One Writer's Idea Of The Ideal Writing Site

Author's Note

For quite some time now I've been trying to figure out if there's some way for me to write about the things I want to write about, now that HubPages (and pretty much the rest of the Internet) has made so many changes in the interest of quality.

The subjects that most interest me don't tend to lend themselves well to the "magazine style" that HubPages has been emphasizing. Because those subjects don't involve concrete nouns (unless you consider human beings "concrete nouns" (which, of course, they are when it comes down to it). The thing is, more often than not I prefer writing about the abstract nouns, which are the things that go on between people and the things they go through, or experience in life. Those things are things, however, that are covered already (and certainly best and well) by authority sites, so I can't really see approaching those subjects from the angle of "from-personal-exposure/experience/viewpoint" and the throwing in the additional element of links to authority sites. After all, people who find a Hub that comes from a "first-person type of thing" have probably either already eliminated the idea of looking on authority sites, or else they've already searched them, themselves. Basically, I just haven't really known what I should be doing with my Hubs, so I (prematurely, maybe) deleted a big bunch of them, mostly because I was thinking in terms of search engines and not among those Hubbers who just write "for the sake of writing", regardless of how much traffic or money they get.

In any case, I haven't really known which Hubs to get rid of, which to keep, and/or which ones to fix or otherwise change. At this point, I still have a whole lot of older Hubs that I do plan to remove; and my most recent plan has to been to get rid of them, write a bunch of new ones to add to the relative few I plan to leave with this particular profile. (In other words, ending up with a handful of oldies-but-goodies and eventually building up a decent amount of "newies-and-even-betters". Since online writing (and in particular, writing on HubPages) is an extra-time thing for me anyway, I don't really see myself building up too many "newies-but-betters" too quickly.

So, in the meantime (and in view of the fact that not a lot of activity is going on as far as my adding new Hubs goes), I thought I'd kind of separate whatever I have with my profile here by just kind of thinking aloud (but not aloud, of course) on some of the issues associated with Internet writing and the fact that so many writing platforms are disappearing from the landscape. In other words, temporarily kind of clearing my head of whatever mess I have left with my partially dismantled account and remaining Hubs and at least kind of marking a point where I can start any new Hubs (and I don't particularly plan to stop writing on HubPages at all) without feeling like I can't do that without cleaning up the old stuff first.

Over the last couple of days I've run into yet other discussions about how Yahoo Contributor Network is yet another "writing site" (as online writers/content-producers often call such sites) closing. Those of us who have spent any time writing online in one capacity or another have watched any number of changes happen, only to watch yet other changes happen (sometimes at least for awhile until yet another bunch of changes happen).

In only a relative-few, short, years so many of us have been left with our heads spinning (and I don't "spinning" as "article-spinning", although there's certainly plenty of that, among a bunch of other Internet-specific and questionable practices that have led both to more growth and demise, depending on whatever Internet-related issue is involved).

In any case, without yet again re-hashing things that anyone involved with Internet writing has already re-hashed a zillion times with a zillion different combinations of people, in a zillion different online discussions; and without turning this Hub into a whole, big, complicated, discussion of my own aims and experiences as an online writer; I thought I'd just go wild (at least as "wild" any writer-type tends to go), and mentally create my own dream, writing, site of the revenue-sharing variety.

Personally, I kind of have a love/hate relationship with the Internet because I pretty much only check e.mail, shop, do serious research for something I'm writing, or else do something like go to YouTube to find videos for something I'm writing. Once in awhile I'll be in a conversation with someone who asks if such-and-such a famous person has kids, or what year such-and-such a movie came out, and I'll look up that kind of thing (truly, not often at all).

I don't use social sites (except for the Google+ profile and Facebook-enough to be able to see some relatives' offerings (but of my eleven "friends", two of them are my daughter's cats). I've set up pages on "the main" social sites in case I ever want or need them one day and in case anyone, for some reason, asks. For one thing, I don't have a lot of time or opportunity to socialize anyway. For another, I use my socializing time for offline socializing. Basically, I write - for one reason or another. Sometimes online. Sometimes not. Sometimes for money. Sometimes in the hopes of money. Sometimes for future money. Sometimes for a little more money than I have now. Then, when I'm not writing for money I write for other reasons, and when I'm in need of a break I write whatever I feel like writing if/when I have the time or inclination.

