The Hub Challenge: 100 Hubs In 30 Days — are you in?

The Challenge
Yesterday as I was aimlessly wandering about on the web, I found an interesting blog post that was written up by a guy names Court over on a site called The Keyword Academy. It was titled New Make Money Experiment – 100 Hubs In 30 Days and it talked about how Court has suddenly realized that HubPages was a legit place to earn some money by writing (duh!) and how he was going to attempt to write 100 Hubs in the next 30 days so that he could see what the true potential was.

Well, me being the overly ambitious guy that I am, commented on his blog and challenged him to see who could produce more earnings by writing 100 Hubs in 30 days, him or me. Since that comment Court and I have emailed a few time back and forth and now it’s turned out to an even bigger thing than we ever expected.

From the looks of it, tons of people that read his blog are joining in the challenge and after posting some information about the challenge here in the HubPages forums, it looks like some Hubbers are up for it, too (some at 30 in 30 days, some at 100 in 30 days).

If you’d like to join in on the Hub Challenge, head on over here for more details: HubPages.com/HubChallenge — and don’t worry, you can do it…I think? 🙂

How To Join
Also, if you do want to join up, here are 3 simple steps to follow along the 30 day journey:

1. If you Tweet info about your progress with the Hub Challenge could you please use the #HubChallenge hashtag after each of your tweets so that we can keep an eye on what everyone’s up to and how their challenge is going. Also, you can follow HubPages on Twitter here for overall challenge updates: Twitter.com/HubPagesDOTcom.

2. Once you start writing your Hubs, please add a ‘HubChallenge’ tag to any Hub that you’re writing for your 30 Day Hub Challenge so that we can do some cool reporting and analysis on the Hubs that we’re all writing during our 30 days.

3. Write a blog and let all of your friends know that you’re crazy enough to accept the challenge and be sure to use one of these images below whenever you post something. 🙂

Creating a Hub Template

With the latest update to HubPages, we have added the ability to reuse an existing hub layout for a new hub. in addition to providing two additional starting layouts.   Here’s a snapshot of the new layout selection:

The New Start a Hub Page

The new feature gives you the ability to create a template hub.  By this, I mean a hub that is not necessarily published but which you can reuse for each new hub you create.   If you start your template title with an !, then you can be sure that it will be at the top of the drop down list.  This will make it very easy to select when you create a new hub and it will also separate your template from your regular hubs.  For example, you could title your template !My-hub-template.

Templates are nice because you can change them at any time and because  you can have a different template for each style of hub that you like you write.

So, what is the ideal layout?  Should hubs try to be as complicated as possible or should they purposely stay simple?  In my view, a hub should always be as simple as possible.  In my view and in my experience with well-written hubs (mostly, as reader), the content is key.  Content should drive the layout.

Let’s take a look at the different layout usage patterns on HubPages.  If we look at all hubs without regard to quality, here’s what we find:

  • There are over 68,000 different layouts in use on HubPages (out of 310,000 published hubs)
  • over 84,500 hubs use the default layout (Text -> Photo -> Comments)
  • over 8,000 hubs use (Text/Photo -> Comments)
  • over 5,900 hubs use (Text -> Comments)

If you only consider hubs that have a Hub Score of 80 or more, then you get some different values:

  • There are about 7,500 hubs with a Hub Score of 80 or more (at the time of my test)
  • There are over 5,800 different hub layouts used by these hubs
  • Roughly 300 of these hubs are written with (Text -> Photo -> Comments)
  • Roughly 170 of these hubs are written with (Text/Photo -> Comments)
  • Roughly 50 of these hubs are written with (Text -> Comments)

I think that the lesson here is that the best hubs use a layout appropriate for the content rather than the starting layout.  Given the great number of different layouts, I think it is also interesting to see which capsules are being used and how many of them are found in each hub.

If we look at at the hubs created this year, we find that the average hub uses:

  • 1.78 Text capsules
  • 1.54 Photo capsules
  • 0.96 Comment capsules
  • 0.32 Amazon capsules
  • 0.27 Link capsules
  • 0.27 Video capsules
  • 0.11 Ebay capsules
  • 0.09 Rss capsules
  • 0.07 News capsules
  • 0.07 Poll capsules

Now, if we look at what types of capsules are being used by hubs with a Hub Score of 80 or more, we find that the average hub contains:

  • 4.92 Text capsules
  • 3.77 Photo capsules
  • 0.99 Comment capsules
  • 0.90 Amazon capsules
  • 0.83 Link capsules
  • 0.73 Video capsules
  • 0.21 Ebay capsules
  • 0.23 News capsules
  • 0.15 Rss capsules
  • 0.27 Poll capsules

I think that the lesson is clear.  The higher rated hubs have a more interesting selection of capsules.  Indeed, if you compare the two sets of numbers, the higher rated hubs have roughly double the number of each type of capsule.

