Constructive criticism please

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  1. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    I am looking for some feedback on a particular hub.

    I write about all sorts, including the damage we are doing to ourselves by over packaging and spending all our money on pieces of plastic crap from China. But I have consistently failed to drive much traffic to these pages. I have, on the other hand had reasonable success driving traffic to some commercial hubs that get a lot of search volumes.

    What I am trying to do is combine the two things and drive traffic to a commercial hub that has an environmentally friendly message also. This is the hub and I would appreciate any opinions on whether or not you think I have achieved a good balance between the two:

    Constructive criticism on this aspect only please. I am not interested in a discussion as to whether or not god will provide more resources when we have used the present ones, or whether or not climate change is an evil myth spread by liberal atheist radicals intent on preventing the American public from owning a 3-ton SUV. big_smile


    1. Fiction Teller profile image60
      Fiction Tellerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Mark,

      I like the article very much.  I think it works for the most part. 

      The only problem I have is the intro/hook.  It suggests a 100% anecdotal article that might take any direction whatsoever, which, if I were looking for an espresso machine, would have me clicking right out, as I want to cut to the chase and find out about my purchasing options.

      Personally, if I were writing it, I'd open by leaning toward the review end, adding (at the end) a mere soupcon of "I've got a personal opinion about and experience with this stuff." 

      Draw them in with your expertise, then wang-bang them with your personal credentials and your opinion after you've got their trust.  Whether or not they agree with your gull-blarned liburl mumbo-jumbo, they're caught because they need the info you provide.

      Something vaguely along the lines of:

      "Pink widgets come in three types--polka dot (from Italy), zigzag (South America), and of course the hot pink widgets with double locks (New Zealand).  Not all are created equal.  Just ask Clint Eastwood, the king of anti-widget drudgery.  Now I think it's time to set the world straight on the good widgets, the bad widgets, and the seriously ugly widgets."

  2. Fiction Teller profile image60
    Fiction Tellerposted 14 years ago

    Aargh...I forgot. You might consider sequestering off the op/ed parts in separate modules and put them in gray or blue on the right.  That way they add interest to those who are interested, but don't distract those who want the reviews only.

  3. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    Good idea - thanks. I think I will add a little to the opening paragraph that keeps the attention of potential buyers. Although - I must say, I have used that approach before and done well.

    My main problem is integrating the environmental rant. smile

    1. Fiction Teller profile image60
      Fiction Tellerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, I'd do the environmental rant as separate modules set apart, and give them keyworded titles--Pink Widgets Aren't Green--But Who Cares? or "An Eco-Friendly Rant on Widgets" or something that keeps them separated ever so slightly. 

      I'd think your fans and followers would read anything you wrote, but search engine traffic might be split.  I mean, I know a lot of espresso drinkers, and some of them drink espresso because they just don't wanna take the time to drink a whole cup of coffee.  These people want their espresso machine, and they want it now.  A few others are barristas or gourmands who would soak up every word about espresso makers anyone has ever written out there.  And a few--a minority, alas--would take issue with environmental issues on principle but NEED THEIR ESPRESSO and they want to know how to resolve this cosmic conflict in their lives. 

      Unfortunately, I think the Type A group is in the majority...

  4. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago


    Well, I am reasonable sure I can generate the traffic I want using the keywords I have chosen, but I want to get a message across also. I guess I will have to see what reaction I get and then split that text off if it is not working. All a learning process.

    1. Fiction Teller profile image60
      Fiction Tellerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, I love that we have such control over our hubs that we can tweak them whenever and then track the results almost immediately.  I've changed things in the past, then gone back to the original, then changed 'em again.  With print magazine and ad copy, you'd have to go through layers of approval processes, expensive studies, months of committee meetings and office politics, and such, to change "the opposite gender" to "the opposite sex." 

      The Internet's a lovely thing...

  5. Connie Smith profile image82
    Connie Smithposted 14 years ago

    I read it earlier and I thought it was fine just the way it was.  Your message that individual containers of coffee inside other packaging inside of other packaging came across loud and clear.  In addition, you mention it several times throughout the article, which I personally think is better than its own capsule because it reinforces the thought throughout. 

    I am sure that this is horrors to a man who has expresso making down to a fine art, but I am used to the weaker coffee in America. I don't drink expresso, but have the Senseo, a one cup coffee and cappucino maker. It also has little "pods" of coffee to use in the machine.  The reason I chose it was because there is a gadget sold separately that is similar to the steel filter cups of the old percolators.  This allows me to buy my own coffee to use in the machine.  At $59.95, the machine was also a great bargain.

  6. euro-pen profile image68
    euro-penposted 14 years ago

    Considering my limited writing skills in English (as my mother tongue is not English) I am not in a position to criticize your writing style (which I greatly admire).

