Quick questions on new Q & A:
First, I'm just curious about on average how long people's responses are. We've talked about making answers longer for quality and ranking purposes but I am not writing most as anything close to as long as a hub.
Second, in regards to length - if I do write an answer that is long and can actually expand it if I choose is it better to leave it as an answer or expand it into a hub? Maybe it's six of one, half dozen of the rest but the features for hubs seem to be in keeping with Google algorithm factors.
Third, I am getting some questions that there just isn't much to say about. If the answer is just going to be a few sentences long, is it better to hide the question even if I can answer it though that would possibly offend the person asking and lost that reader. I don't really want to start writing entirely new questions just to be able to write a long answer. (An ex. of one of these questions would be one related to a Fried Green Tomato recipe. The person wants to know if the green tomatoes used are just unripe or if there are actually varieties of green tomatoes.)
I've been curious about this as well.
I have two answers that are 3 paragraphs long. The one Q/A I have been thinking about hiding because I feel like it's a sensitive/personal topic to the reader and I might not have worded everything in a good way. My other long Q/A is trying to explain how to fix cookie dough without actually knowing the recipe or what was wrong with the dough.
I'm actually getting kind of annoyed with the Q/A, because most of them are on my "How to..." about cookies and people wanting me to fix their recipes. I don't know how I'm suppose to fix a recipe I've never been given. Honestly, I cannot fix a recipe simply by reading it either. I would have to make the recipe and see what exactly the dough looks like and quite frankly I don't have the time to do that. I had another reader ask me for a dog treat recipe on a different article. No where in the article did I say that I make my own. I did a quick Google search and gave them a recipe with a disclaimer that I've never made it, but that I could vouch that the ingredients were all dog friendly. I've been considering hiding that one as well as I don't really have experience making the recipe and again I don't have time currently to try a new recipe simply for dog treats.
My other Q/A's I've answered with a few sentences. One could have easily been Googled, but it was also something that I probably should have included in my article so I wrote a quick response so others could benefit from it as well. I think there was maybe one question that could have been answered from within the article, but I expanded on it and gave some new additional information.
I currently have one question waiting to be answered, because I'm not sure what the question is asking and therefore not sure how to answer it. Is it acceptable to get help with questions similar to how we get help with articles? I'm not sure if I can re-word, because I'm not 100% certain what they are trying to ask.
I doubt there's a problem with asking us for advice; after all, Q&A questions are available for the public to see (once answered), so it's not like you're disclosing private information.
Also, feel free to "hide" questions that are unreasonable. I used to want to answer each and every one, and I do my best, but sometimes some are simply repetitive, unclear, or irrelevant.
I'll consider asking in the forums. If I'm understanding the question it could potentially be useful, although it does not relate 100% to the article. Might be worth writing a whole new article. I'll have to weigh my options.
How much time do you think is reasonable between the reader asking the question and us giving answers? Some of the questions I've received feel like they want immediate answers, while others could wait until I have time. If I understand correctly the person asking the question receives an e-mail after I answer it, correct?
I think I might have to start hiding more questions. So far I've only hid the few that didn't make any sense at all. I have one or two still waiting to be answered, but I might just hide them at this point. They've been there for a few days now as I don't know how to answer them.
Thanks for the info. I don't see why you shouldn't see if anyone in the community might be able to help you figure out what a question is asking. We all see things a little differently and there could be someone who reads it a different way which enables you to reword the question in a clearer manner and provide a good answer.
I've had a few questions there were answered in 2 or 3 sentences. However, I've answered most of mine in a few paragraphs. My longest answer that did not result in a new hub was about 200 words long.
In my opinion if your answer starts to get lengthy, it might be better to write a new hub instead. This is especially the case if the answer is not entirely on the topic of the original hub. I had this exact situation the other day. After I wrote and posted the hub I when back to answer the question with a summary of the response followed by referring them to my new hub.
To your third point, you can do a couple of things. You can either hide the question or edit the question so that you can give a more detailed response. However, I don't think it would necessarily be a bad thing to have a short answer though. I'm not sure what HubPages' intent is with the Q and A, however I can't imagine that they would expect every answer to be lengthy. It would seem to me that the intent is to supplement the original hub and improve its readership and ranking rather than necessarily being a standalone page to drive traffic too. In fact, I've noticed that some of my answers create a new page whereas others just show on the original hubs. In either case, the added detail should improve the overall article, just as comments do.