Without getting into a whole thing about who processes information "visually", who processes it through auditory means, whether there are really visual-processers and auditory-processers at all (that's one of the latest arguments); or whether some people are just such neatniks they can't stand a page that brings to mind the term, "visual vomit" (and that's been known to show up even on some authority sites that are nothing about revenue-sharing with their expert-contributors), here's my idea of what would make a high-quality revenue-sharing site:

What I, Personally, Wish There Could Be As Far As A "Writing Site" Goes

If I just indulge in imagining my "dream writing site" - where one could go to either write or read any number of different types of things...

Here's what I wish (and maybe this is out there, but I just haven't found it since I pretty much do no no socializing and only write one type of thing or another:

First page: Nice and clean with as few distracting images as possible (because my "verbal mind" doesn't like mixing words with pictures that don't accompany the words - and using images to accompany different words means adding more images).

In any case, (as both a reader and writer) I'd like to see a nice, clean, first "directory type of page" with something like "Information By Experts" (with subject areas under the heading). "Official experts" could be people who are professional "whatever's" or people who have otherwise a lot of expertise in areas such as gardening.

Then I'd like to see something like a category for insight/information by non- experts but people who have really had a lot of personal exposure to/experience to their subject (non-fiction but useful/insightful material). If information/insight was involved I'd like to see a standard block that let readers know where the person gained that information (something like, "has been quilting since childhood") and/or a link to a more in-depth description of where the person gained the knowledge, insight and/or proven results.

Then I'd like to see, maybe, Opinions/Essays

Maybe I'd break it down to also include a heading for personal stories that aren't as much useful/insightful as just stories written for the sake of telling a true story..

Also: Fiction.

Then: Poetry.

Since there may be too many subjects to be able to have a clean enough front page I wouldn't have a problem with having to click away from the front page to get a "section" I was interested in - where I could then leave and go back if I just wanted to browse to read other stuff. (Kind of like Helium Network had, only as far as I know (and I don't know much about them once they got set up), there wasn't just one, easy-to-see place that didn't really just take people off to the other "site" (and kind of the same with YCN).

So, on the clean (but easy-to-see/use) front page of my dream site I'd add the usual stuff about "click here to sign up" "about us", and all that. (This is pretty much what Google tells people - to have a front/landing page that's easy for readers to find what they want and know what they're getting.)

In my dream scenario there could be the right kind of formatting, guidelines, etc. etc. for the different types of material. If there was, for example, a serious first-person type of article (like the 3000-word first-person-type stories in some magazines or a serious, longer, article by an expert in a field that requires something other than pictures of cookies or necklaces) I wouldn't discourage writers from big blocks of text because when you're reading about some serious subjects you "get mean" if a) you keep having to scroll past space and/or b) you're never really sure if "that was the end" or if there's still more to go looking for.

In one, quick visit to the site's (presumably fast-loading and easy-to-read) home page I could find what I wanted to browse with only one click, not be bothered looking at a bunch of other stuff and and becoming overwhelmed and "mentally confused" by "a big visual mess" that's either too much "nothing" or else not enough of anything a human browser wants to find.

Step 1: The person/visitor (key word, as they say, "person"/"human being") who has come to the home page clicks once to find the kind of reading he's interested in, and get to a simple list/directory of subjects.

Step 2: The browsing human visitor clicks on whatever subject or type of subject he wants.

To me, whatever goes on from there, or exists wherever on "whatever-page" can depend on the type of material and/or what works or is appropriate for the site. Personally, I wouldn't have a page that assaults human/visual browsers with a big mess of subjects and/or pictures associated with them; BUT - again, on my personal-dream site - if there had to be that I'd have it be something the human browswer (particularly from outside the site) might have to click on from one of the cleaner, first, pages. (Maybe something like, "Click here if you're interested in browsing a giant mess of every kind of subject and writing in the book - even though this site is neither a book nor an eBook nor any other publication that has paper pages." :)

I wouldn't frown on reasonably brief articles or extremely long ones. Maybe I'd put the number of words discreetly where human browsers could see how long each article is and decide if he wants to read it, skim it, come back another time (maybe when he isn't on his smart phone curing the rush-hour commute.

As far as links go, I'd allow links to "more information on this" to authority sites, maybe links to either the author's own site or else other material on the same subject, with each piece of writing on the site; as well as any of "the usual" links to sites like the Google+ profile, Pinterest, and any of the other usual stuff (that people who are verbally inclined and may/may not be Internet-socializing inclined – and I mean “genuine socializing, not e.schmoozing-for-the-sake-of-promoting-oneself or one’s own stuff)..

And What About People Who Are Using Smart Phones?

