HubPro Questions Answered

We recently ran a survey asking the 16% of Hubbers who opted out about why they chose not to participate in HubPro, our free editing service. These Hubbers have concerns about HubPro; we hear you! We want to address the big fears and also clear up some of the misinformation surrounding the program. Ultimately, HubPro is intended to help both individual Hubbers and the HubPages community as a whole by raising the quality of the Hubs that have the most impact on our readers. The survey asked Hubbers to choose the following statements that addressed their concerns:

HubPages hasn’t sold me on the benefits of the program.

There are two major goals of HubPro: to fix up the Hubs that are seen by the most readers in order to improve the overall reader experience on HubPages right now, and to improve the reputation of the site over the long-term by making sure all of our most frequently viewed Hubs are our most beautiful and helpful. In other words, each Hub that gets a makeover is helping both that Hubber and the HubPages community as a whole. But how do we know we’re really making Hubs better? Take a look at the data:

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Displayed above is a chart that shows the reader satisfaction for HubPro Hubs before and after editing. We measure reader satisfaction with a metric similar to NPS (or Net Promoter Score). We ask readers to rate the Hub from 1-10 based on their level of satisfaction. The NPS is found by subtracting the percent Detractors (people who rated the Hub a 6 or less, shown above in red) from the percent Promoters (people who rated the Hub a 9 or 10, shown above in green). As you can see, edited Hubs have about the same number of Passives (people who rated the Hub a 7 or 8, shown above in yellow), but significantly more Promoters and significantly less Detractors, meaning more readers are satisfied with the Hub in general, and less are having a bad experience. Moving the score from 8 to 25 is a huge improvement!

I’m worried that I won’t be told before my Hubs are edited and that I won’t be able to talk to my Editor.

Communication is a very important part of the editing process. If your Hubs are eligible, you will receive an email notification one week before editing begins; plus, there will be a notice in your My Account Page. You will receive a second email on the day that your Editor is scheduled to begin working on your Hubs. The second email introduces your editor and lists the Hub(s) that he or she will be editing.

Once you have received the second email notice, you are encouraged to email your editor directly and let him or her know how involved you would like to be in the process. If you’d prefer not to be bothered, you don’t need to email—we’ll take care of everything for you. If, however, you have concerns that you would like to discuss with your Editor, don’t hesitate to write a note.

I’m afraid the Editor won’t respect my voice as a writer; I’ve heard about some bad experiences like this in the Forums.

Our Editors are primarily concerned with spelling, grammar, formatting, and factual accuracy. They work as hard as possible to maintain the tone and style of the original work.

It’s true that a very small number of Hubbers were not happy with their edits, but it’s also important to keep in mind that our feedback from Hubbers who have been part of the program so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Asking to be kept up to date with the changes your Editor is making can go a long way to make your experience a good one too; the Editors are professionals and want to work with you, not against you.

I’m concerned about the changes going live before I have the chance to look them over.

It’s true that you won’t be able to edit your Hubs for about one week on average while a HubPro Editor is working on them (simply because the HubTool is not built to accommodate more than one user at a time and we don’t want to risk losing any of your Hub’s content), and that the changes to your Hub will go live automatically as the Editor makes them. However, your Hubs will remain published throughout (meaning you will continue to earn from them), and the Editors are careful to always leave your Hubs in a presentable state.

Additionally, you are free to revert any changes you aren’t happy with when the process is over (you’ll be provided with before and after versions of your Hub for comparison), and through close communication with your Editor, you can retain a lot of control over the types of edits that are made and the information that is edited. If you ask, your Editor will be happy to explain the changes made to your text and check with you first for approval before adding content or making factual corrections.

I don’t trust the Editors. What are their qualifications?

Our HubPro Editors are all highly qualified with postgraduate degrees and extensive professional editing experience. We chose the best of the best from a very large pool of candidates, and we think you’ll be impressed with them too. That’s why we’ve decided to start a new HubPages Blog series introducing each of the Editors and taking a more in-depth look at their qualifications starting next week. Stay tuned to meet them! You won’t be disappointed. :)

InnerWriter Study Open to Hubbers

Happy Thursday, Hubbers! I just wanted to pass along an exciting opportunity today. The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania has recently gotten in touch with us to let us know about a new study for writers. Participation is free and open to adults 18 years and older who are native speakers of English. Each participant will receive a personalized Writer Profile at the end, along with a 1 in 25 chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card. If you’re interested, the details are listed below:

What Is InnerWriter?

