect the site so let's sit tight and see how it goes.
What's happening right now is a bummer, but it is still way, waaaay, better than a year ago, and everything that came post-Squid merger. I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes, but it hardly seems to me that HP is circling the drain here.
I have some improvements and changes planned for my Hubs after Fred, some of them possibly drastic. I see no reason to abandon ship. The niche sites still appear to me to be a success, even if not quite as much of a success as they were a couple of months ago.
Thank you for sharing your perspective. I am glad I didn't choose the health niche. I kind of feel bad for those who did. I guess I am not doom and gloom because I have seasonal articles that do better starting around now and continuing through September. Then my earnings drop through winter. I always hated having seasonal content, but for some reason, it doesn't seem to suffer the same way that evergreen content does.
I am starting to think that the veterinary sciences might be YMYL, too. Some people are reporting lost traffic to those types of hubs. The thing is that pethelpful has tons of articles that are not about pet health. So it does confuse me a little.
I agree it's not as bad as it's been, and, actually, the articles of mine that are getting less traffic are doing okay and haven't really suffered in the SERPs; which makes me think there is just overall less people on the Net, as you suggest.
my main source of traffic is google and I would love to see traffic from other sources rising. I have no I dea how HP or I can manage that.
However HP does not really rely on Google Adsense. Perhaps if they did they would have fewer problems with Google. And perhaps if they took out advertising with Google?
I agree that Google is making less progress identifying rubbish websites than I would expect from a company so full of geniuses. AI has yet to come on line in this goal.
If Google's quality guidelines are 149 pages long they are too complicated and they should set up a site where you can give it a URL and it checks the rules for you. If it automatically rechecked when the rules change and emailed you that would be better but honestly, who can read 140 pages of what is, given my knlwledge of how programmers write documentation, extremely soporific prose?
Exactly. And as the net continues to evolve, things will continue to change, so what works today, won't necessarily work tomorrow.
I remember when RSS feeds were encouraged, then they were not, when linking was okay, then later frowned on, when short punchy content was wanted, and now content-rich is the name of the game.
which suggests we need to be more like other businesses, building up rapport with a small group so that when we publish something they tend to check it out automatically. HP do not help us, they just publicise new stuff within the HP community.
We live in interesting times.
AlexK, I'm not sure what you mean. It's impossible to build up a rapport with your audience on HubPages, because there is no system for readers to follow you, or to be notified when you publish new Hubs. Followers are other writers, not readers - and most follow because they're community-minded and want to support other members, or because they hope you'll follow them back. Not because they're deeply interested in your subject. Which means they're not likely to be clicking on your ads or buying anything from your Amazon capsules.
I meant that we have to be actively promoting our work outside Hub Pages, for example by networking. This increases likelihood of a click through.
But it is not that simple. Not all topics are equally likely to result in clickthroughs
Unfortunately if your audience that has little or no need for physical products or real world services, for example you write on History, Philosophy and indeed Writing itself, you will have little chance of click through.
For these topics you will have to rely on views for income more than with other topics
If, however you write on what I call vanilla topics - Recipes, knitting, car repair. crafts for example it seems to me you have a much higher chance of a click through, as long as the objects advertised are something that does not vary from vendor to vendor except in price . Airfares would be one example.
Personally I have little desire to write articles about knitting, cooking, frying pans, car parts or engine repair or DIY projects. I suspect however they are keeping Hub pages alive.
Last year was generally really good for me in earnings, but I have been heavily hit by the HP switch away from Amazon-orientated hubs. The problem is that the Adsense and Hub Ads don't make up the shortfall in income, even if my views have dramatically increased since the introduction of niche sites.
I remain loyal to HP. I've started writing more hubs again, as at least I feel there is a clear plan that I can work around. I value the help and work of the HP editors.
It still feels like I am playing catch up in terms of earnings, however.
I notice that my blogs on google blogspot are getting a lot more views than those on Hub Pages but the earnings are much less. Generally I may see a small uptick if I publish a hub then traffic drops precipitately after a week or so. However my older hubs seem to be steady performers, just not a good as they used to be.
Which leaves me wondering if google applies different standards on blog spot or that the messing arounf HP are doing is causing ranking to drop.
I notice they have also moved away from Ebay totally. Or Ebay moved away from them
The reason your blog does better than HubPages is very simple. Your blog specialises in one broad subject area, whereas HubPages does not. Specialist websites, no matter what size, will always get more traffic from Google than generalist ones (the only exceptions are news sites and shops).
That has been the case for a few years now, and it's the reason HubPages has created the vertical sites. HubPages recognises that Google is never going to change its attitude, and that no matter how much work they put into improving quality, the main site will always be penalised for being generalist.
Understood, but it was not always like this. Around 2011 I was getting close then having a regular monthly payout. Then things just fell off a cliff after a Google update
There are a lot of people who get a monthly payout, some who get more.
Exactly, Alex. Until 2011, Google had no problem with generalist sites. Then in early 2011, Google changed its algorithm and part of that change was to favour specialist sites. In fact, in 2011 Google actually said it was "declaring war" on content sites like HubPages, eHow, Associated Content etc. And they were very successful in that war, because they drove most of those sites out of business. HubPages is a rare survivor.
I missed seeing that declaration of war. That would mean HP deserves some credit for surviving. I guess I need to start moving Hubs from here to my blogger blogs so as to leave my HP account covering one niche. I just need to decide which niche.
I Noted that I shared one hub privately on Google+. The SHARE came up on the first page of Google when I typed in the topic, admittedly at the bottom. but the HUB did not. I still suspect google has different standards for content published via its own products and that published outside the google walled garden.
I am coming to hate google. Working in their research labs could be fun but using their products is the reverse and HP shows how they can act towards businesses that do not take out their advertising. The recent case where someone noticed that typing "Holocaust" into google resulting in the first article being that of an extrteme right almost Nazi Holocaiust denial organisation. He took out an ad that linked to an appropriate site that rebutted Holocaust denial (This is from memory) and his ad appeared at the top. Cue one embarrassed Google.
It would be a great thing if people took the initiative to use different engines like bing etc but I doubt that would ever happen.
You could probably find it still. It was a video by Matt Cutts and it was widely debated at the time.
There's no point in making your HubPages account a specific niche. Google doesn't recognise your HubPages account as a standalone website - your Hubs are all mixed up with everyone else's on HubPages and that's how Google sees it. So even if all your Hubs are on one subject, Google won't notice that.
And yes, HubPages does deserve huge credit for surviving when all the other big players have failed. What Athlyn is saying is that she's concerned this latest setback may be the last straw, if the vertical sites don't bounce back. I'm inclined to agree - if the vertical sites aren't sufficiently profitable, that will be the end of HubPages. But at this point we don't know how bad (or good) the situation is.
Agreed, which is why I have originals of my hubs on my hard disc and may move the oldest ones with the least views elsewhere. Annoying. I DO NOT INTEND TO END UP USING EXPERTS COLUMN AGAIN. Sorry for shouting. They are even more finicky than HP and much lower payouts. Revenue sharing sites are getting rarer.
Me, too, Alex. I'd worked my tail feathers off to grow a sizeable income and in 2011, it crashed and burned. And income levels have never been what they once were.
I know other writers who have moved completely away from Google, after doing the Google Shuffle and getting nowhere.
As I mentioned in another post, when a company cripples site after site, blogger after blogger, writer after writer, they just may end up with a little less than they bargained for.
If this keep up, I predict google will go down as well. No company can survive when they screw their customers. In a free market system, someone else will come along and offer a better service, in this case, a better search engine.
Do they get money from Ad farms where in order to see the content you have to click through a slideshow of depressingly mediocre content.
I am thinking of making DuckDuck Go my default search engine. Or maybe Bing. Suggestions welcome
We've all seen those annoying sites, littered with poorly-written content and crammed with ads. Wonder why THEY are alive and well?
Some sites I follow via facebook have these at the bottom a load of inages with come on captions The reality does not meet the promise. I suspect they are paying sites with reasonable facebook followings peanuts, compared with what Google charges and relying on Facebook not google.
I can see facebook becoming a major competitor for google, if it is not already
Are they alive and well because they are advertising on sites that google does not penalise?
According to Alexa ranking, HubPages has dropped from 4042 to 4472 in the last 20 days. This trend has been going down for the last few years.
Unfortunately, that is the reality and the raw facts.
BTW, Alexa is now owned by Amazon. I was surprised to see that.
