In the past we’ve written about a few different “How-To” sites on the web that offer tutorials on how to do something. So far we have covered WonderHowTo and Expert Village, both sites which have excellent guides. Today we’re taking a look at another solution called Howcast. It’s got a great interface and professional videos, and we think it’s one of the best how-to sites available. You can never have too many resources on the Internet for learning how to do various things, can you?
Howcast was actually created by former Google and YouTube employees who wanted to create professional how-to videos for consumers. On their About page, they say, “Howcast brings together the personality of user-generated content with the quality of a professional video studio to create engaging, informative, and free how-to videos for consumers. It also offers emerging filmmakers an opportunity to gain experience, exposure, and income.”
The topics that they cover really varies, but the one thing that they all have in common is the professional nature of the how-to videos. Every video I watched while exploring Howcast was very professional and engaging which makes a difference.
Using Wiki Guides (link)
One of the unique aspects to Howcast is their Wiki Guides Section. This is where people are able to write various how-to guides that others can contribute to. Those who want to edit content must have a Howcast account, otherwise they won’t be able to make changes. Another nice feature is the option for people to comment of various Wiki Guides.
When you are viewing a Wiki Guide, you’ll notice options up at the top of the page like “older” and “newer” or “changes” and “rollback.” Users are given access to previous versions of a Wiki which is why those navigation buttons are available. By clicking “Changes”, everything that was added or deleted from the previous version is highlighted so that a user will know what has changed.
There’s also a Print button up at the top. Clicking on it will format the page nicely for your printer, and then you’ll be able to print something you found that was helpful.
Several sort and filter options are available when you’re looking through Wiki Guides and they include options to sort by most viewed, most recently added, top rated, top favorites, most emailed and most discussed. You can also filter down the Wikis by selecting only certain categories. There’s also the option to view only those written by Howcast writers, or those written by the community.
Searching Through Categories (link)
Multiple categories of how-to guides are available at Howcast. Just look for the “Categories” tab at the top of the page. There you’ll find a list of categories ranging from Arts and Media to Travel. You know what? We’ll just go ahead and list the categories right here so that you’ll know what’s available:
Howcast Community (link)
Once you sign-up for an account, you can become part of the Howcast community. One way to do this is to upload your own how-to videos, while another way is to write your own Wiki Guide. If you decide to write-up a guide of your own, the Howcast community will be able to edit it. It can also be made into a video as well.
Each member has a profile page that they can edit and add information to. It also acts as a “dashboard” and will show you how many videos you’ve added, how many wiki guides you created, and how many comments and subscribers you have. And yes, you can subscribe to someone’s profile so that you’ll be updated when they add new content.
Wrapping it up
One of the features that we failed to mention is that you can create playlists of how-to videos that you want to watch, but you must have a Howcast account to be able to do it.
Looking through the videos, here are a few videos that might interest you:
- How to fix a wet cell phone
- How to take great pictures with your cell phone
- How to fix a scratched CD
- How to use your iPod as a backup hard drive
- How to setup a custom WordPress blog
If you’re trying to figure out how to do something, checkout Howcast. We think you’ll be impressed with the quality of the videos, the interface, and the opportunities that they provide for the community to get involved.
Thanks for the tip Pieter!