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Improve Your HubPages Success Rate by Thinking Like a Business

Updated on March 2, 2018
Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok's articles on HubPages have been read over one million times. He also won the 2017 Hubbie Award as the “Most Helpful Hubber”.

Writing articles is a business; at least you need to treat it that way. It takes time and a lot of attention to detail to make money.

Out of over 200 articles, I’ve deleted almost half of them over the years because they just didn’t perform well enough to warrant my attention. Articles need nurturing if you want to make money for them. I’ll explain what is required:

One of the most important things you want to consider is how your reader responds to your writing.

  • Do they find it useful?
  • Does it provide the answer they were expecting?
  • Did you deliver on your promise based on your title?
  • Does it hold your reader's attention all the way through by staying focused on what the title says?


1. How to Keep Your Reader's Attention

An article needs to provide instant answers to what people thought they would get based on the title. The rest of the hub can elaborate further. The idea behind that is that if you get them hooked, they will stay for more—and then they will finish reading the entire article.

Remember, you need to give people what they came for. You need to do it fast and without wordiness. Stay focused and eliminate useless words. Proofread several times when you write a new hub.

In addition, proofread again occasionally. I always find myself making improvements each time I read my own hubs a year later or so. It keeps getting better and better.

2. Avoid Mistakes that Frustrate Readers

Useful and easy-to-read content is essential. If a reader realizes they are getting something worthwhile from your article, they will keep reading to the end.

Pay attention to your writing from a reader’s point of view and honestly answer these questions:

  • Are you rambling on?
  • Are you going off on tangents?
  • Are you unclear with things?
  • Are you failing to make your point?

Any of these things can cause a reader to become frustrated and leave. You want to focus on keeping their attention.

3. Use Short But Purposeful Paragraphs

Short paragraphs are easier to comprehend. Make sure your page does not look intimidating. Spacing between paragraphs helps avoid crowded text and makes it easier to read.

There is also another side-effect of having your paragraphs too cluttered. If a reader sees no spaces between paragraphs, they tend to feel that there is too much to read and they click away before reading the first sentence.

Separate your thoughts into blocks of text using individual text capsules and use helpful subtitles for each section.

You might also find it helpful to separate various thoughts into numbered or bulleted paragraphs. Anything that makes it easier for the reader to comprehend what you're taking about is what you want to focus on doing. Always keep that in mind.

4. Don't Attract the Wrong Readers

It's important to avoid words that may be too general and picked up by search engines as keywords. That will attract people who were searching for something else that's not related because they used one or more of your keywords in their search.

Once they stumble on your page and see that it's not what they want, they leave in a hurry. If too many people click away quickly, search engines take this to mean that your article had nothing of value.

Search engines monitor how long visitors stay on a web page. The longer they stay, presumably reading, the more appropriate the page must be to the search that was requested.

The search engines use that information to improve their response to keyword queries. This affects your ranking.

If readers stay for a long time, then your content must obviously be useful and meaningful. Therefore, you get some extra points in your ranking and get more traffic sent your way.

If I see a short duration, I examine the hub to see why I might have lost them so fast, and I make improvements.

5. Proper Use of Images

The main image should represent your subject matter. It provides a quick way to show the reader what it's about before they start reading.

All images should help the reader understand the subject. If it's not useful, then it's better to leave it out.

Note that images from "Google Images" may be copyrighted, so follow those links to the actual source and check on the license. Don’t use images from the web that may be copyrighted. I believe that Google ranking is reduced with the use of copyrighted images found elsewhere.

If you use images that are Creative Commons License, then give the proper credit. Creative Commons has rules. They usually ask that you display a credit to the originator.

Many image sites indicate how you need to include a credit reference. You can enter that information in the source field of the image capsules when you include them in your article.

Some image sites do have require attribution, such as Pixabay, but I still like to indicate the license in the source data. I think it helps maintain authority.

6. Proper Spelling and Sentence Structure is Crucial to Success

Poorly constructed sentences, poor grammar, and misspellings, have a negative effect on your ranking.

One common error I see many people make is the incorrect spelling of "alot" – There is no such word in English. The correct notation is with two word: "a lot".

I see that mistake made a lot. And I bet if you allot more time to spell checking, you’ll do better with ranking. Ahh, did you catch that? The word “allot” with two L's is a valid word with a totally different meaning.

I also find many people confusing "there” and “their” and “they’re.” There are times when they're not paying attention to their spelling.

Use a spell checker before you publish, and proofread several times. The text capsule in HubPages has a built in spell checker. Click the "abc" icon to run a check on that capsule's text.