Well, I'd leave it up to them to either read some things or not, and I'd point out to contributors that they're taking a chance by writing some types of material on the site s? As far as I can see, though, smart phones seem to either be staying the same size they are now (same-size screen), being made smaller by companies that are trying to attract people who don't want a big smart phone (maybe because they already have tablets, readers, and whatever else) or else who want a bigger ones (maybe because they don't have or want to use those under some circumstances).

And About Images...

Oh... and while I'm mentally creating my personal, dream, writing platform for people who, for one reason or another, want to write and/or read material written by people who care about the reader (regardless of the subject or the means by which the reader found the page), I would require all images to either be the author's own images; or, in the case of material written by professionals in one field or another, images specificially associated and absolutely necessary to enhance the message. (For example, if someone who has rebuilt transmissions for decades wrote an article about "x step" in that process and needed a picture he couldn't create himself, I'd allow that.) If there's one thing I like to see gone from the Internet completely it's those canned images with the white background that people use when they write about subjects like psychology or relationships. (If I see one more of those white-background pictures with one mean-looking person pointing a finger either at another mean-looking person or else a borderline-cowering victim; I think I'm going to - truly - start throwing rotten eggs at the screen!)

It's easy enough for the hobby-crafter or cook to post images of his/her own stuff. For the person who wants to write about helping his children get through some horrible thing in life the choice is either to post images of the actual horrible-thing or else something like pictures of crying strangers (on white backgrounds or not), and - really - the person reading that kind of material generally is there to look at pictures.


Once Upon A Time In A Land Called, The Internet"...

Once upon a time there was no such thing as the Internet - and then there was. Before there even was the Internet people imagined what such a thing might be able to do. Then again, some, maybe, never could have even imagined it. Either way, first there was the Internet. Then it started to evolve at mind-boggling speed. As it has evolved (at least to those of us watching it for a long enough time), it has gone from something primarily reserved for the technological-minded and/or business-minded (and, of course, somewhere along the way came the beginnings of socializing online).

When I first started writing online a whole lot of people seemed to think that proper English grammar wasn't even important. In fact, there was some hostility aimed at anyone who dared suggest it was. The big thing was, "This is a whole new world," or "This is a whole new time." The other "big things" were "Nobody reads any more," and "People on the Internet have a short attention span." In some ways, and in some instances, some of those things were true.

I'm not going to turn this "story" into much more than it already is because those of us who have been here for a few/several years already know it, and those who have not either don't need to know about it or already do anyway.

The point is that both before and after Google's infamous Panda roll-out, there has been upheaval and head-spinning for a whole lot of online writers and writing platforms. There are blogs, of course (and blogs have evolved as well). We all know that companies like Google offer free blogs to anyone who behaves reasonably well on them. On one site or another there's usually one or another kind of opportunity to have ads added and earn from them. With getting further into THAT whole thing about free blogs, marketing blogs, paying to market blogs, or trying to get free advertising by socializing on sites that claim they don't want people pushing their own stuff on them; the thing is, with every layer and/or round of changes it seems as if the voice of the some of the very people the Internet was supposed to (or else has the potential to) connect takes a backseat.

Over the years when people have asked why HubPages doesn't do what so many other sites does with regard to approving who writes on the site (which may be requiring a writing sample or resume, and/or take at least a basic writing test), the reply has always been that HubPages wants everyone to have a voice.

To be candid, I don't know whether that's the real and/or only reason HubPages has had; but now there's Bubblews, which makes the same claim/asssertion - that the idea behind the site is for everyone to have a voice. Again, I have no idea if that's true or if Bubblews is just a matter of trying get eyes on ads in as big of numbers as possible. After all, there's the revenue-sharing factor on both sites. (The only reason I only mention these two sites is that I've abandoned all the other similar ones a long time ago, not that HubPages and Bubblews are really all that similar.)

The thing is that ever since we all started hearing about how the Internet is a whole different world, and the world-in-general has changed with the times; I (and a lot of other people) have said (or at least thought), "Yes, the times have changed and the world has changed; but human nature doesn't change." (and it doesn't). Oh, and let's not forget the post-Panda, "That was then. This now."

So, as new-Internet-thing after other new-Internet-thing has cropped up in effort to accommodate and/or capitalize whatever it is people want or need on the Internet; somehow - at least in the world of online writing, and as The Magic Eight-Ball has been known to say) all signs always seem to point to moving away (in one direction or another) not so much from allowing people to say what they want to say, but from doing much of anything to get heard (read) what so many of them have to say.

