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Two Years on HubPages and 100 Hubs later, some major tips for the Novice Hub Writer
Don Bobbitt the Writer?
Starting out on HubPages
It was official, it was September, 2011, and I had just logged on and checked my domain and there it was.
The HubPage gurus have placed me at 24 months as a writer on their system.
And, what a gullible trip it has been for me.
Two years previously, I was roaming around the insanely complicated and non-user-friendly world of Google Apps, and tripped over this thing they had for writers called Hubs.
The more I read, the more interested I became, mostly because they stated/implied that a person could write; poems, stories, recipes, political commentary, whatever they wanted.
And, add to that, the fact that the writer retained the commercial rights to their creations.
Boy, did that sound great to me.
I had stuff to say!
I had things to get off of my chest, and ...... I was already working on several ideas for books.
So naturally, suffering from the Bliss of ignorance, I jumped into the HubPage creative waters with both feet and no swim fins.
Rate my Hub for Me!
A Newbie Hubber is born and his Mistake #1
So, there I sat, with this strange tool fired up on my PC, just staring back at me.
Oh, I read page after page of "almost answers" to my questions, and even more pages of restrictions and limitations that had to be adhered to, by one and all.
Now, realize that, as a budding closet writer, I was looking forward to what I called Creative Criticism.
I wanted to write my pithy and entertaining Hubs, and I expected to get pithy and creative Comments from my fellow writers.
I expected, intellectual back and forth commentary with my peers, as well as UP, Useful, Interesting and other buttons to be pushed.
Hub Writer Mistake #1
And, of course, I proceeded to make my first Hub Writer mistake.
HUB WRITER MISTAKE #1: Spontaneous Writing and Publishing of a Hub
or, my name is not Kerouac.
My first dozen or so Hubs were spontaneous writings. By that I mean that I sat there and just let my mind spew words onto the screen.
When I thought I was done on the particular subject, I just scrolled to the top, and did a quick edit of the structure, grammer and overall flow.
Then I just pushed that button at the top to publish it.
You know the Button, the mocking green button labeled PUBLISH NOW.
That button to a writer is like Crack Cocaine to an addict.
That's what all writers want to do, PUBLISH their work, be known, be read, be famous, be regaled as a great writer!
Well, that damned button had me hooked, and I used it.
I mean, I could always go back later and edit everything, at my leisure, couldn't I?
I had no concept of the life expectancy of a Bad Hub versus that of a Good Hub.
I had no clue of the importance of; Keywords, Hub Scores, Accolades, Followers, Fans, etc, and how they either keep your Hub afloat on the "Sea of Interesting" versus allowing them to sink to the dark ocean bottom with the rest of the Whale Poop.
I just kept putting out my own personal version of Poop.
But luckily, somehow, I did write a few things where a few patient readers overlooked my; typo errors, bad grammar and so forth and actually gave me some encouraging comments and button pushes.
Just enough to keep me going.
After a sporatic six months of writing and a couple of dozen published Hubs, I realized that I needed to fix something, because, all of my scores, both the overall and those for the individual Hubs were really bad.
My solution to my Hub writer Mistake #1?
First off, I started to realize that I didn't have a copy of my own writing. So, I began the process of "copy and paste" to move them over to a Word document. A
And, as I did so, I began to see the blaring errors and, well,just plain bad writing.
I did a thorough overhaul of each one, realizing that I had to care more about what I put out to the public.
Now, I do my Hub writing on my PC's word processor, and then I go through my own sequence of; let it get cold, edit and improve, let it get cold again, edit and improve again, and then release to Publish. And, I have my original document, for use if I write a book, or want to include in a Blog, or whatever.
And ....... My scores improved.
My Newbie Hubber Mistake #2 - Tags
Newbie HUBBER Mistake #2:
OK, I had taken care of my really bad writing errors through a planned process of writing offline, editing and reviewing my works before I placed them out there for the world to see.
My scores increased slightly, and I picked up a few more followers, mostly Newbies like myself, and every now and then, I would write something new.
Finally, I was roaming around the Hubs written by others and one of the veteran Hubbers had written a Hub on the importance of the use of popular KEYWORDS in your writings.and how these Keywords were used by the search engines to send more searchers on the web to your document, as a source.
