Making Money Online by Partnering With HubPages
Making Money With Hubpages, the Beginning
I have wanted to write this hub for some time, but swore I wouldn't do it until I earned my first $100 payout from Adsense. Well, that time has come - I've earned my first Adsense payout and I finally get to write the hub.
This article (hub in the local jargon) is aimed primarily at the newbie to Hubpages; it is intended to offer encouragement and perhaps some tips on how to make money online, using Hubpages as a "partner" in the effort. Making money online isn't easy, especially for the beginner to the whole concept, but my own experience is clear evidence that it is possible.
Along the way I also want to offer some explanations to the newcomer to Hubpages that doesn't have any idea what Hubpages is all about, or any concept of how to make money online. On a side note to hubbers that already understand Hubpages, this hub is written with almost no SEO, very little in the way of keywords, and no real effort to make money from it even though it is still writing online, and still using Hubpages as a partner. It is more of a diary of my experience these past few months writing through Hubpages. You will find links to my other work scattered throughout the hub, but that is far as the money making end of it goes.
Pertinent Information About Wilderness
Although my profile page is, of course, open to all to peruse, a little more information about me and my history might be valuable to newcomers.
While I have been to college, my studies and training there were in the sciences - I stayed as far away from things like English or Writing as I possibly could. I am in no way an experienced writer - I've written exactly one letter to the editor of a local newspaper and nothing else! I had (note the past tense) no interest in being published, and did not believe that anyone would be interested in what I had to say anyway. I can turn a computer on and surf the web a little but that is the limit of my internet knowledge. Oh, and I knew what google was - something to help me find the information I want.
Drawn to Hubpages by a link to a controversial hub, I first arrived sometime in March, 2010 and made a few comments on that particular hub. I was laid off from work at the time and had lots of time to surf around, eventually the Hubpages forum came to my attention - that looked like fun!
You have to join Hubpages to post on the forum, but it's free to join, so I did. I even wrote a hub in late April, and another in late May. That was fun, and I got a few comments on them, but that was about it. Then I began to read something in the forums about making money online with Hubpages and my ears perked right up (remember, I was unemployed!).
I wrote my first hub intended as a serious effort to make money online on June 6, 2010 and have continued off and on since then. I went back to work, and that put a serious crimp in my Hubpages activity, but I haven't stopped writing and the money has begun to come in.
About HubPages, From an Authors Viewpoint
HubPages is a great place to start a freelance writing career, whether that career be for money or for fun. Whether it is part time or full time. Even whether you are an accomplished writer or a total newbie as I was.
HubPages is a great community of writers and authors, and most are more than willing to help a newbie learn the ropes of freelance writing. It is a very user-friendly place, although there are rules that must be followed (aren't there always?). The rules are not onerous; upon joining I hadn't read the TOS (I didn't know what that was) and never ran afoul of the rules anyway. I might point out, though, that this is not a good way to begin - read the TOS in the help section before writing hubs or posting on the forums! There is no cost to join HubPages - it is free to partner here in your writing. My only cost to date has been less than $5 for props to take some pictures for one hub.
While there are many things HubPages is, there are also things it is not. HubPages is not a social site for gossip, although the forums sometimes degenerate into that. It is not intended as a site simply to place backlinks to other sites - let Digg, Stumbleupon and other such sites perform that task. I have read several articles on the web saying that HubPages is a scam; inevitably the writer either wants to write garbage for the purpose of providing links to their other work elsewhere or simply won't do the work to publish quality hubs. HubPages is not a scam; it is a business, making money. When you make money online with HubPages, a part of that money goes to HubPages to maintain the site you use for free and for profit. I repeat, it is a business.
Hubpages is also not a "get rich quick" scheme, nor is it an "easy way to make money online". There are no such things; to be successful you must work hard (though not as hard as digging ditches!) and give it time (though not an excessive amount). Few people make the minimum $100 payout from Adsense in less than 6 months, but that income can go on for months or even years from hubs written long ago.
June, 2010 - the First Month Trying to Make Money Online
June, 2010, was the first month I published a hub with the intention of making money online, so lets start there. I had read and understood the concept of residual income from HubPages - I had no expectations of making a million dollars the first year (we'll save that for the second year!). I had hopes for something that first month, but certainly not much.
I also understood that traffic is the key to making money online. Without traffic, there will be no income, while high traffic figures will probably (probably!) produce more income. I set myself a goal of one hub per day and spent the rest of my time trying to learn the ropes. What were, and how to use, keywords? How to present a page that was visually pleasing to most people? Where to place photos or ads? I knew that what I was writing probably wouldn't be very successful, but that was all right - I could always edit my work later. I experimented by writing hubs that covered a wide range of subjects, trying to find something that fit my own knowledge and abilities. I refuse to present information about something I know nothing about; quality is king and without that knowledge I do not feel I can present anything of value to the reader (this hub may be the exception - we'll see!)
I also spent considerable time in the forums. I find them fun and interesting in many cases, but more important was to participate in the community and to learn. I wanted to meet other hubbers. I read dozens and dozens of hubs, written by far more experienced hubbers, and when the rare opportunity to help someone else presented itself I tried to help out. Become a part of the community; it's important!