I don't know what the solution is but definitely, we need to move away from dependency on Google.
Perhaps working more closely with social media such as FB...
Umm.... If as stated by marisa they have declared war on content sites but want quality content I am confused as it sounds incoherent
Makes sense to me. Content sites were notorious for extremely poor content. Anyone could write anything they wanted no matter how poor their writing skills. HP had lots of poor quality hubs until they hired editors and started unpublishing and unfeaturing the worst of them. So I can see Google wanting to eliminate content farms from their search results. This is really just a problem for those of us who write quality hubs and want a place to publish them but don't want the hassle and expense of creating, designing and maintaining our own websites.
Sounds plausible. It looks like Google penalised the whole of HP rather than making the effort to just penalise hubs with poor content. Now they have AI that may be up to the task perhaps they could train it to identify low quality hubs.
Exactly, they can't have it both ways. HP alteady has a QAP process to weed out poor content which gets unfeatured. That should leave most of the hubs featured of good quality. Am I right?
So now, google is saying HP does not have sufficent quality content? I am very suspicious. Besides, what about all their sophisticated indexing crawler bots... are they suppose to weed out the spams? Apparently, they are not doing a very good job of it...
The bottom line for me is, it is not us but Google who is in trouble. They should fix it, we shouldn't have to adapt to their whim...
This is exactly the dance I spoke about. Once a site is targeted, it seems that no matter what changes they make, they are always supposed to make more changes--and no matter what they do, it is never the hoped-for solution.
To HubPages great credit, they have held on longer than most.
Another thing I've always wondered about is the percentage of ad revenue Google keeps. Is it possible they are taking a much higher percentage now, which, of course, would result in lower earnings for the rest of us?
Alex, haven't you ever heard of Google's Panda score?
Google assigns every website an overall score based on its worst content.
Google assesses each individual article on its own merit, but then it adds the Panda score as a weighting. So, if your article is on a site with a bad score, its ranking will be dragged down by that bad score.
That's one of the reasons why Hubs moved from HubPages to your own blog gain traffic when they are moved. Even though HubPages has quality measures, there are still hundreds of low quality Hubs here which haven't been through QAP, and therefore HP's Panda score isn't likely to be high. Whereas your blog, if you're consistently writing high quality posts, is likely to have a higher score.
This is also part of the reason why the vertical sites were created, to get out from under the Google penalty.
Yeah, I heard of panda but did not know it works like this. It is then a race between Google and HP's quality uplift.
Where can I find Google's definition of Quality?
I think Glenn posted the quality guidelines recently. They are not easy to make sense of! For my blog, I wouldn't write a post less than 400 words long and I always make sure grammar and spelling are spot-on. For Hubs I write much longer, at least 1,000 words.
Exactly. Google's current policy makes no sense; it's like killing 5 dogs because you got bit by one.
Sorry, I said "content site" and I should have said "content farm". It's a derogatory term meant to describe sites full of mediocre articles on a miscellaneous grab-bag of subjects, with the sole aim of making advertising dollars. In the video, Matt Cutts famously made the statement that they were declaring war on content farms - then someone said to him, "yes but sites like HubPages have also been hit" and he said, "yes, that's what I would expect." (or words to that effect).
HubPages and other revenue-sharing sites have always argued that they are not "content farms", but in 2011 most of them had only the most basic quality controls - so although they all had some high quality articles, there was no denying that they had a heap of garbage on there too. And most poeple were writing to make advertising dollars. So actually, Matt Cutts was quite right.
Well I write to make advertising dollars but write what I want and try to make it high quality.
Dr Johnson said "None but a fool writes save for money"
I agree, and it would be pretty naive of Google to expect anyone to write for the love of it! I think the idea was that people were writing with a focus on fooling readers rather than providing them with a good article - which was always a short-sighted strategy anyway.
Like I said, if you write good content on your own site, which specialises in the single broad topic, you don't really need to understand anything else (other than ensuring you don't over-stuff your posts with advertising). Google hates content FARMS.
Yeah, I hate them too. I use Reader mode in the browser to avoid ads. Most are totally irrelevant.
But the point is, Alex, that Google regards HubPages, and every other article-writing site, as content farms. If your site contains material about a variety of different subjects, and it's not a news site, then it's a content farm by their definition. That's why HubPages created the niche sites, because it recognises Google is not going to change their mind about that definition, and therefore there's no way the main HubPages site can ever recover.
Google crippling writers like us should, as you say, back fire on them and it may happen sooner than we think. It looks like around 2011 something happened inside google and they decided they do not want to deal with small sites like HP or someone newly in a position of power decided they did not like sites covering a mix of niches.
Here's a tidbit that I can't help but share:
Google the phrase - when does adsense pay
The result at the top of the page is an article critical of the Adsense program, published on a site founded by a former CEO of Double Click (a subsidiary of Google involved in ad serving services) and currently run by someone who'd been charged with securities fraud. The site itself probably is not the most reputable on the Web, a borderline content farm that is known for its click-bait articles. If you go to the article, it has a lot of ads above the fold, a Google Adsense no-no.
All I'm saying is that the irony is amazing.
The best way for Google to begin to feel the pain they are inflicting on others is for a few of their larger advertisers to leave them. Some already have, I believe.
The second best way is for someone to develop a better search engine. ***Wistfully remembering Alta Vista***.
And, if they play true-to-form, their policies will keep changing.
A spot of encouraging news from HubPages Weekly. As we know, editors are working hard to combat Google's Fred and its effects on HealDove.
What steps are they taking? Editors are looking over the articles on the site to make sure they follow Google's updated quality guidelines. EXCELLENT. They are also doing additional editing where necessary. EXCELLENT.
This is a Herculean effort and all credit and hats off to HubPages Editors.
This is where it will get interesting. If Google is playing fair, we can hope that all should be well. If not, one can almost envision the GGGs lining up sites and deciding, this one stays, this one goes... and once that fate has been decided, it's a fait accompli.
Pardon me while I laugh myself silly at Google's stated efforts to target "ad-heavy" sites and articles.
It seems to me that this site rather depends upon Google's own ads being placed within our articles; which, when I review my published hubs, strike me as rather ad-heavy!
So--The Big G is going to penalize sites/articles/niches for what they themselves have done or caused? Wow!
Some renegade thoughts: is it possible they are out to cripple sites that use ads from other advertisers, viewing these as competition? And secondly, are algos the whole story or are the GGGs also keeping more of the ad revenue? Has anyone tracked visitors/revenue to see if they are making the same amounts in recent years?
Maybe I'm way out in left field here but often there's the official story and the real story.
I don't Know what to do, I did every possible way to rank my website like I gave daily new articles important articles to google and it been more than a month. Still i m on Same Page
Took a look at your glass hub. It's promoting a commercial site - it will never be featured. That's not what HubPages is about.
Okay Will you guide how to do it, I don't Want to rank here in Hub. Let me know how to do it in google?
Do what in Google? I'm not sure I understand.
Meanwhile, all you need to know about creating good hubs is here: https://hubpageshelp.com
Can I ask, did you actually write that hub?
That's raw i think this will be hard to find help on this site
Leaving hubpages won't solve anything, it's best to dig your heels in a stay of abreast of ways to be current. As the problem wont be resolving anytime soon whether it's here on hubpages or elsewhere.
That may or may not work. Others have already tried this. Making changes hasn't been enough to rescue other sites and they crashed and burned in the wake of Panda and Penguin.
Many writers migrated over to HPs when other sites bit the dust. Recently, we've seen the Squidoo influx because that site could no longer remain viable.
Here's hoping all will come right in the end. HubPages has survived when other established sites didn't.
The nuclear option HP has is to unfeature all hubs that have not passed the QAP and then go through them one by one restoring those that are close enough to acceptable quality perhaps sending warnings to others.
Obviously that has severe financial risks to HP as well as the writers
And they could stop unfeaturing hubs because of lack of traffic which may help
What is such an odd pattern, Alex, and I've seen this over and over with different sites, every time a site is getting tons of traffic and the earnings reach a peak, this is when they are slammed. And if they jump through hoops and start to recover, just as things start to look hopeful and earnings start rising again, bam! they are slammed again.
Right before Fred, my earnings were climbing wonderfully, then the same old pattern.
Some part of me wonders if this is somehow intentional and what the actual agenda is.
It's a bit irrelevant, Alex, because HubPages already knows the main site is dead - and ALL the articles moved to the niche sites HAVE passed QAP.
