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The Hubbing Experience: The Starting Point Of An Enthusiastic And Energetic Newbie's Journey
Funom Theophilus Makama
I am Funom Theophilus Makama, a Nigerian living and studying Medicine in Ukraine but most importantly, I wish to be identified more as a writer. I am a guy, as some of the fan mails I got addressed me as a female in one way or the other. In 2010, I began professional internet writing, in particular ezinearticles, then reposting it in sites such as articlebase, ezinemark, Bukisa, searchwarp and articledashboard. Then I joined some specific sites which i thought have good financial benefits such as wikinut, but earning about $5 after publishing about 170 quality articles and getting more than 120,000 views is not encouraging at all. So, I began a 3 weeks intensive research on good article directories with good financial benefits as well and more than 55% of my results directed me to Hubpages. Do not get me wrong, I am not doing this solely for the money, as I enjoy writing and I get lots of fun, experiences and knowledge from communities of writers, but also it is not bad if I want a little more appreciation.
I spent three days going through the terms and policies of Hubpages, took my time to assimilate every word and then also scanned through some of the top hubbers in this community. As an ambitious person, what I searched in these hubbers is some similarity or corresponding features amongst them so that I can as well adopt these features when I create my own account. The major feature I picked was the many followers they have.
As an experienced Internet writer in directories like wikinut, I knew one of the easiest ways to getting followers is by taking the first step: follow them. And so, that stuck in my head but it wasn't my first plan. Why? I reasoned again that, if eventually I accumulate a lot of followers and they visit my profile to see how it looks and then find nothing, it will seem normal, since I am new. But it would be more impressive if they follow me in return, visit my profile and find one or two information worth reading. So, my first plan was to create a hub. Writing quality articles (Hubs) entails writing what you know best or are interested in, and in that way you will be able to express yourself adequately and this was really dicey for me because I had to choose between medicine, Christianity and tourism. But finally, I chose tourism and hence the decision to write about beautiful cities. After gathering my materials, I discovered the hub can be split into 3, not only did it stop there, I came across some interesting topics during my quest for information on my selected topic and writing about these additional topics would not only increase the number of my prospective hubs but as well give out something not so common and this made it more interesting. Finally, the hubs were published and in order to avoid a cumbersome or rather disorganized pattern of these hubs, the pictures attributed to them were uploaded on my site and then linked back to the hubs.
Hubpages is the best place for writers...
Now the hubs were published, what next then? Getting followers. But I had to be careful in selecting active and serious hubbers, not just any hubber. So, I began the uphill task of searching for such hubbers. My target was to get 500 followers and based on this, I thought to myself, if I follow 1,500, at least, I should be able to get 33.33% of that number follow me in return. So, my first task was getting this amount of hubbers to follow.
This did not just stop there, for me to be able to get active hubbers, I needed to take the time out to search, find, scan through profiles and if possible, superficially go through one or two hubs before following. Doing all these on a hub, then to about 1500 more hubs is such an impossible goal isn't it! But guess what? I did it.
One of the first few impressive profiles I came across was that of Rebecca E. With a Hubscore of about 94 and 3,000 followers, she became my choice of profiles-source. I followed her, then clicked on her followers' list to begin my "scavenging". I'll click on a profile, view the information on it, then scan through the hubs and most times select one with a captivating Title to scan through. Most of the profiles I came across are so rich in hot titles and they left me no choice than to not only just follow these hubbers but as well leave a fan mail, to really let them know how excited I am to have a link with them. Monday (1st October) was a public holiday for me, as it is the Nigerian Independence day and I made good use of the whole day to do this scavenging and was able to reach a thousand by the end of the day. But after that day, I noticed, just beneath the 'Accolades' Widget is a suggestion platform which gives suggestions to three 'hubbers you may like' which continuously suggests as you follow, until you follow 10 of them. So I stopped scavenging and continued my following via that tool.
The Hubpages team
What was the Outcome?
The result I am getting right now is unbelievable. It is happening exactly as I thought. Hubbers are not just following me, but as well checking out my hubs and a good number love them. Their comments are so encouraging and the excitement and joy I get is like a burning fuel ready to be used. Right now, I feel like publishing a thousand hubs from all the comments and fan mails that I get. It is just the third day but with already over 300 comments and about 750 views just from 5 Hubs. Is this not fantastic? On a regular basis, as soon as I log in, I follow 10 more hubbers, as my target of followers isn't reached yet (280, from an expected 500). But having such an amount of hubbers already within my first 3 days (280), is indeed wonderful. Most importantly, my profile carries my website of which some hubbers have given it a positive acclaim. Some have even subscribed to some of the music channels on my site. The rewards and blessings just within these three days are enormous and beyond words. Despite the influx of comments, the joy I get from them makes me never feel tired of replying and this just adds to another characteristic about Hubpages been a community and family of writers.
