Need Some Goals? Visit Your HubTool This Week!

Back in January we released some improvements to the HubTool that included visual tweaks and a more conveniently-located summary box. At the same time, we also introduced a feature that was only rolled out to 10% of Hubbers. Though still in beta form, we will be making this feature available to the community as a whole this week.

What is it? A new box to the right of the HubTool titled “Need Some Goals?”

The Need Some Goals box responds to the content of your Hub in real time, providing helpful feedback and giving you some insights into how you might add more depth and media to your Hub. As you add more words, photos, and other capsules to your Hub, various icons in the box get checked off. The box also features written tips, quick links to Learning Center guides, and a display of your Hub’s current word count (something many, many Hubbers have been asking for).

The numbers of words, images, and capsules we recommend are based on data we have regarding our top performing Hubs. You can learn more about how our research drove the design of this feature in the Learning Center.

Once it rolls out, please let us know what you think of the feature, and feel free to suggest better titles for it as well! Somehow, “The Need Some Goals Box” doesn’t run off the tongue very nicely. 😉

Extra! Extra! Read All About HubPages Exclusives!

While it is fairly easy to create high-potential titles with a bit of research, we know that many Hubbers (HubPages staff included) would prefer to focus mostly on Hubs themselves- not their titles. We’ve also heard again and again that if there’s one thing Hubbers would like more of, it’s writing prompts and title ideas.

Having worked long and hard to find an optimal feature to address these preferences, we are happy to announce Exclusives: high-potential titles that appear right on the Create a Hub page.

Exclusives are available to Hubbers with a Hubber Score of 80 or above, so once you reach that level, you will be able to access these titles by typing a keyword into the title bar of the Create a Hub page. Though you will only be able to hold on to four drafts of Exclusives at one time, there is no limit to the total number of Exclusives you can ultimately claim and publish.

The body of Exclusives from which you can draw is continuously growing, which means that you’ll see new and different titles over time. If you don’t like the Exclusives that pop up, you can rest assured that in a couple of weeks, there will be new titles draw from.

If you have a HubScore of 80 or higher, we hope you enjoy this new feature. If you’re not yet to 80, here’s another reason to build up your HubScore- you can do so by regularly publishing high quality Hubs. For some tips on doing so (and some inspiration), stop by our Learning Center guide to creating a stellar Hub.

How to Get the New Profile Design

Are you a fan of our new Profile design? While it was previously only displayed on staff Profiles, you can now feature it on your own subdomain, too!

Here’s how:

  1. Visit any Profile displaying the new design (staff members such as Robin are good people to turn to).
  2. Click on the “Upgrade My Profile” link, which will take you to the edit page for new Profiles.
  3. Update your Profile information by choosing or uploading a background image, adding Hubs you would like to feature, and inserting URLs for social media profiles you would like to share. You may also want to edit your bio, as hyperlinks will no longer work and long bios will be visually truncated.
  4. After clicking “save”, you will be asked to confirm your decision to transition to the new design.
  5. Once you have confirmed your intention, the new Profile design will be live on your subdomain!

Keep in mind that the shift from the old Profile design to the new one is permanent; you will not be able to go back once you have confirmed the transfer. That said, this design will roll out on all profiles eventually, so you might as well be an early adopter and show your fellow Hubbers how creative you can be with featured Hubs and custom background selections!

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!

Would you like to get editing help from fellow Hubbers?

We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve the quality of Hubs on HubPages as well as your experience as an online writer. To do this, we regularly test out new ideas and features that might make a difference.

One feature we’ve been working on is a community edit feature; one which makes it possible to:

  • Suggest edits to a fellow Hubber’s Hub (when you’re signed in to your HubPages account)
  • Receive, review, and approve or deny suggested edits to your Hubs (should your fellow Hubbers notice a mistake or typo)

This feature would be quite similar to community edit features you will encounter on wiki-style sites.

Are you interested in this community edit feature? Would you like to make it possible for your fellow Hubbers to suggest edits to your Hubs when they notice room for improvement or mistakes? If so, visit this form (to give us your username and email), and we will add you to a list of potential beta testers!

[image by woodleywonderworks, CC-BY, via flickr]

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.

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.

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.

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!



Comments on Answers

Ari Lamstein has been working on a new feature for the past couple of days and it is nearly finished. Here are the soon-to-come developments in his words:

We will soon be rolling out a feature where you can comment on Answers to Questions.  Many Hubbers have said that they would like to have a deeper level of interaction on the Q&A portion of the site.  You will be able to use the commenting feature to thank a user for a particularly good Answer, as well as to ask for further clarification.Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 12.02.41 PM

The commenting feature will work very similarly to how comments on Hubs work: you will have a short window where you can edit your comment, and the person who asked the question will be able to moderate comments.  While you will be able to leave multiple comments on a single answer, to prevent spam you will not be able to leave multiple comments in a row.

Here is a close-up look at the new and improved options below each Answer:

Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 12.04.35 PM

Additionally, you will be able to see the number of comments associated with each of your Questions on the stats page for Q&A under My Account.

This feature will roll out within the next day, so keep a lookout! You will be able to thank Hubbers for good Answers, ask follow up questions, and build upon Answers left by others very soon.

Thanks, Ari!

HubPages’ New Facebook Recommendations Feature

RecommendationsAs part of our continued effort to improve your experience on the site as both a reader and writer, we’ve just added a feature that allows you to see what your Facebook friends have been liking and sharing on HubPages.

“So… what is it?” you ask, “And is it shiny? Or made of chocolate?”

In fact, it’s a “Recommendations” box you’ll find at the bottom right corner of every hub that shows the recent activity of your Facebook friends and other readers on HubPages.  At the top of the box (if you’re signed into Facebook) you’ll see hubs that your Facebook friends have recently liked and shared.  At the bottom, you’ll see the hubs that the entire community has been liking and sharing.

Why are Facebook Recommendations useful on HubPages?

  • It’s a way for you as well as your readers (both Hubbers and non-hubbers) to see what Facebook friends are sharing and liking on HubPages
  • It shows you what is currently popular amongst Facebook users
  • It’s a way to boost traffic across hubs
  • It allows the crowd to read what is most popular

Facebook plugins such as this are common on news sites because they allow browsers to get an idea of what the moment’s hot stories are and lead to relevant information.  We’re trying to bring a bit more of that hot, cutting-edge content spin to, plus we’re also hoping to add even more of a community feel by allowing you to see what your Facebook friends have been enjoying on the site, even if they’re not hubbers themselves.

We hope you enjoy the new feature.  Let us know what you think!