Do you really think HubPages would've gone to the vast expense of creating the niche sites, if they thought the main site had a future? They talk about not abandoning the main site, but personally I think that's either sentimentality on the part of the owner, or because they're worried too many writers will walk away. I think the main site will become nothing more than an administrative centre, where we submit Hubs for consideration for the niche sites.
What might be an idea is to cut all links between HubPages and the niche sites, so as not to "contaminate" the niche sites by association with HP.
I think it's probably more accurate to say Hubpages saw the Squidoo influx - and as quickly saw rather a lot exit straight out the door again once they'd worked out where to put their content on a site over which they had a lot more control.
I don't think many of the information sites that are popular right now will be viable in 5 years time. Although I do wonder how Wiki Answers and Quora are managing to rank so well even now - how long will that last?
The main thing that bugs me about the Hubpages vertical site is the colours and design. Orange and teal reminds me of old school MFA websites.
I don't know what the future is, but I think that the Internet is going to be more and more about niche experts instead of Google experts.
I wonder if Wiki Answers and Quora are regarded as forums rather than content farms.
Actually - Orange and teal reminds me of Squidoo which was Orange and Blue (a shade not too far distant from the teal).
Just thought I'd mention it - makes me feel quite "at home"!
...sez the guy who joined the site two hours ago and has no posts except this one. WTF?
Going back to Athlyn's original post http://hubpages.com/forum/post/2883044....
I think she's right.
There's an awful lot about what is going on at the moment which is really incredibly similar to the tactics employed elsewhere. I don't think it's going to stop. Surviving so long is a testament to a lot of hard work and a determination on HP's part to make the site succeed - but neither of those fine attributes provides any guarantee of a future.
You can complain about Google - it's irrelevant. We are all pipsqueaks and we don't count!
You can make changes - and you'll only have to keep making more and more until you realise there are simpler ways of working efficiently and effectively!
You can be as optimistic as you like - it won't help.
The one thing which gives great comfort is to have all content on your hubs that you care about backed up just in case there ever comes a day when you switch on your computer and a site has disappeared (or HubPages has gone but some/all of the niche sites are still there).
Now I happen to think that's an unlikely and an extreme event - but not impossible. I don't think it's impossible that we all might one day find we have as much notice as people at Squidoo got about its imminent demise - or less. (c.3 weeks if I recall correctly).
However, if that were ever to happen, just remember that this time, there won't be another site that is happy to take on the content.
The best option is to have a risk management plan - because it's very clear Google continues to behave like some form of terminator steamroller and will flatten everything in its path that it does not like.
* back up all the content you care about
* know what you'd do next - in both the short term and long term if HP suddenly disappeared with little or no notice
* if you're dependent on the income, start thinking about what the implications are. e.g. get your CV licked into shape!
I totally agree that people should have a back up plan. Which means a place to put their content if they need to. It's something I always consider.
Nate, that's becoming increasingly hard to do. Many writers moved their articles to other sites, in an effort to preserve their passive incomes, but those sites were hit by the GGGs. It's looking more and more as if the days of content writing are near over--and with that goes residual monthly income.
And paying for web hosting is an expensive option that many have tried before. In an increasingly challenging economy, having to shell out with no guarantee of any real return may no longer be feasible.
Athlyn, are you saying that you've managed to write online all this time and you still don't have your own blog?
It is utter nonsense to say "paying for website hosting is an expensive option". You can get basic hosting for about $4 a month. If your website gets huge traffic, you'll have to upgrade but it still shouldn't cost you more than $20 or $30 a month (unless you're getting conned) - and if you're getting that much traffic, you're making so much money it's worth the investment.
Alternatively, if you're nervous about the technical side, you can create a site on Wordpress.com where all of that is taken care of:
There are ONLY two snags about having your own site.
One is that it's pointless unless you are able to specialise in one broad topic area. This is why HubPages has created the niche sites - because Google penalises generalist sites and favours specialist ones (unless they are news sites).
The other is that you have to learn new ways to monetize. I've helped several Hubbers start their own blogs which have quickly outstripped their HubPages account in terms of traffic -- but they've struggled to convert that to dollars because they're used to HubPages looking after the advertising for them. There is a learning curve to making that work.
However, those who have made it work have found the income is more stable than HubPages, and also they can stop worrying about plagiarists stealing their articles.
I guess I am doing something terribly wrong, because I have my own blog with approximately the same number of articles, yet HP garners 4 times the earnings. The PH articles are getting 4-5 times the traffic than those of the personal blog. I have previously attributed that to the large number of quality articles on Pethelpful and regular activity of other contributors and editors, while I am only able to occasionally post on my blog.
I find that the concerted efforts of other authors on Pethelpful have benefited my meagre number of posts. Perhaps my blog is too general, being that it is about dogs on a wide subject of canine topics.
Marisa, doesn't Wordpress's ad program take of advertising for you? Thought it was their Adword program.
Yeah, I would never rely on another user-generated content site; HP is the only one I really trust right now; however, I have a few of my own sites where I can move articles if I need to.
Although, I will say, at this point, my earnings from my own sites maybe cover the cost of the webhost. And my financial situation isn't the best right now, so I've been seriously considering whether I want to continue with my own sites. It's pretty hard to earn money on the Web, no doubt about it.
So, in other words, Google controls the web? Why are big organisations and governments allowing Google to have a monopoly. Why are we all dancing to their tune? It's immoral that one company is able to dictate the operation, and the ultimate destiny, of thousands of others.
Especially when they have so much skin in the game. They dictate where people go to see their ads.
Yes, Google does effectively control the web, because most of us rely on it completely to find anything at all online.
Once upon a time we all relied on Internet Explorer, but the Justice Department dispatched with that. Who is to say whether Google serves up Amazon for its first 2-3 positions on a product search is because they have so many reviews or because they are Google's biggest advertiser.
It makes no difference what the truth is in a congressional hearing, if slamming Google is a populist movement. The question is: who cares enough to make it a movement. Only little guys getting buffeted by the machine care. Maybe that is why they moved toward niche sites, to say look, we let the little guy in there too, above a lot of the big players. Smokescreens abound these days.
Well, I don't use Internet Explorer because it's so vulnerable to hacking, not because of some legal judgment.
And the thing is, even on Internet Explorer most people use Google, not Bing.
You are confusing
* a BROWSER (i.e.Internet Explorer - which is the same as Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc) with
* a SEARCH ENGINE (i.e. Google - which is the same as Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Dogpile etc. etc)
All the browsers can access Google.
All the Justice Department did is tell Microsoft that they cannot build/bundle a browser into an operating system - to win the browser war with Netscape. (Remember Netscape?)
What killed Internet Explorer was Apple because it can't run on Apple (which doesn't bother me in the least because IE was a terrible browser compared to the alternatives!).
Yes...Google is used so much, it has become a verb! >:-(
@ theraggededge--Agreed! And since Google's main office is here in the USA, they should be subject to US laws. So, I want to know, what in blazes happened to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and why is it not being enforced?
It was called into play some years back, to break up the AT&T monopoly, but then, they turned around and let them start buying up the competition again! WTF??!!
Google may not technically be a monopoly (there are other search engines), but, for all practical purposes, they might as well be, for they exert so much control. It really galls me!
Google only has a near-monopoly because the competition is so pathetic and was so slow to get going (eg Bing) and then when they did they made a mess of it (eg Yahoo)
Like I said - you can complain all you like - but you're absolutely missing the point.
1) It will NOT make any difference and
2) You are NOT addressing the topic of the thread.
If I was concerned about the future of HubPages I wouldn't waste any time complaining about things I cannot change.
I'd be very focused on what I have control over and what options I have and what actions make sense for me.
That's the way conversations go. Don't get het up about it
For a long time, I confused MAM with the Borg Queen.
This is the actual Borg Queen:
I am am an aging nerd. With a bit of a stutter.
Oh interesting - I know nothing about Star Trek.
So is she the female equivalent of Dr Who?
Good heavens, no! Borg are evil; Dr. Who is a good guy.
Borg are a hive mind; all hooked into biomechanical implants. "You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
I don't think I've been ever been called "evil" before. That seems rather OTT!
I will, however, own up to being direct, to the point and willing to say the things others duck and weave and generally avoid. It tends to be a bit like marmite - and I'm used to that. One boss used to refer to me as producing the grit that generated the pearl......
I think we all just grateful that you survived that warp engine explosion.
