Home improvement and other how-to articles can be the equivalent of a house of cards. Learn how to trim the excess from your home improvement articles, and create useful and compelling content.
Lose the Excess Insulation
On your next home improvement project, use a sticky note to catch drill dust. pic.twitter.com/yI6rCPyrmQ
— State Farm Nation (@StateFarmNation) August 27, 2013
There are some phrases which crop up in home improvement articles and DIY how-tos which are annoying space fillers. When writing a step-by step how-to article, lose these phrases:
“In this step” or “the first thing, the second thing…” or “First, begin by …”- This is annoying, especially when the steps are already numbered.
“Now you need to” – Simply take that phrase out and capitalize the next word, which should be a verb.
“To begin” – See above
“In this article I will show you” or “In this step I will show you…” or “In this tutorial I will show you…” These are okay in an overview, but do not include them in the copy Using them more than once is even worse.
More phrases to lose:
“You will also want to be sure to”
“During this point” or “At this point”
Lose extra words. For example, “After the 2 minutes have passed” should be “After two minutes have passed.” The word “the” before the number is filler, and the number two should be spelled out.
Rather than fill a how-to article with meaningless and redundant phrases, add more substance to the content. For a true home improvement how-to, list the materials and tools needed at the beginning or the end of the article
1. Number any steps with numbers and bold headings.
2. Make each step actionable.
3. If the sentence is not directly related to helping someone perform the task, lose it.
4. Lose the jargon. Use the real names of tools and describe processes with action verbs.
5. Describe the process for the average person, assume they have only basic DIY home improvement skills but are willing to learn.
Improve Your Home Improvement Articles
Avoid Home Improvement Articles With No Substance
Home improvement articles which only describe the problem and the need for a solution, without providing the solution are worthless. You will lose future readers with empty content and fluff. It’s not worth any initial upfront payment to publish this type of article.
Show, Don’t Tell
The old writing adage, “show don’t tell,” applies to both the content and the photos. Home improvement articles and DIY how-to tutorials suffer greatly when no photos are included. Ideally, multiple photos should be included with the content. The next best scenario is a before and after photo. Or, include a photo of a difficult or confusing step.
Match the Curtains and the Carpet
The content should match the headline. Do not use headlines which do not accurately describe the home improvement article.
Use Your Own Experience
Anyone can look up how to unclog a toilet online. Do you have a funny story bout unclogging toilets, or advice on which methods work best for certain sizes and types of toilets? Share your actual experience, backed up with some research, when writing home improvement articles.
Give Useful Advice
If your best advice for the home improvement project or problem is to call a professional, do not waste hundreds of words to tell the reader that. Find other solutions, or find a new topic.
Spellcheck and Proofread
If you have glaring typos in your content, readers are unlikely to consider you a valid or trustworthy source of information. How can they trust you to tell them which tool to use when there are typos in your sub-title?
Don’t Take on Too Much
Topics which are too general do not work for home improvement articles. Headlines about “The Importance of Decorating” or “How to Fix Floors” are too general. Tell the reader about a specific type of decor for a specific room, or how to fix a certain type of floor.
General articles listing five types of decorating styles are commonplace and unoriginal. If you are going to do this type of article, either spend one article delving into the fine points of one style, or make it a comprehensive article which can be used for reference.
Rating: 5 out of 5