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Improve Your HubPages Success Rate by Thinking Like a Business
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Click on the "My Account" tab on HubPages
- Click on "Affiliate Settings"
- Click on "Check Your Analytics Statistics"
- Login to your Analytics Account.
- 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.
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.
© 2009 Glenn Stok