Introducing HubPro Basic and Other Quality Updates!

Introducing HubPro Basic

It’s hard to believe, but we have been editing Hubs with HubPro for over a year, and we are happy to announce that we will be continuing the program and moving it out of beta.  When we began, our HubPro goal was threefold: provide a better experience for readers, increase traffic, and collaborate with Hubbers to build better Hubs.  We believe that we have succeeded in all three areas.  

  • Reader satisfaction is up by 26 points (in our NPS ratings) across edited Hubs. For more information on NPS, check out our previous blog post.
  • Traffic is up 20% (compared to the baseline) across Hubs edited with HubPro.
  • Based on survey results, Hubbers are happier than ever with HubPro. We started out a bit rocky, but we listened to your feedback and made changes that made a big difference.  From August through April our Hubber satisfaction rate went from a dismal, 5.75 out of 10 to an 8.75 from May through July!  The biggest change that we made was the increase in communication and collaboration with Hubbers while editing. We continue to strive to improve these numbers and are seeing increases every month.

Over the last few months, we have administered a few private betas testing different types of edits and their impact on quality.  As a result of our tests and because of feedback from the community, we have decided to offer two levels of editing: HubPro Basic and HubPro Premium.  HubPro Premium is a continuation of HubPro with a new snazzy name.  Here’s the breakdown for HubPro Basic.

HubPro Basic includes:

  • Editing for spelling and grammar
  • Changes that reflect the HubPages Style Guide, e.g., providing a consistent style, free of broken videos, pixelated photos, and excessive bolding and italics
  • The assurance that all links and products are relevant and benefit the reader

HubPro Basic will not include:

  • Addition of visual media—commissioned or creative commons
  • Title or subtitle changes other than grammar, spelling, and title case
  • Significant reorganization of the Hub’s layout
  • Fact checking or research to add content
  • Extensive Hubber and Editor collaboration, although Hubbers are welcome to email us with any questions.

With this change, we will be able to edit more Hubs to improve the overall quality of HubPages.  We strongly believe that grammar, spelling, and spam are signals of content quality that both readers and search algorithms recognize. In our beta testing, traffic to Hubs that were edited for grammar, spelling, and spam showed an increase in traffic of over 15% almost immediately.  

Every Hub that we improve helps the entire HubPages community. Because HubPro Basic does not involve adding content or major organizational changes, any Hub may be edited with HubPro Basic (HubPro Premium still has an opt-out option, but HubPro Basic does not). We know some Hubbers are a bit uneasy about having their work edited; however, as we work toward a more professional HubPages, we believe HubPro Basic is a necessary step in improving quality across the site.  For those Hubbers that write error- and spam-free Hubs, the edits, if any, will be minor.  

Moving forward, HubPages staff will review more Hubs for quality (even if they haven’t been edited).  Hubs with significant traffic will likely be edited with HubPro before going through our  quality algorithm.  However, adding spammy elements back into a Hub after editing will likely result in the Hub being defeatured.  As always, we recommend editing your own work periodically, starting with your highest-traffic Hubs.  

Many Hubbers have asked why we are focusing on Hubs with the most traffic when editing? Why don’t we work on the Hubs that aren’t seeing any traffic?  Doesn’t the fact that I’m receiving search engine traffic mean that my Hub is high quality and that editing will risk its current traffic? The answer is fourfold:

  1. We can impact the most readers by editing our highest-traffic Hubs.
  2. The traffic gains from editing high-traffic Hubs help our business substantially more, e.g., 20% increase on a Hub that is seeing 100 views a day vs. a 20% increase on a Hub that gets 5 views a day.
  3. Improving Hubs with high traffic by adding great media can drive substantially more social shares and links which benefit the individual Hub and the entire site.  Some of the Hubs that have been the most successful on social media have been edited by HubPro.
  4. Because we can analyze traffic and quality across all Hubs, we know that search engines send traffic to Hubs of widely varying quality.  While there’s a correlation between quality and traffic, it is not absolute. The best way to maintain your traffic is to regularly update and improve your work to remain competitive.

For more information, check out our HubPro FAQ.

Automated Grammar and Spelling Checker

Yet more innovations are coming—in September we hope to announce a service that will improve spelling and grammar across all of HubPages. The automated system will impact every featured Hub on HubPages by fixing over half a million common errors on the site—including misspellings in the Comment Capsule and eventually on Q&A and the Forums! In our tests, 98% of the errors corrected were accurate. While the system works well, it is only able to fix a limited set of errors.  Since there are always special cases, you will have some user controls. There are more specifics to be finalized but expect more information in the next few weeks.

