Don is a Writer and a Storyteller. He has published over 9 books on varied subjects along with many articles and commentary on his blogs.
Starting out on HubPages
It was official, it was September, 2011, and I had just logged on to check on my domain and there it was.
The Writer's Site I use had placed me at being 24 months as a writer on their system. I stopped and thought about this and I realized, what a gullible trip it has been for me.
Two years previously, I was roaming around the insanely complicated and non-user-friendly world of Google Apps, and tripped over this Writer's website that was established for people like myself.
The more I read,about this site, the more interested I became, mostly because they stated/implied that a person could write; poems, stories, recipes, political commentary, whatever they wanted.
And, add to that, the fact that the writer retained the commercial rights to their creations.
Boy, did that sound great to me.
I had stuff to say!
I had things to get off of my chest, and ...... I was already working on several ideas for books.
So naturally, suffering from the Bliss of ignorance, I jumped into the creative waters on this website with both feet and no swim fins.
Don Bobbitt the Writer?
A Newbie Writer was born and made his Mistake #1
So, there I sat, with this strange tool fired up on my PC, just staring back at me.
Oh, I read page after page of "almost answers" to my questions, and even more pages of restrictions and limitations that had to be adhered to, by one and all.
Now, realize that, as a budding closet writer, I was looking forward to what I called Creative Criticism.
I wanted to write my pithy and entertaining Hubs, and I expected to get pithy and creative Comments from my fellow writers.
I expected, intellectual back and forth commentary with my peers, as well as UP, Useful, Interesting and other buttons to be pushed.
Hub Writer Mistake #1
And, of course, I proceeded to make my first Hub Writer mistake.
HUB WRITER MISTAKE #1: Spontaneous Writing and Publishing of a Hub
or, my name is not Kerouac.
My first dozen or so articles were spontaneous writings. By that I mean that I sat there and just let my mind spew words onto the screen.
When I thought I was done on the particular subject, I just scrolled to the top, and did a quick edit of the structure, grammar and overall flow.
Then I just pushed that button at the top to publish it.
You know the Button, the mocking green button labeled PUBLISH NOW.
That button to a writer is like Crack Cocaine to an addict.
That's what all writers want to do, PUBLISH their work, be known, be read, be famous, be regaled as a great writer!
Well, that damned button had me hooked, and I used it.
I mean, I could always go back later and edit everything, at my leisure, couldn't I?
I had no concept of the life expectancy of a Bad Hub versus that of a Good Hub.
I had no clue of the importance of; Keywords, Site generated Scores, Accolades, Followers, Fans, etc, and how they either keep your Hub afloat on the "Sea of Interesting" versus allowing them to sink to the dark ocean bottom with the rest of the Whale Poop.
I just kept putting out my own personal version of Poop.
But luckily, somehow, I did write a few things where a few patient readers overlooked my; typo errors, bad grammar and so forth and actually gave me some encouraging comments and button pushes.
Just enough to keep me going.
After a sporadic six months of writing and a couple of dozen published articles, I realized that I needed to fix something, because, all of my scores, both the overall and those for the individual articles were really bad.
My solution to my Newbie Article writer Mistake #1?
First off, I started to realize that I didn't have a copy of my own writing. So, I began the process of "copy and paste" to move them over to a Word document.
And, as I did so, I began to see the blaring errors and, well,just plain bad writing.
I did a thorough overhaul of each one, realizing that I had to care more about what I put out to the public.
Now, I do my Hub writing on my PC's word processor, and then I go through my own sequence of; let it get cold, edit and improve, let it get cold again, edit and improve again, and then release to Publish. And, I have my original document, for use if I write a book, or want to include in a Blog, or whatever.
And ....... My scores improved.
My Newbie Hubber Mistake #2 - Tags
OK, I had taken care of my really bad writing errors through a planned process of writing offline, editing and reviewing my works before I placed them out there for the world to see.
My scores increased slightly, and I picked up a few more followers, mostly Newbies like myself, and every now and then, I would write something new.
Finally, I was roaming around the Articles written by others and one of the veteran Hubbers had written a Hub on the importance of the use of popular KEYWORDS in your writings.and how these Keywords were used by the search engines to send more searchers on the web to your document, as a source.
Me? I was doing the wrong thing, yet again.
