Broken Link Changes

Hello Hubbers, I have a quick announcement this afternoon. In order to promote quality content on HubPages and ensure the best reader experience possible, we’re changing the way broken links will be handled in Hubs.

When Hubs contain broken links, those links will now display with a line through them, and when clicked on, a warning will appear notifying the reader that the link is no longer functioning.

We’ve decided to implement these changes in accordance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines which state that quality sites should have few broken links. Along with providing more transparency to readers, the new broken link warnings will have the added benefit of making broken links invisible to Google.

Hubbers will still receive a warning when links become broken, and as always, it’s a good idea to fix or delete any broken links asap.

Here’s what the new broken link warning will look like in Hubs:


These warnings will only apply to broken links that appear within the body of the Hub. Links in comments will not be affected.

No Comments

Help Us Promote HubPages and Earn Lifetime Referral Bonuses

Hi there, friends! Matt M and I get the occasional referral question in the Forums, and it occurred to me that many Hubbers are probably not taking advantage of our HubPages Referral Program because they don’t know about it and/or because they don’t understand how it works. It can definitely be a little confusing, but it’s well worth the effort. Here’s the scoop:

What is the HubPages Referral Program?

The HubPages Referral Program is a way for you to share HubPages with your friends and family and earn a little bonus for yourself. Just refer new writers to HubPages, and if they sign up using your link within 30 days, you’ll get 10% of their Hubs’ impressions forever.

Does that mean new Hubbers I refer have to give up 10% of their impressions?

Nope! HubPages gives up 10% of our impressions. When you refer a new Hubber using your tracker, that Hubber gets the normal 60% of impressions, you get 10%, and HubPages gets 30% instead of our normal 40% (but we gain a great new Hubber). Everybody wins!

Can I refer as many people as I want?

Yep! There’s no limit to the number of writers you can refer to HubPages with your tracker. The more the merrier!

Cool, so how do I refer people to HubPages so that I get my bonus?

This part sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy. Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you’re signed in to your account. If you have several accounts, be sure you are signed in to the account you want the bonus to go to.
  2. Visit your Feed and scroll to the very bottom.
  3. Click “link to this page” in the footer.
  4. Copy your referral link in the appropriate format and give to a friend.
  5. Your friend must sign up within 30 days and not have clicked on someone else’s tracker in the meantime in order for you to get your bonus, so encourage your friends to create an account and start writing ASAP.


Pro Tip: The “link to this page” option shows up at the bottom of every page on HubPages, so you can include your tracker even when you are sharing specific Hubs online.

Do you have any banners to help me promote HubPages on my blog or website?

We sure do! You can find an assortment of ads for promoting HubPages on our Banners and Badges page. Don’t forget to replace the URL in the code with one that contains your tracker so that you get credit for all your referrals.

Happy Hubbing (and promoting)!

No Comments

Comment Management Tips

I’ve seen a number of Forum posts and received a few emails lately from Hubbers who have questions about managing comments on their Hubs. If you’ve been a member of HubPages for years, these tips may be old hat, but beginning and intermediate Hubbers will hopefully find them quite useful.

Comments are a staple of the internet. On Hubs, they allow you to start a dialog with your readers, answer any lingering questions that were not addressed in your article, and benefit from the feedback of others. Comments are also one of the many indicators that help contribute to Google’s idea of how interesting and engaging your Hubs are to readers. (If your Hubs don’t have any comments, don’t panic. Some topics simply lend themselves to comments more readily than others.)

