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Hal's Tips: Writing For Hub Page Views

Updated on July 18, 2008
 

I've had a few Hubs that have been out of the park home runs. Sometimes I knew that they were going to be hits when I was writing them, and some other times they surprised the heck out of me by making the front page of Slashdot. Here are a few tips I've picked up to better my chances of getting high traffic on my Hubs.

There are few Hub writing techniques that are as successful as performing a study or survey and publishing the results, especially if they prove some fact or another that runs against Conventional Wisdom. This type of Hub takes a lot of time. You can't just step out of the shower, grab your coffee, shake out the cobwebs, type it in twenty minutes and then go snooze in front of Good Morning America. However, it does not take a research staff of hundreds and a Microsoft level budget. You would actually be surprised at the very tiny samplings that even some of the biggest survey corporations like AC Nielsen use as the basis for their very well promoted and respected surveys. You may find that a couple of hundred responses are all that you will need to come up with some basic scientifically-valid conclusions. I'm working on one now that I have high hopes for, and the survey sample is quite small, but definitely statistically valid. Be sure that you follow acknowledged methodology and never round up or make up your figures. There have been cases of major world-renowned scientists doing just that and when they have been discovered, the uproar destroyed their entire careers.

Accessibility is an incredibly important factor. In an age where technology is blowing apart all previously known limits to publishing and the total number of new material published each day runs into the billions of pages, it is completely impossible for everyone to keep fully up to date on the recent developments in any one particular field. Therefore, you should not assume that your readers automatically understand the meaning of tCAS=2.5, tRCD=2, tRP=2, tRAS=2 in DDR RAM latencies. It is your job as a writer to strike a precise balance between providing sufficient accurate technical detail to please the professional reader and to ensure that your neophyte readers don't feel like they're in either over their heads or being talked down to like school children.

You should always keep up with your comment replies, especially when the commenter is asking a direct question. That will keep commenters coming back to your Hubs over and over as well as build your Fan Club. And don't be afraid to delete pointless comments like "wow ur so lame and stupid my mom has a Technowidget 2000 and she sez its waaaaaay faster."

That leads into the key factor which is personality. The best read Hubbers are the ones which display quirky or otherwise interesting personalities. I know that it's not exactly easy to inject your fun-loving light-heartedness into a technical comparison of X48 motherboard specs, but you should try hard regardless of subject matter. Blow the dust off your topic and lighten it up!

The art of the interview seems to be fading away. Most online commentators are too busy telling the world what they think of whatever is happening, that at no point in time do they bother to pick up the phone and ask a real expert for their immensely more valuable input onto the issues. Don't let your ego get in the way. No matter what subject matter you think you're an expert in, you can easily find someone who knows much more than you ever will. Seek out those people, interview them, place the fair and equitable report from the interview on your Hub and enjoy the avalanche of page views.

One of the great attractions as well as repulsions of working full time on the Web is that you tend to end up sacrificing social contacts. If you can manage to pull yourself away from your computer during various occasions that have merit in your industry, such as new product introduction, junkets or conventions, by all means attend for various reasons. First of all the face to face personal networking can help build business relationships online, but perhaps just as important if you capture an industry personality in a compromising situation, maybe drunk or passed out, that can make for a superb angle!

There was a time when submitting what you were up to with Digg was a prerequisite to anything else. Since the Digg Mafia has pretty well shut out any outsider from ever making the front page, that option is now nowhere near as attractive way back in the day when Digg was not a rigged casino. These days you can be the first person on Earth to submit the most momentous news in the world and find you can never get more than a couple of Diggs while the Digg Mafia can submit a chewing gum comparison and get 5,000 Diggs. However, you can beat the Digg Mafia at its own game if you have a hundred or so friends all over the country or world who are willing to jump on your Digg listing and Digg it up. Don't try doing this yourself or even through IP hiding software as the Diggers will find out and punish you severely.

Needless to say, your Hub needs to be literate. Yes, I've seen Hubs that are written in txt spk! Needless to say if your Hub incorporates sentences like "i no im su lyk iPhon 3g wer do u get dat? omg im kra z ROFL!!!!!11" you're not batting for the top echelons of readership. Also, for cryin' out loud, you have a spell checker in your word processor, use it! Nothing makes you look like more of a fool than writing your Hub like an ADHD eight year-old. As I'm posting this there is a Hub on the Latest listing entitled: "10 prooven ways to satisfy a woman...excerpts of a Lezbian"!

Quality Hubbing is an art not a science, as Hubs are full of mystery. One of the greatest is the HubScore. I've been HubbaHubbing for more than a year and I still can't figure out why Hub A that has 500 page views in a month and 3 comments scores 99, and Hub B that got 3,000 page views in a week and has 94 comments scores 78. If there is a statistical weighing algorithm in the HubScore it has to weigh more than I do, as I doubt that an IBM BlueGene/P supercomputer can figure it out.

So... come on! Stop reading all this stuff and get writing that Hub!

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