Saturday, November 7, 2009

HubPages Review: A Site to Write and Make Money

I've written about HubPages before, comparing it to eHow as a revenue sharing website.  Here is a more comprehensive review than what I wrote earlier, including what I like and don't like about writing at HubPages.  My review is based on my experiences since starting posting articles there in the spring, both with the site itself and with my earnings.  (Side note: As of 4/5/2010, eHow, a revenue share site mentioned above, is no longer publishing revenue share articles through its Writers Compensation Program.)

HubPages is a site for writers, photographers and other creative people to post their original content and optionally earn money with their own Google AdSense account or their Amazon Associates, and/or eBay Partner Network accounts (commonly called "affiliate programs" by Web marketers).  While not everyone on HubPages participates in each of those revenue-share affiliate opportunities, I do use each of them, though there are rumors the eBay one won't last.  The only revenue sharing money-making opportunity HubPages offers that I don't participate in is Kontera (both because I don't like the ads and because I've read of various bad experiences with Kontera in the HubPages forums.)
 
Basically, I still really like HubPages, and I'm trying to get articles up as fast as I can, though it isn't easy while chasing after the wild toddler.  My earnings are better what I expected--and I was afraid that nobody could top eHow's money-making model.   Yet my per article earnings are nearly comparable to eHow, though my Hubs are only half as old.  But it's the website and customer service where this writing site excels.  To me, HubPages is the best around when it comes to flexibility of format and the way they treat their writers.  And the search engines like them.  Given their new status in reaching the Quantcast top 100 websites and an excellent search engine ranking, they're on par with eHow from my perspective.


What I like:
  • I've had very good customer service experiences with HubPages.  It's a small staff, but they know their stuff.  Many of the staff post updates on the forums.  (Once they never responded to an email I sent, but I forgave them, since it was a busy weekend, and I think some glitchiness was happening around then.)
  • The article format is extremely customizable.  You can publish a multi-article series or a single article.  You can put quick links in a hub linking to another section of the same hub. 
  • You can create tables for your articles.  You can insert RSS feeds, polls, news feeds, quizzes...it's impressive.   You can put in your own tags, choose the words in  your URL (great for SEO).  You can moderate the comments in your own article, or take out the comments module altogether if you care to.
  • As long as you're not being overly promotional, you can insert links within your articles where it's natural to put them.  If you're careful to follow their guidelines, you can put up to two self-promotional text links in each article, too, as well as backlinks (that are dofollow if your score is above a certain number--I think it's 75.)
  • You can move your text, photos, and other modules strategically between two columns to get the best ad placement.
  • You can track the number of impressions for each hub.  And you can track the performances of the hubs and stats about visitors through Google AdSense channels and Google Analytics.
  • There have been no "article sweeps," as occur regularly on eHow.  Some people get their hubs "unpublished" (not deleted) when they break a rule.  
  • The CEO of HubPages has published over 200 hubs.  To me, this means he's his own customer--which I take as a major vote of confidence in his site. 
  • HubPages has a talented tech team.  Their programming is fantastic for a site that offers users so much control of the Web page layout.  Every so often, features get buggy or glitchy.  But the staff gets on it and fixes it.  I haven't often been frustrated by glitches there, because they communicate well and fix them fast.
  • HubPages seems to continually make improvements to the site.  New features, new functionality, new design.  Not always what people are requesting, but sometimes, yes.  I like that, because it means they do some internal research and development to figure out what's best.  New feature launches tend to be well-thought-out and welcome. 
  • I don't even mind giving them their portion of my impressions (they get 40 percent to my 60 percent) because they truly earn the "fee," which I think of as a rental and maintenance fee for the space they let me use.
What I don't like about HubPages:
  • The forums can get quite hot and bothered.  HubPages has a strongly diverse community, with writers and marketers whose opinions are expressed loudly and tenaciously.  Happily, they recently added a new home page format that allows you to follow only those forums you want to follow.
  • The help pages, well, stink.  They could be written more clearly and thoroughly and be better organized.  Like many article sites, HubPages relies on community members to assist newbies with the basics of online article publishing.  You do need to read the help pages, though, and you need to know the policies and terms of use.  Skipping over them because they're "just fine print" is not a good idea.
  • Their home page doesn't look all that professional.  Articles get featured automatically, from what I can tell, leaving some pretty weird articles on the front page.  As it happens, this isn't a big issue, though, because I gather that most people don't enter HubPages through the home page, but via search engine traffic.
  • It can take longer to put up a hub than to write and put up an eHow article (although with the recent eHow publishing bugs, that's debatable).  It is worth the extra time, in my view.
  • I don't particularly like Kontera, the network that provides their in-text content ads.  But I venture to say there will be other offerings in the future, given the innovative changes HubPages regularly makes.
Copyright Nerd Writer Mom 2008-2010 - All Rights Reserved