Hahaha, Makingamark, I have just followed you based on that comment alone! Love your turn of phrase! 'grit that starts the pearl' love it (and I usually hate Marmite).
I'm fine with the way conversations go!
However, sometimes people engage in displacement activity (let's talk about anything but the topic) to avoid having to confront what they'd rather not think about.
FAir enough but understanding the problem is essential.
The main problem is Google. The second problem is HP are, I think focussing on trivia not in the quality guidelines, perhaps because what they are mandating is easy to measure, not necessarily the right thing. The third problem is they are not raising the site Panda score fast enough. The fourth problem is the goalposts keep changing, as if HP think we are all full time writers.
What can we control?
1. We can walk.
2. We can produce high quality hubs and hope they get past the arbitrary and changeable HP guidelines.
3. We can rewrite all our stuff and hope the goalposts do not change again.
Any other things we can control and do anything about?
Yes, we can start promoting other search engines and use other than google in our own searches.
Google think it is too big to fail...
It is not.
Any company that ignores their customers will eventually fail.
I have complaint about google for quite a while.
They have not been very responsive.
I am no longer using google and have switch to Bing. Ir works fine.
Of course Bing works fine. Your problem is all the people who aren't going to abandon Google in a hurry.
That's why it's pointless to behave as if we can change Google. The important thing is to work out how we work within Google's quality guidelines - because intrinsically they are sound and there's nothing wrong with them.
They just happen to have a "down" on content farms and they still think HubPages hasn't done enough to elevate the site beyond that description.
I disagree. Google has a problem and it is not with HubPages or our content.
I wrote about this a while back and there is no resolution as yet...
Sometimes, it takes a new competitors to be a game changer and the search engine is due for a major shift.
You believe what you want to believe if you want.
Meanwhile I'll get on with making sense of the world according to Google - because that way lies progress as opposed to what IMO is the metaphorical equivalent of banging your head against a brick wall.
BTW - when you do a search for your name be sure to do it either using an anonymous proxy or on someone else's machine or else all you're doing is seeing the results Google wants you to see - because they know it's you who are looking.
To get a true result, you need to do it via a machine which has nothing to do with you or doesn't realise it's you who's asking.
I am aware of that. I have done the search on various machines and repeated the experiment with similar results. I have 2 friends that work at Google. So far, they have no answers...
This is a problem for google and other search engines. The SEO is prone to these type of gaming...
Someday, a new search engine will come along and beat google. That is how the world works.
But Jackclee, you say yourself that this problem affects ALL the search engines, not just Google.
It's impossible to find anything on the net without using search engines, so what do you propose people should do instead?
He is proposing we revolt and use Bing until a better service makes its appearance. He finds it works as well, so why give over to Google, if you can chip away at their hegemony.
I use bing for many search because they pay me to (bing rewards). By google is actually better. For complex or science-subject search Google returns more relevant results.
Google didn't win this war by accident. I used to use AltaVistia, and AskJeeves, and all that nonsense. Then Google turned up and they changed the game.
True, if I don't give a sh1t, I can use Bing, but currently google does give better results. That is not to say they give great results. I still get number one positions that are place marks for a page to come. Awful for them to come down on us, when they serve up pages with zero content and nothing but ads and links.
Yes, but his whole argument is that Google doesn't return accurate results. Then he goes on to say that Bing's results are just as bad, so I'm not sure how that would help deal with that particular problem.
Or you could try a really difficult question - such as how come the US population voted for somebody who seems perfectly willing to start World War III?
After which "what's happening to HubPages?" becomes entirely academic!
Just trying to give an 'evil' perspective to what's being discussed here
I know we don't want to derail this conversation, but that issue of who we elected for President is more complicated than it seems. Like I said, not going to derail things here, but it's not really an issue of who the population voted for; especially considering that about half the voting population didn't vote; and there's a good reason for that, considering our options and the option we were denied. All I'm going to say is that you can blame the Democratic Party and the state of this country for the past few decades for that. People are pretty tired of getting hoodwinked and are catching on to what's going on.
Oh, and one more thing - BERNIE WOULD'VE WON!
I don't understand the fuss. Mind you, I only have one Healdove page and I am resigned to its demise. If it wasn't for the 1.5 million words (estimated) in the comment section, I would just let it go.
As for the rest, the other niches have had a minor set back. From which we hope they will recover.
My April income is 66 percent up from last year, which is good enough for me.
I don't think Athlyn (the OP) has any hubs to do with HealDove and I don't think this thread has anything specific to do with HealDove per se - as opposed to the much bigger picture relating to Google's continued aversion to content farms which creates adverse and unending effects (one of which is what happened to HealDove)
It was more of a 'petticoats over the head' type of thread. Nothing like spreading a little panic, lol.
Will Apse - what a sexist comment! Go and stand in the corner and ponder on what will happen when women rule the world....
I weighed the sexism inherent in that remark and decided it was appropriate. Bring back whalebone, I say.
Well, I didn't think it at all of the "spreading a little panic variety". To me, Athlyn's comment was a relevant and sound concern. The length of this thread to me echoes that view, rather than your own.
The clue as to why not was in the very first paragraph
Having written across of a number of sites, some that did the Google dance before dying a slow death, there's a chilling pattern that unfolds, not only for site owners but for their writers.
If you have been through this before or know other people who have had this pattern of experience, you will recognise that type of comment.
The reason is simple, many have been 'burned' before and have now lost confidence in, or are very wary of trusting the big article sites/content farms - including HubPages.
* They recognise the nature of the internet has changed a huge amount in the last 10 years.
* They are the ones who are typically building their own sites or giving up writing online altogether for other sorts of writing and/or creative and/or income generating activities.
If you want to talk bones, dinosaur bones seem so much more pertinent to your view.
I go on the evidence and on a case by case basis. Nothing suggests HP is dying.
I imagine this is reassuring for you, as well as those who still write here. Where else could you tell everyone how wonderful your blog is?
Will, really? In all your time on HP you haven't noticed drastically falling traffic and earnings? Just exactly what is your definition of a site dying?
OldRoses really. I mean really, really?
You and I are certainly dying. It is part of the human condition. Try not to let the anxiety generalise.
There is no evidence that this site is dying. Try to keep to the facts.
My stats are acceptable except for healdove which clearly has problem.
I looked at Will's profile and he has been here 8 years, so it seems he never experienced the earnings/traffic prior to 2011. I say this with corset on, Will.
What sort of math is that? Are you actually Betsy DeVos?
If you have been here prior to 2011, you would have understood what I was getting at.
If this was a private joke for pre-2011 hubbers, then you are correct. I don't get it.
Where I do math, 2017-8 (years) = 2009, earlier than 2011. Please explain the joke. I love a good laugh, however the only humor I seem to get these days comes in the form of Will Apse posts.
Oh Will really!
My blog had millions of pageviews before I ever came to HubPages!
The reason I started using article sites was to provide a structured way of organising links to sites which focused on useful topics so I could provide my blog readers with one link to a wealth of information when writing on a topic. Worked fine while I was at Squidoo. However, HubPages don't understand the compendium information model. (e.g. my "still life art" hub has all the still life info - until HubPages unpublished it for more than 2 links to one website - something Google doesn't have a problem with on any of my other sites!)
I'm now transferring content to new websites - and one of the new ones has been nudging my blog for traffic! I really don't need to be persuaded of reasons for sticking around. I'm only still here because I've got a lot of hubs and it takes a long time to transfer content - and I do it in a highly structured way.
Just in case you're not aware, I should point out that Athlyn, who started this thread, doesn't have her own blog or website - she's a freelance writer who writes content for others. So she doesn't have a hidden agenda in her post.
I don't think MaM has a hidden agenda either, although she comes across that way in many of her posts. She is just passionate about what she does.
Thank you. I wasn't presenting my remarks as fact, nor trying to create panic, nor being negative, nor have I given up on HubPages, I was merely commenting on the state of things today and the vagaries of Google. And to quote myself: "I hope this isn't what is happening here at HubPages."
It's been interesting following the comments about my post. I noticed some suggesting measures that many of us implemented a long time ago.
Others, who have been around for awhile, seemed to understand where I was coming from.
Ha, ha, time to come into the 21st century, Will, and accept that there are smart, tough women out there.
Undeniable, but sadly, we are little short of those in this thread.
If it was the guys in free-fall, I would probably, go for a more pointed metaphor.
