Topic Pages, HubNuggets, About Us, and Forum Styling Get a Makeover

After redesigning the Hub and Profile pages, the hard working team at HubPages Headquarters has turned their focus to Topics and special programs, hence today we are excited to roll out new designs for Topic Pages and HubNuggets Program, as well as an updated About page and some improved Forum styling.

Topic Pages

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.06.52 AMTopic pages have been given a sleek fresh styling by Derek Gulbranson that has been expertly implemented by Edward Zhang. Though most of the elements present on the pages remain the same, the page now has a greater emphasis on images, as well as a more tangible feel (see, for example, the shading that makes these pages look like open books).

As Gulbranson puts it, “I wanted to bring richer browse experience for articles, full titles and descriptions and larger photos, more of a magazine feel. Less focus on the navigation and topic hierarchy and more of a place to explore and find something you’re interested in. We also wanted to highlight the community more and give the sense that stuff is happening here.”

In short, our main objectives with this update were to:

  1. Create a great browsing experience for Hubbers and casual visitors alike
  2. Better showcase our community and make it easier to both discover great content and connect with the authors who created it
  3. Create pages that are better designed to drive traffic from search engines to your Hubs

HubNuggets: Now Rising Stars

Because HubNuggets voting takes place on Topic Pages, we took the Topic Page redesign as an opportunity to update the HubNuggets program as well so that it can be easier to interact with and more clear to those who are not yet familiar with the more esoteric ins and outs of the high power HubPages community.

This design update includes a new voting interface on Topic Pages (also designed by the Venerable Gulbranson), as well as some logistical changes (voting will no longer also take place in a roundup Hub).

Finally, to make the program more clear, we are changing its name from HubNuggets (which, while meant to evoke the sense of discovering nuggets of gold on HubPages, often evoked mental images of chicken nuggets) to the Rising Star program. Hence “HubNuggets Wannabes” will henceforth be known as “Rising Star Candidates” and HubNuggets winners will be known as Rising Stars. You can learn more about the new program in the Learning Center.

About Page & Forum Styling

In addition to significant stylistic changes with Topic Pages and the HubNuggets Program, you’ll also see that our About page now offers more of an explanation of what HubPages actually is (before, it focused primarily on staff bios) and also has a much more visually-oriented presentation.

Derek has also applied some more polished styling to forum posts by giving them a gradient and a drop shadow as well as making them a bit easier to expand and collapse.

 

We hope you’re pleased with these changes! Let us know what you think. 🙂

Patty Inglish, MS on the HubPages Ad Program and Building an Online Presence

Ever the prolific and active Hubber, Patty Inglish, MS is always on the cutting edge of special HubPages efforts. As one of the HubNuggets team, she is involved with curating great Hubs by promising new Hubbers, and knows a good online article when she sees it.  Beyond that, Patty has an amazing background in Preventative Medicine, Russian, Psychology, Math, Asian Studies, the Sciences, and Martial Arts. In other words, this Hubber knows what she’s doing!

In January of this year, Patty Inglish, MS joined on as one of the HubPages Ad Program beta testers. Now that the program has rolled out to 500 Hubbers and shall be available to more soon, we took some time to sit down with Patty and hear her thoughts on the program, as well as the recent Google algorithm changes.

Read the interview below to learn more about the new HubPages Ad Program- and to get some great Hubbing advice as well!

HubPages: First off, could you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I just celebrated my 4th Year Anniversary with HubPages and received an updated Accolade Badge on my profile. It’s been an educational and profitable experience. While some are worried about the Google content-farm incidents, I am able to make a living by writing for HubPages.

My education includes the MS in preventive medicine, a BA in psychology second major in Russian, and minors in mathematics, sciences, and Asian studies. All of these have helped me in the health and medical research, as well as psychological and vocational testing and interpretation, and new instrument production. I am also a film, literary, and music critic; and have continued writing in Business and Employment, city reviews, employment trends, and resumes and portfolios. All of the above are topics about which I write on HubPages. I have ranked in five martial arts at 9th dan grandmaster over the course of 29 years and am a consultant to International groups. My purpose in teaching martial arts is to relieve physical ailments and improve mental and physical health and personal accomplishments. This has included avoiding surgery and discarding wheelchairs. I am concerned with using my complete background in guiding people to find their individual vocational callings and to stay well while they work into more advanced ages in the future. Fun should also be part of all of this.

How did you get started on HubPages? And what are your favorite things to write about?

