Common Mistakes Made by New Hubbers
When people first join Hubpages I have noticed they often make a lot of very common mistakes. I decided to compile a list of these in order to guide newbie hubbers so that they can avoid making the same mistakes when they are starting out. In the process I would like to clear up some misconceptions that a few pick up early on as to how to be successful here on Hubpages, and what they believe they should be aiming to achieve.
In order make these errors easier to follow I shall list them one by one. Some of you will immediately recognise mistakes or even rule breaches you are guilty of, but this information should help you to be able to make changes, and hopefully you will pass on this hub to other newbies as a guide to how they should start out their new hubpage writing hobby or career without inadvertently alienating other hubbers or finding their own hubs unpublished or flagged.
1) Going on a 'following' spree. This is one of the most common mistakes a new hubber tends to make. Naturally they start their time on Hubpages with zero followers, and it goes without saying they want to accumulate some followers quickly as they believe their hubs aren't being read otherwise. In fact the other misconception is that they think they need lots of followers in order to be successful and make money. The newbie hubber often wants to dramatically speed up the whole rate it would normally take to get genuine followers of their writing, so what do they do? Well, they go on a 'following' spree, in other words they spend a lengthy period of time simply following hubber after hubber themselves, maybe by checking out the main hubber list, and then following one after another until they get bored or run out of time. They mistakenly believe that this will result in a large chunk of these hubbers automatically reciprocating and 'following' them back. The reality is that most experienced hubbers will check out the new hubber's profile, see that he or she has just 'followed' a large group of hubbers all at once, realise that the new hubber probably hasn't read a single word they have ever written and they will quickly click the back button to return to what they were doing before they checked out their latest follower. One thing they are very unlikely to do is 'follow' their new 'follower' back.
2) 'Following' other hubbers before writing any hubs themselves'. There are occasions when new hubbers read some hubs written by others which they genuinely enjoy, at which point they opt to 'follow' the author. This is great, but if they haven't yet published any hubs of their own they are unlikely to find the hubber they have 'followed' will choose to 'follow' them back. The problem here is that the author of the hub may well check out the newbie hubber's profile to see if they might be interested in 'following' their writing too. It is impossible for them to determine if they like the new hubber enough to 'follow' them back if that hubber hasn't yet published any hubs of their own, so no doubt they too will hit the 'back' button and quickly forget they have a new follower. This mistake is also made in the case of #1, only difference being they not only 'follow' multiple hubbers randomly, but they also fail to have published any hubs of their own prior to doing so.
It is nice to have followers of your work of course, but the above two mistakes are not how you should try to accumulate them. Far better to interact on the forums, write good quality work, read other hubber's hubs and comment on them if you like them, even 'follow' the hubpages author if you like their work enough. The hubbers who choose to 'follow' you after this will be genuine fans of your writing, they will comment on your hubs and recommend you to other hubbers. In other words they will be 'quality followers' and this better than 'quantity' every time.
Remember, there is only a minimal benefit to having loads of 'followers' as hubbers rarely click on the adverts that make you your income. What you want is viewings from outside of Hubpages, as these readers are the ones who are actively looking for the topics you have written about, therefore they are already a potential 'clicker' for one of your adverts.
3) Posting links to their own hubs in the comments box on other people's hubs. This is a definite no no, as not only is it considered very rude, but it is also against Hubpages rules. Unfortunately many new hubbers fail to read the rules properly, and equally they ignore the wording below each comments box which states clearly that "Comments are not for promoting your Hubs or other sites". Sometimes they misunderstand when they read Hubpage articles that state that this is a good way to gain viewings because of the 'link' in their comment. These articles are usually referring to the fact that the authors name will appear above the comment, and this name will in itself be hyperlinked back to their profile page. They are not suggesting the commenter adds a further link to one of their own hubs as well.
In certain instances if you believe your hub topic to be relevant to the hub you are reading, you might choose to contact the author of the hub and ask if they would mind you adding a link to yours in a comment, or if they would mind adding your hubs link within their hub. This is polite and will not cause the offence posting your link without asking will. Another way is to mention within your comment that you wrote a hub all about 'xyz' too, and then leave it up to the readers to decide if they want to track it down and read it for themselves.
A forum thread on the whole issue of hubbers linking to their own hubs on other people's can be found here, and you might be surprised at how strongly feelings run on this subject. I list a couple of my favourite quotes from this forum thread below:
Shadesbreath said "Bottom line is, don't be linking crap on people's hubs. NOBODY likes a salesman, especially one that barges in without even knocking on the door."
