Important Overlooked Techniques for the HubPages Writing Platform
When I read other articles on HubPages and follow conversations in the forums, I see that some people don’t use all the tools available to them to achieve success with their writing on HubPages. My mission with this article is to bring these tools and techniques to your attention.
Tell People You Write Articles, Not Hubs
When mentioning your hubs to the outside world, or referring to another hub in a hub, don’t refer to them as a hub. Only other Hubbers know what that is. Refer to it as an "article."
Most of our traffic is organic and from the outside world—at least that’s the traffic we hope to get.
In addition, don’t call it a blog! I see some people doing that. HubPages is not a blog site. Articles are stand-alone pages of informative content. Blogs may be informative too, but are less formal and don't require as much research.
Include an "About The Author" Bio on Each Hub
The most usually missed feature is the Author Bio. I read so many hubs that are missing this.
Don’t confuse this with the profile bio. The Author Bio is managed under the "About the Author" tab under your account page. You can include a short bio with your avatar image on your individual Hubs. You can create up to 25 individual bios and each is limited to 140 characters.
The purpose of each bio is to provide a description of your expertise in the topic so that readers can see that you have authority on the subject. The presence of a bio under your avatar helps the reader have confidence in you and rely on the information in your article.
I created several individual bios, each one specific to the categories I write about. If all your hubs are related to one theme, then you probably only need one Author Bio. However, most of us tend to write hubs on a variety of unrelated subjects. A unique bio for each category will relate better and add to your reader’s confidence in your writing.
Once you have created one or more bios, you can assign each of your hubs to each bio. There is no limit to how many hubs can be assigned to a bio. You’re just limited to the 25 bios.
Remember, you should make each bio relate well to the assigned hubs. I write most of my bios in a general way so they can be applied to several different hubs. However, in one case I decided to make a bio very specific to the hub as shown below. You’re free to do that as long as it helps the reader gain confidence in your authority on the subject of the hub.
The point is that you should write your bio so that it works well for each of your hubs. Just remember that the bio is meant to express author credibility.
Here is an example of my bio I use for my product review hubs.
The Importance of Using "About the Author" to Manage Bios
You can add bios directly in the HubTool when creating a new hub, but be careful with that. I noticed a number of Hubbers get confused when they try to change their bios from there.
I suggest that you should always maintain your bios in the "About the Author" page. That’s the only place where you will see your entire set of bios, along with the list of hubs assigned under each one.
Being that they are all in one place, it’s easy to move hubs from one bio to another if you need to do that. In addition, you can clearly see how your have organized your hubs under various bios.
HubTool Display Options for Bio and Copyright
The display options used to be in the sidebar of the HubTool, where you specify your bio and activate your copyright notice.
In August 2017 HubPages changed the HubTool to make these two items more obvious because many Hubbers overlooked these important details.
Now the bio is right up front under the summary field when you edit a hub, as shown below.
Select the Author Bio you want to use from the list of Bios you had created (as I discussed above). You can also create a new bio while editing your hub, if you hadn't created one already.
The copyright notice has been moved to the bottom of the HubTool to be consistent with where it appears in the final version of your published hub.
This shows the Year of Publication, which does not change when you update your hub. It also protects you because it shows Google when the hub was first published in case you need to file a DMCA takedown notice when you find a plagiarized copy.
The default is to not display your copyright, so you should turn this on as shown here:
Have you been using the Author Bio and remembering to set the Display Options?
Select a Good URL When Creating New Hubs
You only have one chance to specify the URL and that is when you first create the hub. After that, it remains constant even when you change the title.
I see that most Hubbers let the URL default to the same as the title. The problem with that is if you ever drastically change the title, the URL may not relate as well.
I like to specify a URL that is more generalized than the title so I’m not so locked in to a specific theme that I may change as the hub matures and I collect search strings (remember that from the previous section?).
As soon as you start to create a new hub you will see the title field as the first entry, as shown below. After you enter a title, the URL will automatically fill in to match the title. Notice that directly above the title field is where you can override the URL. Remember, this is your only chance you have to change the URL.
HubPages keeps the URL static so that incoming links don’t break. However, there are cases where it’s forced to change, such as moving to a network niche site or changing the main topic. In those cases HP makes a 301 redirect so Search Engines are informed and older incoming links follow the redirect.
Do you override the URL when you create a new hub?
Include Personal Content in Amazon Capsules
I often see Amazon ads in hubs with absolutely no personal description. Amazon capsules have a description field and you should use it to discuss your personal experience of the product. That helps make the ad “personal” instead of just another ad.
