As many of you know, I wrote on Squidoo for six or seven years. They merged with HubPages in August, so I agreed to have my content migrated to the HP site. That happened the first week of September. Since then, I’ve been busy expanding my content, to go from the Squidoo model of short and sweet, to the HP requirements of long and media-rich. By and large, I enjoyed that process. It’s amazing how much more I had to say about some of my topics.
This week, I decided to leave HubPages. They didn’t do anything wrong, and I’m not leaving with any bad feelings. With the exception of one or two complete asshats, the people there were great, and I felt at home pretty quickly. As I revised each article, they scored increasingly well on the internal HP scale. I also scored well on their mystifying system of ranking writers. My articles were chosen to go out in HP emails, featured on their Facebook page, and two of them were chosen as Hub of the Day, which placed them on the front page at HP. I made triple my payment threshold amount in my second month, which is very near impossible to do.
So, why am I leaving? Because even with all the successes I’ve had at HubPages, it’s a bad fit for me.
I’ve written at more than my share of sites: About.com, BellaOnline, WebSeed, Squidoo, Michaels.com, and of course, my own web sites. At each site, I’ve been encouraged to promote my work, and bring in more readers. When a bunch of writers band together to promote their work, the site always benefits, as do the individuals.
HubPages is not designed to showcase individual writers. For example, it’s difficult to send people to a group of my articles, and effectively lead them from one to another, without also presenting content that may not even be related to what I’ve written. HP discourages self-promotion, so there’s no opportunity to put a Facebook page invitation, or an email sign up box, into any content. That didn’t put me off at first, because I have a happy Facebook business page, and an email newsletter, and Pinterest, where I could just let people who already follow me know about my new and updated articles.
About the time that my content migrated to HP, Google adjusted their search algorithm. They’re now favoring small, niche sites with articles focused on one area, over larger revenue-sharing sites, where many people write lots of articles about different subjects. So, for how-to content, Go Make Something would rank higher in a search for articles about gluebooks than my article about them on HubPages. In fact, it does now rank higher.
When Google made this change, the page views at HubPages fell, and there were a lot of wailing posts in their forums about lost traffic, and lost income. I suggested that instead of complaining about lost traffic, or waiting until Google favored large sites again, people might consider increasing their social media presence, to go out and find interested readers. The response was pretty deafening: that’s too much work.
I realized that my way of finding people who are interested in the same things I am, and giving them ways to follow whatever I write, or create, or instigate, wasn’t even on the radar of most of the writers at HubPages. I heard a lot of cries about wanting passive income, meaning they want to write articles, post them, and then let readers find them on their own. That is so far removed from the way I market myself online, I don’t even know how to respond to it.
I looked at the content I had on HubPages, and realized I could easily divide it up between Go Make Something, and my newly revived vegan & gardening blog, and continue on my merry way alone. So that’s what I’m doing. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll migrate all my articles at HubPages to my own web sites. I think, even with the success I’ve had at HP, I can do better without them.
I’m sort of sad to put my days of writing on a group site behind me, but all good things must come to an end, I suppose.