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12 Overlooked Writing Techniques for Successful Hubs

Updated on March 07, 2017
Glenn Stok profile image

In addition to applying his education, experience and professional background to his writing, Glenn Stok also shares tips for other authors.

As I read other Hubs and engage in the forums, I see that some people don’t use all the available tools to achieve success with their writing on HubPages. My mission with this discussion is to bring these tools and features to your attention. This is also useful for newbies and anyone deciding to write for HubPages.
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award
2015 Lifetime Achievement Award

You Write Articles

Don’t You?


When mentioning your hubs to the outside world, or referring to another hub in a hub, don’t refer to them as a hub. Only other Hubbers know what that is. Refer to it as an "article."

Most of our traffic is organic, from the outside world. At least that’s the traffic we hope to get.

In addition, don’t call it a blog! I see some people doing that. HubPages is not a blog site. Articles are stand-alone pages of informative content. Blogs may be informative too, but are less formal and don't require as much research.


"About The Author" Bio

Do You Include This?


The most usually missed feature is the Author Bio. I read so many hubs that are missing this.

Don’t confuse this with the profile bio. The Author Bio is managed under the "About the Author" tab under your account page. You can include a short bio with your avatar image on your individual Hubs. You can create up to 25 individual bios and each is limited to 140 characters.

The purpose of each bio is to provide a description of your expertise in the topic so that readers can see that you have authority on the subject. The presence of a bio under your avatar helps the reader have confidence in you and rely on the information in your article.

I created several individual bios, each one specific to the categories I write about. If all your hubs are related to one theme, then you probably only need one Author Bio. However, most of us tend to write hubs on a variety of unrelated subjects. A unique bio for each category will relate better and add to your reader’s confidence in your writing.

Once you have created one or more bios, you can assign each of your hubs to each bio. There is no limit to how many hubs can be assigned to a bio. You’re just limited to the 25 bios.

Remember, you should make each bio relate well to the assigned hubs. I write most of my bios in a general way so they can be applied to several different hubs. However, in one case I decided to make a bio very specific to the hub as shown below. You’re free to do that as long as it helps the reader gain confidence in your authority on the subject of the hub.

The point is that you should write your bio so that it works well for each of your hubs. Just remember that the bio is meant to express author credibility.

Here is an example of my bio I use for my product review hubs. This is the format on the top of the niche sites. It's a little different on the main site and appears on the right of the hub. Eventually HubPages may make the main site match the same layout.

Display Options in the HubTool

Do You Set These?


Open the Display Options when you’re editing your hub with the HubTool. I always set two things there before I even start, just so I don’t forget later.

  1. Turn on the copyright notice. This shows the Year of Publication, which does not change when you update your hub. It also protects you because it shows Google when the hub was first published in case you need to file a DMCA takedown notice when you find a plagiarized copy.
  2. Select the Author Bio you want to use from the list of Bios you had created as I discussed above. You can also create a new bio right from the Display Options if you hadn't created one already.

Click the "save" button when done. Here's an example:

Have you been using the Author Bio and remembering to set the Display Options?

See results

True Image Avatar and Real Name

Do You Care?


There was a time when Google included our image in the SERPs as long as you had a real face image. They discontinued that for reasons that are outside of the scope of this article, but I feel it still helps show that you are legitimate.

There is so much competition on the Internet that when people search for information and discover an answer written by a dog, a cat, or a tree, they tend to think it wasn’t written by someone who has authority on the subject if they can’t show their face. Please don’t shoot the messenger; I’m just sharing that with you.

A real name, or at least something that looks like a real name, also makes a better impression. Pen names are fine. Even if you used a meaningless username, you can add your real name in your profile settings and that will be displayed in your hubs.


Selecting a Good Title for Your Hubs

Do You Research This?


You can take advantage of a search feature of Google and Bing. When you start to type anything to search, it completes it as you type. This actually provides clues to what other people are searching. Google also shows you alternative search words at the bottom of your search.

This is valuable in helping create good titles that work well with attracting traffic.

You’re not done. Go back after a few months of publishing to fine-tune your titles. Data about search strings may have accumulated after several months. You should look over what people have been typing into search engines when they found you. This can help improve your title.

Click the "Search Phrases" tab under the “Stats” tab on the hub you want to work on. Then click on the period of time you want to review.

When constructing or changing your title, remember that it should clearly state what you discuss in your hub. In addition, you need to deliver on that and stay focused. Avoid anything that does not relate specifically to what the title indicates. I see some hubs where the writer goes off on tangents and I lose interest – not knowing the point he or she is trying to make.