I was now writing my Articles on a word processor, and when I was ready to release it, I would just use a couple of what I thought were important and pertinent words that people would use in a search, into the text as I created my actual article, and very little thought went into what I put down or how relevant they were, or how many I used.
I was in a hurry, I wanted my work PUBLISHED.
For an example, if you wrote a Hub about "How to Change a Tire on an RV", then some good Keywords might be; changing a tire, changing an RV tire, or How to change a Tire, as a few examples.
Finally, it got through my thick skull that I was handicapping myself with both; too few Keywords, resulting in most of my Keywords often being, well, just wrong and weak.
So, I went back and spent a good deal of time re-reading my Hubs, one by one, and trying to come up with Keywords that were as significant and pertinent to each Hub and its content as possible.
And, guess what, my individual scores crept up somewhat, once again, on most of my Articles.
So,the solution to Newbie Hubber Mistake #2?
Place pertinent Keywords onto your Articles that will have a good chance of being utilized by search engines.
1 Year and 40 Articles later - Kill the Isolationist!
So, after a year, and around 40 Articles being written, I was still writing, occasionally, and suffering from the same low overall ranking, and very few of my Hubs had a good score.
Along this time, I had another revelation.
I was sitting back, occasionally jamming a new Hub out there, and then just going away.
My Newbie Writer Mistake #3:
I was not participating in the total Writer's Site experience.
And, boy was my isolationist attitude preventing me from growing an audience.
You see, my site is a participatory system for writers.
It is not a PUSH system for your writings, it is a back and forth system of communication with your fellow Writers.
People ask Questions on this site, because they want answers. Answers from their peers, their fellow writers.
And the site gurus aren't going to answer them, it's up to you, a fellow writer has todo this
If you read a question and you see that the actual answer isn't there, then answer it, if you know the appropriate answer.
If you have an opinion on a Forum subject, lay it out there, wait for others to join in, and get your debating juices going.
What good is a Forum, if there are no dissenting opinions? And, you will quickly learn if your opinion will stand up to the scrutiny of your peers.
My Writer's site is a communication system, designed for writers, and for them to learn from each other.
Participate in the Question and Forum systems, along with your Hub writing and you will see your rating crawl up even more, especially if you provide clear and interesting answers and commentary.
Read other peoples Hubs and sign up as a Follower, if you like their Hubs.
If not, drop yourself off of their follower list.
Look at it as being in an English or other Literature Survey class.
You get exposure to other writers, their different styles, and their good as well as their bad writings.
And, just like in a College Survey class, you leave good comments on what you liked about a specific article.
The only real difference, as a Hubber, is that, if you really don't like what you have read, you say nothing and let the writer suffer with your silence.
Trust me, he/she will understand when they put out a Hub and there are no comments.
So, I began to really participate in the Q&A system, the Forums, and I started not just reading my fellow Hubbers writings, I tried to write constructive comments on the content.
This was a few months ago.
Now, I have a better rating than previously, but more importantly, I am learning so much about writing in general, as well as my own writings.
I am meeting my fellow writers, and broadening my knowledge base form their comments and their Hubs..
And that is always good!
The book, Writing Fiction for Dummies
Re-Evaluating Keywords to raise my scores.
So, there I was, with my lethargic writing schedule and a couple of band-aids placed over what was in my directory. I had a few Good scores and a lot of kind-of-average scores, and a few really low scores.
I kept on reading, and once again I went into the world of other peoples hubs to read up on what else I could do to improve my scores and, should I say, Readability?
It turned out that, just like with my writing quality and my ignorance of using tags, I really had no idea of the importance of Keywords. Yep Keywords!
Here again, I had been floating along, not considering that the relationship between
Keywords in your writings, in the picture labels, in the Title, in the headers of segments, in the text body of your document are much more critical than I had originally thought.
It seems that the algorithms used by those sneaky little search engines have the capability to discard your document for using too much as well as too little of each of the opportunities listed above for Keywords.
So, I went back, once again into my writings, again, and not only worked on my tags, but also on seeing that certain Keywords are placed in all of the right places, and, of course, not too few and not too many.
I now work to make my Porridge, JUST RIGHT!
Oh, and by the way, you will notice that I am not trying to write a definitive article on the proper application of these tools, there are a lot of good Hubs out there already, and here are a couple that I do recommend. If you want more detail, click on these favorites of mine.
