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Reflections on 31 Days on HubPages

Updated on March 1, 2012
Is it worth the effort?
Is it worth the effort?

31 Days, 50 Hubs, 1 Golden Nuggety Thing

Why Did I Come To HubPages?

During December 2011, I saw an article on Yahoo! about "Top 10 Earning Jobs That You've Never Heard About" or some such. I took a look and one of the jobs on the list was "Technical Writer."

I said to myself, well, my job title is Technical Manager. I've been a writer. These Technical Writer chaps seem to make way more than I do, I should check this out. So I did a few job searches for Writer, Technical Writer, Editor, and such to see what was out there.

What I quickly learned was: 1) yes, there are good paying Technical Writing jobs at the ends of the Earth (compared to where I live). 2) They require Technical Writing experience; and, 3) The jobs were (for the most part) some of the most boring sounding crap I've ever seen.

However, I saw an ad for HubPages, that promised bazillions of dollars.

HubPages Advertising and Job Ads

The ad, as well as the success stories that HubPages puts up for all to see, tells tales of hundreds or thousands of dollars a month in income. Some of the stories are told of "passive" income.

I've written for three different magazines in the past. I gave them what I produced, they either ran it or canned it. Sometimes minor things were changed, but my part of the deal was writing. I write it, they print it, and I cash the check. Easy as pie.

So, little ol' me, not really knowing anything about online sites like HubPages figured it worked like this: I write stuff, they market it, I get paid, they get paid, and everyone's happy. Nope. I write it, I format it, I market it, I get paid, I make them money for my work. Their side of the bargain seems to be handing me the tools and giving me a corral full of reader/writers to graze on my words.

But the Herd Isn't My Kind of Herd

While I've found a few writers I like around here, if I start randomly Hub hopping, I'm not impressed. I've seen Hubs on technical HubPages-related things with useful information, but with so many typos and misspelled words that it looked like unedited copy. No, it wasn't a new Hub; it had been published some time ago. Both its Hub score and the Hubber's score were decent. It was something that any one of my teachers at any level of my education would have given a D, at best.

I've found an amazing number of really well written ads for businesses. Some of which had comments, because people didn't realize they were an ad. I've flagged numerous Hubs of this type every time I've gone hopping.

Traffic Has been Light

I got a HubNugget nomination for 5 Really Stupid Car Names, which I thought was a throw-away piece. It sat on the main Autos page for a week as a nominee. It got a few additional days as a HubNugget winner. The number of hits from 1/2/12 (when it was published) to 1/24/12 (right now) is 305. Since I emailed all of my contacts and posted to an email list I've been a member of forever, that's pretty sad.

The highest number of hits of anything I've written is about David Foley pleading guilty. Between 1/11/12 and today, it has had 341 hits. The majority of them are from MAME people posting it on forums and hits from Reddit. 55 of its hits are from HubPages.

With 50 hubs, my 24 hour hits right now is 113. That's just sad. Talking to Hubbers who have been here a while, I've heard 20 hits a day mentioned as a decent number for a hub that's been around a while. That rate would be 1,000 hits a day, which is, I guess decent, but...sheesh.

How To Increase Hits?

What have I done on my side to try and increase hits? I post everything to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I've put a couple up on Reddit. I even tried SocialMonkee for some backlinks. While the social sites have been the most reliable for getting hits, it's not enough to worry about. I never played the Social Site Game, so I have far more LinkedIn contacts. My LinkedIn people look at things that are relevant to them, but not much else.

Reddit has gotten me the most traffic of anything, but from what I've seen, you don't want to play that card very often. Too many Reddit posts and they'll ban you as a spammer.

I'm sure that with time the hits increase as the pages age, but it's a rather disappointing result for a month.

Show Me The Money

I didn't get my Google AdSense set up and running until the end of December, so it went live on 1/1/12. From 1/1/12 to 1/24/12, I've had 2941 total page views and have earned (drumroll, please): $7.84.

Since I've spent a minimum of an hour a day (and much more than that on others) for a month, my hourly rate is a bit low. When I first started, I joked that I might be able to buy a Happy Meal in a month. I was pretty close. Let's call it 40 hours. $7.84 / 40 = .196/hour Since $1 a day was a working man's wage during the late 19th century, I'm making great money. For 1896.

If we extrapolate and say I write nothing more, sit still with 51 hubs, and they make it to 20 hits a day average what do we have? 51*20*365=372,300 hits a year, we won't consider leap years. What does that get us? If 7.84/2941 = .002665 (and then some). Multiply that per hit times 372,300 = $992.46 a year. That's 82.71 a month passive income. Hmm, that's not too bad. If the hubs really start getting more hits.

