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Ten Hub-Writing Tips to Get and Hold Readers
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 their attention all the way through by staying focused on what the title says?
Many things can affect how well your readers respond to your hubs. Once you've grabbed your reader's attention, you need to keep working with quality and focus all the way through.
1. How to Keep Your Reader's Attention
In order to attract your reader's attention you need to let him or her know what to expect right up front. If they see it's what they are looking for, they will keep reading.
However, there's more to consider with keeping them hooked. What happens next can make or break your relationship with your reader. You need to keep the reader engaged throughout the entire article.
Your article may very well have great value. However, value is based on an algorithm that search engines use to determine if it's providing information that the reader wants to find. So state that at the beginning and stay focused on that subject.
2. Avoid Mistakes that Frustrate Readers
Useful and easy-to-read content are 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. Keep Paragraphs Short
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.
You should separate your thoughts into blocks of text in such a way that it becomes easier for the reader to grasp the meaning. Use helpful subheadings for each section. You might find it helpful to separate various thoughts into numbered or bulleted paragraphs.
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 hit 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.
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.
HubPages used to have two columns, but all right column capsules are merged in one column on mobile devices, which account for over 65% of traffic (and growing).
As of November 2017 right-floating capsules will no longer be supported and everything will be in one column. This is how it's always been when a hub is viewed on mobile devices.
An important consideration now that we no longer have two columns, is that images should not be too long vertically. That causes the reader to have to scroll past the image to continue reading.
Note that images from "Google Images" may be copyrighted, so follow those links to the actual source and check on it. Don’t use images from the web that may be copyrighted. You need to carefully check the license rights.
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 proper text fields of the image capsules when you include them in your Hub.
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. Make Visitors Want to Return
Repeat Visitors is an indication of the usefulness of your article. Search engines rank by repeat traffic. Google Analytics reports show how many hits are unique and how many are repeat visitors. So I'm sure they are using that info to determine how useful your article is.
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.
Keep a close eye on the extensive information you get from your Google Analytics reports, and learn from it. I'll elaborate on that in a moment. Try to discover from the reports what's working that keeps your readers attention and what brings them back. Then continue to do whatever works.
8. Repeat Your 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 our 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. I put more time towards that than I put towards writing new hubs.
I find that to be a powerful but simple task that many writers don’t make use of. I see in forum comments many times how people say they don’t want to be bothered with reviewing their older hubs.
I find it pays off well since old hubs can be improved repeatedly, getting better all the time.
9. Use the Information in Your Google Analytics Reports
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 Analytics Reports can keep you busy in a worthwhile way. You'll discover if your readers clicked to another of your hubs, or if they just left after reading one. This shows you if you need to change something to keep them around.
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.
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.
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 includes comments in their ranking. 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 spend a little time watching people reading my hubs in Google Analytics Real-time View. That shows me when people actually stay on a hub (possibly reading), if they drop off, or if they move on to another hub of mine. Watching this real-time activity helps me decide on needed modifications to hubs.
- I review the stats on old hubs from time to time and look for problems such as short view duration. If I see a correlation with poor traffic, I try to improve those hubs.
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. That takes time, so you need to be patient and stay on top of things. Good Luck!
© 2009 Glenn Stok