Time to stop writing new articles for HubPages?

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  1. profile image0
    promisemposted 7 years ago

    I have been pleased with the audience and revenue for my articles on HubPages since joining the site some years ago.

    I commend the company for creating the successful niche sites at a time when similar sites were folding. My existing articles that moved to those sites have done even better than their performance on the core HP site.

    But my frustration has jumped in the last few months with the process for publishing new articles and submitting the remaining articles that might be eligible for niche sites. My reasons include:

    1. Some changes are made based on personal preference about style and not based on professional writing standards. (For the record, I have been a full-time print and online journalist for more than 30 years.)

    2. Keyphrases that I chose for the sake of search engine optimization after a great deal of research are changed or deleted. The changes include the all-critical article title.

    3. New articles and existing articles submitted to niche sites are rejected for "proofreading" when multiple edits, grammar checkers and spell checkers (including the HP checker) can find no problems or minimal ones.

    4. The scoring system is broken. I just had one article rejected for a niche site that has a Hubscore of 95. I don't claim my articles are perfect, but it's hard to fix something when you can't find it. It's even more baffling when an article with a score of 95 is rejected for quality.

    4. Two articles received severely abusive changes. They both had a top 10 list in them. The lists were moved to the TOP of the articles, even above the introductory paragraph.

    5. Articles that haven't moved to a niche site are dead in the water with the decline of the main HP site in search engines. They lose much of their audience and revenue potential. Another round of edits and another resubmission are unlikely if the problems aren't identifiable.

    6. If I write a new article, it also is dead in the water if it doesn't move to a niche site because of "proofreading" problems that I can't identify. These same articles have scores well into the 80s. The core site and the niche sites seem to have two different and conflicting standards about quality.

    7. We can submit one existing article to a niche site every 60 days. An automated email with no or few details on why means the article returns to its deathbed.

    I can't afford to spend five hours or more on a new article that doesn't generate revenue because of standards that have become fluid, unpredictable and change with the departure of old editors and the arrival of new ones.

    I hate to post this in light of my gratitude to HP for the successful niche sites and the performance of some of my articles. But other people have posted similar concerns, I want to earn a living from what I write, and I want to keep growing a partnership with HubPages.

    As a result, I will continue trying to improve my existing articles on the niche sites, but I am now reluctant to write any new ones.

    1. charu7_2000 profile image69
      charu7_2000posted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I agree!

    2. Thelma Alberts profile image90
      Thelma Albertsposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I agree with you. I have not written an article here for more than a year. It just turned me off from writing when every time I visited my hubs, I have hubs to edit because they are unfeatured due to lack of traffic or anything else. So, I am just here for reading others hubs and updating my own.

      1. Charu Bhatnagar profile image74
        Charu Bhatnagarposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Cannot agree more. Also there has to be some system that makes searching stories, articles and all easier and not entirely or majorly dependent on traffic.

  2. Marisa Wright profile image84
    Marisa Wrightposted 7 years ago

    I'm curious, if an article is already on a niche site, why would you invest any more time in improving it?

    My view would be, if it's already been moved to the niche site, leave it alone. It's done its job, let it mature - time enough to start tweaking in six months' time if it's not getting much traffic.   Making changes before you've had a chance to assess search engine response is a waste of time.  Especially as you're a professional who has done a pretty good job with the article in the first place.

    As for writing new articles - I've been thinking the reverse, that maybe now is the time to START writing for HubPages again, because the niche sites seem to have much better earnings potential than the old HP.  However you're the third person to post about receiving vague demands - proof reading, blurry photos, breaking up text - and then been unable to work out what was required. 

    It's beginning to sound as though they're just sending out a generic email listing the POSSIBLE flaws in the article.  Not helpful.

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Just to clarify, I usually add new content to an article after it has been live for a while. For example, if its rank stabilizes at #5 in Google, I will look for ways to increase it to #4 or higher.

      Even if I can't move the rank higher for a particular keywords, I can look for new ranking keywords. If an existing article is 1,000 words, I have reason to believe that expanding it to 1,500 words with a new section will increase the odds for more audience and revenue. New content means new keywords in search results.

      I thought the same thing as you -- that now is the time to write more articles. But I went from highly encouraged a few months ago to highly discouraged today.