Me? I was doing the wrong thing, yet again.
I was now writing my Hubs on a word processor, and when I was ready to release it, I would just use a couple of what I thought were important and pertinent words that people would use in a search, into the text as I created my actual Hub, and very little thought went into what I put down or how relevant they were, or how many I used.
I was in a hurry, I wanted my work PUBLISHED.
For an example, if you wrote a Hub about "How to Change a Tire on an RV", then some good Keywords might be; changing a tire, changing an RV tire, or How to change a Tire, as a few examples.
Finally, it got through my thick skull that I was handicapping myself with both; too few Keywords, resulting in most of my Keywords often being, well, just wrong and weak.
So, I went back and spent a good deal of time re-reading my Hubs, one by one, and trying to come up with Keywords that were as significant and pertinent to each Hub and its content as posible.
And, guess what, my individual scores crept up somewhat, once again, on most of my Hubs.
So,the solution to Newbie Hubber Mistake #2?
Place pertinent Keywords onto your Hubs that will have a good chance of being utilized by search engines.
Writing Fiction for Dummies
1 Year and 40 Hubs later - Kill the Isolationist!
So, after a year, and around 40 Hubs being written, I was still writing, occasionally, and suffering from the same low overall ranking, and very few of my Hubs had a good score.
Along this time, I had another revelation.
I was sitting back, occasionally jamming a new Hub out there, and then just going away.
My Newbie Hubber Mistake #3:
I was not participating in the total HubPages experience.
And, boy was my isolationist attitude preventing me from growing an audience.
You see, HubPages is a participatory system for writers.
It is not a PUSH system for your writings, it is a back and forth system of communication with your fellow Hubbers.
People ask Questions on HP, because they want answers. Answers from their peers, their fellow writers.
And HP gurus aren't going to answer them, you, a fellow Hubber has to.
If you read a question and you see that the actual answer isn't there, then answer it, if you know the appropriate answer.
If you have an opinion on a Forum subject, lay it out there, wait for others to join in, and get your debating juices going.
What good is a Forum, if there are no dissenting opinions? And, you will quickly learn if your opinion will stand up to the scrutiny of your peers.
HP is a communication system, designed for writers, and for them to learn from each other.
Participate in the Question and Forum systems, along with your Hub writing and you will see your rating crawl up even more, especially if you provide clear and interesting answers and commentary.
Read other peoples Hubs and sign up as a Follower, if you like their Hubs.
If not, drop yourself off of their follower list.
Look at it as being in an English or other Literature Survey class.
You get exposure to other writers, their different styles, and their good as well as their bad writings.
And, just like in a College Survey class, you leave good comments on what you liked about a Hub.
The only real difference, as a Hubber, is that, if you really don't like what you have read, you say nothing and let the writer suffer with your silence.
Trust me, he/she will understand when they put out a Hub and there are no comments.
So, I began to really participate in the Q&A system, the Forums, and I started not just reading my fellow Hubbers writings, I tried to write constructive comments on the content.
This was a few months ago.
Now, I have a better rating than previously, but more importantly, I am learning so much about writing in general, as well as my own writings.
I am meeting my fellow writers, and broadening my knowledge base form their comments and their Hubs..
And that is always good!
Re-Evaluating Keywords to raise my scores.
So, there I was, with my lethargic writing schedule and a couple of band-aids placed over what was in my directory. I had a few Good scores and a lot of kind-of-average scores, and a few really low scores.
I kept on reading, and once again I went into the world of other peoples hubs to read up on what else I could do to improve my scores and, should I say, Readability?
It turned out that, just like with my writing quality and my ignorance of using tags, I really had no idea of the importance of Keywords. Yep Keywords!
Here again, I had been floating along, not considering that the relationship between
Keywords in your writings, in the picture labels, in the Title, in the headers of segments, in the text body of your document are much more critical than I had originally thought.
It seems that the algorithms used by those sneaky little search engines have the capability to discard your document for using too much as well as too little of each of the opportunities listed above for Keywords.
