Elements of a Stellar Article

Updated on May 26, 2017

Many Hubbers ask if there is common word count or configuration seen across successful articles. While there is no perfect equation for creating a hit article, we have found that, by including certain elements, you can vastly improve its chances of attracting significant traffic.

Don't forget to properly attribute photos you use!
Don't forget to properly attribute photos you use! | Source

To give your article the best-possible shot at success, we recommend including:

  • A minimum of 1150 words of truly informative, well-written, useful content
  • A minimum of three relevant, high-resolution, properly-attributed photos (ideally your own)
  • At least one video (ideally your own)
  • At least one Map and/or Table Capsule
  • At least one Poll and/or Quiz Capsule
  • A succinct and compelling customized summary
  • Attractive and logical formatting

These are useful general guidelines to shoot for, but please keep in mind that you should only include capsules that are directly related and extremely relevant to your article's subject. For example, it probably won't make much sense to add a Map Capsule to a recipe article; use your best judgement and common sense.

We also recommend only including products and links that will be incredibly valuable to your reader. When in doubt, leave it out.

Let's have a look at the elements listed above in greater detail below:

At Least 1150 Words

Successful online articles are visited by a high number of readers for a reason: they're filled with good, useful, interesting information- and lots of it.

Writing an article with at least 1150 words will help to ensure that your article completely satisfies the curiosity of searchers looking for information on its topic. Being thorough may also give you a leg up relative to the competition, which may not have covered the topic in question so thoroughly.

Filler text, fluff, personal conjecture, and pointless rambling does not cut the mustard here. You're shooting for a concise, refined and informative body of text supported by great media. Today's readers are busy. Leave out personal anecdotes that do not inform the reader of anything. Whenever possible include specific, concrete information such as names, times, dates, prices, numbers, statistics, and references to studies.

Want an example of an article with EXCELLENT Photo Capsule use? Stop by E. A. Wright's piece on  finding springtime flowers in Central Park.
Want an example of an article with EXCELLENT Photo Capsule use? Stop by E. A. Wright's piece on finding springtime flowers in Central Park. | Source

At Least Three Original or Legally Used Photos

Photos play a huge role in an article, and choosing the right photos, as well as including a sufficient number of photos, can have a big impact on your article's success.

Whenever possible, use original photos that you have taken yourself. You don't have to be a professional photographer to use your own photographs- you don't even have to have a good camera! If cell phone photos help to get your message across or do a good job at illustrating a project or process, use them! Your readers will appreciate the additional visual information and will be able to trust you more as an author, as you have taken the time to use your own images (and are enough of an expert on the subject at hand to have your own images in the first place).

If you must use others' photos, properly attribute them! Stolen, watermarked, or improperly cited photos are a sign of an author's inexperience and can drastically reduce the quality of an online article. It should also go without saying that stealing or improperly attributing a Creative Commons photo violates copyright law. For advice on where to find Creative Commons and Public Domain photos, as well as tips on proper attribution, visit our Learning Center guide on legal image use.

Use high quality photos. In addition to standing in violation of our publishing policy, pixelated images look bad. We also don't recommend using stock photos, as they have come to be associated with advertisements, corporate blather, and affiliate products.

Use relevant photos. This probably goes without saying, but the photos should actually relate to what's going on in your article. Don't just stuff a couple random photos in; make sure your photos add value and clarity.

Relevant Video

Including at least one video in your article where appropriate (either in the form of a HubPages-hosted video or a Video Capsule) adds value to your work by giving readers the ability to learn additional information about the article's topic, see some interesting examples of subjects discussed, and view more complicated demonstrations of instructions or processes outlined.

Whenever possible, we encourage you to upload your own videos to go alongside articles. This builds your credibility as an author and enables you to include video that is highly relevant to the subject of your article.

Video Capsule Tips

  • When using a video someone else created, be sure to watch the whole thing before including it in your article. You don't want to unknowingly include anything inappropriate for your article.
  • Refer to videos you include in your articles in the actual text of the text to encourage your visitors to watch them (and stay on the page for longer).

At Least One Map or Table Capsule Where Appropriate

Concrete, useful, and relevant information adds a great deal of utility to an article and will keep readers with you for longer.

Two capsules that are especially good for sharing condensed information are the Table Capsule and the Map Capsule.

Table Capsules are great for contrasting different bodies of information, compiling prices, sharing timetables, and summarizing data. Map Capsules are excellent for restaurant reviews, historical explanations, and travel guides.

We encourage you to include these capsules whenever they may be relevant.

Table Strengths
Map Strengths
Summarizing price comparisons
Travel location descriptions
Comparing different things
Describing local businesses
Summarizing movie/place/store info
Illustrating historical sights/events
The Table Capsule can compare various points much more efficiently than a simple Text Capsule.

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At Least One Poll or Quiz Capsule

In addition to offering your readers an abundance of information, you should give them the opportunity to engage with your articles. The best way to do this (beyond including a Comments Capsule, which is included in all articles by default) is by adding a Poll Capsule or a Quiz Capsule.

Poll Capsules are great for gauging readers' opinions on a subject, and can be used in nearly any article. Quiz Capsules enable you to test your readers or give them customized advice. Creating a Quiz is much more involved than creating a Poll, but Quizzes can be shared on external sites by your readers, and each time your Quiz is embedded on another site, your article earns another valuable (and entirely natural!) backlink.

What about you?

Do you usually include polls or quizzes in your articles?

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A Custom Summary

Every single article you write should have a custom summary, which you can enter in the Summary box below the title while in edit mode.

The summary should be no longer than 150 words and should offer a succinct, polished, and compelling summary of what your article covers. Whatever you write should give potential readers a good reason to stop by and read, so choose your words carefully, and don't let grammar mistakes slide by unnoticed!

Add a Summary under your Title while in Edit Mode

Attractive Formatting

In addition to being alluringly introduced and filled with relevant photos, useful video, concrete information, and interactive elements, your article must be attractive.

More than 1500 words of text crammed into one unbroken text capsule is NOT going to make for a pleasant-looking article.

By breaking your text into multiple Text Capsules, you will be able to insert additional capsules throughout your article, which will result in a more even and attractive presentation.

Breaking the text of your article into multiple Text Capsules will also make your article easier to read, as you can organize your information thematically under multiple subheadings.

Like it or not, the vast majority of visitors to your articles have a very short attention span, and will be happiest if you make it easy for them to skip around.

Break It Up!

Notice how E. A. Wright's article is broken into multiple Text Capsules and has tables and photos dispersed throughout.
Notice how E. A. Wright's article is broken into multiple Text Capsules and has tables and photos dispersed throughout. | Source

Doing All You Can for Your Content

Including these elements in your article will give it a huge leg up when it comes to getting significant long-term traffic.

That said, doing a bit of research before you even start writing, as well as going back and updating your article several months after publishing it, can also significantly influence its shot at success.

Ultimately, creating a stellar article is an ongoing process that is never over, but given that you are most likely to excel on HubPages by writing about things you know and love, we hope you find it to be an enjoyable one!

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