The Payout Chronicles: Janet21 Takes Writing Good Content Very Seriously (and it seems to be working)

A long, long time ago (on May 4th, actually) I emailed a Hubber named Janet21 after seeing her post in the forums about how for the first time she had earned over $100 from the content that she had published on HubPages. You see, HubPages isn’t the first place that she has decided to publish her content as she has tried about every possible opportunity that you could rattle off, but for some reason she had decided to stick around to really give us a good shot. Well, apparently that was a good decision considering that she made over $500 from HubPages last month alone. Yeah, a really good decision.

I decided to finally follow-through with the end of my bargain and actually interview Janet21 to see what types of tips, information and techniques she can share to help the rest of us with our HubPages efforts. So, be sure to listen up to what she has to say, I can almost guarantee that you’ll learn something that will help you become a better Hubber in the long run.

1. Janet, the first thing that I noticed about you is that you not only write and publish articles all over the place, but you are also very, very successful at each and every one of these places. Can you give us all a sense of why you have decided to spread your work over so many different sites and what the benefits/drawbacks are of creating content across a multitude of websites, blogs, etc.?
One word…diversification.  I have learned many things these last few years while working online and the most important lesson I have learned is that search engines are unpredictable.  They may like my article/page/site one day and the next day…POOF!  I’m gone.  There is also a risk when writing on websites that I do not personally own since I have no control over the future of those sites.  By diversifying my online writing across various platforms, I am decreasing the risk of my online portfolio.  The other benefit of writing on many platforms is the ability to cross-promote.  When writing within a niche as I do, cross-promoting becomes my secret traffic weapon.

The only drawback to writing on so many platforms is keeping up with them all!  You always need to be careful as to not spread yourself too thin when trying out different platforms.  Find the ones that work for you and concentrate on them.


2. You were already seeing some serious success with all of the websites you were publishing on when you decided to come over to HubPages to give us a shot. What made you migrate over to our corner of the Internet?
As I mentioned above, my quest for diversification led me to HubPages.  That and the fact that my good friend, Glen (darkside), had wonderful things to say about this place!  I trust his judgment.

3. Below I have a screen shot of your traffic to date with HubPages (you can also see her earnings over in this Hub) and it looks like after only publishing 39 Hubs in less than a year you are practically halfway to your goal of making over $1,000 a month. What do you think has been your secret to growing your traffic and earnings?

I think writing high content hubs has helped me.  And, as you say, I have only written 39 hubs in a year.  That is not a lot by anyone’s standards.  However, I put a great deal of time into each hub and I think that helps with my search engine rankings.  I also believe that writing within a niche has played a vital role in my online success.  For instance, I can write a brand new hub and link to it from another one of my high traffic pages on a related topic and the traffic will start almost immediately.


4. I know that you are practically an eBay master when it comes to making money from your Hubs. What percentage of your monthly earnings is coming from AdSense and what percentage is coming from the sales that you’re generating from eBay and/or Amazon?

It varies, but I will breakdown September’s earnings just to give you an idea.  I earned $515 from my hubs in September.  Here’s the breakdown:  40% Ebay, 32% AdSense, 25% Amazon and 3% my own affiliates.   Note:  The Amazon earnings are unusually high due to the sale of a $1,000 diamond ring on one of my hubs!

5. Can you give me your thoughts on the difference between creating Hubs that are great for eBay sales and Hubs that are more AdSense-friendly?
I honestly don’t create hubs based on that criteria, however, I am certain some of my hubs do better with AdSense than with affiliate sales and vice versa.    I would say that 99% of my hubs have both Ebay and Amazon capsules on them in addition to AdSense.  Basically, I start writing the hub and then incorporate the products that I need.  However, I never create a hub just for AdSense.  I always have some sort of product to promote.

6. If anyone went and took a look at your profile, they would quickly notice that you only publish Hubs on a very niche topic of children’s birthday parties. When and how did you first decide that this was going to be your niche and how have you managed to see so much success from the niche so quickly?
I believe that writing what you know and writing what you are passionate about is the secret to success.   I have three kids and have always had a love for planning kid’s birthday parties.  Therefore, I truly enjoy writing about this topic.  To me, it is fun.  The fact that I am earning a living doing it is just amazing.   Finding success with my niche has not been that quick really when you consider I have been doing this for close to three years now.  There is no such thing as an overnight success regardless of what some people say.   It takes a lot of hard work and determination as well as many, many late nights.

7. Your Hubs are completely original, very informative, full of images and are usually 1,000 words or more. How crucial do you think all of these various elements of Hubbing have been to your HubPages success?
I am certain that all of those elements combined are the key to my success.

