Updated date:

How I Earned More as a Writer on Hubpages

Author:

Stacie L has been an educator for many years and likes to share her experiences and advice.

I ventured in

I wrote my first hub on Hubpages on August 30, 2008. I had discovered it after doing a search for photography and came across SunSeven's hubs. I was so impressed, that I investigated all her other hubs and then expanded into the profiles and hubs of other writers there. At the time I had written a few articles on Helium with mediocre success and began my first blog. This seemed to be more of a writers site. I read many other writers work and tried to get a sense of how to write for the readers that visited.

I was impressed with the quality of information I found each time. Everything and anything was available. Hubpages does have restrictions on subjects such as sexual themes, drugs or alcohol, inciting hatred, and name-calling.

I have several reasons to write on this site. The non pressure atmosphere is good for me, because I hate being rushed or have a time limit.

The helpful members on the forums whenever I have a question, and the ability to edit whenever I need to add or subtract some information is most appealing.


-looks so smart in glasses, huh?

-looks so smart in glasses, huh?

My first writing ventures

Since it was 2008, I decided to venture into a topic I rarely write about-politics. I tried to look at the humorous side of it. I found quotes by the two main Presidential candidates at the time, and made a hub around that. Since that time I periodically revise and added to the hub. It received some comments so I felt encouraged.

I next wrote about wireless mice(mouse) which I had recently tried for the first time. I received more encouraging comments so I continued. Since writing that one, it has been refocused.

Not all hubs are received as well as I had hoped. Some were downright flops and others took off. I am always researching about search engine optimized (SEO) practices and keywords so tried to incorporate those as well. I have to admit I'm awful at SEO! I felt the research and trying to fit the keywords were slowing me down. Honestly many keywords that showed the most searches were not in my interest level.

There are many days or weeks that I just haven’t got an idea or motivation to write. I try not to fight that and let it flow when I'm ready.

I have to state for the record that I didn't write exclusively for Hubpages. Ghost writing, submitting articles for other content sites and blogging occupied my time, as well as, developing my photography business. I also develop affiliate websites and write articles for product lines.

Make Money Online Writing Articles

Points I keep in mind when writing

  • The more useful information you provide, the more readers will find you.
  • Review what people are asking and try to answer as many questions as possible.
  • Review and comment on new hubs (hub hopping) as well as established ones
  • Read and comment in the forums; try not to get drawn into the petty arguments
  • Linking to other hubs is good for the community
  • Sign up for the Ebay and Amazon affiliate programs to earn extra money.
  • Now you may create and upload your own youtube videos into a Hub.Some Hubs are solely videos with a transcript.

Affiliate earnings on Hubpages

An important part of writing on a shared revenue site-the affiliate earnings you can make. After you've written a few hubs with a decent about of traffic, you can apply to Google Adsense for an affiliate ID. It's not automatic so be patient.As of 2016, my earnings have increased since the niche sites were developed.

You also may apply for Amazon and HubPages ad program, which is automatic. You may choose to not have HP ads show. Actually, you don't need to have any but the extra money is a nice bonus. I reached my first Google Adsense payout of $100.00 after 11 months, then it was 9, then 7 and now after the Panda shake up, it's taking longer.

HubPage ads payout is $50.00 and that came after 4 months. Ebay sales and earnings have picked up since my last edit. Ebay ads are combined with HP ads.

Ebay is now retired from as an affiliate earning partner.

I receive the best payouts as an Amazon affiliate. They have a payout of $10.00 and you can choose direct deposit or a gift certificate. You do have to wait for the previous months earnings, after two months for payment. Most affiliate programs have a 30 day wait.

*Hubpages stopped individual Amazon affiliate programs a few years a go and combine Google,Amazon and Ebay payments. Amazon is still the best money maker. Google wants a text capsule to have a minimum of 300 words to correspond to the product. It's also advisable to have one product on your Hub.

There are other affiliate programs that you are allowed to have an outside link to. No more than two links per one outside affiliate program and some are simple not allowed. Be sure to read the list on the learning guide.

Watch the video and read the help and learning hubs for more help.


The longest writing hubbers


I reviewed the list of the writers that I follow and came up with a list of some of the hubbers that also have high author scores and here over 7 years.

