Questions Moving to Subdomains

A few months ago, Simone announced that you’ve had the option to migrate Questions you’ve asked to your subdomain. At the time of the announcement, you could opt for an irreversible move, but the migration was optional. Now, most likely this coming Wednesday, we will complete the migration with all yet-unmoved Questions transferred to askers’ subdomains.

What does this mean? Questions you’ve asked will reside on  your subdomain, and the ads placed on Question pages will have their impressions shared with you just like your Hubs’ ads are. It’s a great opportunity to get others to answer your most pressing questions, like what causes the bumpy ridges in fingernails?

(The final migration will occur around Wednesday, but if you’d like to move your Questions even earlier, please visit My Account > Q&A > Question Statistics)

Soon You’ll Be Able to Select Best Answers

Best Answer

Next week we will be adding an exciting new feature to the Answers section: the ability for Hubbers to select a Best Answer to a Question that they asked. The goals of this feature are to:

  • Highlight great content. When a visitor from a search engine lands on your Question page, they are often looking for a quick answer to their question. Selecting a Best Answer will cause it to move right below the Question and appear highlighted. This will help your visitors from Search to find an answer to their question quickly.
  • Motivate Hubbers to leave the best possible answer to a question. As we said, if your Answer is selected as a best answer then it will appear prominently on the page. However, we will also be awarding accolades to Hubbers who have their Answers selected as Best Answers.
  • Help to differentiate the Answers section from the Forums. We are constantly adding new features to HubPages. For example, we recently added the ability to leave a comment on an Answer.  This feature has added a lot of value to the Answers section. But it also led some Hubbers to say that, for them, they felt it caused the line between the Answers section and the Forum to blur. There are in fact many differences between the Answers section and the Forums. We hope that adding the Best Answer feature helps to further differentiate the two sections of HubPages.

When a Best Answer has been selected for a Question you are following you will receive a notification- this way you won’t miss a really good explanation, even if it answers a very popular Question.

Accompanying the Best Answer feature is a new multi-level Accolade to give props to those who leave superior answers. To earn the new Best Answer Accolade (and to level up once you have it), work on providing detailed, useful, and prompt short answers- or better still, create Hub Answers addressing your fellow Hubbers’ Questions.

Meet the Staff! An Interview with Ari Lamstein

If you regularly use the Q&A feature on our site, you’re very familiar with Ari Lamstein’s work. He has been improving and refining that feature for quite some time now, and has made some magnificent changes!

As the latest installment in our Meet the Staff series, we’ve given Ari some of the questions you’ve asked of HubPages staff in the forums along with some fun Q&A-specific questions you might enjoy.

If, after reading this interview, any lingering questions remain… well, that’s what our Answers feature is for!

Are you reading all the Questions and Answers in the Q and A section? -prettydarkhorse

There was a period when I actually did read all of the Questions and Answers published each day. But now there are just too many for me to keep up!

Do you read Hubs for enjoyment? – rebekahELLE

Yes I do. Most days I’ll spend some time in the feed looking at new Hubs that are created. It’s amazing to see how much high quality content is generated on HubPages every day.

Does HP have any Friday traditions? Things like casual day, big box of donuts next to the coffee machine, group lunch at TGIF, etc. – paradigmsearch

We have a team lunch every Thursday.

What motivates you to do the things you do for HubPages? -ripplemaker

I think that we provide a valuable service, and it’s one that I enjoy using myself. I like writing, and think that it’s valuable to provide people with a platform to moneitze their own writing online.

Describe your ideal Hubber? -Marcy Goodfleisch

One who writes about classical music, of course 🙂

What feature on Q&A are you most proud of working on?

I think that transferring ownership of Q&A to Question askers has been an important and fundamental shift to the feature. The basic work there was shifting the Questions to each user’s subdomain and providing basic statistical information to users. More interesting was giving users moderation control: the ability to delete Answers that they feel are not helpful, as well giving users the ability to comment on Answers. I’ve been very encouaged to see how this has improved Q&A, and look forward to see how it evolves over time.

What feature on Notifications are you most proud of working on?

I think that the “auto” aspect of notifications was interesting from a mathematical and data analysis perspective. It also added a lot of value to our users, because it increased the quality of email that we send them.