Human nature is in everything we do; and somehow it just seems to me as if no matter how much progress the world seems to make, in terms of becoming a better place and better world; somehow it seems to take some wrong turn and head itself off in the direction of leaving a whole lot of the proverbial "little guys"" in No-Man's Land. Why? Most often it's because one or another kind of "little guy" isn't seen as someone whose voice should be heard (and certainly not as someone who has something worthwhile to contribute). No, "little guys" are supposed to shut up and listen to what the "big guys" tell them about the world - not the other way around.

And, it isn't even always a matter of "little guys" being heard or having a voice. It's also (more and more these days) a matter of some little guys getting their proverbial cut of the proverbial money-pie.

Whether it's HubPages, Bubblews, or whichever other sites may still be out there or may crop up under different names; I imagine that in time someone will come up with some new, better, version that, maybe, helps assure those little guys either their own voice (or an opportunity) or a place where someone can speak for and/or to them. After all, the Internet world changes quickly, and the offline world changes almost as quickly. All I know is that the Internet shouldn't be a place where (and I'm quoting here) "nobody cares what you think or have to say if you're not already famous" (or just too little-a-guy in general) - because not every little guy either wants to maintain and market his own blog/site, or even could if he wanted to.

If it takes ads (Google or otherwise) to offer some of the kinds of material that would otherwise not likely to be read, that's fine with me. I just hope that the whole idea of "writing sites" (in some incarnation of "kind- of- how- we've -all- known- them") aren't eradicated in the name of "a better Internet world" or "writing for the reader" or "writing for only the searcher" or "making advertisers happy" because, after all, the world has changed, the times have changed, the economy has changed, and lifestyles have changed; but human nature and needs have not.

Little by little (or maybe quite-a-bit by quite-a-bit), the Internet powers-that-be seem to be learning that somewhere along the way a lot of people took a wrong turn along their own journey - only to discover the end of the road. I seriously hope that was then but this is now.

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Comments 9 comments

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

Yes many of my points apply to many people. You’d be surprised how many people who read my hub on Google Authorship never complete their reciprocal links to achieve Authorship recognition from Google. It seems to be a common thing that many people skip the step of running the Google tool that shows if they did it right.

Your URL is in your profile, you didn’t remove it, but it is not the correct link to your Google+. Try it and you’ll see. Use the test tool. I was able to add you to a circle because I searched for you by name.

As for Bubblews, I felt the same way about being associated with that site. After I noticed Google was dropping my overall ranking on my other articles, such as on HP, I decided to remove the link to my Bubblews profile from Google+ and from my author site. Now my traffic is slowly coming back again.

Bubblews must have really hurt me. As long as I keep it isolated from my authorship and under a different pen name, it should be okay for what it’s worth. I don’t know if Google is reacting to the many worthless posts there, or to the fact that they are off line so often. But it’s something any serious author needs to consider.

As for your last point, about subdomains, I think they are helpful. It keeps the good guys isolated from those who are still trying to game the system by writing for search engines instead of for the reader. I noticed a common theme among all hubs chosen for Editor’s Choice. That is, they are focused on the reader.

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 2 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Glenn, thank you for contributing yet more here. I'd imagine that with so many changes there are points you've raised that may apply to a lot of people (if anyone ever gets to this page lol).

With Bubblews, I just saw it as a social site; so I figured Google isn't particularly "looking" for what I do on there. I mostly included the link on the profile in case anyone other than Google was interested. I wasn't even worried about any potential employers/clients (not that I've seeking those so much since B's came up anyway; and anything I've done on a professional basis has been something I've done for someone/some company that has already known me). I've just figured that people are on Facebook and whatever-other social sites, so as long as whatever I did on B's wasn't rude or generally horrible, it shouldn't be matter.

I've thrown in "real" writing just because that's what I look for, for myself; and figured that nobody else wants that kind of writing anyway.

Thank you for mentioning that my G profile link isn't working here. I may have done that myself (probably did, but maybe not) because I've done so much changing around of not only what I have online and associated (or indirectly linked and public), but I've gone back and forth over things like trying what to keep public, what to keep private, when I shouldn't associated anything with HP (particularly in post-Panda days). Then I've had my moods when I put mostly everything on private, thinking I just don't want it out there until/unless it's more polished; and then later thinking better about whatever "putting-on-private" I did and putting some, but never all, back on public. As a result, not only do I have a giant mess with my subdomain here, but with my overall stuff.

Oh... then, too, there was that cleaner Google+ URL that we were able to get (what) a year or so ago? So, maybe I've never put in the new code and instead just did "on and off" (or something like that).

