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The Basic HubPages Rules - What You Really Need to Know

Kate Swanson wrote her first novel at 15, created her first blog in 2006 and has been writing for profit, and creating websites ever since.

If you're confused by the "rules" on HubPages, you're not alone! It may be less confusing if I tell you that most of the information in the Learning Centre is advisory, NOT compulsory.

The actual rules are straightforward and can be covered in one article - this one. So study this Hub, and you'll know everything you need to know to start writing!

Amazon

  1. There's a maximum of one Amazon item per 300 words of text (so, a 600 word Hub can have 2 products, 900 words can have 3 products, etc). In reality, you'll use less than that, because of the next two rules:
  2. Products MUST be directly related to the TITLE of your Hub. If they're even slightly off-topic, your Hub may be unpublished. For instance, a sewing machine on a Hub about sewing a quilt is not sufficiently related, unless you need a special machine for sewing quilts. Likewise, if you have a Hub about George Washington, you can't add a book about Lincoln, even if you've written a section on Lincoln. The product must relate to your main topic, not to a sentence or even a paragraph.
  3. You must explain why you personally recommend that particular product or book, either in the text next to the product, or in the "description" section of the Amazon capsule.

Rule 3 is vitally important. Your recommendation must be specific and personal. HubPages says you should select only products you have actually used. In practice, they will never ask you to prove it! But you need to make it sound as though you have, e.g. "I like the instructor's clear delivery on this DVD", not, "This DVD offers clear tuition". To be on the safe side, try to write at least two or three sentences about the product.

  1. You can have only TWO links to the same domain in a Hub. If you have more, you'll get a warning that the Hub is "overly promotional" and it will be unpublished!
  2. Links MUST be directly related to the MAIN topic of your Hub - if you have unrelated links, your Hub may be unpublished. That means NO links to:
  • other Hubs on different topics
  • your profile
  • social networks
  • your blog or articles on other websites (unless you can link to a post that's directly related to the topic).

Also, no links to other subjects you might mention in passing.

This rule has one unfortunate consequence - it limits your ability to cite sources. Say you're writing an article about youth violence in a city and you make a statement about rising unemployment being the cause: you probably want to link to an article supporting your statement. But now you can't, because your main topic is violence, not unemployment!

The answer is to cite your sources the old-fashioned way, by giving information on where to find the article but not hyperlinking to it. The neatest way to do that is to add a text capsule at the end of your Hub, title it Sources or References and list your sources there.

Structure

  1. Hubs are likely to fail the QAP (Quality Assessment Process) if they're too short. Don't bother publishing anything under 400 words, unless you have a LOT of images and/or videos.
  2. A Hub must be not currently published anywhere else on the internet (see below in the Duplicate Content section for more details).
  3. You must not write about prohibited subjects (based on Google's "Prohibited Content"). HubPages applies these rules more strictly than Google, because Adsense is absolutely critical to the site's earning capacity, and they can't afford to take chances!
  4. Do not use HTML affiliate code, including Zazzle links. Most HTML code includes two or more URL's, so they can break the two-links rule. Instead, extract the URL you need from the HTML code and create your own hyperlink.

Photos and Images

Many people reduce the size of images before posting them on a website to save server space and reduce load times. Don't do that on HubPages - images on HubPages must be clear, not fuzzy, even if the reader decides to click to view them full-size. If you are using photos from photo websites, make sure you 're using them legally, and also make sure you use the download button to get the best quality photo you can.

How to Avoid the Duplicate Content Penalty

HubPages hates duplicate content. When you publish a Hub, an automated checker looks to see whether the text exists anywhere else. If it does, your Hub will be unpublished.

The HubPages duplicate checker works by checking Google, and a page doesn't disappear from Google the minute it's deleted from a site. That's because Google isn't instant - you have to wait until Google's robots go back and crawl that site again, and discover the page has gone. When that happens is unpredictable - it could be a few hours or it could be a month.

What does that mean for you?

If you're transferring an article from another site, simply wait a week or so before publishing it on HubPages. The neatest way to do that is to create the Hubs, and save them unpublished for a week before you publish them.

These are suggested goals, not rules!

These are suggested goals, not rules!

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Stellar Hubs

All the other "rules" are actually just guidelines - how you lay out a Hub, what headings to use etc etc. It's important to understand that they are NOT rules and you don't need to feel bad if you don't follow them.

The most important guidelines to follow are the "Stellar Hub" guidelines. HubPages has analysed the most successful Hubs and encapsulated their features in the Stellar guidelines. You'll see the the group of check boxes in the top right hand corner when you're making a Hub. As you meet the various criteria, those boxes will be checked - but they are just suggestions.