New Year, New Sites

Hello, Hubbers! Today, we are pleased to be able to share with you our plan for 2016. We’re still as determined as ever to break out of Panda, and we will continue to raise the quality of writing on HubPages by investing in and improving our two quality systems: the Quality Assessment Process (QAP) and HubPro editing. However, we believe that HubPages has another challenge that’s weakening our overall quality efforts and reputation: its general-content nature. These days, search engines and readers are better able to understand sites that are about one topic rather than a hodgepodge of just about everything. Thus we have decided to launch a series of niche sites over the course of the year, starting with two as early as next week: TatRing and PetHelpful!

In the medium term, traffic to the new sites will fluctuate. This is expected, and we will aim to build sites in areas where we think we have a shot at becoming successful. Long term, we’d love to see these sites grow into passionate communities, and we’ll be adding features over the coming months to help make this possible.

The remainder of this blog post is composed as a FAQ. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, feel free to post in the related Forum thread.

How is this all going to work?

HubPages will continue to exist as a website. All new sites will be part of the HubPages Network of User-Generated Content Sites. New sites will have unique domain names, but they will be operated by HubPages. They will be comprised of high-quality existing and newly published Hubs. Every Hub that is moved to a new domain will have a 301 redirect in place.

Please review the revised Terms of Use and Privacy Policy— they will go into effect on February 9th, 2016.

Why is HubPages pursuing a multi-sites strategy?

To put it simply, we believe this strategy is our best chance at a sustainable future. We think search engines can understand the organization of niche sites better than general content sites, giving them a structural advantage in SERPs. Furthermore, we are confident that our new domains will start with a clean slate in search and not be affected by algorithmic penalties like HubPages seems to have been. Vertical domains can also become stronger brands because they are more memorable to readers. For example, a visitor is much more likely to quickly grasp the idea behind a site like PetHelpful over a site like HubPages; the former is a site about pets for pet lovers and the latter is much more ambiguous!

Will HubPages.com continue to exist?

Yes! It will continue to be the home for Hubs that don’t get moved to niche sites. Additionally, for now, Forums, Q&A, My Account, and profile pages will all remain on HubPages. All articles will continue to be written on HubPages using the HubTool.

What are the new sites about?

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TatRing is the first site we’re launching, and it is for artists and enthusiasts sharing knowledge on tattoos and piercings.

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PetHelpful, a site for animal lovers, enthusiasts, and pet professionals sharing expertise and knowledge on pets, will follow.

Additional sites are being planned, and we will announce them when ready.

What Hubs will be moved to the new sites?

The moderation and editing teams are working together to hand-select and edit Hubs to move to the new domains. Hubs that are defeatured are not being considered at this time, but Hubbers are encouraged to update and improve their Hubs so they can become eligible for review. Lastly, new Hubs will be prioritized during the selection process.

Hubs must, at minimum, meet our criteria for being Featured. You can read about these standards in detail in this newly published FAQ entry. During the selection process, [already Featured] Hubs that have problematic elements (e.g., products, links, low-quality images, etc) may be snipped so that they meet the editorial standards on the new domains.

What gives my Hub the best chance of getting moved to a niche domain?

A single, great Hub may not be selected if the account isn’t in good standing or appears to be untrustworthy. To increase your chances of getting selected:

  • Use a real name or pen name (avoid business names or keyword-driven names)
  • Write a biography for the topics that you are covering, demonstrating expertise and passion
  • In your profile bio, show your interest in the topics you write about

Will I be able to sign in to the new sites?

For now, sign-in will be limited. You will be able to sign in to each site using your HubPages account. The available signed-in features are:

  • Hub commenting
  • Author Center tools on Hubs themselves

Unfortunately, for now, you will have to sign in and out separately on each site. Also, Facebook sign-in is not supported on the new sites.

Can I opt out of this?

There will not be an opt-out option.

Can I still earn money from Hubs that are moved?

Yes. Your Hubs will continue to earn money when they are moved. All of your earnings will be rolled up in My Account > Earnings > Earnings Reports like they are now. The revenue share will not change, nor will the ad layout on Hubs.

Will Google Analytics continue to work?

Yes, Google Analytics should continue to track your page views properly.