CWanamaker enjoys reading, writing, and learning about the world around us.
It took me over a year to make my first payout on HubPages. By then, I had written over a 100 articles. Now, more than seven years after I started writing on the HubPages platform, I am well on my way to 200 articles and nearing two million views.
I have learned many valuable lessons. I've tried many things and experimented with different writing styles as well as writing on various topics. In addition, I spent a lot of time trying to use proven SEO techniques and backlink-building methods in order to grow my readership and improve traffic.
My hope is that if you are reading this, you can learn from my experiences (and mistakes). Although I will be discussing several key tips for winning on HubPages, if I had to give only one recommendation, it would be to focus on writing high-quality content. Quality is king above all else. If all you did was write amazing content, you would probably be successful since HubPages is a great platform that wants to see you succeed.
1. Proofread and Edit Your Content
High quality articles are grammatically correct and free of errors. I understand that after spending the time to write something that you are eager to get it published. The temptation to post (and share) your content is very strong, however, you must resist that temptation. Early on in my writing career I would publish articles quickly only to have to go back soon after and make edits to them. Nowadays, once I finish a new article I usually let it mellow out for a few days before I revisit it. When the time comes, I go back and reread the articles multiple times, making any necessary edits or changes, before I finally post them. It also helps to read them out loud to yourself to see how the content flows together. You'll be surprised how many mistakes you will catch using these tips.
2. Write on the Right Topics
You've probably heard that you should focus your efforts on writing about topics that are evergreen. What this means that is you need to write about things that will stand the test of time. Something that goes out of style quickly, like the news, will eventually fade away. Readership will likely go down over time. Evergreen topics are things that will remain trendy, useful, and/or needed for the foreseeable future.
When coming up with things to write about it helps to focus on solving a problem or answering a question with your article. Think about what people might be searching for online that they can find easily if only you decided to write about it. What do you search for online? What questions have you Googled that still need answered? Focus on these ideas and you will likely do well.
In addition to these things, your content should be on niche topics with little competition. If you write on something that thousands of other people have written about, it's going to be difficult to get any traffic. This is where doing keyword research can help you with your specific writing topic.
And honestly, this article that I am writing right now will probably not do so well with organic traffic from Google. It's a very specific topic and a lot of other Hubbers have written on it in the past. This article will likely only interest people who just recently joined HubPages. Perhaps some veteran writers would enjoy it as well. However, I expect that most of the traffic to this article to come from the HubPages community.
3. Keep a Topic and Idea List
Keep a running list of every idea that you come up with to write about. You never know when an idea will come into your head. Things you do at work, interactions with customers, family members, etc can all help with ideas. There are opportunities to create ideas to write about around every corner. By maintaining a list of writing topics you are sure to never run out of anything to write about.
4. Set Goals for Yourself
One thing that helps me in the area of writing/publishing new content is to start writing down some personal goals. You can write down the things that want to accomplish with regards to writing and then read those goals to yourself daily. This will help you to maintain the daily mental focus needed to keep writing long after you have started. For instance, at the beginning of this year I set a goal to write over 200 articles for my various web properties and platforms. I committed myself to writing at least 40 articles for HubPages. So far, I've written 23 articles for HubPages this year and am well on my way to reaching my goal.
5. Write 800 Words or More
In the beginning, many people may find it challenging to write at length for any one topic. In order to make it online, and have good quality content, the length of your articles matters. In my experience, the best articles seem to be at least 1000 words long but not longer than 2500 words. Articles that are 800 words seem to be minimum and anything below that just doesn't have enough detail for the search engines or your readers.
If you have a topic that you want to write about but can't seem to get more than a few hundred words, there are a few things you can try. First try adding a personal story or anecdote to your article to add some authenticity (and length) to it. Another thing you can do is to spend some time researching your topic, learning more about it, and then coming back and writing more. One thing that I have done is to let the article sit for a few weeks and then start writing a brand new article on that same topic. After I've finished that I will go back to my first article and combine the new content with it.
6. Learn SEO, But in Moderation
When I first started writing online I heard a lot about the importance of search engine optimization. It intrigued me, so I learned as much as I could about the topic. In my early years I spent a lot of time setting up systems to share and bookmark my content. At one point, I was using upwards of 75 tools and websites to share and link my content. After a few years of doing this, I found that a lot of my content was not getting the traffic that I expected. Even after all of the SEO work, only about 10% of my articles were bringing in over 90% of my traffic. No amount of sharing or bookmarking would help to bring consistent, long term traffic to the remaining 90% of articles.