Titles should also be limited to around 60 characters, because anything longer gets cut off in the search listings (SERPs). It’s not exactly 60 characters because character width affects what gets truncated. More ‘I’s and less ‘W’s and you might get away with a longer title, but don’t go crazy with that.

Just keep in mind that people may not see enough of the title to convince them to click to your hub.


Select a Good URL for Your Hubs

Do You Skip This?


You only have one chance to specify the URL and that is when you first create the hub. After that, it remains constant even when you change the title.

I see that most Hubbers let the URL default to the same as the title. The problem with that is if you ever drastically change the title, the URL may not relate as well.

I like to specify a URL that is more generalized than the title so I’m not so locked in to a specific theme that I may change as the hub matures and I collect search strings (remember that from the previous section?).

As soon as you start to create a new hub you will see the title field as the first entry, as shown below. After you enter a title, the URL will automatically fill in to match the title. Notice that directly above the title field is where you can override the URL. Remember, this is your only chance you have to change the URL.


HubPages keeps the URL static so that incoming links don’t break. However, there are cases where it’s forced to change, such as moving to a network niche site or changing the main topic. In those cases HP makes a 301 redirect so Search Engines are informed and older incoming links follow the redirect.

Do you override the URL when you create a new hub?

See results

Purposeless Amazon Ads

Do You Include Personal Content?


I often see Amazon ads in hubs with absolutely no personal description. Amazon capsules have a description field and you should use it to discuss your personal experience of the product. That helps make the ad “personal” instead of just another ad.

Google has been cracking down on Doorway Pages, those that encourage readers to click through to another page. Google may lower ranking of hubs that don’t have enough substantial content discussing the product in the Amazon capsule.

This is why HubPages is so strict about it. If you do it right, you won’t have a problem. I know – I have a hub with five Amazon capsules that was moved to a niche site without snipping.

Showing that you have knowledge of the product from personal experience with it is important. You need to discuss how you use the product. At the least you need to show knowledge of the product, even if you don’t use it yourself, and explain why you are recommending it.

In addition, It MUST relate to the title of the hub. A recipe hub, for example, should not have an ad for a kitchen utensil unless your hub is a review of that utensil. Get the point? Google sure does – and they will downgrade for it, unless HubPages protects you first with a snip snip here and a snip snip there.


Mobile Preview

Do You Check This?


You don’t need a smart phone to see what your hubs look like on mobile. HubPages has a mobile preview built right into the HubTool.

According to 150 top experts on SEO surveyed on MOZ, mobile friendliness has an 88% impact on Google's ranking.

Did you know that your hubs are displayed only as one column on mobile phones? If you use two columns the right-hand column may not be inserted in the right place to make sense to the reader.

Sometimes I see hubs where the author refers to images in the right column. They say “see the image at the right.” However, the image is not on the right when viewed on a mobile device. It may be above or below the text.

This is why it's important to check the mobile preview before you publish a new hub. More importantly, stop using the right column for images or text-blocks.

HubPages will eventually discontinue two-column format anyway and all images will be full-width in order to support the growing mobile audience. They didn’t give a time frame for that yet, so get ready now. I eliminate the right column whenever I update older hubs and I make most of my images full-width.

Mobile preview is available by clicking “Mobile Preview” under the “Preview” tab when editing your hub.

I go into more detail about creating mobile friendly hubs in: “How to Increase Google Traffic from Smartphones


Global Comments Review

Do You Moderate Comments This Way?


How do you moderate your comment? Do you go into each hub? In a forum discussion I discovered that some people do it that way.

In case you don’t’ know, under the “Comment” tab of the account page you can review and moderate all comments in one place. There is no need to log into niche sites and moderate each hub individually.

Just click on "My Account" and then select the "Comments" tab. You can approve or deny as well as reply to all your comments.

You can even change the filter to view comments you have previously denied and comments that you never moderated and HP had to approve for you. Two other filters show you comments that went into your spam folder and your low quality folder. More on this next.


Unrelated Comments


Comments that are not related to the subject are not helpful from an SEO standpoint. Sometimes people get into a discussion and go off on tangents.

I go along with it when appropriate, responding to personal comments as a courtesy, but then later delete them after having been read by the specific person for whom it was meant.

Keep in mind that if a comment doesn't serve a purpose for the general public, and add value to the actual subject matter, then it should not be included.


Low Quality Comments and Spam

Do You Review These?


Low-quality comments are known to negatively affect your Google ranking. These are comments that don’t add value. It’s nice to have someone say “nice hub” but these things don’t add value to the subject.