Fascinating that in our 21st century sexism is alive and well.
Will - if sexist comments are the best you can do then there is absolutely nothing you have to say that I will bother reading. I'd recommend other women skip your comments too if that's your mindset.
My name is Katherine and "smart" and "tough" are two adjectives that have been frequently ascribed to me over the years. There again that's maybe because I had to survive being a professional in what was at the time a man's field. I spent very many years being "the most senior woman" not to mention the only woman in management in my field.
If we've learned anything from Blockbuster, it makes sense to be remember to be forward-thinking. Now might be a good time to beef up earnings at personal websites so that should things make a turn for the worse your go to site is still making a profit.
I wasn't going to comment on this thread although have been enjoying it. But my name was mentioned so...
The thread is more or less the same conversation since the glory days - pre 2011 - which was a few months after I arrived. I joined to write and realised my stuff was never going to make any money. The game was how to and sales stuff and getting the unfair benefits of Google who at the time favoured large content sites.
I wrote some of my own rubbish and was on the verge of making money when it disappeared. It has had a few moments since then but I can't do that stuff anyway. Laziness, boredom, whatever.
My blogs, web sites have all failed for the same reason. It is not easy in here and it is not easy out there either. Even the big players are racing to the clickbait bottom - the same endlessly copied 'facts' and second rate journalism. It is hard to tell them apart because they all need the same Adsense eyes on the page.
I now spend most of my time drawing. Silly pictures that slowly improve. Hoping to sell some tees at Xmas time.
As for HubPages and the future, etc. - I couldn't possibly know. Paul E loves this site and the idea. He has kept it going above and beyond the point when many would have cut and run. Good luck to him and the staff.
I haven't got time to do a specific drawing so here's one of my latest efforts. It could be vaguely related to this thread but I haven't got time to make up a spiel. Good to see you guys.
Mark: Why in the world are you not contacting newspapers and selling them on allowing you to produce comic strips? You are SO funny and so talented. T shirts are nice, but a syndicated cartoon strip would be so much better.
Somehow I've managed, finally, to do OK here, but who knows what will happen tomorrow. I've always said that I'll ride this horse until it dies, but so far, it keeps on truckin'.
Good to see you again and best of luck.
Thanks for the compliment TT! I might do OK in HubPages but it's a big world out there - lot of funny clever people.
I think tee design fits my personality well. No bosses, pressure, deadlines. Freedom to do as I want - slowly improve and learn. What sells? What doesn't?
There is a possibility - no more than that - of making a proper income in a couple of years. So I plan to keep on working, learning, and gaining experience.
Thanks again for your suggestion - it just does not fit with where I want to be.
I agree with all you're saying Mark. You say "The thread is more or less the same conversation since the glory days"- that's true. However, each time HP has had a setback in the past, they've been able to make changes to recover, at least partially. My concern now is that they've tried everything I can think of - if the niche sites don't work, they're out of options.
You say, "My blogs, web sites have all failed for the same reason. It is not easy in here and it is not easy out there either." - No, it's not easy, BUT that's because of what you do. It's never been easy to make money as an artist or cartoonist, even before the internet. For people with expertise in a subject, a blog is likely to be more stable and have a better long-term future than writing on HP. Look at someone like OldRoses, who is, shall we say, a lady of mature years and not a technical guru, whose blog is going gangbusters while her Hubs languish.
Finally, you say, "Paul E loves this site and the idea. He has kept it going above and beyond the point when many would have cut and run." Yes! I've always felt that the whole reason HP is still alive is not because it's doing hugely better than Squidoo or Associated Content or any of the others that closed, but that the site's founder is too attached to let it go. And since, by all accounts, he made millions when he sold Mongo Music, perhaps he can afford to indulge his passion.
I'd maybe calm down a little as far as speculation concerning the owners financials and things of that nature.
Because unless you have some evidence that the site is broke, or heading that way, it is pointless tormenting yourself or others with pointless anxiety.
Who is tormenting themselves? I don't see the slightest trace of hysteria or angst in any of these posts, just some people having an interesting debate. If you want to imagine us all as anxious females having a fit of the vapours, that's your business, but it beats me where you're getting the idea from.
Jess was ticking me off for making the point that, based on what I've read previously, HubPages is lucky to have a founder who seems to have an affection for HubPages and the means to indulge that. Less sentimental owners might have walked away by now. Apparently I have to be careful saying that and I was asking why. Your response seems irrelevant.
As for evidence that the site is broke - I recall very clearly that around the end of 2010, just before the Great Panda Disaster, HubPages announced proudly that it had reached break-even point. At the time, that was a huge achievement for such a new site. Look at how traffic and earnings have fluctuated since then, and you "do the math" as the Americans say.
Sorry, Marisa. Wasn't my intention to upset. It's just people can be a little sensitive when speaking about financials...just don't want anyone to get in trouble. Maybe all that stuff is public record and no big secret..idk.
@ Jesse - I would imagine if Marisa knows it then it must be public record. Seems to me to pretty much a common sense assumption to make - don't you think.
Maybe all the suggested editing and attempts to "control" comments by women by men in this thread could now stop?
I find it laughable that there are still individuals out there who feel so threatened by smart women, they resort to sexist remarks, in an attempt to dismiss women and put them "in their place." It's usually a sign the person can't refute logic with logic. Certainly it has no place here or anywhere else.
I remember at one site, a male writer assumed I wrote "fluff" (his words) knitting articles (when I had written about SEO and keyword optimization). I found the assumption interesting.
And Marisa..In a not so distant past, you were advising people to not write on the site anymore..that is not anxiety?
I've been following this thread diligently, I didn't have anything to add, but this has gotten silly.
We can and should discuss issues that impact this site and dissenting opinions or questions are not "anxiety" "hysterics" etc. The fact of the matter is things change and we can talk about those changes openly and honestly - at least we should be able to without being maligned for our gender.
The fact that Marisa has maybe had changes of stance over time suggests she is a critical thinker with a lot of experience here and that whatever she has to say, whether one agrees or not, is worth being heard. We're all facing constant changes and trying to make sense of what we are seeing.
As for me, I have enough concerns that I am not producing new hubs any longer, BUT I am not removing my previous hubs and I will leave them here and do what I always have - take a wait and see attitude. If things improve, I'll gladly spend time doing new hubs, but to be frank, with the way the earnings have dropped here for me in the past couple of months, it's hardly worth it.
I have a few established niche sites though and they do bring traffic and earn more money. Two of my older, but regularly updated sites/blogs have seen traffic increase dramatically since Fred. I hope that continues, however, the dramatic increase in views has not been matched by earnings. Again, I'll hold out and hope that changes.
I think niche sites across the board may be struggling and I don't know that it's going to get better - I guess that makes me anxious and emotional but I'm still going to keep plugging away. I think most of us "nervous nellies" in here have expressed basically the same sentiment.
Now if only Mark would come back with a stick figure of a woman with an opinion with the vapors... lol that might make this nonsense funny.
I've not produced any new hubs while at HubPages. However, I've also not rushed to remove them either. It takes time getting new sites off the ground and I adopted a "wait and see" approach.
My take on it at present is that the old HubPages site is effectively "done for". Traffic and income on hubs still on the old site have died. The new niches may well be doing better, however, there is no Art niche site that I'd be happy for my existing hubs to go to. (The craft dominance within Felt Magnet is a HUGE disincentive to move any hubs).
I'm just about to "kill" a second non-art account which still has some hubs which I might resurrect somewhere else at some point in the future. However, I don't want to remove them after they've been "edited" - and I've just had 'the letter'.
I take great store by the increase in Amazon earnings on my new sites and the decision not to go for advertisement income on the basis that whole industry is coming apart at the seams....
I've had good results with Amazon on my sites and blogs as well. There are some really cool ways to integrate Amazon products that convert well. I'm also branching out and starting to sell some of my own items online rather than just locally.
I also rely a lot on social media to promote my sites and hubs more than Google. Pinterest and even Facebook have been very good traffic drivers for me.
I think the thread title indicates what is in play.
You can certainly say that a thread like this is useful. The anxiety can be defined and examined and some kind of reasonable perspective achieved.
On the other hand, when the facts are pretty well known, not that disastrous and you get the 'quit HP immediately' crew involved, my patience thins.
I can't see anyone saying "quit HubPages immediately". Be cautious and don't put all your eggs in one basket, yes.
The headline of this thread is alarmist, yes, but don't ascribe that sentiment to everyone who posted on the thread.
