as a writer? This is in reference to what others said on a different thread about why some people are leaving Hubpages. I thought it might be nice to talk about the issue not in reference to any particular hubbers who might be leaving.
I have never been able to make money on my writing, but I don't buy into the philosophy that says that one has to sell out in order to earn. I have always thought that for me to make money on my writing, there would have to be a market for my writing. In other words, I need to find people willing to pay in order to read what I write. If there doesn't happen to be a market for my writing right now, then I can't expect to make money off it right now. But the market could change tomorrow. Or ten years from now. Or after I die.
I also thought that if other people are currently making money off their writing, it might be because there is a market for what they write at the moment. It does not necessarily mean they had to change in order to fit the market. It just might mean that they are in synch with the market -- that what they want to write is what others like to read.
But many of the marketers have suggested that we can write about something that may or may not be interesting to others and that our earnings depend less on the level of interest than on the keywords we use. I am still new to this idea and would love to share insights with others on this point.
If I didn't like something, I'd avoid it entirely. But there is a big grey area of things that I don't love, which I don't necessarily 'don't not like'. If you know what I mean.
But of the things I love, like and interests me, that's a big area to cover. And a person can monetize ANY of it. Without going overboard. The easiest thing is to find a book or three that deals with or complements the topic you've covered.
I think the 'balance' comes from not having too many products. I like to break up the content with a well placed amazon capsule. I'm not a big Amazon seller, and each sale both surprises and delights me, but it has slowly been increasing month on month.
I think there are three types of writers. Those that will write what they want, and don't care for the money (though it's frustrating to hear them complain about it later). Sometimes they get into fiction and poetry and those are the least likely to make revenue.
Then there are those that pick a product/keyword and write in the hope of making sales/clicks.
And then there are those that write, and pick the products to match. If they make some extra effort they'd also do some keyword research to help them focus their aim.
Though people don't always fit neatly in a box. They can use any of those methods for any given hub.
I'm wondering, though, if one does the right research with keywords, then why shouldn't it be possible to earn even on fiction or poetry?
If we are really attracting people to the site with keywords, and the ones who earn us money go straight for the ads and click, then shouldn't it work equally well no matter the content? Then the people who read for content, and never click anyway, might enjoy a good story.
I gave up on the money making and just write what I am passionate about and know about that I enjoy.
I did that, too, long ago and still do it to this day. But what if we didn't have to choose? What if we could be passionate and also earn?
The money will come with time anyway crazd. You do good work here.
You can make money on any topic, but some topics are much easier to get views, and therefor sale clicks, than others. I would write about whatever you like that has the broadest appeal to the masses.
Like, if you love to write about collecting belly button lint and Britney Spears, my bet is go with miss Spears!
Or... write a hub about Britney Spears' Belly Button, and throw in a few books from Amazon on Lint Collecting.
Yeah, but there is so much less competition with the belly lint topic!
I agree with you darkside. And I would fit into the "not neatly in a box." I use all of your mentioned methods to write.
I earn a good deal of money at my "day job" by designing publications for churches and religious groups.
Those who know me have no doubt that I am an atheist.
I don't have a philosophical struggle about it. Actually, I could care less. I'm only looking at graphic elements and type styles.
If those types of projects were voluntary, I would not get involved. But for a paycheck? Why the heck not. And, I work as hard on them as I do on any project.
Design is design. Writing is writing.
I write that which I feel needs to be shared and monetize it when it's possible (and appropriate) to do so.
I started writing about things i like, but now i have started to write hubs that will be of use to people and hopefully will buy the products i am promoting.
This is an area that I too struggle with in terms about how I feel about it.
Obviously, an easy answer would be "no one should ever write about a subject just for the money" (my personal opinion).
Yet, I've had jobs when I was younger, when that was part of the job description -- writing political speeches for congressmen or writing technical manuals, for example. Not topics I cared about, but certainly cared enough to write because I needed to feed my little family. So in that sense I can understand writing to bring in the needed money.
I have somewhat learned to write hubs that have viable $$$ potential and adapt (regardless of subject matter) to a model that increases their earning potential. So in that respect, I write what I want and what I feel my readers like. That formula has served me well in attracting outside freelance jobs that made those hubs pay in ways that adsense, etc. didn't do.