Most of the time people who just say two words are really doing it for their own recognition, in my opinion. Otherwise they would say something that shows they actually read the hub, and add something meaningful to the conversation.

Google is cracking down on this practice. They consider it spam, which hurts your hub.

Therefore you need to be diligent with moderating your comments and removing anything that is low quality. Go to your global comment moderation page and change the filter to "Low Quality." You can delete them permanently or approve them if you think they are okay.

While you’re moderating comments, delete any spam, such as self-promotional links. HubPages automatically hides most spam in your spam filter but some of it gets through.


HubPages Blogs and Announcements

Do You Read Them?


Did you know HubPages has a blog? Many questions I see in the forums have been answered in the blog. In addition, sometimes I see complaints about changes and new features that were not announced. They were!

Announcements are always in the blog as well as emailed to everyone. Do you have notifications enabled in you settings? You should be getting a weekly Newsletter from HubPages. If not, then check your email settings. There’s no excuse for missing out on important announcements.


Curators and Editors

Are You With Them?


They are just extremely busy right now. Having hired a team of new curators/editors, they are working on moving forward with selections of hubs for niche sites. In the process they have curators assigned to specific niche sites. These curators are well-educated editors. In some cases they use their best judgment for edits and snips made to hubs, but in general they follow a common routine.

The curators are free to be creative (within limits of course), which helps tremendously with improving our hubs. I am pleased with the process.

I have been in communication with several of the curators about the changes to my hubs and in the end it turned out better. I have also learned a thing or two that I went ahead and implemented in my other hubs as well. Keep an open mind to what’s being done. These professionals are paid to improve earnings that benefit both you and HubPages. We’re in this together.

As you can see, HubPages gives you the tools to help with success, so use them.


© 2017 Glenn Stok

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    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      I have always let the URL default to the same as the title which is something I need to experiment with next time I write a hub. I never found this the easiest part of creating a hub. I had problems with not being able to cut and paste the title I wanted into the URL line but I think this issue may now be resolved. Useful hub especially for people starting out on their Hubpages journey, thanks, Glenn.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Yes Sally, I remember having that discussion with you in the forum. I gave you a solution to get around the bug that doesn't count the length when pasting text into the URL field, and HubPages staff also jumped in and made changes to the code to improve the function. If it still fails, my trick of typing an extra character after pasting will always resolve the problem.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 weeks ago from Norfolk

      Thanks, Glenn I have bookmarked that hint somewhere in my brain cells. I will dig it out the very next time I publish a hub.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

      Gina Welds Hulse 3 weeks ago from Rockledge, Florida

      Thanks for this article, Glenn. Could you show me how to put on the copyright? I use a laptop. I think I am utilizing most of what you mention but did not realize that I could add a copyright. This would be helping as I found out yesterday that my most popular article was stolen and republished on another blog. I filed a dispute.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Gina - I just added instructions directly on the image of the Display Options box. That will make it clearer how to enable the copyright message, as well as specify the bio you want to use. Take a look.

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

      Gina Welds Hulse 3 weeks ago from Rockledge, Florida

      I saw that. It doesn't show up that way on my computer, for some reason. I'm going to keep trying.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Gina - Click the little down-arrow to open/expand the Display Options box.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 3 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      Glenn, thank you so much for sharing that tip about being able to change the default URL before a Hub is published for the first time! That's wonderful to know. I appreciate your ongoing generosity with your knowledge.

    • heidithorne profile image

      Heidi Thorne 3 weeks ago from Chicago Area

      Excellent tips, Glenn! Thankfully, I use all of them and can't imagine why people don't. They're available for all of us here on HP.

      I'm so glad I can use different bios. I have a handful of specialty topics and one-bio-does-not-fit-all.

      I also use the mobile preview when proofing my hubs prior to publishing. Not only does this help figure out if it's mobile friendly, I find I see errors I might have missed looking at it in the desktop version.

      One thing I also do in researching my titles is use a free online tool, keywordtool.io. In addition to the auto fill-in that Google and Bing do, it provides a list of other relevant terms. I see where my title fits into that list to determine if there's something better.

      Thanks for all the great tips and insight you provide! Have a great day!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Margaret Schindel - You're welcome. I'm pleased to share that. I notice so many people miss that one. Some people even have keywords in their URL that no longer relate to the hub after having made changes.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Heidi Thorne - Thats great that you use all those features of HubPages! I think the reason any not everyone uses them is that they just don't know, and they don't read the learning center or keep up to date with announcements. That seems clear when I see people complain in the forum about things that were clearly announced.