You are invited to participate in a voluntary research trial to evaluate InnerWriter, an online creative writing intervention led by psychologists from the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The mission of InnerWriter is to help aspiring creative writers discover, understand, and utilize their most valued reasons for writing. While most programs focus on how to write, InnerWriter takes a step back to help you figure out why you write!

Whether you are a casual writer seeking to further stimulate a growing interest, or an experienced author driven to nurture your passion, reflecting on your reasons for writing may help you develop and strengthen your identity as a writer, as well as fulfill your objectives and aspirations.

What does the InnerWriter Research Trial consist of? 

The Positive Psychology Center is currently recruiting participants for a voluntary research trial designed to test the effectiveness of activities included as part of InnerWriter. All participants must be native speakers of English and 18 years or above.

If you participate in the voluntary InnerWriter research trial, you will complete a series of questionnaires and exercises lasting approximately 20-30 minutes, and obtain a personalized Writer Profile at the end summarizing your results! In addition, you will be entered into a raffle with a 1 in 25 chance of winning a $50 amazon.com giftcard (giftcards are only valid for amazon.com, not amazon sites from other countries). All data will remain confidential and kept on a secure server at our research center. The risks associated with this project are minimal, and do not exceed those encountered in everyday life. If you feel uncomfortable completing any portion of the study, feel free to end your participation at anytime.

Please note that we have put in place a number of safeguards to ensure that participants provide valid data for this study. If we have strong reason to believe your data are invalid, you will not be entered into the raffle for a gift certificate and your data will be discarded.

Why Did The Positive Psychology Center Develop InnerWriter?

Several decades of psychological research have shown that that the reasons why we do things affect how we do them. Preliminary research studies have shown that there are a wide range of reasons why individuals might dedicate time to the strange but fascinating task of crafting stories and putting words down on a page. InnerWriter seeks to put this knowledge to use by testing the effectiveness of exercises dedicated to helping you reflect on your reasons for writing, and your identity as a writer.

If this study sounds like a good fit and you’d like to give it a try, please follow this link to sign up. Happy Hubbing!

Announcing the 2014 Hubbie Award Winners!

The results are in! We received a ton of votes this year, but they’ve finally all been counted. The HubPages Community has spoken, and we’re very excited to reveal another year of champions. Below are the winning Hubbers and Hubs chosen by you, their fellow writers. Check them out:

Best of the Best

Best All-Around Hub: The Monkey Puzzle Tree – An Unusual and Endangered Plant by Alicia C

Best All-Around Hubber: billybuc

Awards for Hubbers

Most Likely to Become a HubPages Employee: relache

HubPages Class Clown: Mark Ewbie

Best Avatar: spartucusjones

Best Community Activist: janshares

Most Helpful Hubber: Marisa Wright

Most Supportive Hubber: billybuc

Most Cheerful Hubber: Sunshine625

Best Teacher: teaches12345

Most Likely to Go Viral: WryLilt

Best Fiction Writer: WillStarr

Best Poet: Jodah

Funniest Hubber: Mark Ewbie

Most Political Hubber: breakfastpop

Most Religious Hubber: FaithReaper

Most Likely to Become a Millionaire: WryLilt

Forum King: paradigmsearch

Forum Queen: tie between relache and Marisa Wright

Best Photographer: aviannovice

Awards for Hubs

Most Interesting Hub: Sea Monsters Of The Cretaceous by JKenny

Most Useful Hub: Spotlight On: How Do I Tell If Pictures Are Public Domain Or Not? by RachaelOhalloran

Most Beautiful Hub: Other Words of Love: How They Add Meaning by MsDora

Most Informative Hub: 10 Big Science Questions Answered by Natasha Peters

Most Awesome Hub: A Certain Place in the World by Randy Godwin

Funniest Hub: How Many Managers Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? by Mark Ewbie

This year, we are also very pleased to announce a brand new Hubbie Award whose winner was voted on by HP Staff: The HubPages Lifetime Award! The Lifetime Award this year goes to a Hubber who has been with us for 7 years, has always written good Hubs on a consistent basis, has actively participated in the community, and has been a positive force on HubPages: Hubber jimmythejock!

