Sounds incredible? Nelle’s spectacular achievement is testament to the value of consistent effort and mastering traffic-acquisition techniques. For the benefit of all of us, Nelle was kind enough to answer my questions to shed some light on what has made her so successful, as well as a little on what makes her tick. Enjoy!
1. You’ve been with HubPages for just 9 months now. How did you come upon HubPages, and how does HubPages fit into your overall Web publishing and monetization strategy?
HubPages was recommended as a place to get backlinks – similar to Squidoo – in an affiliate marketing forum that I look at once in a while. So I popped over here and quickly learned that this is not the place for mindless backlinks. I was working on a Cape Cod Travel website and decided that I might write some hubs about Cape Cod motels. I wrote about 5 hubs and then went back to my affiliate marketing. A month or so later I remembered the hubs and came back. I was totally floored by the Google traffic and rankings. However despite traffic and rankings, the hubs had not made any money, so I decided that a new monetization strategy was in order. I was already an affiliate of both Amazon and Ebay so I just had to start writing hubs and learn what works.
After 250 or so hubs, I’m ready to start integrating those hubs with my other affiliate marketing websites. I’m thinking of them as my “Nelle sites,” because they will all be “Nelle this” or “Nelle that” and Nelle Hoxie writes the HubPages. I’ve selected a WordPress theme, while not identical to HubPages is complimentary and won’t give visitors a visual shock as they move between the two. Right now my HubPages Widget is in the top right corner of all the pages. There will be other connections as I figure it all out. I’m very excited about this and I think it’s a winning strategy because of the HubPages’ Google traffic and rankings. This integration is a primary element of my 2010 work plan.
2. You’re quite a prolific Hubber – 251 Hubs over 9 months comes out to about almost a Hub a day! How do you maintain your Hubbing stamina?
It is such a joy to write Hubs – that staying motivated isn’t an issue. I know that if I write a Quality Sales Hub, I’ll make money. One of my favorite books is The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. She stresses the need for rituals and a routine that provide discipline, so that you have the time and energy to be creative. So my morning schedule is I get up and as I drink my morning coffee I write a hub. Then I shower & exercise and write more marketing and sales copy.
3. I can easily see why you’ve achieved $1000 in a single month – your Hubs are well put together and they very intelligently target shopping niches, with search-friendly titles (like this one: Buy a Heart Necklace Online). How do you decide which niches to target?
I have a degree in Marketing from the Wharton School at UPenn, which has helped me a lot. But I think I was born to market and sell. When my sister and I were 5 and 4, we wanted to stand outside the Hoxie House (the oldest house on Cape Cod) and sell our autographs to tourists for a nickel. The next summer we learned how to make change, and with our parents’ support and approval, we opened a farm stand – which ultimately paid for half of my UPenn education.
To see what trends are hot and heating up, I spend a lot of time at Wal-Mart, because they survey their customers once a week and probably know more about the American consumer than anybody. I also watch a lot of QVC for hot trends and more importantly to hear the sales pitches. I read catalogs and magazines by the bucket load. I don’t use keyword tools to decide on niches, I do use them to write effective sales copy.
4. What many Hubbers have no idea about, but which is so very important, is that you are one of our prized “flaggers”, who identifies spam and other forms of inappropriate content on the site so that our moderators can get rid of the stuff and keep the site clean. To what do we owe this very much-appreciated magnanimity?
You actually have Relache to thank for that. One night I told a spammer off in the forum, and promptly got an email from Relache telling me it is more effective to report them.
As far as hubs go, I only report those that don’t conform with the Google Adsense TOS – it’s not just their Adsense at stake but mine too. If I’m booted out of Adsense, then I’m also booted out of the Google Affiliate Network. That means I lose the revenue from 100 GAN merchants.
5. How and why did you fall upon writing online, and how has your strategies changed? What advice could you offer to new Hubbers in order to make the most out of their Hubbing experience?
I ran a very proper economics consulting firm until 9/11. When the economy tanked that fall, I went with it. That following December I stubbornly sat at my computer on snowy night, and decided if others could make a living online, then I could too. I didn’t even know that affiliate marketing existed. But I kept finding affiliate sites and then I figured it out. By 3 am I had my first links up. The first week I sold enough dahlias and geraniums to get a $30 commission. And I was hooked. I’ve never wanted to do anything else since then.
6. Cape Cod is one of the most beautiful, charming parts of our country that I haven’t been lucky to visit myself. What can you tell us about it?
If I walk to the end of my street and turn left I’m at the beach. If I turn to the right I am in the postcard-perfect Sandwich Town Square, one of the oldest in the country. There is an inn where statesman Daniel Webster used to hang out. It’s also in communities like Sandwich, that the purest form of democracy was developed and remains in place today. Our form of open town meeting is what I’m most proud of. And then our commitment to public education, historic preservation and the environment.
Cape Cod is a wonderful place to live, but a hard place to make a living. Affiliate marketing and HubPages are what makes it possible for me.
7. I like to keep the final question relatively free-form. What would you like to share about yourself, or about something that interests you, with your fellow Hubbers?
Nature plays an important part in my daily life and determines in large part the values that I have. Last summer I stood with thousands of others as we watched and cheered as an endangered juvenile right whale navigated the Cape Cod Canal with a Coast Guard escort.
I love our New England poets – Mary Oliver, Stanley Kunitz, Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon who put into words the relationship between life and nature that I experience but can’t express.
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