If we only want to look at the hubs that reached the coveted 90 hub score, here’s what you find:

  • There are 525 different layouts (for roughly 590 hubs with a score of 90 or more)
  • Of these, roughly 13 used Text/Photo -> Comments
  • Only 11 used Text -> Photo -> Comments

Of these top-rated, the average hub used:

  • 4.77 Text capsules
  • 5 Photo capsules
  • 0.97 Amazon capsules
  • 1.00 Comment capsules
  • 0.37 Link capsules
  • 0.61 Video capsules
  • 0.27 Ebay capsules
  • 0.33 News capsules
  • 0.11 Rss capsules
  • 0.25 Poll capsules

Again, I think this proves the point.  If you want do well, find a layout that best promotes your content.

Check Out This Week’s Winning HubNuggets!

After over 120+ people placed their vote over here, the final HubNuggets were finally made official yesterday and sent out in the HubPages Weekly newsletter to all of the fine Hubbers out there (over 55,000 of them!).

Also, it’s worth mentioning that Kelsey Tallis has set an  all-new HubNuggets record for the highest percentage of votes with a dominating 40% (which she can thank her friends and fellow 30 Seconds to Mars fans over here for). Here are the 5 Hubs that made the cut:

HubNugget 1: Jared Leto and the So-Called Cult of 30 Seconds to Mars (40%)

“The name Jared Leto may be familiar from movies like Requiem for a Dream, Fight Club, Panic Room, etc. He also stars in Jaco van Dormael’s new sci-fi fantasy Mr. Nobody (set for release in May). But a lot of people still don’t realize he is also the front man for the increasingly popular rock band 30 Seconds to Mars (30STM).” Read more »

More Kelsey Tallis Join Kelsey Tallis’s Fan Club

HubNugget 2: The Other Side of SubPrime Loans (14%)

“The roots of subprime crises can be traced back to as early as 2001, when the terrorist attacks happened and US economy had started reeling under immense pressure and that was also the period when dotcom bubble had burst.” Read more »

More jayb23 jayb23’s Fan Club

HubNugget 3: FoodEco-Friendly and Frugal: Buy Less Packaging and Get More Food (14%)

“Everyone wants to save money, right? When we are busy being hammered by an economic crisis that could rival the Great Depression, we’re always thinking economy. Right now, we need to have our precious dollars go further. But sometimes, we get fooled by packaging. While it might seem like processed and prepackaged foods save you time and money, it’s a carefully crafted illusion. Packaging is designed to entice you – and your kids. But it isn’t delivering any nutritional value.” Read more »

More MoniqueAttinger MoniqueAttinger’s Fan Club

HubNugget 4: 99 on Wednesday (11%)

“A year short of a century. It’s beyond a number. It’s a lifetime. A life of love, laughter, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-greats and yes, even great-great-greats. A life of teaching and learning and crying and laughing and peace and wars and mostly, love. She’s loved more than anything else. More than she’s cried. More than she’s laughed. More than she’s been angry. She has loved ALOT. And she IS loved ALOT. She has influenced people, family and strangers alike. She is responsible for introducing hundreds, if not thousands of people to Christ. She is the reason I have the peace of knowing that no matter how bad it is or becomes here, I’ll eventually find myself in a place of perfection where there are no tears, no pain, no hurt, no anger, no stress, no frustration, no fear. I owe her more than I will ever be able to repay.” Read more »

More Laughing Mom Join Laughing Mom’s Fan Club

HubNugget 5: How to Quit Smoking: An Easy Method (6%)

“Almost five months ago, I quit smoking after fifteen years as a smoker. I had tried and tried in the past to put the cigarettes down, but nothing worked. I hated the chiding that I received from family, and the unsupportive comments that my husband made about how it’s “easy” to quit. He was never a smoker. I had read books, browsed websites, signed up for programs and talked to counselors. Nothing had helped. I’d been pregnant three times as a smoker, but it was my last birth that really pushed me over the edge and forced me to make a decision. She was born at less than six pounds, two large knots tied in her umbilical cord. My labor was induced due to fetal distress. I knew then that something had to change.” Read more »

More Everyday Miracles Join Everyday Miracles’s Fan Club

Facebook connect and Tweet this now available on hubs!

With all the buzz going around social media and how websites are using Facebook connect and Twitter to help their users be more pro-active and social, we here at Hubpages HQ decided to jump on the bandwagon.