Another factor which contributed is the social networking factor. My site has a page on facebook which I use to post or share some of my articles from other directories and I did so with the first 5 hubs I published. Then I shared in other social networking and bookmarking sites as well as corresponding forums associated with the topic of these hubs and this gave a fantastic result as the outpour of comments never seems to end. What then can I say? THE INITIATIVE WORKED!
The next thing to do is to apply for the earning programs. But I do not want to rush into that. I want to at least reach the hub score of 75 and as well, publish 10 hubs, then I can apply for it. I already use Amazon for my website, so I can simply just insert the code here. If after all these are done and I am consistent in publishing quality hubs, then I am sure I can reach the level some of my senior colleagues here have reached.
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Is it possible to avoid challenges in a system where you are new to ? The answer is NO! No matter how smart, ordered and organized you are, you will always face challenges when new to a system and I am not an exemption.
My first hitch was the disabling of ads after publishing my first hub. I wondered why but then I followed the warning just above the hub in the editing tool and these are the reasons for disabling ads:
"In partnership with our advertising partners, we've identified below some areas that are not suitable for advertising but that, at our discretion, we may allow to remain published without ads:
Reproductive medical content (including vaginal and penile issues and sexually transmitted diseases)
Content about sexuality, including losing your virginity or fetish content
Content about abortion, circumcision, genital mutilation, rape, incest, pedophilia, and molestation
Content describing violent crimes, gruesome accidents, or self mutilation
Lewd or profane humor, including provocative double entendre
Restrained journalistic or fine art nudity
If the content of your Hub falls into one of these areas, please set the Ad Level to 'None'. If you have specific questions, please Contact Us."
Well, the Hub in question and its contents do not fit into any of these definitions or categories because it is about the economic control centers of the world: London, New York and Tokyo and there is nothing sexual, obsence, profane, weird or medical in terms of reproduction in it. An e-mail was also sent to me on this warning and I immediately replied to lay my complain. A moderator viewed it and rectified it immediately, even though a warning still stands on the editing tool section of the hub stating the following:
"Despite being identified by our automatic content filter, this hub has been reviewed by a moderator and it was determined to be OK. If you make any changes to the content of this hub, it will be evaluated again by the automatic filter and advertising may be disabled until it can be reviewed once more by a moderator."
Then a second Hub on one of the Hub series about the 15 most beautiful cities was unpublished on grounds of overly promoting other sites. This was also weird to me as I only placed one external link in the hub and this link is a link to the photos of these cities on my website. I also sent a complain in reply to their warning mail about this issue and I categorically stated, it is just one link (which is allowed) and the others are links to the other episodes of the same hub series which are all hubpages links.
Then finally, a second hub of the same hub series was unpublished, on the grounds of placing an unrelated link and by this time, I was getting frustrated and angry. It was as if the hubpages team isn't happy with the "one-allowed link" we are to place on our hubs. The hub informs its readers about beautiful cities and the link from my website shows about 300 pictures of some beautiful cities in the world of which more than 85% are pictures of the 15 cities used in the hub series. I sent another complain again in reply to their e-mail warning and it was as well rectified.
So, one thing I learnt from this challenge is: The automated filter can be wrong at times and if we know we are right, it is always good to lay complain and they will surely rectify it. In the terms and policy, it is stated that if some or all (I think) of your hubs are unpublished and not rectified after some hours (24-48), your hub account would be banned. But sometimes, these hubs can be unpublished unjustly or mistakenly and if you know the terms and policy of this great site very well, you can lay complain and even challenge them. They are ever ready to rectify, if you are right.
One more challenge is in the follower-ship. It will be grossly selfish of me to just follow and get followers without actually "following" them. We follow each other not by clicking the "follow" button, but follow up each other's hubs, leaving comments and encouraging each other. This is a community and a community functions basically through communication. Here in hubpages we communicate by following each other, leaving comments on each other's hubs and sometimes, encouraging, criticizing and advising if need be. So, for a person like me, how am I going to cope with the many profiles I follow and those following me?
