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What Is HubPages and What Should It Be?

Updated on May 2, 2018
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

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.

Background

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.

Some Issues...

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.

Summary

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

Comments

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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      6 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Wes....I'm a die-hard, devoted BOOMER....just not famous or "well-known" but you can write about ME if you promise to be nice!! LOL In other words, it will come under the "Fantasy" genre!! Hugs, Effer

    • tsadjatko profile image

      6 months ago from now on

      Jack, look at his guitar pages, they are well worth reading from a historical and informational perspective.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      This sounds kind of creepy, but one thing I think is a good strategy for people wanting to earn money here is to write about well known baby boomers.

      I had a page about David Rockefeller, and when he died that page got tens of thousands of views for many days running, and it had already been getting tons of views.

      Rockefeller wasn't of the baby boomer generation, but the point was a nice biography of someone famous can make a decent bit of money when that person gets sick and dies.

      I know that sounds creepy or morbid, but I'm mostly trying to do things about people I admire. So it's kind of a tribute, and well, I'm very poor and need to make money. Most of the music I love the most was from the 1970s, and so there are a lot of older folks I can write about.

      I do use Stumbleupon, but if I'm understanding things correctly, that website is changing itself into something called Mix dot com.

      I get more views each day from that Pinterest thing though.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      6 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Wes, that is very impressive earnings...

    • tsadjatko profile image

      6 months ago from now on

      That is great, Wes, you certainly are quite knowledgeable about what you write - the most hits I got when I was writing was from “stumble upon” liking my pages - do you use stumble upon?

      Jack, good thoughts on HP. The biggest problem I’ve had with HP has been their indifference to legitimate complaints, random censorship often rendering my writing incoherent and things they force you to do that are simply a waste of time. I stopped when they got rid of the floating capsule which I used extensively on almost every hubpage. If I was getting paid I would have demanded compensation for the umteen hours it would have taken me to redo and correct all my hubpages and of course that would have landed on deaf ears too. From what I’ve seen and heard of management I wouldn’t trust that I was getting paid what I deserved and that is why I never tried to make money with it.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      TSAD - the only income I have right now is from the internet, and so I figured I had best go all out with what I can write the most about, and with the most knowledge and admiration.

      I made over $400 in July. That was not my best month, but it was one of the 5 or so best months I've had. So I figure the best thing for me to do is to continue on with more of the same.

      I do get a bit burned out on it, and I do want to write about other things; but for now I think I'm going to push that niche as far as I can until I simply have to do something else.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      6 months ago from now on

      Wes, your pages on guitars are awesome. I was wondering how carving out a niche like that works out as far as making money from your hubpages - do you do better with the guitar pages?

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      6 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      If I ever meet any of the Hubpages staff, I'm going to hug them, and thank them for this whole thing.

      The changes never seem to stop, but this shows how the business is determined to keep going, keep being competitive and improve. I hope it stays that way, as for the last 3 years or so I've been going at it not as hard as I can, but trying to only publish things which I think are top notch.

      I'm kinda sad that the whole network has become a lot less social. The quality standards have ran a huge number of persons out of the place. I wish they'd come back, but writing and making money from it is a hard way to go. I think the key to making money is to write about products, or to do keyword research about hot topics with little competition.

      Of course not everyone even wants to make a buck. Writing can be its own reward. Me, if I can make a buck and feel good about writing a thing, then heck, that's all I could want.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      9 months ago

      I love HP for the community of writers and the chance to do something I love.

    working

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