How to write better hubs and why that matters.
Being honest on HubPages.
It is a truth universally unacknowledged that some of us write badly, very badly. And while this may seem like a provocative and incendiary statement with which to start a hub that does not make it untrue.
The failsafe is, that for the those of us who think we are writers but who really have no talent, either with words or grammar, most of our offerings end up being flagged with low HubScores and/or low Authorscore.
But there are still too many substandard hubs that slip through the net. So I must be honest, and to some extent unusually hardhearted for a Hubber, and point out that some of us really should not be writing at all.
It is only the generosity, the determined positivity and the large-hearted democratic tendencies of HubPages that allows a voice to all but the irredeemably unsalvageable.
The lure of the ‘quick' buck.
The trouble is that too many people join with dollar signs in their eyes seeing only hubs entitled 'How to make money on HubPages'.
Sadly, HubPages is not a 'get rich quick' scheme, even if you write the best copy in the world and newcomers should be aware of this if they have done any preliminary reading at all on the HubPages site.
And if you haven't done that sort of background reading, either before or just after joining HubPages, then you really should catch up now.
The Golden Rules for writing on HubPages.
Most of us writing on HubPages know, or at least eventually learn, the golden rules:
- Original, interesting and evergreen content of reasonable length, preferably on a niche topic
- Attention grabbing titles that also manage to reflect the search query wording of internet users (much harder than it sounds!)
- Eye-catching presentation - no big hefty, blocks of dull-looking text
- Visual content - photographs, preferably original to the writer, videos, links etc.
- Excellent writing with good spelling and grammar.
'And therein lies the rub’, to quote Shakespeare.
It is this last aspect with which I have a problem when reading some hubs and it is the inattention to this aspect which I believe often lets HubPages down.
The three secrets of good writing.
The three secrets of good writing anywhere are proof-reading, proof-reading and proof-reading.
I recently read several hubs by fellow Hubbers with high Authorscores and I was utterly stunned by the mistakes in their work. It looked suspiciously like they had rushed it as in some cases they started off well and went quite off the rails towards the end.
It would appear that they simply had not reread their work after completing it. They had not proofread it and that is not the trait of the professional writer.
Proof-reading gives you a professional finish to your work.
Proof-reading is not rocket science. Most of us know it is simply rereading your work before publication. For some reason it seems this often works better if you read it aloud to yourself.
Proof-reading enables you to catch and amend the typos, spelling mistakes and bad grammar and it should be done more than once on any work you are about to publish.
Getting into the habit of proof-reading your work several times should be the most basic requirement before publishing anything.
Spellchecker is not infallible.
Okay, so most of us use the spellchecker to check for spelling mistakes but this is far from infallible.
For a start there is the problem of homonyms. You know, those words that sound the same but mean different things, such as ‘there’ when it should be ‘their’ or ‘they’re', ‘you’re’ instead of ‘your’, were instead of where etc.
Spellchecker is smart but it does not have the ability to differentiate between homonyms, it simply recognises them as bona fide words. How is it to know that was not what you meant when you typed in the wrong word? Roll on intuitive computers that can tell you where you are going wrong on this one.
And of course, one must always be aware that there are differences in the U.S and U.K spelling of various words (i.e Center (US) Centre (UK), Labor (US) Labour (UK) etc.) This should not be a problem if you use just one dictionary consistently.
I think this is more of a problem for computer users in the UK as American-English is usually the default dictionary set on their computer unless they change it.
Both of these things matter and it is important that you get it right if you want to be taken seriously as a writer. Professional writers don't make these mistakes and being as professional as possible is the whole point of my writing this hub.
It should also be the whole point of HubPages.
The intricacies of grammar.
Basic grammar is more tricky. 'I have wrote' is bad grammar, 'I have written' is good grammar and even I am not such a grammar geek that I could explain why this is so. I just know it on some cellular level.
If grammar is your bête noire then you are either going to need extra tuition, find a friend who knows about these things to check it over for you or just give up writing.
When is being supportive being unhelpful?
I am always struck by the supportive camaraderie of almost all the Hubbers I have encountered on HubPages. I have watched as they have politely praised, and even voted up, hubs that have bristled with glaring errors in spelling or grammar.
Their innate good manners and generosity have meant that they have not, gently and discreetly, pointed out those errors to the writer.
This is all very spiritual but it means that the writers of such hubs may never progress as they will never learn when they have made errors. We may, in fact, be being too kind.
This sort of kindness keeps the writer of poor hubs limited and so is not really any sort of kindness at all.
What Hubbers owe to HubPages.
Finally, I would like to emphasise to all my fellow Hubbers the debt we owe to HubPages whose innovative and eclectic approach to on-line publishing allows us to write to our heart's content with only a modicum of regulation.
Such freedom puts the onus on us to write the very best content we possibly can and make sure the faith HubPages has in us is not misplaced.
Quality content will guarantee that HubPages develops a reputation for gravitas which in turn will ensure that HubPages becomes a highly regarded resource by the search engines especially the all-pervasive Google.
I don’t think I need to point out that the knock-on effect of this will benefit all of us.
So, remember ... proof-read, proof-read,proof-read … this hub and let me know if it needs editing. Thanks!
And just in case you think this is a load of hooey, take a look at the following link to a recent news item: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14130854
As I have just explained, if you cannot spell you lack credibility, whether you are 'selling' your writing on HubPages or elsewhere.