I still have a few questions that aren't answered yet because I am not sure exactly what they are asking for. I may edit those questions to ask something else that may be useful to readers instead or I'll just end up hiding it.
It is so obvious that people do not read an article. Most questions are clearly addressed in the article and they ask them anyway. I only answer a question if it takes a few sentences and if it is Not already part of the article. I find that a lot of people want problem solving done for them. That is a touchy situation because one wonders if you are becoming acountable over the Internet for things that can only be suggested.
I hide many questions, especially if the writer can not even use a capital "I".
My shortest answer so far is,”Yes, you can.”
(He wanted to know if he could use dried parsley instead of fresh.)
But isn't there a difference in quantities? Dried is more concentrated than fresh as in 1tbs to 3tbs. I would explain that and advise how much he should use.
I thought of that, but it wasn't a really in a recipe. Just ways to use parsley as a garnish and how to keep it fresh for use.
He wanted to know if he could sprinkle dried parsley on his soup or noodles.
I've decided that the Q and A is an opportunity for me to know more about what my readers want to hear, and it is also an opportunity for me to write a good searchable question. Most of my questions have errors in spelling and grammar. I re-write the question clearly in the editing function and word it better so that I can answer it more clearly and completely. I generally try to add more information and write about 100 to 250 words. Often, I do end up repeating something I've said somewhere in my writing but that is all right. If people just want to know that particular fact, I'm giving them another place to get that information. I also will put in a link to another hub if they can get more information there. Since many of my hubs have interconnected topics, that works well and hopefully will provide a traffic source.
That's optimistic. Most of mine are covered in the article and the people are too lazy to read.
I expected to get astrology questions, most of my hubs are about it. But people wanting to know if they are compatible with someone they have been seeing for a year? Shouldn't they have figured that out by then? I haven't looked at my own chart for about six months. People seem to have a mental picture of me sitting in a swirl of planets, deciding my every move. Maybe I'm just cranky, I have a toothache and can't get a dentist until Thursday. Perhaps my charming self will return?
At present I am hiding about 75% of the questions. It's lovely to find one that is an actual question about the article topic.
On a tarot+love article, I had a question (it was actually a comment) asking if I could tell when they would sell their house.
The question that totally stumped me was on my Omen hub. they asked ' what if I see loads of maggots?' LOL! okay, erm.....!
Some of my answers are really long. A few are just one sentence.
When a question is not clear, I write something like ‘If you’re saying .... , then ...... ‘ Followed by another paragraph, ‘However if your concern is ..... , I suggest .... ‘
It takes a bit of effort but will probably pay off in search results in the future.
I wonder if we’ll ever be able to change the order of displayed questions. For one thing, I’d rather show short questions instead of long ones.
Plus I’m not convinced everyone writing a question gives their email (as some have suggested), given the nature of some of my questions. So if they’re coming back to check, they have to click ‘more’ to get all the way down to recent answers. It would be easier for them if new questions showed up first.
I think it would be great if we could choose which questions to ‘feature’ on the page, like we choose hubs on our profile page. (Probably too much to hope for though.)
I do not think it is too much to hope for. I wrote HP staff and asked for the same thing, but was told that questions are arranged according to traffic, at this time.
If more people would contact HP and ask for the ability to arrange questions they would be able to recognize the problem more easily, and would be more willing to put this change at the top of the list. (The list being all of those changes we need around here. They do happen!)
The Q&A works well for me. Some answers may be a flop but some really take off. Remember that people don't need to go to your article and scroll down to see the answers. These are indexed on a separate page. As I've said before, it's like a little loophole to get plenty of traffic without having to write an entire article.
Now THAT'S impressive! I had not looked at that in that light, but doing so tells me I've had 880 views in 7 days and 12,000 since last November. And it carries ads, now, too.
Way to go, HP!
Also, since we have numbers to see what questions are getting asked the most, it gave me an idea for a new hub. I've complained about the ridiculous questions, but there is quite an up side to this. Or at least we can see if a certain hub answers most questions we aimed for, but needs a bit more information. We know our topics, but our readers don't, so we can leave out what seems like a small detail to us, but they need.
2,500 in last 7 days and 12,320 ever (since 13th March)
I think Dr Mark's stats outstrips all of ours by a mile.
He has a good niche, as do I. Mine is just very seasonal. I was impressed and am impressed with the traffic compared to last year though. Based on history here, traffic doesn't get big until the end of May. So it's a good sign considering the recent "Google scare" lol
Good Lord! No wonder you hide 3/4 of them! You'd spend all day just answering questions.
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