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100 HUBS & And What I Have Learned
I Finally Hit 100!
I certainly haven't broken any speeding records on my way to 100 Hubs.
I began my writing adventure with Hubpages nearly 4 years ago now, in October of 2008.
I started writing with Hubpages for 2 reasons:
- I like to write, and Hubpages looked like a relatively easy platform to use
- I was eager to find a venue in which to communicate some health care related information, particularly related to pharmacy and pharmaceuticals
- It was less expensive that saltwater fish tanks and less dangerous than skydiving. Okay, that is 3 reasons. But this last one doesn't really count.
2008: I joined in late 2008 (hey, that rhymes!). Throughout the closing months of that year I kept up a slow but steady output of little articles. I did the "Google Adsense" thing and got my account. I explored some of the forums and interacted with a few other authors.
2009: But early in 2009 I became somewhat discouraged about the potential to really gather any significant amount of search engine traffic. So I slowed way down and hardly wrote anything during the last 3/4 of 2009.
2010: Then one day in early 2010 I wandered back to HubPages. To my great surprise the traffic on my articles had started to rise. Google was beginning to send people my way! I could hardly believe it! With that bit of encouragement I picked back up the writing and have continued (albeit still at a rather slow pace) to generate articles on health, medicine, the pharmacy profession and other topics of interest.
2011: Due to some changes in the way Google operates, I saw a drastic decline for a while in the number of hits on my articles. This discouragement led again to a declining interest in writing regularly, and there was about 6 months in which I did no writing on HubPages at all.
2012: Traffic picked back up, and I began writing somewhat regularly again, maybe 4-5 articles per month. Would love to be able to write more, but I am content with the time I have to invest in this hobby for now.
But this article is really not about my journey as a HubPage author. It is about what I have personally learned so far from my writing experience. The following are just my own gleanings and personal insights, and I am the first to admit I still have a lot to learn.
LESSON 1: IT IS OKAY TO BE A PART-TIME WRITER
Sure, volume is great. And if you have the time and energy to pump out several high quality articles per day that is wonderful. But I don't, and probably won't in the near future at least. But I have enjoyed the experience even though my pace has not been as impressive as some. Writing can be great fun, but don't be ashamed to put other important priorities where they belong. A family, a job, a church, etc. are all worthy of your time and attention. You can write part time and enjoy it.
LESSON 2: TRAFFIC TAKES TIME
I'm sure there are some for whom this isn't true. But my own experience has been that search-engine traffic takes a while to develop. I currently receive between 1,000 and 1,700 hits per day across my articles. This is still far below what others have accomplished. But even this took a long time to accumulate. If you are just starting out, be prepared to stick with it. Focus on good content and having fun.
LESSON 3: IT IS NOT ALWAYS EASY TO PREDICT WHICH ARTICLES WILL DO WELL
I never expected my little article on How To Become a Pharmacist to generate much interest, let alone the nearly 1,000 questions and comments it currently has. There is NO way I would have predicted my personal recipe for Spicy Pickled Eggs to elicit fan mail like "you are my new rock star." LOL. So I guess what I have learned from this fact is that, although some key word research may be a good thing, it is more important to write on what interests you and then sit back and see what happens.
LESSON 4: EVERGREEN CONTENT
I never really understood this concept before coming to Hubpages. If the phrase is new to you, it basically means to write articles that will have a relevance and importance beyond today or tomorrow. Evergreen = always important, always being searched for, always needed. While it is perfectly fine to write about personal interests and current events, the articles that seem to generate traffic are those which will still have significance 1 year, 5 years or even 10 years from now.
LESSON 5: INTERACTING WITH OTHERS ABOUT YOURS HUBS IS FUN!
I did not join Hubpages to get involved in questions/answers from readers. However, as it turns out, this is what happened - and it has quickly become the most enjoyable aspect of writing on this site. Recent improvements allowing responses directly from the general "comments" screen has made this more efficient. I am a big fan of this function. Interacting has sometimes caused to me alter my original article to include things I had not previously considered. Thus, the whole process becomes a continual learning experience. I check for comments and questions on my articles every day, and try to respond promptly to those asking for help.
LESSON 6: CARRY A CAMERA
Although there are plenty of places to obtain free and legally shareable images online, nothing (in my opinion) beats taking your own photos and sharing them. I try to shoot my own images of many of the medicines I write about. When I wrote about the Massachusetts Title V Tax credit, I took my own pictures of our yard being dug up to replace our septic. If you like to write, I suggest you get used to taking and using pictures as well. Pictures help to introduce your writing. They are the "cyber glue" that bonds the brain of the reader to the words on the screen. Don't underestimate their value.
LESSON 7: USE QUESTIONS TO DRIVE IDEAS FOR NEW ARTICLES:
Many times a question asked on one article has prompted me to write a new Hub that addresses the issue more pointedly. The great advantage of this is that the questions are REAL and often RECUR. Therefore, the time invested is well worth the efforts, because I can refer all such future questions directly to that Hub. For example, I was receiving a lot of questions from students about the NEGATIVE sides to becoming a pharmacist. As a result, I wrote "Reasons NOT to become a pharmacist" and have been able to helpfully refer all such questions in that direction.
LESSON 8: DON'T FORGET ABOUT THE FORUMS!
I have been extremely grateful for the solid help and useful information I have received posting questions on the forum. For those of us who currently write "part-time" and thus may not have the most cutting-edge understanding of the tools and functions of our site, the forums are FANTASTIC. As always, I try to research my questions in the FAQ and Learning Center section first. But when these avenues do not provide me the answers I need, I have been very appreciative of the far more experienced and generous authors here on Hubpages who share their knowledge with others.
LESSON 9: COVER THE BASICS WITH EVERY ARTICLE
When I first began I didn't always pay attention to maximizing the effectiveness of every article I wrote. As such, I have had to go back and re-work some of these articles to improve their usefulness (both in terms of earning potential AND in terms of their usefulness to readers). So now, whenever I write a Hub, I make sure that I at least do the following BASICS every time:
- Spell Check Every Capsule! Nothing reflects more negatively on an article (in my opinion) than spelling errors.
- Write a Summary: I personally think the summary function has helped boost my visits. It is hard to say for sure, but I think it is worth the little bit of time needed to briefly summarize your Hub.
- Check Tags: Before finishing, I look once again over the "tags" I have chosen for the article to be sure I have covered the relevant themes.
- Include Amazon and/or Ebay Capsules: I always try to include at least 1 of these, if not both. But it depends on the content I am writing. If they do not have obvious products that would interest a potential reader, I tend to not use it.
Those are the basics I try to cover every time I publish a new article.
LESSON 10: NEVER GIVE UP
I guess the final lesson I've learned in my journey to 100 Hubs is the value of sticking with something and not giving up. Granted, there were times when I thought about stopping. But I have learned a lot from this writing experience. I have had some great conversations and met some interesting people. I am grateful for the advice and suggestions I have received along the way. I have appreciated the opportunities to share both the field I work in and the faith I possess.
So I will end this 100th Hub with a few inspirational quotes to help motivate you to keep going, keep writing and to not give up:
"By perseverance the snail reached the ark" - Charles Spurgeon
"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step." - C.S. Lewis
"If you’re running a 26-mile marathon, remember that every mile is run one step at a time. If you are writing a book, do it one page at a time. If you’re trying to master a new language, try it one word at a time. There are 365 days in the average year. Divide any project by 365 and you’ll find that no job is all that intimidating.- Charles Swindoll
And last but not least: "Everything stinks till it's finished" - Dr. Seuss
Best wishes to all!