We all know a good instructable when we see one, right? We get hooked by a title, image, or both. We take a second look, skim the first sentence or two, feel ourselves being pulled in, thinking, I could do that! Before we know it, we've read to the very end. This happens when an instructable answers two burning questions:
How? (How can I do what the author did?) and,
Why? (Why did the author do that?)
Believe it or not, there's something of a formula for writing a great instructable, and I'm about to break it down for you.
Your title is your first and biggest opportunity to make an impression and get potential readers to read further. If your title doesn't plainly state what your project is about, potential readers aren't likely to take a second look. Here's why:
If I had named this instructable "An Editor's Secrets Revealed," would you be reading it? That title may fit, but it's vague. It doesn't tell you whether the information in the instructable will be useful to you. A better title, and the one I went with, is: "How to Write a Feature-Worthy Instructable." This title helps you, my potential reader, make a good guess about whether reading on is likely to provide you with the information you want.
One more point to add here: Just because a title is straightforward doesn't mean it has to be boring. It's often wise to include descriptive words that help explain why your project is special or unique, especially if other people have already posted projects on the same topic. Consider "How to Boil an Egg Perfectly Every Time" vs. "How to Boil an Egg." Which one would you click to read?