To do: write a list post
Have you ever written a list post?
Writing a list post can be very beneficial for your blog. If you’ve never done a list post before, perhaps this post will encourage you to do one.
A list post about why you should write a list post
Talk about meta. Day 2 of 31 Days to Building a Better Blog encourages you to write a list post. Why?
List posts are nice for the following reasons:
- Lists are scannable for the lazy readers. You know you get lazy–if you can just scan lists for the main ideas, you can get value in 30 seconds without even reading more than a few hundred words.
- Lists prevent you from rambling because we all like to jump on our soap boxes. Unfortunately, our readers may not care much about our soap boxes. There’s not much room for rambling within list posts.
- Lists are easy to organize because all we need to do is think of a topic, and suddenly we can have our heads brimming with five, six, seven concrete ideas that we can succinctly write down.
- Lists are persuasive so that you can express your point of view without all the fluff of transitions and stuff.
- Lists are neat and for a simplistic blogger like myself, who personally hates clutter on blogs, this is a great selling point.
- Lists can be comprehensive if you do your research.
- Lists break down the complicated into simple, easy to digest points.
- Lists can go viral because of all of the above reasons. Since everyone loves list posts and finds them informative, they’re more likely to share the list posts, which adds to virality.
So, have I convinced you to write a list post?
Great. Now, there are three different kinds of list posts:
You’ve seen posts like these. Where there’s no intro, no outro, just the list. Kinda like a grocery list. You just write the list.
People like them because they’re straight and to the point. But sometimes you want a bit more depth to your list, which is why you may want to consider…
In-depth list post
This is where you have a list, but within each bullet point, you talk about the bullet point.
Each point can be a few paragraphs long, so it adds another layer of depth to the post, but at the same time, a reader can scan the post and get the bulleted highlights.
Best of both worlds, and if you haven’t noticed, this is the way I like my lists
Lists that happen to be within posts
These are posts that just so happen to have a list.
The distinction between this type of post and the in-depth post is kind of blurry, but in the end, your reader isn’t going to have to answer a question as to what sort of post they just read was. This is just a general guideline to help you create a list post.
How to create a good badass list post
Here’s a few tidbits to help you create a badass list post, adapted from Problogger’s Ten Steps to a Perfect List Post. Give it a gander!
1. What sort of list?
Are you looking at a sort of “link” post, where you link to x number of blogs about a certain topic?
Are you looking to make a step-by-step post? Or just a list of ideas that your readers can use?
This is important to figure out at the onset.
Make sure that the individual items are related to one another by the over-arching list name or theme, otherwise you may lose people.
2. How many items on your list?
I like this post from Hector Cuevas: 4 ways you’re destroying your credibility and 5 tips to avoid it. It’s a two-fer. One list showing how you’re destroying your credibility, and another list showing you how to avoid those pitfalls.
So, pick a number. Try to keep it above 5, because any fewer than 5 seems like you just didn’t try hard enough.
Round numbers are always nice, as well as numbers that end in 9.
But personally, I like to pick out a number before moving onto the next step…
3. Brainstorm ideas
If I pick a number, then I have a number to strive for. Always brainstorm for more than the number you chose, some ideas may be merged or some may be not closely related enough.
4. Have a logical order to your list
Even though you supposedly don’t need a transition for your list, the ideas do need to flow.
A list post regarding a daily routine would obviously have to be organized chronologically.
A list post regarding what sorts of foods to eat when trying to lose weight should be organized in some manner, perhaps with certain food groups grouped together.
Every post will be different, but use common sense–make sure you organize your ideas.
5. Have consistency in writing your ideas
Either use bullets, or don’t. Don’t jumble them up. Since this list post has two lists, I wanted to show two different ways you can list the ideas within a list.
For long lists, like, 99 things to do when you’re bored, use numbers.
For lists shorter than 10, bullets will be fine.
Note that you can easily change bullets to numbers by changing the <ul> and </ul> tags to <ol> and </ol> tags in the html editor.
If you’re going to elaborate on each point though, I do not recommend using the html list; I’d recommend using Header 3 tags (or <h3> tags for us tech savvy guys) because it’s good for SEO and it’s also easier on the eyes, not to mention that adding line breaks within an html-formatted list creates a formatting nightmare.
6. Invite readers to add to the list
I do this for every post, so why not list posts? Always be engaging with your readers, it’s important in building communities of readers, and a loyal following.
When people feel like they can have a neat discussion on your blog, they’re likely to come back because of the community of readers you have.
7. Have a super cool title
Yes, this is the last step, for me at least. I always have a tentative title, just so I know what to write about, but I always make a cooler title at the end, based on what my content is.
For more information on creating a catchy title, check out the four headline tests.
Onto you: Ready to write a list post?
In the comments, write one or two ideas for a list post that you may want to create, then after that… write the list post! Take action, and feel free to share your list post when it’s done!
In peace, love, and prosperity,
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