I was looking for additional work in 2006. My nonprofit employer had reached the end of its federal job training funds that expired under the Clinton Administration. Our nonprofit employment and training offices closed in late 2005, but during 2004, salaries were cut by 20% and more, so I took some freelance writing assignments. However, several Internet sites for which I wrote could not stay afloat financially and failed. Two never paid at all. A great looking online magazine went out of business. The article sites were all very plain, with no illustrations, very few ads, no forums, and no sales affiliates, all of which make HubPages more successful. HubPages looks active, alive, and growing, because it is.

Since you got started with the HubPages Ad Program as a beta tester in January, have you seen any change in your earnings?

Indeed I have. My earnings of (AdSense + HubPages Ads) equal 150% of my former income from AdSense alone. My page views have decreased a bit during the last week or so, but income is rising, especially with HubPages Ads, which are surpassing AdSense earnings for me. I recommend that Hubbers sign up.

For those Hubbers who are excited about signing up for the program soon, what advice do you have? What sorts of things can they do in advance to prepare themselves?

I’d advise HubPages writers to write the most original content they can muster – and this includes fresh, new takes on older information. Use the HubPages capsules of Google Maps, Tables, Photos, and RSS feeds. The last one is particularly good for pointing readers to more of your Hubs. Importantly, don’t add to clichés and today’s myths and spam circulated by email (new wives’ tales?), but write about what you know and apply it in a way that is different and may solve a problem or provide a new service. Watch out for Wikipedia information, because it is often copied directly from somewhere else and may not be completely accurate. I never link to it. Even with references, the references may be interpreted off kilter there. Use the references and do your own interpretation. Wikimedia Commons is a good place for public domain images – I myself found only one in 4 years that was actually copyrighted material. Take your own photos, too.

Could you offer any general advice on building an online presence?

Be determined to write consistently about a few of your favorite topics and do so with integrity and good humor. Read others’ work and note which styles and content are most successful. Enter the 30 Hubs in 30 Days Challenge and publish a new Hub every day for several weeks. However completing 20 Hubs in a month a great start and the people in that challenge forum will encourage you. Do not be dissuaded from writing by bullies that leave nasty comments in your Hub threads or by spammers selling something with a link there – shoes to call girls. When the famous author Lilian Jackson Braun, who worked in the press and published books from ages 17 to 95 or so, became a reporter and editor for the Detroit Free Press, she was told that people would write in with attacks on her personally and on her work, every day. They did and she survived, aged 98 today, but finally retired.

Make friends and participate in the Forums, but don’t be distracted by the occasional argument. Do spend more time participating in the special programs on HubPages. As a new writer, your Hubs will already experience more traffic as part of HubPages Community than if you were publishing alone and many of the programs give you the support and influence of an additional group. HubMob, HubTrails, 30 Hubs in 30 Days, HubPages Top Of the Class, and other HubPages Contests all work very well to increase your traffic. Read through the Learning Center and find all the programs.

Do some social networking as well – I use Facebook, Twitter, Twaitter, William Shatner’s MyOuterSpace, and a few others listed on my profile. Many Hubbers have written about their social network choices. Use the HubPages search box at the top of the page and enter “social networking”, read, enjoy, and make some choices.

Answer Hub Questions as well. The more you can answer with solid information and sincere opinions, the larger your presence will be. Skip the nonsense questions and those that are stale because appear everywhere on the Internet. Think of some good, fresh questions to ask as well.

Use the Help Forums – Need Help? – Ask Here and Report a Problem or Suggest a New Feature and check out all the rest, as time permits. I am the longest tenured roundup writer in the HubNuggets Wannabes Program and we post a new roundup Hub of writing by good writers every Friday. There’s no official entry and eligible Hubs are gathered by computer – just write your best work in each Hub you produce when you join and as a new Hubber, you may be chosen one week (visit the Learning Center and see the great video for us). Good writing and good Hubs stand out. So, I send you best wishes for your success!

[Thanks, Patty Inglish, MS!]

HubPages’ Special Programs

As I am settling into the HubPages community, I find myself floored by its amazing special programs!

First I became acquainted with HubNuggets, which not only involves insanely hilarious weekly hubs but also fun voting and a chance for new Hubbers to step up and strut their stuff.  Then I discovered HubMob, helping Hubbers bust through writer’s block with new and exciting themes every week.  Next I came to meet the site’s wonderful HubGreeters, who make HubPages feel like a real, neighborly community, doing the online equivalent of bringing warm apple pie to new families on the block.

HubTrails blew my mind with the extent to which it has already mapped the world, and the HubChallengers out there inspire me in my own efforts to write and publish regularly. Continue reading