So we’re glad to announce a subset of Facebook connect and Twitter functionality integration into your Hubpages hubs (see screenshot below). Now authors can log into their Facebook account after having published a hub from within Hubpages and distribute it to their friends and family on Facebook. With a click of button, it’ll get posted to the Facebook feed. What this means for our authors is another medium for them to distribute their content through the social vine which in turn means more eye-balls for their hubs.

We’ve implemented a similar functionality for twitter. So now anybody can tweet a link to a Hub to their followers on twitter. All you do is click on the link, sign in as usual and post your tweet. We’ve taken care of URL shortening, so you don’t need to do anything other that going tweet crazy!

Tweet this

As always we’d love to hear from all you great hubbers – so feel free to let us know what you like or dislike about this new feature.

New Feature Alert: HubPages Questions & Answers

Have you ever seen a request on HubPages that you wanted to answer, but you didn’t want to write a whole hub on the subject? Now, you don’t have to, because we are introducing a new way to briefly answer a request without building a hub. We hope that this will encourage more people to ask questions and more people to answer them.

Now when you click on the button to answer a request, you will see this interface:

If you want to answer the request without writing a hub, then you can type your answer in the box and submit it by clicking on the “submit answer” button. If you’d rather write a hub response, then click on the “make a hub about it” button. Anything that you have written in the text box will be saved and put into a text capsule in your new hub, so don’t worry about losing what you’ve written.

These new, brief answers will be displayed along with the summaries of the hub answers. In order to decide what order to put the answers in, we are introducing a simple voting system that will allow each HubPages user to vote an answer up or down. The most popular answers (based on voting) will appear at the top of the page. If an answer receives too many down votes compared to the number of up votes, then that answer will be hidden from view. So, if someone has written a spammy answer, please vote it down! Here is what the voting interface looks like:

The number in parentheses (+1) tells you that this answer has received one up vote.

We hope that you like this new feature. As always, please let us know what you think by posting in the forums (or leave a comment).

The Best Of The HubMob: cindyvine’s Hub On Hair Removal By Sausages?

OK, you’ve got to admit that you thought the title of this blog post was a little, ummm…’out there’, but I promise that if you take a few minutes to read cindyvine’s Hub titled Hair removed by sausages, it will make much more sense. It’s a great story that cindyvine unfortunately had to suffer through so that we can all enjoy it, but it’s really, really entertaining so personally I think that it was totally worth it.

So now it’s official, cindyvine’s Hub has been named the Best Of The HubMob for this past week’s topic of Shaving and Hair Removal, so if you see her hanging around be sure to tell her congrats and to keep up the awesome Hubbing. Oh, and feel free to check out the rest of last week’s HubMob Hubs over here — they’re all really entertaining. 🙂

If you feel like becoming a HubMobster this week, then you can join the all new HubMob over here that’s all about Health and Safety.

Andrew Aksyonoff visits HubPages

Andrew Aksyonoff, creator of Sphinx Search

Andrew Aksyonoff, the man behind Sphinx Search

Hubpages recently upgraded its internal search functionality (you can see the blog announcement here).  We’ve added the ability to search the help page, search categories, search for images and videos, as well as a sitewide search.  In our internal testing, we found that this new search ran significantly faster than the previous internal search.

The secret to all these improvements is a free, open-source search technology known as Sphinx Search.

The man behind Sphinx Search is Andew Aksyonoff, a software engineer who lives in Russia and has been working on Sphinx since 2001.  He’s been getting a lot of attention ever since Craigslist chose sphinx as their solution to internal search (technical folks: you can see a presentation about Craiglist’s experience with Sphinx, here).

This past week Andrew traveled to the Bay Area and I was fortunate enough to get on his busy calendar.  I had hoped to show him the HubPages office but a taxi driver had dropped him off too far away.  He had just an hour but that was enough time for me, Andrew, and one of Andrew’s friends to grab a coffee and chat a little about Sphinx, HubPages, and San Francisco.

Andrew is very excited about the latest release of Sphinx which came out on April 8 (for those interested, here’s a list of features), which greatly expands the power of sphinx by expanding the query language.  It is now easier to do more complex searches.  We have not yet implemented this latest version at HubPages but I promised Andrew that I would take a look and write a hub about it.

For those interested, we went to the Blue Bottle Cafe for coffee (one of San Francisco’s best known cafes), stopped at the Westfield Mall to take a look at the Dome, took a short walk around the Yerba Buena Gardens, and then stopped for a very short time at the SF Moma Museum Store.

I told Andrew how much we at HubPages appreciated his work.  If you have any feedback on the HubPages internal search, please feel free to post your comments to this blog.