Update to the Quality Assessment Process: Improving the quality of ALL Hubs!

As you may recall, in late March we raised the quality bar for all newly-published and edited Hubs. This heightened bar has not been applied to older Hubs that were published before the QAP. Beginning this week (and continuing gradually over the next few months), older Hubs will be subject to our quality thresholds.

What does this mean? All Hubs on HubPages, new and old, will be assessed in accordance to the same high standards. But don’t fret, we all have Hubs written in our first days on HubPages that aren’t of the same quality as our Hubs of late. Hubs that are no longer Featured because of quality reasons can be updated, improved, and reassessed. Hopefully you see this as an opportunity to improve those older Hubs in need of a good spring cleaning!

There will be some Hubs that appear decent that will not pass the QAP and some Hubs people feel shouldn’t pass that will.  These Hubs are on the border.  To ensure Hubs pass, it’s a good idea to shoot for above an 8+ on our rating scale.  Hubs rated in this range  are the type our community is proud to have Featured and are rated well beyond passing.

You may also want to revisit two of our most helpful Learning Center guides on the subject of quality – Elements of a Stellar Hub and How To Improve the Quality of a Hub – to get an idea of what standing your Hubs are currently in and how you might go about improving them.

Alongside this update, we’re releasing a couple of new features with regards to alerts on Featured and non-Featured Hubs:

  • Two new icons in My Account > Statistics showing which Hubs are de-Featured for getting low quality (orange icon) ratings and which are de-Featured for low engagement (blue icon)

  • Email alerts when Hubs lose Featured status for quality reasons

These changes are part of our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of content on HubPages and ensure that original, long-form, media-rich Hubs see the success and attention they deserve!

A New Hub Formatting Option: Topic Templates

screen-shot-2013-05-22-at-10-15-06-am1 (1)Many of the ideas and new features on HubPages are suggested by our fabulous authors.  Topic Templates is another fantastic Hubber-driven feature.  In a Forum post, janderson99 suggested that since HubPages is becoming more and more focused on quality, we should provide our authors with a foundation for creating Stellar, QAP-friendly Hubs!

Our answer to this fabulous request is a group of Templates that are created with a specific topic in mind.  For example, photos are extremely important in recipe Hubs, so we’ve included more Photo Capsules in the Food and Cooking Template as well as Ingredients, Instructions, Cook Time, Ratings, and Nutrition Capsules.  While we feel that the Templates are a great foundation, they are also easily edited; moving around, deleting, or adding capsules is the same as it always has been.

As an added bonus, we have added tips and lessons about online writing within each capsule.  The tips will be shown each time you choose the Template format but are automatically deleted when you edit each capsule.  To see all of the Templates or go back to read the tips and suggestions, you can visit our Learning Center entry on Topic Templates where we have provided links to each Topic Template.

Here are a few of the benefits that we see when using a Topic Template:

  • Your Hub is automatically broken up into multiple capsules in a format that is more reader friendly
  • New Hubbers will get an idea of what a Hub is suppose to look like so they are more likely to pass our Quality Assessment Process
  • You may try a capsule that you haven’t before and improve the look of your Hub
  • It takes the guess work out of creating an appealing layout
  • If you haven’t read our Hubs in the Learning Center, we are giving you tips directly in the HubTool

Ultimately, HubPages is about writing high-quality, long format content and the team at HubPages hope that the Topic Templates will help our new and veteran Hubbers start off with a good foundation.  Now that you have your layout, fill those capsules with informative, rich, grammatically correct content; original or legally used and attributed photos; and other engaging media!  Thanks janderson for the suggestion!

Happy Hubbing!

Robin

 

 

 

Exclusives and Topics and Rising Stars, Oh My!

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As Simone has mentioned, she’s leaving HubPages at the end of this month to work on her new business at Gigaverse. The HubPages Team wishes her the very best, and we’ll miss her terribly!

I wanted to take this opportunity to inform the community that I’ll be assuming command over some of Simone’s programs when she leaves. The weekly Rising Star competition, the Topic Expansion Initiative, Exclusive titles, the HubPages Weekly newsletter, and social media sharing are a few projects I’ll be working on. Please feel free to email me with new Topic requests, Exclusive title issues, potential Hubs of the Day,  and of course, shameless flattery.

Here’s a little about me: Some of you may already know me from the old Weekly Topic Inspiration program. I’ve been part of the HubPages Team since July of 2012, and I’m also a dedicated and enthusiastic fellow-Hubber. I’m very proud to have just completed the Apprenticeship Program. I have a History degree from UC Santa Cruz and I’ve been a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 8 years. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work more closely with the community! Oh, and I collect robots.

Simone Smith to Start a Training Center for Online Careers

When interviewing potential HubPages employees, our CEO Paul Edmondson always likes to ask this question: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Though there are many promising responses to this question (you may have encountered some in HubPages’ numerous job interview guides), the “right answer” at HubPages is to have a vision of someday launching one’s own company. While HubPages is primarily designed to be the ultimate place to craft long format, media-rich articles online, it also has a strong underlying mission to help people pursue their unique passions. This mission manifests itself in the resources we provide, as well as an internal company culture encouraging employees to follow their dreams.

