After 11 Years of Hubbing I Have Good Advice for Hubbers
Writing hubs has changed my life—for the better
I’ve had a great time writing Internet articles for HubPages. I can write whatever I want (for the most part), whenever I want, and I’ve met many fascinating people from all over the world. It’s been a priceless experience and certainly one of the best of my long life.
In this story, I won’t bore people with the mechanics of putting together hubs; there are numerous hubs dealing with such issues. I’ll simply try to convey the finer points of “hubbing” and perhaps help other “hubbers” improve their ability and output along the way.
Please keep reading!
Relate to HubPages as You Would an Employer
HubPages is a business and, if you actually earn money writing for them, they will pay you via PayPal. You gotta love it! Writing for HubPages is the first time in my life I’ve actually earned money from writing, so now I’m a pro. Hey!
But whether I actually have friends at HubPages, I couldn’t say. When I’ve sent emails asking for help or clarification their responses have been generally informative, though rather generic. They never offer a name, either, not even a Jack or Jill, so I could in the future relate to them in a more “personal” fashion. Perhaps this is the way of the Internet, eh?
Therefore, I advise you to keep your business face when dealing with them. They seem to want it that way, and perhaps it’s the best way to go. Since I don’t know everything, what can I say?
My First Hub Has Been My Most Popular
Late in February 2008, I published my first story with HubPages. This is it: The Infamous 25 Rock Stars that Died at 27. This hub certainly exemplifies the adage that writers should write what they know and love, because I definitely have deep passion for writing about rockers and rock and roll. Understandably, I guess, this hub has gotten more hits than any other I’ve written. In fact, the day Amy Winehouse died in July 2011, it got 80,000 hits. It seems I profited from the demise of another. Well, such things happen with writers.
How to Make Money Writing Hubs
Well, here you are, making money writing hubs, right? It isn’t easy to make very much, I’ll say that. My advice is to create as many quality hubs as you can— hundreds would be cool, because that’s what you’ll probably need to make hundreds of dollars per month. It’s been stated that some people make “thousands” from hubbing each month, but I would have to see the accounting data before I’d believe such a claim.
You’ll need to promote yourself as well. This is something that’s been very difficult for me. Joining Facebook and Twitter definitely seems to be a must, and blogging couldn’t hurt either, though I haven’t tried that.
At the very least, your hubs will give you an Internet oeuvre you can show to others, a tactic which could certainly help you obtain more writing projects. Having a HubPages presence will also make it easy for people around the world to find you and your stories. What a mind-bobbling realization!
What Can You Do about Copied Hubs?
At present, 30 of my hubs have been copied in some form - that's about one-seventh of my total content. During my investigations, I’ve noticed that some people actually show the story was written by Kelley Marks or Kosmo, while others don’t bother. Any copying of my content irks me, of course, though there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it. I’ve sent an email or two to the owners of these thieving websites but, in general, they play dumb or express lack of concern.
HubPages suggests one can contact the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and register a complaint. But if DMCA doesn’t have an email address for whomever runs the thieving website, forum, blog or whatever, they can’t help you—and this is often the case. At any rate, I’m doubtful the people at DMCA will help you get the copied material removed.
Perhaps the best thing to do is realize that nobody would be stealing from you if they thought your content was bad. Take this backhanded compliment and be as happy as you can, even though you may be losing money when people copy your hubs.
Fortunately, as of January 2020, I don’t have as many copied hubs. I used to have 45 and now I have 30. Maybe word is getting around that copying other people’s stories or articles will no longer be tolerated. Hey!
Early in 2019 I tried getting some of my copied hubs deleted and had limited success. Dealing with this issue is something similar to collecting bad debts from individuals. Have you ever tried such work? I think it’s one of the worst jobs ever! So, if you don’t have the patience and tolerance for doing this crappy work, do yourself a big favor and concentrate on writing hubs instead.
