The Payout Chronicles: girly_girl09’s Hubs continue to earn while she studies

Payout Chronicles

Girly_Girl09 joined HubPages only 9 months ago, but she recently announced in the Forums that, despite having published the majority of her Hubs earlier when she had free time, she continues to earn about $200 per month even though she has shifted her attention to her studies. She took some time out of her busy schedule, though, to answer some of my questions and offer some very valuable advice to those Hubbers who are looking to earn money from their Hubs.

1. A consistent $200 or so per month on 136 Hubs written over 9 months is not too shabby! How does this compare to your earnings expectations when you started at HubPages?

It’s really exciting and unexpected! I am honestly astounded to be earning money every month in the form of a residual income. There was a period of 3-4 months last year where I unfortunately didn’t have a lot of time to play on HubPages, yet my earnings would still appear in my bank account near the end of every month. That, in itself, was a huge inspiration for me to continue to write as much as I can, when I have the time!

2. You mentioned doing some SEO research. What are some top-level suggestions you learned that ended up working for you?

If you research it, write about it and “SEO” it, they will come.

1.) SEO research is key. You really need to understand the basic concepts and work from there. HP was my first attempt at SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so I had a lot of learning to do. Search engine traffic is where 99% of your income will come from; it’s crucial. The good news is – you don’t need to spend a fortune learning SEO! There is a plethora of free and helpful information out there. I read countless blogs and hubs on SEO and of course ask lots of questions on the forums. While we have a wonderful community of eagerly helpful hubbers, I do recommend learning the basics for yourself, this way, you can grasp the general concepts and individually apply them to your individual hubs and marketing needs.

2.) Keyword research is very important! I suspect that if you conjure up a topic that is of interest to you, other people will be searching for information on it. However, the way you word your title and article content may not be written as it should be for SEO. This is why you really need to research which keywords you are using. I occasionally publish portions of my papers that I’ve used for class assignments and re-write them so they contain keywords that have earning potential and viable traffic. You can take almost any topic and find relevant keywords that can, in turn, earn you money.

3.) Write about what you know or can take the time to research. In my opinion, there is nothing worse (or boring!) than writing about topics simply because they are profitable. It’s one thing to do the research and write a great article, but I find it silly that people write about topics such as weight loss or mesothelioma, without even knowing what they’re talking about. Trust me, you can find a profitable topic, no matter your interests. Google ranks hubs based on many factors, one of them has to do with how much time a reader stays on your page. The longer and more helpful your article is, the better you’ll rank with search engines.

I have some further advice in my hub Increase Google Adsense Revenue. It was written for hubbers that already have great hubs already published, but just need to tweak them a bit for SEO purposes.

3. Glancing at your Hubs, I see a wide range of informational Hubs, mostly about products as diverse as flavored popcorn and pink shower curtains. They seem to be niche products that you know quite well. How do you determine what products to review in your Hubs?

In order for me to write a hub, I choose topics that I either know well, or can research and present effectively for readers. 9 times out of 10, the topics I choose are profitable because I write to earn money. I do choose really random topics or products, but I have a “rule” that I have to be interested in what I write about.

4. Most Hubbers’ earnings seems to follow the 80:20 rule (20% of their Hubs generate 80% of the revenue). Has that been the case for you? What have you learned about which Hubs attract traffic and generate earnings for you (or is there no pattern)?

I would say that 20% is about accurate, however I’m finding that with fine-tuning my keyword research skills, I can guarantee that I’ll eventually earn from each new hub I write. One or two of my first 35-50 hubs do have some exciting earners (by chance!) but a lot of them have only earned a dollar or so and I don’t expect much more than that.

5. In the same forum thread, you mentioned learning about entrepreneurship from your family. How does HubPages figure into your other extracurricular entrepreneurial activities?

HubPages gave me the courage to purchase my own domain and start up a new site; the revenue model will be based on Adsense. HP is a phenomenal place to research what topics work and expand from there. If you write a really successful hub and are earning a lot from it, then it may just be a topic that you can expand to a niche website. Not to mention, I have a few PR (Page Rank) 3 hubs that I can directly link to my new site to give it a search engine boost. While I still have massive amounts of work to make my new domain profitable, it is a small piece of internet “real estate” that I’m proud to own.

Thus far, I’ve found that it is much easier to earn money from HubPages then on my own domain. HubPages is still my preferred method of earning income online. I don’t have to worry about coding or server issues!