So, the more comments, the merrier, right? Well, not exactly… While comments can be a powerful asset for online writers, all comments are not created equal. The way you manage comments is ultimately up to you as the Hub’s owner, but here are a few types of comments we recommend you disapprove or delete:

  • Spam comments. These guys are useless, annoying, self-serving and can contain links that are potentially harmful to your readers. The HubPages spam filters catch most of them, but occasionally some slip through. Don’t hesitate to give them the boot!
  • Comments that are not in English. HubPages is an English-language site and content here should be written for English readers. Comments in other languages will not benefit the vast majority of your readers and may actually confuse them instead. These should be deleted.
  • Comments that are off topic. Everything on your Hub (including comments) should be about the content of that Hub. Comments that go off topic or launch into a tangential rant may be well-intentioned, but we recommend that you delete them. Google is a stickler for staying on topic.
  • Comments with hate speech or excessive profanity. Advertisers don’t like to be associated with this type of content, and that includes your Hub’s comments! Hateful or excessively profane comments may get ads disabled on your Hubs, so it’s a good idea to get rid of them before it becomes an issue.
  • Comments with personal attacks. If comments on your Hub are attacking or insulting you or other commenters personally, it’s a good idea to delete these. Commenters have the freedom to write whatever they want, but you have the freedom to choose what appears on your Hubs. Civil disagreements and differences of opinion are fine, but if commenters start getting personal with the insults, it’s probably time to bust out the delete button.
  • Comments with links to personal blogs or websites. This can be a tricky one. Another gardening blogger comments on your How to Grow Bigger Tomatoes Hub: “Wow, what a great tip! I’ll have to try this method at home. I’ve never been able to get my tomatoes up to that size. By the way, I think you’d like my gardening blog at www.mygardeningblog.com, so please visit!” Some Hubbers might be tempted to approve the comment because it’s both friendly and on topic, but ultimately this comment is self-serving. The blogger’s intent is to get you and your readers to leave your Hub and visit her website. This type of comment should always be deleted. In fact, many Hubbers choose to never approve comments that contain any type of link whatsoever, just to stay on the safe side.

Now that you know which comments you should get rid of, let’s take a look at the options for managing comments on HubPages. There are two ways you can manage comments. You can choose comment settings for all of your Hubs at once, or you can configure settings individually on each Hub. If you want to configure the settings differently on a Hub-by-Hub basis, here’s how:

  1. Visit “My Account
  2. Make sure the “Hubs” tab is selected at the top and click on the “Comments” option
  3. You should see the “Global Comment Capsule Settings” section
  4. Click “show settings”
  5. Make sure all the bubbles are checked under “Configure per Hub”
  6. When your Hubs are in Edit mode, you can now edit the Comment Capsule and choose your settings for that particular Hub


If you want to configure your comment settings for all of your Hubs at once (most Hubbers do it this way), follow steps 1-4 and choose “Yes” or “No” for each option depending on your preferences. These settings will be applied to every Hub you have already published and to every Hub you publish going forward.

Here’s what each of the settings mean:

Disable any further comments from being posted: All your Hub’s current comments will still be visible (and you can still delete old comments if you want), but readers will no longer be able to post any new comments to that Hub. Many Hubbers choose this option if they plan to take a break from HubPages and don’t want to have to check their comments for spam or respond to questions for a long time. You can also prevent any comments whatsoever from being posted on a Hub by selecting this option on new Hubs that don’t have any comments yet.

Comments must be approved before they appear: We highly recommend choosing this option for all of your Hubs. When a comment is posted, you have the option to approve or delete it before it is visible to your readers. This is a great way of weeding out spam and other types of unwanted comments without exposing your readers to them first. If this option is not selected, all comments will be visible as soon as they are posted. You can still delete the bad comments later, but your readers may have seen them in the meantime.

Only signed-in users may post comments: If you choose this option, only other Hubbers will be able to comment on your Hubs. Readers who do not have a HubPages account won’t be able to leave comments for you. We generally recommend requiring approval for all comments instead of choosing this option because readers without a HubPages account can still leave great comments. However, this can be a good option if you are a victim of harassment or stalking and don’t want to see the offending posts before disapproving them.

Display most recent comments first: You can choose to order your comments from oldest to newest or newest to oldest. This option is simply a matter of personal preference.

Hopefully these short tips will help demystify the nuances of comments and comment options. And speaking of comments, let me know if you have any questions in a comment to this Blog post. ;) Happy Hubbing!