Having heard of a rather abrupt response I got from a new hubber when I emailed him to nicely point out why he shouldn't have done this on my hubs, (the response included him saying it was the hubbers own responsibility to approve or deny comments on their hubs and that he had followed the rules to a 'T'):
Spryte then said .."it would be like me taking a crap in your yard and telling you that if you don't want it there it's your responsibility to pick it up and dispose of it."
Mighty Mom said "I fear the person who wrote that to you is misinterpreting the HP suggestions to promote your hubs.
The comments section of someone else's hub is part of THEIR hub. It is to leave a relevant comment, generally in support of the person's hub -- but certainly can be use to correct something you(the commenter) know know to be inaccurate, to expand upon a point made in the hub, or even to state that you disagree.
It is the prerogative of the owner of the hub to accept or deny your comment.
It is NOT acceptable to go around commenting on other people's hubs with links to your own hubs, ESPECIALLY if the links are to hubs unrelated to the topic.
If you wish to link your hub to someone else's, you can
a) use the "Suggest Links" feature (which may or may not pull up that person's hub as a possible link)
b) Ask the hubber to put a link capsule linking to your hub in their hub (and reciprocate, of course)."
To determine the exact stance Hubpages took on such matters I contacted them myself, and the response I got confirmed what I already suspected. They said:
"You have not misunderstood the rules. It is indeed against the rules to post a link to your own Hub in the Comments section of another person's Hub, unless the link is crucial to understanding said comment."
4) 'Following' a hubber and then leaving fan mail asking the hubber to 'follow' them too. Most hubbers are rather irritated by receiving fan mail that simply says something like "I am following you, now follow me too" or "Great Hubs, now read mine". This not only wreaks of desperation, but it comes across as a demand, as well as making it blatantly obvious that all they are trying to achieve is a large fan/follower base. They are probably cutting and pasting the same comment into loads of fanmail boxes, and it is unlikely to result in the hubber gaining new followers who go along with the demand/request. Fan mail should be far more relevant and not expect an automatic 'follower' in return.
5) Publishing hubs that are full of spelling and grammatical errors. This happens far too often and it is not doing the new hubber any favours at all. Their writing will never be taken seriously, or be respected if the author can't even spell check what they have written before hitting the publish button. They are unlikely to gain followers, or make an income if no-one stays on their hub long enough to click on adverts or to even finish reading it. The new hubber should spend time not only checking their spelling and proof reading their hub before publishing it, but if necessary getting a trusted friend to proofread it too and point out any errors they have missed themselves.
6) Using 'text speak' in hubs. Usually this happens when a new hubber signs up who is actually under age to join the site (18 being the age limit). Occasionally it will also happen with a new hubber who is over 18 joins up though. Apart from being incredibly annoying to read, it looks tacky and unprofessional and has much the same problems as mistake #5. Text speak might consist of words used such as 'coz' instead of because, 'soz' instead of sorry, 'y r u' instead of why are you and 'wot' instead of what. The result will probably be that the hub is flagged as substandard, and Hubpages may even unpublish it until it has been revised to a good standard.
7) Writing their hub as one huge paragraph or in one text capsule. Often a new hubber will make the mistake of writing what might be a very good hub, but because they don't break it down into paragraphs and text capsules it puts the reader off and they don't read the entire article. To keep the reader interested it is important to break the hubpage article up into 'bite size' pieces. Make the paragraphs a readable length, then put a space between that and the following paragraph. Use plenty of text capsules to break the article into sections, and then insert video's, Amazon advert capsules and images that are relevant to the topic. Doing this will make the hub easier on the eye on not seem like such a daunting read. It will also ensure Adsense can get all of their adverts into the locations they like to use.
8) Filling Hubs with pictures only. You only have to spend a few minutes going through the published hubs here on Hubpages before you start to come across the 'picture only' hubs. These consist largely of multiple pictures of famous people, often Indian actresses. The trouble with these hubs is the lack of text. They are lazy hubs, usually just photos copied from the Internet and pasted into a hub. It is hard to gain any kind of popularity or following when the best you can do is paste photos on to a page, plus, without text how can Google single out that Hub from all the other Internet articles about the same people that do include text and useful information, never mind putting it anywhere in a search result where it is going to get loads of traffic?
9) Asking questions on forums that have already been answered multiple times in hubs or in the learning centre. Don't get me wrong, hubbers don't mind answering questions, that is why there is the Hubpages Help Forum. The problem is that it does become rather frustrating to keep seeing the same questions asked again and again when the answers are already there for the newbie hubber to find. Avoid any slightly sharp answers from the respondents to such questions by checking out the learning centre first, or just do a 'search' of the site using the 'search' box and entering a relevant question. This simple search should direct the new hubber to hubs, forums etc where the question has already been asked or covered previously.