How curious that you define it as "anxiety." I wonder if a male had posted that if you would have viewed it in the same light.
According to your profile, you haven't been here as long as some of us, in the days pre-Panda and Penguin, so perspectives differ, as have income levels, re: glory days and post-glory days.
As for facts, by all means...
I still marvel at your maths. Perhaps I am so stupid, I can't properly riddle out 8 from 2017=2009. There may be many multiverses with their own laws mutually exclusive to our universal laws. Yet, I wonder how does Will not have the ability to understand pre-2011 experiences.
Ha, ha, my dainty little petticoat must have been too tight!
It's quite possible Will hadn't nearly reached enough to live on as I and others did--I'm talking enough to "retire" on. Speaking of math, when I look at then as compared to now... bring on the smelling salts!
Solaras, the particular post you replied to here was addressed to Jesse, who is a fairly new recruit.
I don't know where Athlyn was in terms of earnings at the start of 2011. I was anticipating an income of around $20,000 from 100 Hubs for 2011. How things change!
Typing that makes me realise that I still have about the same number of Hubs, even though I've written many more since then. Just goes to show how many I've deleted!
Actually I was responding to this a second time:
"Athlyn Green posted 4 days ago
Will, really? In all your time on HP you haven't noticed drastically falling traffic and earnings? Just exactly what is your definition of a site dying?
I looked at Will's profile and he has been here 8 years, so it seems he never experienced the earnings/traffic prior to 2011. I say this with corset on, Will."
I don't get the math. Will has only been here 8 years, so he can't appreciate what went on prior to 2011; so his opinion should be discounted because he can't possibly know how things were in the "real" day.
My math says WTF. He appears to have been here since 2009, which in my universe places him on HP prior to 2011. But perhaps I am a traveler from another universe with other maths, and cannot understand the maths you beings live by. I am baffled. If I were taking an exam, I'd say, "Will Apse has been here prior to 2011 Panda, and can speak with experience on pre-panda HP actualities. Should he choose to do so."
I only got up to the 'really', lol. But thanks for the maths.
If I would have made a point about that spiel, it would have been this: panda was a lot kinder to me than most people, mainly because I avoided producing the kind of absolute dross that panda was designed to deal with.
I've always gone for a good proportion of money spinners, but with enough respect for readers to survive. It is a fine line.
Fred reinforces my faith in both the niche sites and my own pages. We did OK for a bunch of new sites.
Healdove, is probably doomed, though, unless it stops flagging up as a medical site. I have decided to let my single article there go. It's day is done.
For you personally, wow from $20K down to what it must be now... That is scary. I don't think that is just an HP failure. Seems that there was an industry change that likely will continue. So much competition. CPM is likely to continue to decline.
It was entirely due to the fact that Google declared war on "content farms", and their definition of a content farm is any site where multiple authors write articles on multiple subjects (unless it's a news site) . All the revenue-sharing sites got hit at the same time. HubPages recovered partially, most other sites didn't.
My income didn't take a huge hit, but it had been increasing exponentially in 2010, that's why I was predicting such a big 2011. That all stopped when Panda hit.
Since then, the only site that has really escaped that penalty is DailyTwoCents, which surprised everyone for a time by doing well. I recall the owners admitting that somehow, Google had classified them as a news site although they weren't, and they (and their writers) happily rode that wave for some time.
Here you go, ChristinS--stick figures are about the extent of my "art..."
Awesome, I just laughed so hard I almost spit coffee on my laptop....
Not sure an hysterical woman riding a turkey is entirely appropriate, Mark, but the whale guy would make a fine Brexit symbol.
Jesse, if you'd care to search back through the forums, you'll find I've been fairly consistent over the years.
My advice has always been that IF you have sufficient knowledge on ONE specific subject, the best long-term option is your own blog. IF you don't have a specialist subject, then your best option is HubPages - I've never found another site that could match it.
My advice changed a little when the niche sites were launched.
Firstly, I've learned that there are writers who struggle with blogging, even though they have an extensive knowledge of their subject. I used to say, persevere - now I say, write for the niche sites instead. To anyone else joining HubPages, I say, it's vitally important to write well enough to get your Hubs moved to the niche sites, because they are the future of HubPages. If you just write Hubs that stay on the main site, you'll fail because the main site will, one day, be full of nothing but leftover dross that isn't good enough for the niches - so Google will hate it.
My concern now - and it's not an anxiety, because that implies being upset or emotional, and I'm not upset - is that if the niche sites don't succeed and HubPages gives up, there is nowhere else worth moving your work to. I don't agree with the detail of Athlyn's original post - I don't see an ominous pattern of activity. I see Google making life difficult again.
I agree with you, I believe it's the last try to get it right, but the administration has put a lot of energy by changing many times to fit the way Google and the writer's site communities have changed.
I just have a small Wordpress site (the one you helped me with) and although I only use it as a "landing site", I have become rather successful in getting clients for two areas that were important to my main niche. I have become so busy, I recently made $600 one month, and it's growing.
But I also write a guest column and get paid, on a site made from someone I met here. And I've been offered another column each month if I want to do it. So I feel my efforts here have really helped me. Plus I am still moving my hubs to the niche sites at a steady pace.
I could do more, but have carpal tunnel in both hands and am trying to avoid surgery as long as I can. Also, the writing I do is time consuming, so I always have a waiting list now. I'm trying to think of a way to work faster, maybe a voice activated system to lessen the typing. Plus I guess I could learn how to put advertising on the Wordpress site. Can you suggest a good article that explains how to get good advertisers and how to get them on the site?
So getting recognition at first from here, then from writing on my original blog, allowed me to build a following. I can keep track of it with the Wordpress site, and I don't add content to it, it just has a few articles to explain what I do and why, and what they need to do to order from me. When I ask clients where they found me, they usually say they just Googled the topic, and there I was.
I also played around with some fiction pieces in Astrology here that were well received, and am beginning to write a fiction book, based on a true story. It's about something terribly life changing that happened to someone I know, but I believe more people should be informed, because the same thing can happen to them. I think I can tell a good story, so I can develop the characters,and tell them in an attention grabbing way, but the will learn from it. I'm having fun!
Great to hear your blog is finally producing some results, Jean. I knew it would! Because it's on Wordpress.com, you can't put advertising on it, unfortunately.
I'm sorry to hear your carpal tunnel is so bad, please be careful. And good luck with the fiction. I'm trying to finish my novel that I started years ago. It's been hanging over my head far too long! I've joined a site called CritiqueCircle.com where you can post chapters for others to critique and I'm finding it really helpful (and fun).
Re Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Have you considered a dictation system. I use Apple's free dictation application and find it reasonably good, but a paid programme that is trainable may be better for you in reducing the amount of typing you do. You will however have to train yourself to create the words before you speak them.
Roger all of that. I need to be more cognizant that people had better earnings before all changes which I'm sure is frustrating. (in response to Marisa)
So you have no evidence, haven't written here for years, but are happy to indulge in the kind of speculation that can damage a business. As long as it is enjoyable. That's all right then.
As for MAM... She cheerfully declares HP was never any kind of priority for her and just part of her blog's SEO strategy. Essentially a nexus in a link swapping scheme.
Where I come from, this kind of thing causes people to mutter things like, 'this just isn't good enough', lol.
Jesse, you apologise for upsetting me, then you agree with Will's nasty insulting comment - how does that work?
Evidence - I wish I could provide a link to the article about HubPages breaking even in 2010. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find it -- I just remember the excitement around it at the time, because it was such good news. We were all expecting income to go on increasing: 2011 was going to be the year HubPages made a profit, far earlier than they expected. I'm sorry if you choose to believe I'm making that up, though I can't imagine why I would bother.
IF HubPages hadn't closed its Quantcast account, you would be able to go there and see that HubPages' traffic has never quite reached the heights it did at the time of that announcement. So surely, it doesn't take much logic to work out what that must mean.
As for saying I haven't written here for years - rubbish. There was a long period when I wrote only one or two Hubs a year, but I've been a consistent and active member of the community - so I know the history of the site much better than someone who wrote lots of Hubs but didn't participate in forums etc.