Read More From Toughnickel
While SEO is important, I wouldn't recommending spending a lot of time on this when writing for HubPages. Much of the time I spend on this in the past could (and should) have been spent on writing more and better articles instead. I still share things on Twitter and other platforms, while also trying looking for legitimate ways to get natural backlinks (like guest posting), however, this is not where I spend the bulk of my time. No matter how much keyword research, sharing, and social bookmarking you do, it likely won't help much in the long term.
The HubPages platform does a great job in managing a lot of the important SEO elements that are needed to get a lot of traffic. HubPages wants you to succeed so they have put many rules and templates in place that helps you to optimize your content automatically. Furthermore, Google is always changing their algorithm which makes following the changes challenging and time consuming. However, keep in mind if you are writing on your own website or other platforms, SEO will become a bit more important.
7. Develop a Writing System
Learn to develop a system that helps make to writing easier and more efficient. Use a word processing program to write your articles before copying and pasting them into HubPages. Create an outline of your main ideas or points for an article and then "fill in" the rest with content. Having a plan for your article will make actually writing it significantly easier.
Learn to type faster and it will be easier to write longer and higher quality articles. If you have trouble typing fast or accurately, try using dictation software. If you are a good speaker and know what you want to say, this is a great method for expediting article creation. Most smartphones will let you use voice to text to write emails and their doesn't seem to be a limit on the length of the content that you can write. I've written several articles using this method because its quick, easy, and secure. In addition, most email apps automatically save your content in the draft folder before you send it to yourself. You can also enable voice typing in Google Docs when using the Chrome browser to create content with just your voice.
8. Create an Environment That Helps You Write
Setup your computer for success and spend some time making your desk/work station ergonomically correct. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and that your keyboard is positioned correctly to minimize fatigue. Get rid of distractions and put on some some soothing background music (I prefer music without words). I use headphones to help drown out the noises of the rest of the house. It's best if you can work in a separate room where there is not a lot of commotion or things to bother you.
9. Know Your Topic
Obviously, knowing the topic that you are writing about is very important. I can write many articles just with the information contained in my head, however, many others will require research before I can create something of quality and value. Over the years, I've realized that I may typically spend a 3:1 ratio of time in researching versus writing an article. In other words, for every hour of article writing that I do, I will have spent about 3 hours reading and learning more about that topic.
I realize that reading and researching the fundamentals of your topics can take a significant amount of time. However, this is vital to having a well written, high-quality article. In addition, the process of researching a topic will allow you to see what has already been written on the subject. Whenever you do a Google search, take note of the top 4 or 5 articles that you come across. You will want your article to be written better than all of those if you desire to get readers from internet searches.
10. Don't Take Shortcuts
If success were easy everyone would do it. Taking shortcuts (like copying other peoples content, or paying for 1,000's of instant backlinks) is one sure fire way to shoot yourself in the foot. I realize it can be tempting to take short cuts. People are driven by instant gratification and working hard for things takes time and is, well, hard. Avoid the get rich-quick schemes and get back to the basics. Just sit down and spend some time writing good quality articles to publish.
11. Participate in the HubPages Community
This is something I should probably spend more time on myself. When you engage with other writers they will help inspire you to write more and better content yourself. As a community we can help each other to succeed and get readers and additional traffic at the same time.
If you come across another author's article that you enjoyed reading, leave a comment behind to let them know your thoughts. Commenting on articles adds value to them and continues to keep the content fresh. This often leads to reciprocal behavior as well. In addition to this, it wouldn't hurt to share the work of others on your social media platforms. Not only will this add value for your followers, it also helps to grow and improve the HubPages writing platform as well.
12. Be Patient and Don't Give Up
Success with anything in life requires time, patience, and perseverance. Succeeding on HubPages is no different. Even if you published 100 articles today, it would still take time for the traffic to arrive. It takes time for search engines to find and index your content in addition to allowing backlinks to be naturally created as the Internet grows in size. Many of my best articles did not get very much traffic until a few months after they were first published. I've also had articles that did poorly for a number of years and then they suddenly started doing really well (likely after Google changed something). Don't necessarily delete a young article if it's not doing well right away.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Question: On a scale of 1 to 10, what do you think is the relevance or importance of keywords and keyword research?