As you might guess, I provided that “right answer” when I was interviewed three years ago, and starting in June, I will deliver on my promise (a bit early, yes, but I’m a compulsive over-achiever). My last day as HubPages’ Director of Marketing is May 31st.

The business I am starting has been inspired, to a great extent, by the HubPages community. On a daily basis I am humbled by the talented Hubbers I encounter and want to do more to support their online ambitions- both with regard to content creation and general entrepreneurship.

Gigaverse

It is for this reason that, with the help of a comrade at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, I am launching a training center for online careers called Gigaverse. Our mission with Gigaverse is to help you craft your ideal life and career by using readily-available online tools and resources. We provide help in the form of information, credentials, guidance, and connections.

In addition to free courses on a variety of online pursuits (ranging from community management to freelance writing, journalism, entertainment, business, and sales), Gigaverse will offer vetting, credentials, mentorship, consulting, recruiting, and workshops.

The site is currently in development and will launch this summer, however you can learn more (and sign up for early access) at Gigaverse.com.

It was not an easy decision to leave HubPages. To be honest, I am pretending that May 31st will not be my last day! That said, I have learned from the HubPages community again and again how important it is to take the leap and move on to new things- to test oneself, take risks, try to contribute something valuable to the world, and see what happens.

I will truly miss the excuse to spend all day, every day, poking around the site (though I shall certainly swing by to say hello). I will also miss working with HubPages’ staff- I wish all of you could get to know these level-headed, kind, patient, persevering people- they are AMAZING.

Thank you for three amazing years of enlightening Hubs, new friendships, inspiring success stories, fun programs and contests, lessons learned, Forum freakouts, social media chatter, mind-expanding dialogue, and general shenanigans. If you ever want to chat, stop by Gigaverse and drop me a line!

 

Five Common Mistakes Made by Online Writers: A Guest Post by WryLilt

A few weeks ago, WryLilt, one of our top Hubbers, made an incredibly generous gesture by opening up a Forum thread in which she would give a critique to anyone who asked for help with a Hub. Last week, she published a Hub guiding people through the most common mistakes she encountered when reviewing others’ work.

WryLilt kindly summarized some of the most common mistakes she covers in that guide in this guest post. Should you find her tips to be useful, be sure to read the entire Hub!

 

The Top Five Mistakes Made by Bloggers

 

I have plenty of my own projects now, but I love coming back to the HubPages community because it feels like home. Recently I started hanging out in the Forums again and saw a huge number of questions relating to why people were seeing issues with their traffic or earnings. Taking a look at many of these Hubbers’ Hubs, I saw some really obvious issues that could easily be fixed. I figured that it would be a lot easier to help all these Hubbers in one place, instead of going through all the Forum posts I kept finding, and then collate the information.

I started a Forum Discussion asking people to post if they wanted feedback on two things they could change to improve their Hubs. I was amazed at how many responses I got – and also by how many people were making the very same basic mistakes.

Five of the biggest mistakes I saw people making included:

  1. Titles – Both Hub titles and subtitles play important roles in getting Google traffic as well as helping people navigate your Hub. Make sure your title tells readers exactly what your Hub is about (leave out words you found in the thesaurus or “pretty titles”), and break your Hub up into subtopics so visitors can easily skim your content to find the information they want.
  2. Writing For Yourself – Sorry, but if you’re “writing for yourself” on the internet, you’re probably not going to make money. Unlike published writing, you don’t have editors to add red crosses throughout your content and cut out the purple prose, so you need to get it right to get the traffic. Online, you’re writing firstly for the reader and secondly for Google. Yes, that includes poems and stories – which may get you a following but are notoriously low earners if you don’t know what you’re doing. You can write on topics you love, but don’t fall too in love with your own voice!
  3. BOOOO-RING – Titles and content are just one step in creating an attractive and readable Hub. You need to keep the reader’s attention, especially if it’s a long Hub – having pictures, videos, and highlighted text boxes with interesting information will help keep your reader interested and scrolling. Don’t go off on tangents either – if your reader came to your Hub for information, give them that information instead of telling them about something else.
  4. Traffic Leak!!! – I’ve visited many Hubs where there are literally dozens of links. Links to other people’s Hubs, Wikipedia, random sites, even links to their own profile. I feel like I’m rolling my mouse through a minefield. If you do want to start throwing in some links, choose only a few so readers notice them – link to your own Hubs if possible, so you can redirect your reader to your own lower traffic Hubs in particular. If you really have to add links to other people’s Hubs or outside sites, add them at the very bottom of the Hub so people have to read all you have to say, first!
  5. Don’t Stress If You Don’t Get Traffic – Many new Hubbers see a dive in traffic and assume their work is done for. Wrong! It generally takes 6-9 months for quality content to start seeing regular search traffic, and with time that search traffic will begin to share your Hub with their own social circles, increasing your traffic even more. Stop stressing about traffic and go write more content (or do a Hub Challenge). By the time you’re done, you’ll have learnt a lot, and your first Hubs will either be seeing more traffic or you’ll go back and edit them when you realise how bad they really were (yes, I’ve been there!)

 

If you want to read more about everything from white spaces through to using teasers to grab readers, you can check out the full Hub I wrote on common new online writer mistakes.