If they don't, let's look at what the average is right now: (2941/50)/31 = 1.89. We'll round up to 2 hits per day. 2 * 50 * 365 = 36500 * .002665 = $97.30. That's $8.10 a month. Not very impressive.

Other Factors

I was banned from asking and answering questions. I noticed that a large percentage of the questions were asked by the same groups of people trying to get their accolades for answering or asking questions. I asked one snide question about it. I then started giving farcical and sarcastic answers to those questions. I then started asking some of the type of question I was talking about.

And HubPages turned off my ability to ask or answer questions. No, they didn't stop the people who were merely using the system. They stopped me, who was pointing out how stupid the system was. It did not and does not make any sense to me.

If I had taken a fraction of the time I spent here doing something useful--like working on my book or finding an agent--I would probably have made far more money. Maybe not this month, maybe not next month, but someday and forever.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I really don't know. I do like the instant feedback I've gotten at HubPages, but the return on investment seems rather minimal. Since HubPages advertising talks about earnings, but their terms of service prohibits us from discussing earnings, it makes it practically impossible to know if you really can make enough money to bother with here. Back in the 90s, I posted a few things to a site that's no longer with us, and made more off of 5 or 6 things than I have with 50 here.

Have things changed that much?

Month Two, Fight.

Well, after putting a lot of work into this site through January, I decided to sit back and watch it during February. While I wrote a couple of pieces early in the month, I didn't do anything. Instead I invested my time at work and in my house. At work I can't say that I got anywhere, as my company has had a shake-up and I really don't know where I stand right now.

As for my house, well, I have a bathroom that's 90% destroyed. I'll be writing a hub about it soon.

But the real reason for leaving hands-off was to see what happens when you leave hubs alone.

First, my traffic dropped slightly. I had 2587 views vs the 2914 in January/late December. So traffic did build with time.

Second, not writing obviously slowed the number of new followers. I picked up a few, but nothing like the 1 per day/1 per article I was getting before.

Third, the money didn't really change. $7.84 for the first month, $6.70 for the second. So my low estimate was still high. That's pretty disappointing.

Fourth, obviously I don't know how to pick a winner. The new leader, by a pretty big margin is, 5 Reasons You Should Go Find Your Dream Car and Buy It. My Hub Nugget winner and some of my personal favorites lag behind as time passes. Don't ask me to pick your horses. I just don't know.

Fifth and finally, will I get rich here? Nope. I doubt still that I will even hit the low double digits. I still have no inclination to write about "Jobs in Newark," "High Paying Surfing Jobs," or "Underwater Heavy Metal Basket Weaving." I write about what interests me and what impacts my life. I really don't care whether or not you find it interesting. I write for me first.

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    • eusaphzae profile image

      Fahd Mehmood Khan 4 years ago from United Arab Emirates

      Hi Sir...you right simply good.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      All the cafeterias are closed now. We do still have plenty of dust storms. We're currently experiencing what I am calling Sprinter. Technically we're in winter, but it's 80 degrees and everything is trying to grow. Being Texas, we'll soon have ice coating everything and then our lawns will all die a horrible death.

      And sure, I can answer about chicken-fried anything. I've also lived in Mississippi. I think they have chicken fried vegetables there.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      I like that new rule. I'm sure it applies to some of my hubs too. Amazingly, I edit and edit, and I still discover stuff to fix on older hubs that I might read again a couple months later. An editor would certainly be a luxury. I did read that hub by Pcunix recently, but I have to say I am pleased with my earnings and their upward trend. If I would invest more time into producing more hubs I know I could do reasonably well.

      The thing is, besides snow, Chicago has a lake (a real big one), shopping beyond what the mall of Abilene has to offer, lots and lots of people, four seasons, amazing buildings, 2 MLB teams, 1 NFL team, jobs, and the list goes on. But maybe your wife would miss those lovely dust storms and cafeterias, oh, and chicken-fried-steak (what is that anyway? - oohh, I could ask that question and you could make a hub with the answer in March for the next contest.) Off to do just that! Nice to meet you Doug - looking forward to reading more.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Actually, "than" is the new "that." It really is. It's a new rule I just made up. Actually, I fixed the sentence. That's why I need an editor. I miss things sometimes, we all do. Plus, if you're working with an editor, you're making money. Not pennies.

      The best written lamentation of this type that I've seen lately is Pcunix's "Why you and I will never be wildly successful on the Internet."