6. Tell us about your career in politics and your future career in law. Sounds intriguing!

I worked in politics for about five years. It started off with volunteering on a gubernatorial race which led to a position on that campaign. Shortly thereafter, I was hired as Projects Director for a political party in my state. I loved my job, the unique experiences I endeavored and the fantastic people, candidates and legislators that I had the pleasure of working with. There were daily challenges with many solutions and something exciting or shocking was always happening. In 2008, I naturally transitioned over to a presidential campaign. It was the best time of my life – thus far! It was a 24/7, demanding job, with my phone constantly going off at random hours. To sum it up in as few words as possible: copious amounts of Red Bull, traveling, hotels, car mileage, conference calls and Excel spreadsheets! I dealt mainly with election law procedures and logistics of campaign staff and volunteers on Election Day and the three days leading up to it (aka 72 Hour). Campaigns are actually built backwards from Election Day, so the whole experience was fast-paced all year long, not just in November. The project was where I solidified my desire to eventually attend law school. I was inspired by the ethics and professionalism of the attorneys that I worked with.

Presently, I’m pursuing an undergraduate degree in legal studies. I understandably have a huge passion for election law, but that is not something I can really make a career out of. My other interests include copyright & intellectual property, criminal law and legislative law. I’m quite certain I won’t know exactly what I want to practice until my last year or so of law school. Until then, I enjoy learning about a wide array of legal topics. While I honestly miss the 60, 80, 100 or 120 hour work weeks (depending on the “political season”), I now enjoy being a full-time student and pursuing new goals outside of the political realm. It’s great to be in classes where your professors actually want you to argue with them. What could be more fun than that?

7. Finally, you are noted for your contributions on the site in the form of comments on others’ Hubs and forum posts greeting and helping new Hubbers. How has interaction with other Hubbers contributed to your overall HubPages experience?

If there wasn’t a community on HubPages, I most likely would not be an active member of the website. Upon joining, the HubPages forum encouraged me to learn about SEO and alerted me to the fact that it was indeed possible to earn money on HubPages. I don’t have as much time to spend on the forums as I’d like, but I always try to give a helping hand where possible.

I’d also like to give a few shout-outs to some hubbers that have always been really helpful and have enriched my experiences on HubPages and expanded my knowledge of online writing for profit. Just to name a few – in no particular order! Nelle Hoxie, Misha, Darkside, Eric Graudins, Relache, Whitney05, Mark Knowles, Sunforged. Thanks everyone for making my HubPages experience a fantastic (and profitable) one!

Keep up with what girly_girl09 is publishing on HubPages–become her fan!

Hubbers Helping Haiti

The worldwide response to the recent events in Haiti helped to highlight how much the everyday technology that we take for granted can have a very powerful effect on the world around us.
It was no different here at Hubpages.  The sheer number of informative hubs published immediately following the earthquake was impressive to say the least.
I want to take this opportunity to share a few examples of the incredibly informative and thoughtful content some of our Hubbers have created in order to help you help others.

How to donate and who to donate to.

Of course the big thing you need to know is which charities are the most efficient with your Dollar.
If you have not already donated, I would encourage you to check out the following hubs:

Haiti Earthquake Relief 2010: What You Can Do to Help
How can We Help Haiti ? How To Donate Some Money Through Volunteer Organizations

Avoiding Scam Charities.

In circumstances like this it is extremely important that the money you donate gets to its intended recipient.
Arm yourself with knowledge about how to sniff out a scammer with these informative hubs:
How to Avoid Schemers When Giving to Charities
How to Research Your National or International Charity: Best Suggestions and Pitfalls

For the long-run

We all know that the effort to rebuild Haiti won’t stop once the relief organizations have responded to the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. Rebuilding is going to take time and money. The following hubs are great general resources for learning more about donating and volunteering — whether in Haiti or in your community.

HubMob Weekly topic: Charities and Community Service
VolunTourism: A New Way To Give From The Heart

Of course there is a wealth of great content on HubPages regarding charity and volunteering. Check our Charity and Community Service topic page regularly for ways you can help others and boost your karma!



A short history of HubPages graphics

Over the past few years I’ve made hundreds of graphics for HubPages. Most of them have been total crap. Just real garbage. Everything in the image above has been banished from HubPages forever, and with the exception of this post, will never be seen again. We have also cycled through a number of terrible logos. I thought it would be fun to go back and look at every HubPages logo that has gone the way of the dodo.

July 2005

At this time, I was using Photoshop to create everything. Logos are something that should be made in a vector based image editing program, but of course, I was completely unaware. Also note that the text “PAGES” is horizontally stretched. That is a cardinal sin of typography I was oblivious to. I was using the typeface Arial, which is of course Microsoft’s ubiquitous knock off of Helvetica. I am ashamed of this.

August 2005

This graphic was proudly displayed on splash page. We even got some TechCrunch coverage with this thing. It’s more or less the same thing as before, rearranged in a wacky off-kilter sort of fashion. This logo just scares me.