We all make mistakes and we need to be professional about it and check our own work before considering it worthy for the public. I have found the most profound mistakes I’ve made, even after proofreading several times.

When I proofread, I also keep the reader in mind. I think about how it might be interpreted.

Sometimes when I read something I wrote, I realize it could be misinterpreted. Worse yet, it could be confusing. An author's work is never done. I find myself refining and rewriting many of my published articles at a later date.

7. Repeat Proofreading Several Times

When we proofread our own material, we tend to see what we thought rather than what we typed. I always find that amazing, but it goes to show how important it is to have someone else proof it for us.

I find it works better to proofread my own hubs many months later. I guess that works because we forgot what we were focusing on and we see the actual words better, as if we’re reading it for the first time.

That's when I catch my typos, months later. I like to go back and check on old hubs every so often.

8. Make Visitors Want to Return

Having "Repeat Visitors" is an indication of the usefulness of your article. Search engines rank by repeat traffic. Google Analytics reports show how many views are unique and how many are repeat visitors.

If people are coming back, it's an indication that you have content that they found helpful and that they may need to review again. So the search engines bump up your ranking and this causes you to get more organic traffic.

9. Use the Information in Your Google Analytics Reports

Keep a close eye on the extensive information available in your Google Analytics reports.

Try to discover what's working that keeps your readers attention and what brings them back. Then continue to do whatever works.

Your Google Analytics Reports show you where visitors came from, what keywords they used to find you, how long they stayed and where they went next.

The ideas you get from your Analytics Reports can keep you busy, but it's definitely worthwhile time spent.

You need to sign up for Google Analytics to get a tracking code. If you haven't already included your Google Analytics code in your HubPages account, you should do that right away. Then let it track for a few weeks to accumulate useful information for your reports.

10. How to Improve Poorly Performing Hubs

The following are a few things I found that help improve poorly performing older hubs:

  1. I routinely scan comments in hubs that don't add value. Google ranking includes comments. When people say things like "nice hub" or "good work" I delete those. I do appreciate them, but they are not meant for the general public. Readers who browse comments are looking for information that is meaningful to the subject.
  2. I sometimes watch Google Analytic's Real-time View. That gives me an idea of what people are doing. I can see how many are reading my articles at the moment and also which ones. I can also see how long people actually stay (possibly reading). Watching the activity of readers in real-time helps me decide if modifications are needed.
  3. I review the stats from time to time and look for problems such as short view duration. If I see a correlation with poor traffic, I try to make improvements.

    View duration and keywords people search are both available under the stats tab on each hub. More precise information is available in your Google Analytics reports.

How to Find Your Analytics Reports

  1. Click on the "My Account" tab on HubPages
  2. Click on "Affiliate Settings"
  3. Click on "Check Your Analytics Statistics"
  4. Login to your Analytics Account.
  5. Click on "View Report" for HubPages.

Then select any report you want...Dashboard, Intelligence, Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content, AdSense, or Goals.

Each report lets you dig deeper into the data. So give yourself time to learn all of it. If you get lost, you can always click back to the Google Analytics Dashboard.

Final Thoughts

Getting organic traffic takes hard work beyond just writing articles. If search engines determine your articles are worthy of the traffic, they will send more people your way.

You also need to watch what changes are needed in the industry. HubPages is very good at keeping up with that and telling us what’s required to stay on Google’s good side.

I know many Hubbers complain that they have to keep making changes, but that’s the nature of this business. Google is imposing the rules, not HubPages. Remember—it’s a business.

I've been elected HubNugget by the HubMob community for writing the original version of this Hub in 2009, but I have updated this considerably over the years.
I've been elected HubNugget by the HubMob community for writing the original version of this Hub in 2009, but I have updated this considerably over the years.

© 2009 Glenn Stok

Reader Comments

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  • ValKaras profile image

    Vladimir Karas 2 weeks ago from Canada

    Glenn---From a writer's point of view it may only be a hobby, meaning that they don't primarily look at it as a source of income---BUT---yes, as you say, in the view of Google it's a business and nothing but.

    So, in order to justify our presence on Google's pages we have to respect their rules, and for doing that, your advices come as a godsend, because they contain practically all that we should keep in mind.

    I understand that "freedom of literary expression" may, and does mislead many a writer into becoming sloppy and not caring about the reader's interests and their taste for artful presentation.

    So, whether we treat our writing as a hobby or as our source of income--like the saying goes: "If anything is worth doing, it's worth doing it right."

