ALUN RHYS GRIFFITHS 

© 2017 created with Wix.com

MY INTERNET WRITING :

STARTING OUT ON HUBPAGES

INTRODUCTION

Throughout my life, I always wanted to write and to be read by others. I didn't know exactly what I wanted to write - novels, plays, film reviews, travel guides were all possibilities to be explored - but I did know that I wanted to write something. And I did in fact try in a casual sort of way when I was a lot younger than I am today, but like so many other would-be writers over the ages I found it impossible to get very far into the process and certainly I came nowhere near to getting anything published.

 

So reluctantly I put the idea on to the shelf to gather dust, together with the typewriter which I was using at the time. That was 30 years ago and it feels longer. It was only much later in life that with a more serious intent, I returned to thoughts of writing, and at the age of 50 plus, eventually made the decision to once more give it a go. The only questions I faced were 'where?' and 'how?'. There seemed to me to be three possible options.

One was to literally write - to put pen to paper and then send the paper(s) off to publishers in the time-honoured way just as other writers have been doing for centuries - indeed, probably since pens (or typewriters), paper and publishers were first invented. But for me that idea, particularly the bit about sending my work to a publisher, went out of the window long ago. The thought of slaving over a hot keyboard hour after hour, day after day, honing my work getting it just right, and then entrusting my treasured creation to some faceless  publisher only to have it slung back in my face with a rejection slip - well, that was not something with which I could have coped. My self-belief would have been deflated more rapidly than a balloon peppered with shot gun pellets.

The second possible option had arrived with the invention of the internet. It was to create my own internet website. But at the time when I began writing seriously, this was an equally forbidding prospect. Despite having used a computer extensively at work and frequently at home, I really knew nothing about computers outside of my own comfort zone. That's actually still the case, but certainly at that time I wouldn't have known where to even start. I didn't know my HTML from my URL, or my RSS from any other random combination of letters you cared to put together. I think I have a fair command of the English language, but the language which computer geeks speak was as foreign to me as Gujarati.

 

So at that time, both sending paperwork off to a publisher, and compiling my own personal website, were two equally impossible options for me. That left the third possibility, also opened up by the invention of the internet. That was to join a 'content creation site' - a web space owned and operated by someone else, but a place where one could write articles for public consumption using convenient, easy-to-manipulate templates. It seemed that no real computer skills were necessary on such a site. I found one; it was called 'HubPages', and back in 2011, it seemed like an impressive and incredibly simple place to get a foothold in internet writing. And free. And that's why at the very beginning of that year, I made the decision to join up at HubPages under the username of 'Greensleeves Hubs'.

 

What follows is the story of what happened next. But first, a more detailed explanation of what HubPages offers.

ABOUT HUBPAGES
 

HubPages exists as an internet site where anybody who wants to write for a wider audience than just their immediate friends and family can publish work in the form of a short, simple web page or 'hub '. The hub one writes may be factual and informative, enthusing others with your own passions and hobbies. Or it may promote a political philosophy or religious belief that one feels strongly about. Or it may be a work of fiction such as a poem or a short story, satisfying a natural creative urge to produce something unique and entertaining. All these are good, enjoyable and even altruistic reasons for writing on HubPages. And once you've decided what you want to write, 'How to' guides provided by the HubPages staff will take you through the whole process of compiling a page and publishing it, though these are scarcely necessary in order to understand the basics. All you have to do is pick a text capsule which they provide, and type your words into it. It's as easy as that. If you want to add a photo, then you pick a photo capsule instead and copy and paste into that. The same can be done with little extra know-how to create charts and maps, opinion polls and links, using table capsules, map capsules, video capsules and the like. These capsules can all then be dragged around the page to the desired position. I soon found out to my delight that you do not need any technical ability whatsoever to compose and publish on HubPages.

