Why Write for HubPages? - A Greensleeves Page
INTRODUCTION FOR HUBPAGE MEMBERS
The age of 21 has traditionally been regarded by many in our society as the time at which one 'comes of age'. This is my 21st hubpage, so maybe this is my 'coming of age' page, and therefore perhaps it is appropriate for this to be my first page devoted to the website which has spawned and also published these pages.
So far I've written predominantly factual pages about astronomy and travel, and also movie reviews which of course are less objective, and more subjective; but I'd like to write on a wider range of topics in the future.
I know my reasons for joining HubPages, but I wonder what other people expect from this site, and whether it meets those expectations.
INTRODUCTION FOR HUBPAGE VISITORS
HubPages is a website community which exists as a place on the internet where anybody who wants to write for a wider audience than their immediate friends and family can publish work in the form of a short, simple webpage or 'hubpage'. The hubpage one writes may be factual and informative, it may promote an idea or belief, it may be a work of fiction such as poetry or else a short story, and it may be commercial. Even if the page or 'hub' is not intended to be commercial, the opportunity will still exist to carry advertisements, and thus to earn money from your published work.
The basics of the site are simple to use and ideally suited to the website publishing novice. I joined this site in January 2011 as a novice, and the only big downside so far is that I'm spending FAR too much time on it!
WHY WRITE ON THE INTERNET ANYWAY?
If you are going to write in a medium which people may read, then there is a hard way to do it and an easy way. You can tout your stuff around a few hundred publishers in the hope that one will publish; maybe one will, but most writers as I understand it need to have a truck-load of self-confidence, a ship-load of determination, and a skin thicker than a rhinoceros to take the knocks of rejection which are almost inevitable before any success comes.
The alternative is the easy way; the internet page. You do not have to write to order, you don't have to write to a time deadline, you don't have to be answerable to a publisher, or deal with agents, and frankly - you don't even have to be able to write well, if all you want is to get your work seen.
ABOUT THIS PAGE
On this page I ask the question: 'Why do people join HubPages?'. I analyse the motivating factors when people start writing for HubPages or similar sites on the internet; what do we expect, and what benefits do we extract from the partnership with HubPages.
The page charts what I believe to be the eight main reasons why people may stumble upon this site and decide to join the writing community of HubPages. I'm sure everyone actually has several reasons, but I wonder what are the principal motivations when taking this course of action?
These then are the eight factors I've considered...
1) TO GAIN PRACTICE AS A WRITER
I said earlier that you do not have to be able to write well, just to publish on the internet. But anyone who wants to write for a living, or just as a more productive hobby, will need to write well to get noticed and regularly read. Today there is a vast potential market which writers can reach with their work, and thousands of outlets are prepared to publish it. Rewards for the elite can be great, but it follows that competition will be stiff. The best way to stand out from the competition is to write well.
Nobody writes well without practice. One hears tales of child geniuses in music or mathematics, or in some other disciplines, but rarely in literature, because writing is a skill which requires much practice. Therefore the best way to improve as a writer is to write. And write. And write. The more one writes, the more one gains experience, and the more of a feel one gets for what reads well. And the more the words begin to form spontaneously in the brain.
Whatever the fledgling writer's end goal may be, it is so important to practice, and a website like HubPages offers that opportunity. It affords the ideal setting in which to try your hand at writing, writing which perfect strangers may comment upon offering positive or negative criticism. it also allows a writer to try his / her hand at a multitude of different subjects and styles, and gain experience in different kinds of writing discipline - important if one wants to be really successful, because few writers are fortunate enough to corner the market for one particular literary form or subject. Most not only have to write well; they also have to be prolific.
2) TO GAIN EXPERIENCE IN WEBPAGE PUBLISHING
If you are going to write on the web, the ideal, perhaps, is to create your own site, but there is a bit of a problem here; producing a good website may require you to be computer and internet savvy. You will be in competition with authors and programmers who do it for a living and know the business inside out. Do it wrong, and you'll not only get zero visitors, you probably won't even know why.
Now I am an idiot (computer-wise only I hope - others may hold a different point of view). Even though I surf the net, send e-mails and create databases, computer-speak leaves me cold. I don't know my HTML from my URL, or my RSS from any other random combination of letters you care to put together. I think I have a fair command of the English language, but I don't understand the language computer people speak. Never have done; probably never will.
