To become successful on HubPages it is important to create content that shines. The problem is that it is often difficult to know ahead of time whether a hub is going to do well or whether it's going to flop. Luckily, by looking around HubPages to see what kind of hubs are doing well and which aren't, it gets easier to tell whether or not a particular hub is going to succeed.
When I first started out on HubPages, I didn't really know what to expect. I am a blogger first and foremost and at first, I made the mistake of thinking that HubPages was going to be a lot like writing in my blog. This is why the very first hub I have ever written was a big flop. I, however, hung in there and learned the ropes of HubPages and found that it can be just as lucrative as blogging and sometimes easier.
#1 Plan Your Hub
I know, you're groaning already! One of the LEAST fun aspects of creating a hub is the planning process, but it is also the most important. If you remember creating rubrics (outlines) for papers in middle school, then you're familiar with the planning process. I'll be honest, I hate the planning process, but there are many reasons why it is important.
When first creating a hub, you are given the opportunity to create the URL for the hub which is something along the lines of hubpages.com/the-url-you-pick. Now, if you do not create your own URL, HubPages will just make the title of your hub the URL. This isn't a travesty, but if you create your own URL, you can use a keyword related to your hub which can aid with search engine optimization. For example, I have a hub called "All About Polish Food." If I'd have let HubPages select the URL, it would have been hubpages.com/all-about-polish-food which would have been horrible because how many people REALLY search in Google for the phrase "All about Polish Food?" I then did a little keyword research and found that "Polish food" would be something that people would likely search for, so I decided to make the URL hubpages.com/Polish-food which is more suitable for SEO. This is actually a major help with traffic.
This is where you break out a piece of paper (or a word processor) and get down to the real work. What is your hub going to be about? Let's say you're going to write about some museums in Chicago. Which museums are you going to write about? How many museums?
It's a good idea to understand what information you're going to cover in your hub ahead of time so that your article flows. You don't want to be writing about the museums of Chicago to realize halfway through the article that you also want to cover some of the great art galleries of Chicago. If you do that, then you're getting into another subject and that's where you start losing readers (not that art galleries aren't awesome!)
If you're having trouble, try writing down the main topics you're going to cover in your article. Then, under each main topic, write a few pointers on different aspects of each. This will create a great outline from which to create a well-written hub. These pointers can be fun facts, supporting evidence, etc... This will help you build your hub later.
#2 Selecting a Title
Coming up with a good title for a hub is really important, however, you can always change it so don't sweat it if a good name doesn't come to you right away. There are some ideas to follow through. People LOVE lists. I love lists. If you're writing a hub about things to do at a place, don't just title the article, "Things to Do at a Place." A name like "9 Things to Do at a Place" is much better. Then, of course, organize the hub into a list of 9 things to do at a place and go into depth on each thing in each section. The word "Tips" is also a good help. An example title with the word "tips" would be, "Tips on Writing a Great Hub." This actually brings me to a question for you, what do you prefer in a title? The word "tips" or a numbered list such as "9 Ways to do such-n-such"?
#3 Do a Boredom Check
Do a what? Yeah, a boredom check. Is your hub boring? Seriously, don't just spit out words and hit the publish button, write something that would interest YOU! So the important thing is that you write in such a way that is interesting to other readers. The best way to test whether or not something is interesting to other people is to make sure it is interesting to YOU. A great way to create an interesting hub is to do a little bit of research on your topic. Look up fun facts about the topic or look it up on Wikipedia. If you find an interesting tidbit, be sure to include it in your hub, it'll make it more fun to read!
#4 Pretty Pictures
Add pictures to your hub. Relevant ones. AVOID STOCK IMAGES! Nothing can downplay great content more than pictures of professional men and women in suits having a meeting. As a matter of fact, the men and women in these pictures are probably having a meeting about how stock images add nothing to a website. If you're writing an article about technology, finding a great picture can be difficult, but just think about your topic and I'm sure you can come up with a nice looking picture without it being one of those cheesy stock photos that aren't plastered on a third of all marketing blogs. (That's a made-up statistic.) This kind of goes along the lines of the whole boredom check thing, but it's really important so I made a whole section about stock photos. Also, if you're having trouble finding a photo, ask around in the forums, there are many individuals in the forums who are bored from reading the hub I linked to above that are just ready to pounce on something to do. (Just kidding, no-one reads that hub.)
Pictures are meant to bring your hub to life, they aren't a requirement. If a picture doesn't add anything to your hub, it's kind of pointless. If you write a hub about beautiful places in Spain, don't leave me hanging with a picture of the Spanish flag. I want Spain to come to life! Show me how beautiful Spain is, prove to me with pictures that Spain is as beautiful and as wonderful as you say. Also, if you are able to find some nice pictures related to your hub, add a few of them. Readers love to stop and look at pictures, I know I do! Just remember that you must have the right to add the pictures to your hub.
