6 Tips for Writing a Successful Hub
To become successful on HubPages it is important to create content that shines. The problem is that it is often difficult to know ahead of time whether a hub is going to do well or whether it's going to flop. Luckily, by looking around HubPages to see what kind of hubs are doing well and which aren't, it gets easier to tell whether or not a particular hub is going to succeed.
When I first started out on HubPages, I didn't really know what to expect. I am a blogger first and foremost and at first, I made the mistake of thinking that HubPages was going to be a lot like writing in my blog. This is why the very first hub I have ever written was a big flop. I, however, hung in there and learned the ropes of HubPages and found that it can be just as lucrative as blogging and sometimes easier.
#1 Plan Your Hub
I know, you're groaning already! One of the LEAST fun aspects of creating a hub is the planning process, but it is also the most important. If you remember creating rubrics (outlines) for papers in middle school, then you're familiar with the planning process. I'll be honest, I hate the planning process, but there are many reasons why it is important.
When first creating a hub, you are given the opportunity to create the URL for the hub which is something along the lines of hubpages.com/the-url-you-pick. Now, if you do not create your own URL, HubPages will just make the title of your hub the URL. This isn't a travesty, but if you create your own URL, you can use a keyword related to your hub which can aid with search engine optimization. For example, I have a hub called "All About Polish Food." If I'd have let HubPages select the URL, it would have been hubpages.com/all-about-polish-food which would have been horrible because how many people REALLY search in Google for the phrase "All about Polish Food?" I then did a little keyword research and found that "Polish food" would be something that people would likely search for, so I decided to make the URL hubpages.com/Polish-food which is more suitable for SEO. This is actually a major help with traffic.
This is where you break out a piece of paper (or a word processor) and get down to the real work. What is your hub going to be about? Let's say you're going to write about some museums in Chicago. Which museums are you going to write about? How many museums?
It's a good idea to understand what information you're going to cover in your hub ahead of time so that your article flows. You don't want to be writing about the museums of Chicago to realize halfway through the article that you also want to cover some of the great art galleries of Chicago. If you do that, then you're getting into another subject and that's where you start losing readers (not that art galleries aren't awesome!)
If you're having trouble, try writing down the main topics you're going to cover in your article. Then, under each main topic, write a few pointers on different aspects of each. This will create a great outline from which to create a well-written hub. These pointers can be fun facts, supporting evidence, etc... This will help you build your hub later.
#2 Selecting a Title
Coming up with a good title for a hub is really important, however, you can always change it so don't sweat it if a good name doesn't come to you right away. There are some ideas to follow through. People LOVE lists. I love lists. If you're writing a hub about things to do at a place, don't just title the article, "Things to Do at a Place." A name like "9 Things to Do at a Place" is much better. Then, of course, organize the hub into a list of 9 things to do at a place and go into depth on each thing in each section. The word "Tips" is also a good help. An example title with the word "tips" would be, "Tips on Writing a Great Hub." This actually brings me to a question for you, what do you prefer in a title? The word "tips" or a numbered list such as "9 Ways to do such-n-such"?
Which is better for a hub title?
#3 Do a Boredom Check
Do a what? Yeah, a boredom check. Is your hub boring? Seriously, don't just spit out words and hit the publish button, write something that would interest YOU! So the important thing is that you write in such a way that is interesting to other readers. The best way to test whether or not something is interesting to other people is to make sure it is interesting to YOU. A great way to create an interesting hub is to do a little bit of research on your topic. Look up fun facts about the topic or look it up on Wikipedia. If you find an interesting tidbit, be sure to include it in your hub, it'll make it more fun to read!
#4 Pretty Pictures
Add pictures to your hub. Relevant ones. AVOID STOCK IMAGES! Nothing can downplay great content more than pictures of professional men and women in suits having a meeting. As a matter of fact, the men and women in these pictures are probably having a meeting about how stock images add nothing to a website. If you're writing an article about technology, finding a great picture can be difficult, but just think about your topic and I'm sure you can come up with a nice looking picture without it being one of those cheesy stock photos that aren't plastered on a third of all marketing blogs. (That's a made-up statistic.) This kind of goes along the lines of the whole boredom check thing, but it's really important so I made a whole section about stock photos. Also, if you're having trouble finding a photo, ask around in the forums, there are many individuals in the forums who are bored from reading the hub I linked to above that are just ready to pounce on something to do. (Just kidding, no-one reads that hub.)
Pictures are meant to bring your hub to life, they aren't a requirement. If a picture doesn't add anything to your hub, it's kind of pointless. If you write a hub about beautiful places in Spain, don't leave me hanging with a picture of the Spanish flag. I want Spain to come to life! Show me how beautiful Spain is, prove to me with pictures that Spain is as beautiful and as wonderful as you say. Also, if you are able to find some nice pictures related to your hub, add a few of them. Readers love to stop and look at pictures, I know I do! Just remember that you must have the right to add the pictures to your hub.
#5 Talk to Your Readers
Engage your readers. Really. Don't just add a poll that means nothing. If you add a poll, make readers feel like you really care what you're asking. How is this done? Easy! All you have to do is ask your readers a question that you REALLY want the answer to. Part of the fun on HubPages is engaging your readers and being part of a community. This is also a great way to not only build relationships with your readers so they read more of your stuff but also serves as a way to get to know your readers.
If you get to know your readers you may learn about different things and even get some ideas on some new hubs to write. I have noticed that a decent amount of traffic to my hubs comes from hubpages. This means that fellow hubbers are reading my stuff and although hubbers don't click as many ads as non-hubbers, they are an extremely valuable resource. Remember that fellow hubbers are NOT your competition. This is a community where we can learn from each other and that starts with communication... because hubbers are readers too.
#6 Know Your Stuff
It's also very important to write about stuff you know about. Okay, you don't have to be an expert in the field, but there are a few reasons you should write about things that you either know a lot about or are a subject that is easily research-able. When I say research-able, that means I can write about State Parks in Washington even though I have NEVER been to Washington because I know enough about parks and the State of Washington to have an idea of how to research and write about it. However, if I were to write a hub about how thermonuclear energy works, it would not be very interesting or well-written because I would not even know where to start on the subject!
Feel free to write hubs about things you have an interest in even though you aren't necessarily a pro in the field! Wikipedia and Google search are there to help you on your way! Just don't write about topics that are way above your head because, well, you want to be an authority on the subject.