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 2 weeks ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hi Glen. I have just read your hub, yes full of great advice. You have prompted me to remove some of my hubs which I know are not really up to it. I shall also knuckle down and produce some hubs of better quality. You have made a difference to somebody today that's for sure! Thank you.


  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 2 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

    I just made major updates to this hub, including a title change to reflect the main focus. The information will help you. Believe it!

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 3 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Graham Lee - You’re very observant. I’m pleased that you noticed how I use the same ideas that I try to teach.

  • old albion profile image

    Graham Lee 3 months ago from Lancashire. England.

    Hi Glenn. Truly information packed. I note your own short paragraphs as mentioned and thy certainly work. I found your hub of great value. Thank you.


    (old albion)

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Okay. I did hear back from HP yesterday with an update: they've edited it with HubPro Basic and hopefully will send it to Calorie Bee. That's odd. I just saw Kristy's forum column on it earlier this week before the Adense one. I'll try to be more patient.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 4 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Kristen - All submissions are delayed at this time. They are very busy. The rearrangement of Letterpile was announced a few weeks ago. They have a lot of work being done. Be patient.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Glenn, I've heard back from Taylor at HP and he answered m questions, like my my Powerful Words hub was sent to HobbyLark. Christy just posted it on the forum that they're rearranging Letter Pile. He laso told me he would inform the e editor at Calorie Bee about the delay on my hub's approval.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Okay Glenn. I'll keep you posted.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 4 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Depends on how patient you are. I can't tell you what to do. Go with your own feelings.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Glenn, good news. HP did a quick edit on my Powerful Words hub I sent out on Sunday. But they also sent it to HobbyLark's niche site as a better fit than Letter Pile. Beats me, since it deals with how to improve your writing and not much as a hobby. No word yet on Calorie Bee on my Last Leafy Green hub after 2.5 weeks though. Do you think I should wait or nudge HP soon? I'll resubmit my Healthy Meals to Calorie Bee next weekend around the 18th and before Thanksgiving. Hope you hear back on your hubs soon.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 4 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Anusha Jain - You really got it! That’s great. I always have to keep that in mind when writing articles.

    And a month or two after publishing, I always check the search arguments Google shows that were being used. If I see something wrong, I make changes to compensate for it.

  • anusha15 profile image

    Anusha Jain 4 months ago from Delhi, India

    Glenn, I think you have included some very valid points here. I especially resonate with "Don't Attract the Wrong Readers". This can happen inadvertently if the author is not being careful.

    Online writing is very different from that required in traditional articles. Metaphors, analogies were considered to be a very good medium of explaining something to the readers. However, the Search Engines may pick up wrong audiences for us because of words or phrases which were not meant to be "keywords" for this article. And once the visitors realize their mistake, they obviously don't waste any time and hurry away, spoiling the bounce rate for us. So we really have to be careful while creating our posts.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Okay Glenn. I guess I can wait and submit a few more hubs this month. Thanks for getting back to me.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 4 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Be patient Kristen. I can see that they're very backed up right now. I presently have two hubs still pending that I had submitted to niche sites.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Hey Glenn, it's been almost two weeks since I submitted my Leafy Green hub to Calorie Bee and no word from HP lately. So I might have to nudge them tomorrow, before I submit my Powerful Words hub to Letter Pile this weekend. I hope to write new hubs this fall and winter and get more hubs into niches by the end of the year. :-)

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 5 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Oh okay, Glenn. I might've missed that one yesterday. Thanks for the tip though. I'll make sure I'll follow that thread in forums.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 5 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Kristen, If you check the Official Announcements forum every few days you’ll catch any important news like that.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 5 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    Aww thanks Glenn for letting me know it's new. I'm honored to be the first one to go to that niche. I wondering if HP is creating any more new niches for 2018?

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 5 months ago from Long Island, NY

    Kristen - RemedyGrove is a new niche site that was just created today since they needed a better place for hubs that cover alternative health topics. Take a look at it’s Editorial Policy for complete details.

  • Kristen Howe profile image

    Kristen Howe 5 months ago from Northeast Ohio

    HI Glenn. You have great tips here on how to improve on your hubs, even those receiving less traffic. BTW, I've gotten an email from HP that they've moved my Expressive Writing hub from LetterPile to RemedyGrove, which they think is a better fit for it. I never thought of RemedyGrove. Is it a new niche site? I hope my last Leafy Green hub gets approved into Calorie Bee real soon, and then I can flip my first book.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Jlbowden - Ha ha. Thanks for that humorous ending to your comment Jim. Those are indeed very realistic grammar issues we see sometimes.