Now, that said, with a marketing background, I understand very well what type of hubs I would need to write if my goal was strictly all about the "money." Where I sit on the fence about is the possibility that I would be letting my more loyal readers down and shooting myself as an author in the keyboard.
I once started to write a hub about my questions and some of my conclusions about this very topic but ended up deleting it when I got bogged down with thoughts on derivative content and substantive content. I think there is a way to achieve both, just not sure that it's the right thing to do?
Jerilee, maybe you should write that hub. I know I'd be interested in reading it, and I'm sure many others would be, too.
I don't have a marketing background. I could have written really great political speeches, but nobody asked me to. So all of that is intriguing to me!
I just reached payment for this month. I also got one last month And, I mostly write about what I am interested in. I have written a few from the ideabank, but mostly it is things I am passionate about that I feel are my best hubs.
Same here UW, I have just started a group of hubs under another profile on vacations in Australia, easy for me to write, I love travel and know the country I am writing about. The thing is, most of us have a lot of interests so hubs can be as diverse as our lives are.
I guess my personal profile is the face I use to communicate face to face, it is a matter of morals I guess. I do not want to be a sock puppet on forums. I make no secret of the other ID. Also I share the vacation sites with my hubpage and real life friend Peter. (agvulpes)on hubpages is his real identity. No secrets, just different circumstances called for the other profile.
SEO came in to it too of course!
Uninvited Writer, good for you! I always suspected that people who make money here do write about their passions!
This thread made me realize that I haven't written anything associated with any "passion" - ever, I don't think.
I have my "sell-out" Hubs that earn me money, even though I haven't cared about them enough to do anything other than let them sit there. Then I have Hubs I've written in response to requests, just because it seemed like a good idea at the time. I'd need another thousand or more or them if they didn't get help from the sell-out Hubs. What i realize (ephiphany!) is that I don't care what I write about. I just like crafting the words (kind of like building with Legos) (like, perhaps, a five-year-old). The only thing is I don't like crafting the words on the sell-out Hubs - only the requests that lend themselves to adding a little "human-ness" when crafting.
So, I guess there's this question: If you don't have a subject that you're passionate about, and all you care about is the crafting and "clicking together" of words, is it really selling out if you pick any old searchable subject and do the whole SEO thing? I guess I've never felt free to write anything from any passion on HubPages, because I'm always trying to straddle the fence between tolerable to write and some shred of useful. Besides, another epiphany - I dislike the Internet enough not to really want to mix it with any "passion" writing. Hmm... I may be partially joining the ranks of PGrundy soon.
I don't think writing just for the sake of making money is bad. If that was true then you could say doing any type of work you like as a paid job was wrong.
Writing is a job for thousands of people. They write 100% just to get paid for it. Look at paralegals, secretaries, transcribers, website makers and so on.
If you love writing that is great. But I don't think anyone should be upset if someone writes for the main reason of making money off it.
Now then, spamming and copying others work and making text just to get a high SE rank is just being a jerk and lazy. But writing good and expecting money for your efforts is fine, IMO.
Bill, the issue isn't the money so much but how the money affects the content. As long as we feel we are doing a good job and are proud of our work, there's nothing wrong with being paid for it, too. Being paid is good. It's like extra recognition. There is only a problem if you feel pressured by the money to do less than a stellar job. In other words, if it feels right, it is right. If it feels wrong, then something must be wrong.
It is an individual preference if you want to write for money or not. I have many people who tell me to write keyword rich or highly priced keyword content. I mostly write on Indian topics or topics i have some knowledge about or things i am passionate about than stuff which can make me more money but things i have no knowledge of.
Well, I don't think I have enough of the puzzle pieces to have a complete picture of which direction to go on this whole subject of writing for money (certainly not enough to write a hub about it). However, I think that regardless of whether or not a person writes for money or not, the truth is that everyone writing wants to be validated and wants to be compensated for what they write.
Looking back across history, getting paid for what your write is not only quite reasonable but also desirable.
Because of the Internet, we live in a world of lightening speed changes that are revolutionizing the publishing industry and the way we get information, be it practical or for pleasure.
So some of my thoughts have been along the line that the blurred line of writing today needs to include writing substantive hubs. Substantive -- meaning hubs that contribute something of value. They need to offer more than just a commerical for advertisers. They should include suggestions, fresh viewpoints, ideas, links to sources of information and give the reader insights into the general subject matter.