As far as the subdomains go (and whether I've considered that they're helping the site to survive - sure, I've more than considered it. As I said somewhere else, I made a mess of my own subdomain. I prematurely deleted some things that - really - maybe I should have left. Then I've left stuff that ought to go (because it's searchable, but old and not stellar - and not worth elaborating on or "stellarizing"). That's the stuff that's still earning me money on here; so - in all it's "lousy-looking-ness" I've left it. Right before Panda I'd gotten to search the "most searchable but not particularly polished" stuff had been copied and stolen so often that the percentage of my monthly payment from Google (which had been fairly high compared to all the lower earners/traffic getters ) had started to shrink while the one- or two-dollar/month Hubs and/or the often-five-dollar-a-month Hubs started to add up (by adding Hubs) and account for a bigger percentage of my monthly payment. I was so pleased to see that.

Panda didn't horribly affect my earnings (considering that some of biggest earners had worn out their welcome by being copied, competed with, and posted "all over the world" by people not necessarily accountable to Google, or even US copyright laws (or at least aware of them). Anyway, right after the major drop after the "weekend of Panda horror" in 2011) and in the days/weeks immediately following, I saw a gradual return to traffic - just not earnings because the traffic came from those earlier, "not-particularly-great-writing OR polished material" anyway.

So, although I was not earning what I'd been earning (and that had been dropping before Panda anyway), I was picking up a couple of spare hundred dollars (in that area) some time not long after Panda and around the time the subdomain thing was put in place.

When I really started seeing a consistent (although not particularly dramatic) drop with my stuff wasn't with Panda or the first "era" o subdomains. I survived (without anything particularly noticable) a whole bunch of rounds of Panda and (before I stopped paying attention and/or after I'd deleted a bunch of stuff) even, for the most part, a Penguin round or two (maybe). I think I may have been hit by at least one of them, but by that time I didn't have all that much traffic anyway; so usual fluctuations like holidays and weekends (again, my own removing of stuff I just didn't think belonged on here any longer because of "stellarizing"), it's been hard to really know.

Of course, to further complicate things there was that whole, gradual, implementation of trying to focus on "stellar", and then there was the whole thing about mTurks, changing the basis for scoring, etc. So, somewhere in between that Spring that followed Panda (and what was it - July when subdomains were put in place? I forget now), I've seen a whole trend (maybe not entirely the responsibility of HP) happening with a whole bunch of stuff on this site being rewarded (maybe - I don't know) that isn't ALWAYS particularly in keeping with that big list that Google has out there for what is considered "quality".

I have no doubt that the fact that I write non-fiction that isn't "straight information from straight research" has played some role here; but even with that, and even with my knowing I made a lot of mess of my own stuff and didn't replace it with much of anything according to the latest "standards"; somewhere between the big push for "stellarizing" (and then mTurks, etc.) and today (right now, today - when subdomains may be keeping the site and/or writers "alive"), it hasn't always been that way. Somewhere in the mix of time there (and after subdomains) sites like this one haven't been favored (to say the least) by Google (which is why, over the course of all my own "trying one thing or another" I may have "disconnected" my own profile link); and some authors could/might actually be penalized for having their stuff here, rather than on their own "high-quality"/well backed-up reputation-wise site. (Of course, a lot of people's answer to that particular "phenomenon" has been to create a really attractive looking blog/site that they thought would "make Google happy", but then have little substance on it. I'm guessing Google would like to wipe them out too, but I have no clue how easy it would be for them to do that - now that non-substance writers have found better ways to work around "what Google likes" (when it isn't a writing platform like this one). (The right big, glossy, photos and great-looking set of a few words (or at least few-words-per photo/image/capsule (even if there's little substance, lots of clicking on yet more photos, and a little poor grammar thrown in here or there) are still, as far as I can see, what is rewarded on this particular site (at least right now).

As far as it look to me, people (legitimate, not legimate, whatever) learned the formula and now do the formula; and the site looks like it's full of a bunch of good-looking stuff; and the weaknesses in the actual material (missing facts, bad facts, partial information, etc.) are now better hidden but better looking and more professional looking these days.

Then, of course, you've got the perfectly excellent Hubs that are just not hot subjects search-wise. I don't know if a bunch of them (time-consuming as they are) are enough to keep things going. I can't say often enough that I know I've done enough mucking around with everything I have online (not just on here) that I can't go by me.

I just know that if 100 "zillion" Hubbers have subs known for "straight, factual, info" from research and get paid well then "other writers" shouldn't be looking to earn on this site. That's fine. Writing is about finding the right place to earn with one's writing. I'm just not sure that at this point the subdomain thing is enough (now that so many people are doing what Google says it doesn't want: writing for the search engine-value, not value to the reader; or knowing how many believe that writing-to-stellar/formula has to/should apply to every Hub/subject. I'm not sure what looks helpful today is going stay helpful.