 

Apart from ease of publishing, and the desire to create, entertain or inform, is there any other reason for writing on HubPages? What about making your fortune - that's a good reason for writing surely, and the big ambition, spoken or unspoken, of many who write on the internet. Well there is the possibility to write a page as a 'billboard' to promote some product or other that you want to sell, but even if the hub is not openly commercial, the opportunity still exists to carry Google advertisements (much the same as those on this page) which pay dividends when someone clicks on your page. And apart from a percentage which goes back to fund HubPages, all income received from these adverts is yours to keep. However, we are only talking pin money - pennies, possibly building up enough over time to supplement your main income or a pension, but that's about all, and even the HubPages staff themselves are at pains to point out that it is difficult to make your internet fortune in this way. Really, when it comes to writing, it's best not to think of HubPages as a commercial venture but rather as a place to enjoy writing and to gain experience in internet publishing. For that purpose, it can be richly rewarding.


Besides affording you a platform for publishing articles and maybe making you a little pin money on the side, HubPages also professes to be an online community of writers. In other words, not just a bunch of people independently writing their articles under one collective banner, but a genuinely supportive community, where advice is available in an atmosphere of friendly encouragement, and where people can get to know each other, their lives, their interests and their points of view. As far as this aspect of HubPages is concerned, it first and foremost means you have a ready-made audience for your articles. Members who become 'followers' of yours, or members who follow the kinds of topics you write about, will receive notifications when you publish and that can encourage an immediate response from them, and small but heartening levels of traffic to your pages. Any feedback they provide is also likely to be more favourable than the regrettably toxic commentary one often finds on social media sites; that is because they are followers and because they share a common bond as writers. This community element is also important in other ways; for example there are writing forums in which one can request help with issues such as presentation and marketing, and social forums in which members can discuss anything they like - writing or non-writing related. There are also occasional competitions organised, as well as 'awards' bestowed by the staff marking various landmarks achieved by the writer. And there are regular bulletins and blog posts from the staff describing changes to the site, new publishing tools and anything else associated with the site. At HubPages, therefore, you never feel you are entirely on your own.

MY PROGRESS ON HUBPAGES

So with hope and expectation in my heart I began writing on HubPages in January 2011, and what difference did all those excellent plus points make? Well - none. Leastways not straight away. I was anonymous on the site (in the sense that nobody other than the staff knew I was there) until after I finally had completed and published my first hub some weeks later. After much deliberation I had chosen a very easy subject for that first page -  travel packing advice. It was very easy because the level of research required was minimal, based as it was on my own vacation experiences. It also required few photos, and as a relatively innocuous subject, it was also unlikely to provoke any hostile reaction if anyone anywhere ever bothered to read it. Nonetheless, the very act of publishing it required guts - putting your own thoughts and ideas out there for the whole world to see is not an easy thing to do if you are totally lacking in self-confidence, as indeed I was. I did eventually press the 'publish' button on 20th January 2011 and I sat back and waited ..... Nothing, zilch. I didn't keep a record of how often I checked out that page over the next few days, but it must have been many dozens of times. I did note that the HubPages stats for the page indicated that some people had visited and read it, but I reckon 95% of traffic in those first few days came from one Alun Rhys Griffiths - me. 

Over the next couple of weeks I did write two more articles or hubs on the same general topic, and then I daringly put out a very different page - some little fictional stories which I'd composed, each exactly 50 words in length - a kind of creative writing exercise. That seemed to do the trick. I received a favourable comment from a reader, and I'm sure the person who wrote it could not have imagined the excitement which they would generate in me. A few more comments from readers soon followed, and fortunately for me, these were also all favourable - if they had been scathingly critical, I would have stopped there and then. As it was, it was enough of a positive response to encourage me to continue on writing all throughout that first year, publishing  regularly - four hubs every month - on any and every subject which interested me and on which I felt I had something to contribute, including several more travel guides, articles about astronomy and photography, some film reviews and more creative writing. The traffic and feedback did increase, though I have to say the hoped for tidal wave of visitors did not materialise. A dripping tap would have been a better analogy than a tidal wave.