I think ideally our readers here on hubpages want more. Good writing takes hard work and research. Readers want the nitty gritty meat of the subject, not just an overview of what anyone with half a brain already knows. I would hope that they want to see value in our hubs, not just something that is monetarized.
I believe somewhere there is a balance between good and interesting writing and writing to earn a living. I could be wrong, but I sometimes think that there should be a crack down on low value content being allowed on hubpages because it detracts from us all?
Jerilee, it is quite reasonable to want to be paid for our writing, agreed. That isn't really the issue, as I see it. The issue is, should we write what we want, and then should those who value what we write pay us -- or should we write what we think will bring pay.
Paradoxically, most of us want to write substance. We want to give value. But sometimes we are told that if we give too much value, we won't get paid! In their own way, some of the people who are leaving disgruntled are complaining about that. They don't always express it clearly, and sometimes it seems that they are angry with others who have found a better balance, but I think this is the issue that we all face.
I'm looking for a positive solution that won't involve telling others what to write, or pass judgment on those whose personal standards are different from our own, but will encourage everyone to find what is best for them. And I'm still feeling my way around as to what is best for me...
No not yet so far, I will think about writing other stuff which sells next year,
Me too...I do the Poetry for fun...would be nice to make some money with it...but not sure how much that could happen on a serious level. Going to be looking into more ways in the New Year Too...Good Fortune to you in the New Year, PDH!
I will never do that. I have made next to no money here at HP and I could care less. I am here because I enjoy the process. If all I was after was a buck I may as well pack it in . I have no illusions that I am Hemingway or Gore Vidal. I will always write about what I care about. I leave my ego at the door when it comes to HP. Good thing I gotta job
Tony, fair enough! But what about your job? Would you do it if you didn't get paid? Are there some things an employer might ask you to do that you wouldn't?
I think none of us are really just after a buck. We want to earn while doing something that we feel good about.
Writing for me fulfills various needs. For one, it is helping get through the ending of a very intense relationship! That in itself is invaluable. That being said, although I never write about anything that I hate, I am writing with an eye towards eventually making a living. So far, it is the most enjoyable undertaking I have ever been involved in. I have been thrust into the middle of a business that I know nothing about, but I am learning everyday. I do have diverse interests, which helps, but If I start an article and I am just not feeling it, I usually will abandon it for something better. See how long winded I can be? Btw, I feel no guilt whatsoever about trying to make as much money as possible, money is necessary to live in our modern world.
some of my articles are for earnings and some are for the things I like to write about
Writing is supposed to be an artform. Art and commerce are rarely intersecting ,at least not until recent times. But Aya to tell you if I could do this and make a living I would.Just to have nice comments for me is great. Maybe the money will come in time. But gratification is not always necessarily measured in currency. Like I have said many times , I am not a writer I am just a guy with an opinion
I've been reading this since it started. It is really an interesting testament to why some of us are here. I came looking for a way to make money and I do make some. It isn't a fortune but I know as I grow and learn more it can increase. I'm still a babe in the woods when it comes to the keyword and SEO thing.
I like the platform here but I try not to focus too much on the money end of it right now. I'm more about learning and seeing what works and what doesn't. As for that it seems having a balance of both commercialized product specific hubs and general interest hubs is what works for me.
I will be investigating a few things I have learned about through hubpages over the course of the next year as I do want to try and have a good distribution of strings of income. I also intend to focus a bit more on my fictional writing as what little I have posted here and the comments have made me really want to get back at that form of writing.
Good stuff there Lynn. For me though if I am just thinking about the coin it dilutes the pleasure of the process. And this is a passion for most of us as I am sure it is for you. And I also think if I just think about the coin I compromise myself. I already have to do that enough in daily life
I do not think you have to write about things you do not like in order to make money. I really do think you can have fun learning about something and sharing with the hopes that it may lead to a sale or click. I have one or two sales hubs () that I quite enjoyed writing to. I cannot say that what I have done is going to lead to sales and its a bit early to say if they will or not. I am rather proud of my hubs on jade carvings, celtic jewelry and even treasure hunting metal detectors! I think the point is that I had fun finding something fun or interesting to say about those things and it must come through in my writing because they have decent hub scores and have gotten very nice comments from my friends here. These are things I really wish I could afford to buy myself and they did not feel like sell out hubs to me.
