I'm an experienced online content creator with several streams of passive income from my writing. I'm here to share my secrets.
Making Money as a Writer Begins with Being Featured
On HubPages.com, the premier user-generated content site on the planet, writers like you and me submit articles for publication. It's a great site that pays its writers without fail, and for some of us, the money we make writing for HubPages makes a difference in our monthly budgets.
Featured Articles Versus Non-Featured Articles
When you write a new article for HubPages, the site editors take the submission and decide whether or not is should be "featured." This decision means life or death for your article.
If your article is featured, it will be indexed by Google and other search engines. People will find it and you'll start getting traffic, which is how you will start making a little money.
If your article is not featured, it means that HubPages doesn't want to be associated with it. This is harsh, but it's true.Your article has some serious issues that need to be fixed before it can be featured. Meanwhile, your article is in limbo -- it won't show up on Google searches, and virtually no one will find it. No traffic = no income.
If your article is not featured, you will get an email with the bad news. Unfortunately, this email doesn't tell you exactly what to change. That's what I hope to help you with in this article.
I am a seasoned online content writer with over 15 years in the business. I make decent money from this side-hustle: last year I made about $20,000 from my combined libraries of online articles, and all of that income was passive (I made money 24 hours a day, whether I was writing or not). It's a sweet source of income that I use for travel and other luxuries.
When I first started writing online, it was really more for my own entertainment than anything else. I chose topics at random, ignored SEO, and thought I could do everything myself. As a result I made more or less every mistake a rookie online writer can make. But I learned from my mistakes, and I got better.
These articles are my way of sharing what I've learned with other online content creators. They are free for you to read and act on, if you choose. If there's anything I have left out or got wrong, feel free to comment down below. Good luck to you, and I hope you see your income streams become rushing rapids!
I made more or less every mistake a rookie online writer can make. But I learned from my mistakes, and I got better.
What Does it Mean to be Featured on HubPages?
Simply put, featured articles show solid English language skills, are devoid of self-promotion, do not link to any commercial sites, and are at least 750 words long. These are all requirements of the HubPages Quality Assessment Process, or QAP. If you write an article that meets these modest standards, chances are good it will eventially be featured. HubPages editors may change some things around a bit, but it will still be your writing, and it will be featured.
- A featured article is an article that meets the basic standards of quality for HubPages.
- It means that it has been accepted for publication on the main HubPages site.
- The article has passed the QAP.
- The article will be indexed by Google and other search engines, which means people might see it when they search for your keywords.
- A featured article is also eligible for submission to the niche site
Getting your articles featured is the first goal for all HubPages writers. This is HubPages' way of saying that your work is worthy of being on their site. On the other hand, if it’s not featured, that’s the site’s way of telling you that you have a little more work to do. It can be frustrating to have your hard work consistently denied, but keep at it and chances are good that you will achieve featured status.
My Article Isn’t Featured – What Now?
If your article is denied featured status, it's important that you understand and respect this decision from the site, even if you disagree and believe your work is good enough. Keeping tight control of the quality of the articles that are associated with their urls is HubPage’s way of protecting their business from being devalued by Google and other search engines. You have to trust that they know what they're doing.
“A Friendly Heads Up”
If your article is not featured, HubPages will tell you by sending you a standard email. It’s titled “A Friendly Heads-Up,” which confuses many new hubbers. It sounds almost like good news, but it's not. The subject line, and the start of the message -- “Your article could be featured!” – are not nearly as positive as they sound. it really is a rejection letter. Your work is not good enough for HubPages to publish it, but they want you to keep trying.
Why Isn't My HubPages Article Featured?
You will see this question all the time on the forums. It kind of breaks my heart, because these writers are truly at a loss and don’t know where they went wrong. The email is notoriously vague about what's wrong and what you need to do to fix it, which leads to a lot of guesswork. I myself often have to go on hunches about what’s wrong with my article. I often have to try several fixes before the article is featured.
Common Reasons for Unfeatured Status: "Spammy Elements"
This is a vague and unhelpful term, but you'll see it all the time. I can demystify it for you: It means you have too many outbound links.
For a new article trying to get featured status, you want zero outbound links. Just don't include them. If your article is written to provide or promote a link, it will never get featured. It's that simple.
