A Hub Pages Rant
I'm wild again, beguiled again
A simpering, whimpering child again
Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I— Richard Rodgers
The Existential Question
Why are we here? Or, more to the point—why am I here?
I love to write, and I had always hoped (and assumed) that by being here on Hub Pages I would have a platform on which I could hone my skill, obtain valuable feedback, and perhaps find some new friends who share my love of writing.
I have found all of those here. When I compare the hubs I penned four years ago against those that I wrote this past week, I have to say that I am pleased. I truly feel that I have gained and grown as a writer. I have found a few people here whom I consider to be friends. We will probably never meet in person, but I know that they appreciate what I do, they provide valuable (and often funny) feedback, and make me glad to log into HP every day.
However, there still are a few things that bother me.
Hubber Scores Matter
I’ve been has high as 91 and as low as 81. In the words of Martin Luther “what does this mean?
I have absolutely no idea.
My questions to the HP staff are these:
- What criteria are used to assign the hubber score?
- Why does my hubber score adjust (often several points plus or minus) in just one day?
- How can one improve their “hubber” score?
OK, some of you might be saying “I don’t care what score ‘they’ assign to me. I write for the love of writing.
But, honestly size DOES matter.
If you are searching hubs for information on a specific topic, who will you choose to read—the Hubber with a score of 80, or the one with a score of 95?
Don’t you (automatically) assume that the person with the higher score has more to offer, has better-researched content, and is a better writer? If hubber scores are based on traffic, then I fear that many of us are caught in the proverbial Catch 22.
And What About the Scores on Individual Hubs?
This is the one thing that has me totally disappointed, frazzled, and (obviously) confused.
According to Hub Pages, these are the “ELEMENTS OF A STELLAR HUB”
To give your Hub the best-possible shot at success, we recommend including:
A minimum of 1150 words of truly informative, well-written, useful content
A minimum of three relevant, high-resolution, properly-attributed photos (ideally your own)
At least one video (ideally your own)
At least one Map and/or Table Capsule
At least one Poll and/or Quiz Capsule
A succinct and compelling customized summary
Attractive and logical formatting
These are useful general guidelines to shoot for, but please keep in mind that you should only include capsules that are directly related and extremely relevant to your Hub's subject. For example, it probably won't make much sense to add a Map Capsule to a recipe Hub; use your best judgement [sic] and commons [sic] sense. (By the way, the misspellings are HP’s, not mine.)
We also recommend only including products and links that will be incredibly valuable to your reader. When in doubt, leave it out.
At this very moment I am looking at a hub that I published on August 10, 2015. In the upper-right hand corner is that amazingly helpful block of feedback which says “NEED SOME GOALS? Hubs with these attributes typically receive 300% more traffic.” So compare my hub against those goals:
- Word count – according to HP should be 1250+. Mine is 1979. (Check)
- Image count – at least 3. Hmmm, I have 12, and they are top-quality (not blurry and are fully labeled and accredited ) (Check)
- Additional capsules—I inserted a video. (Yeah for me!)
HP says (in support) Great job! A beautiful Hub that includes well-written text with engaging and interactive capsules establishes a great foundation for success.
So, it seems I have dotted all of the I’s and crossed the T’s. I’ve done everything HP deems necessary for a “GOOD” hub. I have no misspellings, no grammatical errors, and the content is engaging and informative. The summary is well written. I even begin the hub with a clever callout. Guess what my hub score is?
HP Staff--WHAT DO YOU @#$&!*% @# WANT??!!
So my friends and fellow readers--here’s a link to the hub in question.
- All About Fruits and Vegetables--Onions
It seems that in every corner of the world "chop an onion" is the first instruction in preparing a meal. Learn about the history of this cherished plant, how to grow it, and (of course) recipes.
I would love any and all comments you can give on how I can improve this hub.
HP has said:
We believe HubPages is the ultimate place online for in-depth, media-rich, useful, original content. To make it clear to the world that HubPages is the home of thorough, high quality, engaging resources, we promote a select set of Hubs that epitomize this style.
There is currently a hubber who states in his/her bio to be a psychology major. One-half of this hubber's content is poorly-written product reviews (but GREAT photographs!) and the other half is obviously course materials--they even provide the chapter numbers (from the online ebooks) so that we can follow along. How does this qualify as "in-depth, media-rich, useful, original content"? This hubber receives no comments (because there is nothing to which anyone else can relate). But the hubber score is 89.
I’ve never had a Hub of the Day, nor have I had a featured Hub or Editors Choice. Discouraged? Yes, sometimes—especially after I read the ones that do receive HP staff endorsements.
OK, enough about me. Let’s just talk generalities for a moment. I have a few beefs with what the HP staff gives us to work with:
Recipe--Ingredients and Instructions Capsules and Other Gripes
Well-written, professionally constructed recipes present the list of ingredients in the order in which they are used. The current recipe ingredients capsule does not allow for corrections or additions. If an ingredient needs to be added, the capsule must be completely re-typed starting at the insertion place for the new ingredient. The same is true of the instructions capsule. Why not modify these capsules so that they are easier to revise and update?
I have said it before, and I'll say it again--we need to be able to print recipes. Go out on the internet, find any one of a zillion food/cooking/recipe blogs and you will find that they include a PRINT feature to capture the ingredient and instructions portions as a PDF. If that can be done by a blogger who creates his or her own website, why can't it be done here?
And while we are on the subject of recipes—one can insert only one recipe rating, recipe ingredients, or one recipe instructions capsule per hub. What if you want to include more than one recipe in your hub? C’mon, give us a break!
We can assign only one hub group name to a hub. I honestly believe that all of my hubs touch on more than one topic. Make the selection of multiple groups a possibility.
While we are on the topic of “how pages look,” let’s take a moment to consider the formatting of hubs. All photos must be right-aligned or full width. There is no way to present two photos side by side. There is no way to present a photo to the left of a text block. Text is black only, left justified. No centering of text (even within headings).
I believe that visually attractive content is more likely to be read in its entirety, not merely clicked on and then abandoned. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
And, while we’re talking about things we like. What about the…
Accolades (Beyond the Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down)
HP has said that the “interesting, beautiful, funny, etc.” accolades were under-used and so this feature is no longer available. I used them when I responded to hubs, and I appreciated the feedback on the hubs I had written. Now, that history is totally lacking. What was the harm of having it there? Not enough room for advertising??!!
So there you have it--my thoughts in a tidy little package.
But, the HP staff probably won’t even give it a glance—there are no photos, no recipe, map, poll, or quiz capsules and no videos (homemade or otherwise).
At least I wrote 1,250 words!
Since writing this hub a few days ago I have received several positive messages from Hubber friends. And, today my email inbox contained the following message from the Hub staff:
Hi Carb Diva,
You have hit a pretty impressive milestone—your 5 Year Anniversary on HubPages! You've stuck with us through thick and thin. You've braved the writer's block, rode the traffic waves, and hopefully made some lifelong friends. You are truly a veteran Hubber. Happy Hubbiversary!
Fun fact: Couples traditionally exchange wood gifts on fifth anniversaries. Maybe today is the day for getting a gorgeous new writing desk!
Wow, that really warms my heart...not!
© 2015 Linda Lum