Paul Edmondson -over 8 years (founder)

glassvisage -over 8 years

Hal Licino -over 7 years

Jimmy the Jock -over 8 years

Patty Engligh -over 7 years

Chuck -over 7 years

relache -over 8 years

Kathryn Vercillo -over 8 years

SweetiePie -over 7 years

SunSeven- over 8 years

carpesomediem- over 8 years

Stacie Naczelnik-over 8years

If you read some of these authors articles you may get a good sense why they have lasted so long. I should point out that many stopped writing or not been active for some time.

What I've learned in over 8 years writing on Hubpages

As I stated in the beginning of this Hub, there are seasons to write for HubPages. I like the low pressure attitude and ease of the writing platform. The capsules are easy to use. Other writers or members are there to help whenever you ask. HubPages has a great open forum that doesn't ban those with opposing opinions. It does have some restrictions on subject matter, but I feel they are minor.

Another positive aspect of writing here, is the new niche sites that Hubpages developed. I am on a good number of them and my articles have increased my passive earning tremendously.

Recently the forums have been divided into two main categories; one is official whereby advice and news is given. The other forum is topical for other subject matter.

As I enter my 8th year here, I feel better about my writing and a little more confident. I still read and participate in the forums. They are full of helpful tips and advice. But as with any forum, you have to sift through a lot of nonsense.

Being a writer here the longest doesn't guarantee a higher score or reader following. There are a number of factors to their success. The above list of writers that I follow prove that are excellent writers, with good keywords, on subjects people want to read. Not all of them are active in the forums I might add. I've hardly seen any of these hubbers in the forums so participation does not equate to higher scores.

I look for interesting items in the news and find a different angle to write about. Look at you tube videos for ideas, read other articles for ideas. Many people write on the same subject but may have a different outlook. Never spin an article. Respond to comments as soon as they post. You do not have to deal with spam, rude or negative remarks or keep those comments with outbound links.

Set up your comments to approve comments before posting, or only have signed in users make a comment. This cuts down on spammers.

I have learned from other HubPage writers over the past 8 years and every time I read the forums. There are people's tips that can provide some insight and good information to help new writers. Reading the forums, answering questions, leaving useful comments, rating new hubs and trying to help new writers is the best policy here.

© 2011 Stacie L

Comments

Gary Holdaway from Sleaford, UK on May 14, 2020:

Hey, great hub! I returned to Hubpages only this week after a seven year hiatus! It feels good to be back :) I was shocked to find an old--pretty poorly written by today's standards--article of mine receiving google traffic after all this time.

I've hit the ground running in the midst of a ten article project around audience building and book sales, but I cant wait to edit that old hub and build a series out of it! Really glad I landed on your hub!

Philip Agutu from Mombasa Island on May 04, 2020:

Thanks for your insights on how to earn more on HP. The vast sea of tips from you experienced hubbers is what keeps me going.

Stacie L (author) on August 26, 2017:

Thank you for reading and leaving your comments. I never considered writing online before and it has been a learning experience.

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on August 23, 2017:

I enjoyed reading your observations about writing here on HubPages. Like you, I enjoy the unlimited time frame to draft, create and publish our work. Also, I like that we can go back and edit without any issues or permission required. Overall, it's been a great and rewarding experience that helped me build the confidence to self-publish a novel.

Kierstin Gunsberg from Traverse City, Michigan on April 17, 2017:

I love reading other people's HubPages stories! I joined years ago but it wasn't until recently that I truly understood the depth of opportunity here. I love that you can make as much or as little as you want here, as long as you're willing to put in the work. It's a great option for a student and mom to-small-kids like me who loves to write!

Stacie L (author) on May 15, 2016:

Thank you for your comments. I just found this in my spam filter so I'm not sure why.

I like to refer to your insightful hubs and follow you on forums.I'm glad you found Hubpages the way I did.

Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on March 22, 2016:

It's always interesting to see how other Hubber's have felt about their experience on HubPages. I can relate to everything you talked. I even selected HubPages at the beginning for the same reasons as you had. I researched several sites and found HubPages to be more professional.

I also noticed how Hubber's generally write more with the reader in mind, offering helpful information. I felt this was important and over the past several years I see that it definitely is important, especially from an SEO standpoint.