Thanks to everyone who voted, and a huge congrats to this year’s winners! You’re the bee’s knees!

The 4th Annual Hubbie Awards: The Polls Are Open!

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Let the voting begin! Voting opens today for the 4th Annual Hubbie Awards, woohoo!

The Prizes:

This year’s Hub-based award winners will receive a stylish and comfy official HubPages t-shirt, and Hubber-based award winners will get a personalized HubPages mug just like the ones the HP staff use in the office. The lucky winners of the Best All-Around Hub and Best All-Around Hubber awards will each receive a mug AND a t-shirt.

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The Rules:

Before you cast your vote, there are a few ground rules to keep in mind. Each Hubber may only vote once, so make sure you’ve got your list of nominees ready to go. Nominations submitted after Monday, September 1st at midnight will not be counted. If you don’t have a Hubber or Hub to nominate for every single category, don’t worry. Just leave those spaces blank when you submit your form.

If you’re ready, you can visit the Official 2014 Hubbie Voting Form, or if you need more time to consider your vote, you can always browse the categories again before making up your mind:

Best of the Best

Best All-Around Hub
Best All-Around Hubber

Awards for Hubbers

Most Likely to Become a HubPages Employee
HubPages Class Clown
Best Avatar
Best Community Activist
Most Helpful Hubber
Most Supportive Hubber
Most Cheerful Hubber
Best Teacher
Most Likely to Go Viral
Best Fiction Writer
Best Poet
Funniest Hubber
Most Political Hubber
Most Religious Hubber
Most Likely to Become a Millionaire
Forum King
Forum Queen
Best Photographer

Awards for Hubs

Most Interesting Hub
Most Useful Hub
Most Beautiful Hub
Most Informative Hub
Most Awesome Hub
Funniest Hub

Have your candidates picked out? Visit the Official 2014 Hubbie Voting Form or come back when you’re ready. Happy voting!

Squidoo and HubPages

I have some very exciting news to announce today. HubPages is acquiring key content from Squidoo, creating the world’s largest site of its kind.

Squidoo and HubPages have been cousins over the years. We shared the same desire to provide a platform for individuals to share their knowledge and passions with the world.

We want to thank Seth, Corey, Gil and the rest of the Squidoo team that  have worked tirelessly for nearly a decade to innovate, adapt, and grow a wonderful community of incredible Lensmasters that have generated millions of lenses and billions of visits. I’ve been a big fan of Squidoo, their mission, their Lensmasters, and their team for many years.

By combining HubPages with the best of Squidoo, we will be able to invest more in our site and community, and make HubPages a place that Hubbers and Lensmasters deserve for years to come.

We have been working together with the Squidoo team to make this transition as smooth as possible. We plan to complete the migration by October 1st. In the meantime, we put together a FAQ on the content acquisition and migration that we plan to update regularly. In addition, there will be a new forum dedicated to Squidoo transition issues, along with more announcements in the near future.

Please welcome the Lensmasters–our new Hubbers–to our community!

Get Ready for the 2014 Hubbie Awards!

August is here again, and in keeping with HubPages tradition, that means it’s almost time for the 4th Annual Hubbies! YOU nominate and vote for your favorite Hubbers and Hubs in a variety of categories. Winners will be awarded the rarest, most coveted Accolade on HubPages; the Hubbie Accolade (plus some really cool prizes).

