M. T. Dremer has been an active member of the HubPages community for more than 5 years.
I don’t know how many articles there are on hubpages about how to make money on hubpages, but I decided to take the opposite route and tell people how they can make little to no money on hubpages. (Please note that money comes from your affiliates not hubpages.) You might wonder why I’m doing this; who doesn’t want to make money? As we go along I hope you’ll see that writing without the intention to make money, might actually help you as a writer and a contributor. So let’s take a look at this process.
Network with others whose work you believe in.
When communicating with other hubbers, whether it’s on their pages or the forums, you don’t have to respond to everything that you read, nor do you have to give it a good score. Not everyone is a great writer, and not everyone did a subject justice. I’m not saying you need to be a jerk-wad about it, but if you don’t have something constructive to say, then don’t say anything at all. We’re trying to promote a positive community here and we aren’t really doing that when we say “great hub!” when we really thought it was crap. Being active is supposed to be something you want to do, not something you feel that you have to do in order to make money. Find hubs that share similar interests and writers who you enjoy reading. Then take the time to write them meaningful comments. If you just favorite everyone you see and post generic responses, then you might not be here for the right reasons.
Think of it like facebook. Sure, you could send friend requests to hundreds of different people, and it might make you look popular, but in the end, do you really have the time to talk to every one of them? How well do you really know that guy that plays castle age anyway? Are the people that you’ve never met and rarely communicated with really essential to your internet experience? The same is true of HubPages. It might look impressive, at first, to see that you have over a hundred followers, but how many of those followers are actually reading your articles? If you only favorite writers that you like, then you will naturally reduce the amount of updates you need to read and respond to. This will make the responses higher quality and put less stress on you to be up to date with everyone. That isn’t to say that you will be able to read all of your favorites’ new articles, there are simply too many of them, even for a smaller list. But if they are writers you like, you will be naturally interested to click on one of their articles every once and a while. It’s also true of the forums; respond to topics that you are interested in. And, if possible, respond to topics that don’t have many replies. The chances of anyone reading your comment on a thread with several hundred replies is miniscule and you’d just be posting for a sense of activity rather than content.
This method of networking won’t make you look as active as other hubbers, which in turn will make you earn less money, but it will strengthen the writing community as a whole.
Keywords are stupid. Let’s take what you have written (or want to write) and mutate it into something more marketable. So instead of telling someone how to change the oil in their car, give them an advertisement for Pennzoil and make sure they click on the phrase ‘ford 5150’ so you can get your article found by people who have no interest in changing the oil in their car. (P.S. I know nothing about cars.) Is money so important that you would change your writing to fit what someone else wants?
Now, maybe keywords fall naturally into your writing; that’s okay as long as you’re writing things the way you want to write them. There are certain scenarios where a keyword might go unnoticed in an article, and then there are those situations where you’re reading an article that seems really interesting, then when you get to the end, you find out it was just one long advertisement inevitably leading you to one product that “scientists have found” is the best possible product for you to buy. The reader almost feels like the victim of a prank. “Ha! I got you to read my advertisement!” And the last thing you want your reader to think is that you’re a trickster (or a corporate sell out).
What’s Popular Isn’t Necessarily What’s Good:
I suppose if you really want to, you can write about current subjects. There can be some great articles produced from things that are happening right now. But that doesn’t mean you should write an article just because it deals with something new. New things get higher search results, but stop and ask yourself if you really have something new to contribute to the subject, or are you just cashing in on the wave of web hits. Often times these quickie hubs have no staying power. They might make for an interesting read but a week later will anyone have any interest in them? I’ve heard hubs compared to a fine wine; they get better with age and will work more for you the longer they’ve been there. If this is the case (which I believe it is) then you want to write great hubs that will still be relevant a week, month, or year down the road. That isn’t to say that all current subjects won’t have staying power, but if you’re going to comment on the most recent episode of dancing with the stars, then you might want to ask yourself why you’re writing this article. (I like dancing with the stars, but my point is that a week later the article is irrelevant.)
Quality is better than Quantity:
I suppose a few sentences still qualify as a ‘hub’ but did you really put your best efforts into it? Maybe I have a short story that I’ve decided to publish as six different hubs rather than one long hub. Sure, long hubs can be difficult to read some times, but are you breaking it up to make it more readable or are you breaking it up to see your number of hubs go up?
I’m not saying that short hubs are always bad. I’ve read some good articles that were hardly two paragraphs long. But the shorter it is, the better the writing has to be. At the end of the article you want your reader to think about what you said, not to think “wow, that was short”.