Maybe some of us can now start cheerfully ignoring anything Will writes. In his fit of pique and irritation at others expressing their views and disagreeing with him, he now appears incapable of reading for meaning as well as making sense
I recall those who loudly and virulently lambasted anybody who raised a concern prior to the end of Squidoo. They were also the ones who screamed loudest and longest when Squidoo went down - often because in their 'commitment to support' they'd forgotten to have a back-up plan. (Meanwhile those of with concerns had retired to a forum on another platform which was very constructive when it came to working out what to do next - because that's what forms are best at - being supportive around genuine concerns)
So, to correct the errors being promulgated by Will
1) I'm not here out of choice. I'm here by default. I willingly accepted a safe haven for my Squidoo lenses as I had an awful lot of lenses on Squidoo - c.100 in the top 10,000 by the end of Squidoo. I'm grateful for what HubPages did - I just wish our concepts of what makes for a good site meshed a bit better.
2) It takes time to move content. Since HubPages was producing some sort of income I was happy to leave them here while I worked out 'what next' and then started to build systematically and steadily. Of late, after the advent of the niche hubs, income from the main site has dried up significantly. I've not produced new hubs because my view is that if I'm going to employ effort on content, that's better employed in furthering a long term strategy. I've not moved hubs to a niche site as there isn't one I'd be happy to move them too. I'm now gradually deleting hubs - in a systematic way.
3) In relation to strategy, my view about content sites is akin to Marisa's - if you have a specialist interest then build your own site and don't ever be a victim of the actions of others. It comes of being a refugee from Squidoo. Like Marisa, I think that if you like writing short articles on different topics and don't like blogs then HubPages is a very good place to be so long as you write good quality content about stuff you know about. (But don't assume it will be around forever - it's the last of its kind - so you will always need a back-up plan).
4) My lenses/hubs have never been part of an SEO strategy. They've always been part of a strategy to provide a home for what I always used to refer to as "a useful set of bookmarks" - a way for those interested in a topic to find out more information. (They started off originally because I lost all my bookmarks when a computer crashed and died and I wanted a permanent way of maintaining bookmarks online - in a systematic way - rather than on my computer). I've spent hours scouring the internet in the past for the best sources of useful information on the topics I have written about - and I built them for me - but then SHARED THEM - for free!
5) I've got an internet following through good quality CONTENT (lots of it) - not because I go round thinking SEO or how to make money all the time!!! If I was all about the money I'd have put advertising on my main blog years ago. Anybody who cares to take a look will notice that there is none. The only advert is for my own book - which I was commissioned to write because of my activity online and the following generated as a result. (Like the magazine articles I get commissioned to write as well - without pitching!). My SEO strategy is "create good content" + think carefully about the title and the first two sentences of content.
6) As it happens I'm retired from a very senior post and have a very respectable pension. I'm in the happy position of not needing the money. However my self-respect means I like to generate sufficient funds to cover the costs - and buy relevant books for my research. I do all of this because I like to see people learn and achieve - and I get very upset when I see them being fleeced by those who simply haven't got a clue and are just out to "make a fast buck". My raison d'etre is enabling others to fulfil their potential - and that's because a very long time ago my first degree was in Education.
7) I have never ever participated in a link swapping scheme. I regard that accusation by Will as a GROSS INSULT and libellous. I've actively written against them for many years for exactly the same reasons why Google dislikes them. They add absolutely no value and only serve to distort. They are the refuge of the lazy. Would Will like me to find all the references to my blog posts and forum posts over the last decade? Or would he prefer to apologise for his baseless accusation?
So never a link between your blog and your hubs?
Just at random, a single page from your blog: hxxps://makingamark.blogspot.com/p/the-best-art-books.html
There are 15 links to HP. The HP pages have Amazon ads. What's that about, then?
Again Will invents his version!
So never a link between your blog and your hubs?
I didn't say that. I said
- I didn't participate in a link swapping scheme (see end for my query about your understanding of your use of this technical/negative term)
- "no advertising" - by which I mean display advertising. Amazon is an affiliate link not an advert. You can only accuse it of being an advert if its use provides no added value. That's why Google treats them differently. (BTW my adblocker blocks adverts - but it doesn't block my Amazon text links. Care to ponder on that one?)
I'm all about sharing information about art which will help those wanting to become artists or do better at being artists. I've been writing for 11.5 years and have written 3,261 posts and millions of words on my main blog alone. There comes a point where you need to start organising information - to continue to make it ACCESSIBLE for those who want to benefit from it - and in my case my content includes book reviews.
Think of it like a library with a lot of books. There are stacks and stacks of books and they're all mixed up. You start creating sections and categories and labels - and then you have a guide for how to use it. I'm having to do something similar for all my content online.
Have you ever built a website or blog? Of course you link to your activity elsewhere! I didn't say I don't link between my sites. I make relevant links to the sites which people will find helpful - a very focused way.
I started creating sites to be a hub for relevant links to information - which happens to include books(!) and book reviews - which are helpful. Those started on Squidoo and then moved to HubPages.
The problem now is too much content is too spread out on too many sites
I need to rationalise and simplify. Consequently I'm trying to make access to my content much simpler and to REDUCE the need for people to move between sites (eg main blog, reviews blog and various hubs). In future the majority of links will be INTRALINKS (i.e. internal links) between pages within a website. The model is already working extremely well with one of my new sites and Google likes it a lot. I'm glad I took my time to build it and test it before starting on the others because it's taught me lessons about how to make information easy to access for consumers of the information.
Both hubs and book reviews are now moving to my new websites focused around more macro niches within art. (Hence the Hubs you "complain" about will not be referenced in detail anymore once these are built - quite simply because the Hubs won't exist!)
Those new websites will be linked to from my blog - and I make no apology for that. I want people to know the information is there. My aim is to curate and educate!
The Amazon links are to create the funds to finance the website and the domain name. I paid out over $150 this week for a site and a domain name - and yes, I hope that I generate Amazon funds to cover that expense so I don't end up out of pocket.
The alternative is doing what Wikipedia does and ask for contributions.
My preference is for doing it the modern way through openly declared affiliate links. Note I'm following FRC regulations in that respect (although I can't say that for other sites I know of).
PS Do you actually understand what "a link swapping scheme" is? It's a lot more than you are accusing me of! You do understand that they have been outlawed by Google for years because they are a conspiracy between a group of people to subvert the ranking of websites due to the way the algorithm worked through links. Or do you?
Google KNOWS people link between their own websites! Nothing an individual can do ranks anywhere close to what you are criticising me of.
Marisa, thanks for the mention but a slight correction: I was an IT professional until I was laid off 2 years ago. Since the IT industry practices blatant age discrimination and refuses to hire older workers, I've started a new career more aligned with my interests as a garden writer and speaker specializing in herbs. I'm very comfortable with technology and always eager to learn whatever new is coming down the pike. My hubs would be a lot more successful if I did the popular listicle thing. I would also get loads more Pinterest traffic if I created Pinterest friendly images. But they seem silly and childish to me who reads technical manuals and Release Notes for fun. So I pitch my hubs as "for serious gardeners" as opposed to the Pinterest, listicle and mason jar obsessed millions.
I love you OldRoses - my thinking is precisely on the same lines!
Aha, I stand corrected. But my point is still valid in that your blog has been doing better than your Hubs, even though I'm sure you don't put listicles or MFP images on your blog either. Mark seemed to be implying that having success with a blog was equally as tough as HP, which I don't think is true IF you have proven expertise in a niche topic.
@Mark Ewbie - you're one of my all-time favorites and I often think of you and your talents. I hope T-Shirts are the future.
For us that have been around this game know that Google is volatile and from time to time we need to adjust course through the downs and ups.
This is one of those times. One of the things I like to do is be very open with the community, at the same time, over the years we've made relationships that we need to keep private. We've made several changes based on this feedback since mid March.
I'm confident that the combination of authors, the editorial processes we've added, and our plans for the future create an ecosystem that will be tough for the individual to beat.
It may not be obvious to every author, but we make substantial investments in helping authors improve their content every month. I believe, overtime, with some volatility mixed in, we have a solid long term strategy. Each year we've been making progress on it. At some point our ability to manage a large scale corpus will become a definitive advantage that authors will genuinely feel.
Unfortunately, my shoulder is broken in four pieces, so off to the Dr.
Thanks for having this opportunity available, Paul. No other site can touch this right now, it's not even close. I look at as an opportunity for our articles to grow on these new niche sites.
Paul, One of the things I love the most about HubPages is the openness with the community, as you just mentioned. The thing I appreciate the most about HubPages is the willingness to spend money on helping authors improve their content, as you stated and as I clearly see with every editorial modification.
