How To Write a Good Article For HubPages
You want to write an article for HubPages? Yet painfully, after spending hours crafting the perfect piece, it’s been rejected. Or perhaps you edited an old article only to find it kicked right back at you?
I’ve spend a lot of time over the last year or so reviewing articles at HubPages. Many have fallen at the first fence - their hubs have failed the Quality Assessment Process (QAP). Often the reason is straightforward, yet sometimes it is difficult for a writer to be objective enough to see what the problem is.
This guide is for you. It’s not about the technical aspect of using HubPages as a writing platform - there are plenty of resources to help you do that. It’s about how to create a useful, informative article which will be accepted by QAP, attract traffic and satisfy your readers. It might even help you to earn some money.
The Title of Your Article
The title of your article is important. It’s what shows up in the search engine results. It’s what catches the eye. There’s no point writing a cute and clever title if it doesn’t tell the reader what the hub is about. Catchy titles are fine for print magazines, but not for online articles.
It should also be written in title case - that is, all words should begin with a capital/upper case letter, except for ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ ‘or’. There are other exceptions. Of course, if the title starts with any of those, it should be capitalized.
I see many hubs lacking a proper introduction. Mine is up above - at the top of the page (where else would it be?). You can read it again if you like.
The importance of a good introduction cannot be over-emphasized. It’s your one chance, after the title, to grab and keep your reader’s attention. An introduction explains what the article is about, why it had to be written, and why the reader should keep on reading - not necessarily in that order.
- The intro above tells the reader what the premise of the article is - writers having their work rejected at HubPages.
- It tells you why I’ve written the article - I’ve reviewed lots of articles and noticed how writers are sometimes unable to see the problems themselves.
- It keeps them reading by promising help.
You may find it hard to write an introduction. I recommend leaving it until the main body of the article is finished. It’s surprising how easy it is to compose a good introduction once you are looking at the fully-formed piece.
Good English Grammar
Sorry to have to tell you this, but unless you are fluent in English, and have a reasonable knowledge of grammar, punctuation and sentence structure, your article will be rejected.
HubPages is aimed at an English speaking readership, therefore your article must display a good working knowledge of the language.
There are two online applications that can help you, although they won’t be able to correct every mistake. The first is Grammarly. Grammarly will identify spelling and punctuation errors. Grammarly is free to use on Chrome, Firefox and Safari. You can install it as a browser extension, paste in your text and it will point out the most obvious errors.
The second is Hemingway. Hemingway helps with sentence structure. It highlights passive and run-on sentences, over-use of adjectives and awkward phrasing. I like it so much I bought the desktop version.
The Hub Topic
The topic and content of your article is all-important. It must be interesting, useful, informative, helpful or entertaining.
I see lots of people thinking they can recycle other articles from the web. Now, it’s fine to research and amalgamate information - we all do that. However, ask yourself if the world needs yet another article on how to cure acne? Unless you can add something new and interesting, find another topic to write about.
I’m sure I don’t have to say it, but I will anyway… never, ever copy and paste writing from the internet or from any other source and try to pass it off as your own. It’s stealing and it's illegal.
Writing To the Title
This is where many writers come unstuck. You have a title for your article, now every sentence has to relate to it. You can’t go off on tangents and rambles - at least not often. Stick to the subject.
The easiest way to keep on track is to create an outline before starting to write. The outline for this article is self-evident in the sub-titles. Your outline is your road map. Like a journey, it has a beginning, middle and ending. One technique that helps me generate outlines is . mind-mapping
Where to Get Ideas for Articles
They’re all out there. You’ll find that the more you write, the easier and faster the ideas come. It helps if you have a niche interest or passion. For instance I have a few areas which I tend to focus on: tarot cards, arts and crafts and, strangely, stalkers (put it down to my love of psychological thrillers and the fact that I have a pet stalker of my own).
Meanwhile if you are stuck, think of something you are interested in and use Google Suggest. Let’s say you have a passion for cheese. Type the word ‘cheese’ into the Google search box, don’t press enter. Some suggestions will present themselves. I can see:
- Cheese sauce
- Cheese scones
- Cheese board
- Cheese jokes
I could write up any of those into a hub. Now press enter. Ignore the results. Instead scroll to the bottom of the page. You will see ‘Searches related to cheese’. There are some more ideas right there. I like the look of ‘cheese benefits’.
Use the Available Formatting
As mentioned, I’m not going to write about the technical aspects of hub creation, however, it is important you use formatting to break up your text. Using several text capsules allows for sub-headings. These are good opportunities to add additional keywords to your article. Keywords are what Google bases its results on, so your main keyword should form all, or part, of your title. But don’t, whatever you do ‘stuff’ the article with keywords. It looks horrible and will negatively affect your Google traffic.
Remember your readers will very likely be reading on their mobile device - phone or tablet - so your article needs to look good, both on a mobile as well as in a desktop browser. This requires some ‘white space’ to help their eyes move down the page. Therefore, break up big, chunky paragraphs into shorter ones. Note: one idea or point equals one paragraph.
Use numbering and bullet points for lists. They are perfect for highlighting points that don’t require detailed explanation and they also help draw the eye down the page.
Your Writing Style
It will take a while before you discover your own style; your ‘unique writing voice’. The more you write, the faster you’ll find it. In this article, I’m writing in a very informal style. That’s because I’m addressing you as if you are sitting with me. It’s also a bit of a relief for me to write like this because I have to write a lot of formal articles where the writer’s presence shouldn’t be obvious.
If you are writing academic-style articles, your writing should be formal. There should be no ‘I’s or ‘you’s in it.
Technical articles should be clear and crisp. There is no room for error or misunderstanding. Same goes for ‘How To’s, although there is more room for maneuver if the topic is informal.
The Learning Center has lots of advice about using images, so I’m not going into massive detail here. Images are useful for breaking up text, adding interest and demonstrating the topic. It is preferable that you use your own photos and images. If this is not possible, there are several websites that offer free legal-to-use photos. Try Pexels and Pixabay.
Don’t put your first image at the beginning of your article. Drop it down under the introduction. Make images full page width and don’t bunch them together unless they are part of a step-by-step ‘how-to’ hub.
Videos, Polls, Call-out Capsules
Personally, I don’t often use the extra capsules. I like my articles to look clean and for them to be able to stand alone without extras. But, hey, you use what fits in with your work.
Links and Promotion
Linking to external sites can be done but must be used with care. Sending readers off to external websites for more information is not a good idea. Your article should be able to stand alone in all its glory without relying on information from elsewhere. In any case, readers are quite capable of using Google to look for related articles.
You can’t use HubPages to promote your business website. However, you can use HubPages to create a niche or collection of articles which promotes your expertise in a certain area. You are permitted to add your website to your profile page, although not to your bio.
If you want to add products to your article by using the Amazon capsule, you must ensure that the product relates directly to the content. It helps if you can recommend an item which you have personal experience of using.
Should your hub be rejected by QA, the first thing to do is check for ‘illegal’ links and too many, or irrelevant, Amazon capsules.
Because you need a conclusion. A conclusion prevents your article from ending too abruptly. It rounds up the advice given in the main article and sometimes expresses a call to action, such as “Do leave a question or comment below.”
In conclusion then… I hope this piece has been useful to you and helps you to write an article for HubPages which will be just as useful to your readers. Remember: always write to the title and “Happy Hubbing".