Images: Most people of visual by nature, therefore, I believe that images are important to my hubs.   Bright, colorful images are eye-catching and I think it keeps visitors attention on my pages long enough for them to read what I have to say.

Word Count: As far as hub word count goes, I am not sure if that helps me or not, but I do try to make most hubs at least 800 words or more.   More words for search engines to devour is always a good thing, I think.  It also helps my hubs rank better for more long tail search phrases.

Original Content: Writing original content helps get search engines to like you and other sites to link to you, so I am sure that plays an important role in my success as well.

Informative: Informative hubs are great for sales.   I especially like when I see purchases made of items I am featuring on my instructional hubs because I know I have helped someone find the information they were looking for and they are actually using my instructions to complete their project.

8. If you would, please give us all just a few tips that you think can significantly help out any Hubber who is currently publishing on HubPages (they all thank you in advance) and a few other things that Hubbers should try to stay away from.

  • Find a niche you are passionate about and create 10, 20, 30 hubs around that niche.
  • Always include a few photos in your hubs and be sure to break up long spans of text.
  • Worry less about finding high paying keywords and more about writing about what you love.
  • Be patient and don’t be discouraged if your earnings are slow to come.  Everyone has to start somewhere.
  • Quality over quantity.  Slow and steady wins the race.
  • Be sure to include your keywords throughout your hub, but don’t overdo it.
  • Make your hubs visually appealing and be sure to line up the capsules nicely.  Try to avoid any large gaps between capsules.
  • You don’t have to depend on AdSense for all of your earnings.  Add Amazon and Ebay capsules onto your hubs whenever possible.  (I realize some hubbers are having trouble being accepted into EPN, but if you do have an account, use it!)
  • When adding Ebay auctions, try to find items that are unique, custom, handmade, personalized, hard to find, rare, etc.  Find and promote items that can only be found on Ebay.

Janet — thanks so much for your time and I believe that I speak for all of us Hubbers when I also say thanks for all of the great information. You have not only been able to find your own way to earn on HubPages, but you’ve also figured out how to earn on HubPages in a fun and enjoyable way. Now that is what I would call a HubPages success.

Half a Million Published Hubs!

Today HubPages crossed the milestone of 500,000 hubs.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was talking about the 200,000 hub milestone.  But what a difference, a year makes.  Back then, we were getting 8 million unique visitors a month.  Today, we are getting over 14 million.

The 500,000th hub in case you were wondering was Do I have a Cold, Flu, or H1N1 by one2recognize2.

So, who created the other 499,999 hubs?

Over 751,000 people have signed up for HubPages.  As you may have figured out, many of those who signed up haven’t yet written a hub.  That’s pretty normal for an active web site.  In fact, most of those 751,000 are still holding off on their first hub.  Only 97,848 people have published hubs.

This suggests that the average active user on HubPages publishes roughly 5 hubs.  But I would suggest holding off on that judgment.  Averages can be misleading.

stendek, the most prolific hubber at present, has published 3,482 hubs.  If you look at the hubbers who have obtained a hub score of 100, the most prolific is Patty Inglish, MS with 953 published hubs.   If you look at authors by the number of fans, the author with the most fans is Maddie Ruud with 2,504 fans and 219 hubs.

There are 6 authors who have published more than 1000 hubs.  There are 34 who have published more than 500 and 461 who have published more than 100.

These folks are tilting the scales.  That’s why the average is as high as 5 hubs.

There are over 54,000 hubbers that have only written 1 hub and over 82,000 that have written 5 or less.  That means that over 350,000 of the 500,000 hubs were published by only 15% of the total published authors.  If you’ve written more than 5 hubs, then you are part of this select group.

You might be suprised that so few are responsible for so many of the hubs but this is a typical pattern on the web.  It’s known as the Power Law or the 80-20 rule.  It means roughly that the second most productive person usually does about 1/2 as much as the most producive person, the third most productive usually does about 1/3 as much, and so on.  If you are interested, the power law has been well described by Clay Shirky.

To our published authors, thanks for all your hard work!  HubPages is growing rapidly.  If we keep the quality up, then the traffic and readership will surely follow.  Great job!

Hubpages: 13.3 million visitors looking at 416,000 hubs!

Today’s blog is an update from a previous blog.  Back then (8 months ago), we had 8 million visitors and 200,000 hubs and I wondered if the ratio of 40 unique visitors per hub would last.  It didn’t.  Our current ratio is 32 unique visitors per hub.

Writing a blog or a hub is a lot like fishing.  The bait (hopefully) is the quality content of your site.  Your best chance of finding a nice fishing hole comes from finding a place with the most fish in relation to the least fishermen.  This in essence is the justification for analyzing web sites by their ratio of unique visitors to content.

