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Hubpages Hacks - Simple Tips for Improving Your Articles

Updated on September 26, 2014
Simple Hubpages Hacks
Simple Hubpages Hacks | Source

Over the years, I've noticed a few things that have worked well for building my blog and Hubpages articles in an effective, aesthetically pleasing way. In this article, I will be offering up some tricks I've learned after tinkering around in Hubpages, as well as some some general rules that I follow for everything I publish online. I will be adding to this guide as I discover new things that I think would be useful for creating fine lookin' and fine performin' articles.

Hub Poll!

How long have you been writing on Hubpages?

See results

What is Hubpages?

If you've stumbled upon this page and have no idea what Hubpages is, you might be a bit confused. Hubpages is a platform for all kinds of folks to write about the things they love. Best of all, you can make money for yourself by writing articles here. Writing for the Hubpages community free, easy, and a heck of a lot of fun.

Hubpages Hack: Poll Placement

I make it a habit to put at least one poll on every article I create. I try to make it different and engaging, often with funny or ridiculous poll options (but hey, that’s just me). Polls encourage interaction from your readers. This tip is really a no brainer.

You might be thinking, Hey lady, you’re not telling me anything I don’t know. Perhaps, but what about the placement of the poll? Maybe move it right up under the intro text?

Did you vote in the poll on “Hub Poll!” above?

Well Did You?

See results

What is this blue box and how can I get one of my own?

This blue box is just a text capsule that has been moved to the right. Once you move the capsule, the interface will give you the option to add a light grey or blue background to create the box.

It's best to use these types of capsules alongside a block of text. To do so, simply move the text capsule to the side, then move it up or down so it is inline with another (larger) text capsule.

A Word on Links

I make it a habit to have all my external links in articles open in a new tab. I was always told it was a good SEO practice, and more importantly, I believe it allows for more natural browsing experience. Major news websites such as Huffington Post and Gawker, in addition to social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest all utilize these kind of links; many people have been accustomed to having external links open in new tabs these days.

Hubpages does not give us this option for this in the interface or in the link capsule, but they do allow us to add the appropriate attribute manually to the code. This is the code to use for stand-alone links in Hubpages:

<p><a href=”URL Here” target=”_blank”>Text Here</a></p>

If you don't feel comfortable having your links open in new tabs, I recommend using links in moderation and placing them at the end of your articles whenever possible.

Simple HTML for Beginners

Hubpages is fantastic because all my favorite HTML codes are built right into the interface. While you aren't likely to need HTML on Hubpages, you can add some (ie not all) HTML manually via the HTML button on the far left of the text capsule toolbar. I find it particularly useful to know code for HTML lists as the spacing doesn't always work the way I want it to. If you want to play around with it, here are some of my most used HTML codes for writing online:

  • Bold, Italic, Underline - It's the bread and butter of HTML.
    Bold = <strong>text</strong> = text
    Italic = <em>text</em> = text
    Underline = <u>text</u> = text
  • Links - For when you want to give your readers additional info. All you need is a URL which you can copy and paste from your browser window. Here's the code I use for links:
    <a href="URL Here">Text Here</a>
  • Lists - Yes, this bulleted situation I'm using here is an HTML list! Here's the code for it:
    <li>item one</li>
    <li>item two</li>
    <li>item three</li>

    If you want to use numbers instead of bullets, use "ol" instead, like this:
    <li>item one</li>
    <li>item two</li>
    <li>item three</li>
  • Also, remember when doing code in HTML, hitting "return" or "enter" will not bring you to the next line. Instead, use the following code: <br> or <p>text</p>

If you're curious what kinds of HTML you can use in Hubpages, Edweirdo has written a fantastic hub on it.

A Simple Hubpages Tip

It's easy to overlook the feature tucked into the right side of the editing page. If you look at the right sidebar, below all the capsule options, there are two drop-down menus. The bottom one - "Organize Your Content" - will allow you to look at all your added capsules and organize them.

If you're not seeing all the titles listed in the "Organize Your Content" field, you'll need to save your article first. There is a "save unpublished" or "done editing" button on the top the page. Once you save it, the titles will load, making it easier to organize the page.


Hubpages Hack: How to Crop Photos

As you may or may not know, the way you crop your photo has a huge effect on how it will look in on the page. If you want a photo to show up LARGER, opt to crop or use a photo that is portrait (rather than landscape). A photo or image that is very horizontal (ie wide) just doesn't look very good next to a text capsule.

You can see that the image of my dog here is nice and big, but the one I’ve used in the next section is not. It’s due entirely to the cropping/placement and has nothing to do with the size of the original.

As it is with virtually any blog platform, Hubpages has a limit as to how wide an image in a text capsule can be. This makes sense because you don’t actually want to have an image that takes up the whole screen – you should want to see both text and photo when you’re reading something; images can be as long as you want, to a point since webpages can be as long as you want.