10) Not responding to comments made on their own hubs. It may not sound like much, but if a hubber has been nice enough to leave a genuine comment on another hubber's hub, then it is only polite to respond to that comment on the hub in question. There is a good chance the original commenter will check back to see if their comment has received an answer from the author of the hub, and they might just feel a little bit taken for granted if the author has simply ignored their comment without so much as a thank you.
11) Leaving meaningless comments like 'nice hub'. The reason this is a mistake is because it really says very little, and a cynical Hubpage author might view this comment as simply a way for the commenter to get themselves noticed by other hubbers, plus having the advantage of their profile now being hyperlinked in a new location, i.e. within their name above their post. This type of comment produces mixed reactions from hubbers. Some say any comment is better than no comment at all, but others will say they would rather have a comment that actually shows the person who made it actually read the hub. My advice is only to say something that contributes or is relevant in some way to the hub in question.
12) Publishing hubs that are barely written in English. One of the rules of Hubpages is that Hubs must be written in English. Sadly some new Hubbers don't have English as their native language, and whilst to some degree this can be overcome by spell check, the problems start when their command of English is so limited they rely heavily on language translation programmes. Frequently these programs are not particularly accurate, especially if they are the free online ones such as Babelfish. The hubs end up coming out as complete nonsense, and the new hubber wonders why their hubs get little traffic, make no money or get flagged for being substandard. The best advice is to get a friend who is more fluent in English to check the article over prior to publishing it, either that or they shouldn't join Hubpages until their English has reached a more advanced level.
13) Expecting immediate income from their hubs. Many new hubbers are surprised when after several months they still haven't made any significant money from their hubs. This frequently comes up on the forums, and the newbie hubbers seem to expect to see the cash rolling in when they have only published four or five hubs a matter of weeks earlier, often all on the same kind of topics, and when they themselves have only been Hubpage members for a very short space of time. The new hubber needs to realise that it is a mistake to expect too much too soon. If they write lots of similar hubs on the same topic they are not spreading the net wide enough to bring in new readers, and the odds are the same niche of people interested in that one topic might read all of their hubs, but that is only a very tiny percentage of the potential reading (and clicking) population as a whole. Write on all different topics and attract a wider audience, this is what will maximise the chances of a good income. It takes several years for a hub to reach its optimum earning potential, so to expect it to make lots of money in a matter of weeks in at best unrealistic. This is a waiting game, but the income figures will creep up as the hubs rise higher in the various search engines.
14) Copying articles from other sites. A new hubber may make the serious mistake of copying articles or large parts of them from other websites and then publishing them on Hubpages as their own work, (which in some cases it is if they previously published the article elsewhere, but in other instances it is stolen from another author or site). Either way this will soon be picked up on by Hubpages who will flag the hub as 'duplicate content'. The score of that hub and the hubber will both be affected, yet frequently the new hubber will go on to the forums and adamantly deny they copied it at all. The fact is that if a large portion or all of the article is written elsewhere on the Internet, even if it was your own work originally, it will quickly be discovered by the Hubpages software regardless of whose work it was originally. My advice to new hubbers would be to say, before you start spitting feathers and getting irate that your hub has been labelled as a duplicate, think about it carefully. If you already wrote the content yourself, but published it elsewhere prior to Hubpages, then it is a duplicate, and its effectiveness has been diluted as it appears in more than one location. This means the duplicate label is correct, likewise If you know you did pinch it from someone else, then quietly delete it and don't make the same mistake again.
15) Treating Hubpages as purely a means to drive traffic to their own website. I have seen new hubbers get quite upset when their hubs are flagged as 'overly promotional'. This usually arises because they are treating Hubpages as purely a means of driving traffic back to their own commercial websites, and what they fail to realise is that by linking to the same commercial website more than twice on one hub, or linking to it many times across their various hubs, they are breaking the Hubpages terms and conditions. Hubpages offer a publishing medium for free, it it only fair that they make a profit to make this worthwhile. We cannot blame them for not allowing us to join the site simply in order to spend our time trying to take traffic away from it. It is also worth bearing in mind that linking more than twice to affiliate sites such as Clickbank will also result in the hub being flagged as overly promotional.
I hope this hub will prove beneficial to many new hubbers and that it will help them to avoid making these mistakes themselves. If I have missed any relevant mistakes or rule breaches from the list I am sure some of my fellow hubbers will quickly add them in the comments section below.