I'm an experienced online content creator with several streams of passive income from my writing. I'm here to share my secrets.
The HubPages Niche Sites
HubPages is the world's most successful user-generated content site, with millions of articles written by millions of people that get millions of views every day. This article explains one of the more intriguing aspects of HubPages: the niche sites, a.k.a. the Network Sites.
Spend some time on the HubPages forums, and you will see people referring to the “vertical” or “niche” sites. HubPages central tends to refer to these sites as "Network Sites," meaning they are part of the HubPages niche sites, also known as yhe HubPages Network. But no matter what you call them, these specialty sites are where you want your HubPages article to be.
The HubPages niche sites have names like ToughNickel, DenGarden, and Owlcation. They each zero in on a particular topic, or niche, that people are searching for on the internet. They began about two years ago, and are the "next level" for HubPages writers -- if you have an article on a niche site, then you are really doing something right.
Getting Featured is the First Step on HubPages.com
Writers on HubPages learn very quickly that your article is not going anywhere unless it is featured. Featured articles are indexed by Google and show up in search engine returns (SERPs), and have a chance of getting decent traffic, and even possibly making some money for the writer.
Having a featured article on the HubPages main site is an accomplishment – it means you have what it takes as a writer, and even if it’s not perfect, you are showing the kind of potential that HubPages is looking for. However, there is one more level of achievement that you should aim for: you wan to get your article selected to be on one of the so-called “niche sites.”
You gotta keep trying to find your niche and trying to fit into whatever slot that's left for you or to make one of your own.
— Dolly Parton
What Are the HubPages Niche Sites?
Simply put, the niche sites are websites with their own urls that are conceived and maintained by HubPages central. For example, WeHaveKids: this site is for parents, and has articles on a wide variety of parenting-oriented topics, all written by HubPages writers. There are dozens of HubPages niche sites like WeHaveKids, and they all have one thing in common: the quality of the writing is very high. Only the best HubPages articles get selected to be moved onto a niche site. The reason for this goes to the very survival of HubPages itself.
How to Get Your Article on a Niche Site
This is a very common question on the HubPages forums, and unfortunately there just isn’t one clear answer. In my experience, some articles are picked up a day or two after you publish them and just whisked away to a niche site, while others languish in the queue for weeks or sometimes months. But I can tell you some things that your article has to have before it has a chance of even being considered,
Requirements for a Niche Site Article
If you are serious about getting your article on a HubPages.com niche site, then you need to pay attention to the following essential elements of a successful vertical site article:
- Perfect spelling, grammar, and sentence structure
- Few to no outbound links
- Generous and authoritative wirting
- Properly edited images
- A resource page that tells where you got your information
- A varied and appealing article layout that uses a variety of the available elements
- Everything else near-perfect; close attention to detail
Obviously, only the very best articles get selected to be on the niche sites!
The Niche Site Editors
Articles chosen for a niche site on HubPages get at least some one-on-one attention from a human editor. Sometimes the editor barely changes anything; other times they really dig in deep, adding entire elements and re-writing paragraphs. Some writers get huffy about this, but it’s truly for their own good. The editors are very, very good at what they do, and if they make a mistake, they are good about communicating with the author to figure it out.
I know these things, by the way, because I have nearly a hundred articles on niche sites. I have interacted with them many times, and I know them to be consummate professionals.
HubPages’ Innovative History: The Birth of the Niche
A few years ago, HubPages was one site with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of articles. There was some very strong content on the site, but there were also a lot of spammy and terribly written articles. Because of the high percentage of spam on the site, Google began punishing HubPages and sites like it by sifting out HubPages when it returned search results. These changes to Google’s search algorithm, as it is referred to, meant that HubPages saw its traffic plummet, along with its revenue. The site was in mortal danger. Most sites like Hub Pages simply went out of business, leaving their writers high and dry.
How HubPages Reinvented Iteself
Instead of giving up, HubPages found a way to not only survive but to thrive in the new world. In 2016 the owners launched several dozen brand-new “niche sites” that had urls of their own. The new niche sites had names like CalorieBee, PetHelpful, and LetterPile, and were conceived as sector-targeted sites that would gather together the best writing from existing HubPages hubs. This key innovation was powered by a new focus on quality and the hiring of a crew of top-notch editors who would serve as gatekeepers for the new niche sites.
I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.
— Albert Einstein
The Niche Sites Today
Today, the niche sites are doing quite well. The quality on these sites is high, and writers can make good money by writing targeted articles for these sites. For writers, this is obviously really valuable -- having your article moved to a niche site tells you that you are doing something right.
Finding Your Niche
One of the best ways to make money with HubPages is to establish yourself as an authority on a fairly narrow topic. For me, it’s a few: insect identification, men’s shoes, and fitness for older people. For you, it will be those things that you know more about than most people, whether that’s antique watches, saltwater aquarium maintenance, Albanian cooking, or whatever. Every writer has these topics rattling around inside their brain — it’s just a matter of deciding on them and acting.
✓ I wish someone had told me… Writing on general topics that are common on the internet is basically a waste of time. Bypass this rookie mistake and start right in with finding your niche or niches. Establish authority, write a lot, and claim your corner!
There’s a Niche for That!
What kind of articles do you want to write? There’s likely a vertical site custom made for your topic.Choose carefully, and make sure you aim your articles at the correct niche site! Here are a few:
◆ Creative writing – Letterpile.com
◆ Movies — ReelRundown.com
◆ Health and Fitness – CalorieBee.com
◆ Medical Issues — PatientsLounge.com
◆ Parenting – WeHaveKids.com
◆ Style and Fashion – Bellatory.com
There are many others. Whatever your field of expertise and interest, there’s a niche site for that!
Non-Niche Articles on HubPages
Having articles on the niche sites is great, and can make or break your money-making potential on the site. On the downside, articles that don’t make it to a niche site stay on the old hubpages.com url. While a few of these non-niche articles sometimes do very well, as a general rule they don’t perform nearly as well as those on the niches. The site is still basically frowned upon by Google thanks to its somewhat shaky history, so if your article fails to make the leap to a niche site, it will have to really work hard to rise to the top of the SERPs.
Take a Quick Poll
The upshot: If you write an article for HubPages and it achieves featured status, you’re really only half-way there. Articles on the vertical or niche sites get far more traffic and are preferred by Google over articles that stay on the main HubPages site.