The 'ready made audience' which I mentioned in the previous section really made a big difference during this time however. Although traffic from off site generated by Google searches would soon outweigh traffic from within HubPages, most of that traffic left without any interaction whatsoever. That's understandable - most people who read articles online don't bother providing feedback via comments or e-mails - but unfortunately it does make it difficult for a new writer to know whether the article is actually being liked or not. In that regard, HubPage members - also known as 'hubbers' - were much more likely to provide feedback; indeed in my case, feedback was almost exclusively from members, and the support they gave me in those early days was what encouraged me to continue writing more and more hubs through the years of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Traffic, feedback, and also income, gradually escalated during that time. Some other hubbers who became followers of my articles would be especially helpful. One member called Derdriu actually commented on every single one of my first 71 articles. I reciprocated, following her pages and the hubs of other active members, commenting where I felt I had something useful to say, or where I felt their hubs were especially good. I became familiar with the work and the areas of special interest of several dozen writers, and they became familiar with my work. I also began to participate in some of the forums, asking questions and answering the questions posed by other hubbers. I began collecting accolades awarded for various achievements on the site, and I read with enthusiasm updates from the HubPages staff. I was slowly but surely becoming a part of the community.

I also began advertising my pages on social media including Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. Any article I published could now be guaranteed a brief flurry of comments, and I was beginning to learn which articles attracted the most views and which were a waste of effort (purely judged in terms of traffic). A few were now receiving more than a hundred visits per day, whilst many others wouldn't reach double figures in a whole month. But overall, at its peak I was receiving perhaps 800 visits per day to all of my pages combined, and after three or four years of membership, I was feeling pretty content with that.

HIGHLIGHTS OF HUBPAGES

You may have figured by now that the rewards for writing on HubPages may be comparatively small in scale both for traffic and for profit, but they are many in number and they are frequent, and each landmark achieved is one to savour. The first for me, I guess, was that comment received on my fourth published article - a hub entitled '50 Word Mini-Stories'. It may not have been my first article, but it attracted my first ever feedback, and it came from a HubPage member with the username 'Pandora's Box'. They said:

 

'What a great writing exercise. You came up with some insightful mini-stories.'

 

Nothing very special I suppose, but I cannot describe how important it was to me to receive it. And it wasn't only the first ever comment which I remember from those early days - there was also the first ever visitor from off the HubPages site, the first ever 'follower' of my articles, the first 'fan-mail', and even the first time the 'Google AdSense' (advertisement) earnings figure switched from zero to one cent. All such 'firsts' were highlights. 

Then there was a special day in July 2011 just seven months after I started, when two things happened; I won 50 dollars in one HubPages competition for a page entitled 'Shades of Red', whilst another page about 'The History of Jordan' was named 'Hub of the day' - the best article published on that particular day. That sort of thing also gives a confidence boost.

And then there were the forums. They were very much a peripheral aspect of HubPages for me, but back when I joined there was also a Q & A section where one could ask a simple question of other members. And here as a 'highlight' I would have to draw attention to the supportive element of HubPages. I posted one question which was nothing to do with writing. It was a question of a personal nature during a period of deep emotional crisis - a family relationship issue which had troubled me greatly. What matters is the responses I received. The writers who replied to me - some of them followers of my hubs but others quite unknown to me - were constructive and deeply sympathetic. Indeed, so thoughtful were they that the whole experience may form the basis of another internet article I write one day - an article about how the internet society can operate at its very best.

Traffic to my pages did increase over the years, and some hubs began to catch light. The first time a hub received more than a hundred visitors in a single day was a highlight. Then after writing one hub about tug of war, I received a phone call from the president of the world governing body of the sport. The theme of the article had been to promote tug of war as an Olympic sport. The result was a link on the governing body's website and my first hub to go viral in a mini sort of way. I say 'mini' because it didn't lead to millions of views as some viral internet posts do, but I did receive a few thousand in the space of two or three days. It was exciting while it lasted and served in a small way to demonstrate for me the vast potential that the internet offers.

