HELLO HUNDREDTH FOLLOWER
Getting Close To 100
I was surprised and bemused to see that I have 99 followers. In true HP style I thought I would write a hub of advice to my 100th follower. So hello hundredth hubber!
If You Are New
Most of us arrive on Hubpages as inexperienced internet writers. Some of us have written for years and some are new to writing for publication. Internet writing is a different set of skills again. One fairly intelligent way to learn quickly is to look at what other people are writing.
Two of my favourites are James A. Watson and Habee. James writes interesting hubs about history and politics and religion. I disagree with him on all three topics but he is so interesting I read him anyway. Look at the way he constructs his hubs. Lots of text but a good use of pictures. He is in some ways "uncommercial" because he writes about what interests him rather than what interests the general public. James does not care if his pieces are longer than the average lowbrow will follow. And if the lowbrows don't read him he does not care. James has built up a huge following on Hubpages because he writes for intelligent people.
Habee is also intelligent and intellectual but she chooses to write many hubs on what interests the general public.Her hubs are on average considerably shorter, very well illustrated and exceedingly friendly. She is everyone's favourite aunt. If I were simply interested in making money but wanted to maintain my intellectual dignity I would follow Habee.
If I were simply interested in making money and did not care about my intellectual dignity I would follow (deleted- UK libel laws!). I got round this problem for myself by inventing another identity as Dave Digger where I write about plastic storage containers and best comfort seats.
Two other hubbers I enjoy are Rebecca E and LM Martin who write intelligent pieces I am always pleased to read. Micky Dee is a Vietnam veteran who is still living with the consequences of the conflict and what it did to his generation of Americans. And if you have not read the wickedly funny jeff61b you are missing many treats.
And so as I approach being joined by my own 100th follower what should I say to you?
I am lost, too!
I appreciate the compliment that you follow me, in the belief that I will write something you are likely to want to read. I have not received a cent on Hubpages although I have been here for two years and at one point had written 95 hubs in different identities. I am not "commercial" in my HP writing - because I do not make money at it.
I could write hundreds of Amazon linked hubs about housewares, garden tools and DIY products in my Dave Digger identity because I have the knowledge. And if you write lots of hubs in that identity the seach engines will rank you higher. I am just not hungry enough.
One big mistake was getting involved in the Forums. The intellectual energy and time I have put into the Forums could have written probably another two dozen hubs. On the other hand, many of the followers came across me on the Forums, thought "he looks interesting" - and here you are! Without you I would not be writing this hub. Not in 2011 anyway.
The Forums are useful for gaining information. I didn't know what "Panda" was, or that some forms of backlinking are frowned upon. I had never considered the sin of "spinning" and I had not realised how trigger happy HP can be if you criticise them fairly. I posted a whinge in the Forum and was delighted when a HP staffer technician dealt with my problem and even gave me his direct email. Its OK -X- I have deliberately lost it again.
We are all on the journey together.
How To Write An Eldorado Hub
This is what you wanted wasn't it? Next to sex, money is what attracts most people. And I can put up illustrations of naked bank notes or bank statements or graphs without arousing the thought police.
The first issue is the choice of subject. Olympics, Royal weddings, and Presidential elections come and go. Apple pie recipes, 10th birthday presents, and bra fitting problems are evergreen. So are Thanksgiving and Christmas. While divorce is sadly an evergreen if you write about the law you have to confine yourself to one country. Women lacking in self esteem and having been treated badly by men are evergreen and international. Children are evergreen and international. I fear to tread in these waters but there are experienced counsellors who can write well here.
You can look at the various online information sources like Adwords to find out what areas are relatively valuable in attracting advertising revenue. There are several hubs and forum posts about how to maximise your advertising revenue.
Also consider Amazon. Books and toys are the obvious sales areas but as I have discovered you can buy tools and comfort seats on Amazon too.
Realistically speaking the American market is the market to aim for. It is a large generally computer connected market where people go online first and possibly to the shops after. There is poverty in America but there are tens of millions of Americans who have considerable disposable spending power. You may want to Americanize (ouch!) your spelling and vocabulary ("comfort seats", "faucets"). You also have to be more aware of Halloween, Thanksgiving, the Superbowl and basketball and ice hockey. You even have to know about American TV programmes. No other market is in the same league as the American market.
You want to be (by my standards) fairly short, preferably less than 1,000 words. I am not saying that Americans cannot read. I observe that many of them read functionally rather than for pleasure. Break up the text with pictures, Amazon hubs, video links, charts, polls, surveys and anything else that reduces the reading needed. Polls and surveys are also interactive, which means they are frequently generating fresh content. Putting news feeds in a piece used to be a good idea but now is banned.
Obviously the content has to be copyright original or authorised. Make sure your Eldorado hub does not attract complaints which might get the hub taken down. While I personally like a dry humour be very careful not to cause offence.
There is a huge temptation here to list the words that might cause offence to the unwary, like "coconut", but I am afraid you will discover these words for yourself.
Whatever your views on America, Americans in general, or individuals - keep them to yourself. As Thumper's mother said in "Bambi" -" If you cannot say anything nice - don't say anything at all!"
I was advised by a fellow hubber that if I ever do create an Eldorado hub to keep it very quiet. Otherwise dozens of competing hubs will appear
More writing tips
However interested you may be in gerbils or cross dressing, there really is a very limited market for pieces about these hobbies. Finance. sex, relationships, children and home improvement - oh and lady's fashion are the big hitters.
Use short words. And short sentences,
Do not over-intellectualize and complicate the concepts you are seeking to put across; the American people do not like being talked down to or being taken outside their comfort zone and whatever you do, do not find yourself writing long convoluted sentences that would be better broken down into shorter sentences or perhaps even better not written at all - sorry I could go on in this vein for several hundred words but I think the point is made.
What is really difficult is to understand that you are not now writing for your pleasure. You are writing to sell advertising space and you want people to click off your hub onto Amazon. It is much less satisfying but you are writing for a living. A gigilo may enjoy his job most days - but he is a gigolo. On his days off he may still be interested in women but his approach to women generally must be influenced by his working experiences. Do you want to do that to yourself as a writer?
What is happening with me
I have learned how to earn money writing hubs. I have a product I want to sell online. I cannot sell downloads on HP without Amazon getting a 50% share and HP getting a share too.
So I have taken down many of my "best seller" hubs to let them drop off the search engines. I am using my knowledge of SEO and other techniques to write about 20 "power" pieces to attract readers to a site I am setting up. And hopefully in Febuary my site will be up and begin generating money for me. You will notice in February lots of links from my hubs to the new site.
I will carry on with my whimsical pieces on Hubpages, and anything else that doesn't sell -like politics. I am sorry HP cannot give me everything I want but I am grateful to HP for giving me contact with some wonderful people and providing a platform for writing on.