    2. Barbara Kay profile image72
      Barbara Kayposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      They are sending out generic emails. The reason I know this for a fact is because someone posted the email they received a while back. It was word for word the same as the one I received. It made me wonder if they are even reading and looking at the hubs. The email didn't let me know exactly what I needed to change.

      1. Elsie Hagley profile image69
        Elsie Hagleyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I agree with you. I'm trying to get my hubs featured again after a break of nearly a year. Three hubs were refused all with the same spammy email, one I have tried to fix three times in two days, has had the same email, and I'm none the wiser why they are spammy.
        I think my days of writing here on HubPages are over, it's too stressful and is breaking my morale.
        Think I will just continue writing on my Wordpress blog, I'm not writing to make money , I'm doing it to keep my brain alert at the age of seventy-six.
        I cannot cope with the stress.
        I have been a HubPage writer for eight years now.
        Blessings to you all, may your week be successful writing.

        1. Marisa Wright profile image84
          Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Aha!  You didn't mention the word "spammy" before.

          "Spammy" ALWAYS means there is a problem with either a link or an Amazon capsule.  Nothing else.  It means the link or product is not sufficiently relevant to the main topic of the Hub, in HubPages' estimation.

      2. Charu Bhatnagar profile image74
        Charu Bhatnagarposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Yes, its hard to know what needs to be changed when everything is perfect in my eyes. There should be specific instructions or guidelines; or option to consult someone from team for guidance.

  3. earner profile image84
    earnerposted 7 years ago

    I just can't find any new subjects/hubs that the Internet and social media aren't already covering bigger/better ... so I've stopped writing new hubs unless I find myself in a situation of having something already in my hand that I can just write/publish quite quickly. 

    Now I stick to promoting the old stuff. 

    Write something new: 3-4 hours.
    Promote something old: 2 minutes.

    It's a no brainer to me.... why risk 3-4 hours of effort that might just never ever get more than 300 views in 10 years ... -v- promoting old stuff that's already had 5-20,000 views.

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      I do think there are opportunities to write new articles about subjects that haven't been beaten to death by other sites. But it's getting harder to find them.

      I also think the HP system of scoring articles (in part) based on length, number and quality of photos and other factors is not common among many sites out there.

      Your point about the time spent on something new versus something old is well taken.

  4. Stevensen profile image57
    Stevensenposted 7 years ago

    Why I can't post article on HubPages?

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      You can write articles for HubPages.com. It's a bigger challenge to get them published on the more important niche sites owned by HubPages.

      1. Lance Nelson profile image80
        Lance Nelsonposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I wonder why it's difficult for hubs to be published on HP niche sites...

        1. Marisa Wright profile image84
          Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          ...because the reason HubPages got in Google's bad books was because it allowed poor quality articles to be published.   

          Google's algorithm includes a thing called Panda.   It looks at a whole website and gives it a weighting based on the WORST posts on the site.  Each article on the site is then assessed for inclusion in Google results and given a ranking - BUT the site's Panda score is then applied.  If the Panda score is good, it won't affect how the article ranks - but if the site's Panda score is bad, it will pull that article several places down the ranking.

          HubPages' main site has a poor Panda score and management is determined that will not happen to the niche sites.

          1. profile image0
            promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            That's useful information to know. It would make a good topic in the HP blog.

            1. Will Apse profile image88
              Will Apseposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              I understand the issue now. You are orientated towards old-style, pre-Panda SEO.

              Nowadays, you need to focus on the reader, not the search engine. Above all, pages need to be readable and informative.

              Put the SEO work into your topic searches and the title of your page, only.

              1. profile image0
                promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                You seriously misunderstand me. I strive for a balance between readers and search engines. That's why I have been successful at this kind of work for decades.

              2. DrMark1961 profile image94
                DrMark1961posted 7 years agoin reply to this

                As Promisem points out though sometimes HP editors are messing with the titles, too. If an article does not do well I change the title (sometimes several times) until I find something readers are looking for. Having someone come along and change it again, back to one of the less successful choices, is not helpful.

                1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image84
                  TIMETRAVELER2posted 7 years agoin reply to this

                  Yes, but you can always change the titles after the article has been moved to a niche site.  What they don't want you to do is add spammy elements.

