When I first started writing online in earnest, it wasn’t for money. It wasn’t for fame (that’s just a nice side effect). It wasn’t for all the people who throw their underwear at me in public (I’m not really sure why that happens).
I started my “writing career” by writing for fun. For years, I’ve had brilliant ideas, turned them into blogs, and then either let them perish immediately or actually care for them for quite some time. I’d tell you about one, but it was a little inappropriate. Freaking hilarious and awesome, but so inappropriate.
So, it’s safe to say that I’ve always had blogs. In fact, I never really know what to do with the ones that died, but hey, let’s just carry digital corpses around for as long as we can.
Eventually, I sought out ways to write online without creating a brand new blog. Plus, sometimes I didn’t want to write for some overarching philosophy or way of seeing the world. I just wanted to write about how to make friends (even if you’re pathetic) or how to take a road trip with a cat without killing both of you.
There are and have been quite a few websites that gather online communities of writers to share information like the above, but I’ve rarely found one I really liked. Normally I’ll write one or two articles, and then I’ll disappear. Often, those other websites lack a real support structure, are full of really creepy people (and not the good kinds of creepy that I like), and just don’t feel right (quantitatively).
HubPages has been a blessing in disguise for me. I don’t even remember what brought it to my life, but I signed up to see what it was all about.
Here’s what I love most about HubPages:
1. Fantastic Article Layouts
More and more, I wish my blogs had the capabilities that HubPages does when it comes to designing an article. They use a capsule method, which lets you automatically add, fill, and alter these bubbles. They’re not just for text, though. You can add anything you’d want, including Amazon ads, videos, maps, polls, tables, etc.
They are incredibly easy-to-use, and help new writers really learn how to create visually appealing articles. Plus, I think it’s fun. Sometimes I’ll pull a quote to a side, throw in a fun poll, or link to other posts on similar topics. There’s no HTML knowledge needed, and you won’t spend all morning formatting. I love that!
2. Deeply Helpful and Caring Social Community
Really, this is the most surprising thing I’ve found about HubPages. Many online writing communities have forums and ways of interacting with other users and yes, many of those can be very helpful and supportive. But they aren’t HubPages. They couldn’t be. This is where I realized that my writing was good, my insights were desired, and that other humans are kind. Many older users (not necessarily in real life, but in HP life) even reach out to help newer ones learn the ropes. Plus, the friends you make very regularly seek out your new posts, even if they aren’t the kinds of things they’d normally read, to give you a thumbs up and say hello.
Plus, there is an enormous learning center available for people to review and learn how to be awesome. It’s wonderful for beginners and a great fall back for old-timers.
Only once have I encountered someone being mean in a comment, and even then, it was drowned out by all of the other nice people.
**There is one exception. I’ve found a lot of mean-heartedness and snark in the forums. So hey, I just avoid those! There are plenty of other opportunities to find support without getting your heart stomped on. That’s what I like.**
3. Multiple Forms of Revenue
I’m not entirely sure how the payment structure works on other writing sites, but HubPages allows you to integrate your Amazon Affiliate and eBay ad codes. Plus, you can also add your Adsense codes to receive revenue through that venue, too. And that’s not all! They even have a HubPages Earning Program, which will give you a percentage of ad revenue, too. That’s four distinct ways to make a little money on HubPages, and they’re constantly adding new contests and writing initiatives to change that.
4. Engaged Developers
HubPages isn’t just some experiment played out by divine interlopers. The people who run the site often write, too, and are engaged on the ground floor with new writers. They’re very accessible and always try to add their knowledge and expertise to the mix, which means that you and I learn how to make our hubs even more successful (and therefore profitable). My new favorite: Simone Smith.
5. Ease of Use
Although every huge website is often a little clunky, HubPages is actually pretty easy to use. There are some hitches here and there, but it really is a very simple website to maneuver. As noted before, I love the way the hubs themselves are built, but it really is more than that. I really enjoy the account settings feature, which has a ton of tabs and options available so you can see exactly what is happening with your account and hubs. I mean, you can see everything. Every statistic, every traffic source, every click. Many websites try to keep you out of the numbers, but that’s not how HubPages works. It’s very transparent, and I like that.
Now, for a little on the HubPages Apprenticeship Program…
I’ll be writing more about my experiences with the HubPages Apprenticeship Program in the future, but I want to share a bit about it for you right now.
Despite all of the other special features above, HubPages was a website I always meant to do more with than I actually did. My number of hubs was painfully low, despite my good ideas and intentions. I had heard a bit about their Apprenticeship Program, but figured I wasn’t skilled enough for such an endeavor. But, I checked it out anyway. As it turned out, I was exactly what they wanted. Someone with some experience and skill, but an overwhelming desire to learn more and achieve more. Since my experiences on HubPages prompted me to strike out as a freelance writer, I knew that any opportunity to learn more would be great on all counts.
So, I applied. It took a while to hear back since the program is rather popular, but eventually, I was accepted into the program. October was my first month.
What is the Apprenticeship Program?
Oh, just this little thing that teaches you how to be an extremely capable online writer WHILE PAYING YOU for 6 months. It’s not much, but you actually get a bonus for every hub you publish. And you learn the ins and outs of online writing while working with a community. This isn’t a solo learning experience; you make friends and deep connections.
Basically, it’s paid professional learning experience.
The HubPages Apprenticeship Program has sealed in my desire to continue with this website, and it has proven to me just how invested and caring the HubPages gods really are.
I recommend that all writers, new and old, consider HubPages as their new writing home. You’re not going to get rich on it, but you will find just the outlet you need to learn how to do this all the right way.
Believe me, I’ll be writing much more about HubPages in the future, including a thorough review of the Apprenticeship Program and insight on how to leverage the site for your freelance writing career. For now, go ahead and create your profile.
If you’d like to make a profile (recommended), use this link. It’ll sign you up as one of my HubPages babies (I think that’s the technical phrase), which will even give me a small bonus every time you earn!
Hate my guts? Create a profile through this non-referral link, and kittens will cry. But hey, crying kittens are cute, so I’m okay with that.
Are you on HubPages? What are your experiences? How does this compare to other writing sites? I’d love to know!
Rachael is a loud and sometimes goofy blogger and cheesemonger who lives in the DC area with her father and orange scaredy cat. She lives for food, but shares her freelance and blogging stories with people right here. Why? Because she loves you.
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The socially-obsessed freelance blogger who loves animals, passports, cheese-flavored products, and her family. @alisokitchen
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