Let’s look at some popular web sites to see how their ratio compares with HubPages.  WordPress has a total of 115M blog posts published and gets 189.7M unique visitors each month so it’s ratio of about 2  Squidoo has nearly 900,00 lenses and gets 10.4M unique visitors.  Rounding up, that’s almost a ratio of 12.  Associated Content says that they have more than 1.4M published articles and gets 21.6 monthly unique visitors.  That’s a ratio of 15.4.  So, based on these sites, I think that a ratio of 32 is pretty good.

Let’s look at the rate of growth of our visitors over the last year:

It is interesting that one year ago, HubPages had roughly 7.1 million unique visitors worldwide.  Now, we have the same amount in the US.  If we were to repeat that trend, then by next year, we would have 13.3M visitors in the US which would make us (using the current numbers from Quantcast), the 48th most popular web site in the US (we are currently #123).

If we look at a graph of our content creation before we hit our 400,000 hubs milestone, we see the following:

Not surprisingly, this graph shows that the rate of growth of total hubs published outstripped the rate of growth of the visitors.

Will current trends continue over the next year?  Will HubPages become a top 100 destination in the US?  Will it become a top 200 destination world wide?  We at HubPages hope that this is the case.

For those interested in tracking the current number of hubs on HubPages, we now have a page with the current stats.

Oh My Goodness — HubPages Reaches The 400,000 Hub Mark!

You know, there’s really nothing like some good news to get your day moving in the right direction. Well, a couple of days ago my day was definitely kicked off the right way after Larry sent out an email to the entire HubPages team that let us all know that we had just hit a HUGE HubPages milestone — we had officially broken through the 400,000 Hub mark. Of course, after I read Larry’s email I had to go and see for myself over on the HubPages stats page and when I caught my first glimpse at our overall stats I quickly realized that he wasn’t kidding — we had really hit 400,000 Hubs (and growing)!

I guess that I wasn’t that surprised that we had hit the milestone (I knew it was just a matter of time), but I was pretty surprised that we had hit it so quickly. As you can see in the stats below, the overall Hub production on HubPages has really been gaining momentum over the past year or so:

  • First Hub was published on June 28th, 2006
  • 100,000th Hub was published on April 23rd, 2008 (20 months later)
  • 200,000th Hub was published on October 30th, 2008 (8 months later)
  • 300,000th Hub was published on April 23rd, 2009 (5 months later)
  • 400,000th Hub was published on  July 14th, 2009 (2.5 months later)

It’s pretty easy to see that the amount of Hubs that are being published are growing at an exponential rate, which is obviously due to the fact that we have the most awesome Hubbers, ever and that we’ve all started to get the HubPages name out there a bit. It’s great to see the growth and it’s great to see that we’re doing it all by helping our Hubbers publish content and make some cash.

Keep up the great work, everyone and if you have a guess for when we’ll hit the 500,000 Hub mark (we’re at 402,237 now), leave it in the comments! I’m going to say that we’ll hit it in 2 months even — right around the middle of September. What do you think?

Grow, HubPages Grow! A Quick Thanks To All Of You Awesome Hubbers Out There

I wanted to give a quick, but HUGE thanks to all of you awesome Hubbers out there who have helped us continue to grow of the past several months. With your help and your amazing content, we’ve seen some incredible growth even when it seems that many other sites are beginning to slow down.

If you’d like to see the type of growth that I’m talking about, check out Paul Edmondson’s latest Hub or check out the graph below. As you’ll see, the HubPages train is chugging along and we’re happy that you’re all on board!

HubPages Earning Methods And Revenue Splits, Explained

For some reason that I’m not really aware of, I’ve been getting a lot more emails from new Hubbers than I have in the past. Although it tends to take up some of my time during the day to answer each one of them, I actually really enjoy helping out newbies when they take the time to reach out to me for help. Although we’re still a small team, one thing that we each pride ourselves in and put a lot of emphasis on is supporting our Hubbers as much as we can. So, whether it’s via email (team@hubpages.com), posting in the Forums or stopping by our office in San Francisco (yes, we’ve had a few of those), our goal is to answer each and every (legitimate) question that we get.

One of the more common questions that I get all the time is ‘How exactly do I make money from HubPages?‘ and many also ask ‘How do I get paid from HubPages?‘. So, today I thought that I would take some time to answer these questions, which are fairly similar, by posting it here in our blog for all to see. We’re very open and transparent about how our writers generate earnings by writing on HubPages, so it’s no secret, but it still seems that many people still ask the question, so we must not be making it quite apparent enough.

