HubPages Turns Six: We’ve Come a Long Way

This Sunday was HubPages’ sixth birthday. You might think that six years is not a very long time, but HubPages has made immense leaps and bounds over that short period.

Don’t believe me? Why not take a look at HubPages’ web design over the years, courtesy of the Wayback Machine?

Here’s a shot of us in 2005, before the site even launched:

 

Yikes!

And here we are in 2006, during our beta phase. Notice some familiar names?

 

In 2007, we got a new logo and a slightly more streamlined look. Better, but…. not great.

 

In 2009, we upped the gray portion… a lot!

 

Things got MUCH better in 2010.

 

But you’ve got to admit, our site looks even better now!

It is impressive how far we have come- and we’re only just getting warmed up! With our new Hub and Profile designs, HubPages is looking better and better, and the site will look even spiffier after we re-design our Topic Pages.

Though a great marker of progress on HubPages, appearance is but a peripheral element of our site- the key to HubPages is and always has been the fantastic Hubs you publish- and your work has been vastly improving as well! The mind-blowing evolution of Hubs, of course, is a different and much bigger story- one that we shall share another time.

Let us simply say this: Happy birthday to HubPages, and here’s to many more years of continued positive progress.

New Profile Design on Staff Pages

The new profile page design we previewed back in May can now be seen on HubPages Staff Profiles. Here is a quick look:

Simone Smith's profile

As you can see, there are some new additions to the new profile design we originally displayed. Along with some slightly different styles and colors, you’ll notice that the profile has a cool background. Indeed, you will be able to choose one of several fun backgrounds for your HubPages profile- or upload an image to create a nifty background of your own.

You will also notice that a collection of Featured Hubs lies at the center of the profile. These are Hubs that you can hand-select and switch out at will. This section of the new profile design is a great place for you to showcase your best work, especially if you use your profile as a portfolio to present to friends, family, and potential clients.

You will soon be given the option to transition your existing profile to the new design. As with questions on subdomain, the transition will be opt-in only for several weeks, after which the change will be rolled out site wide. In preparation for access to this nifty new profile, be sure to queue up links to your social media profiles, update your bio, select some Hubs you might like to feature, and consider which sort of background you might like to use or upload!

To see the new profile in action across different profiles and styles, check out the following Hubbers on the HubPages team:

We can’t wait to see what you do with the new format!

A New Profile Design

We have been keeping you updated on various tests with new Hub designs, but Hubs aren’t the only parts of HubPages that are getting new looks. In addition to refining Hub designs, Micki Seibel has been working for several weeks on creating a new and improved Profile Page.

The product of her work is something significantly more professional, functional, polished, and refined! Check it out:

Curious about the changes? We’ll walk you through the Profile Page’s updates and new features.

More Author Prominence
One of our primary objectives with the new design is to give Hubbers and their personal brands more prominence. This is why we moved Hubbers’ names and profile images to the top left of the page in a bold header that extends across the entire width of the Profile.

Additional Identity
You’ll notice that below Maddie Ruud’s real name is listed below HubPages username (and special status). We know that not all of you are able to choose your real name as your username on HubPages, so we’re giving you the option to share your real name on your profile page, just as you can on Twitter.
If you prefer to write under a pen name or just use your witty online handle, you are free to leave this section of your profile blank. That said, showing your real name can add professional polish to your online profile and demonstrates that there is a real, passionate writer behind your wonderful Hubs.

Social Media Connections
To transform Profile Pages into functional online portfolios, we are adding the ability to list links to a personal website and external social media accounts at the top of the page. This will make it easier for your readers and followers to find you on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, as well as your own personal website.
Maintaining an active presence across multiple platforms plays an important role in online success, so we encourage Hubbers to connect your HubPages profile with as many sites as they please!

A Streamlined Bio
The bio is one of the most important aspects of one’s Profile, so we’re leaving it front and center. That said, we also want these pages to adequately showcase Hubbers’ wonderful work, so to save real estate we are truncating Hubber bios after a certain number of words. These bios will not be cut off; visitors can continue to read them in an overlay should they please.

