How to Write Successful Online Reviews

Online Writing InsiderBecause we offer a special new capsule in the HubTool that augments reviews on HubPages with star ratings (which can feature either an author’s rating or readers’ ratings), you may be thinking about publishing some review Hubs. Before you proceed, keep in mind that it is not necessarily easy for online reviews to succeed. Reviews are a very competitive type of online content. Many sites have established clear dominance over specific review types and it can be very difficult to outrank these established experts. That said, there are quite a few simple things you can do to work around these barriers and create better, smarter, more successful resources. In this week’s Online Writing Insider (How to Write a Successful Online Review), we share some tips on doing just that. We hope you find them to be helpful!

General Review Tips:

  • Write reviews on products, places, and services that are not already extensively reviewed online.
  • Only write reviews on products, places, and services that you have experienced firsthand- be genuine!
  • Make sure the words you use in your review reflect the words people would search for when looking for information on this product, place, or service.
  • Make it on a collection of things and write a more thorough review on the best product.
  • Write the review from the perspective of an audience that is potentially interested (e.g. mothers, students, whoever you are).
  • Do competitive research before: see what reviews already exist.

Product Review Tips:

  • Include as many original photos as possible.
  • Add a specific slant to your review (e.g. Can the X Phone Survive a Mother of 3? An Honest Review).

Place Review Tip:

  • Instead of making your review just about a place (high competition) address the type of place (e.g. dog friendly restaurants).

Service Review Tip:

  • Make your review for the service as specific as possible – if it is part of a chain, be sure to specify which local area in you received this service.

Are there any other article types you would like some tips on writing? Tell us about them! Send us suggestions, questions, and feedback in an email to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com. We hope to hear from you!

Video vs. Online Articles

For about one week now, all Hubbers have had the ability to publish Videos in addition to regular online articles. We have already seen a litany of great Videos published on HubPages addressing everything from travel to recipes, but many writing-centric Hubbers are still a bit dubious about the new format.

What advantages does online video have over traditional multimedia articles? We cover the top perks in this special bonus edition of the Online Writing Insider (Video vs Online Articles). The gist is this: in addition to being an additional source of revenue, online videos are often more attractive to searchers, they are highly engaging formats, and they can help you as an author cater to different learning styles.

We hope you enjoy the new feature on our site, and have a go at branching out into one of the Internet’s most popular and quickly growing formats!

Do you have any online writing or video issues that you would like some help with? Tell us about it! Our email address is podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com, and we’re always looking for new subjects to address in these podcasts, so send suggestions our way!

How to Effectively Update Your Hubs

Did you know that online articles should be updated from time to time? Aside from the obvious benefits that come with revisiting and improving one’s older work (which include catching old typos, updating outdated information, and adding new, relevant information), you may be surprised to learn that Google pays attention to the last time an online article was updated and may adjust its position in search results accordingly.

In this week’s Online Writing Insider (How to Effectively Update Online Articles) we share a 12-step process that can help you increase the effectiveness with which you update Hubs as well as other online posts and pages. The steps are as follows:

  1. Analyze keyword data on your Hub
  2. Add new content to your Hub
  3. Add original (or at least legally used) and high quality photos
  4. Add at least one poll, table, map, or other rich, relevant feature
  5. Remove broken links
  6. Make sure that your Hub adequately addresses what is proposed by its title
  7. Analyze view duration on your Hub
  8. Reduce the number of Amazon or eBay products (if any) that are featured
  9. Moderate your comments and place the most recent comments at the top
  10. Make sure your Hub has an original summary
  11. Make sure your Hub has attractive, readable formatting
  12. Know when to delete a Hub that is unredeemable


You can find detailed written explanation of each step in our Learning Center entry on updating Hubs to improve traffic to your work. We hope you find our tips to be useful!

Are there some other online writing tips you’d like us to share with you in podcast form? Tell us about them! Send all feedback, suggestions, and requests to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.

How to Make the Most of HubPages

Over on our Facebook page, Kenneth Crawford suggested that we give some advice on getting more “bang” from writing on HubPages. Seeing how vast our site is, this is a fabulous subject! On a basic level, you can get more bang from your Hubs by writing on search-friendly topics and putting together high quality articles, but on a more elaborate level, you can get not only readership and earnings, but also a writing resources, helpful guides, detailed feedback, free inspiration, and quick help on HubPages.

In this week’s podcast (How to Make the Most of HubPages), we delve into the many different helpful nooks and crannies of HubPages, and discuss how you can get as much as possible from the site. You’ll quickly discover that we’re much more than just a publishing platform or convenient source of supplementary income.

What are your favorite lesser-known HubPages features? We’d be most curious to know. We’d also love to know what you think we should cover in future Online Writing Insider podcasts, so send your thoughts, feedback, suggestions, and requests in an email to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.

Thanks for this week’s theme, Kenneth!

A Practical Look at Making Money as an Online Writer

Yesterday we asked followers of our Facebook page for suggestions on future Online Writing Insider topics. One excellent recommendation came from James Peterson:

There have been a myriad of advice (good and bad) as to the economic benefits of writing articles for Hub Pages. Some will say they’ve done well and some have not made a dime no matter how hard they try. The economic benefits of writing for HubPages is part of the selling platform to draw writers. Since this is the case, let us see some reality as to realistic support in this area. Many writers are in it for the money. Some could use it. If it is going to be a selling point, then support it.

