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How To Write a Good Article For HubPages

Updated on March 8, 2017

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.

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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.

Article Introduction

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.

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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.

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Images

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.

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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.

Conclusion

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".

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    • theraggededge profile image
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      Bev 3 weeks ago from Wales

      Excellent :), You too, Lori xx

    • lori811 profile image

      Lori B 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, the raggededge. I always check flickr for the commercial use only. Have a great day. God bless xx

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 3 weeks ago from Wales

      Hi Lori, Flickr is the same as anywhere else. You have to check the licence. Use this site to filter the licences: http://compfight.com/ Do a search in the box. Then when you have the results, look at the options on the left-hand side to find the right licence. You can also filter the licence when you are on Flickr itself, as far as I can remember. YouTube is fine.

      Happy hunting! Bxx

    • lori811 profile image

      Lori B 3 weeks ago

      Love all your work, Bev theraggededge:) Noticed your recent work on proper way of using images. Can't seem to find what I need on the recommended sites; hence, I have been using youtube.com for recent images/videos and flickr.com but I include the credit and link attributes. Have a great week/God bless! xx

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 4 weeks ago from Wales

      Thanks, Lori. Enjoy your meal! Seriously, have fun writing and writing will be fun for you. I can't think of a better way to earn a living. Have a great day!

    • profile image

      lori811 4 weeks ago

      Hi Bev..... You definitely were a teacher in a past life. Love this article. This is the detailed version of what I call a Menu... Appetizer (intro), Entree (body or main course), Dessert (Conclusion or takeaway) xx

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 7 weeks ago from Wales

      Fair enough, Chris. I always used to do that as well. There was a reason why I changed it and, for the life of me, I can't remember what it is :D

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 7 weeks ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      Great info, the only thing that I differ on is starting the article with an intro before an image. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong but I always go with the image first before the introduction. I like to capture the audiences attention with a nice visual before giving them information.

    • nahidbd1971 profile image

      Md Nahid Khan 3 months ago from Bangladesh

      Quite a help!

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 months ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Very informative and helpful. I had an interesting read. Hope you will write more such articles to help the hubbers. Also read some tips to improve traffic to our write ups. Thank you for sharing your ideas. All the best.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 5 months ago from Wales

      Thank you, Sunil, I really appreciate it.

    • sunilkunnoth2012 profile image

      Sunil Kumar Kunnoth 5 months ago from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India)

      Informative and useful. Hence shared on FB. Keep on writing. All the best.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 6 months ago from Wales

      You're very welcome, Vladimir. And creative is good. Always. You can always use those titles somewhere in the article - perhaps as a subheading?

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 6 months ago from Canada

      Bev--After 171 featured hubs I still find in this one a lot of useful information, especially about titles. I notice that sometimes I tend to go "creative" instead of informative in that department, and I am going to try to change it. I may feel sorry for some of those titles, but they will have to go for sake of the traffic.

      Thank you for sharing your obviously good knowledge and experience.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 6 months ago from Wales

      All the best to you, Ashish. Hope you have many, many featured hubs in your future.

    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashish Dadgaa 6 months ago

      @Bev,

      Thank you so much for writing such a useful Hub for our community. I loved your ideas and suggestion. I am sure going to follow this for mu future Hubs.

      Bless You.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 6 months ago from Wales

      Hey Sandy! Love to see Squidoo friends and angels popping up here!

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 months ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Thank you for this timely information.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 6 months ago from Wales

      Thanks, ShyeAnne :) I am glad you found something useful here.

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      ShyeAnne 6 months ago

      Thank you theraggededge for this well presented and very informative hub . I learned a few really good things that will help me construct my next hub.

    • theraggededge profile image
      Author

      Bev 6 months ago from Wales

      Sorry, Siah, I don't understand what you mean by 'input new words'. Check the symbol at the right hand side of your unfeatured hub. That will indicate if the hub has been unfeatured for quality or lack of traffic. If it's quality, it is probably due to grammar issues. Not featured simply means it won't appear in search engine results, but can be seen on your profile. You can still share the link with anyone or on social media.

    • profile image

      Siah World 6 months ago

      Thank you for this article, it helps a lot specially for the new comers. Can I ask if you like to input new words because you think it fits to the topic as I believe it falls on creative writing, will it affect the quality of what you wrote? Had one article published but not featured and I don't know what went wrong? Are not featured topics bad for your hub?