How to Enhance SEO
SEO or Search Engine Optimization is certainly a highfalutin term, isn’t it? Well, it relates to an important issue, because SEO determines your placement for online searches. While writing your hubs, place as many keywords into your articles as you possibly can.
I’ve done some online experimentation and found that the best place to insert keywords is in the title of your hubs, the subtitle and summary. Many people claim you need to fill your stories with keywords—they go to great lengths to do this, in fact. However, I think doing so will make your writing stilted and full of redundancies. (Also keep in mind that HubPages and Google don’t recommend that writers cram their online articles with keywords, and you could be penalized in some fashion for doing so.)
Of course, you can do whatever you want. If you experience an epiphany regarding SEO, thereby improving your game, please drop me a line.
Are Evergreen Hubs Really the Best?
Creating hubs that stay relevant for a long time, perhaps years, definitely seems to be a good option, for obvious reasons. With that in mind, the best type of evergreen hub to write is the biography of a dead person. My favorite hub of this type is: Andy Warhol Wanted to be Made of Plastic. Just about any story about the past would quality as evergreen, I suppose, so write many of those, but you may be disappointed at the earnings generated from such piney woods-like hubs.
Be that as it may, you may want to capitalize on a current event by creating a news story or feature. These stories can net you tens of dollars in earnings in one day, before they inevitably sink to the bottom of your hub list as the subject matter becomes passé. Perhaps my best story of this kind is: What Should I Know about Mexico’s Drug Cartels? Because many people seem interested in the subject, this hub has become a forum of sorts. I always feel proud when that happens. Just keep in mind, when you write a news-driven story or feature, you may want to update it from time to time, and that comment brings us to the next stage of my article.
Keep Your Hubs Updated
The best way to update your hubs is to make them easy to update! Write short paragraphs separated by subtitles and always place the events in chronological order, so that when you want to add some up-to-date information, you can easily find a place for it. Sometimes, rather than have a definite ending, I’ll simply tack another paragraph to the end of the story. If anybody actually notices what you’ve done, they’re bound to be impressed, even if your transition from paragraph to paragraph isn’t the best.
One hub I keep updating is the aforementioned one about the dead at 27 club. The bad thing about updating hubs is that once you start, you’ll never be finished.
Should You Write Epic Hubs?
If you’re like me you write many hubs that are lists of some kind—the Top 10 Hard Rock Bands of All Time, for instance. (I may have written more lists than any other hubber. Do I deserve an award? Sure, I’ll take it!) Anyway, now that it’s 2020 you may want to update that list to a top 12, 15, 20, 25 or more, because such an increase could make it easier for you to transfer such an article to a network site, which could generate more income for you. So my advice is that you create more— what I would call—epic hubs.
Should You Have Hyperlinks in Your Hubs?
These days, I put very few hyperlinks in my hubs. If I do, I only use links to articles in Wikipedia, because I don’t want to be flagged for using what have been labeled “spammy links.” Recently I got an email from one of the network sites saying they had deleted all the links in one of my hubs. (If these links were acceptable before, why take them out now?) So, I advise you to use few, if any, hyperlinks in your articles. After all, if somebody clicks on one of the links in your hubs, they may not come back to your story, which would lessen the chance getting PPC income.
HubPages New Wide Image Policy
During the summer of 2017, HubPages decided that all photos and illustrations, etc. will need to be the widest width available. Using wide photos is just fine of course, as long as the resolution is adequate; otherwise, narrower images will have to be replaced or simply deleted. It takes lots of time to scan all the images in one’s hubs, looking for the fuzzy or pixelated images, especially if you have hundreds of hubs! If you don’t have a conventional job, you may have plenty of time for all updates, but if you do, you may not want to spend your valuable time to implement this latest update. (The upside of this order is that these “better” photos will almost certainly improve the look of your hubs. Perhaps you’ll even make more money.)
As I wrote before, once you start updating your hubs, you’ll never be done, particularly if HubPages decides to require more advanced formats, photos, illustrations and/or videos. Will 3-D be required next?