Just as you, I had learned a lot by writing here. I like to follow the guidance that HubPages provides with the changes that always need to be made. It's the only way we can stay ahead of the changes Google is always experimenting with. Other sites don't focus on that, but it's important if one wants to be successful with their writing.

Stacie L (author) on August 06, 2015:

peachpurple; thanks for the congrats,but I am a few weeks from number 7!

Time does fly by! ;-)

peachy from Home Sweet Home on August 06, 2015:

Congrats on your six year. I am in five . lots of memories

stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on December 06, 2014:

Your hub was useful, and very informative. Thanks for the advice and you are probably right about diversify into other subjects. Getting started is hard, but I'll keep on trying to improve. Thanks, Stella

Stacie L (author) on September 10, 2013:

hello hawaiianodysseus:

Thank you for the kind words also. I live for positivity and try to stay away from the negative.

I have learned much from fellow hubbers here and do like the camaraderie and support.

Giving to others in the form of writing is the next best thing to being there. ;-)

Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on September 08, 2013:

Stacie, it's very refreshing as well as encouraging for me to read the work of one who's been here on HubPages since not long after its inception. It was a pleasure to read this positive and upbeat hub about HP because I've been wading through a lot of negative content lately. Personally, I love the camaraderie and support that I find on this writing site. The social connections have a deeper quality here in comparison to other sites. As an aspiring writer, that's a significant factor for me. Thank you so much for your kind words today, both here in this hub and in your wonderful comments on one of my eBay hubs. I look forward to further sharing in the coming months.

Aloha!

~Joe

Stacie L (author) on July 25, 2013:

Hello Colin from Lake Erie,

I'm glad you stopped by to read and leave some comments. I'm sorry you haven't made any money but maybe you need to diversify and write on different subjects. I will take a look at your work.

:-)

epigramman on July 25, 2013:

Hello Stacie it's so nice to meet you - I'm Colin from lake erie time ontario canada and I am owned by Little Miss Tiffy who is now 18 and a certified diva and Mister Gabriel my all white totally deaf cat.

Over 3 years here I have not made one single penny but that said I am also one of the most famous and legendary hubbers of all Hubtime or else I am not the Epi-man, lol. Well we all have our own stories don't we and I was very interested in reading yours as I will post and link it on my Hubpage for all to see and read.

My cat crew and I are sending warm wishes and good energy your way on this Thursday afternoon by the lake with first cup of coffee and some classical piano music after night shift sleep

Stacie L (author) on July 16, 2013:

Thank you for visiting and leaving such nice comment son my Hub, Les Trois Chenes.

I enjoy Hubpages the most and do make good money on average.

Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on July 15, 2013:

I've been with HubPages a while now and still enjoy it, although earnings are minimal. There are just so many interesting people writing here - and now I've found you too. One more good reason to keep writing on HP

Lisa Brown from Michigan on April 06, 2013:

You're inspirational. This article reinforces all of the reasons I write for Hub Pages. I love it. It's fun. I really have a great time connecting with other hubbers. You'll see my questions and answers all of the time. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

Lisa

Stacie L (author) on October 01, 2012:

Thnak you for your comments about my experiences as a Hubpage writer.

I hope you have as good experience as i have.

Mona Germain from Ontario, Canada on September 29, 2012:

Thank you for this insightful and helpful, positive article. It has sincerity and I applaud your successful participation here. I am still getting to know my way round so this is interesting to me. Write on!

Stacie L (author) on September 20, 2012:

Thank you for reading my Hub as a Hubpage writer.

I try to stay positive even with Google updates. It's good to have other sources of revenue as well.

Maria Janta-Cooper from UK on September 19, 2012:

Thank you for writing about your positive experiences on HubPages. I'm here since almost two years... but I left after Panda was the big "killer"... now I came back and was informed that in the meantime we survived a Penguin, and today I read in forum that there was Panda update on Google again... The life without the animalistic Google could be much easier on HubPages, I think :-) However, your hub is very interesting and well written. Best wishes for the written future :-)

Stacie L (author) on September 17, 2012:

Thank you for reading my hub on being a Hubpages Writer. I try to help others as others have helped me.

traslochimilano from USA on September 17, 2012:

Very helpful hub for new hubbers.