They helped me, so they must be written for stubborn idiots.
One of my favorites is:
Easy Backlink techniques by H Porter
There is potential Money out there - Using Ads
I finally got to the level of participation that I was reading Hubs by others on how to make a Buck from your writings.
Up until a few months ago, I was just floating along, with some occasional readers, and generating my "Naked Hubs".
My Hubs were Naked because they were just writings, and I had no plan, or idea, really, about how to get paid for things like Impressions, Page Views, Clicks, etc.
I just wanted more readers.
Oh, I had a Google Adsense account, that I had set up for use on my web site that I used to sell rare stamps and other collectible items, but I went for almost six months before I looked at how to use it in my Hubs.
But,once I set it up, nothing changed in my ranking or the size of my audience, so I really paid little attention to those "earnings reports", mostly because, at the time, I was so screwed up in all of the little things that I was doing wrong or not doing at all to be a good Hubber.
Then, about six months ago, I got an email that I had made my first $100.
I thought, What? After a year and a half, I was getting paid.
But it was a year and a half.
I mean,I had not checked on any growth in financials for a very long time, so this drove me over to my earnings history.
After a careful review of reports, by month, it was obvious that as I fixed all of the stupid things in my writings and working with my grammer and Key Words, and as I was becoming a more active participant in the other HP systems, I was getting more and more; page reads, clicks and such, which finally drove my earnings to that first crossing of the magic $100 threshold.
And then there was HubPage Ads, and well, you end up with Google Ads and HubPage Ads inserted into your writings, and that gives you yet another opportunity for making some more pennies.
And, if you keep expanding there is the Google Affiliate Network providing yet another path for making a little money from ads in your writings.
Of course, you all see the strategically placed ads in mine and others articles. Well, they pay too, if your readers click over, and especially if they buy something from Amazon.
Then there is the while SHARE system that is placed at the bottom of each Hub. Here you get to forward your writings to other social and search systems and expand your visibility even more.
What a revelation! You could make money from writing Hubs. I might be one of the slowest people to figure things out, but I did eventually figure them out.
Now, I am crawling into the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and I will begin the next step of managing my writings for optimal readership and potential payback.
Write for People, Not at them!
As I write, I try to keep my audience in mind at all times. Oh, sure, you are writing for yourself, but face it your stuff is not going to be the next Dead Sea Scroll discovery a couple of thousand years from now.
You are writing for a select audience, and you need to know your audience, and cater your writing to them.
As I mentioned starting out, I have just crossed the 100 Hub milepost, and they are not all of a kind.
I have some Instruction Hubs for people who travel and camp.
I have some Hubs on Politics
I have some Short Stories culled from experiences of my past.
I have some just Humorous Stories, as well as Satire.
I have some attempts at Poetry.
I have some Recipes that I really like and wanted to share.
And I have several BLOGS that I now use for a broader audience, one is for RV and Camper owners, one is a Blog on Foods and includes Recipes as well as food tips, and one is a Blog of my commentart and criticisms as a new member of the world of Retirees.
And each is listed in a separate capsule at the bottom of my Hubs, in case my readers are interested;
Also, I have written and published three books that are available on Amazon. They are mentioned in a separate capsule below my writings in each Hub.
No, these are not great works of art, just collections of useful information for my readers, if they are interested. One is a Cookbook of old recipes, one is a collection of my writings about RV's and one is a Food Encyclopedia of useful facts about foods.
They are all written for my readers. They are out there, if needed, and if not, then so be it.
Like I said, if you want to be successful at writing, know your audience, and give them what they want.
If they want to learn, give them good and clear information.
If they want to laugh give them a story that brings on a smile.
And if they want to cry, write something that will at least force a tear in their eye.
That, my friends, is my Goal as a Writer.
And a Hubber!
HUbPages Article Editing
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on June 18, 2020:
Thank You for the read and the comment.
Have a Great day,
Liliane Najm from Toronto, Canada on June 18, 2020:
I appreciated your honesty in critiquing your writing.
K S Lane from Melbourne, Australia on June 09, 2018:
Thanks for the advice! I'm about five months along now, and I definitely wish I'd known some of these things before I started!