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

Yes I noticed that about all your various pen names. I see you listed all of them on your Google+ profile. I’m glad I chose to use my real name when I started here on HP, because it matches most everything else, except Bubblews.

I used another pen name on Bubblews. I did that because I saw a lot of dumb writing and it scared me, thinking I didn’t want to be known to be part of it. I saw things like people posting about their daily affairs and such. Nothing useful. I am sure Google doesn’t care about posts like that. And it reduces the ranking of the entire site.

But since there are also some people who post worthwhile articles on Bubblews, I thought I’d give it a try for short articles. At first I included it as one of my writing sites on my Google+ profile. But since then I removed it because they are off line with server errors so often and that looks really bad to search engines. Being that I have Google Authorship, I didn’t want Bubblews to negatively affect my other writing.

Your idea about subdomains for subjects may be a useful method of separating subjects, but it involves extra programming that is not necessary. I remember seeing a post from HP somewhere saying since one can always create multiple accounts to keep subjects separated.

As far as I’m concerned, I’d rather keep all my articles in one HP account even though it may not be the best idea from an SEO viewpoint. But it’s easier for me to keep track of all my stats, and that is more important to me right now.

You said that “subdomains shouldn't be necessary on a site that isn't being penalized by Google.” But did you consider that HP is no longer penalized because everyone is in their own subdomains? That, among other things HP did, may be what is helping us survive here.

The group thing is very useful. And it lends to helping with multiple subjects under a single domain. It even helps keep my related hubs linked together even though they may be in the home domain due to being Editor’s Choice.

I place every new hub in the proper group and in the proper position in the group based on other hubs that are on the same subject. Even if readers don’t click the “last” or “next” – at least it helps Google bots follow the links that pertain to similar hubs.

Moving on, you talked about “establishing authorship.” I just checked and noticed that your authorship is not working. You may want to check your link to your Google+ from HP. The proper use of the reciprocal links for establishing Authorship ties all your work on various sites together even if you use different pen names on each. So as you indicated, Google knows it’s “you” no matter where you write.

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 2 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Glenn, thank you for taking the time to throw some additional factors/issues into the mix. (lol) I used to use Yahoo Answers as my "I'm bored" site, so I haven't really been there for ages. One of the more times (years ago) I paid much attention to that site was when they did have that block available to allow Answerers to say what, if anything, informed their answer. I thought that was a good feature. Then, though, I got a few too many of these, "Hmm. It looks like you have a lot of punctuation....." (or something like that). (Sorry. I'm not a fan of anyone/anything who doesn't like punctuation. :) )

I don't know enough about the technical workings of things like subdomains, although I certainly understand why it was that HP gave writers their own at the time. Mine's a mess for a number of reasons, including my gradually transitioning away from a pen name to use my own name. I don't think it helps that when subdomains were first put in place I didn't want "Lisa HW" (which I'd hastily selected as a user name when I didn't really think I could earn anything on HP). So anyway, my "whole deal" is a big mess for a number of reasons.

What I wonder, though (and, again, I know nothing about the technical aspects of this kind of thing) is whether Hubbers should have an option of indicating "mix of subjects" versus "all one subject" - and whether there should be an option of something like subdomains based on either the author OR the subject (that type of thing).

I mean (at least theoretically), subdomains as we know them shouldn't be necessary on a site that isn't being penalized by Google; but if they're necessary (or could be helpful in indicating quality to Google) I'd think (either instead of, or in addition to, whatever grouping (etc.) is now in place for subjects; some kind of indication (maybe even author/authorship WITH "specialized Hubpages subject).. whether that would be the way to tip off the robots-that-be with regard to identifying the right authors/subjects on a site like this?

Ultimately, every writer is responsible for establishing his own authorship somehow. I'd think that if, say, the Google authorship had in place some kind of thing whereby it could "know", "This is Fred. Fred writes about x, y and blah blah"." OR, "This is Fred. The only thing Fred ever writes about is x."

We already have, to some degree (and at least for some people) that "whole reciprocal thing" with our Google profile and HP. I don't know how all that works (again, particularly since I've got a whole, big, complicated, mess with my own stuff and names, etc.).

As it is, we have the groups thing on here if we have a bunch of Hubs on one subject; but I'm wondering if - really - the original purpose/type for subdomains is really something that either hasn't been outgrown, may be causing some people to be penalized when they shouldn't be, or otherwise couldn't/shouldn't be tweaked to support writers who write a mix AND writers who write on one thing.