And I’m going to take the opportunity in this section to point out that pictures do not count as writing. I don’t know how these things make it as hubs, but posting a series of pictures without any writing is an insult to the writing community. Pictures are meant to be visual aides for an article. And, if you’re an artist, then at least give us something to accompany your work; maybe a how to draw description, or some history of the painting. Put something there because otherwise it’s like a writer putting up a page of writing in an art show and making money off of it. Or, in the extreme cases, a website promising pictures of hot girls and you instead find page after page of text. My point is; if you’re going to post pictures, write something to accompany them.
Holier than Thou:
I’m not trying to be a stickler here; these are not iron-clad rules that one must follow. I’m not suggesting that my pages are any better than the other pages on this site either. I’ll admit right now that I’ve broken several of these rules; I’ve commented when I shouldn’t have (I really need to avoid the political forums) and I’ve thrown a little cleavage in the cover picture for some of my hubs. However I can guarantee you that if you follow these rules you won’t make much money. Why might you want to make less money? Well it’s easy to lose track of the larger scheme of things. We’re all here because we’re writers. And even though we share the dream of wanting to be rich and famous off our writing, we have to remember that the final product is the only thing that will ever achieve that goal. Therefore if we’re writing just to earn money, are we really doing justice to the craft? Are we really producing a product that deserves that money? Maybe you can make a killing just by posting half naked girls or articles about how to make money on hubpages, but is this writing community any better for it?
Dennis Thorgesen from Beatrice, Nebraska U.S. on July 08, 2019:
As a business owner I do write about my business which is also my passion. Those articles though are no longer published on HubPages. This in my case is because the demographics are wrong.
I have found though that if people really want information they are not afraid to go to a hub pages article. I am getting traffic from several Google search engines by country.
That traffic is for articles unrelated to my business, written years ago. How to's as long as they are not promoting a product or service I found to produce the best results.
Whether you are here to make money or just to become the best writer possible, it is the best place I have ever found to be.
farheen on June 22, 2018:
Iam very happy to seeing such websites,basically I want to earn money from hubpages as serving my time on other social media pages
M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on October 17, 2011:
Pinoy Video - Thanks for the comment!
Pinoy Video on October 17, 2011:
Thanks For Sharing This Article, Keep It Up The Great Work.
M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on October 09, 2011:
Forum | Bye Video - Making money online is an uphill battle, so it is definitely easier to use HubPages rather than purchasing your own domains. If you become successful here, then you could later add personal websites and blogs to the same adsense account and it might offset the cost of personal domains. Thanks for the comment!
Forum | Bye Video on October 07, 2011:
Cool! i never knew you could make money from hub pages! I always brought domains, and its proving quite expensive! thanks for the helpful information i’m going to give it a try :)
M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on September 10, 2011:
Indian Drama Serials - Thanks for the comment!
SerialsUp - There are a great deal of articles here on hubpages about being successful. I wrote this as a sort of parody hub because there is an over abundance of the others. It was also born out of my frustration for not making very much money (and outlining why that was happening). I don't deny that it is possible to make money here. I'm just not the best person to give that advice; hence the article about how to 'not' make money ;). Thanks for the comment!
SerialsUp on September 09, 2011:
So how do you make money with these simple, easy to build web pages called hubs? Is it possible? Well I'm sure that you may have heard that people were doing it.
Indian Drama Serials on January 02, 2011:
My IT Consulting business in Boston is doing pretty well by blogging but we are still trying hard to get a bigger following. I encourage blogging because it did help my business with getting traffic but I can see why people may be disappointed with it. The product I am selling has seem to come across well to the customers I do have but getting more and new people is a little hard.
M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on September 18, 2010:
jdaviswrites - Yeah, we all need to remind ourselves why we came here in the first place. I struggle to remember why I started writing my book. I need money so badly now that everything I write for it is a struggle. It's hard not to let money take over your mind, but hopefully we can all help good writing win out in the end.
Dolores Monet - I haven't tried the hub hopping yet, but I can see why it would pop up with advertisement articles. I get a lot of those when I search for keywords on hubpages, like a certain video game or television show. Reviews can be helpful, but there is a fine line between a genuine review and a marketing ploy.
Shadesbreath - I do know Pcunix (I'm one of his followers) and he makes some good points too. It's hard to say if HubPages will ever develop a system that removes overly promotional hubs. The hard part is that these hubs generate money, probably more efficiently than our seriously thought out hubs. So, as a business, can they really justify removing them? Google is in this to make money and as long as the clicks are genuine, they might not care how it's done. Which is pretty sad. I really hope that it never comes to the point, like you said, that people surfing the web avoid hubpage articles because of it. If anything, people like us need to work even harder to ensure the medium stays strong. (no small task, but good to know there are others like us out there).