1 Comment

How to Grow Your Twitter Followers without Being Annoying

Twitter can be an excellent platform for growing your online brand, establishing yourself as an authority, and of course, promoting your Hubs.  But before you can reach and influence lots of people on Twitter, you’ll need followers who actually see and engage with your content. There’s a lot of bad advice on the internet about how to grow your Twitter followers. Some articles suggest following people indiscriminately, even when you have nothing in common. Others advise Retweeting everything you come across or Tweeting your own Hubs over and over. Some even advocate engaging in hashtag spam (the overuse of hashtags and/or the use of unrelated hashtags in your Tweets). But the truth is, those practices will likely drive away more followers than they attract, and the followers they do attract are more likely to be other selfish Twitter users who are also looking to grow their audience at any cost.

So, how does one grow a community of like-minded followers with whom to share (among other things) Hubs on Twitter? The simple answer is to always act in the best interest of your followers. You don’t need to abstain altogether from using tools like hashtags and Retweeting, but you should do so in moderation and be sure that your content is relevant. Here are a few quick-and-dirty tips for growing your Twitter following… without annoying the pants off anyone:

  • Engage with other users… but not indiscriminately! Follow organizations and people you care about, comment on their posts, and Retweet things that you genuinely think your followers will enjoy. Following lots of people you have nothing in common with is probably not going to garner the engagement you want. But if you like to write gardening Hubs, following a gardening site, commenting, and occasionally Retweeting is likely to be rewarding.
  • Share often… but don’t spam your followers! Tweeting your own Hubs over and over will only drive people away. Your Tweets should be a mix of Retweets from the people you follow, your own thoughts and comments, and your Hubs that you think your followers will like. It’s a good idea to Tweet several times a day every day in order to keep your audience interested.
  • Drop names. Mention the people, brands, and organizations you tweet about. For example, if you want to Tweet about HubPages, use @HubPagesDotCom to tag us in your post. If we see it, we may Retweet it!
  • Use hashtags but don’t engage in hashtag spam. Only include 1-3 truly relevant hashtags that actually reflect what your post is about.
  • Care about the community. This one is the most important. You want to cultivate a community of like-minded people to engage and share with regularly, not a herd of followers to exploit for the sole purpose of propagating your Hubs. If your heart is in the right place, the rest will come naturally.

You can also encourage readers who find your Hubs to share them on Twitter with their own followers, even if you’re not an active Twitter user. Of course, what makes “Tweetable” content varies considerably depending on the niche and target audience, but in general, these tips should help you create Tweetable Hubs that people will be excited to share:

  • Use interesting, eye-catching photos. Most of the sharing on Twitter involves photos. Your Hub’s first photo should be as interesting and eye-catching as possible. The better the photo, the more people will want to share it on Twitter.
  • Write on subjects that appeal to a broad audience in a variety of situations. Your Hub on how to replace the brake pads on a 1998 Honda Accord may be a rockstar with search traffic, but it’s only useful and interesting to people with a 1998 Honda Accord who want or need to change their own brake pads (which does not apply to most Twitter users). You should totally still write that Hub, but you may also want to write one about the Top 10 Personality Traits of Honda Drivers, which will be perfect for Twitter.
  • Tweetable content has heart and meaning. A positive message is much more likely to be shared on Twitter, especially if it makes people feel good about life and themselves. Write about good things, amazing things, and heartwarming things that have inspired you, and they will be more likely to inspire your readers to Tweet. In other words, make sure your Top 10 Personality Traits of Honda Drivers are good traits (Honda drivers are economical but not cheap, Honda drivers are family-oriented, Honda drivers are dependable, etc).

Update on Editor’s Choice Hubs

I wanted to provide an update on Editor’s Choice Hubs.  We started the program to recognize great Hubs.  Over the last nine months we have selected almost 20,000 EC Hubs and a handful are getting added every day.  We’ve had lots of great comments that Hubbers love the recognition, but the data hounds in the community say: that’s great, but do they get more traffic?