HubPages Suggestions or Directives That Were (or Are) a Waste of Time
Years ago, HubPages decided that hubbers should connect or link their hubs with the articles of other hubbers. This was considered “good karma” or however they labeled it, and a "karmic score" was given to all hubbers. Wanting to do my part to be a better hubber, I spent lots of time linking my hubs to other hubs. Then, months later, HubPages decided that creating karmic connections wasn’t worth the bother, so they stopped encouraging people to do it. Thanks a lot! Can I invoice you for all the time I spent being karmic?
They also urged people to set up specific groups for their hubs, say one for the Beatles and another for Peruvian archaeology, and I spent lots of time doing this, seeing the importance of it. Then they decided to use their own categorization for hubs. Hey, I had spent lots of time making sure that every hub was in the right group! Can I bill you for my time?
What about Readers Asking Questions
For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with people asking questions of hubbers, but if most of their questions aren’t very good, you’ll simply have to delete them, thereby wasting some of your valuable time. It’s been my experience that maybe one or two questions in ten are even worth bothering with. And even when you do answer somebody’s question, the response may be rejected by the HubPages staff, perhaps because it wasn’t relevant to enough people, and then you’ve wasted even more of your time.
My advice regarding “questions” is that if you don’t want to deal with them, deactivate that part of your hubs by clicking on "edit" and then "display options" (right above "organize your content"). I’ve deactivated questions on four of my hubs because they kept asking questions such as, “Why isn’t Pat Metheny on your list?” You’ll still be able to respond to comments and perhaps even emails generated from hubs which, I think, should give you plenty of options for interacting with readers.
Utilizing Network Sites
For awhile now, HubPages has been offering hubbers the opportunity to transfer their hubs to what they call Network Sites. Sometimes the editors at HubPages seem willing to edit one’s hubs without the hubber doing any of the work, and I suggest you do this because they seem to do a good job of making hubs better, and this also gives you tips on how you can improve your future hubs.
Of course, you can make changes to your old hubs without them asking you to do so - and you should - because sending your hubs to sites such as Soapboxie will probably help you earn more money. My earnings have gone up because of this cyber movement, though not to a great extent. (At least now I get paid just about every month.) Perhaps your experience will be different!
Deleting Hubs with Low Traffic
At times, you may discover that one of your hubs has been listed as no longer featured because of low traffic. If less than a thousand people have clicked on it over a period of months or years, it may be beyond help, as unpopular hubs tend to stay that way. So, if you think you won’t be able to improve it by updating and/or editing it, then you probably should delete it. These days, after I publish a new hub I delete one of the losers. Doing this may help keep my hub score above 90, which is excellent, and something to be proud of.
As of January 2020, I’ve deleted over 45 hubs. Good for me!
The Importance of Leaving Comments
If somebody takes the time to write a comment at the end of your hub, and if this comment seems to show the person actually read your hub and, if he or she has something insightful to add as well, you should respond in a like fashion. It takes time to write these comments and the person doing so should be acknowledged – or rewarded. I really think swapping comments is one of the most interactive activities in which a hubber can engage. The only exception to this rule is that I don’t always respond to comments written by “outsiders.” If they want more from me, they should give more by becoming hubbers.
Also, when I realize a hubber has commented on one of my hubs for the first time, I try to read one of their hubs and leave a comment. I may also become a follower as well, what the heck. Supporting and acknowledging others helps enrich the hubbing experience. Hey!
What Makes a Hub Popular
I wish I knew exactly what makes a hub popular. The only attribute that seems to apply more times than not is when a hub provides helpful hints or tips. For instance, it appears my dental hubs have helped many people with their dental issues. Having much “expensive” experience in this regard gives me much to write about! My most popular dental hub is: What Can I Do about My Bad Teeth? So, if you can help folks in some way, write the heck about it, and link all of those stories together. And if one or more of these stories is weak, the good ones can help buoy it up.
