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Hubpages Hacks - Simple Tips for Improving Your Articles
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.
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Table of Contents
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?
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:
If you want to use numbers instead of bullets, use "ol" instead, like this:
- 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
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.
More Resources for Writers Online
- Pinterest Hacks Tips and Tricks
Bring more traffic to your Hubpages articles or blog posts by making them more Pinterest friendly.
- How to Write a Killer Movie or Music Review
There are a few simple steps writers can take to make their reviews more interesting for their readers.
- Get Gorgeous Free Fonts with Google Fonts
Google has some amazing and amazingly FREE fonts that are available for download and web use.
ACK. Where am I?
© 2014 Shay Marie