Stacie L (author) on August 21, 2012:

I have to say I learned the hard way also. I do make some extra money with Amazon so maybe you should reconsider that.

Thanks for reading my experience as a writer and commenting.

Deb Welch on August 20, 2012:

Good Hub. I learned the hard way - I didn't watch a video to start - I only read the instructions and policies. I won't use Amazon for personal reasons. I doubt if I will ever earn much money but that's okay - I enjoy all the other factors. Thanks. Useful and Interesting. Up.

Stacie L (author) on July 09, 2012:

Gulf Coast Sun: thanks for reading my hub as a writer on Hubpages. I started on a whim and now enjoy it very much. Good luck with your writing!

Gulf Coast Sun from Gulf of Mexico on July 09, 2012:

Great hub article and I agree with you on your Points .... The funny thing is that I started to write on this site to fill a void after I lost my job - not to make money, but to do what I've always enjoyed. Thank you for the list of wonderful Hubbers, I will check them out. Regards, Kathleen

Stacie L (author) on March 05, 2012:

sacredlilac: thank you for reading my Hub experience advice and leaving your comments.we have to keep positive when writing online.

Amanda Hare from England on March 05, 2012:

Thanks for the inspiring hub, Stacie. Congratulations on working your creative juices!

HolyMosses20 from Hammond, Louisiana on March 02, 2012:

You wrote this 2 weeks ago and I'm just now seeing it. Thanks for sharing. I know I need to read more so I can write more,lol I'm just getting started hopefully others will enjoy it too~

Stacie L (author) on February 12, 2012:

rls8994: thank you for reading and leaving your comments. two years on hubpages will turn to three before you know it!

rls8994 from Mississippi on February 11, 2012:

I found hubpages two years ago by accident and it has truly been great therapy for me and so much fun. I have not wrote that many articles but do plan to start putting more effort into it. Thanks for sharing this great information. Voted up! :)

Stacie L (author) on February 11, 2012:

alocsin: thank you for reading my experience as a writer on Hubpages. I learn something new everyday.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on February 11, 2012:

Great info for newbies and vets alike. Congrats on having this many years under your belt. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Stacie L (author) on February 06, 2012:

cyndigreen: thank you for reading and commenting on my 3 years on hubpages hub. I try to help as much as possible

cyndigreen on February 05, 2012:

Great job and experience. You are a good writer.

Stacie L (author) on January 20, 2012:

@mljdgulley354 and debbie roberts;

Thank you for taking the time to read my hub on Being a writer on Hubpages 3 years.I started out slow and unsure but now feel more confident and improve as the site improves. Continue writing and you will see the returns.

Debbie Roberts from Greece on January 19, 2012:

Hi, I've been plodding along on this site now for 3 months and look forward to plodding for a good while yet. It is sound advice to browse through other long standing Hubbers work, it's motivating to see the success of others.

A well written hub that will inspire readers to keep plodding.

mljdgulley354 on January 14, 2012:

Great hub. Thank you for sharing it. I haven't been here but a few months but I am glad my daughter introduced me to hubpages. I am learning a lot.

Stacie L (author) on January 01, 2012:

@toddcardon: Welcome to Hubpages.

I write what interests me and what may interest others. Some hubs are sales,some are social issues with some researched keywords.The best part is the ability to review my hubs every so often to improve them.

toddcardon on December 31, 2011:

I've fairly new at writing on hubpages, SEO takes a lot of work to find the right keywords. I figure just write what you love and pick the best keywords for the article. Thanks for this hub, enjoyed reading it.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on December 27, 2011:

Thank you so much, Stacie L. These hubpages are such fun and so helpful as well. I like the idea of earning a revenue - hope it works.

Stacie L (author) on December 26, 2011:

@BlossomSB: thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments.

Perseverance is the key to writing and especially earning on a revenue sharing site. My three years went by fast.Good luck with your writing.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on December 26, 2011:

You had some really good advice here, especially about the importance of perseverance. I've only just joined, so I see I must keep at it to succeed.