Maybe we should invest in a blinking neon sign or something? I’m hoping that we don’t need to go to that extreme and this will do the trick — here goes nothing (now pay attention!).

What Generates The Money and When Do I Get Paid?
One of the first things that most people aren’t quite clear on is how money and earnings are actually generated on HubPages and when they could potentially get paid. I think that there are so many ‘get rich quick’ schemes out there that either many people are really skeptical about being able to legitimately make money on the web or they just don’t feel like reading too deep into our site to find out for themselves. Either way, here is a super-simple explanation of the various methods and tools that generate real money here on HubPages and how/when they can actually get you paid:

  1. Google Adsense: Google Adsense, Google’s contextual online advertising product, is the number one way that Google makes it’s billions of dollars and we give you a way to tap into some of those earnings by adding it to your published Hubs. This is by far our Hubbers top money-maker and is added by simply creating an AdSense account and entering in your AdSense ID in to HubPages. As you begin to attract traffic to your Hubs, 60% of the impressions will show your AdSense ID and 40% of the impressions will show the HubPages AdSense ID. This creates a 60/40 revenue split in your favor, so when you begin to get clicks on your ads and once you earn your first $100, Google will send you a nice, shiny check (we call this a ‘payout’). The ads that are displayed will be relevant to the topic that you wrote about in your Hub and depending on the ad, a click can be worth anywhere from $.10 to over $10. The amount of time it takes to reach the your first $100 payout varies depending on how much you write and the quality of your Hubs, but it can be as little as a couple months to as much as over a year. Like I said, AdSense is by far our highest earner — you can read about some of our Hubbers and their stories of getting their payouts over in The Payout Chronicles. We have a few Hubbers who currently earn over $1000/month thanks to AdSense, so the potential is definitely there with this option.
  2. Kontera (please note that HubPages does NOT support Kontera as of June 2011): Kontera is another type of contextual advertising that uses relevant in-text links to help you earn. Just like Google AdSense, all you need to do is join the Kontera network and tell HubPages that you want Kontera to be activated on your Hubs. You can activate Kontera on all your Hubs or specific, individual Hubs depending on where you’d like to have it implemented. The links are shown on various keywords within your Hub and as your Hubs begin to attract traffic your Kontera ID will show 60% of the time and the HubPages ID will show 40% of the time. As you begin to get clicks, you will receive the Kontera revenue whenever your ID is shown and once your cumulative earnings hit $100 you will get your Kontera payout. Also, you must at least reach $5 each month for it to roll over to the next, which is why we only recommend Kontera to our Hubbers with higher levels of traffic.
  3. eBay: Similar to the previous 2 methods of earning on HubPages, you are given the option to join another network, but this time around it’s not for advertising — it’s for the eBay Affiliates Network. If you have promo codes blog then it gives additional value for your viewers. What this allows you to do is add relevant eBay products directly into your Hub, which means that if someone buys from your Hub you’ll receive a commission payment. The products are added to your Hub via the eBay Revenue Capsule and just as with the previous 2 advertising methods, as you begin attracting traffic your eBay Affiliate ID will be shown 60% of the time and the HubPages Affiliate ID will show for the other 40%. If a product is purchased while your eBay Affiliate is showing, then you will receive the entire commission for completing the sale (which is usually around 10% of the purchase price). The eBay Affiliates Network does not have a payout limit, so whatever you earn each month will be paid out to you the next month. If you’d like to hear an interesting story about making money with the eBay Affiliates Program, read this blog post about how Jimmy made $126.00 after selling a Rolex from a Hub that he published just 36 hours before.
  4. Amazon: In an almost identical setup to the eBay Affiliates Network, HubPages also allows you to join the Amazon Associates Program. By joining the Amazon Associate Program you can earn additional commissions from any sales that are generated through your Hubs via the Amazon Revenue Capsule. The Amazon Revenue Capsule can be inserted into any Hub that you publish and it allows relevant Amazon products to be displayed for sale directly from within your HubPages content. As your Hubs begin to attract traffic, your Amazon Associate ID will be shown 60% of the time and the HubPages Associates ID will show the other 40%. Just as with the eBay Affiliates Network, if a product is purchased while your Amazon Associate ID is showing, then you will be credited with the sale and will receive a commissions paytment. The Amazon Associates Program does not have a payout limit, so whatever you earn each month will be paid out to you the next month.

So, those are the 4 most common ways that you can make money on HubPages and hopefully I’ve done a good enough job of explaining them. Like I said, we’re very open and transparent with how all of this works and our goal is always to make HubPages the best place for you to write and earn money online. If you happen to have some suggestions on how we can make some things better, please feel free to leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can about it.