Leonie M from Belgium. on April 19, 2018:
I have enjoyed reading your revelation! Thanks for sharing.
leon01 on December 21, 2017:
Enjoyed reading your history on hub pages - looks like I'm making those same mistakes at the moment.
Jo_Goldsmith11 on August 30, 2016:
Great tips! This all makes sense to me.
I have been here 5 years and wished I would of found this sooner.
Nice to meet you and awesome information!
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on June 17, 2015:
Catherine Giordano- Thanks for the read and comment on my Hub.
It's funny really, I am one of those people who has to learn their lessons the "hard way". And, I pay the price eventually for my hard-headedness. LOL!
McKenna Meyers on June 14, 2015:
Don, thanks for being so real about your journey on Hubpages. There's a lot to learn and, as your experience proves, perserverance is key. Thanks for sharing what you've learned.
Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on June 13, 2015:
I just hit my one year milestone and I thought I would take a look at how others had done it. I thought I had a rocky start, but I see now what a real rocky start looks like. I'm so glad to see that you finally got your act together.
Heap Threads from Birmingham, Alabma on June 12, 2014:
Wow, it sound like you have had quite an interesting and educational journey. Thanks for sharing advice with all of us new "Hubbers."
Sunil Kumar Kunnoth from Calicut (Kozhikode, South India) on February 26, 2014:
Congrats on your achievement. I loved your writing style and the way you narrated your hubbing experience. Still I need to read and reread this stuff for more comprehension and learn something serious. I too nearing 2 year of hubbing just one short of 100 hubs. So it is inspirational as well for me to write my experience here. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. Voted up.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 19, 2013:
misslong123- Thanks for the comment and kind words.
Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on November 15, 2013:
I hope you do write that hub. I would enjoy reading and learning from it.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 15, 2013:
biblicaliving- Thanks for the kind words about my HUB.
I have now passed the 4-year mark on HP and I think I will write another one detailing all of the things that have evolved since mytwo year mark.
Thanks for the read,
biblicaliving from U.S.A. on November 13, 2013:
I think that you just inspired me to write a hub about my own experiences here on hub pages. I started over 2 1/2 years ago and made a pay out a few months ago.. For over 2 years of that time, I ignored my hubpages account. Now I am encouraged and back at it. Thanks for a wonderful hub!
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on August 15, 2013:
Gina145- Thanks for the read and the kind words.
Gina145 from South Africa on August 14, 2013:
Thanks. You've given me a lot to think about as I strive to improve my Hubs.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 16, 2013:
Karen Hellier- I am glad that you enjoyed my attempts at humor. I try, often, to elevate such dry material a bit with stories and levity, in order to keep my readers attention.
Thanks for the Comment,
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on May 16, 2013:
Muttface- Good to hear from you and I appreciate your comment.
I hope you keep writing and my article helps you on HP in some way.
Thanks for the comment,'
Karen Hellier from Georgia on May 16, 2013:
I don't know how I stumbled upon this but I am glad I did. What a thorough history of your experience with hub Pages. I really enjoyed reading it and laughed at your reference of the green publish button and what it means to writers. And you hit the nail right on the head. Nice to run into you here. Keep up the good work!
Muttface from Portugal on May 16, 2013:
You're right, it's so difficult not to press 'Publish.' But after reading this I'm going to try and let my Hubs go stale for a bit and then go back on them and buff them up before publishing. The glaring typos should be more obvious then!
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on April 26, 2013:
misslong123- Thanks so much for reading my Hub and for your kind words. I hope this and my other informational Hubs are of some use to yourself as we'll as others.
Michele Kelsey from Edmond, Oklahoma on April 26, 2013:
Thank you for the awesome newbie advice. I am always searching for people who have great insight. It sounds like you are very knowledgable and experienced. I took notes on this hub and saved it for reference for later. Thank you so much!
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on March 07, 2013:
Thanks for the comment , AMFredenburg.
I appreciate the read and I hope it proved of some use to you.
Aldene Fredenburg from Southwestern New Hampshire on March 07, 2013:
Thanks for sharing your wisdom re: the Hub experience. I've got a long ways to go, and will definitely keep your advice in mind.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on February 17, 2013:
Rosemay50-Thanks for the read and comment.
Iappreciate your point about followers who are shooting for the short gain in readership.
