Not too long ago, there was a gold rush of sorts at HubPages. About a year ago, web marketers got the idea that HubPages, with its PageRank 6, was a good place to do something called article marketing. I don’t think there is any hype around it anymore.
With article marketing, you publish articles on websites, generally for free and without any editorial approval, and then use those articles to link to your own webpages. The idea is that since Google is basically a glorified link counter, making more links point to your online writing content is a good way to boost how high your rank in search engine results pages, or SERPs.
The “best” place to publish said articles changes from time to time. Sometimes it changes because Google figures out what everyone is doing and they make some tweaks that make publishing on the old place less valuable. Sometimes it changes because the websites themselves figure out what is going on and shut it down. And, sometimes is just changes because people decide to go somewhere else.
The first article marketing website I remember hearing about was EZinearticles. The required an editor to approve your article, although the standard wasn’t exactly high, and they restricted the number and placement of your links to your own content. It was theoretically worth the restrictions because Google thought highly of EzineArcticles.com.
Later, I heard about Squidoo. On Squidoo you build “lenses” which are webpages built with the help of Squidoo.com’s tools. Essentially you type your content into various fields and the site generates and publishes a webpage. Squidoo was the first site I heard of being “taken down” by some sort of Google action. Squidoo remains, but it’s value as a pure article marketing play isn’t as high as it once was.
From there I heard about site after site. Most of the time I took a look, maybe published a freelance writing article or two and then moved on. For example, I have a handful of articles published at EzineArticles. You can find them via my ezinearticles Expert Author page. I also have a couple of lenses published at Squidoo under the name BrianBrightHub, which I’ll be changing if you can change usernames since BrightHub ended it’s revenue sharing program.
Eventually, I heard about HubPages. The strange thing is that I liked it enough to stick around for a while and publish over 100 “hubs,” which are also just webpages created via the HubPages interface. You can find my hubs under Hub Llama.
Like most of the freebie publishing websites, I eventually moved on. It usually just makes more sense to publish your own unpaid content on your own websites. You control all of the rights. You build up the credibility of your websites. You get 100% of any advertising earnings.
I used HubPages largely for things I wanted to write but that I had place to publish them that fit. Every month or two I would end up back there for some reason, often to build a link to an article that had surprisingly, popped up in Google AdSense reports as making some money for me. But, in the end, I mostly dropped out of using HubPages.
However, there were a couple of things I liked about HubPages. First, there was no editorial review, so as soon as you hit publish, your article was live on the web. That doesn’t mean there are no rules however. HubPages nofollows links until you generate a high enough author ranking to get your links followed. That puts a crimp on the one-and-done types. Also, there are automated checks of things like how many links go where and so on. It is all very easy to circumvent, but it blocks the worst abuses.
HubPages has revenue sharing as well. The interesting thing about HubPages revenue share was how it was done. Hubs were published with Google AdSense ads on them. The way the revenue share worked was that HubPages showed Google Ads with your AdSense ID on the ads 40 percent of the time and showed ads with the HubPages company ID the rest of the time. In theory, this gives you a 40 percent share of all ad revenue.
Still, I hadn’t been to HubPages in some time. All of that changed recently when I decided to redirect BrightHub links to other things I have published since the company will no longer be paying any revenue sharing. Since I had some links built from HubPages, I dropped by and found a nice surprise. I’m earning money at HubPages.
Sometime in the last year, HubPages started using its own advertising program. I have no idea how it works or where the ads come from, but I clicked Yes to sign up for it. It turns out that now I’m making money from HubPages.
Don’t get me wrong, I made a little money each month with the Google AdSense program on HubPages, but never anything worth working on. However, with the new HubPages ad program, I’m earning closer to $50 per month, for articles that I haven’t updated, linked, or thought about in over a year. My greatest number of pageviews come from an article about the current Happy Meal toy at McDonalds, although my article about 529 plan contribution limits in 2011 is a close second.
I can’t help but wonder if publishing a little more on HubPages might generate some additional passive income. As it turns out, I have some extra material I can easily publish since some of it was returned to my ownership when BrightHub shut down.
Now, I have to decide how much effort is warranted at this stage.
Do you use HubPages? Are you making lots of money on HubPages?