Even when I don't agree with a change done by an editor, the transparency with explaining the reason not only makes it clear, but also helps me learn things I carry on to other hubs as well.
As long as Google struggles to try to be the best search engine, their efforts cause a lot of volatility for all of us. I feel confident being involved in a community of people working together towards a common goal – success.
Paul, I got so carried away with my positive comments about how you're handing HubPages that I neglected to mention "Get Well Soon!" I learned from my own mishap that the shoulder is one of the most complicated joints. To be broken in four pieces must be very disagreeable for you. I hope you have a speedy recovery.
One of the best moves I've seen is editing of the articles. What a great offering to all the writers here.
You guys and all of your hard work are biggly appreciated. I hope you feel better soon, I've had two broken collar bones, and there is no fun in that.
Ouch - that sounds super painful! Hope your recovery is fast.
I've always appreciated the fact that you stick around and keep going when others gave up. For one thing it keeps a community of people going....
I think the big sites work well for some topics - but that maybe our concepts of niche are somewhat different. Hence why some of us with narrow interests can do better off HubPages than on.
I think the challenge that Hubpages continues to grapple with is not so much technical and editorial so as much as identifying the subjects which are not well covered by the very specialist websites (with authors with loads of experience and internet clout) and at the same time are of enough interest to generate significant traffic. In other words were are the gaps in the market which need a HubPages type solution.
First I hope the shoulder recovers fully.
Second I find it frustrating that no matter how many hoops I jump through traffic still declines. I have a suspicion my articles are too serious/academic for most readers. As an example there is an Exemplore blog on Time-slips that proved useful for a book I an writing about Time, but I find it is just a list of stories with no serious effort at analysis and adds little to what I can glean from Google elsewhere. I wrote a hub about Timeslips but that seems to have sunk without trace. Listicles and MFP images may be needed to succeed but they feel wrong. I also think the only sure way to get rich blogging is to blog about how to get rich blogging, but while getting rich would be nice it is not interesting enough for me to blog about.
As someone else also said, I wonder how come the content farms that appear on the bottom of so many pages and require you to click through multiple pages with an image and three lines of content plus a gigabyte of ads are thriving and whether HP can use similar tricks.
I feel that the Quality analysis programme is focusing on details like capitalisation rather then the Google Quality guidelines: none of the feed back I got on hubs that almost made it to a niche site mentioned EAT. There was a comment about referring to my own hubs but referring to your own work is common in many disciplines and avoids having to repeat yourself.
Someone on HP said they felt the advertising based model is dying for QUALITY content. If that is the case we have bigger problems, of the sort mentions int he SF story "The Marching Morons" by Kornbluth.
I tried to look at quantcast to check views and reader demographics and it said Hub Pages was not quantified. Pity, it might have let me change how I present subjects.
I do not like the idea of having to change my hubs to cater for the hard of thinking, but I suspect that may be necessary,
Paul, sorry to hear that about your shoulder.
The problem is with google and not HubPages.
I hope the long term solution is to try and influence google to do "the right thing" and help content producers and hurt SEO gamers and spammers...
They have smart talent working for them. If they can't figure out a better way to do this, they have no business being the leader of search engines. IMHO
That's the spirit. Tough out the tough times. Or in this case, just look at the facts.
My name is Whoopass, and you are welcome to skip over my comments.
As a tough, old broad, I find the decrease in pageviews 20% /earnings 40% disappointing. However, my personal blog suffers ups and downs, so I will just let markets do what they will, and ride the waves and troughs.
I find nothing sexist in Will's comments. Perhaps some would do well to loosen their corsets, and let some blood trickle back to the brain. Not that I am calling out anyone in particular. Let's just understand that Will is not an alarmist; his pageviews remain acceptable to him, and I think many others remain happy with their earnings, so why encourage another exodus or fears of imminent collapse.
Well, I'm not really sure who he's responding to, or what the facts he's talking about are. My views and earnings are holding steady at about half of what they were two months ago. That's way better than they were two years ago.
The first time the time my views and earning tanked, I didn't log in for six months. I didn't take all my hubs down, I just left them. When I came back, things had gotten better.
Whatever I earn on the Internet, whether HP or something else, I won't ever count on it. On the other hand, I won't give up.
A cynic would say you are currently using HP as a place to relieve your own site of the burden of excessive Amazon links.
Anyway... ever thought of contributing here? I mean something useful for other users?
Even I have my periods of being helpful to others and Marisa is pretty good at it apart from the 'set up your own site immediately' shtick whenever there is a setback.
My last word. Saturday night beckons.
You're the cynic Will - that's very plain to see!
I have contributed here. For example, I take it you missed my recent post about "Google's NEW Search Quality Guidelines (March 2017)" http://hubpages.com/community/forum/140 … march-2017
- but never let FACTS get in the way of a parting shot from an aggrieved man!
I also present an alternative to the rah rah crowd, based on the reality that Google does NOT like big corporate content sites. I think HubPages is following the right strategy - it's certainly one I advocated when I joined. However, that still might not save HP in the end from the "Wrath of Google" and my advice is that people should think about this and what they will do if there comes a time when there is one change too many.
Plus encouraging people to know and understand that there is life outside HubPages.
My take on Paul et al is that he's a believer in people sharing information and good quality content - and understands full well that people do progress from where they start - and that this is a good thing.
Often because when those who "graduate" from the school of HubPages meet others starting out they can mention a site which helped provide a safe place to find your feet and get started....
Meanwhile I'll get back to what I was doing - moving book reviews from blogs to pages on my new websites this morning and building new websites this afternoon.
Will, you are distorting my words again.
My CONSISTENT advice, ever since Google declared war on content sites, has been for people to set up their own site IF they had a specialist subject. I don't suddenly start trotting out that advice "when there's a setback". It's true I probably say it more often at such times, because the subject is more likely to come up in the forums and therefore I'm more likely to be answering questions. That's all.
The advantages of your own blog are legion. You have total control. The site can't be suddenly closed down without your consent. Your articles are almost never stolen. You can form relationships with real readers (not just other writers). If you write well, you will likely get more traffic because Google loves specialist sites - even HubPages agrees with that, that's why they created the niche sites. That's why the advice to start one is evergreen, not something to be considered only if times are tough on HP.
This is an option I am considering once I find out how to monetise words rather than products. However I have more than one favourite/specialist subject so I have to consider costs as well. This would pushe me to a website with multiple blogs not multiple blogs at say £50 a year each
You can use skimlinks and skimwords to monetize links and words respectively. The payout % is not great though. I almost suspect they give you an introductory rate that is well above the rate the following your introduction.
However you have to consider the impact the use of such software has on the impression you give your visitors.
Do you want to look like a site that is only there to make money?
LOL - weirdly some people want to make money, and in America we expect people to want to make money. And if they are offering up good information, I would hope that they get paid by someone for giving me that helpful info.
I actually prefer seeing Adsense adverts to feeling like the article was written just to inveigle me into buying a product I never thought I needed, and, in fact, don't really need.
And since he asked how he could monetize words without affiliate links, I thought I would offer up this solution for him to take a look at.
I don't disagree with you. I would also rather have good honest non-intrusive advertising.
I was just offering the alternative perspective - which was also relevant to his having think about monetising words.
Yeah, personally I hate seeing every fourth word highlighted as a link to some tangential article or product purchase, so I never lit up skimwords. That MO seems very scummy, graspy to me. And I don't seem to see it as much anymore, compared to 3 years ago, so maybe it does not work with Google anymore.
It depends how you use them. You can allow Skimlinks to automatically turn words or phrases into links, which runs the risk of looking like spam. Or you can disable that feature and simply use it to create links when and where you choose, without having to join multiple affiliate networks individually. Sure, they take a cut BUT their payout is only $10 a month and they often have a higher affiliate commission due to their bargaining power.
Er-no. I have only two blogs now, but I used to run multiple blogs on an InMotion hosting account for less than $30 a year. You just get hosting for one domain, then run your second and subsequent blogs as add-on domains.
The hosting company will try to tell you that you can't do it because there are limits on visitor numbers etc, but they exaggerate. I believed them at first and used to have much more expensive hosting, until I thought better of it, down-sized and found my site speeds didn't suffer one iota.
If you start getting huge visitor numbers and need to upgrade, then you'll be earning enough to make it worth while.
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Are HP merely just creating new niche sites and hoping Google will pick them up? or are they actively promoting the sites in the wider world of the niche the site is based on?
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