Rosemary Sadler from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand on February 16, 2013:
Congratulation on this milestone. Two year and 100 hubs, you have learned a great deal and done well. You give some great advice here for others to follow and lean by.
I think one of the major things that drop scores is following just to gain followers back. Many new members click 'follow' someone then never ever take the time to read their hubs. HP picks up on this too. As you say with hubs it is the quality and not the quantity, in my view this is the same for followers.
Thank you for sharing what you have learned with us, always useful information.
Sean Evans from GTA on February 15, 2013:
Nope and sorry if it sounded that way. I guess that is what happens when you read and post things an hour past bed time. :) I did enjoy the hub and wish I spent more time on quality control from the start v.s quantity.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on February 15, 2013:
ATongue in Cheek Comment ..... Sean?
Sean Evans from GTA on February 14, 2013:
Nice writing. I wish I had of read this some time ago. I think if I had of it would of saved me some time and encourage me to re-look at my hubs over and over before hitting that publish button.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on February 07, 2013:
Thanks for the read and comment DrMark1961. As to sharing? I do not share my hubs except when I have gone back and reviewed them and made relevant changes to the content.
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on February 07, 2013:
Thanks for sharing this. I have noticed the HP warning "sharing with your followers is not recommended-do you wish to continue?", but sometimes sharing again is a really good idea. I never would have noticed this had you not shared it.
It was an interesting read. Thanks again.
Kay Comer from Metropolis, Illinois on February 05, 2013:
Gee, people here are so SO nice. I can't believe you took the time to check out my hubs. I write a daily blog and have since November of 2009 and I do really well with it and it's read all over the world. But I'll have to really get the hang of hubs to feel comfy writing here. For instance I have a hub in holding now that I got a message on..that says part of it is a duplicate from another hub...and it's a personal story about our gardens and how they came to be...so how can that BE...? hahaha But I'll figure it out and I'll get comfy and then folks will be saying "Oh GOODNESS...there's another hub by that KATYDID woman" hahaha I LOVE storytelling!!! Thanks so SO much for checking out a couple of MY hubs...
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on February 04, 2013:
thekatydid- Thanks so much for your read and nice comment about my Hub. And, I checked out some of your "stuff"and you'll be alright. JUst do write what you are driven to say and say it well. People will always find good work, and come back for more.
Kay Comer from Metropolis, Illinois on February 04, 2013:
I really enjoyed a look at your writing about your first 100 hubs. I TOO am a baby boomer and so new here I don't know which end is up. And some days, it seems like the more I read the more confused I GET. But I want to be one of the successful hubber stories, so I keep plugging away. Thanks for taking the time to give your very interesting and informative overview.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on December 27, 2012:
StegToDiffer- thanks for the kind comment and I am really glad that the information was useful. Check out my other Hubs that includes lessons that I have learned as a Hubber. They could possibly help you and others, also.
Spunk Nellie from New York, NY on December 26, 2012:
What an excellent Hub! You gave me a lot of advice that I truly need as a young Hubber. Upvoted.
Mike Pugh from New York City on December 15, 2011:
Nice one @Don Bobbitt, I like how you approach this hub, you have definitely showcased many errors that we've all faced. I learned quickly about how hubpages works, but I had an upper hand as a web developer, and so I was well equipped with many of the SEO knowledges prior to joining.
I must admit though the whole hubtivity thing took me some time too figure out, after about 3 weeks or so I caught on to how people communicated on here. It's truly a tough experience without any idea of what to do, but its worth the ride and enjoyment of learning about Hubpages and how it all works.
I've been lucky to earn a great deal of followers in a short period of time, but I don't depend on that alone, I share my hubs outside of hubpages to draw in traffic as well.
I use many social sharing tools that I've either built into my sites or on other networks I've joined prior to getting on hubpages, so it makes things slightly easier to get viewers.
Many of these new sharing features weren't around when you joined, but today in our present times there's some truly amazing ways to communicate for sure. Awesome hub, voted up on all levels.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 13, 2011:
Thanks for the Comment, RJS. I appreciate te support, and I look forward to reading more of your stuff!
rjsadowski on November 13, 2011:
Every Hubber has a different story to tell and all are helpfull.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on November 09, 2011:
MT, thanks for the comment. For three weeks as a Hubber you are pretty prolific, so I am following you to watch your growth. Good Luck!
Shasta Matova from USA on November