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HubPages - Is It Worth The Effort?

Updated on October 1, 2013

I Like to Write and Want to Make Money - Wrong Answer

I started HubPages in February 2012. My motivation was typical; I like to write and I looked to HubPages as a form of supplemental income. My motivation is dramatically different now. Had it not changed, I certainly would have abandoned HubPages. The purpose of my article is to ask you what, at a deeper level, motivates you to write hubs? Perhaps this should have been the first question you asked yourself before you started HubPages. My guess is that if you had asked this question then and answered it, your hubs would be different today.

Get A Perspective On the (Lack of) Revenue

I was smart enough to know that HubPages could never equate to an hourly wage. It is, at it's core, a passive income. You put your effort in upfront on a given article and the money follows afterwords. You have minimal effort for upkeep. Sure, you might proof read/edit the article later and respond to a few comments, but overall your work is accomplished at completion of the article. I read reviews from some of the best hubbers and their message was universally the same, loads of work up front and the money follows much later. Even then, they admit that at best Hubpages pays for their groceries. Personally, I'd be satisfied with a little dessert now and then.

A better way to view HupPages' revenue is to compare it to what else you could do for passive income. How much effort is HubPages in relation to something else that creates a passive income? I have dividend producing stocks. I considered how much money I had to commit for the stocks for their dividends and compared it to the effort I made writing hubs. I determined that even then, HubPages was not really attractive.

Discouragement Is a Good Thing

Discouragement is a good thing. It forces you to reevaluate what you are doing and if you should remain in the situation. It makes you ask why you are doing what you are doing. By December of 2012 I was getting pretty discouraged. My monthly revenue had stayed the same (and still is) as it was in May 2012. I thought about what had happened over the last eight months and came up with the following conclusions:

  1. My main subject (fly fishing) had a narrow audience, so the number of people viewing my articles was limited.
  2. While I could understand HubPages raising the quality bar of the hubs by taking hubs with low volume views off search engines, I was still annoyed that about half of my existing hubs disappeared from search engines. I realized that the prospect of any new hubs I wrote would probably meet the same fate.
  3. HubPages seems to be going against the trend of the American culture. As a society, mobile devices are being used more and desktop computers used less. People using mobile devices only want to spend a few minutes on one topic. I also am active on E-Bay and YouTube. E-Bay understands the change and sent sellers an e-mail explaining how to trim down their text in their auctions and include more pictures - all far more attractive to the mobile user. I've also noticed more views from my YouTube videos that are under two minutes in length. Finally, my kids rarely use Facebook and have shifted to Twitter mainly because the dialogue is shorter and easier to use on mobile devices. They tell me most of their friends are doing the same.
  4. While many people enjoy HubPages for the community aspect and sharing what they write, it is not a motivation for me. I generally shy away from social networks, especially those that elicit frequent responses.

I was about to terminate HubPages because the revenue I expected did not look to increase and any new hubs I wrote looked like they would be discarded. But then I asked myself, skip the money part and liking to write, what was my real motivation for writing on HubPages? I concluded that it was first to promote my small business of selling flies for fishing and second, to inform people about fly fishing, especially beginners just learning to fly fish. There was also a distant third reason. There were some non-fly fishing topics that I truly felt compelled to write about and share. For satisfying the first two reasons that motivated me to write hubs, I realized that HubPages was not the best medium. However, HubPages was an excellent support medium for more effective mediums that I was currently using. For this reason I kept with HubPages.

Try Viewing HubPages As A Support Medium

If the revenue and social aspects of HubPages are not enough to motivate you to continue to write hubs, I suggest you reconsider HubPages as a support medium. The strength of HubPages is that it is designed for indepth writing and use of still images. Use it as a support medium for other applications that don't afford this. I have no idea what this will look like for you, so please allow me to explain how I have used it in a support role.

I sell fishing flies as an online retail business through two mediums - a website for my online store and through E-Bay. The website for my store is designed for sales, short and concise for placing orders. I want, however, to share more information about my flies such as the materials used, how each fly is tied, and tactics on how to fish the particular fly. This is far too much information on my online store website; however, perfect for Hubpages. So, I write individual articles about each fly on HubPages and link them from a link page on my online store website. At first I used the HubPages video with an accompanied short article, but these articles were removed from search engines by HubPages due to a lack of quality. It was Initially acceptable for me that these hubs were removed from search engines, but then I realized HubPages articles can link to YouTube. I could keep the YouTube video on search engines. So my more recent fly tying videos are on YouTube. Again, YouTube is not designed for large amounts of text and still photos, so HubPages makes a great support medium. In summary, from both my online webstore and YouTube I have linked to HubPages for more information should the viewer want more details.

