Reflections on 31 Days on HubPages
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.
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.