What New Writers on the HubPages Platform Need to Know
When I read other articles on HubPages, and conversations in the forums, I notice that some Hubbers don't use all the tools provided.
My intention with this article is to bring these overlooked features to your attention. This is especially useful for new writers who are just starting out with the platform.
Tell People You Write Articles, Not Hubs
When mentioning your hubs to someone, or referring to another hub in a hub, don't call them hubs. Only other Hubbers know what that is. Most of our traffic is organic and from the outside world. So refer to it as an "article."
Also, don’t call it a blog! 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 in Each Hub
Your bio is useful for adding specific information about yourself that's pertinent to each article, especially for showing your authority on the subject. For that reason, HubPages lets you create up to 100 bios and assign them as needed to your articles. It appears next to your avatar image on your hubs.
Don’t confuse this with the profile bio. You manage the Author Bio under the "About the Author" tab under your account page.
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. I have many bios that I assign to my hubs based on the subject.
Remember, you should make each bio relate well to the assigned hubs. Just remember to make your bio express author credibility.
Here is an example of one of my bios I use for my product review hubs.
Manage Bios Under "About the Author" Tab
You can add bios directly in the HubTool when creating a new hub, but be careful with that. I noticed several 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 you 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 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 is at the bottom of the HubTool. You need to enable it for it to display in the published hub. It shows the year of publication, which does not change when you update your hub.
It also protects you because it will show Google when the hub was first published. That's helpful in case you need to file a DMCA takedown notice when you find a plagiarized copy.
The default is not to 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?
Make Your URL More Generalized Than the Title
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 locked into a specific theme that I may change as the hub matures, and I collect search strings.
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. You can override the URL in the field directly above the title field. Remember, this is the 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 Your Content Within 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 own 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 the ranking of hubs that don’t have enough substantial content discussing the product in the Amazon capsule.
That 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 they moved to a niche site without snipping.
Showing that you have knowledge of the product from personal experience with it is crucial. 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 would downgrade your article for that, but 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 to 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, comments that you never moderated, and those that HubPages moderators approved 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. Unfortunately they will never be notified when I reply 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
You can view forums in chronological order or 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 the 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:
Are You Following People for the Wrong Reason?
Focus on getting followers by writing useful hubs that provide helpful or educational content.
If you think 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's 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.
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.
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 your 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 work 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 standard 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 communicated 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 and Updating 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 in the middle of a lengthy update.
I do much of my work off-line using MS Word. However, many times, I work with the Hubtool itself. In order not to let people see my work-in-progress, I make the capsule I’m working on invisible. Just add a check-mark next to “Don't display this capsule” in the top right corner, as shown in this example.
When I’m adding content, I add it 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 one and make it invisible so I can take my time working on it. I can even leave it to finish another day.
When done, I make that capsule visible and delete the older version capsule.
When you’re doing this, remember to make it visible again 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 Are the Benefits of the Q&A?
The Q&A is an optional feature that allows readers to ask questions related to the article they were reading. Your answer to questions can appear in either of two ways. It will appear as a new page or included as content in the article itself.
- When each Q&A is posted as a stand-alone page, it provides an additional search response in the SERPs, which point to the original article. That can help increase organic traffic as others stumble upon the Q&A while searching similar questions.
- When Q&A is added to the article, its content helps with possible additional keywords related to the subject. That can help bring more search traffic.
The Q&A feature is useful not only for responding to questions a reader asks, but also for helping other potential readers.
That works well, especially when people ask questions that you 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.
You can edit the questions and your answers at any time. So 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.
If all this seems like 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 account stats page.
How to Use Q&A to Your Advantage
If the reader who asked a question had entered their email address for notification, they would be notified when you answer—with a link to the Q&A page or to the article where the answer appears.
You can also increase traffic by 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. That begins to become another passive venture.
The idea behind this is the same as when you take the time to write articles. 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 an 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. That way, they won’t get your private email address because that notification comes from HubPages. (Note that you need to create that Q&A while 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. That also provides an additional backlink to the original article. Make your answers give as much useful information as possible. That will increase the SEO status of the Q&A page.
How to See Stats on Q&A Views
You can create a custom report with Google Analytics showing ad impressions on Hubs and 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, such as "Views on Q&A pages"
- Under Metric Groups click “+ add metric”
- Type in and select “Unique Pageviews”
- Under Dimension Drilldowns, select "Page"
- Save the custom report.
The report will display all hubs and Q&A with the top-performing first.
The Q&A have filenames that begin with /question/, such as:
You can sort the list and get all the /question/ URLs to appear together by clicking the column title, which is "Page" in this report.
Take Advantage of The Features HubPages Provides for You
Now that you reviewed all these methods and tools 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 rewards of further achievements.
When you're ready for more, I'll help you with "Strategy Tips for Being Successful as a Writer on HubPages."
Questions & Answers
© 2017 Glenn Stok