Lastly, HubPages has gone through many changes in its nine years.  We understand that change can be difficult.  However, we think it’s important for Hubbers to know that we see ourselves now as a unique blend of writers/enthusiasts and professional editors.  With the launch of our automated grammar and spelling checker, every Featured Hub will have the opportunity to be edited, and as traffic increases, additional editing resources could be assigned.  While most Hubbers have been eager for their work to be edited, we understand that writing online can be deeply personal and that having someone else edit your work can be difficult.  Our editors are writers too, and they understand your hesitation and make every effort to touch your work with as much care as possible.  Our hope is that you continue to create fantastic Hubs on topics you are passionate about and that we can work together to create a site that everyone is proud of.  

Thanks for being a community that cares about quality and for your support as we improve HubPages!

Cast Your Vote in the 2015 Hubbie Awards!

Happy Monday, friends! As of today, the polls for the 5th Annual HubPages Hubbie Awards are officially open! You have two weeks to submit your vote, so take your time and figure out which Hubs and Hubbers you think are the most deserving before voting.

The Prizes:

This year’s winners in each category will have the opportunity to choose between a HubPages t-shirt, a HubPages notebook, or a customized HubPages mug:

IMG_2391

If a Hubber wins more than one category, he or she will have the opportunity to select a prize for each category won (though we do love to see as many deserving Hubbers win as possible, so please do your best to diversify your votes).

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, August 24th at midnight will not be counted. If you don’t have a Hubber or Hub to nominate for every single category, just leave those spaces blank when you submit your form.

If you’re ready, you can visit the Official 2015 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:

Top:

  • Best All-Around Hub
  • Best All-Around Hubber

Hubber-Based:

  • 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
  • Best Commenter (New category for 2015, suggested by Hubber Faith Reaper)

Hub-based:

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

If you’re ready to cast your vote now, proceed to the Official 2015 Hubbie Voting Form. Remember, you can only vote once so take your time figuring out which Hubs and Hubbers you’d like to nominate. Happy voting!

The Topic Page Redesign

Happy Thursday, folks! Today we released a pretty significant design update to the HubPages Topic Page. There’s more coming soon, however, we’re excited to share the work we’ve done so far. I encourage all of you to head over to the new homepage (which is now accessible to signed in users!) to see for yourselves, but I’ll give you the full rundown of the changes here:

  • The new reader-centric homepage is now the main Topic page and it is accessible to both signed in and signed out visitors.
  • All Topic pages (including the homepage) offer three content listings: Latest (default view), Best, and Hot. Some of you might remember this. 🙂
  • Signed in Hubbers see a blended content list that includes Hubs, Questions, and Discussions. Signed out visitors see Hubs only.
  • All HubPages readers now have access to fresh content on HubPages.
  • Navigation on the new Topic pages is consistent with Hubs: the right sidebar contains the list of subtopics that can be expanded.
  • Each content listing item contains a brand new category heading that is clickable. We are more heavily promoting categories to illustrate the breadth and depth of content on HubPages.
  • Each content listing has been updated to include the publication date. Author follower count was removed. Thumbnail images are 125% larger.
  • The breadcrumb structure has greater consistency with Hubs, and “explore” was replaced with “HubPages”.
  • The paragraph descriptions at the top of every Topic page were removed.

What are the benefits of this redesign?

There are a number of important benefits to this update. Most notably, improved site navigation and structure (the underlying HTML) should yield traffic and SEO benefits over the long term. To elaborate, the structural changes we’ve made should augment our credibility with Google and hopefully result in improved visibility in SERPs. If you’d like to learn more about this, Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is a great starting point. Second, readers can easily discover the latest and greatest content published on HubPages with improved navigation and usability.

Wait, but how do I get to the Feed?

You can access the Feed via the explore menu in the header or by going there directly. Clicking on the HubPages in the header and in breadcrumbs will bring you to the new homepage.
Lastly, we think the following quote from Google’s SEO Guide elucidates our goals and motivations for doing this work:

“Search engine optimization is often about making small modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. “

Stay tuned for more!

Announcing the 5th Annual Hubbie Awards – Get Ready!

Hi there friends! It’s August again, which means it’s Hubbie season! I’m super excited to announce that voting will open next Monday (August 10th) for the 5th Annual HubPages Hubbie Awards. You will have 2 weeks to cast your vote, so get started thinking about which Hubbers and Hubs you’d like to nominate.

If you’re joining us for the first time this year, the Hubbie Awards are contest held in honor of HubPages’ birthday every year around the beginning of August. As a community member, you have the opportunity to choose your favorite Hubs and Hubbers and nominate them for a variety of awards. Each Hub or Hubber with the most votes in a particular category wins a cool HubPages prize (this year our winners may choose between either a HubPages mug, a t-shirt, or a notebook) as well as widespread community recognition.

You can find this year’s categories listed below:

Top:

  • Best All-Around Hub
  • Best All-Around Hubber
  • HubPages Lifetime Achievement (Chosen by HP Staff)

Hubber-Based:

  • 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
  • Best Commenter (New category this year, suggested by Hubber Faith Reaper)

Hub-based:

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

Stay tuned for the opening of the polls on Monday. 🙂