How to NOT Crop Photos Next to Text Capsules

As you can see, the photo here is the same photo I used in the text capsule above, but I cropped it in Landscape instead of cropping it in Portrait. It’s so small!

What To Do With Wide Photos

Choose the default photo option in your text capsule for wide, landscape, or square photos. Use the side option for the longer photos. Keep in mind that if you're looking at this hub from a mobile device, the image below and the image above will look exactly the same.

In general, however, if you have a cool horizontal or panoramic photo that coordinates with a section of text and don’t want it shrunk down next to the text capsule, add the photo capsule and don't move it to the right. I used the photo below in the text capsule above, but look at how BIG it is here:


Photo Size in Hubpages

Images that span the width of a Hubpages article are 520 Pixels across; side images are 260 pixels across. If you upload an image that is bigger than 260 pixels and move it to the right, it will automatically shrink down. If you leave an image that is smaller than 520 Pixels in its default position, it will stretch to fit the space. This can result in some ugly pixelation and fuzziness when you're looking at it from a non-mobile device. Here's the text from the main image for this article, uploaded as is:

Not terrible, but it doesn't look as crisp is it should on my laptop. This is because the photo is only 427 pixels wide. The interface automatically stretches images smaller than 520 pixels to fit the space.

Here's the image again:

How I Did It

The image above actually is 520 pixels wide. All I did was add a 520 pixel white box in a photo editing program to the back of the photo and centered it. Just be sure to leave the border off when adding it in Hubpages

A Word on Fair Use

Some writers like to throw around the term "Fair Use" when it comes to copyright law and copyright infringement. "Fair Use" copyright law can get quite sticky, and when you throw in the fact that Google Adsense does not acknowledge it, it can get even stickier. If you want to read up on Fair Use in regards to images, this article is very helpful.


Image Copyrights and Crediting Sources

This is a big big BIGGIE guys. A lot of writers, bloggers, and other content creators on the Internet do not understand copyright law, and most do not credit sources. Many people assume that they can do a Google search, find an image they want, save it and upload it to their blog without issue. The Internet is free, right?

When it comes to image use, it is not. Bloggers have been sued over this very thing. Unless the image is in the “Public Domain” or has a “Creative Commons” (or similar) license, the image is not supposed to be used for any purpose whether it be commercial (it makes you money) or not. Creative Commons allows creators to “lend out” their images, so long as the image has proper accreditation. What is deemed “proper” will vary from image to image, so be careful with this. The image to the right is a Creative Commons image, you’ll see the proper accreditation for that image which I added via Hubpage's interface (with a link!).

To find images I can legally use on my lenses and blog articles, I use the Creative Commons Search Page. With this page, I search primarily on Google Images and Flickr. Things can get a little sticky when getting into Fair Use laws and using images for product reviews so be careful.

Also, when talking about ideas, crediting your sources really is the polite thing to do. Within the Hubpages community, it’s not only good manners, it’s also beneficial for both parties. Naming another writer that gave you a great idea is awesome, but providing a link to their profile page is even better. Don’t worry, by linking to another profile, you aren’t going to lose Internet ju-ju or anything. It’s easy and I’ll show you how to do it:

I’d like to thank EcoGranny who inspired me to write this tip. You can credit fellow Hubpages writers by name, then add a link to their profile page.

There’s also nothing wrong with letting that person know that they've inspired you to write something. You can leave a reply to that person in your own comments to let them know. The “Fan Mail” option on profile pages is also a great place for thanking fellow writers, just don't link drop or request a view of your article. It's considered bad form.

Table of Contents Hack
Table of Contents Hack | Source

Table of Contents Hack

I'm sure you're thinking "Yeah, no. Hubpages doesn't have a table of contents." As it turns out, you can make one.

"...Um. Why would I do that??"

If you have an article that is particularly long or information packed, links like this can be used as a way to allow visitors to navigate the text a little easier. Lets say you're making an article about Nicolas Cage, and you have 6 text capsules that each reference one of his terrible movies - you could create a link list that goes to each capsule and call it "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Nicolas Cage Movies." Your visitors will be able to click on each link, taking them to the specific part of the article.

Still confused? Click Here.

How I Did It

Each capsule in a Hubpages article has an individual "module number" in the HTML code. Once you have this number, you can create a link to specific capsules on your page, allowing your readers to explore your article with gusto.

Hubpages writer BritFlorida has written a fantastic tutorial on this. Don't be too intimidated by the code stuff - she explains it in a very simple way.

Outbound Link Limit

Hubpages allows a maximum of two links to a single domain per hub. Exceptions are: links to Flickr, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons, and a handful of other "Well known web resources" in addition to links to related content from Hubpages.