I have a few hubs that I wrote by looking for good keywords with google and all the seo stuff and no real personal interest, the writing felt a bit like blagging my way through and you know what, they either do not do well or they take forever to get close to a decent hub score or traffic etc. Is it a surprise that writing something I felt little to no inspiration for has had poor results, not really. If eventually they earn something for my time then cool. I like to balance those boring hubs with ones written just for fun.
Now if I could find some cool stuff on amazon that every evil overlord must have to succeed in their plans for world domination I might be able to monazite a hub that was written for fun with no expectation of earning, just to make you guys laugh. I have yet to get the courage to post to the hub makeover forums but perhaps this would be one that I could ask for help on. Or I may just spend some time window shopping on amazon and who knows I may come across something I wish I could buy and would enjoy writing about
My final word, I don't think its easy to make money writing about stuff that you do not enjoy and that it is much easier if you can have some passion for what you are trying to sell
Hi Aya - good question! No, I don't think you 'have to" do anything you don't like but I do believe that when it comes to earning something from your writing, it pays to be practical and objective (at least to some degree!) I run a writing service and like Misha said, I outsource what I don't like. Do the writers I outsource to further outsource? I don't know and don't care as long as they send me acceptable work on time.
HP for me is fun stuff but I must admit - my natural health articles are starting to bring in some money so something you like and are passionate about can be paying as well. The thing is to stick it out and come to a point where one is able to be picky and choosy. To expect good writing to sell or pull in the money as soon as it's published is rather naive. It does happen to a lucky few but for the most part, writers have to go through the ranks like everyone else.
Finally, you can either write for money - in which case you'd better learn the ropes, or you can write for fun and self indulgence - in which case, don't look behind to see if the big bucks are following. If they do chance upon you, that's just good luck - but you can't expect it.
Shalini, practical and objective are good things to be. The question is how?
I agree that we can't necessarily expect others to want what we want or like what we like, so in that sense it is perfectly understandable that what we think is our best writing is not necessarily what will bring money or even recognition.
The area in which things are less clear to me is this: sometimes everybody agrees that something is good, but there is no market for it. That's where I get confused. If everybody likes something, why doesn't it pay to produce it?
Conversely, if everybody agrees that some articles are not good, why is it that they pay?
When we outsource an unappealing assignment to someone else, what is the likelihood that the other person feels good about doing it? I know that this is not necessarily any of our business, but it's still something I'm curious about!
It's not that there's no market for it (good-quality fiction, commentary, etc) but how exactly you get that in the hands of people who might want to read it, and how it's monetized.
Search engine traffic is very much information-driven, which means that your average searcher is looking for a bit of information and will click on the result that most closely matches their query.
Far fewer look to search engines to find fiction, and they will never know to enter the unique title of fiction. (i.e. they might type in "stories about unicorns" but never "the lost unicorn of atlantis" or whatever).
Informational articles also have the benefit of having contextual ads (AdSense) that match the conent of the article, so that if the reader still wants more information--as they usually do--they click on ads to find out even more. Fiction rarely works this way - Google doesn't know what ads to serve up to match the content (are there even advertisers of unicorn books?). What ads are served up are rarely clicked on because the reader is not necessarily looking for anything else.
As for the difference between zeal in producing and reading content: there has always been that difference. Lots of people love writing about the details of their lives, but no one else will really want to read that. Conversely, there are lots of people who want information about a certain topic, but very few who either know about the topic or who want to trouble themselves to research it thoroughly in order to write about it competently.
Hi Aya, I've been following this thread with interest. You raise some thought provoking questions.
I think there's a market for almost any kind of quality writing - but a writer needs to think about where their writing will sell. Should it be a book? Will it be most suited to a newspaper - if so which kind? Is it more suitable for a magazine - general or specialist? Is it better suited to an online audience - and if so what audience? Is there a particular website where their writing will pay better than another? There are many more choices and options available for writers these are just a few examples.
IMO it's about either finding a venue that suits your style or adapting your style to suit your venue.
That's just my two pennies worth! I enjoyed reading your hubs Aya
Hi again Aya - I don't have the answers - but maybe it's because the 'everyone' for us is just a small minority and the stuff the masses like is what counts?