Personal contacts such as that from the tug of war governing body were memorable highlights, as of course were e-mails from people associated with causes, institutions or places about which I had written, and also some notable Twitter followings which I received as a result of promoting my pages there.

Two other notable landmarks should also be mentioned. The 500,000th visitor arrived at my pages at the end of 2014, and I chalked up the 1,000,000th visit in July 2017. It's easy to convince oneself that one million visits is something to celebrate, and so I did, and that is the subject of another page at HubPages and indeed on this, my own website.

So there have been highlights, and those moments - together with the general improvement in my stats - meant that HubPages had become a major component of my life during the first five years of my membership. Writing on HubPages occupied pretty much all my free time, and my ambition had become a simple one - to keep improving..

 

Then things began to change, but to explain why, we must look at the past history of HubPages, and look at it from the perspective of the HubPages staff and also that of the internet product and services giant, Google.

The problems a non-commercial internet writer like myself faces when trying to find suitable free images with which to illustrate his articles.

HUBPAGES : THE STORY FROM INCEPTION TO NOW


It is easy to think of HubPages on the basis of what I've said so far as if it is some kind of charitable institution offering free webspace to anyone, with little managerial control over what its members write. It isn't; it's an internet company looking to make some profit, by taking a share in the advertising revenue from Google and other adverts. That just goes on in the background most of the time, and nobody really notices or cares (personal revenue is minimal anyway so it's not as if the company's share is crippling writers' opportunities to make a fortune). Nonetheless the requirement for HubPages itself to make money needs now to be raised because indirectly that has impacted on my continued presence there.

HubPages has been going since 2006, which is not at all bad for an internet company, but in all the years since then it's had its shares of ups and downs struggling with the desire to satisfy its members' creative ambitions whilst also satisfying the sometimes conflicting need to keep Google happy (a happy Google means higher rankings on the Google search engine - an all important requirement for any internet company). It has - as I understand it - been a real struggle.

 

Initially everything went well for the HubPages site, and its body of writers. These were boom years when there was little competition, social media was still only just finding its feet, and HubPages I think were keen to build up their membership. Writers were given quite free range over the design of their articles, and traffic to the site was good - almost regardless of the quality of what was being published. And that may have led to complacency. Because almost anything - regardless of quality - was allowed, and certainly I can well remember seeing hubs of very miniscule merit - just one paragraph of writing and maybe an out of focus photograph, and truly amateurish presentations. I even saw unintelligible hubs written in broken English by foreign hubbers understandably keen to reach out to a worldwide audience.

 

But the Internet is an everchanging, almost uncontrollable beast and things beyond HubPage's control meant that these good times could not last. In 2011 (as luck would have it, the year I joined) traffic was slashed to communal revenue sharing sites like HubPages  following a change to the Google algorithm - the criterion it uses for ranking sites on its search engine. It meant that HubPage articles became much more difficult to find. Two factors in particular seemed detrimental against Hubpages.

 

The first factor was Google's entirely laudable concern with quality. Pages such as those I described earlier with poor grammar and minimal content were damaging the reputation of the site as a whole, and so the consequence was that HubPages had to begin raising its quality bar by 'unfeaturing' articles which did not meet a required standard - a sensible response. Some other content creation sites went under at this time, and HubPages made further efforts in 2014 to strengthen its position by acquiring one of its rivals - Squidoo - in a friendly takeover, bringing in an influx of new writers and more revenue. 

 

The second factor was that Google seemed to favour more subject-specific sites, in preference to HubPages where every single subject matter under the sun was carried under one banner. The result of this was that Google lowered the visibility of generalised content creation sites.  In 2016, amidst efforts to revive or at least stabilise its fortunes, HubPages countered this development by moving to a multiple-site set-up with (currently) 27 separate domains each specialising in different themes such as arts and crafts, travel, technology, food and cuisine and creative writing. Effectively HubPages was no longer one single website, but many separate specialist sites under one umbrella - sites with names like Wanderwisdom, Soapboxie, Hobbylark and Exemplore.
 