So, I went back, once again into my writings, again, and not only worked on my tags, but also on seeing that certain Keywords are placed in all of the right places, and, of course, not too few and not too many.
I now work to make my Porridge, JUST RIGHT!
Oh, and by the way, you will notice that I am not trying to write a definitive article on the proper application of these tools, there are a lot of good Hubs out there already, and here are a couple that I do recommend. If you want more detail, click on these favorites of mine.
They helped me, so they must be written for stubborn idiots.
One of my favorites is:
Easy Backlink techniques by H Porter
There is potential Money out there - Using Ads
I finally got to the level of participation that I was reading Hubs by others on how to make a Buck from your writings.
Up until a few months ago, I was just floating along, with some occasional readers, and generating my "Naked Hubs".
My Hubs were Naked because they were just writings, and I had no plan, or idea, really, about how to get paid for things like Impressions, Page Views, Clicks, etc.
I just wanted more readers.
Oh, I had a Google Adsense account, that I had set up for use on my web site that I used to sell rare stamps and other collectible items, but I went for almost six months before I looked at how to use it in my Hubs.
But,once I set it up, nothing changed in my ranking or the size of my audience, so I really paid little attention to those "earnings reports", mostly because, at the time, I was so screwed up in all of the little things that I was doing wrong or not doing at all to be a good Hubber.
Then, about six months ago, I got an email that I had made my first $100.
I thought, What? After a year and a half, I was getting paid.
But it was a year and a half.
I mean,I had not checked on any growth in financials for a very long time, so this drove me over to my earnings history.
After a careful review of reports, by month, it was obvious that as I fixed all of the stupid things in my writings and working with my grammer and Key Words, and as I was becoming a more active participant in the other HP systems, I was getting more and more; page reads, clicks and such, which finally drove my earnings to that first crossing of the magic $100 threshhold.
And then there was HubPage Ads, and well, you end up with Google Ads and HubPage Ads inserted into your writings, and that gives you yet another opportunity for making some more pennies.
And, if you keep expanding there is the Google Affiliate Network providing yet another path for making a little money from ads in your writings.
Of course, you all see the Amazon Affiliate Ads in Hubs. Well, they pay too, if your readers click over, and especially if they buy something from Amazon.
Then there is the while SHARE system that is placed at the bottom of each Hub. Here you get to forward your writings to other social and search systems and expand your visibility even more.
What a revelation! You could make money from writing Hubs. I might be one of the slowest people to figure things out, but I did eventually figure them out.
Now, I am crawling into the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and I will begin the next step of managing my writings for optimal readership and potential payback.
Write for People, Not at them!
As I write, I try to keep my audience in mind at all times. Oh, sure, you are writing for yourself, but face it your stuff is not going to be the next Dead Sea Scroll discovery a couple of thousand years from now.
You are writing for a select audience, and you need to know your audience, and cater your writing to them.
As I mentioned starting out, I have just crossed the 100 Hub milepost, and they are not all of a kind.
I have some Instruction Hubs for people who travel and camp.
I have some Hubs on Politics
I have some Short Stories culled from experiences of my past.
I have some just Humorous Stories, as well as Satire.
I have some attempts at Poetry.
I have some Recipes that I really like and wanted to share.
And I have several BLOGS that I now use for a broader audience, one is for RV and Camper owners, one is a Blog on Foods and includes Recipes as well as food tips, and one is a Blog of my commentart and criticisms as a new member of the world of Retirees.
And each is listed in a separate capsule at the bottom of my Hubs, in case my readers are interested;
Also, I have written and published three books that are available on Amazon. They are mentioned in a separate capsule below my writings in each Hub.
No, these are not great works of art, just collections of useful information for my readers, if they are interested. One is a Cookbook of old recipes, one is a collection of my writings about RV's and one is a Food Encyclopedia of useful facts about foods.
They are all written for my readers. They are out there, if needed, and if not, then so be it.
Like I said, if you want to be successful at writing, know your audience, and give them what they want.
If they want to learn, give them good and clear information.
If they want to laugh give them a story that brings on a smile.
And if they want to cry, write something that will at least force a tear in their eye.
That, my friends, is my Goal as a Writer.
And a Hubber!
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© 2011 Don Bobbitt