How I Reached 1,000,000 Views on HubPages
Reaching 1,000,000 Views on HubPages
On July 17, 2017, I passed 1,000,000 views on HubPages. Champagne corks didn't pop and there were no fireworks yet there was a smile and a pat on my own back as this was a major milestone for this self-confessed procrastinator. I know that for some people who write on HubPages, they have passed this mark many times over. I also know that there are others who are looking at their stats and thinking, they will never make it to the 1,000,000 mark. To those people, I would say hang in there and just keep writing. Today, I would like to interview myself as a way of sharing my experiences which led to this achievement that I thought I would never reach.
How Long Does it Take to Get a Million Views?
Interviewer: So Mary, congratulations on hitting the 1,000,000 views mark on HubPages.
Can you tell our readers how long this has taken you and how many hubs you have?
Mary: Thank you, and yes I have been writing on HubPages for 6 years, and at the moment have a total of 171 articles although not all of them are featured or get any views.
Do You Need to Have a Niche?
Interviewer: Everyone thinks you have to write on a niche topic, is that what you do? And if so, what is your niche.
Mary: I hate to be pigeonholed, but broadly speaking I would say I write about business, farming, and ageing. I have tried other topics with mixed results and I keep coming back to these three niches. When you're writing about a topic you're familiar with, the articles are easier to write.
Getting Followers on HubPages
Interviewer: I see you don't have many followers on HubPages, doesn't this worry you? Don't you think you would have more views if you had more followers?
Mary: Everyone loves to be popular, just think back to high school. Having a lot of followers is comforting but not crucial. Often you'll see someone, who has more than 1,000 followers but not all of these people will read their articles when they are published. To get people to follow you, you need to follow others and leave meaningful comments when they post something. Although I have a few regular supporters, including Billybuc, and MsDora, BraveWarrior, and Nell Rose most of the supporters stop by occasionally. It is always nice to get comments and I can honestly say, without their support, I would have thrown in the towel ages ago. For me, one of the advantages of having followers is not so much for the views they provide, it is the gentle hand on my back which is pushing me forward.
I realize that for some people they feel potential readers will look to see how many followers or comments an article has for validation of the author's ability and knowledge. I have a few issues with this idea though. I used to write on the now defunct Squidoo where I saw a lot of this type of misuse of comments and promotion going on. In fact, I believe that is one of the reasons the site failed. There were poor quality articles full of ads which were hyped up by others on the site. The site was trying to scam the search engines.
Interviewer: Hang on a minute Mary, are you saying you don't want followers?
Mary: No, not at all, but the number of followers isn't an indication of quality and it doesn't ensure those who follow you will read or comment on your articles.
How Many Followers Do You Have?
Getting Organic Traffic and Going Viral
Interviewer: Okay, so where should the views come from?
Mary: Organic traffic, is really what authors should be aiming for. This is simply getting views by being found via a search engine. Organic traffic can take time to build up, but if you are updating your pages regularly, it likely will happen if you're writing about a topic people want to read. It took me a year of slogging away here on HubPages before I made my first payout.
Interviewer: So you just write content and wait for it to get found by the search engines? What about SEO, social media, and backlinks?
Mary: (groan) SEO, I do think about it and try and make my titles, and subtitles search friendly. It is an area I read a lot about to try and improve my articles. I also think about the potential profitability of a topic before writing.
My best sites for social media have been Pinterest, and Flipboard. Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, I haven't had success with, although I know others have. Maybe I just don't have the topics which attract social media shares.
Interviewer: Have you ever had an article go viral?
Mary: (smiling) Yes, I had one article take off for a few hours on Flipboard. It was short lived and then the views returned to the double digit numbers they were before, but it was exciting. It has only happened once though in 6 years.
What Are Listicles?
Interviewer: I see from your articles, you like to use lists. For example, 27 Ways to Make Money From a Small Farm to 11 Ways to Make Money Fishing. Many people say this is a lazy way to write, any thoughts about that?
Mary: I have heard those remarks as well, often people call them listicles. I love making lists because I find it provides a good structure or even a template for an article. Plus, people like these types of articles. Everyone is in a hurry and they want to scan an article, which is easy to do with a list. If the list is long, then I break it up into subsections, highlighting what is in each section. This gives the reader a quick overview and if they like what they see, they will continue reading. I did this on my article about small farms, because it's long, over 4,000 words. The danger is if you use this idea of lists, you don't want to produce what they call 'cookie cutter pages'. These are articles which are almost exactly the same but with a different heading. If the information you are providing is worthy of your readers time and is well formatted, it will rise to the top.