For me therefore, even if my ultimate goal is to create my own professional sites, I think I have to start simple. And there's nothing quite so simple as using HubPage templates. Text is grouped into so-called capsules, which can be titled and moved and positioned around the page as a block. But if you want something other than text on your page, well, then you just don’t use a text capsule; you use a photo capsule instead for uploading a photo to your page, or you use a table capsule to create a chart, or a poll capsule if you want to canvas opinion, or a links capsule for links to other pages, etc, etc. The basics of page design is made simple with HubPages (believe me, if I can do it, anyone can). You can even begin to get to grips with linking pages together and affiliating your pages to advertisers.
Simplicity of design does have it's limitations. You are limited in font style and page layout. And you can write your text in any colour you like so long as it's black. So of course, compiling your own fully fledged, all-singing, all-dancing website, is a very very different proposition, but some of the basics are the same, and one has to start somewhere. HubPages seems a good place to start.
3) TO BE PART OF A WRITING COMMUNITY
For many HubPage members, the 'community' element seems all-important. It seems that some spend more time asking questions, or answering questions, or reading other peoples’ questions and answers, than creating their own work. That sort of thing certainly wasn't the reason I joined HubPages - I joined in order to write my own pages - but the community element of the site does offer significant benefits unavialable to those who 'go it alone' with their own, independent pages. As I see it, there are three key benefits that the community of HubPage members or 'hubbers' offers;
1) Forums and tutorials offer guidence on how to improve the performance of your pages. It can never be a bad thing to gain access to people who know what the site is all about, and who have useful advice to impart. They may even read your pages and analyse where you are going wrong.
2) You have a ready made audience. Almost inevitably much of your early traffic will come from other HubPage members, reading your pages listed on the site as they are published.
3) Whilst surfing the HubPages site you do inevitably come across quality authors you like to read, and writers on subjects of interest, and I've found a few of these in my short period as a member of the site. A few of the best I've found are listed below right.
LINKS TO SOME FAVOURITE HUBBERS
- Derdriu on HubPages
Derdriu writes some of the finest pages on HubPages -with meticulous information presented in a very readable format, usually on natural history subjects
- Cogerson on HubPages
Cogerson writes mainly about movie actors, and uses a novel method of scoring the success of their various films. A useful site for charting an actor's work.
- Robwrite on HubPages
Robwrite also writes about films, but also historical conflicts and other subjects
- Jeannieinabottle on HubPages
Jeannie writes on a variety of topics usually with a quirky sense of humour which I like.
- Charlinex on HubPages
Charlinex produces travel and other pages, supplimented by her own, very attractive photos
4) TO IMPART KNOWLEDGE ON SUBJECTS OF INTEREST
I am sure the greatest thrill that any teacher can get out of their work is to stimulate an interest in a particular subject; it affords a very satisfying feeling. I believe in the saying that one convert is worth half a dozen saints and if through a particular page I can convert any one single person to a hobby or to a fascination of mine, or introduce them to a sight worth seeing, then writing the page will have been a job worth doing.
So far I've written a few factually-based pages of this kind on travel sites like Ayutthaya in Thailand or Petra in Jordan, and on astronomical subjects like the planets of the Solar System. Particularly nice for me, is to introduce a viewer of these pages to some place or subject they know nothing about, and for this reason, I would say that the greatest satisfaction I ever get on HubPages is when any reader likes one of my pages and describes it as ‘interesting’ or ‘useful’.
5) TO PROVIDE PLEASURE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Providing factual information is really rewarding, but creating fiction likewise can be a source of satisfaction. I'm not sure I'm up to that - so far I've only written one page of very short stories, but the sentiment is true, even if I have not yet been able to put it into effect, and I'm sure that for other hubbers and authors who specialise in fiction, providing entertainment is a worthy aim. Giving pleasure should never be regarded as a trivial objective in life; in this money orientated and health obsessed culture, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the only real point in living on this planet is to enjoy life, so if a writer can give pleasure, create some emotion or spread laughter with their words, then that is a very worthwhile thing to do.
(All that sounds a bit pretentious from someone who at the time of writing is getting an average hit of about one viewing per page per day, but hey - I have to start somewhere!)
