Should Instructables titles begin with "How to..."?

I tend to write the titles of my 'ibles as if the phrase "How to..." was already there. Thus: Get Any Information... Knit replacement pads... etc.

I notice, though, that most of the Burning Questions begin with "How to..." This suggests that people are searching using those words.

So, should I change all my titles to start that way, or just leave them as-is?

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Yonatan249 months ago

It hurts only if your title is too long. If you can add it and it sounds good, great.

ʸᵉˢ ˢᵉᵃᵐˢᵗᵉʳ, ᴵ'ᵐ ᵗᵃᶫᵏᶦᶰᵍ ᵗᵒ ʸᵒᵘ

And djpolymath.

I modify titles so they sound right, with a how to or without, or make them interesting, maybe even intriguing, really just whatever works... If you type in how to in google then instructables without a how to will come up just the same, in fact in a quick test I can modify the search quite a lot with zippo tricks and still get my 'ible as first result as long as zippo tricks is mentioned... Granted that's a lazy example since it has so many linkbacks
Kryptonite7 years ago
As Kiteman says, it depends on what market you're aiming at, the wide internet or Instructables. I prefer not to have it, but others like it as an addition to their titles.
Kiteman7 years ago
"Burning Questions" has a specific history.

It was originally used to help bring traffic via search engines by creating content that matched common searches.

If lots of people are searching for "How to eat a banana", then you create a project called "How to eat a banana".

That means that people using a search engine will be more likely to actually come here, and, once here, stay.
Zansion Kiteman7 years ago
I never thought of it that way, though it makes perfect since. Thats how I found Instrucables, after all.
Robot Lover7 years ago
whenever I type in something in the search bar and press enter, it put  'how to' in the front of it.
nickodemus7 years ago
Not necessarily. For short Instructable titles that don't take long to say.

E.G. "How to make a Car" is a good title.

"How to make an oil-powered automobile" is a bad title.
If you wanted to leave the words "Oil-powered automobile" in the title (No matter how redundant), you could shorten it to "Make an Oil-powered automobile" without the "how to"

That probably wasn't the best example, but you catch my drift.

You still want to have a descriptive title that sums up your project. If it ends up being a short title, try adding "How to make a", or "Make a".
Just think about how you want it to sound, and choose accordingly.

(PS I looked at all of your titles, the only one that seemed slightly cumbersome was the one about the bike rack, you could try changing it to something like "Make a Bike rack with reclaimed materials" or "Make a rear bike rack". Other than that, they all looked pretty good.)


Hope this helps out a little.
yoyology (author)  nickodemus7 years ago
Good advice. Thank you.