For Some Reason the Read More Link is Broken. If you will click the title you can read the whole article. I'm sorry for the trouble.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

How to Write an eHow Article That Should Not Be Deleted

Everyone writing for eHow has seen or been hit by the purges. This is where your prize article gets deleted for no apparent reason. You, and I, took the time to craft what we believed was an article that would inform, be useful and unique, and earn some revenue as well.

Then, one day, often out of the blue the article is gone. Your title links to an "editor" article that often is substandard or only peripherally related to the original topic. eHow has improved by sending us emails to tell us about the deletions. But they have yet to tell us "why". After lurking and talking on the forums I think I have a template that will help all of us avoid the binge and purge. Check it out after the jump.

Step 1: Create a title that is a grammatically correct sentence starting with the words "How To". Don't use titles like "How To New Car Accessories". It may be keyword rich, but it sounds ignorant. Also in addition to being grammatically correct, the sentence should be action oriented. It needs to imply that something is getting done. Our incorrect sentence example could become "How To Find New Car Accessories Online".

Step 2: Build an introduction that briefly describes the problem you are going to solve. This follows on the "tell em what you are going to tell them" philosophy. The introduction should be long enough to clearly support the title and lead your reader logically to the "How To" steps that follow.

Step 3: Write one single action oriented sentence in each of the "step" boxes that will sequentially lead the reader from problem to conclusion. Why only one sentence? Because discussion on the forums indicates that many articles are deleted for not having actionable steps. And, if those steps are not in a logical order or are garbled that is a minus as well. By limiting yourself to a single sentence you address both of these discussion points.

Step 4: Write a complete paragraph following each of the sentences you wrote in Step 3. This provides the additional information to make each actionable step complete. One technique that appears to be gaining in popularity is to write the sentence in step three, then in the same text box start a new explanatory paragraph. This technique ensures that a reviewer cannot miss the actionable step.

Step 5: Write your list of items needed. Limit this to items needed to accomplish the "How To" task. Mention the item in the appropriate step. This creates linkage between the two sections of the article and ensures that no one tries to say that you are merely selling the "items needed" list.

Step 6: Write your "Hints and Warnings". This section is optional. Do not use it to include or elaborate on the actionable steps. Instead, think of this as the "Good to Know" section where the actionable steps are "Need to Know".

Step 7: Write the "Who Can Help" section. [b]Do not include affiliate links[/b]. The reader may not care that you included an Amazon link. But, the membership may use that as an excuse to flag you for spam. Or, the reviewer may decide that your inclusion of the link is spam. Spam is not adequately addressed in the TOS. But, discussion on the forums reveals that eHow and most of the members have decided that any obvious advertising is spam.


  • Don't write on topics that advocate the use of a single product if you can help it.
  • Don't write on topics that may be considered easy to find information.
I know that those seem to eliminate a huge number of potential articles. But, both have been cited as reasons for deletion on the forums. There will be exceptions to both rules, but you will want to incorporate the explanation for the exception in your article so a reviewer doesn't give you the axe.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this to be useful as you write for eHow. Please feel free to bookmark and pass it around to others who may find it helpful as well. And, if I missed anything please let me know. I'd like this to contribute toward eHow creating an "Official Writing Guide". - Phil