There are plenty of how-to sites on the Internet, but sometimes, in the words of Guides.co CEO Scott Annen, you need to look up something “more complicated than tying a tie or stuffing a turkey.” When you do, Annan is hoping you’ll visit the Guides.co website.
He argued that most forms of content have been reinvented for the digital world, but not instructional, how-to books — which, unlike a novel, “you don’t read from start to finish.” When published through the Guides.co platform, instructional content is broken down into more digestible chunks, with easy navigation for the reader and the ability for authors to keep their content up to date. Basically, it’s closer to an interactive website rather than an e-book.
Guides.co also gives authors more details about who their readers are (you have to sign up and provide your email address to get access) and what they’re reading, with features like a heat map that shows how long people are engaging with different sections.
The company (previously called Accel.io) started out with a focus on startup-related content, but its ambitions have broadened. It relaunched today with the new name, highlighting its goal to become the home for any guide-type content. And a new feature allows companies to create their own branded mini-sites highlighting all of their content. Annan suggested that these sites could eventually replace the “resource center” and “white paper” sections of corporate websites.
For example, Pop.co (the bundle of online business services offered by the company behind the .co domain) has created several guides to help non-technical founders start online businesses, covering topics like hosting and DNS, as well as starting a business.
Publishers can offer their guides for free or charge for access. If they charge, Guides.co takes a transaction fee, though Annen said the fee is just covering costs — the real plan to make money is by charging businesses for premium features like the branded mini-site.
Guides.co recently raised a $500K seed round from angel investors, including Shopify founder Scott Lake, Shopify vice president Adam McNamara, and TravelPod founder Luc Levesque.