More recently still at the beginning of 2018, HubPages merged with the Maven network, described as a 'publishing,  advertising and distribution platform', and together with another partner 'Say Media', this apparently now makes the group the largest independent media coalition in North America. I don't pretend to understand the business ins and outs of this merger, because business jargonese is as difficult for me to comprehend as computer jargonese, but it seems that when it comes to internet publishing, 'big' is increasingly beautiful. The consensus of opinion both within HubPages and in objective reporting circles, seems to be positive about the future of this new conglomerate.

It does seem that the company has been doing everything in its power to swim against the tide of increased internet competition and Google changes, and I don't envy the staff its trials and tribulations. It does seem at the time of writing (March 2018) that there is a new found optimism among the staff and many of the members, and whilst the heady days of anything-goes writing, easy traffic, and easy profits may be in the past, I think they may well now succeed in keeping the brand name going. But ...

HUBPAGES : MY DISENCHANTMENT

 

My ups and downs on HubPages were mirrored by the company's own fluctuating fortunes, but the headaches for HubPages were of course on a rather greater scale than my own. I was only just starting up with one foot off the ground and no economic investment in the project, so there was nothing really for me to lose except my dreams of writing distinctive and appealing articles. HubPages on the other hand had plenty of a more tangible nature to lose including the jobs of the staff.

I have detailed above some of the initiatives they've introduced in order to keep their head above water, including the drive to irradicate sub-standard hubs, the acquisition of rival sites, the transition to a multi-site presence, and the merger with Maven - all things I could wholeheartedly endorse, with few minor reservations. There were also some negatives which I didn't like, but which I could nonetheless accept. Some of the social elements on the site were curtailed, I think due to the time-pressure constraints on staff who had to administer them - they were a distraction when their main task was obviously to concentrate on making the site as competitive as possible in internet search engines. Thus, the Q & A section came to an end, and so did some of the competitions, awards and some other trivial but nonetheless enjoyable features of the site which existed when I first joined.

But then HubPages began taking things a bit too far for my liking. They began 'interfering' too much in the design layout of members' hubs. It was no longer just a matter of unfeaturing inferior quality hubs; they now also began insisting on all hubs conforming to a standard of design. Little things such as the removal of upper case titles, the deleting of dividers (narrow decorative lines or patterns separating blocks of text) and the insistence on using HubPages's own copyright notices rather than the author's own, were all measures they introduced. Some over-zealous HubPage editors even began removing some photos from my hubs, modifying the wording of hub titles and even adding images which they felt would compliment the page. I felt it was getting to the stage where my hubs were no longer entirely my own work, and I felt they were worse for it. And eventually I began to think more and more about moving my articles away from the site.

 

I did reverse some of the changes made to my hubs in the hope that the staff would get the message and leave them alone. I also sent endless e-mails protesting the changes, but to no avail. Some of the standard responses and notifications sent out by HubPages in respect of the changes especially grated with me for what seemed to be an ever so slightly offensive tone. They talked in general terms about the need to improve 'sub-standard hubs', a catch-all phrase which now included all hubs, however well written which did not conform to their prescribed layout. Having amended some of my work against my wishes they would then send a stock message saying 'we have reviewed your hub and it looks great', when I knew perfectly well that it did NOT look great after the revisions. It looked considerably worse. The overwhelming impression I received was that the HubPages staff felt they knew best, and that I had to accept that fact. Well, I didn't, and my disenchantment grew.

Then came the final straw. Signals coming out from the company were that smartphone friendly hubs were the way to go because an ever increasing number of visitors to HubPages were accessing it from smartphones, rather than using larger screen formats such as desktop computers. I wouldn't dispute that, but I would dispute that more visitors were actually then sitting down and reading lengthy and comprehensive articles such as mine on smartphones. The format just isn't geared to that kind of involvement - smartphones are geared towards dipping in and out, reading very short paragraphs and posts, searching for an answer to a question. Anyway, that's by the way; the point is, the mobile smartphone route is the way HubPages chose to go, and there would be no compromise. There would no longer be the option to write for larger screen formats, and that meant effectively discarding most of the creative possibilities available for web page design and layout on desktops and laptops which I had so cherished and taken full advantage of. On smartphones, but also on larger formats, my hubs would now look the same as everyone else's on the site, and rather nondescript as a result.