When you outsource, you don't know that the person likes what he/she is doing or not but most of them do it anyway and do it well if they want more work. It's like any other job I guess - you can grumble about job satisfaction or you can make up your mind that a bit of detachment is in order, roll up your sleeves and get down to it. If you can whistle a tune while you do it, then great - you're the one who feels good, never mind what the work is like!
Very often you can't have a perfect meld of work and your own particular passion (save a few lucky ones!) - the trick is to get over the 'don't like it' part. Till you find something where what you like is paying - then hold on and don't let go
Hi Aya, this is a good question. I think that in order to make money online with your writing you have to know the nature of how the internet is being used. The traffic determines the market and if you tap into a niche that has high traffic searches and you can position your content in a way that is competitive with others doing the same, then you will earn money online.
Certainly, there are people searching the internet for fiction, humor, pictures; things that may not have a huge profit margin but do have huge competition. This type of content is going to be much harder to earn from. Not impossible though, you just have to learn how to position it to be profitable.
It this type of content isn't earning money on Hubpages its because this just might not be the right positioning or enough positioning to earn from it.
Take Nelle for example, she writes mainly product hubs under a few identities here on HP and she recently had a $1000 payout in a single month. HP was not the only place she positioned her content. She has her own network of 20+ blogs which she links to. This helps boost her content up in the SERPs and get more traffic...traffic that is converting to clicks and sales.
I was one that mentioned on another tread that sometimes a writer has to write things they are not exactly interested in, in order to eat. What I meant was that as a freelancer, technical writer, corporate writer, copywriter, etc. you are hired by a client to write what they want. Now you can obviously turn down projects of subjects you're not interested in, but how many can you turn down before you have to make the choice to write or eat?
See this is the thing I am learning about HP that I love. You can do what you want here. Let's say I want to start doing nothing but product hubs but I want to have my hub page that is breezy and full of just all kinds of stuff. I can here. I love that. I also love, love, love the sharing of information.
I can go out and following what I have learned by studying affiliate marketing here from people like Nelle and follow their example. It takes a while to build this up but it can be done.
Write about what you love, write about what will bring in money it is all up for the taking here.
I started out writing about what interests me. If a certain topic gets more traffic, then I write more about that topic.
I can't allow myself to write something I'm not passionate about on here. It seems to be a waste of myself if every site I write for is meaningless. I don't make much money at all (most days I make nothing), and I don't mind it. I genuinely love to share my poetry and other loves with people so perhaps they can identify. I write content for other websites for money, I use HubPages moreso to share creativity.
I'm just getting my head around the adsense stuff but I would have thought writing anything well about a particular topic will probably hit a lot of the keywords anyway, and writing with too much of an eye on the word ratings will seriously distort the style. It might get hits but it wouldn't read well. As a writer, that's more important than the clicks.
It just means that writing well means it won't necessarily pick up the hits quite so quickly but I hope that people are also attracted to quality. I'm still new to this but it's interesting.
Thanks everybody for sharing your own thoughts on this. I think there are two main lines of thought, and possibly the wonderful thing about Hubpages is that sometimes they can even converge.
1) If you want to earn by writing, you have to be flexible about what you write so as to meet the requirements of the market as it is currently constituted. You have to learn the rules and play by the rules.
2) You don't have to earn your bread by writing. There are many other ways to support oneself. So if the rules are not rules you feel comfortable playing by, you don't have to play.
Here on Hubpages we can do a little of both. We can be flexible and learn more about the rules. But we can also refuse to bend too much -- and we can still write for the pure joy of it.
Maybe we can even change the market as it is currently consitituted by being active readers and supporting what we like that others write.
This is a key idea that is being done right now by the big players online through what is known as "peer recommendations."
Through sites like Twitter where huge numbers of people are adding Tweets, some of the large marketing firms are aggregating those tweets to predict market trends. They use all the big social bookmarking sites for the same purpose. But they also have big pocketbooks to feed us advertising that will steer us to those trends.
For example, go to Amazon and search for any item. On the display page of that item, Amazon will also display other items that may be related. Not to be confused with upsales like batteries. Using a model of prediction, they can show us that poeple who bought product A also bought product B. The same thing is done on Netflix, if you liked this movie then you will probably like this one as well.
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