What feature that you worked on surprised you the most?

I did not expect online notifications to be as much of a hit as they are. We get many more clicks on online notifications than email notifications; I expected it to be the other way around.

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 Know It All Contest Winners

The HubPages Know it All Contest

Last Friday, we announced the final winners in the HubPages Know It All contest. Choosing the top Answers was difficult, but you’ll have to agree that the following Videos and Hubs are amazing!

GRAND PRIZE WINNERS

Our $500 Grand Prize-winning Answer is How to Make “Play Do”-Homemade Playdough Recipes by cardelean. This Video Answer wins $100 for dingong, who asked How learning could be fun for kids? Check out the Video!

http://hubpages.com/embed/video.php?vid=693&w=640

The $250 Second Place-winning Answer, Music Lessons: The Importance of Music Education for Children by leahlefler, is also a Video, and GoodLady wins $50 for asking How important do you think it is to learn a musical instrument when you are a child?

Finally, the $100 Third Place-winning Answer, A Guide to the Perfect Family Vacation in the Pucon Area of Chile by Melovy, which was made in response to a Weekly Topic Inspiration Question, is also an incredible guide.

Way to go cardelean, leahlefler, and Melovy!

We also want to give a warm shout out to the weekly winners in the contest. If you have not yet had a chance to read the following Hub Answers, check them out now!

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

I hope you have enjoyed this contest as much as we did. We’ve learned a ton, and think that many of the Hub Answers you’ve published will continue to see traffic and interest for months and years to come.

Creating Successful Questions: Tips and Tricks from Ngureco

After we made it possible to earn ad revenue from Questions (by moving them to one’s personal subdomain), there was some discussion in the Forums about which Questions are more likely to drive traffic and earn money for the Hubbers who asked them.

One of the best observations came from ngureco:

This is my observation, repeat, just my observation, which may be very wrong:

1.Questions with less than 5 answers had a tendency of not performing well.

2.Questions with at least 5 answers had a tendency of performing fairly well.

3.Questions that got more than 20 answers performed even better.

4.Questions with more than 20 answers had a very long column of answers for your readers to make use of ads on that page.

5.It would seem like its better to close your question once it gets past 20 answers. Sometimes you would get just one good hubber who would answer the question explicitly well with sufficient enough content that you would close it and sing, hallelujah. You certainly would vote up such an answer and go to his/her profile to learn more about such a person because it’s always a good thing to be associated with such a hubber.

6.It should be about time to make a hub of your own, if you can, on a question making at least 5 answers.

7.Pay special attention to the choice of your titles just as you would when you make hubs. And this seems to be the most difficult one since a long title that may attract more answers from your fellow hubbers is unlikely to attract good external traffic, and vice versa.

8.Generally, hubs had a higher tendency of performing far much better than questions.

As it happens, ngureco is pretty spot on with his estimations, even when it comes to numbers. From a report Ari Lamstein ran (which you can see below), it is quite clear that Questions with more Answers perform better and that Questions with more than 20 Answers do significantly better than those with fewer… so perhaps it woud be worth it to keep Questions open once they have more than 20 Answers, as tempting as it might be to simply highlight an excellent Hub Answer someone submitted.

Ngureco also makes an excellent point about carefully choosing succinct, polished titles for Questions and Hub Answers. As with all online titles, that which is polished, properly capitalized, clear, and coupled with words directly associated with its subject, is ideal. The more a Question or Hub’s title reflects words people would use when consulting search engines about the subject at hand, the better.

We also agree that Hubs are more likely to perform well and earn their authors money than Questions. Questions with a good list of Answers can make for great online resources, but nothing beats a well-formatted, well-written, media-rich Hub.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, ngureco!

You Can Now Opt In to Moving Questions to Your Subdomain

Last week, we announced that Questions would soon be coming to subdomains. By visiting My Account > Q&A you can now make this change on your own account early by clicking the “Transfer” button.  Doing so will move all of your Questions under your personal HubPages subdomain and give you the ability to earn from the ads posted on those pages.