Stacie L (author) on October 05, 2011:

GMAGoldie: thank you for your kind words about my 3 year anniversary. The hubscore and earnings don't have much much in common after panda.;-)

Kelly Kline Burnett from Madison, Wisconsin on October 05, 2011:

Stacie L,

Happy Anniversary and congrats on your tenure and your portfolio.

Question for you, have you seen a parallel with your Hubber score and earnings after the Panda?

Stacie L (author) on October 04, 2011:

sofs: you are one of my favorite writer.Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my anniversary hub!

Sophie on October 04, 2011:

Congratulations Stacie !! Three years is a long time..Your hub is so practical and full of great advice..and yes, this is a great reminder that not all your hubs will be well received ..I have been here for a little over a year and I truly love this site .. Wish you many more years at HP and much more success :) God Bless!

Stacie L (author) on October 03, 2011:

sidds123450: thanks for reading and commenting on my anniversary hub.

sidds123450 on October 03, 2011:

It's a great hub about your experience, liked it thanks!!

Stacie L (author) on September 19, 2011:

sassyabby1: thank you for stopping by and reading about my 3 years here on Hubpages. it's been quite a ride!

sassyabby1 from ATL on September 19, 2011:

Stacie, thank you for sharing your great Hubber experiences. I always enjoy reading these type Hubs.

Stacie L (author) on September 19, 2011:

Thank you for reading my hub and commenting Subdomain mom

Subdomain mom from Tinternet on September 19, 2011:

This is a golden hoard for myself. Thank you so much.

Stacie L (author) on September 18, 2011:

thank you Jimmythejock! that means a lot coming form you!

three years just flew by! LOL

Jimmy the jock from Scotland on September 18, 2011:

Congrats Stacie Great milestone, doesn't feel like three years already though lol.....jimmy

Stacie L (author) on September 18, 2011:

sally's Trove; thank you for your thoughtful comments about my 3 year anniversary here.

I've learned a lot and still learning.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on September 18, 2011:

I love the anniversary Hubs folks write. Thanks so much for putting your thoughts about and experiences with HP into a Hub.

One of the experiences you write about is updating a Hub to reflect the things that change through time. This is such an excellent practice. Although I write mostly "evergreen" stuff, elements of those topics can change. It's a bit of maintenance to keep Hubs current, but well worth the effort.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Stacie L (author) on September 09, 2011:

@hinton1966: thank you for reading and leaving your kind comments on my 3 years on hubpages.

It helps to find others who can help and this site is one of the best!

hinton1966 on September 09, 2011:

Congrats on three years and thanks for posting this very informative and interesting hub. Glad to see you mention people you have bonded with over the last few years. I have only been on hub pages for 7 months...but I have found many friends/mentors as well. Voted up and awesome.

Stacie L (author) on September 01, 2011:

@Powerpoe1: thanks you for those kind words. three years came really fast and I wish you success as a writer.

Powerpoe1 on September 01, 2011:

Congratulations! You've reached another milestone 3 yrs. on HubPages. Continued Success~ Happy Hubbing~ Thanks for sharing useful information with new writers and fellow hubbers.

Stacie L (author) on August 13, 2011:

thank your reading and leaving your comments Wayne

Wayne Brown from Texas on August 10, 2011:

I have only been here 18 months but I have seen a lot of writers come and go in that time. I have almost left myself with some of the format changes. In the end, I stuck it out because others asked me to stay and it dawned on my that I owed my fan base that much since many of them have been loyal readers of my stuff. The two things which have served me well here is a dedication to quality...I figure you got nothing if you cannot produce quality writing. The other is variety. I challenge myself as much as I can to write in different genre. I even took up poetry writing here referring to my style as that of a "lemonade stand poet". Those two factors help me greatly to keep my edge and my interest in writing. They also broaden my idea base and inspiration for writing. Congrats on three years...a lot of dedication there but it sounds like it has been quite rewarding for you in many ways. WB

Stacie L (author) on August 03, 2011:

@R Talloni: thank you so much for reading and commenting on my 3 years as a writer here.

Stacie L (author) on August 03, 2011:

@Powerful Pierre" thank you for those kind words Pierre!

RTalloni on August 03, 2011:

Super overview of your 3 years and what you've learned. Thanks much for sharing these tips. Most of all, congratulations on your milestone!

