The Spectacular Rise and Fall of My HubPages Publishing Empire
I’m currently working as an ESL teacher overseas. It’s the last week of term, there are no more lessons to prepare, and I am starting to look at things I haven’t looked at in a long while.
One thing I haven’t looked at in a long, long time are my statistics from my HubPages empire.
It’s quite an interesting story, so here’s a bit of history about a make money online bandwagon that I did jump on VERY successfully!
The HubPages Backstory
In case you’re not familiar with the site, HubPages is a site where anybody can sign up and write content. You can write about just about anything, as long as it’s not one of the riskier niches (e.g. adult content, gambling etc.).
The nice thing about HubPages is that you can write content for the web without having to figure out how to setup your own blog. There’s also a theoretical headstart when it comes to getting traffic. Because the site is well established, then in theory you can start getting visitors to your content extremely quickly.
As far as the killer feature of the site goes it’s this: you earn a percentage of the advertising revenue your pages receive. That’s write – you actually get paid for your content you publish on the site.
If all this sounds too good to be true, then in a sense, it is.
There are many drawbacks. Firstly what gets published on the site is up to the site’s editors. They also change their guidelines according to what they think Google will rank. Secondly, relying on somebody else’s network is far more risky than having your own website. As we saw in 2018, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Patreon and many other big content companies are willing to play god when it comes to deciding what content they will and won’t host on their platform.
Finally there’s a risk that it will all come crashing down. A few years ago HubPages had a competitor called Squidoo. I was on there too. Some people were making a fortune from Squidoo Lenses as they were called. But then the site got bought and virtually disappeared overnight. The bloggers writing about how they made 1000’s of dollars a month from Squidoo mysteriously went silent too.
My HubPages Story – The Boom
Back in 2009 I already had one successful online business. I sold some software products that I had written myself. The business was pretty lucrative. I was regularly making $1000 a month or more from my products. However, it was clear from my sales charts that the business had peaked in 2008, and was in terminal decline.
At the same time I had dreams of quitting my boring cubicle slave day job and going to live overseas. So I went all out on trying to find an alternative source of revenue.
One new product I came up with was an eBook in the health niche. I wrote the book and started selling it on ClickBank. I made a few sales, and then realised I needed to do a bit of article marketing to get more visitors to my sales page.
Eventually I came across article marketing directories. I tried eZineArticles, but it looked a bit horribly dated. Still, back then it DID work. Anything you published on eZineArticles was almost guaranteed to get a tonne of traffic from Google and other sources. That’s just what you need when you’re trying to publicise your new business.
Then I found HubPages and it was love at first sight really. It was easy to use, and I got traffic overnight. I even started making a little bit of advertising revenue.
Well the eBook never really took off. I was sidetracked by something else I had gotten really interested in. I wrote one HubPage about this topic and whoosh – the traffic to that HubPage came flooding in.
The great thing about this HubPage was that it was written about a niche that has very high CTR on adverts. The article started making around $5 dollars a month.
I did the math. If 1 article makes $5 a month, then 100 articles makes ….?
Well I went on a writing rampage and my HubPages traffic soared. Here’s the chart:
So at the peak in late 2011 I was getting over 25,000 visitors a month. My earnings had soared as well. At that time I was making well over $1000 a month from articles I had written. Not all of the articles were on HubPages though. But most of them were in a niche that I had first discovered after publishing a single HubPage article about it.
My HubPages Story – The Bust
So as you can see from the chart above my HubPages traffic went through a spectacular boom and bust.
Most of it was due to HubPages having a massive battle to keep their site’s traffic after Google tweaked their SERPs algorithms with the Panda and Penguin updates. Both of these were not kind to HubPages, and to other generalist article marketing sites.
I had further pain in that some of my better performing Hubs were flagged as spam and were unpublished.
Still I had quite a good run. It’s a shame that it didn’t last longer.
I was quite greatful for the final fling my HubPages articles enjoyed in 2013. I’m not sure why it happened but it gave my income a nice boost while I was taking a gap year and living in Thailand! I’ve seen that happen with other websites – sometimes their traffic does come back.
One thing I did very well was to diversify away from HubPages. I could see the writing on the wall and decided to publish the majority of my new content onto my own websites. It was a good move – they still make money in 2019. My HubPages articles still make a little bit of income, but it’s loose change compared to the income my own sites still make every month.
Is It Time to Reconsider HubPages?
Was HubPages just a fad, a thing of its time? Or is there life in the old girl?
I must admit I think there could still be opportunities for me on the site. I’ve just taken a look at their home page. I’m encouraged by seeing infographics like this:
An extra $600 a month would certainly be useful, wouldn’t it?
So I hope you enjoyed that trip down memory lane. Have you ever published anything on HubPages? Are you one of the bloggers who make a small (or large) fortune there?
Do you think 2019 is a good year to start publishing on HubPages again, or is it 10 years too late to make money from that particular site? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.
One thought on “The Spectacular Rise and Fall of My HubPages Publishing Empire”
So I went into my other HubPages account. I don’t think I’ve logged in there since 2015.
Anyway, I found that around 97 Hubs had been unpublished for various violations or they weren’t getting a single visit.
3 Hubs are still getting traffic. Of these, one has been praised by the moderators and is fully indexed on the site. I’m not sure why as it’s not particularly better than the other ones. It does have quite a few comments on it though, so it has obviously gone down quite well with its audience.
I’d certainly consider publishing more articles on HubPages. I guess the problem is – why bother? If an article isn’t up to standard, it’s a complete waste of time writing it. If the article is good but Google doesn’t index it or give you traffic, it’s a waste of time writing it. If you are blessed and the article becomes successful, then you probably would have had similar success by publishing it on your own site. And if it was on your own site then you have complete freedom over what you can do with your site. Not to mention the fact that you’d be able to keep 100% of any revenue your site earns!
How about you? Is there life in HubPages or is it a dead relic of the golden age of article publishing for advertising revenue?