Give me 31 Days and I’ll Give You a Better Blog… