The Writer's Mailbag: Installment 143
Can you believe it’s almost April? I’ve been praying for its arrival for some time now, but I’m still a bit shocked it finally is upon us.
And not one daffodil yet!
“Where have all the flowers gone?” Tell me who sang that song, way back when, for bonus points today.
We should probably get started before I start singing.
From Lizette: “You talked last week about Hub scores and Hubber scores, and it was pretty funny, thank you very much. Seriously, though, is there any value to those scores? Should I be concerned about them at all.
Lizette, first of all, I love your name. It’s melodious and I have to tell you, I’m going to steal your name for a character in an upcoming novel.
As for your questions, the answers are no and no!
There are Hubbers who will argue with me on this, but I see no value whatsoever to Hub scores and Hubber scores, which underscores my amazement that so many writers are concerned with them. Does a good score mean you are a good writer? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeze!!!!!!! Does a good score mean you will make more money at HP? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeze!!!!!
A good Hub score is kind of like those participation certificates they hand out like candy at schools these days. You come home with the certificate, your mother kisses you on the forehead and tells you how wonderful you are, and then she puts it on the fridge where it will turn yellow with time.
Or like those huge corporations that have “Employee of the Month” plaques….your name goes on it, no raise arrives, you still can’t pay your bills, but by God you have your name on that plague for all to see.
Society Needing Us
From Tom: “Don’t take this the wrong way, because I really enjoy the Mailbag, but do you really think society needs the Arts? Do you really think we make any difference to a poor kid in Detroit, or a homeless veteran? You’ve mentioned how important we writers are, but I look at the news each day and it doesn’t appear, to me, that the Arts have changed anything for the better.”
Well thank you Debbie Downer! LOL
Here’s my answer for you, Tom: imagine how bad things would be if the Arts didn’t exist!
I’m not being facetious with that answer.
Listen, I was once a teacher, back in the Stone Age, when teachers were allowed the freedom to actually teach, and every year I would make sure to take my class on an Arts fieldtrip, either to the museum or an Art Gallery, or to a live play at the theater. There would always be some kids, the really cool kids, or the really negative kids who thought nothing was cool, who would bellyache about the trip, and tell their friends how stupid the fieldtrip was going to be.
And then we would go on that trip and every damned kid was spellbound, and not a discouraging word was said afterwards.
The Arts feed the souls of the savage beasts. I will believe that until the day I die.
My buddy Mike mentioned in a comment last week that even the Taliban destroy ancient artifacts and artworks when they go through a city they have conquered. Why would they do that if the Arts weren’t important? Kill the Arts and you kill a part of the soul of a society.
Good Length for Articles
From Phoebe: “What’s a good length for articles so that the Google algorithms are pleased?”
Phoebe, I’ve never had a Phoebe ask a question before. What a great day for names…except for you, Tom!
Great question, Phoebe! Here’s the thing: I’m not sure! HubPages suggests over 1,250 words. When I’m freelancing, my employers ask for at least 500 words. Perhaps the lower number is because most freelancing work I do is for company blogs. I honestly don’t know and I’ve never looked it up. Let me go do that now and I’ll be back shortly.
Sorry about the wait. I’m back now.
The answer to your question, Phoebe, and this answer is from SEO experts who should know, is that there is no magical word count for Google. Google does consider 200 words to be “thin quality,”and Google tends to reward longer articles more than shorter ones, but a magical number does not exist.
It is true that Google has moved slightly away from SEO for SEO sake, and begun rewarding quality over quantity, but again, the length is iffy at best when it comes to guidelines.
My only word of advice to you on this topic is to write the best article you can. Say what you need to say and be done with it.
Blog Posting Frequency
From Frank: “I’m new to blogging, and I’m wondering how often I should blog. I don’t want to bury my followers in too many postings, but I also have a lot to say. What do you think?”
I think, Frank, that your name, and Tom’s, fall way short of Phoebe and Lizette.
Okay, fine, a serious answer . . .
I try not to be a pest to my followers. They are busy people. They have families and careers and chores, and life is hectic and the last thing they need is five blog posts from me each week. My goal, in blogging, is to be informative and certainly not be a pest. So on my blog, “Artistry With Words,” I only blog once per week and always on Tuesdays. I mention Tuesdays because I think it is equally important that you are consistent with your postings. If you are only posting once per week then make it the same day each week…twice a week, make it the same two days each week.
And this is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t post more than twice each week on a personal blog.
Now, if you have a business, I think the rules change a bit. I have one customer who wants blog postings daily. I have one who wants a posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I think it’s different for businesses, so keep that in mind.
Bottom line: I personally think consistency is more important than frequency in blogging. One more example: this series, The Mailbag, comes out every Monday, and has come out every Monday for almost three years. My followers look for it on Mondays and I think it’s important that they do.
Just my opinion!
HAVE A WICKEDLY WONDERFUL WEEK
What you do counts! I will always believe that, and I hope you do as well. You may not sell a lot of books, and your royalties from articles may not make you rich, but the Arts are important so please, don’t get discouraged and give up a moment before the miracle happens.
One interesting fact to leave you with: my recently published coloring book, Book, has already outsold my previous two novels, and it did it in two weeks. I’m laughing as I write this. I’m not sure how to feel about that news. What does that say about today’s civilization…or about my writing abilities? LOL The Urban Farming Coloring
2017 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”