Topics That Get Views
Interviewer: Do you have any advice for the readers about topics which get views and how much you get paid for them?
Mary: Because HubPages is a revenue sharing company, we get paid for views to our pages, even if ads don't get clicked on. The price we get paid is dependent on what advertisers are paying HubPages to have their ads running on the site. This varies throughout the year as there are times when there is less competition among advertisers such as during school vacations, so the advertisers would pay less during these low times. We aren't allowed to discuss what we make on HubPages, this is part of the the terms and conditions here on the site.
Interviewer: Mary, you're not dealing with the advertisers, you're just writing on the HubPages site.
Mary: (Mary shakes her head at the naivety of the interviewer) We are all writing for the advertisers. If there was no advertising revenue, for the site, there would be no site. HubPages is a business, and a business needs to generate income.
Interviewer: Okay, so how can people get views day in and day out, here on HubPages?
Mary: If you want to get a continual flow of traffic, write about topics which are searched for year round and aren't time-dependent, these are called evergreen topics. The other option is to have some topics which will get viewed at specific times of the year. Let me give you some examples.
If you write about Halloween decorations, from November-September you may get no views, however, in October you'll rock that topic. You could balance this off with topics specific to certain holidays or seasons. Gardening topics do well during spring and summer but fall off when people go indoors.
They say you need to think outside the box but you also need to think outside your country and your hemisphere. Remember HubPages is a global site, so when you're shovelling snow, someone is picking strawberries. If you wonder why your barbecued rib recipe is getting views in January, it's because someone in Australia has fired up their barbie.
I have several articles which receive views across the globe. I love looking at my real time analytic information, especially in the evenings as I can see views from India, the Middle East, straight across the Atlantic to the states. Many of my articles are farming related and I take a sense of pride knowing that someone on the other side of the world is reading my articles. Recently I had one gentleman from Nigeria contact me about an article I had written about duckweed. He was raising catfish and wanted to know if it would be suitable to feed his catfish. After some quick research about his species of catfish, I was able to tell him that his fish could consume 20% of plant-based foods and suggested he begin to grow duckweed to feed his fish.
You may be thinking, “Well you didn't make any money from that.” You're right, I didn't make any money other than the small amount resulting from him clicking on my page and reading it. I have just checked my stats and that article has been read by the people in the following countries.United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Philippines, India, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Nigeria, Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Ghana, Germany, Ireland, United Arab Emirates and Uganda. I love the fact that this free plant, which many people consider a weed, is possibly helping small farmers like myself to make a living from their farms.
Selecting Topics That Earn Money
Interviewer: The internet seems saturated with information, so how does a writer know which topics will make money that hasn't been written about before?
Mary: If you're looking for topics which are going to be profitable, you're in good company as that is what most people are doing either directly or indirectly. I would suggest, solve a problem for people. It really is that simple. People have, or think they have, problems and look to the internet to find the solution. They either have too much of something such as pimples, weight, or aphids in the garden. Or they have too little of something such as money, love, or knowledge about how to do something. If you can give them advice on how to reduce their problems or increase what they want in their lives, there is a good chance your article will get some hits. But....
And this is a big but, you need to target your audience. My audience probably won't be the same as yours I write about small businesses and entrepreneurs, farming and things which affect me as a mature woman. I wish I had more knowledge of gaming alas a desire for this ended when I couldn't get Lara Croft out of a cave. I wish I had stuck with it because gaming knowledge is huge. There are so many people out there who want to know a better way to do things related to gaming.
If you're clued up on cell phones, apps, and gadgets, again a huge, but competitive market. This group, however, isn't as evergreen as other topics as models of products change.
In your article, you want to supply the information or a product to fulfill their needs. The money you make from your article will be determined by its search engine ranking. The higher it is up the list, the more likely you'll be to get hits. If a person reads the snippet under the link in the Google search, likes it and clicks, you've just earned.That it is why a good summary is key to getting clicks, this is your snippet text. Plus if you offer a product for sale, through Amazon or an affiliate link, you will profit from that as well. Remember, your readers are looking for solutions; give them that with advice, or a product with your recommendation, and you will both be satisfied.
Write About What You Know
Interviewer: Everyone can't write about gaming or the latest electronic device, they just don't have the experience or knowledge to do that.