At first, I thought of using the feed page which comes up immediately after logging in. This feed page shows the newly published hubs and what came to my mind was always selecting the first 20 to read, digest and leave comments. But then, when I checked my mail, I also noticed messages sent when hubbers publish a new hub and I am glad this actually happens. Through the e-mail messaging, it makes it easier for a hubber like me to click on the link in my e-mail inbox and read the hub.
So, to my senior colleagues who are linked to my profile, I will definitely view your hubs sooner or later and of course leave comments. Today is such a lovely day for me as I read some very wonderful hubs.
final advice and suggestions
My Final conclusion and Advice for Newbies
Before my final suggestions, I would like to say, hubpages does not have a tool to bookmark hubs. Maybe I did not read all I needed to read, but I have as well searched for this tool without finding it. If this is the case, I suggest they have this tool, because I came across some hubs I would love to review again in the nearest future and having a bookmarking archive would serve that purpose effectively.
So here is my final word for newbies and others affected
If you are yet to join hubpages, here are some steps you should take to have a lovely start:
- Have an already prepared original article which should be your first hub
- Register and create an account
- Go through the hubpages tutorials, terms and policy and ensure you digest them very well. This is because it will help you stay in track as a hubber and as well lay complaints whenever you are mistakenly or unjustly punished (as already explained earlier).
- When you are done, write and publish your article which is now a hub
- Try to follow as many hubbers as you can. You can use my already explained method, or use any other method suitable to you. But you must not necessarily have a target similar to mine, unless you are that energetic and enthusiastic.
- As much as possible, do not just follow them. When you follow, there is this suggestion box which pops out for a fan mail to be written. It is expected you might have gone through the hubber's profile before following, so do well to say something and click on any of the icons "Thanks", "Good Writer", "You're funny", "Hot!", "You're cool", "Great Hubs". By default, the click will be on "No message", so click on any of the icons and click on the button "Post a Fan mail". Sometimes, you may not know what to click on as you still do not really acknowledge the skill or writing ability of the writer. In this case, you can go ahead to click on "You're cool". I emphasize on this because this fan mail really shows you at least viewed the person's profile and also appreciate what you viewed. Who doesn't like appreciation? In this way, the hubber will acknowledge you in return and put some efforts to take your profile quite seriously. Don't forget to write something before clicking on the icon
- When they follow you in return, they will definitely want to view your hub and leave comments. Endeavor to as much as possible reply every comment. It is another way of appreciation.
- Do well, not to be engrossed on your hubs alone, but also follow their hubs and leave comments. Also, in the first few days of your experience, your hub score will gradually drop. Mine dropped till 21, even though my hubpages were active with follower-ship and comments. But with time, it will begin shooting up. The major encouragement is to always check your hubs through your account page, you will see the actual score there and each hub score.
- This suggestion in particular is very important. Always follow up your mails. From my experience so far, you cannot lay complaints directly to the hubpages team through the community itself, only through mails. So do well to constantly check your mails, as it is the best avenue to contact the hubpages team in case of any issue and as well the best medium of receiving notifications and new posts from your followers.
- Do not rush to begin earning. If you are already in the programs hubpages is using, that is good. All you need do is place the codes in the ads program tools. But if you are completely new, just like me, take your time to create a good reputation for yourself by publishing quality contents and having a good follower-ship. Also, as in my case, set a standard or hub score and ensure you reach the mark you set, then try to give your application request. Hubpages team even warned that some regions need to be consistent hubbers for 6 months before applying. So do not rush in doing that, just flow into the system here and enjoy the ride. When it is time for benefits, you will also enjoy it.
- Also very important is for you to be consistent. When you constantly read other hubs, you are exposed to a lot of ideas to write about, more information and additional knowledge as well. Consistently leaving comments gives you that reputation as an active hubber and even hubpages itself gives credit by grading the level of your commenting. Then having more ideas entails writing more hubs and consistently doing this adds immensely to the community and to yourself. When finally, you start earning, you earn more. In summary, consistency is the key to success here.
So, this is my experience and from it comes this hub. I know 3 days is too small to start giving suggestions and advice, but I think I have done my homework well even before having an account here and by the way, I have the backing of my senior colleagues here, so no cause for alarm. If there is any other thing to add, more suggestions, disagreements to some of the things already said, please do well to leave comments as I believe a prospective hubber may also want to read comments to really get the needed and best information they need to begin this wonderful Journey. So far so good, I am loving it here and if you want to join, why not use my referral link here to do so? Click on the link and join under me, follow all the steps suggested and watch yourself become a great writer with great rewards.