Strip or deactivate all of the outbound links, including links to photo sites and other sources you might have used. You can always add them in later, one at a time, with caution. But for now, get rid of them.
I hate spam, and that's what happens when you let businesses onto the network.
— Jan Koum
Common Reasons for Unfeatured Status: Keyword Abuse
Another reason for the "spammy elements" message is the overuse of keywords and phrases, also known as “keyword stuffing.” This means you used your keyword or phrase over and over in an awkward attempt to get more traffic by gaming Google. This, as you might suppose, is a no-no.
By the way, if you don't know what keywords are, you need to learn right now. Check out my article about keywords and their proper use -- there's a link at the end of this article.
Common Reasons for Unfeatured Status: Article is Overly Promotional
You would be amazed by how many people join HubPages just so they can write a long article that promotes their business. HubPages will always, 100% of the time, deny these articles. To preserve their good standing with Google and other search engines, HupPages can't allow itself to be hijacked by someone trying to drum up business for their rug cleaning business in Jakarta. It will never work.
Common Reasons for Unfeatured Status: Command of The English Language
This is a tough one, because people who have English as a second language really struggle on this site. To stay on Google's good side, HubPages has to keep the quality of its writing top-notch. If your English is weak, you might get by with help from an editing program like Grammarly. But for some writers, it's just too far of a leap to write the clean, strong English that the site demands.
Common Reasons for Unfeatured Status: Adult themes
Adult themes, in this case, are mainly tobacco, alcohol, and sexual content. Probably not a problem for you, unless you're on HubPages to write about truly sketchy purposes (you're not, are you?).
I ran into this problem with HubPages for an unexpected reason: two years ago I wrote a solid article about unusual candles for men, and many of them use tobacco and whiskey aromas. Just using those words sent my article into "unfeatured" limbo, where it remains to this day.
Uncredited Photographs and Featured Status
HubPages, and good ethics, require you to be careful about the way you use photos and other material that may be copyrighted by someone else. It's tempting to use that perfect image you found online, and using it may not automatically bar you from being featured. But you have many better options.
My go-to resource for images is Pixabay.com, an amazing site that has millions of beautiful images that are free for commercial use. Often this is the only site I need -- I used Pixabay for all of the images in this article, for example. Another decent source is Wikimedia.org. The photos are a little less consistently perfect than Pixabay, but there are more topics.
With these resources at your disposal, you will seldom need to hijack someone else's protected images.
I Hope This Article Helps You Get Featured on HubPages!
Making money on HubPages requires work, but it's work you can do on your own time, if and when you feel like it. This article is one of several I've written that shares my experience and advice. A good cash-generating side-hustle is hard to find, but HubPages works for me.
Take a Quick Poll
PT Richard (author) from USA on May 05, 2020:
Hello Kyson, thanks for your questions.
1. YES new articles can take months to see any kind of traffic at all. My best performing Hub, a nature guide on Owlcation, began life with fewer than 10 views a week about 3 years ago. Now it's upwards of 1500 a day. That's an extreme example, but the pattern is consistent.
2. YES you can link between hubs, but not between niche sites and the main HP site. HP is trying very hard to keep those sites clean and pure, and much of what's on the regular HP site is pretty rough, quality-wise.
Hope that helps,
Caroline Guillermo from Bataan, Philippines on April 29, 2020:
Thank you for this article PT Richard, it's very helpful. I currently have 38 articles, only 6 were featured. Usually it's the long ones where I put a whole lot of research and reading just to finish them. The rest are mostly not featured due to low traffic or "quality".
True, sometimes we as writers think that our articles are good enough but still are not featured. But oftentimes, it's because they were short of 750 words. I am not really fond of making long articles as I know most people have short attention span.
Sometimes my articles are intially featured then will change status to not featured due to low traffic like my articles on Twilight Sage & on Kate Winslet.
I think hubs which are evergreen and topics that are trending gets good traffic as long as it is long as it's well researched.
I'm in my point now where I'm trying to assess whether to continue to write at free blog hosting sites like Hubpages and Blogger or to pay for web hosting sites & use Worrdpress. I know there are prons & cons but I'm still undecided.
Sorry for the long comment but again thank you for writing this article..