My disillusionment was almost complete. It was time to look elsewhere, to find web space where I could design my own pages and lay them out exactly as I wished. The search led me to the Wix website builder, which had one very big disadvantage - it would cost me money to publish my very low profit articles. The huge advantage however, was a much greater range of design options, and almost total control over the design and appearance of the finished page. I made the move in late 2017.

WIX

This is not the place for detail about Wix - this article is about HubPages. It was however, designed on the Wix website builder, and I mention it here because anyone who has read this far - even on a desktop - may feel that the layout is somewhat lacking in creative design, the very factor which has led to my move away from HubPages. That's fair enough - it's just a series of blocks of text. That's because this page is really just an essay about my HubPages experience without need of much illustration, or any maps, graphs, videos, opinion polls etc. Some of my other pages linked to in the header menu however, will hopefully demonstrate the design input which I crave, and which I felt I was losing at HubPages.

MY WRITING TODAY - ON HUBPAGES AND ON MY OWN SITES

So where am I today? Well, I published my first website consisting of ten pages of short stories, poems and literary reviews using Wix as a website builder (but with my own domain name as the URL) on 7th December 2017 - my birthday. I published the second, a Canary Islands travel site, on 6th January 2018, and this is my third, which went live on 1st April 2018. At the time of writing therefore, I have three websites all of my own, but more will be added as time goes on. Each will specialise in a particular area of interest to me. The next one will probably be a website devoted to astronomy.

 

After publishing 161 articles on HubPages over the course of seven years, no new articles have been posted there in the past six months. But I do remain a member of HubPages and I may well publish there again - any oddball hubs which really do not belong on any of my own specialist sites may still find a home there, so my presence will be retained. It's just in limbo at the moment.

 

The point is, I have to concentrate on my new sites at the moment to get them up and running. Also, before I publish anything new at HubPages,  I will have to find time to attend to all existing hubs - possibly moving some to my new sites, but editing all the others one by one to fit in as best I can with HubPages' new design policy, whilst trying to keep them as inviting as possible to readers.

 

Just don't think that my time there is over - the policy changes which have led me to branch off on my own should not occlude all the good that HubPages did for me as a fledgling writer all those years ago, and they should not be allowed to spoil what remains a good site for anyone with writing ambitions to start up on. The final two sections of this article will expand on that theme.

HUBPAGES - A GREAT PLACE TO START YOUR WRITING CAREER

 

There are a multitude of reasons why one may decide to take up the challenge of creating a first ever web page. Most people will have a combination of motivating factors driving them onwards, and the importance of these factors may vary with personal ambition and may change with time. My key reasons were probably to gain experience in web page publishing, and at some stage in the future to earn money. As I became more experienced, perhaps the pleasure of simply creating something which hopefully is enjoyed by someone, somewhere else, became a greater, if more modest, motivation for me.

What about others - the fellow HubPage members I know and respect, and potential new members, yet to join? If anyone reading this is already a successful contributer to HubPages who just happened upon this article out of curiosity, then I wish you continued success in whatever writing ambitions you have.

 

But if you are fresh to internet writing, or just thinking of getting started, then should you consider giving it a go at HubPages? Yes, because you need to 'learn the trade', so starting simple makes sense. I've already made clear that HubPages is as simple as it gets, and it offers two big advantages.