When a EC Hub is selected it gets moved from the author’s subdomain to the main HubPages.com domain.  When an older Hub is moved it can be a bit of a wild ride.  Sometimes Hubs jump way up and other times they come down.  Overall, they’re slightly up (~2%).

Over the last few months, I’ve had the opportunity to see several sites (outside of HubPages) that have done major movements like this and in some cases it has taken two years for a significant traffic shift after creating clusters of high quality content.  So, I think there is still a chance that we will see a major traffic move, and it appears that there is some slight traffic benefit in the short term on average.

I hope Hubbers stay with the program and hang in there with us for the long haul.  We are working on several improvements to the site.  I’m very optimistic about the future of HubPages.  Stay tuned Hubbers.


Mobile Readership is Growing!

Shift to mobileLast week, our traffic was just a hair more on desktop than mobile. I suspect in the coming weeks we will permanently shift to smartphones as the dominant platform for readers on HubPages. We’ve invested in our mobile design and we will have to do more to improve it.

I strongly recommend laying out Hubs with the mobile reader in mind. The best practice for this is to use all full width capsules. In the Hubtool, there is a mobile preview button as well. Be sure to preview your Hubs before publishing if you have any floated capsules.

A year ago our traffic was 32% mobile. We are now 44% mobile. At this pace, in the next six months, our traffic will be 50% mobile (not including tablets). The shift is on!


It’s Time to Upgrade Your Google Analytics Account

Universal Analytics

Hey Hubbers! Universal Analytics (UA) is the latest version of the Google Analytics platform. Many Hubbers use Google Analytics to track and analyze traffic trends to their Hubs and personal websites, and if you’re one of them, listen up! You can read all about Universal Analytics here, but here’s the gist: UA introduces a new set of features that change the way data is collected and organized in your Google Analytics account. Upgrading is a good option if you already use Google Analytics to collect data from your Hubs and want to combine your historical data with any new data you collect via Universal Analytics in the same reports. One important thing to note is that transferring happens at the property level, not at the account level.

UA is the default for newly created properties, but old properties will need to be upgraded individually. Because the upgrade process requires Google Analytics users to transfer in their respective accounts, Hubbers will need to complete Step 1 below. If you aren’t sure about whether your HubPages subdomain property is using classic Google Analytics or Universal Analytics, you can check here (click on the arrow to the left of “In your account”).

How to Upgrade

The upgrade process happens in two steps:

  1. Account holders transfer existing web properties to Universal Analytics. This is done in the Google Analytics admin interface. Please note: the transfer takes minutes to initiate, but you should allow 24-48 hours for it to complete.
  2. Developers implement the new UA tracking code on their sites. You can skip this step since HubPages will take care of implementing the code.

Here’s What You’ll See In Your Admin Analytics Page

Select the HubPages property (it will likely be ‘subdomain.hubpages.com’ in your account) from the drop-down menu, and click on Universal Analytics Upgrade.


If your account is not set to use UA, you should see a blue Transfer button. Click on it to begin the transfer.

If you don’t see a blue Transfer button here, that means your property is already upgraded into UA and all you need to do is visit My Account > Earnings > Settings > Analytics to confirm.


A ‘Transfer in Progress’ status message will appear. That message will change to ‘Transfer Complete’ within 48 hours.



We have already completed the upgrade process for our master account. However, because many Hubbers use the older version of Google Analytics, we are running both the old and new tracking codes on many pages across the site. On August 20, 2014, we plan to remove the classic Google Analytics code from the site. When you’ve completed the steps above, please confirm in My Account > Earnings > Settings > Analytics. If you have any questions, drop by the forums!



The Winning Social Buttons Are Live!

Screen shot 2014-06-11 at 3.16.54 PM

Over the last two weeks we’ve been experimenting with the design and placement of the social sharing buttons on Hubs. Using a tool called Optimizely, we ran split test experiments on several variations of the buttons, with the goal of maximizing the rate of social shares. We’ve finally settled on our winner and the new buttons are already live on all Hubs!

