How To Write A Successful Tutorial
The Internet has become an increasingly important entity and at times even indispensable. Today any information can easily be found online, the difference between an amateur and an experienced user is the speed with which one finds the sought after information, but the assumption that the information can’t be found online is wrong. A clear example of the fact that the Internet has become a “universal teacher” is the impressive number of web designers who have learned their trade by this means only. The large number of resources and their high quality are strong evidence that, through hard work and passion one can learn anything. A particular type of item, widely used among web designers, but not only is the tutorial. This is the kind of article that shows, step by step, from beginning to end, the evolution of a project. This can describe how to create a logo, change an image, creating a layout, HTML & CSS implementation in a navigational menu, etc… The big advantage of posting such articles is that it will attract a large traffic.
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Despite the baseness of the idea, writing a tutorial is not a job anyone may accomplish and hides a substantial effort which is required to achieve a quality post. It presents common features with other types of posts, but there are significant differences. Thus, to write a quality tutorial, that will bring many visitors, it is advisable to study the peculiarities of these articles. Here are the most important aspects, but the list is perfectible, therefore do not hesitate to relay your own ideas using the comments.
1. Select a well defined target audience
A tutorial can be addressed to all practitioners of a certain field of activity but it will probably be received differently by a beginner or an expert. The success of a tutorial will be higher if it will be published on a blog that has a well-defined target audience: a site containing tutorials for experts should publish higher level tutorials, whilst a blog with tips and tutorials for beginners should have the appropriate material.
Mixing tutorials for experts and amateurs confuses readers; an expert expects a complicated tutorial, using several techniques, which will put an amateur in a difficult situation. Publishing a simple tutorial with fewer steps on a blog frequented by experts can be considered a job of low quality which will only lead to a reduced number of visitors. A solution for this aspect is to present the level of difficulty of the tutorial in the beginning of the post. Although this will not seem very important, the success of the tutorial will rely on its publication in accordance with the experience and potential of the sites visitors.
2. Give sufficient details and avoid boredom
A tutorial, unlike other types of posts demands a lot of attention from the reader. Browsing it from head to tail cannot compare with reading an “in-depth article” or an inspirational one. In these circumstances, a visitor will probably quit halfway through the tutorial, so any creator of such posts is forced to keep the attention of any visitor awake.
On the other hand, the lack of details can make the tutorial seem incomplete and without the required explanations. A quality tutorial manages to maintain a balance between the amount of detail provided and their relevance in order to teach the technique / techniques used.
3. Use images and screenshots
An alternative is to use images instead of plain text, especially screenshots. They offer lots of information about the various stages of the project but also the values of various commands and options used. Most tutorials do indeed use the power of images, so this advice is not something new in the field, but because of its importance I had to insert it here. Another advantage of using screenshots is the possibility to evaluate every stage of the project, so each visitor that goes through the tutorial and tries to obtain a similar result as the author can get a clear picture of what it’s supposed to look like after different stages. In this way feedback is very important and useful.
4. Try to obtain a high quality end product
Due to the enormous number of tutorials and lack of time, a user interested in attending a tutorial will judge very quickly, but superficially its quality. To get as many visitors as possible, the end result, whether a code or a .psd file should be attractive and useful. Some tutorials allow the download of a project which is another factor which attracts visitors because one can study the final product of the creator, which is supposedly of high quality.
5. Creating a modular structure
Sometimes going through a tutorial is a time consuming enterprise and a break is welcome. To meet such problems it is highly recommended to split the tutorial into small steps. A simple superficial study of tutorials dedicated to Adobe Photoshop enthusiasts to see a tutorial modular structure and its enormous advantages is enough to understand it.
6. Guide readers to use their creativity
The purpose of a quality tutorial is not a rote learning of techniques or the creation of a project as similar as possible to that of the author. A quality tutorial will include incentives for those who try to go through it using their own imagination. Urging active participation, the learning process is quicker, saving valuable time.
7. Help those that require assistance
In order to clarify certain aspects or for advice users can use the comments section, which is often recommended by the authors themselves. In order to show that any reader is important and to convince them to visit the site where the tutorial is published more often a prompt response to any grievances of visitors is required. Even if a question is not founded or is not relevant, there is a moral obligation to respond and be sincerely helpful.
In conclusion, creating a tutorial is the prerogative of talented and experienced professionals who can really teach readers very interesting and useful techniques, but this is not always sufficient. Compliance with the above advice will definitely add to quality so good luck with your work, let’s see more interesting quality tutorials which are more easily understood and applied by users.