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HubPages: What I Have Learned In Two Months
Let’s be honest from the get-go: the sum total of my HubPages knowledge could fit quite nicely in a thimble. I stumble daily through the process of writing hubs, preparing hubs, posting hubs and responding to hubbers, all the while living with the knowledge that I don’t have a clue what I am doing.
Still the numbers seem to indicate that I must be doing something right. As of this writing I have over three-hundred followers, over ten-thousand views and a HubNugget to my credit, all gathered and garnered with loving care in exactly eight weeks. Those figures beg the obvious question: HOW THE HELL IS HE DOING IT?
That was the question I pondered last night because of the over 230,000 hubbers out there I am the most surprised of them all. Let me be very clear on this point: this is not some attempt to dazzle you with my brilliance because there is none with which to dazzle you. I have had some hubbers ask me what it is that I do and so I’m going to answer that question. If you get something out of it, great! If not, don’t shoot the messenger!
PICTURES, POLLS AND LINKS
I took a look the other day at the first hub I did after I joined this fine website, some nonsense about staging your home to sell. I started laughing out loud. It really was that bad because I didn’t know what I was doing. Since that feeble attempt two months ago I’ve come a certain distance for sure but I still have a long way to go before my hubs look polished and professional like those of poetvix or Sunshine625.
Slowly but surely I have learned to add pictures (five is great), add links, a video and a poll to each of my hubs. I also learned the value of refreshing my hubs; every week I take a couple of my older hubs and change them in some manner, whether it be changing some of the text or adding or changing pictures. I have found that each time I do that I instantly get traffic on that hub. I have no idea how that works or why it works but it does work.
When I first started out I quickly realized that I was a nobody and if I expected people to follow me then I should make the effort to follow them. I started reading hubs that interested me on a personal level and then I sent them MEANINGFUL fan mail, and eventually I began being followed in return. Once I had established myself as a writer with some substance the followers…well…followed and increased.
Please note that when I say I started following someone that I mean I started following them; when they posted a new hub I made an effort to get to their site and read it. I do not have enough hours in the day to read every hub written by the hundreds of people that I follow but I do have the time to try and read one of their hubs per week. With time constraints I often fail in that attempt but I do try. If you plan on being a follower who never follows then expect the same treatment.
RESPONDING TO COMMENTS
I think this one is very important. Nothing annoys me more on HubPages than for me to make the effort to write a meaningful comment and then have the return comment be something like, “Thanks!” My personal opinion is that if someone took the time to write a nice comment to me then I owe it to them to make a nice comment in return.
Oh, I hear some saying right now that they are too busy to make a meaningful comment to everyone who has read their hub and quite frankly I say b.s. to that. I write full-time; this is my job and I make a living at it. If I don’t meet deadlines I don’t get paid, and yet I make sure that I take the time to write a quality response to my followers AND to those I am following. I owe it to them for taking the time to read and comment on my hub; that, to me, is an ironclad rule I don’t intend to break.
There is a little tab at the top of the page asking you to hop hubs and I do that; not sure what good it does but I try to hop once a day and do the thumbs up thing. If there is a hub I really like I will write a comment and if it is really great I will write fan mail.
While on this subject, I also try each day to read the latest hubs done, especially by newcomers, and I try to leave a word of encouragement if they are a newcomer. Those who followed me very early on had a huge impact on me when I first started, so I try to do the same for someone who is just starting out.
I am not as good about this as I probably should be. We get a notification each morning telling us about new questions and forums and whatever, and each morning I look it over to see if there are any questions I am interested in. Usually, because of time restraints, I will only answer one or two. I suspect the hub gods like it when you do this and I also suspect that they like it when you check back and hit the up arrow on the comments from others.
I also suspect this little activity helps your hub score but I have no proof of that fact. I just do it because it keeps me involved in the HubPages community, and hey, some of the questions and forums are rather entertaining.
USING TECHNO GADGETS
This is an area where I am flying blind. I will gladly share with you that it was six weeks before I realized that I had failed to activate my earnings program so as of today I think I have earned a grand total of ten dollars. Live and learn! The fact of the matter is that technology confuses me greatly and I stumble through this portion of HubPages. I share on Facebook and Twitter and Digg and Pinterest and have been blocked three different times on Reddit, but I am learning slowly but surely.
I also use a thing called Ping to keep my hugs out there in the netherworld, and I refresh my hubs like I said earlier, but there is so much out there that I have not done yet but will eventually. I also have my own blog and I have a separate Facebook page for my writing business, so my hubs do get out there a bit.
I have found it extremely helpful when I read the hubs of others about the ways to give your hubs a boost. I try to take away a little bit from each hub I read on the matter. There is just so much to learn and only so many hours in a day.
THE FINAL INGREDIENT
For me this is a deal breaker. I write from my heart and with passion; I don’t know any other way to write. I will occasionally do a bit of fluff, what I call Funny Fluff, but for the most part I write about the human experience….my experiences in life…and those hubs are the ones that have done the best and resonated with my followers. I think there is a very real niche out there for those of us who write about our feelings. In the final analysis we all share similar feelings. We laugh and cry and can be hurt and feel anger; we have all suffered in life and those experiences are things that many out there can relate to.
The comments I have received from so many have warmed my heart and only encouraged me to keep writing. As long as there is an audience who enjoys my writings and my sharing of those experiences then I will keep doing them. I don’t know if it will ever net me a great income but I didn’t start writing because of income. For me it was always about the passion of writing and the interaction with the reader. It is that which keeps me hungry and excited about writing the next article.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT
Now it is time for the nitty gritty! I have no idea what any of you are after on HubPages. I can only speak for myself when I tell you that I started out by taking a chance. I had never entered a writer’s website or forum and this was a risk for me but one I was willing to do to improve as a writer. I had no delusions about making loads of money; writing has always been about reaching people and touching something inside of them.
Years ago I would have defined myself in many ways: parent, husband, teacher, alcoholic and others. Today I define myself as a human being who loves life and wants to help as many people as possible through my words and my actions. If my written words have helped any of you, and judging from the heartfelt comments they have, then I am feeling the warms and fuzzies because of it. If my daily actions have helped others then I am finally on the right path towards being a better person.
I have always taken the road less travelled, as if by instinct I know exactly which path will be the toughest to traverse. Today, perhaps, I have finally found the smoother path, one paved with compassion and empathy and love.
My best to all of you on your path and if I can ever be of any help on your writing journey feel free to contact me. Most of all, though, thank you to all of my faithful followers. Your support feeds my soul and gives me great happiness.