Don’t Keep Adding Capsules
Many people think it’s important to use as many capsules of one sort or another in one’s hubs. My advice is that you should only use what is necessary. For instance, many hubbers use too many video capsules. Adding video capsules willy-nilly doesn’t help make a hub popular. I know – I’ve tried. Now if you can add your “own” videos to enhance the possibilities of a story, give it a try. But always remember that text is the primary aspect of any hub. Without it, your hub will be little more than stuff.
Use Plenty of Photos
If text is of primary importance when creating a hub, then photos are second. Always use lots of photos for your stories, though some may require just a few. I advise you to have at least one lead photo which seems to introduce the subject matter in an engaging fashion, even if this pic is little more than metaphorical in content. And, if you can, only use the best photos; avoid those fuzzy or pixilated ones. (HubPages doesn’t want you using those, either.) Moreover, if you don’t already have a digital camera, get one ASAP. All hubbers must have one!
Should You Use Amazon Capsules?
I have used Amazon capsules for many years and have made very little money with them. (How about you?) Perhaps we should delete all of them from our hubs, because if you want to transfer a hub to a network site, you must delete the Amazon capsule before doing so. Also, if you want to keep your hub as a featured article, you must dump the Amazon capsule. This policy makes you wonder why HubPages doesn’t simply discontinue their usage entirely, which is what they did with eBay capsules years ago.
Should You Show Photo Attribution?
Attribution should be shown for some photos—you know which ones, don’t you? As for me, when I use my photographer friend’s photos I always indicate that I have permission to do so. For Wikipedia public domain photos, I don’t bother to indicate attribution, because all of that clutters up my hubs. Other photos I use are those found on websites labeled as "images of," which pertain to photos of celebrities such as Miley Cyrus or Eric Clapton, some of which are low resolution photos, preventing, I think, copyright infringement.
Do the owners of such photos care if we use them in our hubs? You tell me. At any rate, getting permission to use all photos, and then keeping notes on it, would probably be a nightmarish task!
Fortunately, HubPages isn’t real strict about photo attribution, so I don’t worry too much about it. I hope HubPages stays cool that way. Don't you?
Don’t Always Write Essays
I see many hubbers, especially novices, writing hubs that always express the point of view of the author. These are little more than opinion pieces, and many writers often add a fair amount of extraneous crap along the way as well, boring or irritating the reader. Next time, try writing in the third person, as most magazine articles are written. Pick up a copy of Smithsonian and see how it’s done. Such general interest slicks can also provide great ideas for new hubs.
Nevertheless, if your hub really needs your personal point of view to provide fire and elucidation, stick with it.
Maybe You Can Rock and Roll
I’ve written hubs about many different subjects—archaeology, technology, art, ancient aliens, employment, but I’ve written more about good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll—at last count about 30. Two of my highest achievers, in terms of hits, are the hubs Ten Greatest Rock Bands of All Time and the 40 Greatest Classic Rock Guitarists.
The subject of rock and roll has been heavily saturated with hubs, though many people can’t seem to get enough of it. What you need to do to attract attention to such hubs is make a bold declaration about somebody such as David Bowie being the greatest rocker of all time. Simply listing Bowie as your "favorite" will probably not get as much attention. I know—I’ve tried. So, be bold, make yourself sound like an authority. Hey!
I’m not sure anybody is actually paying the rent by writing hubs or stories for other so-called content mills. But writers write because they simply love doing so, and HubPages certainly provides a marvelous internet platform from which to spew forth one’s literary wonders. Perhaps of equal importance is gaining the acquaintance or even friendship of English-speaking people all over the world.
Reflecting on all of this, I’ve tried to imagine life without HubPages and the very thought was devastating. Thus, my advice is to keep learning and hubbing and, above all, enjoy your hubs. You won't regret it!
And don’t forget to leave comments.
© 2012 Kelley Marks