    However, I would second Fiction Teller. Taking into account the short attention spans and the limited propensity to read longer articles online you should consider separating some of the content into "side-capsules" like Fiction Teller suggested. I have to admit that I am using espresso machines not for environmental reasons but for the greater quality and better convenience.

    I have to note that I am a little bit frustrated now since I was researching for almost the very same topic and was drafting on a hub about Italian espresso machines for quite a while now (I even already organised some photos smile). However, your hub has saved me from the work and hassle to finish my own attempt on espresso machines. Thank you.

  7. lrohner profile image69
    lrohnerposted 14 years ago

    I don't get it. The whole environmental piece at the end feels, well, awkward. Judging by the tags you used, if I'm reading this hub, I'm there to learn about or buy an espresso machine. Launching into a speech about the environment and over-packaging is almost like a bait and switch. Now, I'd stick around and read it because I love to read just about anything you write. But the average consumer? I don't think so. And if they've bypassed all of the intro and sales pitch to get to the passage at the end, don't you risk losing them as potential clickers or buyers? Isn't the purpose of a commercial hub to get them to read and impulsively click or buy? Do you really want to take them into a whole other subject?

    IMHO, I would have these as 2 separate hubs linked to each other. But then again, what the heck do I know. You're the master in this realm! smile

  8. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    Thanks for the input everyone.

    This is my dilemma:

    I have written pages about environmental damage and waste -Nobody reads them.

    I have written commercial based pages that sell a product - Thousands of people read them.

    So, what I am trying to do is create a commercial hub that will attract traffic, and at the same time makes people think about their consumer habits. Yet still attracts traffic and makes money.

    Any constructive help is appreciated, but it seems I missed the spot?

    1. lrohner profile image69
      lrohnerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Just a suggestion, but why don't you write about environmentally friendly products? You can insert some of your perspective in the description of each item.

      Or, why don't you create a Green tagline that can be used on each of your hubs. That way, when you do give your perspective, folks are prepared for it. You can then start a "Mark's Green Rating" system, and rate each product one to five green stars depending on its eco-friendliness. As you describe why you gave it the rating that you did, you can insert some of your perspective and educate at the same time. You can use this type of system on everything from your iPod accessories hubs to your motorcycle hubs.

      1. Mark Knowles profile image58
        Mark Knowlesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Because I do not want to be preaching to the choir. LOL

        Although - I will see what I can do with the "green rating" -= that might work.

        I am really looking for search engine traffic - not regular readers. sad

        1. lrohner profile image69
          lrohnerposted 14 years agoin reply to this

          Yeah, but education for the uninformed is a GOOD thing. And by adding greenness to your hubs, you'll be attracting both the green educated and the non-educated.

          All you really need to do is continue hubbing as usual, and just add the rating system at the end of each description. I do something similar on my product hubs (all 4 of them!). I describe the product and then I have a section labeled PROS and one labeled CONS for each product. You can even have a "for more information" link where needed that takes them over to one of your hubs that goes into more detail on the concept.

  9. Fiction Teller profile image60
    Fiction Tellerposted 14 years ago

    Yup, for me the intro is not quite there yet. I suspect most visitors on an espresso-machine-buying mission wouldn't let themselves be sidetracked, but click away.

    The green rating thing is an awesome idea!  It would help a lot.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but separating off the agenda text, or even moving it to your section at the end, would make the environmental message feel like bonus material, a special treat, something interesting to note for later, but not something that's elbowing its way into their faces or demanding any immediate action. I vote for that over integrating it into the intro text.

    Really nice hub, though.  I like "Mr. Nespresso..."

  10. Eric Graudins profile image59
    Eric Graudinsposted 14 years ago

    I've deliberately not read any of the other comments before posting this.
    I don't think that the environmental packaging topic works in this particular hub.

    People would have found the hub because they are looking for info about espresso makers.
    Sure, some of them will be interested in the packaging rant, but it's a bit far removed from the original topic, and when I looked at the hub this seemed like an afterthought tacked on to the end.

    If you want to pursue an environmental line, why not add a section about fair trade coffee - or put a brief teaser, with a link to a hub about the topic.
    This would be of interest to a much higher percentage of espresso coffee machine buyers.

    (You now owe me a large cup of your lever pressed coffee smile
    cheers, Eric G.

  11. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    Thanks gusys.

    Eric - I like that. I will switch the focus of the last part, lose the tomatoes and go with that instead. Cheers.

    Lrohner - True - but maybe they will click away on an ad. wink

    Fictionteller - Thanks - I will try leaving that opener the way it is, because I think it is funny as well, but apply what you are saying to the closing paras. Appreciate the input.

  12. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    Thanks for the input everyone. I have cropped the opening paragraph somewhat and changed the focus of the ending rant towards free trade/direct trade coffee and over packaging.

    If you feel like seeing of that works better - please do. The middle is left almost untouched.

    I appreciate the criticism. Only time will tell if I have hit the right balance now.


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