First you need to learn how to write, and that isn't so easy. Of course you do not have to be able to write well just to publish something on the internet. But anyone who wants to gain respect as a writer, or write for a living, will need to do much better than that. Today there is a vast potential market which writers can reach with their work, and thousands of outlets are prepared to publish it. Rewards for the elite can be great, but it follows that competition will be stiff. The most obvious way to stand out from the competition is to write well. But nobody writes well without practice. One hears tales of child geniuses in music or mathematics, but rarely so in literature because writing is a skill which requires much practice. Therefore the best way to improve as a writer is to write and write and write some more, until one gets a feel for what reads well. And where better to practice doing that than on a site like HubPages, where you can publish and receive criticism in a benign environment from fellow hubbers. It also allows a writer to try his or her hand at a multitude of different subjects and styles, and gain experience in different kinds of writing discipline - important if one wants to be really successful, as few of us are fortunate enough to corner the market for one particular literary form or subject. Most have to be prolific AND flexible. As far as writing well is concerned, I'm making it sound like I'm some kind of expert; I'm not, but I have improved significantly since 2011.

 

The second big advantage of HubPages is the experience in getting to grips with all the other aspects of online publishing. Whilst the ultimate goal may be to create your own site, that puts you into direct competition with authors and programmers who do it for a living and who know the business inside out. Do it wrong and regardless of your writing skills, you'll not only get zero visitors, you probably won't even know why you're getting zero visitors. At HubPages, you can get to grips with linking pages together and affiliating your pages to advertisers, using SEO (search engine optimisation) to maximise traffic, and doing pretty much everything else necessary to make your work professional, efficiently organised and potentially profitable. It is one way to learn the basics of publishing so that if you do later want to branch out and produce your own site, you will have a better chance of success. And you can do it for free.

 

So for anyone who finds the very idea of writing and then publishing and then waiting for someone to judge their work, all rather too daunting, being a member of the HubPages community is undoubtedly an easier route to follow, than starting out friendless and alone. I may have moved on, but I would not deter anyone from writing for HubPages where the learning curve costs you nothing but time. Joining in 2011 was definitely the right choice for me at that time, and I would not be writing here today, had I not made that choice then.

THE FUTURE

 

So HubPages and I have parted company to some degree though I hope it is more of an amicable temporary separation and doesn't become a permanent divorce. I owe a lot to the site and may still gain more from them in the future, whilst I hope they have also benefitted from my presence there. We have been through a lot together; indeed, our experiences have had a lot in common.

 

The staff - and I - had both experienced a lot of headaches as a result of fluctuating fortunes. In the case of the staff, Paul Edmondson (co-founder and CEO of HubPages) has described an eight year struggle since starting up the company, dealing with Google algorithm changes and trying to make progress. It seems that whatever he and his team did in the past, it was a case of two steps forward and three back. Likewise I too experienced many frustrations. However I tried to improve my pages, there would suddenly be a reversal of fortunes due to those lovable algorithms.

 

The staff - and I - both had to make choices, some of them reluctantly, in order to try to improve our respective situations. HubPages pushed through many drastic changes to keep themselves afloat, including joining Maven. Some of the decisions they took led in turn to my decision to move work away from the site - I too needed to do something drastic if I was going to keep the level of control that I wanted. That led to me joining Wix.

The staff - and I - both hope that these changes we've made will introduce a brighter future. I want to attract a larger audience with my own distinctive sites than I ever could by writing exclusively at HubPages and perhaps one day make myself a genuinely useful income. I now have greater freedom than I did before. And likewise HubPages must be hoping that their merger with Maven will at last grant them a certain security and a degree of independence from the whims of Google.

 

 

HubPages at the beginning of 2018 was claiming 37 million page views per month with 6,000 monthly contributions from members. In total it boasts more than 650,000 published articles. I have been responsible for at least a tiny percentage of those page views, contributions and articles. In return, HubPages has given me a creative enthusiasm which had been sadly missing for many years. Each page I wrote for them was a challenge which diverted my mind away from problems and worries. Great pleasure was gained from writing there. It enabled me to put together a large body of work, it offered me a platform  on which to express my opinions on a whole host of subjects which matter to me, and it gave me a chance to interact with some quality writers and a helpful community.

Despite all the misgivings about some of the policy changes which I experienced, I obviously wish the HubPages team and all their members well in the future.

I’d Love to Hear Your Comments. Thanks, Alun