Seeing my traffic numbers was exciting, although not so much when I figured out that it was all from HubPages readers and they very seldom earn me anything (click on "my account", then "traffic sources"). I had signed up for the Adsense and Amazon affiliate programs, but didn't know how to find my earnings and thought I had earned nothing all month. I kept writing, though, and by the end of the month had accumulated some 800 page impressions (my hubs had been read 800 times). Eventually I discovered that I had made $.02 in June - a happy number as I had though it was 0. I had had no clicks for Adsense nor sales from Amazon.
By the end of June I had written 21 hubs (including the earlier 2) - I was satisfied with that, having taken some time off from writing when family came to visit for 2 weeks around the 4th of July.
I was of course disappointed in my effort to make money online, but only a little bit. I still understood that it would take time to "age" my hubs to the point that I would get the "organic" (non-HubPages) traffic necessary to earn any money. Overall, I was satisfied. I had learned a great deal about using keywords (I found the google keyword tool). I learned to put my keywords in the title and first capsule, sprinkling them through the hub as well. I learned not to put a photo in the top text capsule (I nearly always use photos - they break the hub visually) and to put Amazon capsules in the second. Don't make long capsules; keep them short and use more of them.
July was another June, with the difference that numbers began to grow. I was still in school, learning all I could about writing hubs. I learned to group my hubs by using the group function offered by HubPages. I learned how to use RSS feeds and with help and advice from Sunforged I managed to post rss feeds to all of my hubs on a variety of sites, and then to post rss feeds of individual groupings of hubs written on similar topics.
I worked hard on SEO practices and continued to learn. How to use the google keyword tool. How to use long tail keywords. Better use of tags.
Promotion raised it's head and I tried to learn how to promote my hubs offsite. It didn't take long to find out that there is considerable controversy about backlinking; some hubbers swear by it and others claim it's worthless. My own decision was to forget about backlinking except for the rss feeds already done and the links I always try to provide between hubs.
Traffic increased in July to around 2300 page impressions and I began to see more and more organic views in that. A few clicks earned me $3 in adsense and I got my first Amazon sale, netting $.20.
Once again I felt that I had something to be pleased about, particularly the traffic figure for the month.
August - Things Begin to Move a Little
I went back to work in late July, working long odd hours, and it severely limited my time on HubPages. I was lucky to publish 3 hubs a week instead of 7, but we can't always have everything we want. I did the best I could, and published whenever possible.
The learning process continued - I finally found some information on the use of the keyword tool and discovered I had usually done it wrong. I had been considering what came up as a possibility, instead of only looking at those phrases in the "exact" section of the tool. I also decided to use terms with relatively low search rates as an experiment. This was successful; some of my best performing hubs have keywords that google shows get very little traffic.
I continued to diversify my topics, adding some travel hubs to the mix. They did not perform well, but time will tell if I need more of them.
August ended on a great note with some 5000 views, quite a few more clicks and earnings of $13 from adsense. I also made my first payout of $11 from Amazon, which was really encouraging in that there was finally some money actually coming. True, I wouldn't see it for 2 months, but it was coming!
September, a Disappointing Month
The month started with Labor day week, and traffic and earnings were poor. I also discovered that nearly 20% of my hubs were not indexed by Google, from the 10 latest ones to earlier ones I had modified. The forums pointed me to a hub by Edweirdo, about using older hubs to promote newer ones, which sounded like it might help. I instituted a tag for cold hubs and tried it out but to date it doesn't seem to have helped any. I'm still working on it.
The pace of my writing continued to be slow; I am not interested in devoting my entire life to earning money. A few hours per week would have to suffice, and I ended the month with 17 new hubs.
Eventually most of the hubs were indexed, but a few remained through the entire month without indexing (one took over 6 weeks, well into October, before finally being indexed) and I believe that contributed some to the poor traffic showing during the month. Late in the month I began the slow process of backlinking all my hubs through Xomba, and even wrote one short article there in the hopes of better indexing and traffic. While there were two good weeks, setting personal records for both one day traffic and earnings, there were also two very poor weeks.
All was not totally lost, however. By the end of the month there had been around 4600 page impressions, and earnings topped $27. During the month I had passed 10,000 views total, earning another accolade from HubPages, and I was reasonably pleased, noting that the earnings for September had once more doubled the previous month. By this time my total earnings was about $44; if October again doubled those in September I would make payout of $100 in October. We'll see.
I did learn one valuable lesson through the poor traffic weeks. Statistics are just that, not an indication of daily traffic or earnings. I had known that, but had not seen either one vary as wildly day to day as they did in September. Bad days will happen, but even very bad weeks do not mean the concept is failing; it means it is a bad week and nothing more. Indeed, the last day of September set a new one day high for earnings, and by quite a bit. It is a lesson I won't forget; it will take several months of poor results (and not the expected doldrums of summer) to disappoint me again.