Amanda Severn - I also get the 'cash guilt' when the bills arrive. The feeling that I should be doing more to maximize my hub profit. But then once the initial shock dies down, I start going back about my business. I think the advantage of HubPages for people like us is the community, like you said, and the ability to see our work in a published form (even if the advertisements don't always match up.)
M. T. Dremer (author) from United States on September 18, 2010:
Rusty - Thank you, they're stock photos, except for the title picture, I made that one in photoshop.
Chris A - I'm definitely trying to shoot for quality writing over quantity, but despite my attempts it really results in poor returns. My novel still isn't finished after six years of work and my hubs, while I'm proud of them, haven't turned up a payout yet. So I can definitely understand the desire to ride the line between money and quality writing.
Pam Roberson - There are a lot of times where I'll be reading a hub, and it might be totally legitimate, but I just don't care for the writing. So I don't really feel like I should comment. I probably could think of something, but I don't think it is going to help the author of that hub to have forced comments. So you're definitely right about that.
tonymac04 - You're right, there is definitely a dilemma when someone gives you a nice comment and you want to give them one back, but you don't find interest in any of their articles. It can be hard sometimes because we want to promote an encouraging community, but you don't want it to be forced either. Unfortunately there isn't a clear cut answer for this one, but for me I usually try to find at least one of their hubs I can comment on, or, if there are none, wait until a later time to see if maybe they come up with something new.
Amanda Severn from UK on September 17, 2010:
You've summed this up really well. I love writing here. it gives me a chance to put together articles just for the pleasure of it, and to get great feedback into the bargain. I don't make too much money (I have only had one google cheque in over two years) but then I'm not writing about products and services. Mostly I write about art and for some reason the ads that get placed are quite random and often not related to the subject matter. Every so often it occurs to me that I should be more focussed on cash (usually when a bill arrives) but mostly I just keep on hubbing about the things I'm interested in, and any money that follows is a bonus.
Shadesbreath from California on September 17, 2010:
This is pretty solid advice. I've written a few hubs on this sort of thing too, just, you know, promoting quality and integrity over raw commercialism. You know Pcunix? He argues for some of this on the forums a lot too. I figure at some point Google is going to figure out an algorithm that weeds out the purely commercial anyway. If they don't, people will start watching for the "hubpage" label on the search engines and ignoring them. We must work to prevent that.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 07, 2010:
Every once in a while, I check out the Hub Hopping thingy and that's where I see all the hubs that are glorified ads. Usually, when I check out my favorite hubbers or check out certain topics, I don't see this kind of thing. Not sure how I bump into the really interesting hubs about stuff I've never heard about.
Jeff Davis from California on June 02, 2010:
I love the different take you have on making money. I agree. I came to hubpages with the intent of writing for my enjoyment and that of others. As I get more into it, I have to remind myself thats why I'm here... Thanks for this hub.
Tony McGregor from South Africa on May 21, 2010:
Thanks for this Hub. I have some trouble with wanting both to make some money (so far I've madee in two years so little it's still well below the payout threshold!) but I'm here much, much more for the writing.
I have still to learn the lesson about not commenting when it's not appropriate for whatever reason. I still have some kind of guilt feeling if someone has been "nice" to me then I want to be "nice" back, even when the writing's crap.
Thanks for making these points so cogently.
Love and peace
Aine O'Connor from Dublin on May 21, 2010:
Though coming from a slightly different perspective (I'd like to write engaging pieces and make some money), it's reassuring to come across a philosophy that offers a more attractive approach to writing.
Pam Roberson from Virginia on May 20, 2010:
I think you've done a good job of stating your philosophy. Points that I like: Comment and share when you "feel" it and not just to be nice; I too dislike being sucked into an article only to find it's nothing more than an advertisement for motor oil; and quality vs. quantity regarding networking with people is relevant. Well said and well done. :)
Cris A from Manila, Philippines on May 20, 2010:
I guess you can classify people who write here into two: those who write for the love of it and those who write to make money. Obviously you write because it's a passion (I read you're comment on Elena's hub about what makes a writer btw) and you couldn't care less if it'll actually make you rich or not. At least you only serve one master.
I try to, uh, tread the thin line that separates but without great success. My problem is that I always want my titles to be dramatic (haha) and keyword-based titles make the hub look pedestrian. But I still try!
I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Thanks for sharing. :D
C Levrow from Michigan on May 13, 2010:
One of my favorite hubs. Great photos by the way.