Google has been cracking down on Doorway Pages, those that encourage readers to click through to another page. Google may lower ranking of hubs that don’t have enough substantial content discussing the product in the Amazon capsule.
This is why HubPages is so strict about it. If you do it right, you won’t have a problem. I know—I have a hub with five Amazon capsules that was moved to a niche site without snipping.
Showing that you have knowledge of the product from personal experience with it is important. You need to discuss how you use the product. At the least you need to show knowledge of the product, even if you don’t use it yourself, and explain why you are recommending it.
In addition, It MUST relate to the title of the hub. A recipe hub, for example, should not have an ad for a kitchen utensil unless your hub is a review of that utensil. Get the point? Google sure does—and they will downgrade for it, unless HubPages protects you first with a snip snip here and a snip snip there.
Moderate All Comments From One Place
In a forum discussion I discovered that some people moderate their comments in each individual hub. There is no need to log into niche sites and moderate each hub individually.
In case you don’t know, under the “Comment” tab of the account page you can review and moderate all comments from one place.
Just click on "My Account" and then select the "Comments" tab. You can approve or deny as well as reply to all your comments.
You can even change the filter to view comments you have previously denied and comments that you never moderated and HP had to approve for you. Two other filters show you comments that went into your spam folder and your low quality folder.
Log-On When Replying to Comments
Occasionally I see comments from other Hubbers posted as “guest user” in my hubs on niche sites because they didn’t log into the site. They will never be notified that I had replied to their comment.
If the comment box looks like this example image below, then you need to click the login option. Don’t just enter your name. That’s only for an outsider to post as a guest.
View Forums Chronologically
The Forums can be viewed in chronological order or in a threaded order. Occasionally I notice that someone missed something in a discussion because they were in threaded view, which doesn’t show the last post at the bottom. It also does not show the posts in order of posting.
I always view the forums chronologically so that I can follow the entire forum thread rather than just threaded replies to individual posts.
I recommend that you don’t use threaded view, but this is entirely your choice. At least give it a try in chronological order. You can change the setting at the top right of any forum where you see these two buttons:
Follow People Only If You Intend to Read Their Content
When someone new follows me, I examine the activity log in his or her profile. If they just followed dozens of other people in a minute or two, it’s obvious what they’re up to. They haven’t read any of my hubs, so they don’t really have an interest in following me.
They just are hoping to get followers with this trick. It makes me think they don’t feel they are good enough to capture followers with their writing, so why would I consider following them back?
When I see some real activity, then I'm motivated to check out their hubs to find something that interests me. Then I'll read it and leave a comment.
I only follow as many people via HubPages as I can honestly keep up with, but I do also follow Hubbers via other social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn.
In addition, from time to time I check out hubs of people who follow me, as well as people posting in forums whose comments attract my attention.
Following People for the Wrong Reason
Focus on getting followers by writing useful hubs that provide helpful or educational content.
If you're thinking that following attracts followers who read your hubs, you're mistaken. You want followers who decide to follow you based on your own merits, not because you followed them. People who follow you as a courtesy probably never read your hubs, so what’s the point?
Making money from writing is not related to how many followers you have. Although it nice to have followers among our close nit friends of HubPages, we don't make money from them since we don't (and shouldn't) click ads.
People who follow too many and can't keep up with actually reading what they write are fooling themselves, in my opinion.
Stay Up to Date With HubPages' Blogs and Announcements
Did you know HubPages has a blog? Many questions I see in the forums have been answered in the blog. In addition, sometimes I see complaints about changes and new features that were not announced. They were!
Announcements are always in the blog as well as emailed to everyone. Do you have notifications enabled in you settings? You should be getting a weekly Newsletter from HubPages. If not, then check your email settings. There’s no excuse for missing out on important announcements.
Work With the Curators and Editors
HubPages has hired a team of curators/editors to working on selections of hubs for niche sites. In the process, they have curators assigned to specific niche sites. These curators are well-educated editors. In some cases they use their best judgment for edits and snips made to hubs, but in general they follow a common routine.
The curators are free to be creative (within limits of course), which helps tremendously with improving our hubs. I am personally very pleased with the process.
I have been in communication with several of the curators about changes to my hubs, and in the end it turned out better. I have also learned a few things from them that I implemented in my other hubs as well. Keep an open mind to what’s being done. These professionals are paid to improve earnings that benefit both you and HubPages. We’re in this together.
Do Your Editing in Invisible Capsules
You may not know this, but while you’re editing a published hub, the changes you make are live! That is, people see the half-finished work, even search engine bots see it if they happen to visit while you’re ion the middle of a lengthy update.