4 comments:

Alex Zorach said...

I don't have as favorable a view of hupages as you; I came to the conclusion that it's basically a scam.

I had no intention of earning money when I joined hubpages, but I did want to gain some visibility from writing, both visibilities for my ideas and writing, and for my websites.

I've found it poor for both of these purposes. The reason I go so far as to say it's a scam (rather than just a poorly designed website) is that key ways about how the site works--including the hubscore--are hidden from users.

I ultimately found it much more effective to invest time in writing for a blog, networking with bloggers, and writing articles directly on websites I run. I also found the site EzineArticles to be a good place. Unlike hubpages, which sent NO traffic to my sites, EzineArticles sent a significant amount of traffic...and also, when I have published an article there, it's received significant views immediately--without me having to promote the article at all. On hubpages I needed to do all the work myself or there would be no views--work in terms of promoting the hub externally and networking on hubpages.

If I'm going to network I'd rather network with a community of bloggers.

What do you think?

Nerd Writer Mom said...

Hi again, Alex,

I replied to your earlier comment covering this topic in the comments section of my article on HubPages and eHow.

Lisa said...

You made an excellent point about the negative aspects of the Hubpages forum. I signed up with Hubpages last year and wrote 4 hubs total. I began noticing the bickering in comments and in the forum which completely turned me off to the Hubpages community. What is really distasteful to me is that some of the writers on Hubpages believe themselves to be "demi-gods" and are to be worshipped at all times. I moved my articles to Xomba and deleted my Hubpages account. If I ever decide to go back, I will turn off comments, stay out of the forum, and not stress over my author score as a reader coming in from a search wont care what my score is. I just found Hubpages VERY unfriendly and way too competitive for my taste. I think the earning potential there is great, though.

Kirby115 said...

@Alex Zorach : I believe HubPages isn't a scam. I'm brand new, started around Hubscore 20-25 and now it's almost 40 after just 3 days and 1 hub. I have between 10 and 15 hubkarma out of 100, too.

It just depends whether or not you get involved with the community and lots of things. Your articles can be well written, but if there's too much competition, they'll never get out there.

My first article is 3 days old and is about a 70 right now. It beat out a 7 month old similar review type thing. You just have to be unique if you write about a similar topic, or you could just write about a unique topic.

Use lots of tags and make sure you pick the right category. From there, it can be easy. Your hub will be on the home page of anyone who's following that category. If they rate it up, etc., traffic booms from there. If not, modify it to your standards, hubpages' standards, or your followers' standards. You're sure to get better traffic afterwards.

Enough of my rant, the scores aren't truly hidden. You can find ways to improve your score fairly simply. The hubs that you write that keep a high score makes your score higher. Also, if you make comments that people like, either your karma or score goes up. You can look up on hubpages what makes it go up, but yes, as lame as it is, there's no definite system you can go to and understand that, oh, I'll gain 2 points if I do that.

I use -only- Google Adsense and have averaged a dollar a day with just one hub. I'm not bragging on myself, either. The hub was about "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!". Just write passionately about what you love.

I'm not trying to convert you to hubpages or anything lol. I'm just trying to explain why I believe it's not a scam. Just defending my new friendly helper site. I should probably check out some of the websites you mentioned, Alex. Thanks for listening to this spiel, haha.