Answer: I would rate it a 5. When it comes to writing your articles, choose a topic and then select keywords that fit the topic you are writing about. Include several variants and synonyms but don't overdo it. You can do keyword research but I stopped doing that a long time ago. I found myself spending a lot of time trying to pick the perfect keyword topics that had decent search volume but relatively little competition. In the end, I found that my keyword research was a waste of time. Either those articles I wrote either didn't rank well or if they did, it wasn't for very long. I also have written articles with highly competitive (weight loss, diets, etc) and even though the internet is saturated with this kind of content, my articles on these topics are still doing fairly well. Finally, I have never done any keyword research for my best, top performing articles. I just picked a topic I was interested in and then started writing. I focused on quality and the reader experience rather than on keywords.
© 2018 Christopher Wanamaker
Abby Slutsky from America on July 21, 2020:
Yes, I am a relatively new hubber, so this article caught my eye. Although interestingly enough, it is not exactly the subject I was looking to find. Nevertheless, I am glad I read it and found some helpful tips.
Christopher Wanamaker (author) from Arizona on June 08, 2020:
I believe it's always a good idea to add a personal touch to your articles. This is one thing that will help differentiate yourself from other writers. In addition, personal anecdotes add context to your writing and help keep the reader interested in your topic. It shows that you know the topic well and your article will read more like a story and less like a textbook.
For example, I have many articles that I am waiting to publish until I get more experience with the topic. I will likely revise them many times before I post them.
I hope this helps,
Susan Ng Yu on June 08, 2020:
Hello, your article gave me a lot of things to think about.
When researching on topics that you don't know enough of, do you first apply to your life what you've learned before writing about it? I struggle with that. It's hard to write about something when it's all theory in my head with no actual application.
Riffat Junaid from Pakistan on June 06, 2020:
Nice article for me and helped me a lot.
Shanicorn on January 17, 2020:
Very helpful tips. Thank you very much.
Michael from Indiana, PA on November 09, 2019:
I've been writing articles here on Hubpages now for a little over a year and have just finally reached my payment threshold for the first time. This article helped me a lot because it practically highlights every single mistake I've made in my 29 articles. Thank you for these tips that have brought so many things to light that are sure to be added to future articles.
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on July 27, 2019:
I have 12 articles now 6,300 views at the moment. I have maybe made $8 now but i do this for fun. Most made in a day thus far 82 cents :) I take pride and writing quality articles. Good tips man.
Maxwell Scott Goodman from Somewhere nice on July 27, 2019:
Very interesting and help put things in perspective. Thanks a lot.
Tommy Limpitlaw on March 18, 2019:
Nice article, and helpful with the SEO section. I'm new to it and will start figuring it out when I have the affiliate marketing.
Jason Behm from Cebu, Philippines on December 18, 2018:
Thank you for your tips. This is very helpful.
J Zod from Nairobi on December 01, 2018:
I just returned to re-read this article.I still think it is very relevant in terms of the time people waste in trying to stuff keywords into their articles.
Kate P from The North Woods, USA on December 01, 2018:
Well-written article with great content! Thanks for the tips :)
J Zod from Nairobi on September 06, 2018:
Very helpful article.
Katharine L Sparrow from Massachusetts, USA on September 02, 2018:
Great tips to keep in mind, thank-you for sharing your experience! Just getting back to my account here after being away for a bit and looking for ways to optimize the content that I have before adding new pieces. Thanks again.
Dave Tromp from Amsterdam on August 27, 2018:
Great article! You reconfirmed my idea that content is king. Just focus on writing great helpful content that answers peoples questions and you should do fine in the long run. Moreover, it is more fun than doing all the other internet marketing stuff.
J Zod from Nairobi on August 27, 2018:
@CWanamaker, Thanks for this amazing article.It is evergreen to both veterans and newbies.it is surely going to be a useful resource.I will definitely bookmark it for future reference.I like your sound advice especially on writing high quality,evergreen content.You are spot on about the SEO aspect on HubPages,from my experience i have found out that SEO takes a lot of time from writing.Thank you so much for the insights and hints.i will definitely improve my writing and focus more on writing.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 27, 2018:
I like to “save” titles of future articles as placeholders so I will always have something to write about. I often rough out ideas too so I don’t have to start from scratch. I think it’s important to participate in the community by commenting on others’ articles so they know you’re there and reading.