I'm an experienced online content creator with several streams of passive income from my writing. I'm here to share my secrets.
If this is your first time hearing about HubPages.com, it is a website that publishes online content in the form of short articles written by contributors (that’s you and me). It pays writers like us by sharing the money earned from display ads that run alongside the articles.The more people that view your articles, the bigger your pay day.
This online business model was first made popular over ten years ago, but it soon ran into problems with scammy writers and poor quality articles. As a result, search engines like Google began filtering out these search returns, and many "user-generated content" sites went under, including one of the biggest, Squidoo. HubPages, however, weathered the storm. The site acquired Squidoo's more determined writers (including me), and focused on clearing out the spam, the sub-par English, and the key-word stuffing jerks. Now the site boasts several spin-off "niche" sites that rank quite well on search engines, for the most part, and turn a nice profit for its writers.
HubPages: A Quick History
HubPages was originally funded by a $2 million investment from Hummer Windblad, a venture capital firm created by John Hummer and Ann Windblad (they were also early investors in Napster, one of the first file-sharing sites). The founders were three former Microsoft employees that included Paul Edmondson, who still runs the site and will sometimes comment in the user forums. HubPages weathered many ups and downs in the sector that came to be known by the somewhat derogative term “content farms.” These sites, like Squidoo, InfoBarrel, eHow, and many others, tended to value quantity over quality, with some articles written with little research, authority, or attention to good English. Google regularly punished these sites by altering its search algorithm, which over time began to exclude search results from sites considered to be “content farms.”
Through all of these ups and downs, HubPages remained a leader in terms of quality control and treatment of its writers. In 2014 HubPages acquired Squidoo.com, which was its main rival in the user-generated content sphere, and soon HubPages was beating the competition in all phases of the game. Squidoo’s articles and users were migrated to HubPages, adding to HubPage’s power. I was one of those Squidoo writers, and although at the time it seemed that the game was over, in reality it was just beginning. HubPages thrived where other sites withered and died, and today its business model is sturdy. Its recent acquisition by the much larger site Maven further establishes HubPages as a long-term player.
A HubPages Innovation: The Niche Sites
In 2016 the site made an innovative move to create dozens of separate "vertical sites" that have different urls, names and specialties but are all under the HubPages umbrella. The brilliance of this move soon became evident — creating these sites, also known as “niche sites,” allowed Hub Pages to create very high standards for these sites. Writers have to submit their articles, and each one is assessed and edited by an actual human editor. It’s difficult to get an article published on a niche site, but it’s by far more profitable. One of the niche sites is Owlcation.com, which focuses on science and education — this is where many of my best money-making articles are published.
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What It's Like Being a HubPages Writer
As a writer, one way to think about HubPages is as kind of blog template, into which you put your own headlines, photographs, and writing. The fonts, layout, user interface, and everything else are provided by the site. But it’s not a blogging platform, which is a mistake many first-time writers make. HubPages has built its empire by publishing quality articles that provide readers with something they need, whether it’s a guide to the best Italian loafers, tips for cleaning your above-ground swimming pool, or an identification manual for North American caterpillars. Some first-timers write 300 words on their vacation to Orlando and get frustrated when HubPages sends them packing, not understanding that no one on the internet is asking for that information. One of my goals is to keep you from making mistakes like this!
You can post content and build up your stable of articles without making any money if you choose to, but nearly all Hubbers are here in hopes of earning at least a little cash for their efforts. Most people don’t make very much, but in my opinion most people are not thinking very clearly. There are some very simple and doable ways to increase your earnings on HubPages that the vast majority of writers either don’t know or don’t care to learn. I’m going to assume that you would like to get paid for you hard work. I can help you with that!
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I wrote my first online article eight years ago, for a now-defunct site called Squidoo.com. At the time, my goal was to make $100 in one month – a target that I thought would be pretty easy to hit. I wrote at least one 1,000-word article almost every day for several weeks, until I had an online library of over 50 articles. I wrote on many topics: men’s health and fitness, style, and outdoors topics like camping and fishing.
At the end of my first year of focusing on making passive income from writing my online articles, I had made less than $10. Failure! I had two choices: quit, or get mad and try harder. So I did what any clear-thinking young entrepreneur would do: I quit.
A year later, I came across a really good article about SEO, keywords, and writing intelligently for online audiences. I thought back on my earlier efforts, and my problem was Immediately 100% clear: I had been an idiot. I had been ignorant of the most basic techniques for getting people to read and like my online articles. I picked myself up and started writing again, reworking my old articles and writing new ones that incorporated the SEO rules that I was learning.
Today, I am more successful as an online article writer than I ever imagined. Once I learned some basic rules of online writing, I wrote constantly. With almost 200 quality articles on a variety of platforms, I enjoy streams of passive income from a variety of sources.
These articles are meant to share with you those things that no one ever told me when I started out. I hope that my hard work will help you make your own way in the challenging world of earning passive income by writing online articles!