How to Be a Great wikiHow Author

While volunteering on wikiHow, it's very common to have big dreams, like earning a barnstar, or simply being a great author. wikiHow's mission is to be the world's greatest how-to manual, so if you chip in as an author, and help achieve that goal, you can help out wikiHow's mission and become a great author.


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    Know the basics of writing wikiHow articles. In order to write a high-quality wikiHow article that will help you to achieve your goal, know the basics of writing wikiHow articles. Don't feel pressured to create an article that needs no edits at all - it's not really possible to create an article that needs absolutely no edits to begin with. However, if you put forward a lot of effort into creating your article so that it needs minimal editing before being promoted, it helps to speed your article through the boosting process.
    • Before you write an article, it's recommended to get some experience with copyediting, formatting, and categorizing. While it's not necessary to learn about formatting and categorization with the Guided Editor, it can help a lot when using the Advanced Editor, and copyediting skills will help you to sharpen up your article so that it will be more likely to be promoted.
    • Read Write a New Article on wikiHow, Write a Good wikiHow Article, and the writer's guide to get a basic idea of how to create new articles for wikiHow. You can also read Write a How-To Article and Write Successfully for the Web, but these articles are not specific to wikiHow.
    • Be sure to follow the deletion policy. If you write an article on something that violates the deletion policy, the article will not be published. Similarly, try to follow the merge policy so that your article doesn't get merged or deleted because another version already exists.
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    Avoid violating copyright laws. While it can be easy to simply copy an article you found on another site and change one or two words, this is copyright infringement, and is illegal. If it is detected that an article you have written may violate copyright laws, somebody will notify you and the article's content will be removed unless you have a way of proving that the content on the other site is yours. Copying someone else's work is plagiarism, and doesn't give you a good reputation as a great wikiHow author.
    • Don't immediately panic if someone notifies you that your article has been flagged as a copyright infringement. It's possible to edit your article so it no longer violates copyright laws and can be presented on wikiHow.
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    Title your article properly. When writing a wikiHow article, it's important to follow the title policy so as to avoid your article being tagged as a duplicate. Make sure the words are capitalized in the proper places, and avoid using punctuation in your title unless necessary.
    • An example of necessary punctuation in titles would be something like "Play", since has a period in it. Unnecessary punctuation would be something like "Take a Bath." - it looks awkward when it's there and interrupts the flow of a sentence if the link needs to be inserted somewhere.
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    Write a good introduction. Make sure that your introduction really pulls the reader into your article and interests them into reading more, even if they're not initially sure if they want to do the task.
    • If the article is about something serious, such as performing first aid, avoid ending the introduction with "Read on!" or "Look to Step One to get started". While it's easy to end your introduction with this line, they make the article sound casual, which isn't appropriate for serious topics. Try to make your introduction flow into the article as much as you can.
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    Write about something you know a lot about. Each step should be an action or part of a process. If you start a new article with many informative steps, your article may be nominated as a Rising Star; if the article is of good enough quality, it may even be featured as a Featured Article!
    • To have the best chance of receiving a Rising Star after publishing your article, make sure the article is devoid of typos, grammatical errors, and matches up with wikiHow formatting; everything should be properly organized and every step should start with a verb. The article should be of a good length, so aim for at least five steps with several sentences written after that.
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    Add in Tips and Warnings. To really round off your wikiHow article and be a great author, it's a good idea to add in sections for tips and warnings. Try to make sure you have more tips than warnings; a good rule is that for every one warning, aim to have at least two to five tips. Don't worry about adding everything in at once - tips can be added in later on, whether through direct editing or through wikiHow's Tips Patrol.
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    Weave links. Almost all widely-viewed wikiHow articles have links weaved into the article, and they are almost guaranteed to have Related wikiHows listed underneath the Tips and Warnings. Review wikiHow's Internal Links policy before weaving links into the content of the article, but don't be scared to insert links to other articles.
    • Try not to go overboard. It's common for articles to have lots of links. However, having every two words in your article contain a link can become an eyesore, and is overdoing it.
    • Link an article only once if you're weaving it into the text. It's fine to have an article linked in both the text and the Related wikiHows, but if you link to the "Listen" article every time you write the word "listen", for example, it gets repetitive.
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    If necessary, add "Things You'll Need" or "Ingredients". Sometimes, articles will require a Things You'll Need section, or an Ingredients section if you're writing a recipe. Things You'll Need is meant for physical, non-food things that are required to complete the task, while ingredients are food items that are required for making the recipe.
    • Typically, the Things You'll Need section will go at the bottom of the article, usually after the Warnings section but before the Related wikiHows section. Ingredients, on the other hand, should be at the top of the article, between the introduction and the steps to make the food.
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    Add photos to your article. Not every article needs photos or drawings of the steps involved, but some articles highly benefit from them. If you're an artist, draw pictures. If you're a photographer with a good camera, take photos. When an article has photos, it becomes more helpful to others and can be considered more visually appealing.
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    Insert a video into your article, if possible. Some things can only be understood by watching someone else do it, while other people are visual learners and learn best by seeing others perform the task. Try to search for a video that goes along with the how-to format of your article and gives people a visual as to what they need to do.
    • Don't limit yourself to YouTube videos. It's okay to insert videos from other video-sharing sites, as long as it matches the context of your article.
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    Know how to reference sources. When writing a wikiHow article, you may need to reference another website, or possibly an offline citation, such as a book. After determining the credibility of the source, be sure to properly cite the source in your article.
    • You don't have to add sources or citations to every article. However, if the article covers a topic that requires professional knowledge, such as medical advice, it's best to cite sources.
    • Be sure to follow the external links policy. An article can't consist solely of links, and spamming a link to your site is likely to get your site blacklisted.


  • Try collaborating with other users when creating articles. Working with others can help to improve your writing skills, as well as make friends on wikiHow. Don't try and take credit for the other person's work, though!
  • To write good articles, it's recommended to choose topics that you know a lot about. You may not know a lot about the Youth category, but excel in writing articles about computers. Write what you know!
  • Do research on your topic to add extra information to your article.


  • Don't copy other articles. Copying other articles, regardless of where they're from, is plagiarism and will not give you a good reputation.

Article Info

Categories: Writing and Editing