How to Write a Good “How to Guide”

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1.  Start with a catchy title, one that pretty much explains what you are going to write about.

2.  Add an interesting, but short, summary, this should include any further explaination on the subject as well as a “why” it is important.

3.  Formulate your ideas well, jot them down.  Research any areas you are uncertain of.

4.  Write in point form, step, by step.  When you break down each step it is easier to read than when written in a paragraph form.  Each step should be short, clear, and numbered for reference.  

5.  Use simple language that people can understand.  This is not the time to show off your knowledge of “big words” unless they are exclusive to what you are writing about, in which case you should also define the words for novices (new people) to that topic. 

6.  Use pictures to explain the tricky parts if needed, but make sure the pictures are understandable and clear. 

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7.  You may need to explain why you are doing certain things as you are.  Sometimes people will read a guide and think they can do it better, cheaper, or faster, by eliminating one or more steps.  If you explain why a certain step is important then they will probably be happier with the end result because the short cut they took might result in a poor end result.

8.  Offer examples if needed.  For example, when teaching people how to feed their pets correctly I like to tell them that if they don’t, then it could cause problems, such as poor health later in the life of the pet.

9.  Don’t have too many steps, or too few.  If something is going to  have over twenty steps you might want to break it up into Part A, and Part B.  Thus making the project not seem overwhelming. 

10.  Have somebody who is not familiar with the project read it to make sure it is clear and understandable to them.

11.  Give credit where credit is due.  The photos used here are from Wikimedia. 

12.  Make sure you end it your guide clearly, a good ending for this article might be: “There, now you are done, I hope you found this How to Guide useful, please feel free to add any comments below.”

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