Many people enter the realm of online writing thinking that they’ll get rich quick. Others are unsure of which avenue they should take- whether they should create their own site or publish work under a larger umbrella. Still others start writing online and become frustrated when they don’t see significant earnings, despite their efforts.

In this week’s podcast (Making Money as an Online Writer – A Practical Overview), we explore the major channels through which online writers can make money (working as a staff writer, working as a freelance writer, writing for a content farm, creating your own blog or website, and writing on an open publishing platform), review the perks and downsides of each, and also discuss how one may come to make a significant amount of money using open publishing platforms such as HubPages.

We hope you find the practical review to be useful!

Is there another online writing issue that interests you? Or have you taken a unique approach to making money as an online writer? Tell us about it by sending us an email at podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.

But What About the Mouse?

The Night Before Christmas, one of the world’s most popular Santa Claus stories, prominently mentions a mouse in its opening sentence… but leaves it at that. Not satisfied with that ever-so-brief reference, cherylone decided to add some backstory to this holiday classic, and A Christmas Mice Story was born.

We hope you enjoy this special holiday edition of the Fascinating Fiction podcast (A Christmas Mice Story), and encourage you to stop by cherylone’s original Hub as well. It’s very sweet and a fun spinoff of a classic tale.

If you would like to read a story for our podcast, or have a short fiction Hub that you would like to see featured in the series, send us an email! Our address is podcast-at-hubpages-dot-com.

The Boy, the Butterfly, and the Broken Wing

This week’s Fascinating Fiction podcast comes in poem form, but is definitely a short story, and a profound one at that! The Boy, the Butterfly, and the Broken Wing by Mrs. Menagerie is a sweet story inspired by a real life experience she shared with her son.

Have a look at the original Hub to read the poem/story. It is very touching!

If you have a suggestion for a future Fascinating Fiction podcast or would be interested in volunteering your voice for one of the recordings, drop us a line at podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.  We would love to hear from you!


South by Southwest and HubPages

A very BIG THANK YOU to everyone who voted for Paul to speak at SXSW a couple of months ago. I am so pleased to be able to tell you that your hard work and commitment to HubPages paid off in spades – Paul has been named one of the speakers for 2012, and will be speaking in Austin on March 10th!

For those who are new to HubPages or haven’t heard of the SXSW (“South by Southwest”) conference, it’s an annual conference in Austin, Texas, that brings the most cutting-edge interactive, music and film innovators to one place for over a week of interesting discussions, product releases, and concerts. Our Hubbers voted for our idea at the SXSW PanelPicker, leading to Paul Edmondson being named one of the speakers at the conference. Given that there were 3200 proposals submitted, we are very thankful for your support.

Paul will be speaking to a crowd of web developers, designers, writers, and artists on how to recover their traffic, if their site has been hit unfairly by Google’s algorithmic changes. Thank you again, for liking our idea and taking the time to vote for it on SXSW’s site!

For those who may be interested, here’s the rest of the idea:

Bringing back the love when Google hates you

In a world where Google guards the gates of the Internet, the Panda update proved beyond reasonable doubt that every website is vulnerable to the search giant’s changes. While Google does a very good job, the vagaries of search algorithm updates result in decent sites losing a huge chunk of their traffic, leading to distractions of resources in trying to recoup their search traffic. In this discussion, Paul Edmondson will talk about unsuspected insights from his Panda-update experience and offer 5 key best practices that will help your site remain stable during future changes.

Evil Thoughts

Some of my favorite stories are very short- one needn’t create a novel to prompt a reader to think, escape, or react!

Evil Thoughts (alternately titled Could It Be?), by SpanStar, consists of a dialogue between a human and the Ultimate Evil. SpanStar submitted his own recording of the story, so we have the extra benefit of listening to a story read by its very author. Though the recording is short, I particularly love its ending.

Thanks for the story and the reading, SpanStar!

If you are interested in submitting work of your own (a Hub, a recording, or a suggestion) to the Fascinating Fiction series, drop us an email at podcast (at) HubPages (dot) com.

The Meaning Behind Tibetan Prayer Flags

Chances are you have seen Tibetan prayer flags before, but do you know where they came from and what they symbolize? These beautiful pieces of cloth are more than just decorations, and in a Hub titled History & Symbolism of Tibetan Prayer Flags, melbel explains more about their background and meaning.

Melbel’s Hub is so fascinating that we decided to feature it in this week’s Weekly Advice from Everyday Experts podcast, so listen in as we discuss The Meaning Behind Tibetan Prayer Flags. You’ll find that these mantra-adorned flags have a beautiful purpose, and one that everyone can get behind!

If you have something (religious, cultural, commercial, or entirely random) that performs a purpose similar to Tibetan prayer flags, we’d love to hear about it! Send us an email at We’re also looking for cool new Hubs to discuss, so feel free to send future podcast suggestions our way as well.