Links to Related Hubs

I love to add links to related resources at the end of my articles. In order to make your links more tantalizing to your readers, I suggest either including a short (1 sentence or so) description or a photo along with those links. You'll find examples of both below.

The capsule on the left is a link capsule, while the one on the right is a photo capsule. Either capsule looks great on their own (ie not side by side) but they look kind-of cool as is, no? To get gallery effect, choose "thumbnail" in the "Display style" drop-down menu, located in the far left of the photo capsule. Multiple photos can be added to a single photo capsule. You can also add links to the captions of each photo; I didn't in this case to avoid redundant linking.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

ACK. Where am I?

© 2014 Shay Marie


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    • Kitchenapparatus profile image

      Mohiuddin Shawon Mudds 14 months ago from Malaysia

      Thanks for such an informative post for the beginner as hub author. I am thinking of writing my first Hub and this article helped me a lot.

    • MichalWrotter profile image

      Michal 23 months ago from Czech Republic

      Hello, I am new on this site and I would like to thank you for such aducational article. It gives me so many ideas to try to improve my article. Thank you Michal

    • pc-how profile image

      pc-how 23 months ago

      Thank you for taking the time to make this hub. This has some very useful information and if everyone took the time to read this, the quality of HubPages would improve drastically.

    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 2 years ago from Nottingham

      A fantastic and incredibly helpful piece. I wish I had found it earlier because it would have really improved my early hubs. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Fantastic. Very helpful.

      And Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      wonderful tips, need to learn a lot from you

    • Samprita profile image

      Dr. Samprita Sahu 2 years ago from Indore, India

      Thank you for such an informative hub... I am sure it'll be of great help for new hubbers like me..

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 2 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Awesome tips to liven up an article, shay-marie. I use some and will try to use others. Though I did make a table of contents in one hub of mine, the process was very cumbersome. The one by BritFlorida is simpler, I just read her related hub, and I will try it out.

      Thanks for sharing this useful information.

      Bookmarked and shared this hub forward. Pinned and tweeted too.

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 2 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you for pointing this out! The HTML part of the hubtool can be inconsistent with this kind of thing. I'm wondering if it's a bug? I played around with it a little and every time I pasted a link in the HTML section without putting it inside a paragraph, the whole link got stripped. For stand alone links, use the code:

      {p}{a href="URL Here" target="_blank}TEXT Here{/a}{/p}

      replace the { } with proper HTML brackets (they're getting stripped here in the comments).

      If you want the link in the body of an existing paragraph, and the code is not working, add the link the normal way with the workshop, then find it in the html and manually add the target="_blank" - FYI, the interface often tells me it's "cleaning up the code" and nothing appears to be taken out. Let me know if you still can't get it to work!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 2 years ago from London UK

      Hi I really hate to bother you with this but I'm struggling with one of the codes you have suggest in your hub. It's the code that makes a link open in a new tab - it just won't work for me. I'm not allowed to show you what my link looks like here - drat!! But I follow your instructions very carefully, and I have a bit of experience with coding so it should work - but it doesn't.

      When I paste the new link in the HTML part of my hub's capsule a box pops up telling me that they have to clean up the code - and then they reverse it to an ordinary link. Agrr! Can you please tell me what I'm doing wrong? This is such a useful article BTW thanks.

    • shay-marie profile image

      Shay Marie 2 years ago from Southern California

      @Johnny Parker - By tracker ID, do you mean the Referral Program or is it something else? I read that referral trackers could only be used off-site, but I might be missing something here.

    • kgracie profile image

      Kieran Gracie 2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Very useful and interesting Hub, shay-marie - voted accordingly. As others have already mentioned I found quite a few hacks that I didn't know about before, even though I have been 'hubbing' for several years! Thank you so much for this.

    • Johnny Parker profile image

      Johnny Parker 2 years ago from Birkenhead, Wirral, North West England

      Very good article - especially the table of contents bit, very handy! I think it's also a good idea to include your tracker id in links, particularly to other Hubbers.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      I've been writing for HP for three years and didn't know a lot of the stuff you added here, especially about cropping photos. Gotta experiment more.

    • Sylvia Leong profile image

      Sylvia Leong 2 years ago from North Vancouver (Canada)

      Wow!!! This is great. Thanks!

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 2 years ago from Iowa

      Very useful tips, even for some of us middle-aged hubbers. :)

    • profile image

      Ibidii 2 years ago

      Wonderful tips!

    • BritFlorida profile image

      Jackie Jackson 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      Fantastic tips. And thanks so much for the link.

    • CassandraCae profile image

      Cassandra Kuthy 2 years ago from Ohio

      Saving this one for later

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 2 years ago from U.S.

      This is great info -- as other people have done, I'm bookmarking too, and will start to use more of these "hacks" on my pages :-)

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