Voted up and useful.

Powerful Pierre from Abbotsford BC on August 03, 2011:

Congrats Stacie 3 yrs is a lifetime with any group!! However here at Hubpages we rock!!!

Stacie L (author) on August 02, 2011:

@KoffeeKlatch gals

;thank you so much for those kind comments.Hubbers are supportive and you are certainly a prime example! :-)

Stacie L (author) on August 02, 2011:

Ajean2011: thank you for your comment on my hub about my three years on hubpages.:-)

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on August 02, 2011:

This article re-enforces why I am one of your followers. Excellent tips and advice and terrific writing. I look forward to reading your hubs for many more years. Up and awesome.

jean2011 from Canada on August 01, 2011:

I have found your article very useful so I voted you up. Thank you for sharing!

Stacie L (author) on July 26, 2011:

@SweetiePie' thanks for reading and leaving your comments.You're one of the hubbers I learn from ;-)

SweetiePie from Southern California, USA on July 26, 2011:

Very informative hub for new people writing here. Keep up the good work.

Stacie L (author) on July 23, 2011:

@RTalloni: thank you for your kind comment!

RTalloni on July 22, 2011:

Congrats on your anniversary!

Stacie L (author) on July 22, 2011:

@katrinasui: thank you for your that congrats.

I have enjoyed writing on hubpages..

katrinasui on July 22, 2011:

Congrats on completing three successful years on hub pages.

Stacie L (author) on July 21, 2011:

@heart4theword:well thank you for your kind words of encouragement as well.

without other's encouragement here I may have given up long ago! :-)

heart4theword from hub on July 21, 2011:

Congratulations on your consistency:)...you are an icon of encouragement here at hubpages!

Stacie L (author) on July 13, 2011:

@Eiddwen: Thank you for your comments.Hope to read more of your hubs.

Stacie L (author) on July 13, 2011:

@viking305; thank you for visiting and reading.I hope you continue to write:-)

Eiddwen from Wales on July 13, 2011:

A great hub about a brilliant site and community.

i vote this one up and here's to many more hubs to share.

Take care

Eiddwen.

L M Reid from Ireland on July 12, 2011:

Enjoyed reading about your time here at hubpages. I love writing here too so will be staying for years to come.

Stacie L (author) on July 12, 2011:

thank you for your kind words.chspublish!

chspublish from Ireland on July 12, 2011:

Congrats on your long stay with hubpages. It's great to read your hubs.

Stacie L (author) on July 12, 2011:

Suziecat7: Thanks you for reading and reminding me about the great people here.

Now go write your anniversary hub!:-)

Stacie L (author) on July 12, 2011:

@CASE1WORKER:thnak you for the kind word. Entrepreneurs like freelance writers need to be supportive and receive support.

:-)

Stacie L (author) on July 12, 2011:

BKCreative: another favorite hubber of mine!

Yeah I'm trying to stick it out.I believe it will come back in time. Now don't forget to write your anniversary hub!

Stacie L (author) on July 12, 2011:

@PaulGoodman67; hey Paul, thank your for taking the time to read and leave some comments. Yeah the forums can be sucky at times;people are upset at Google and need to vent.;-)

suziecat7 from Asheville, NC on July 12, 2011:

Three years for me too. I still love this place despite the Google changes. There are great people here and you're one of them. Here's to year four for us both..

CASE1WORKER from UNITED KINGDOM on July 12, 2011:

Three years! I am eagerly awaiting year two in March next year. I have never been a member of anything for so long. It is a supportive community where we applaud each others success and commiserate on each others failures. I hope you continue to have fun in year four.

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on July 12, 2011:

This shows real stick-to-it-ness! I remember so very many people in my early days and they are all gone.

I just like being here - it's been well over 2 years I think. And I will stay.

I enjoyed your hub! Yay!

Paul Goodman from Florida USA on July 12, 2011:

I always enjoy reading about people's experiences and your hub was fun and informative, so I voted it up!

I found the forums very useful when I began. There were some great tips and advice. Unfortunately, the forums can suck up time too, however, plus they turned a bit negative after the Google algorithm changes, so I've been reassessing my feelings on them. They are useful, if not essential, however, if you want to keep up to date with official announcements.