6) TO PUBLICISE ONE'S VIEWS AND IDEAS
Factual and fictional pages are all very well, but there are also theoretical pages which allow the author to express their own viewpoint. Most people have strong views on one issue or another, be it politics or religion or morality. It’s hard to get those views heard when you’re just one voice in a million or a billion, and where priority in the mass media will inevitably (and probably rightly) be given to those who have given their lives to a career in changing the world. But writing a webpage or HubPage does give one a voice which may be heard by millions, and a voice moreover which has at least the theoretical potential to survive for ever.
I have strong views on some issues, but neither the social courage, nor enough confidence in my own debating skills, to stand up in public and argue my case, but I can put them down on paper and others can debate as they wish. Of course, promoting your views on controversial issues, does lay yourself open to vitriol, bile and condemnation, but if you feel sufficiently strongly about an issue, then I guess the plunge has to be taken.
As I publish this hub, I have not, as yet, completed any pages of this kind. I have written a few film reviews expressing my points of view, but of course they are not particularly controversial. I do also have a page under construction in praise of democracy, but that too should hopefully not be controversial. We shall see!
7) TO ACQUIRE KNOWLEDGE
I am sure this comes very low on the list of reasons why most people join a site like this, but apart from receiving nice feedback, almost the greatest pleasure I've so far received from writing hubpages has been a very unexpected one - it has been the acquirement of knowledge; not so much from reading other hubs - though of course that has happened - but more as a result of the research I have needed to conduct for my own pages.
Few authors have the luxury of writing only on subjects in which they have real knowledge. Anyone who has a desire to write regular and competent and varied articles for public consumption must almost inevitably reach the stage where they have to stop writing about their passions and areas of expertise, as the source material will quickly dry up. They must instead turn their hands to subjects that they know little about, and perhaps do not even have much interest in.
That means doing research, and the process of research has for me been one of the pleasures of writing hubs. I love learning new facts, understanding the world a little better. The more I research, the more I learn, and HubPages has given me the driving motivation to do this research. The best example I can give of this is two pages I wrote about the origins of the names of the days of the week and the months of the year. Up until April, I knew nothing about this subject. Then one day the notion that this might make a suitable subject for a couple of pages came into my mind. And the more I researched it, the more intriguing I found the information. All the subjects I've written about, I've had to research to some degree, but without the motivation of writing a hubpage, I would not have bothered. I would have sat unproductively watching TV instead.
TO EARN MONEY
Judging by correspondence in the forums and answers pages, this is the driving motivation for many to write on HubPages, yet even HubPages themselves are at pains to point out that it is difficult to make your fortune in this way. Still it is a good way to start, and to learn about how pages or websites can generate revenue.
As far as earning money through HubPages is concerned, it seems there are two possibilities;
1) Accept that you're not going to make an absolute fortune on HubPages, but see it as a potentially significant sideline and suppliment to your regular income (or pension).
2) Use the site as an advertising billboard promoting your other more commercial websites.
I've always said that if I won the National Lottery (probably unlikely as I never buy any lottery tickets) I would still want to work, but I would try to turn a hobby into a career - the philosophy being that if I was successful I'd really enjoy my work, and if I wasn't successful - well - who cares if you've got a couple of million in the bank anyway?! Lots of people have a dream about getting out of the rat race and doing something they actually enjoy for a living, and if they enjoy writing, then what could be better than earning money through the creation of webpages?
WHAT IS THE MAIN REASON FOR WRITING ON HUBPAGES?
So why do you write on HubPages? What is your single most important reason as an aspiring wannabe, or as a successful writer for choosing this particular course of action ?
There is a multitude of reasons why one may decide to take up the challenge of creating a webpage. Most people will have a combination of motivating factors driving them onwards, and the importance of these factors may change with time. My key reasons were probably to gain experience in webpage publishing, and at some stage to earn money. Now, perhaps the pleasure of just creating something which hopefully is enjoyed by someone somewhere, is a greater motivation.
If you are already a successful contributer to HubPages, then I wish you continued success.
If you are new to this site, or if you are just a visitor, then I suggest you give it a go. Writing on a site like this costs you nothing but time, and it may just prove to be the start of a new hobby, or conceivably even a career as a writer.