Last year I opened an account at HubPages and started writing articles. As usual, I don’t think I had a plan or strategy, just dived in. I did have a theme, though. I thought I would write humours story’s (or Hubs as they call them). I wrote one which I thought was pretty good and got some feedback and then followed-up with another but I soon realized that I was running out of ideas. Add to that the notion that maybe I don’t really want to write humorous stories all of the time. So, after a couple of months, I stopped writing and my HubPages fell dormant.
My first hub from June of 2011: Holy Crap My Blog Stinks was kind of funny but not a smash hit . . . but then what?
I am a smart guy, but a lot of times it takes a while for me to grasp the potential of a situation and act upon it. I think that was the problem with my HubPages – I needed to stop and let the thing simmer for a while. Now, just maybe, a lightbulb in my brain may have been turned on. It dawned on me that I should be using HubPages to reach their captive audience and point back to my other websites. Maybe I can get more of an audience there and drive traffic in both directions.
Others have had the same thoughts but there is also some debate, on the web, as to the value of these “community websites” like HubPages and others like Squidoo or Gather. Compounding the debate are the recent changes in Google’s algorithms which have had a negative affect on these sites (this seems to be an ongoing and never-ending issue). HubPages was especially hard hit back in 2011 when, at one point, they had lost over 80% of their visibility in Google searches. This would be troubling for any writer and especially for those Hubbers who rely on their publishing for income.
It is interesting to note, however, that more recently, there seems to be very little chatter on this subject (at least in 2012). HubPages is said to have put forth a great deal of effort to overcome the problems and make their platform more Google-friendly. They also took a big step when they assigned every user their own unique URL (in the same way Blogger or WordPress does). Have all those efforts paid-off? Who knows but maybe, in the long run, the HubPages platform will come out of this stronger than ever.
Even without the discussion about Google algorithms, there is a more general debate on the value of a platform like HubPages. Some bloggers will argue that it is a good way to drive traffic, reach out to another audience, create backlinks, etc. Others make the point that you should put all that effort into making your stand-alone site better. They also point out that the revenue potential on community sites is limited and the links are not always high quality. I can see the point of both arguments. It is interesting to note that many of those that argue that Hub Pages is an advantage to their other blogging are Hubbers themselves and many of those that argue the opposite are not Hubbers (or are former Hubbers).
I have now made a renewed effort to be active on HubPages and have broadened my horizons as well. I have published eight articles in the last month with a couple more still in draft mode. These are on a variety of subjects that reflect my more general blog-site interests. I am going to stick with it for a while and see what happens.