#5 Talk to Your Readers
Engage your readers. Really. Don't just add a poll that means nothing. If you add a poll, make readers feel like you really care what you're asking. How is this done? Easy! All you have to do is ask your readers a question that you REALLY want the answer to. Part of the fun on HubPages is engaging your readers and being part of a community. This is also a great way to not only build relationships with your readers so they read more of your stuff but also serves as a way to get to know your readers.
If you get to know your readers you may learn about different things and even get some ideas on some new hubs to write. I have noticed that a decent amount of traffic to my hubs comes from hubpages. This means that fellow hubbers are reading my stuff and although hubbers don't click as many ads as non-hubbers, they are an extremely valuable resource. Remember that fellow hubbers are NOT your competition. This is a community where we can learn from each other and that starts with communication... because hubbers are readers too.
#6 Know Your Stuff
It's also very important to write about stuff you know about. Okay, you don't have to be an expert in the field, but there are a few reasons you should write about things that you either know a lot about or are a subject that is easily research-able. When I say research-able, that means I can write about State Parks in Washington even though I have NEVER been to Washington because I know enough about parks and the State of Washington to have an idea of how to research and write about it. However, if I were to write a hub about how thermonuclear energy works, it would not be very interesting or well-written because I would not even know where to start on the subject!
Feel free to write hubs about things you have an interest in even though you aren't necessarily a pro in the field! Wikipedia and Google search are there to help you on your way! Just don't write about topics that are way above your head because, well, you want to be an authority on the subject.
Snakesmum on December 24, 2014:
Thanks for the tips - the boredom check is a great idea. I think I should do more research on how to engage people! :-)
torrilynn on December 23, 2014:
I think the best tip to writing a successful hub is to be yourself
John Hollywood from Hollywood, CA on December 22, 2014:
Interesting and informative hub. Love the boredom check!! Thanks for this post. voted up!
peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 12, 2014:
i need to add in polls to all my hubs. Need to interact with readers
FreezeFrame34 from Charleston SC on September 05, 2014:
Great tips from a veteran writer!
Nick Deal from Earth on September 04, 2014:
Thanks for writing this. I can definitely use the tips as I'm just starting out here on Hubpages.
Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 03, 2014:
Hi Melbel - You are so amazing in your thought processing in preparing a hub. Photos are fun to look at, so that is so important. It is even better if they are colorful. Planning, as you said, is so important. Talking to your readers is a great tip. You have included so many ideas to make writers excited and motivated. Thank you for sharing your ideas. Blessings, Audrey, Sharing hub
Bethaleg from Minnesota on July 18, 2012:
My only complaint is that I didn't read this before publishing my first Hub! I only have 2 right now so with these tips now I can write better ones. Thanks for helping us newbies and I think these are great tips for anyone.
Madeleine Salin from Finland on January 11, 2012:
Hi melbel, I need to bookmark this hub and come back later to read it. It seems to be helpful.
Nokchill on December 26, 2011:
Hello MelBel I've just completed your course on writing successful HUBS. Thanks so much for this information I started working on my first HUB on Christmas, and after many interruptions I decided to give it a rest until I could devote the proper time to it. I really enjoyed your tips for the HUB writing process. ReneeL
Eranofu from Europe on December 21, 2011:
Planning is the part I like the most... Just sitting, dreaming about the hub. ^^ Then formatting, finding pretty pictures - all that is lovely. Writing itself is what gets frustrating. I tend to correct myself 50times, and when I think it's nice and done I get proud of myself, publish and... find a typo. :S
Nothing beats made up statistics in the article. :D Had to smile about that sentence.
Danette Watt from Illinois on October 10, 2011:
Great info here. I didn't know about choosing your own URL and I'm going to incorporate that into my next batch of hubs. I write a draft in Word so I can revise and edit if necessary. I'm not sure what my #7 tip would be but I will say this: my writing feels different to me (even as I write it) when I don't feel confident about my subject. so I try to stick to topics I'm familiar with or can at least relate to in some way.
Bookmarking this so I can review the URL tip later. Voted up
mobilityvanman from Florida on September 15, 2011:
Melbel, I try to do a 15 minute freewrite or outline exercise once I pick my topic. I am looking for more topics to create hubs on and your hub gave me some good inspiration.
email@example.com from upstate, NY on September 09, 2011:
I found you on Ms Dee's INFP Hub and thought it would be interesting to check out a fellow INFPer. I'm glad I did, this is great writing! I bookmarked this Hub, this is the kind of information I've been looking for. I didn't know I could create my own URL for better SEO, I also felt your suggestion about talking to your readers to be very good! Keep up the good work!-WBA
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on August 15, 2011:
I WISH you could change the urls. Really! Sadly, you can't. I have a number of hubs whose content has changed, over time, to kind of hone the topic, but the url remains the same... which is unrelated to the content.
Shampa Sadhya from NEW DELHI, INDIA on August 15, 2011:
An extremely helpful hub. I especially liked the URL point. I never tried it earlier and so my hub titles are the URLs. I have a question: Can I change the URLs of my hubs after the publication?
Thanks for all the tips. Keep going!