Are you concerned about the lack of bio space? Don’t be! When Hubbers have long bios, they typically fill them with two things:

  1. Links to external sites: These are now featured in their own dedicated section at the top of the page, so they need not be reiterated here.
  2. Links to Hubs one wants to feature: Under the My Content section of your Profile, which will display by default in what is now the blank section of the image we’ve shared, you will be able to select several Hubs to feature in a carousel.

Because we now offer these more attractive linking alternatives and encourage Hubbers to keep the bio strictly bio-focused, we are additionally disabling links in this section of the page.

Similar Hubbers
To help you both discover and be discovered on HubPages, we are showcasing similar Hubbers on each Hubber’s Profile. This feature will help fans of your work find more Hubbers like you and this will also promote your own Profile on others’ pages.

More Functional Use of Space
There is so much interesting information about Hubbers that it would be impossible to display it all at once on one page. We’re addressing this problem by offering a dynamic center of the page that displays your content by default, but can also display Hubtivity, Hubbers you follow and who follow you, Fan Mail, and recent images you have posted.

My Content
This is the section of your Profile where your Hubs and Videos will be featured. At the top, you have the option to display a specially curated collection of your best work.

Hubtivity
Currently, Hubtivity (which displays status updates, comments, Hubs published, Questions asked and answered, etc.) is displayed on your Profile below your Hubs. Almost nobody gets that far along in your profile to actually view it (there are too many interesting Hubs to look at along the way!), so we’re giving this stream of activity its own section.

Following
Hubbers do much more on HubPages than simply publish Hubs. We’re a supportive community of writers who enjoy, comment on, and discover each other’s work. The Hubbers we follow do much to reveal our involvement with the HubPages community, and can also help our own followers discover new writers, so we’re making the Hubbers you follow easier to see.

Followers
On HubPages, followers are earned, and you should be proud of the Hubbers who have decided to get regular updates on your work! With this section of your profile, you can display them proudly.

Fan Mail
On LinkedIn, professionals display endorsements from present and past colleagues. Kind words from earnest Hubbers are well worth displaying, so we’re giving Fan Mail a dedicated section (instead of a truncated summary that leads to a separate page listing followers and Fan Mail). It is also to this section that we are moving the “Contact [Username]” option through which Hubbers can email you directly.

Recent Images
Good images are a big deal on HubPages, and play a huge role in a Hub’s success. We’ll be featuring images that you have recently published in Hubs in this new section of your Profile to give your cool photos, illustrations, charts, and graphs the attention they deserve. These images will include a link to their location on HubPages, as well as your source, URL, and caption, so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues if you use Creative Commons images.

All in all, we have done our best to make your profile page work for you as a Hubber, writer, and creative individual. We hope you like it!

 

 

Testing a New Hub Design on Technology Hubs

A couple weeks back, we rolled out a new Hub design on Fashion and Beauty Hubs and have been monitoring its performance while making small tweaks. Before we settle on a new site-wide Hub design, we have decided to test out another new Hub design that adopts a radically different approach.

The new Hub design that we are rolling out as a test on Hubs within the Technology Topic is a clear departure from the Fashion and Beauty design. In this case, we have stripped away all but the most essential features on the page, leaving the look as streamlined as possible. This is done in an effort to reduce the time it takes for the page to load, eliminate distractions, and allow the content of the Hub itself to truly shine.

While we have removed all unnecessary components from this experimental design, we have also made some attempts to make the page more attractive. Notice the new background, which has been given a tech-related treatment. Should this new look be adopted site-wide, each Topic on HubPages would have its own distinctive but subtle background image.

As we experiment with this new design, we will slowly add back elements to the page to see what mixture of features leads to optimal performance. Because there are fewer ads in this initial test, you may see a slight drop in the ad revenue you earn from your Technology Hubs. Then again, you may see an increase in earnings as fewer distractions may lead to higher clickthrough rates. Keep in mind that this is a test, and that in the end, we will settle on whatever design leads to the best user experience- both for readers and Hubbers.