When do much of my work off-line using MS Word. However, many times I work in the hub itself. In order not to let my work-in-progress be seen, I make the capsule I’m working on invisible. You can do that by adding a check-mark next to “Don't display this capsule” in the top right corner as shown in this example.
If I’m just adding content, I add to an invisible text capsule. But if I need to do massive mods to an existing capsule, then I copy and paste the text into a new capsule and mark that one invisible so I can take my time working on it. I can even leave it to finish another day.
When I’m done, I make that capsule visible and delete the older version capsule.
When you’re doing this, just remember to make it visible when you're finished.
There also is no need to worry about losing your work if your computer crashes. HubPages has an auto-save function, and that works while a capsule is invisible too.
All About the Q&A Feature
What's so Special About Q&A?
The Q&A is an optional feature that allows readers to ask questions related to the article they were reading. When you answer a question it will either appear as a new page that may be indexed by search engines, or included as additional content in the article itself. I’ll explain the difference in a moment.
What are the benefits of the Q&A?
For one thing, you can get ideas to enhance your article with new content by including your answers to useful questions in the content.
However, it may be better to take advantage of the Q&A since it provides an additional page that search engines may index. These pages have ads that can bring you additional ad revenue.
The Q&A feature is useful not only for responding to individual readers, but also for helping potential additional readers.
This works well especially when people ask questions that are already discussed in your article. I happily answer these questions in a slightly different way (to avoid duplicate content) and that brings me additional views from other people who have similar questions.
If this seems too much trouble for you, then you can always opt out by clicking the “Pause” button at the top of the Q&A maintenance page. You get to that page by clicking the “Q&A” tab on your stats page.
How to Use Q&A to Bring More Ad Revenue
If the reader who asked a question had entered their email address for notification, they will be notified when you answer—with a link to the Q&A page or to the article itself if the answer is posted below the article.
You can also increase traffic by taking a little time with adding your own questions, with answers. Once you create a new Q&A, each one may bring traffic that you would not have had otherwise. This begins to become another passive venture.
The passive idea behind this is the same as when you take the time to write articles. Once you’re done, it’s more or less passive work after that. In my opinion, it’s worth the time you spend answering Q&A and even adding your own.
One more thing that I think is powerful:
As you may know, when readers click the "contact author" to ask a question, they get your email address when you answer. The Q&A avoids that!
Now when a reader sends you a question in email, you can just copy and paste their question into the Q&A and answer it there. Just remember to fix their grammar and typos.
You can also include their email address so they get notified with a link to the answer. They won’t get your private email address because that notification comes from HubPages. (Note that you need to create that Q&A while you are not logged in so that it asks for the email address for notification).
Remember that the added benefit with posting questions and answering them in the Q&A is that it may create another page with ad content that can bring you more traffic. This also provides an additional backlink to the original article. Make your answers provide as much useful content as possible (on topic of course). This will increase the SEO status of the Q&A page.
Q&A in Separate Pages or Additional Content
All your Q&A responses are placed on stand-alone pages after being approved by the moderator. If they gain a significant number of views, they will remain that way. Those that don’t have a reasonable view count will be moved back to the article.
It’s obvious that the additional pages can appear as an additional search response in the SERPs, which point to the original article. This can help increase organic traffic as others stumble upon the Q&A while searching similar questions.
Even those that end up as additional content in the article can help since they add to the article's keywords.
Since you can edit the questions asked, you can make sure that you don't repeat keywords. Using synonyms can help increase traffic no matter if the Q&A is in individual pages or if placed in the article as additional content.
How to See Stats on Q&A Views and Ad Impressions
You can create a custom report with Google Analytics showing ad impressions on Hubs and on Q&A pages. Here’s how:
Log into your GA account. Expand "Customization" in the left column and click “Custom Reports” - Then:
- Click “+New Custom Report”
- Give it a name
- Under Metric Groups click “+ add metric”
- Enter and select “AdSense Ad Units Viewed”
- Enter and select “AdSense Ads Clicked”
- Enter and select “Unique Pageviews”
- Save the custom report.
The report will display all hubs and Q&A with the top performing first. The “AdSense Ad Units Viewed” column shows the impressions.
If you want to focus on Q&A, these all have a filename such as:
Since the Q&A may have less views or impressions than your hubs, change the order by double-clicking the “AdSense Ad Units Viewed” column.
Never Overlook These Things Again
Now that you reviewed all these techniques, make sure to put them to good use. After all, you already put so much effort into your writing. It would be a shame to miss out on reaping the additional rewards of using all the tools HubPages has provided.
© 2017 Glenn Stok