Voting will begin on Monday, August 18th and last for 2 weeks, ending after Monday, September 1st, so start thinking about the Hubbers and Hubs you’d like to nominate. This year’s awards are listed below:

Best of the Best

  • Best All-Around Hub

  • Best All-Around Hubber

Awards for Hubbers

  • Most Likely to Become a HubPages Employee

  • HubPages Class Clown

  • Best Avatar

  • Best Community Activist

  • Most Helpful Hubber

  • Most Supportive Hubber

  • Most Cheerful Hubber

  • Best Teacher

  • Most Likely to Go Viral

  • Best Fiction Writer

  • Best Poet

  • Funniest Hubber

  • Most Political Hubber

  • Most Religious Hubber

  • Most Likely to Become a Millionaire

  • Forum King

  • Forum Queen

  • Best Photographer

Awards for Hubs

  • Most Interesting Hub

  • Most Useful Hub

  • Most Beautiful Hub

  • Most Informative Hub

  • Most Awesome Hub

  • Funniest Hub

Happy Hubbing!

Introducing: The HubPro Beta

Over the last three years, we have worked tirelessly as a community to improve the reader experience on HubPages and raise our standards of quality. Hubbers have worked to better their Hubs, and we have implemented programs and features like the Quality Assessment Process, Boot Camp, Style Tips, and the Apprenticeship Program. We can see from quality metrics that your efforts and these programs are making a difference in reader satisfaction. But—we can still do more!

We measure reader satisfaction by asking random search visitors: “How good is this article?”. They rate their experience on a 1-10 scale and we aggregate that data over time.

We measure reader satisfaction by asking random search visitors: “How good is this article?”. They rate their experience on a 1-10 scale and we aggregate that data over time.

The next step in our quest to satisfy readers is a new professional (and free!) editing service that we are calling HubPro! In April, we piloted a version of this service and worked with a small number of Hubbers to learn more about how we could successfully bring editing to HubPages. In addition to collecting invaluable feedback from our pilot testers, we’ve been fine tuning the tools and process, and we are so excited to open up HubPro to more members of the community. We have hired an extremely talented team of editors, trained specifically for HubPages, that will partner with you to take your Hubs to the next level.

Why are we Editing Hubs?

We want HubPages to be the premier place for readers to find information on a variety of topics. Plus, most professional writers benefit from editors, and we want to extend this service to the writers on HubPages. Additionally, many Hubbers have asked for an editing feature, and this is our first step.

The Importance of Editing Hubs

In order to compete and succeed in the current competitive landscape, most Hubs need improvements. Even the most successful Hubs can benefit from revisions, and we recognize that not all Hubbers have the time to frequently edit. There is a common misconception: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This does not apply to online content and is risky advice. In fact, Hubs that are receiving traffic are the ones that should be improved and updated more frequently to maintain their traffic. Traffic will fluctuate whether Hubs are edited or not, but we strongly believe that improving and updating Hubs will have a positive effect on reader satisfaction, which is highly correlated to the amount of traffic a Hub receives.

What did we Learn From the Pilot?

Edited Hubs in the pilot program have had a positive effect on reader satisfaction and significant increases in traffic—the median edited Hub has seen search traffic grow around 17%! In the short run there are clear gains, but more importantly, we are investing for the long term to boost the quality of Hubs, improve the credibility of our brand, and ensure the health of the site.

How HubPro Will Work

Ultimately, we want to provide the best experience for as many readers as possible, and starting with Hubs that receive the highest traffic is a logical first step in achieving this goal. In the beta, our editors will only be editing a small percentage of Hubs, but this is just the beginning. We have big plans for editing in the future— stay tuned!

HubPages Editors will:

  • Proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Update the information in Hubs
  • Improve layout and structure
  • Add supplementary capsules
  • Obtain high-quality media assets (illustrations)
  • Remove unrelated links and products
  • Fact check
  • Communicate with Hubbers about the changes made to their Hubs
  • Provide a document with the before and after changes highlighted

If you are one of the lucky few Hubbers selected to participate in the HubPro beta, you will receive an email with more information. Our hope is that all Hubbers will participate in the program, however, if you would like to opt out, go to My Account > Profile. If you choose to opt out, you cannot opt back in to the program for 60 days. We will begin editing Hubs in one week, and we will be publishing a FAQ soon with more detailed information.

Editing Hubs is a huge strategic move for HubPages, blending user-generated content with professional editing services. Thank you for being a part of this monumental effort!

UPDATE (8.4.2014): We have published a FAQ and it is available here.

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:

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

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)!

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 http://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!