What Is HubPages and What Should It Be?
HubPages has been around for over 10 years now. Over the years, it has changed and morphed and combined with various other platforms such as Squidoo. I have been with Squidoo for 7 years before it was bought out by HubPages. Now it has been sold to Maven. It is time to re-examine just what is HubPages? And perhaps, what HubPages should be?
- May 2018
What is a Web page?
Perhaps, it is good to start by identifying what are web pages and the various functions they serve. The web or internet, was designed to access information. It was difficult in the early days of computers for the average person to access data. It required knowledge of a computer system with various commands and keywords and function keys... The web and the browser, was the invention of Tim Berners-Lee. He created a platform where the information can be accessed with the click of a mouse. Anyone can learn to use it. All that is needed is the ability to type in a search term and a browser and serch engine. The data will pop up in a list of hot links. By clicking on the links, you can travel around the world and more.
These links or URL are unique addresses that point to a webpage. This page is the content. There are tools and professionals that are the content creators. They design the pages with graphics, text, and images and videos and links to provide information. These information can be to promote a company and its products, or to provide information such as wikipedia or news sites such as CNN and NBC or the NYT. They can also be personal blogs on travel or recipes or a host of other information. The champion of all is Amazon.com. This is the company that started with selling books online but then expanded the product line to everything under the sun.
Which bring us to HubPages. It is setup as a free site to allow the average person to create content on a variety of topics. These pages or hubs are grouped by categories and are indexed by search engines such that they are ranked fairly high in page rank.
In addition, a few well chose advertising links are embeded in the page such that HubPages can monetize the site. The profits are shared with the writers and content creators. It seem like an ideal arrangement. The system keeps track of all hubs and views and allocation the earnings accordingly. In addition, members can sign up with Google Adsense and generate additional income when a product is sold. Typical commission is 3 or 4% of the sales.
System integrity is key to the success of HubPages. The staff have created a process to automatically check for “quality” of the content. This is to avoid spam and other poor content being published. They created a category called “featured” hub. This is reserved for the articles that have passed the quality assessment process and will be placed in the queue to be indexed by Google search engine. The concept is simple. Once indexed, the chance of being found by others are greatly increased. The source of views of a given hub is divided among the HubPages community and those from Google and other search engines results.
A second condition of HubPages is to maintain a strict policy of no self promotion. That is one can promote your article on social media like Facebook or Instagram but cannot promote the article on HubPages. This is to prevent spammers from inundating the site.
A third condition is that all content must be original and not published on another platform. In fact, as part of the QAP, quality assessment process, the system looks for duplicate of content and will flag it when it is found anywhere on the web. That is why this QAP process can take up to 48 hours to complete.
Given this scenario, having been on HubPages for about three years and witness to the various changes...such as the implementation on of the niche sites, I have found a few discrepancies or defects or contradictions.
For example, HubPages seems to discourage any links to be added to its pages, even though they provide a module to do just that. It is a contradiction since it does not want duplicate of content and yet it won’t allow links that will add support information to the topic at hand. It does make economic sense to avoid links. All websites want people to read their content and not click on a link to go somewhere else. They may not return and that is definitly a down side.
HubPages does allow the placement of a few Amazon modules. These are products for sell that are directly related to the subject matter. The number of modules allowed seem to be debatable, Some have come up with a formula of at least 300 words per module. Personally, I found one Amazon module is sufficient.
Another restriction is to disallow more than three links to one domain name. This is to prevent over promotion. For example, if I want to write an article on my favorite song lyrics, and I have 5 songs, I cannot link to the lyrics from the same site. It would be a violation of HubPages. I don’t think they thought this one through.
What Should HubPages Be?
It seems to me, HP should be less restrictive. If it wants to be the “goto“ place for content, it needs to be more inclusive. For example, wikipedia allows many form of content. It has a well defined structured and it allows for references at the bottom. It has a side bar to the right of the screen with the key stats.
It should be a source of information that are unique or of authority. That is where the maven comes in. If there is an expert on surfing, his content should be relating to all aspects of surfing. When a person searches on Google or Bing, for anything relating to surfing, this site should show up on the first page of the results, that is the top 10 page rank. That should be the goal of every HubPages article.
It should make money. After all, HubPages is a business. It should provide links to items related to the article for sell. No matter where the item exists, on Amazon, eBay or whereever, it should be promoted. There are two major ways for a writer to make money. One is to get lots of views. As far as I can tell, it pays about one cent for every three views. This is a small part unless you can attract millions of views. For the most of us, my typical views number in the 60 per day range. That translate into 6 or 7 dollars per month. A more lucrative payout is when an item I promoted is sold. I will receive a commission of 3 or 4% and in some cases as high as 8% of sales. It seems to me, that is worth something and should be encouraged.
Finally, HubPages should be a “goto” place for reliable and quality content. It should also be a source where people can get answers. The “comment“ module is ideal for that. It can be the dialog between the readers and the author. The reader can ask questions and submit requests and the author can respond with a more detail explanation. For example, my article on how to sign up for Medicare, is a source of general information. If someone has a question about their unique case, I can provide a more detailed response.
HubPages is a great medium. It can be even better. It has all the components. It just needs a little tweaking. The best part of HP is that it is easy to use and it is free. It just need to be more profitable for the writers to make it worthwhile. For me, it is fine the way it is because I donate every penny I make. For some others, I would guess a payout of $100 per month on average should be a reason goal. It may not be a career but it can help pay the bills. It is also a form of validation that the content is worth some real value.
© 2018 Jack Lee