May 2006

A variation on the above logo using the (freeware) typeface Cafeta. At this time I thought was the only legitimate purveyor of fonts, and Jay and Paul encouraged me to use the web-safe blue, in order to match their links. This is worthy of embarrassment as well.

Early July 2006

One of my first logos from Illustrator (finally a vector based program. Paul Edmondson seemed to like the idea of a sprocket as the logo. I chose the font Futura, which marks my first acceptable decision in typeface selection. The letter spacing is atrocious (look at the tightness of “ES” compared to the looseness of “PA”). The “beta”, which was inserted with HTML, is a startling shade of web-safe red, though Paul Deeds was responsible for that.

Late July 2006

Apparently the Futura was bothering someone because the logo got cropped into just the sprocket, and the text was added in with more HTML, this time set in the web-safe font Trebuchet. Someone was probably making an effort match the font used elsewhere on the site for headings at that time. The intensity of the blue was dialed back, and the red “beta” was swapped with a pink one.

October 2006

I have no idea what “SM” means. I’m sure I could ask Deeds—he’s sitting right next to me, but that’s besides the point. I don’t think the average HubPages user would know what it means, so what’s the point? Nonetheless, it lasted surprisingly long. At least light gray is a nice choice.

April 2007

When they did a major overhaul of the site design in April of 2007, another web designer added a placeholder logo that looked similar to what we have here. We switched from an HTML Trebuchet in all capitals to a image Trebuchet in upper and lower-case, set in bold, with tight letter spacing. The red, blue, and green (all with gradients), mark was inspired by the idea of a central Hub that would spin you off in myriad interesting directions. It was met with little criticism, and even served as the bases of the YieldBuild logo which was designed sometime soon after. It would be extreme to say I’m ashamed of this, but I think everyone has seen enough Trebuchet. The spaced between the base of each arrow are too tight and the colors bleed too much on the grey background.

March 2009

And finally the current version. Notice how the space between the mark and the type was minimized. I switched from gray to white type and a lighter grey background.

Looking back on all this awful work, it’s amazing to me that I didn’t just give up and start doing something else. I suppose the hope of improving has kept me interested. My bosses at HubPages have always given me freedom to make plenty of mistakes—which is a good thing. Hopefully, the site will continue to look better as time goes on, and hopefully—after this week—we’ll never change the logo again.

The Future of Content Web Sites: Content Factories and Content Communities

I was recently reading a Wired article that profiled a company called Demand Media.

The company is one of many companies that are seeking to become a “content factory”.  Their goal is to automate the production of web content that is carefully targeted to capture the most high value traffic from the search engines.  Both and, for example, are going after similar models.

Demand Media makes two boasts:  4,000 pieces of content a day and algorithm for identifying topics for authors to write about.  Peter Kafka has recently noted that Demand Media is probably more valuable than the New York Times.

How much content does it take to be considered a thriving content factory?  According to a recent profile from ReadWriteWeb, here are some numbers from the most popular content sites: 56,000,000 37,700,000 13,200,000 12,500,000 (owned by Demand Media): 4,850,000 4,740,000

I am in no way trying to imply the sites such the NY Times, Washington Post, or Wikipedia are comparable to the content factories.  I bring it up to show how rapidly the content factories are growing.  Michael Arrington has written an interesting post about how the content factories may indicate the decline of “hand-crafted content”

I write all this to compare the content factory approach with the approach that we have embraced at HubPages: what I would term the ‘content community’ approach.

Rather than a factory environment where content is owned by the host site, we provide a crowdsourced environment where the copyright stays with the author.  The author is not limited to a one-time fee for writing content but is entitled to monthly payments based on the ad revenue generated by the pages written (60% of ad revenue generated by an article goes to the author).

Can the community model compete with the factory model in terms of output?  In December 2009, hubbers produced 40,892 hubs.  That’s 1,319 hubs a day on average.  That’s after we unpublished hubs that violated our terms of use.  That number has been on the rise in recent months.  In January 2009, just for comparison, hubbers produced 17,544 hubs (or, 565 hubs a day on average).

Are HubPages hubs higher quality than the content factory articles?  It’s definitely our goal to keep raising the quality standards at HubPages.  Hubscore has gone a long way in promoting quality.  I think that we can do more.

I bring all this up because even if the content factories are starting to get lots of attention, I think that the future lies with content communities.  I believe that ultimately authors will want to retain the copyright for their best stuff.  It is always more fun and rewarding to be part of a community rather than a cog on a wheel that turns according to a master algorithm.

To be fair, eHow, which is owned by Demand Media, operates as a content community so it is quite possible that in the long run, Demand Media will move more in this direction.

Additionally, its questionable whether the content factories will be able to keep up their current search traffic levels.  John Battelle believes that Google will be working hard to put a stop on their influence.  John believes that “2010 is going to be a very interesting year.”