I would link my same articles on HubPages from my E-Bay auctions, but unfortunately E-Bay has eliminated linking from their auctions. I am optimistic that E-Bay will allow linking again in the near future.

Results

Approximately seven percent of my hub views are linked from YouTube. Approximately one percent of my hubs are linked from my online store website. Regrading the store website, I suspect some glitch in recording hits on HubPages as I have clicked links on my website with no tracking showing up on Hubpages. I consider the seven percent a success in that people interested in flies or fly fishing were further served by HubPages by giving more detailed information. This meets one of my two criteria for writing on HubPages. I have therefore opted to keep using Hubpages.

Ironically, only one of my hubs linked to Youtube has been removed from search engines by HubPages, something that prompted me to reconsider HubPages in the first place. I guess there is enough content for quality and viewership that HubPages has opted to retain them for search engines.

One of my biggest lessons learned is that I spent a good amount of time and effort on non-fly fishing articles that I struggled to write and primarily wrote them with revenue in mind. They made HubPages quality criteria, but due to a lack of views, were removed from the search engines. I do not plan to write such articles in the future or if I do, only something that strongly interests me and I am willing to take the risk of them being removed from search engines. This article itself is one of those instances.

Hub Writing Motivation

Has your motivation for writing hubs changed from when you originally started?

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    • Tod Zechiel profile image
      Author

      Tod Zechiel 4 years ago from Florida, United States

      Doodlehead

      I agree, integration is everything.

    • Doodlehead profile image

      Doodlehead 4 years ago from Northern California

      I have done a fair bit of internet things like I had a successful webs site when things were easier to capture customers, and I recently started putting together an app and I learned Dreamweaver and html and stuff, and from reading my take is that to really be successful on the net you need to integrate everything with everything else as you are doing.

      To do this is time-consuming. Or you need a niche. For example I once wrote a hub (now it is a "dead hub") but when I wrote it I linked it to another site I "belong" to and I got like 100 hits per day. (don't laugh--that's a lot for me).

      Then there is a guy I know on HP who only writes a few articles a year, but he links them to heavy-hitting other pages and he gets (I don't know) like 10,000 hits right off the bat.

      I think my ultimate goal is to get maybe 150 hubs and do as you are doing.

      As a small business person myself, the thing I see is "they" can change the platform anytime. Like any business if you don't OWN the platform, you really have no control.

      I think it won't be long before this site "goes public". I have no knowledge of this, but it would make sense that someone would buy it. I bet I am right too.

    • Tod Zechiel profile image
      Author

      Tod Zechiel 4 years ago from Florida, United States

      forbcrin:

      You captured my dilemma accurately with your sentence "One either expects from HubPages to make a name as a writer or to make money". I realized that I could no neither. The topics that motivate me to write don't interest many people, so I have a very limited readership. Consequently, the hubs are removed from search engines. Also, having a small number of readers equates to a very small revenue. The point of this article is that despite this, I realized that HubPages could be used to support mediums that I have more success with. Therefore, having hubs on search engines and having a strong revenue from hubs are no longer import. What is important is how well does HubPages support my other mediums. I thought this insight could help other hubbers.

    • forbcrin profile image

      Crin Forbes 4 years ago from Michigan

      I guess that if all we are after is money, this forum like many others is not the place to be.

      Whatever happened to the pure writing, just for the fun of writing, combined with the motivations of attracting more readers to your articles.

      It seems that the more we advance in time, the more we are interested in making money at the cost of good quality of content.

      It seems that we lose the interest in pure intellectual pleasure for obscene desire to make a buck, no matter what.

      I think that we are still at the very beginning of this phenomenon, social media, and it will take a while before clear directions will be taken.

      We have to keep at it until decide our priorities, and until the world at large will learn how to use it for what reasons.

      If you want to sell fish flying gear is fine, the place to do it is on eBay. You may do the advertising here, and on You Tube, however hoping to make money both ways is not a good idea, and it will not work.

      One either expects from Hub Pages to make a name as a writer, or to make money. If your sales of gear are growing because your writing on Hub Pages, you reached your goal.

      Hoping to have income while advertising your gear will not really work. I am here to read stories, and I will only read things that I am interested in. If I want to buy any product, maybe I will go to eBay among other places. If I am interested to learn about a product I will run a search and will chose all the topics related to that product. If all I find is a hub advertising a product I will not read it, because I know what I want. I only need more information of the topic, I am looking for new things. Running into a hub that only points me to a web product, is not what I would use.

      Also, I don't think that those writing hubs are really after the Twitter users.