Keep in mind that moving your Questions to your subdomain is an irreversible process that cannot be undone, so only opt in for this preview if you are fully committed to the change.

Whether you make the transfer take place early or not, you can most certainly benefit from the features in this new section of My Account. The Statistics section enables you to view all of the Questions you have asked, as well as the number of answers and views they’ve seen. You can also see Questions that have been asked of you, as well as all of the Answers you have given.

For now, only AdSense ads appear on Question pages. If you would like to track the Google AdSense revenue you have made through your Questions:

  1. Visit Google AdSense
  2. Click on the My Ads tab
  3. Click on URL channels in the left hand navigation bar
  4. Click the”new URL channel” button
  5. Enter the following URL  (but using your username): http://yourusername.hubpages.com/question/

Big thanks to Ari Lamstein who built this new My Account section and made the transfer possible!

How to Ask Good Questions

Because you now have the opportunity to earn ad revenue from Questions you ask on HubPages, you might be wondering what sorts of Questions are most likely to find success (and make money) over time.

After all, some online questions see a lot of traffic and evolve into very useful resources while others flounder in obscurity. What differentiates good questions from bad ones?

As it happens, just a few small details separate the majority of great and dismal Questions (on HubPages and elsewhere online). To make sure the Questions you ask fall into the former category, we recommend:

  • Asking Questions in complete, grammatically correct sentences (that begin with capital letters end end with question marks)
  • Avoiding discussion Questions
  • Avoiding personal Questions
  • Avoiding Questions that can be answered with one word or sentence
  • Asking specific Questions
  • Asking information-based Questions
  • Asking Questions for which there are not good answers online (if you Google something and don’t find a sufficient article or website addressing your query, this is a great time to ask a Question!)

For more details on these points, listen in to this week’s Online Writing Insider (Asking Good Questions). We hope you find our question-asking advice to be helpful. If there are any other details of the online writing world that you’d like us to cover, tell us about them! Email your comments, requests, and questions to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.

Questions Moving to Subdomains

The Answers section on HubPages is very active this month thanks to the HubPages Know It All Contest, which awards daily prizes to Hubbers who ask and answer Questions.

There have been some great Questions asked so far, and in addition to potentially winning prize money, the Hubbers who have asked them will soon be able to make additional ad revenue from their fantastic queries.

This is because we will soon move Questions to your subdomains and bringing ads back to those pages. The move means that that all of your Questions will be associated with your unique HubPages subdomain (e.g. simonesmith.hubpages.com/question/127240-example-question-here).

Because we’re giving you ownership of your Questions (just like with Hubs), you will have a designated section under My Account where you can view and monitor all your Questions, Answers, and Question Statistics. You will be able to delete your Questions as you please, as well as inappropriate Answers (just like you would remove an inappropriate comment on one of your Hubs).

You will also be able to view the important statistics on an individual Questions (just as you can with individual Hubs) by expanding the stats menu in the black bar on its designated page. By analyzing your traffic graphs, common keywords, and major sources of traffic, you can gain a better understanding of why some Questions perform better than others.

We’ll share some tips on asking search-friendly tomorrow in the Online Writing Insider podcast. In the meantime, keep those fabulous Questions coming! Even if you don’t win anywhere between $10 and $100 the Know It All Contest, you’ll be making a sound investment in potential long term ad revenue!

Your Questions, Answered!

One of the many things that we are excited about this holiday season is about how well our Hubbers are doing on the Q&A section of HubPages. A recent report generated by our wonderful Ari Lamstein shows that a third of questions asked on our site get answered in less than 10 minutes, 70 percent get answered within 1 hour, 90 percent within 8 hours, and, in time, 99 percent of our questions are answered within the site!  Isn’t that wonderful?

So if you were wondering about the cure for hiccups, or the best way to bathe your cat, go ahead and ask here. Our marvelous Hubbers will have an answer for you, pretty darn soon, and they may even go ahead and write a Hub based on your question – after all, just in the last year alone, 3034 Hubs were written based on questions asked on the site.

Also, noteworthy: Q&As  do very well in traffic terms as well. In fact, the last year, collectively, all Q&As received more than one million page views. So the next time you have a question, or need advice, HubPages is an excellent resource for you.