                2. Christy Kirwan profile image92
                  Christy Kirwanposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                  Editors only change titles when they are keyword stuffed and/or do not accurately reflect the content of the article. We recommend checking with the Editors before changing these back as keyword stuffing is considered spammy and if Editors see a pattern of adding back stuffed titles, the writer's articles may not be considered for sites in the future.

                  1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image84
                    TIMETRAVELER2posted 7 years agoin reply to this

                    I didn't realize this.  Thanks for the heads up!  Along those lines, is the team also checking for keyword stuffing in summaries?  There have been big problems with this in the past, and I think it's worth taking a look.  There have been some VERY bad ones I've seen.

                  2. profile image0
                    promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                    I have no doubt that it's almost always true, but I have seen exceptions.

          2. Jan Saints profile image88
            Jan Saintsposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            But I have seen some frail hubs in the niche sites that may make the sites get swallowed by Panda!

  5. Glenn Stok profile image96
    Glenn Stokposted 7 years ago


    You said it yourself that you were a journalist for over 30 years. That indicates that you are still going by old and obsolete rules. Things have changed. SEO is completely different today.

    If your titles have been changed, you probably were keyword-stuffing them. Google detects that today and assumes you are spamming.

    If your list was moved to the top, as you mentioned, it was done to maximize your click-through rate (CTR) from Google.  That will help get your hub listed in a Google Featured Snippet. If you're not aware of what that is, you need to read up on new SEO features.

    I can continue to elaborate on each item you complained about, but the others have done a great job at that. No need to repeat. All I suggest is that you read through the answers you've gotten here from everyone. It's a useful resource.

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Glenn, your age discrimination is showing. Idly speculating that I don't know what I'm doing because of my age is not the best way to join the conversation.

      If 1,000 people a month do a Google search on "Myrtle Beach travel tips", and the HP headline has that same phrase, is it keyword stuffing? Is "travel tips for Myrtle Beach" a better choice? The answer, which I discovered through extensive testing, is the first choice. It ranked 15 places higher in Google.

      I challenge you to find a major, highly ranked and authoritative article that does not have an introductory paragraph explaining the topic of the article and instead just starts with a list.

      Even more to the point, do a search on "Aruba hurricane season". My article is ranked #1 and has a snippet taken from lower in the article. Apparently we get our SEO knowledge from different sources. My obsolete rules seem to work after all.

      Otherwise, I have read all of the comments and don't see anyone claiming that they get better views on HP.com now that the niche sites have launched, that they get detailed feedback on why a Hub was rejected, or that they understand why an article with a Hubscore of 95 gets rejected.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image96
        Glenn Stokposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        You're missing the point Scott. I'm simply repeating what you already said. That's not age discrimination. I've seen a lot of changes with computers since my days in the early 1970s. And since the beginning of the Internet, SEO has gone through many trials and tribulations as well. It's not easy to keep up with it.

        As for finding an authoritative article that does not have an introductory paragraph, you have to understand that Google is changing those rules daily. HubPages is one of a few that keeps abreast of new Google tools. 

        The new rule, as Google explains, if you want to be featured in a snippet you need to give the answer up front and then elaborate further in the rest of the hub. I admit that I don't always do that either, because I actually agree with your thoughts on that matter too.

        I'm surprised that you saw a snipped taken from way down in your hub. I did a search for "Aruba hurricane season" I saw a snippet from the wanderwisdom.com niche site. That snippet wasn't really taken from that far down. The text is fairly near the top in your hub.

        Nevertheless, I see few authoritative sites that have even begun to take advantage of Google Featured Snippets, maybe because they feel the same way as you and I.

        1. profile image0
          promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks for the clarifications, Glenn.

  6. Julie Nou profile image55
    Julie Nouposted 7 years ago

    I wonder if Hubpages staff are aware of these stuff. Once upon a time this site is awesome and very trending. Now they have soooooo much rules that are apparently senseless - can't write this, can't write that; must not use this, must not use that. They always say like it is against Google's TOS, by which some of them are complete BS.

    I really do hope that at least one of the staff would take a look at the community and see the opinions (or rather rant)of their users.

    1. Elsie Hagley profile image69
      Elsie Hagleyposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Agree 100% with your comment.
      I feel I can no longer write for HubPages, too many rules.