      I also use auto fill-in from both search engines – not only when I create a new hub, but also with old hubs I had published years ago, just to give them new life. Thanks for sharing keywordtool.io with us. I'll have to give that a try. It looks like it gets information form several search engines, as well as from Amazon.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 3 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very useful advice provided, Glenn. I follow most of them. Thank you for reminding all these options available to our Hubbers.

      But, I link my articles after publishing to the related bio not when creating the hub.

      Regarding moderation of comments, I get the notification whenever a comment is posted and I immediately moderate and reply to it instantly.

      I never had any touch with the curator or editors as I didn't get any occasion.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Glen, this is very helpful. I have not been using the tools which help us manage our comments. Thanks to you, I will now. Thanks also for the Heads Up on the double column format. Very thoughtful of you to put this information together.

    • Britt Bogan profile image

      Britt Bogan 3 weeks ago

      Glenn, this is great stuff! Thanks for using your experience to help everyone out. :D

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Venkatachari - It's up to you if you assign your bio afterwards or while still in the HubTool. I like to do it in the HubTool just so I don't forget to do it later. I already have all my bios written, so I just select one. I'm glad you moderate comments immediately. I try to keep up with it too, within an hour as long as I'm available when notified. I don't always reply if there is nothing to reply to with added value.

      Just the other day one of my comments I left in someone's Hub a year ago was finally approved. Some Hubbers just don't pay attention. That's why HubPages decided to start moderating comments.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 3 weeks ago from Brazil

      This is excellent and I am guilty of not doing a few of these, just this week I referred to one of my articles as a hub. I need to correct that.

      I too feel pleased to have the editors on board, I know they are working for the betterment of the site.

      Regarding author bios, I must update mine and create some which better reflect the nature of the articles.

      Venkatachari is referring to the picture of you holding the mug, I too thought it was Billy Buc, initially. I never noticed the resemblance until today.

      I'm bookmarking this to use as a reminder if I slip back into my old habits.

      Well done and useful, thanks.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      You're right Mary, we do look the same. I just noticed that, especially with the expression I have.

    • Larry Slawson profile image

      Larry Slawson 3 weeks ago from North Carolina

      Really interesting hub! Thank you for posting this! Very helpful to read all of this!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      I just added an additional section to this article: "Unrelated Comments"

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 3 weeks ago from Canada

      Thank you for these great reminders Glenn...most I do, but will pay more attention to things like URL name going forward.

    • profile image

      Claudia Tress 3 weeks ago

      Ya, lol...the Hub...people who don't use this platform have no idea what a Hub is supposed to be... lol. "Article" is much easier to understand :-)

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Claudia, I see you're new here, welcome to HubPages. You're starting off with a good understanding of one of the biggest mistakes most make.

    • profile image

      Claudia Tress 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, Glenn. Yes, I am new here. I previously had a blog set up on another site, but I closed it down due to security reasons. Unfortunately, due to the Hub rules, I am not allowed to post any of my many poems that I had on my last site, onto the Hub, even though of all those previously written poems are no longer viewable. This has been a disappointment to me because I have around 150 poems and prose writings that I was hoping to post onto my new Hub site.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Claudia, Check Google and Bing every once in a while. In a few weeks your poems should disappear from the search, then you'll be able to republish them on HubPages.

    • profile image

      Nathanael West 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, I read some things. I do songs/music mostly and haven't really written as seriously as you all do but I'm sure there's enough interesting stuff to to fuel what's left of my writing ability!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      You'll learn over time what works and what doesn't. I've deleted about half my hubs in the seven years I've been writing on HubPages because I found they didn't work. I only keep the ones that have potential so I don't have too much to deal with, since it's useful to manage old hubs with changes when necessary.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 3 weeks ago from Hyderabad, India

      Glen, I thought that image to be of Billybuc as it resembles him which is evident from Blondlogic's comment also. Sorry for the confusion. I assumed he might have been invited to present the gifts along with other senior hubbers (it happens at functions to invite guests to award the gifts to one another as a token of respect and gesture). Now, I came to know that both of you resemble one another. Thanks for the clarification and other points revealed by you in the comment.

    • profile image

      Claudia Tress 3 weeks ago

      Thank you, Glenn! I also have helped this process along by going to the Engine Removal section, in my Google account, that will remove outdated material faster by my copying & pasting the non-existent website addresses onto the Removal Page.