As it is, HP already allows more than one account per person; so why not "Here's Fred. He writes a big mix of stuff under the name, 'Fred', and he also writes about fixing transmissions, baking cakes, and writing" (I mean on "some kind of subdomain level".)

People used to have on their profile, "I also write under "Fred" and have a link. There's not that now, although I suppose they can send people to their Google author page (and maybe back to HubPages). I don't know... There's no real point imagining a zillion different scenarios about who can do what with their authorship stuff/subdomain. I just don't think that on a site that, say, allows fiction writing (etc.) AND researched articles should necessarily mean that a person's "established authorship" has to be compromised and/or ignored as a result of that person's writing a mix under one or more names. :/

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

I did read your entire comment, Lisa. And you had stated a lot of important points. You should indeed have made it a hub. LOL.

The first thing that stood out was how you said authors should cover subjects from a different angle if authority sites already covered the subject. I agree. That may be one of the reasons why writers don't do well. They may very well be good writers, but they are competing with other articles already covering the same topic. So attacking the subject from a different angle can be a way to attract readers.

The other thing you said, and also very important for authors to understand, is that heavy-duty research will help “offer more legitimate, thorough, information.” I would think that that, in turn, could bring more traffic, especially if they reference their sources and if the sources are highly ranked websites.

And if the author is the source of the information then a brief resume, of sorts, is helpful to display authority on the subject.

I don't think Google is good yet at filtering out "less-than-thorough stuff." I see a lot of Google SERPS that point to articles around the Internet that are poorly researched and give inaccurate information. It is still up to the reader to determine the accuracy of what he or she reads. And I don't know how one can do that unless they read and compare from various sources.

On thing that disturbs me the most is how “Yahoo Answers” allows answers that are totally wrong. And the person asking the question, who knows nothing, selects the worst answer as "best answer" even though it's totally misleading. And both Yahoo and Google index those posts.

Comparing to Bubblews and other writing sites, HP is the only one I know that puts every author in their own sub-domain. That probably helps those who write everything on a single subject. It gives search engines a clue as to which subject one might have authority.

But when articles of unrelated subjects are combined in one domain, the level of authority on any one subject may be diminished.

So what is the best way to decide what to write and where to write it? In my opinion, the answer is to stick to one subject and keep it all in one place. One domain or sub-domain is best.

That’s easier said than done. I don’t follow this method either, since I write about various subjects that are not related to one another. I guess I can say that the only common theme for me is that I write from personal experience.

Sheesh! Now that I'm done replying to your comment, I, too, should have made this a hub. That's a decision we all have to make: "What and where to write things." Wait a moment, isn't that what you said?

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 2 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Note: I began writing this reply to Glenn Stok's comment, but it turned out so long that I don't particularly expect him to read the whole thing and/or reply back. It's just that I didn't think it would make a good separate Hub and figured I may as well just post it as part of the discussion.

Glenn Stok, thanks. I do think there needs to be more straight (and peaceful) discussion about the challenges of trying to offer some version of "decent quality material" on the Internet.

Not that I particularly know anything about running a writing site, but my personal concerns aren't so much that on a site like this each author is allowed to have his mix of subjects. In fact, I see being able to offer that mix as one of very reasons for using a site like this (at least as the writer).

What I think can create problems is that every author should not be writing about every subject or type of subject; and, to me, if a subject is already covered more than expertly by any number of authority-sites that author should pretty much know to cover the subject from an angle other than "the straight research". To me, there are certainly subjects that can be covered more thoroughly by REALLY doing some heavy-duty research and putting together a Hub that offers more legitimate, thorough, information than anywhere else that's easily available/found online. That works for a subject such as "The History of Boston Common" (or whatever). OR, to me, if a person has worked, or does work, as, say, a marketing manager or hairdresser or teacher (whatever) that person can write (if he's done it long enough, or at least if he's had training in that particular subject) from his head. All such a person has to do is offer a little back-up info about himself as author of that particular subject ("I've been a hairdresser for nine years, and I write Hubs about that subject."), a that person's stuff would be something different and coming from someone who knows something about that subject.

Then, though, there are subjects that I don't really think anyone on a site like this should be writing about unless he knows something about the subject either through personal experience or a lot of exposure, research, or maybe even some training; and unless he makes it clear he's writing "from his head". To me, those subjects include things like medical-related or (a biggie) psychology-related subjects. To me, if someone is, say, a physician and - for some reason - decides he wants to write a Hub; that's one thing (but even then, I think he needs to do more than just say, "I'm a physician" or "...retired physician".

