How to Improve Your Writing with HubPages
I have been a Hub Author on HubPages for over ten years, though I took about 6 years off from being active. In my active time, I learned quite a bit about writing for the Internet audience. It is my hope that after you read this Hub, you will understand a little more about how HubPages has improved my writing style, and how it will help your writing as well.
The first thing I'd like to say to preface this Hub and its contents is that I am not by any means the most successful Hubber. I write about topics that I enjoy, know about, and/or can research thoroughly. The tips I am going to provide you are personal success points, and using these tips has helped to raise my traffic and bring my ad revenue back up after the many changes HubPages has experienced in the last few months.
As always, your mileage may vary.
Editing Existing Hubs
One of the problems with having content posted online for so long is that there are many people out there who will take your content, copy it word for word, and post it on their personal websites serving advertisements. This can cause your traffic to drop, and that dreaded copied content warning to appear at the top of your Hub.
I'm not a copyright lawyer or anything of the sort, but HubPages has made it easier to file DMCA takedown notices. If you get the warning saying your hub has been copied, click the colored text at the top of your Hub and follow the instructions. Their takedown notice script is very well written, and the rest is up to you.
You have to send the takedown notice yourself, and you may, in many cases, have to figure out -where- to send the notice to on your own. This is a matter of finding contact information for the offending website and sending in the script, showing your ownership of the material that was copied, and being patient in waiting for a response. Always follow up on your notices.
The other method you can use to combat the dreaded copied hub notification is to significantly rewrite your Hub. When doing a significant rewrite, you have the opportunity to re-evaluate
Reevaluating Hub Content
Many times in the past, I chose topics based on what was in the top 50 trending spots on Google, trying to work those topics into content I believed would be interesting whether the topic was trending or not. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Taking a peek at those trends can give you a good idea of what people are interested in at the time, but you have to be careful. The Internet is a fickle Mistress, and what is trending in the late evening could be gone before you head to bed.
When you find yourself writing on topics that are current events based, or seasonal interest based, like topics relating to the current sport being played or a specific coach for a specific team, or even something like the Olympics, you have to be careful and give yourself room for future revisions. Here are my steps in evaluating my Hub content:
- First, answer three questions. 1.) Did I write this hub about something that will only happen once? 2.) If I am writing about a yearly event, how likely are the contents of the Hub to be also repeated yearly? 3.) If the answer to question 2 is yes, did I present as much information as humanly possible about said event, with formatting chosen in such a way as to make the rewrites every year easy?
- Second, because your writing style may change drastically over time, hopefully for the better, go back and look at your oldest Hubs. Cringe, blink in wonder, or slam your fist on your desk while asking yourself what the bleep you were thinking, and then sit down and go capsule by capsule cleaning up your writing. Only you can tell what will need to be changed, but a few hard and fast rules are: If your first Hub was abysmally short, make changes to the existing content, and then include more content that is specifically relevant to your Hub's topic. If you neglected to use, say, photo capsules or comment capsules, add those in, and make sure you have rights to, and/or proper attribution for the images you use. If your first hubs were deeply personal with relevance only to you and your loved ones, consider removing them, or adding content that reaches out in some way to a general audience.
- Third, use the grammar and spell check options in any document editing software (OpenOffice, Microsoft Word, etc) to make sure your Hub is in the clear. Most readers are turned off heavily and quickly by an article containing glaring errors.
- And lastly, if you tried something new with a Hub, a new format or style of presenting information, and you haven't seen a lot of traffic from it, compare the style of one of your best performing Hubs and make some changes to your not-so-great performing Hub. Sometimes, experimental methods just don't work.
Other General Writing Tips
Another trick to being a better Hub Author is to become a better writer overall. If you want to make money with your writing, then write often. You don't necessarily have to publish often, but write a lot, make use of writing prompts you can find online, write emails, letters, poetry, short stories, fan fiction, anything you think you can or should put to paper, do so. The old saying that practice makes perfect is still in use for a reason.
One last tip: If you read a lot of articles on how to be a better writer, and they just haven't clicked, take a look at the writers you fall back on to read over and over again. Look at the elements of their style that entrances you, and work with that in your own writing. I am not suggesting you plagiarize, but learn from the way other writers present their information.