      I finally came to the realization that I'd rather write what I want to write. It keeps me entertained, at least.

      However, my hits have been dropping. I skip one day of posting a hub and the masses leave me. P'raps not, but I expect things to trend up, not down.

      I wanted to pursue a job in my industry (unnamed for my protection), which is centered on Chicago, but my wife said, NOOOO It snows there! So I remained in Abilene swabbing the decks on the good ship employment.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 5 years ago from Illinois

      I'm glad I came across your hub. I went to college in Abilene (in Chicago now) so I had to check out some of your hubs. Your sarcasm/humor actually made this an enjoyable read, even though you are lamenting your lack of earnings.

      I've noticed many typos and misspellings around HubPages too, but in reality the quality of my hubs is the only thing that affects my earnings so I don't worry about the mistakes of others. Although ....ironically, you have a typo in the sentence about the grade of D, but I am sure I have some too!

      I hope you keep writing. Quite frankly, from what I've seen I think you have the ability to make more per hub as traffic grows over time.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Random is my middle name. Or at least random is how I approach topics. Things That Pop Into My Head for 100, please.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      I guess, but the advertising is rather disingenuous.

    • RighterOne profile image

      RighterOne 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois - USA

      It's way too early in the game to really tell, is it not? I've noticed that - getting close to 20 hubs - my back-link traffic is picking up a bit. I think the real trick here is to write Hubs with lots of 'staying power' and just keep on building your portfolio.

      The returns will continue to increase if your writing is all of a similar, good, and general-enough quality and applies to a large enough swath of the internet 'population' - something that would ensure that a new reader will always want more, having stumbled upon and read any one of your hubs more-or-less at random.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      Yes, not much money. But good practice. I got laid off and this was kind of therapy for me. I tried a lot of stupid stuff, like Mechanical Turk. I got where I could make about 2.50 a hour there. There are worse things I could do. Hey, it's better than Facebook.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      I think it's $50.

    • RighterOne profile image

      RighterOne 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois - USA

      So how much do you have to earn before you can get a 'pay-out'?

    • profile image

      Emerald Strachan 5 years ago

      I agree with Doug. I felt the same way when I first started. As a matter of fact I felt duped because of the ad. It's like seeing an ad advertising a management position and when you get the job it turns out to be a janitorial position with the potential of becoming a manager if you work hard enough...as open ended as that. I felt really disappointed in my first few months here. HP ads do give the impression you will be earning a monthly income from the onset. My primary account has been around for 12 months and I just reached payout in December. This account won't even reach payout until next year.

    • Liz Green Berry profile image

      Liz Green Berry 5 years ago from TX

      While I'm rather put out by the amount of time you have been spending on here, the point is: if you don't use a muscle, it atrophies. A writer is - by definition - one who writes and this is more writing than you've done in years which can only be a good thing. Who cares if it PAYS for anything?

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      The catch is, I'm not a patient person. I would be more likely to yell, "I am Spartacus" while setting fire to my toga and stabbing a building.

    • RighterOne profile image

      RighterOne 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois - USA

      Great hub, first of all. I like the 'technicality' of your writing - I have noticed and griped to myself in private about many of the same aspects. However, instead of fighting the system I took a rather different approach and tried to win its respect so that THEN I could turn around and use it as one of many weapons I'll use to fight for my cause in the future.

      When in Rome, do as the Romans do - even if you're an enslaved, banished Israelite slave. Those with the power always have the upper hand. Take names, but kick ass after you've usurped the power from those that would abuse it.

    • DougBerry profile image
      Author

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      That's somewhat reassuring...

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      A nice summary of your first month. Totally different experience than mine, so it's good to learn how others fare. Hope you have many more months at HP. The fact that you've earned $7.84 in your first month is fantastic. It took me several months to reach that. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Dale Hyde profile image

      Dale Hyde 5 years ago from Tropical Paradise on Planet X

      Interesting Hub. I am on your heals at 3 weeks but only 23 hubs. I have been curious as to what is actually going on. I see our stats are similar on all levels. I have not viewed your other hubs, but I am sure that our hub will vary in topic for sure. That being said, the figures remain about the same. So that would sort of eliminate "topic" and "subject" matter as to increasing views.

      I have been told and also read that it takes months and months for page views to pick up. I do know that on my websites this is true. In years of writing articles and even news stories, I have never had that "one" success that got a ton of hits overnight.

      It is interesting the way you do the hourly wage break down and the annual figures. Well done. It gives some perspective that time is valuable and does have a dollar value.