To me, that's where "establishing the heck out of authorship" can come in (particularly for the person who needs a lot of space to let readers know why it is he thinks what he has to say about the subject may be worth reading).

What I see on so many sites (including this one) is people not seeming to know where to draw the line on their subjects, even if they aim to approach each subject by researching. You have to know your subject in order to know when the research is accurate and/or adequate. And, with something like medical subjects or psychology-related subjects, all the "over-the-counter" research that's easily found online most often is not adequate. So then there's the thing that if someone (a potential reader) wants solid information on some subjects like these he's either going to want the short version from an authority site or the extremely in-depth version from an authority site. To me, being the well informed non-expert may not get a Hubber who writes on that subject at the top of the search page; but I'd think (particularly if Google filters out all the quickie, less-than-thorough stuff from non-authority sites) he might stand some chance of not being buried too far under the authority sites. I don't think I'm the only one who has seen Hubs (or whatever else online) written by people aiming to write researched articles but don't know enough about one of "my own" subjects. Some of these people may be putting in every good faith effort to write/research a "really good Hub"; but many - I don't think, anyway - either don't know their subject well enough not to have incomplete/inaccurate information (and I'm including even some who claim to be experts - and maybe they are, but are just not specialists or all that experienced). So what's the result? "Fred" (my fake name when I need to use a hypothetical name in a discussion) writes a Hub on, say, such-and-such-a personality disorder; it looks great, looks professional -- and then his other Hubs are about other stuff (maybe even looking equally good and professional). Although I think SOME subject areas in particular should be left to the experts unless "plain, old, individuals" have something they can offer from a different angle (maybe even questioning what "experts say").

Google lets people establish authorship, and they let people tell Google where they write, what name they write under (and keep some names private if they want to), and - as they say - the whole bit. Then, though, you have "writing sites" with people with "names" like "Fast Money"(or whatever) and then either write a big mix of Hubs on everything (maybe even research the subjects and write legitimate) or else write about money (legitimately or sleazily or whatever) - and how does a lot of that kind of stuff make a site like this one look??? :/

To me, the idea of a "writing platform" allowing, say, a teacher, to write a reasonably brief Hub about something like managing a room full of seven-year-olds (without requiring a lot of research or pictures). Bubblews allows that. If that teacher says who/what s/he is and links back to his/her Google profile I can't see anyone calling that "junk" or "low-quality" writing. If HP wants to be "magazine quality" or have big photo spreads (and whatever else) that makes HP a different type of site. That's OK. The real challenge for writers, though, is, I think, figuring out if their stuff belongs on either site (and as it is now, pretty much everything "belongs" on Bubblews lol ).

I don't necessarily think Bubblews is a bad concept, and in the year or so since I first went there I've seen them doing quite a bit of refining (while still encouraging people to feel free to write whatever "the world" is). In some ways HubPages wasn't all that much better (or less of a "big mess" than when I first found it about seven years ago (not quite seven yet). Sites grow - or not. Of course, there's also the thing that if writers "establish the heck out of" a "solid authorship" of their own Google (or whatever) may bypass writing platforms in favor of the authors they trust on a subject (but I think that's where "legitimate"/skilled writers need to figure it out for themselves (as far as which site, if any, they decide to write on goes).

I don't know.... in the meantime, I don't know what, if anything, I should be writing where. lol

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 2 years ago from Long Island, NY

This is a really good discussion of the present state of affairs with writing sites. I guess the bottom line is that it all depends on the subject matter. Unfortunately many sites provide the open access to write about almost any subject. So there is no common theme, which tends to hurt the ranking of the site in general.

Over time, what I have observed is that HubPages tries to make an effort at giving Google what they want. The problem is that Google keeps changing the algorithm because they themselves are struggling with the changing Internet.

Then there’s Bubblews. I don’t know what to make of this one yet. I see two kinds of authors there: Those who are serious and write meaningful short posts that actually provide some kind of useful content. And those who write about any useless thought that comes into their head.

The mystery is that I see the latter are the ones who make the most money on Bubblews. People seem to like reading nonsense on Bubblews.

Or, and more likely, most people on Bubblews don’t read. They just blindly “like” posts in an effort to get liked back to add up the pennies in the bank. If I’m right about that, it’s a sad experiment of Bubblews, and a poor reflection of where the Internet is headed.

Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 2 years ago from Massachusetts Author

Eiddwen, thank you. Nice to "see" you again. :)

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 2 years ago from Wales

Very interesting and well informed; it certainly left much food for thought Lisa and I vote up plus share.


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