October was the month I hoped to make my first Adsense payout. The month started with a bang; page impressions, income and clicks were all up. By the end of the first week my hopes for payout were high, even though I still realized I was unlikely to double September's record earnings. The second week was also good, but by the time the third week rolled around income had fallen badly. By Friday, October 29, I realized that it just wasn't going to happen - I still needed several dollars and Saturday had been a poor day every week from July to date.
On an encouraging note, I received the payment from Amazon that I had earned in July. A total of $10, it was the first earnings I had received in my hot little hand.
Fortunately, the angels of contrariness smiled on me and for the first time Saturday was a good day in both impressions and income. Friday had set a one day earning record, but Saturday turned right around and repeated the process, with a one day record for the number of clicks, daily income and the highest paying click I had ever received. By bedtime Saturday night I was less than a dollar from payout, and fully expected to make that the next day, my last chance in October.
Sunday morning it was with excitement and anticipation that I once more checked my Adsense earnings. Rats! Only 3 cents. That was OK, though - I very seldom make anything early in the morning. The monthly total, however, told a different story - I had received several late night clicks and was over the payout limit already! A very happy day, indeed, and one that made the publishing of this hub, started so long ago, possible.
It is worth noting that the pace has picked up; after crossing 10,000 total views in September my HubPages statistics show over 23,000 total views with a few hours yet to go in October. This hub makes my 87th; my writing has slowed but not stopped, and in spite of the slowing pace of my writing views have gone from 10,000 in the first 3 months to 13,000 in a little over a month's time. It does indeed take time to "age" a hub.
*Edit* A quick update for November. It was a disappointing month for Adsense as I had hoped (but not expected) to make payout again and fell well short with only about $68. On the plus side, however, I earned $83 from Amazon during the month which was a huge surprise as I had never topped $6 before! The bottom line for November was that once more, and for probably the last time, I managed to more than double the previous month's earnings. The last time because the numbers are simply getting far too large to continue doubling each month and because I expect poor earnings after the upcoming Christmas buying season.
*Edit in 2012* With the introduction of the HP earnings program I have made payout each month for over a year now. The logistics of actually earning payout have changed considerably; I earn very little from Adsense, far more from HP earnings and even a steady payout from Amazon. The earnings reported in this hub are therefore not particularly applicable to the programs available today, but the traffic numbers are. The Panda (and it's updates) have changed things, but the traffic reported here is quite possible for anyone.
*Edit, June 4, 2013* A final update on my experience with HubPages. It is almost 3 years to the day since writing my first "real" hub and today saw another major milestone; I crossed one million total views this morning. At the time this hub was started, in late 2010, such a thing was beyond imagination but it has happened, and with a total income over the three years of something over $10,000. Not a princely sum considering the time put into learning and writing, but the dollars earned per hour of work continually grows as those old hubs still produce income three years later. The hub with the highest daily traffic was written in August of 2010 and is a testament to the idea of writing "evergreen" hubs.
I went "back to school" last year, in the Apprenticship Program; something I can highly recommend. It was not easy getting through it, but it was well worth the effort and I would encourage anyone new to HubPages to do so. Writing on the web is not static, and there is always something new coming up that will require ever more "going to school" one way or another.
I have proven, at least to myself, that it is indeed possible to make money online by partnering with HubPages as a free lance writer; in 4½ months I have earned 3 different payouts for a total of about $140. With no experience whatsoever and no knowledge of how internet affiliate marketing works, I have managed to pull a small amount of income out of the process and fully expect that income to continue to grow over time. It has taken a lot of work (the learning curve is steep for a newbie such as myself) but it has been worth it. Many of my own hubs earn nothing, and as such are failures, but enough make money online to make the experience a success.
I have also enjoyed most my time spent on HubPages. I have participated in several contests from other hubbers both to improve my skills and to simply have fun writing. I've written (I hope) interesting and valuable hubs as well as some just for fun. I have written about personal opinions, humorous happenings from my past and from my own knowledge base about home improvement. I've written purely fictional humor hubs and about interesting and fun places I've been. Occasionally I get a little tired of the work and take a break by either posting on the forums and interacting with the other mad "hubbers" here or writing a fun hub just for the pleasure of doing it. I watch my statistics and take encouragement from the little successes and, always, try to learn more about the art of making money online.
I would definitely do it all over again. I started the project as a way to provide some small additional income after my retirement (not too many years away); anything there would help after the hit the recession put on my retirement funds. I think there is little doubt that I will accomplish that future goal with only a reasonable amount of work; some hubbers report incomes in the thousands per month, which is far more than I hope for with only part time effort. A few hundred per month, perhaps a thousand, would add considerably to other income when I leave the workforce once and for all.
If you, the reader, are interested in making some extra money online, partnering with HubPages is the best method I've heard of. As I've said, it is not a get rich quick scheme, nor is it particularly easy (at least in the beginning) but is fun and it is free. HubPages offers a referral program, and you can join in the fun and income by joining HubPages here. It is a no-risk action; there is no cost and no one will bug you to do anything. I receive a weekly email update from HubPages because I asked to, but no one fills my email box with trash. I offer my own help and knowledge, such as it is, to anyone wishing to become a free lance writer; why not give it a try?
© 2010 Dan Harmon