    2. Marisa Wright profile image84
      Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      In actual fact, the rules have not really changed that much.  Most of them have been in place for several years - what has happened is that they've been gradually getting better at applying them. 

      In the past, Hubs which broke the rules could sit there for months without anyone noticing.  Now, they're more likely to be caught by the QAP. 

      The rules can seem more confusing than they really are, because there are too many imaginary rules, ones that people speculate about on the forums but which don't really exist!    I wrote a Hub summarising the rules, you'll find in on the slider on my profile.

      1. profile image0
        promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I wonder if paragraph length is one of those rules.  smile

        1. Marisa Wright profile image84
          Marisa Wrightposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          If it exists at all, it's a guideline not a rule.

          Howeve I'm also inclined to write short paragraphs and have never had a problem, so I'm guessing it's an individual editor thing

      2. Julie Nou profile image55
        Julie Nouposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Well in a way, rules are not bad. But if all the rules are too constraint, what good does it do? Sometimes there are articles that we have to put in our opinion - with data and complete/concrete facts. Take for example, I want to make an article about "Same sex marriage", but, after reading the rules, it seems like I cannot create a hub that "offends" someone. Heck! I don't wanna "baby-ish" the article if I have to write one on that particular topic. I have to go hard blow. But again, after seeing it, I'd rather have my own blogsite.

        If these rules are too constricting to anyone's imagination, then articles that they'll get are bland. Which apparently results to "not having lots of traffic" that they so want.

        S#!t is the new way today. And if they can't handle that, then they are most likely buried in search engine. No wonder why Hubpages don't rank well in search engine.

  7. Anna Benedict profile image39
    Anna Benedictposted 7 years ago

    As a new member on Hubpages, these complaints are quite demoralizing. I stumbled on the forum in my bid to understand the score attached to my hub.

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Anna, please don't let these comments discourage you from writing for HubPages, especially if you are doing it for fun or creative satisfaction. HubPages has been successful for good reasons.

      The company is going through major changes as a result of the creation of new niche sites. This is a bump in the road, and veteran writers are debating ways of improving the process.

      I'm confident the company is watching these posts very carefully and considering its next steps.

      1. Will Apse profile image88
        Will Apseposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        I imagine HP have a board meeting every time Promisem posts, lol.

    2. profile image0
      promisemposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Anna, as you can see from my comment about "veteran writers are debating ways of improving the process" that HP staff keeps watch on all threads of this type.

      I hope you also don't get discouraged by a handful of rude people who post here now and then. Most of the writers are generous with their time and will be glad to help you if you have any questions.

  8. Deb Vesco Roberts profile image91
    Deb Vesco Robertsposted 5 years ago

    I just skimmed through this conversation thread, realizing that it is 2 years old. My question is, are you all still writing for HP or have you found other sites you prefer to write for? Secondly, has any of what you all discussed, been improved upon over the last two years?

    I am new to HP and love it thus far, but don't want to get into a situation where things rapidly decline or it becomes increasingly difficult to get moved to niche sites and/or featured etc.

    I don't like the idea of what promisem mention that an article with a high score and lots of traffic, suddenly gets revamped and edited to the point that it's no longer what you wanted for your audiences.

    1. CYong74 profile image94
      CYong74posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Deb, to share with you, it's my third year on HP and so far, I've written fewer articles this year, but that's really because I've switched to writing (really) long-form lists and glossaries. Not to brag, but most of what I've created this year are on niche sites, and while it takes some time to build up, the traffic is generating revenue for me. The approval process also rarely takes more than a week. As for edits performed by the editors, I'm overall fine with them. Actually, I’m grateful for the service. Try as I do, I still occasionally miss really embarrassing mistakes.

      Naturally, there are cases when I disagree with the changes made, these being rearrangements of my sentences, changing of descriptions, amendment of style, etc. But perhaps it's because I've worked in the graphic design industry for two decades. The HP editors, to me, are absolute angels compared to some of the monstrosities I've faced. In addition, I also have my own blog, and over there, I can do whatever I want. The short of it, I'm pretty happy with the HP experience and I'm making decent pocket money. I also intend to continue writing. Actually, I'm currently working on a list of feasible topics for 2019.


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