  • Jlbowden profile image

    James Bowden 3 years ago from Long Island, New York


    Thank you for sharing this really good to know information, for all writers from different walks of life. It's funny how we often forget about the correct usage of they're, their and there isn't it.

    And something as simple as separating the A from Lot, which a lot of us our often guilty of doing. And you forgot one of my old foes - Then and Than. Those two words can be confusing to many in placing correctly within a sentence.

    But overall a great refresher for everyone using the English language on a daily basis with added reminders on how to catch and keep our readers attention early on in our articles

    Again thanks for sharing this awesome article which I also thought deserved a Siskel & Ebert - two thumbs up! (;


  • DonnaCosmato profile image

    Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

    Hey,'re welcome! I love alliteration and word plays. They are such fun and they spice up writing, don't you think? That is just one of the many reasons I enjoy reading your hubs so much:)

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

    DonnaCosmato ~ Thanks so much for your perceptive comments. It means a lot to me to be reviewed by a contributing editor such as you.

    Thanks for adding "it's" vs "its" - that is also one of my pet peeves too. I see it much too often and it's troubling to see good authors who make this mistake without considering its effect on otherwise quality Hubs.

    I appreciate the vote up. Thanks for that and for your comments.

  • DonnaCosmato profile image

    Donna Cosmato 6 years ago from USA

    Hi Glenn, this is another great article with lots of great advice. Just to answer a question that you cleverly embedded in the text, I think you did an awesome job of keeping my attention without boring me to death.

    As a contributing editor for another site, I'd like to send you a thousand virtual kudos for the section on proofreading and grammar mistakes.

    The only one you did not include is my personal pet peeve, which is using "it's" when one should use "its" and vice versa.

    It's a shame (yes it is) that with all the free software programs and spellcheckers on the market so many freelance writers still publish work that is full of grammatical errors and misspelled words.

    Anyway, it has taken me this long to process and put to good use the information from your hub on how to raise your hub score (it is working well, thank you for the tips.) Now I'm looking forward to watching my bounce rate decline as I use the valuable tips you have provided here.

    I voted this up in hopes it will increase the popularity of this excellent tutorial and many more people can benefit from it.

    Kindest regards,


  • PastorAndrew profile image

    Andrew Grosjean 8 years ago from Detroit

    Thanks for the info. I have been plugging along here for about 2 months and this was insightful. I loved that bit about "alot" "a lot" and "allot." LOL.


  • EngagementRing profile image

    EngagementRing 8 years ago from Los Angeles

    Great hub Glenn! I think when you are doing SEO you concentrate more on getting people to your site than actually keeping there. This made me realize that I need to focus on both.

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 8 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Guidemyspirit, I appreciate your remarks. Glad to have you as a reader.

  • Guidemyspirit profile image

    Guidemyspirit 8 years ago

    I think keywords and long keywords are the biggest factor when it comes to on sight optimization. Ranking high in Google like you mention is the off site heaviest factor. It all depends on how you are liked by search engines, bringing in the traffic is their job, not only that they traffic is where the money can be made, anything else is really a waste in my opinion. Unless of course you are looking for a fan club on your site that is! Nice post though, keep on writing Glenn.

  • CMHypno profile image

    CMHypno 8 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

    Thanks for all the great info Glenn. I must admit that my favourite part of Google Analytics is looking at the map of where people come from! Congratulations on your HubNugget nomination!

  • Glenn Stok profile image

    Glenn Stok 8 years ago from Long Island, NY

    Anath, I get lost with it too. Just take your time and click around the left-hand column in Google Analytics. That's how I discovered all this various information and charts. Over time, you will make some sense out of all the data and you'll start seeing patterns.

    An interesting pattern is how many readers come back and when. I noticed by reviewing the Visitor Loyalty table, I see that roughly 47% are new people each day. 38% revisit in the same day and only 3% the come back next day. Then it drops until 15 to 30 days later, when old visitors come back and look again. I guess it might mean that I have readers who are remembering me and curious to see what's I've done since their last visit, or need to check out something they previously read. Either way, I find that encouraging.

    I also see that I have a large number of bounces. Those are people who hit a hub and left in a few seconds. That's why I feel these reports are so important to use, even if they are difficult.

  • Anath profile image

    Anath 8 years ago

    I get lost every time I look at Google Analytics. There is so much information in there that I don't really know what to look for and what to do with it. I am sure I could be using it for my benefit but it is still an unknow field to me.

    Thanks for all the other tips, interesting the effect of unique vs. repeat visits.