Big thanks to MickiS for championing this test, props to Fawntia for quickly executing the change, and a hearty hat tip to Amy Liu, who created the new Hub’s design!

Heads Up! New Header!

Today we’ll be updating the header on HubPages. This old design:

Will be swapped out for this spiffy new look:

We decided to make this change in an effort streamline our header’s design and leave more room on reader’s screens for your fabulous Hubs.

Our update makes the HubPages header more similar to those on sites like Facebook and Twitter. To navigate to Topics, Hubs, Answers, and Forums, just mouse over the “explore” section. Quick links to sign out or access My Account, My Profile, the HubPages FAQ, and our Learning Center, can be found by mousing over your username.

This new header will appear on the site later today, and is part of a series of design updates we’ll be rolling out in the coming months.

We hope you like it!

 

New HubPages Site Design – Give Us Your Feedback!

As we mentioned in a previous post, the site widening that is about to take place is the first step in a more involved redesign of HubPages.com.

James Edmondson has been working on this redesign for some time now, and we’d love to give you a sneak peek at the new look.  Have a look at the work-in-progress designs for Hubs and profile pages below- and let us know what you think!  We’d love to hear what you have to say – and we hope to roll out some of these new designs soon!

The new Hub layout:

As you may have noticed, there is a small box to the left side of the Hub that contains quick links to share the Hub on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  This box will move along with you as you scroll.

You may also notice that the sidebar has been simplified, and that there are five related Hubs shared at the bottom of the page.  And of course, there’s also the new top and bottom navigation bars- the top navigation bar has been significantly streamlined, and the bottom navigation bar has been organized slightly differently.

The new profile layout:

One of the more exciting elements of this updated take on the profile page is that it contains a carousel that does a much better showcasing your favorite Hubs than the current listings do.  Much of the page has been simplified and Hubs and your feed have been separated by a tab. James sought to give your profile page a more editorial feel with this design update, which offers more previews of the Hubs listed in the center of the page, which makes them more alluring then they appear with the current, more listing-centric design.

You  may also notice that the bio has moved from the center of the page to the top right corner, and only a short snippet appears. When you click the “read more” link on someone’s bio, the full text will appear in a lightbox, complete with social media (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) links so that your followers may know where to find you elsewhere online.

You can see the full-sized images by clicking on them. We look forward to reading your feedback!

Heads Up! We’re Going Wide!

In a couple of days, we’ll be rolling out the first in a series of design updates on HubPages by widening the site.  The width of all our pages will increase by 120 pixels- from 850 to 970 pixels.

We're getting a teensy bit wider!

We're getting a teensy bit wider!

One of the reasons we’re making this change is to accomodate premium, high-impact ads that typically have high CPMs (which means more income for you as a writer).  You will first be able to see an example of these  ads in the plumbing category when the Clogs to Coins contest starts.

Another reason why we’re implementing this change is we’re going to be giving Hubs, profile pages, and some other aesthetic aspects of the site some design updates.  We’ll be sharing some of the preliminary designs for these updates to get your feedback next week, so keep an eye out for them!

I’m really excited about the changes we’re making. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Updated Hub Layout

Unused boxes

We are in the process of implementing an update that will remove the questions and forums boxes from Hubs to give them a cleaner, less cluttered interface.  The Q&A and Forums sections of the site will, of course, remain unchanged.

One of the most interesting things about design is that the elements that are left out are just as important as the elements left in.  A great example of this concept is demonstrated through the ma seen in traditional Japanese aesthetics- which is very present in some of the best design around- Apple products, for example.

For this reason, the HubPages team has been very careful to keep the site as streamlined as possible- removing any elements that are more distracting than functional.  After analyzing some of the features that show up on the right-side of Hubs, we found that several of them were not being used by a vast majority of visitors.  So we are removing the questions and forum boxes from Hubs to provide a more engaging and enjoyable experience for visitors to your Hubs. If the Hub is an Answer to a Question, then other Hubs answering the Question will still be listed.

The updated Hub layout rolls out today.  We hope you like it!