Mary: I have a piece of advice which I want you to really think about. You don't have to be an expert, you just have to know more about it than the person reading your article. Don't be afraid to research your topic, but the key point is just start now, don't wait. Do the best you can now and make adjustments to your article in your future updates. Also, you don't need to re-invent the wheel, you just need it to be a lot better. If you've read an article and think you could do it better, then do it, write that article.
If you think you aren't knowledgeable about anything, think again. What do people come to you asking about? Can you fix cars, hang shelves, repair a cracked cell phone screen in under two minutes? You have talents that others don't have. Maybe you have a knack for diffusing a situation at work, drying seeds, or organizing your children. Ask yourself if what you know is useful to other people. As an exercise, write down for a week, questions that people ask you. Some of the most popular articles on the internet are about simple everyday things like folding a fitted sheet.
Each time someone clicks on your article as I've said, you get a small amount. If you get a lot of clicks, they add up. Let me tell you about a relative who owned a gas station with a small shop. Can you guess what the most profitable item was they sold? It was the penny sweets, which are small candies that they sold for a penny. The point is, if you get enough articles, even if they aren't ones which get thousands of views, they add up over time. As they say, 'drops fill a bucket.' I don't have any articles that I would call stellar, they are just consistently getting viewed by people all over the world.
Visit the HubPages Learning Center to find more tips about what a great hub consists of. Although some people say articles about 1300 words long are best, I believe the search engines like them longer, around 1800-1900 words.
Where to Find Ideas for Articles
Interviewer: Ok, I think I understand, but can you give us some tangible ways to find topics for our articles?.
Mary: Finding topics to write about that haven't been covered before can seem daunting. Start with yourself. What questions have you recently searched for online? Often if you didn't find a suitable answer, there could be a gap that needs filling.
Start with asking questions. What, how, why, where, and to some extent who. Here are some examples for you.
- What can I substitute for baking soda?
- What can I do to get better gas mileage?
- What are examples of healthy packed lunches?
- How do I know if my dentist is charging too much?
- How do I replace a refrigerator door seal?
- How do I get my kids to go to bed earlier?
- Why are my tomato plants wilting?
- Why is my car pulling to the left?
- Why does my hip hurt when I stand up?
This is just the start though because you can use a search engine to help you.
How to Enable Google Predictive TextClick thumbnail to view full-size
Use Google Suggest for Article Ideas
To find what people are asking for, use Google suggest or predictive text. This is the function of Google guessing what you might be searching for based on what other people have searched for. If this is not enabled already on your device go into the settings and then into the privacy section. There you can toggle on the predictive text.
With this enabled, you'll be able to use this to get ideas that people are searching for currently.
When you begin typing just keep adding letters as in the examples. I began by typing the question 'how do I?' and added the letters 'mi'.You can see the following results came back.
- How do I mine bitcoin
- How do I mince garlic
- How do I mine ethereum
- How do I microwave corn on the cob
You can see there is a wide variety of topics using the 'how do I' start, with just two letters. You can choose any letters and it will throw out suggestions. Some ideas are interesting, some amusing and some worrying.
Take a look at the other screen shots to get a sense of asking the right question first followed by a letter or letters of your choice.
Sample Google Questions
Television and Online Ads
When you are watching television, or are online, take notice of the ads which are being shown. People pay a lot of money to promote themselves and their products both on and offline.
Why? Because there is probably a market there. Target that market!
Whether it is heartburn, healthy dog snacks, or a luxury cruise, you can tap into that market with your articles. Soon those ads may be running on your HubPages article.
Where to Get Ideas for Articles
How to Get More Followers
How to Get Views
Listen to What Your Friends & Coworkers are discussing
Click on those who frequently comment on other hubs.
Share on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Reddit, Flipboard and Stumbleupon
What are televisions ads promoting?
In an author's profile find those who are actively on the site.
Research which topics aren't already saturated.
What are online ads promoting?
When someone leaves a comment on your hub, respond to them.
Find a new twist on a profitable market.
Use Google suggest
Read hubs and respond with a thoughtful comment which indicates you've read it.
Stick with it!
Have You Reached 1,000,000 Views?
Interviewer: So now that you've hit a million views, what's next? Are you going to sit back on your laurels and take a break from writing?
Mary: No, now my next target is 10 million views, although that could take some time. I hope this article has given everyone a few ideas to increase their views. The most important thing is to keep writing and get your quality articles out there. On this site, there are writers who have published a lot of articles and some with just a few successful articles, so it isn't a one formula fits all scenario.
As with anything, the more you put into writing here on HubPages, the more successful you'll be, just keep going forward.
Good luck with your writing.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Mary Wickison