Mansi2512 from Bangalore,India on July 16, 2011:
Wow. That was really awesome! Thank You.
Carolyn Sands from Hollywood Florida on July 15, 2011:
Thanks for the article...much appreciated. I too write in the word document first. Not only does it show me mispilled words automatically, but it is also helpful with any grammer errors I might make.
Amanda Hare from England on July 13, 2011:
The point about flow is so true for short and long articles.
There is one point I would add: Watch your spelling and grammar. There are many hubs I read that have spelling mistakes and simple grammatical mistakes.
I write in a Word document first (instant spellchecker), save it as a text file, then copy and paste into a hub. This also allows you to see the flow, which can be hard to follow if you are writing into live hubs.
Another great article. Thanks!
Royalmark from Lagos, Nigeria on July 09, 2011:
Your tips are all so right on point.
I'll add up a tip below:
"Make sure your keywords which you want to rank for are mentioned frequently in your article but don't include it when it's not necessary. This helps your article rank more in the Google page rank".
Thanks and this is a wonderful hub. :-)
u01dtj6 on July 07, 2011:
I have just recently joined and these tips are great to read. Thanks for the advice!
dewaldvandeventer from South Africa, Gauteng on July 05, 2011:
Hi, i came across the "hub-relm" last night, and are excited about it.
I signed up, and am about to write my first hub!
Wish me luck.
I want to create a website too so i cn direct my followers to that too, which will give them resources on writing + other cool stuff.
Glo L Bernadas from Philippines on April 11, 2011:
Valuable tips such as these is certainly of great value to newbies like me. Thank you.
Brittany Rowland from Woodstock, GA on April 10, 2011:
Great tips for hubbers here. And you demonstrate what you're advising by making your hub engaging and funny!
LoopyGem from Canada on March 25, 2011:
I am new to hubpages and this was awesome advice! I have written three. Unfortunately, I realized too late that this isn't a "blog"...So, I am going to do more research and reading other hubs to get a better flow. Thanks again for this great hub to get me going in the right direction!
heart4theword from hub on March 12, 2011:
Encouraging guidelines:) Always good to double check the list, to see if we've covered everything! Thanks:)
Linda Rawlinson from Lancaster, UK on February 14, 2011:
Lucrative? Hmm. How do you make a blog lucrative? I guess your blog involves more than a bit of news about what you ate for breakfast and so on?
Great tips :)
Dinesh Mohan Raturi from Dehradun on February 13, 2011:
Great tips on writing Hubs which are interesting and attract visitors. Will try to follow your advice.
Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on February 06, 2011:
Very informative to me-a new Hubber. Thank you!
UrbnGeek from New Delhi, India on February 02, 2011:
Woah! Great Hub for new hubbers! Thanks melbel!
Ten123 on January 27, 2011:
I really love this Hub. It is informative yet fun and not to dry!!!!! Awesome Hub and I love learning since I am new at this. Thank You!!!
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on January 24, 2011:
Well, if you need my help, I'm willing to give you some one on one advice if you're interested.
Cindy A Johnson from Sevierville, TN on January 23, 2011:
Thanks for the "tips." I can use all the help I can get.
shirleyoaks from Ireland on January 13, 2011:
really liked your hub,as a new hubber,i love this site it's so easy to use,it's great to have an outlet for all the thinking i do,look forward to future hubs
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on January 11, 2011:
Thank you for the comment. :) I'm glad these tips helped you!
The Pink Panther from Sydney, Australia on January 11, 2011:
Some great tips! Thanks!
Tony McGregor from South Africa on January 07, 2011:
Thanks for some really valuable (and different) tips.
Love and peace
Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on September 28, 2010:
Many thanks for this Hub. There is so much to learn and your tip re url v title is one I'll certainly put into practice pronto.
fermina on September 26, 2010:
Thanks for tips. I am a new hubber also so this helps a lot.
Roseann Cole on September 26, 2010:
Hey thanks for the great advice. I just started my hub yesterday and I am already using the boring office people stock photos. hmm....I will have to rethink that!
TechTrendy on September 25, 2010:
melbel you have some great advice here and your article has a great flow. Totally agree about the stock images as well it's almost like it's vintage with the old photos.
kentuckyslone on September 24, 2010:
Funny stuff about the stock images and so true...
Alison Graham from UK on September 23, 2010:
thanks for all the great tips, some really helpful pointers here.
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on September 22, 2010:
I am glad I could help! If there is anything you need help with, let me know... although you appear to be well on your way to success here on HubPages!
Hello, hello, from London, UK on September 22, 2010:
Thank you for your comprehensive hub and it gave me a few ideas which help.
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on September 21, 2010:
Thank you for the positive comments!
ankigarg87 on September 21, 2010:
very useful tips thanks for the tips.It will help me a lot
ross670daw on September 20, 2010:
Hi Melbel, I sometimes get so excited about an article I'm going to write, that I often skip the all important steps, doing the right research, planning and think about what I'm writing. Then I have to slow down, go back to the start and rethink. Your advice and tips are a good reminder.