      I really appreciate your help very much. I am not trying to make money from the writings, but am only wishing to share them

    • letstalkabouteduc profile image

      Nancy Mitchell 3 weeks ago from Bend, OR

      Thanks for this helpful article, Glenn (I'm not using "hub" any longer)!There's so much to learn and remember so it's beneficial to have it broken down like this. I didn't know about the copyright in "display options" so I'm switching to that on all my articles.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Venkatachari - Only HubPages staff would present the award, and they did with a very nice email expressing their appreciation.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Claudia - Lately Google has been faster at removing deleted articles from the SERPs. However, they do not do it immediately when a 404 error occurs because they need to be sure it's not just a service disruption. So they check several times over a period of a few days. As you discovered, using the removal option in Google helps speed things along.

    • profile image

      Claudia Tress 3 weeks ago

      Glenn,

      Yes, I just submitted a poem of mine that I had thought was removed from Bing, Yahoo, and Google, and Hub says that my poem is still being recognized as seen elsewhere. So, I will delete it, and wait some more time.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Nancy Mitchell (letstalkabouteduc) - I don't understand. What do you mean you're not using HubPages any longer? I see you have a lot of activity writing and updating hubs. Well, you said "hub" so maybe you mean something else.

    • profile image

      Claudia Tress 3 weeks ago

      Strangely, before I was notified that my poem was still being displayed in search engines, an Administrator commented on this very poem, and said it was a great post! LOL...a bit confusing.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 3 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Claudia, there are a lot of other search engines — at least three that are specific to poetry. Do a search for "poetry search engines" and you'll be surprised.

    • CreeViking profile image

      Robin Olsen 2 weeks ago from Rural Canada

      Awesome, I am particularly happy to learn about the copyright notice as I have had two of my hubs basically stolen for content and until today was unaware I could mark them in this way. As a amateur, someone stealing my content was a totally foreign thing to me...

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 2 weeks ago from Long Island, NY

      Robin - The copyright notice also protects hubs that were moved to niche sites. When filing a DMCA takedown request, some hosting services don't believe that your hub was stolen when it was done before the move. But the copyright shows the actual date of the first publication.

    • easylearningweb profile image

      Amelia Griggs 11 days ago

      Hey Glenn, this is really helpful, thanks for writing this. I didn't really know about the URL and I usually would let that default.

      Thanks for all the great tips!

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 11 days ago from Long Island, NY

      Most Hubbers don't notice that option Amelia. I have even more tips coming next week in another hub. Many are based on things I see others missing.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 11 days ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I feel relieved now knowing about the URL. A useful hub and lots to practice on my next hub.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 11 days ago from Long Island, NY

      Devika, I'm glad I gave you a lot to apply to your next hub. As for those URLs, just remember to make them more generic than the specifics in the title.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 7 days ago from Chicago, IL

      This is a great Hub! Even though I've been writing on HP for months now (though I joined it 2 years ago I didn't write my first Hub until well after - I guess I just got busy with other sites) and didn't know or pay attention to several of the things you mention. I never change my URL which I will begin doing now and had no idea about the search command under stats. I am interested in knowing how you interact with the curators and editors as I've never seen anything that allows you to do that. I would add that you should also check your links every so often as sometimes other articles, news or videos no longer are up and I've caught several (one just now) that were not caught in the editing process or auto review mode. Thanks for a great article!

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 7 days ago from Chicago, IL

      I just skimmed this again and realize I need to check the mobile preview for all my articles as I haven't done so before. I think at the beginning I just figured it should be fine even though I knew that there can be a difference between the two views. I got in the habit of doing some things and not doing others. Sometimes new Hubbers may at first feel overwhelmed with the variety of functions and tools available and not use every option. While I wish I had this article when writing my first Hub, it's still incredibly valuable for me now. I encourage all Hubbers who were a bit overwhelmed at first as I was, to use the information you have provided and go back to edit each Hub as appropriate. I have my days work cut out for me! Thanks again, Glenn.

    • Glenn Stok profile image
      Author

      Glenn Stok 7 days ago from Long Island, NY

      Thanks for both your comments Natalie. You added a useful additional step that people should do. That is to check the links. I actually keep a record in a spreadsheet of all my hubs that have YouTube videos or other links. So I routinely check these from time to time and I have indeed found broken links that way. Sometimes that's reported in the stats list, but sometimes I catch it before then.

      As for your second comment, you'd be amazed how many Hubbers use two columns and don't check the mobile preview to discover how messed up the order of their content is displayed. Maybe it's too overwhelming as you say. In my opinion, they should get it, because it only hurts their ranking when people stop reading half way through due to things being out of logical order. the HubPages stats also shows you the length of an average visit with the stars (****). The length of a visit for an average reader is determined by the number of words, so Google registers it as poor quality when visitors quit reading too soon. Glad you're on top of things.

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