As you might expect, there are countless things that can be tested— colors, shapes, sizes, logos, and more. We really liked the simple, sleek social logos, so we decided to start there and focus our testing efforts on the following:


  • Below the Hub title
  • Below the Hub content
  • Above the Hub Praise bar
  • Sidebar (original placement)


  • Monochrome (black and white)
  • Colors (white foreground logo on a colored background)
  • Grey with colors becoming visible on mouse hover


  • Circles
  • Squares


  • Buttons with counts
  • Buttons without counts

So, what did we learn after two weeks of design testing? Here are the highlights:

  • The sidebar placement converted twice as well as the other placements we tested. It was a clear winner.
  • Colored buttons were clicked on 20% more often than the monochrome buttons, and marginally more than the on-hover color buttons.
  • The square-shaped buttons performed slightly better than the circle-shaped buttons.
  • Displaying share counts did not have a statistically significant impact on the rate of shares. Buttons with counts were clicked on at roughly the same rate as buttons without counts.

For now, the square-shaped, colored buttons will live in the sidebar, but we intend to use the data collected on their performance in different locations to inform more significant future design changes. Stay tuned!

Lastly, and as previously mentioned by Christy, our primary reason for switching to static social buttons was to improve the load time on Hubs. Static buttons load much quicker because they don’t need to make a Javascript call to each source to retrieve the share count. Based on our observations, the new buttons perform 24% faster on the first fully-loaded view and 38% faster on repeat fully-loaded views, so it looks like they’re here to stay.



Videos Can Now Include an Embedded Timestamp!

I have quite a nifty new feature to announce today. (It’s extra special, too, because it’s Oren’s first project at HubPages. Go Oren!) YouTube videos that you embed in your Hubs can now include a timestamp! For people who are less tech-savvy like me, this means that when you add videos to your Hub, you can make the video start playing at a particular time. This feature is extra useful in situations where you want to show the reader a specific part of a really long video. By including the timestamp, the video will automatically start playing right where you want it to.

Here’s how it works. When you want to share a specific part of a video with your readers, follow these steps:

Screen shot 2014-06-10 at 2.16.40 PM


  1. Pause the YouTube video at the spot where you want it to start playing in your Hub.
  2. Click the “Share” tab below the video. Sharing options should appear right underneath the tab.
  3. Click the check box beside the “Start at:” option.
  4. Copy the link from the box into your Hub.
  5. The video in your Hub should now start wherever you paused it on YouTube.


To learn more about embedding your video with a timestamp, check out the HubPages FAQ entry. Happy Hubbing!


Introducing a New HubPages Engineer, Oren Radousky

I’ve got some exciting news this Wednesday. HubPages is delighted to welcome a new engineer to the Team! Oren Radousky just joined us a couple weeks ago, and we’re very happy to have him. Oren is still settling in, but we know he’ll work hard to keep HP running, get pesky bugs fixed, and to help us develop new new features.


Oren has kindly answered a few questions about himself to help you get to know him and see what he’s all about:

Where are you from?

I am California born and raised!

What will you be working on at HubPages?

I’ll be making everything run smoothly, and implementing awesome new features.

What made you decide to come work for HP? What’s your favorite thing about us so far?

Mostly the free food. Just kidding! (although it definitely did not hurt!) The culture at HP is very supportive and welcoming. Before I interviewed, I wrote a hub about how to ride a unicycle, and the process of writing and putting a hub together was quite enjoyable. My favorite thing so far is working alongside interesting people who are passionate about the HP community!

Do you think you’ll ever write any Hubs?

Sure! I can definitely see myself creating some hubs when inspiration strikes. Some potential topics might include juggling/circus arts, photography, music, or sports!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like juggling, hiking, camping, photography, playing music, and stargazing.

Tell us something really unique or interesting about yourself.

As a kid, I once had a picture of me playing the violin featured in the newspaper!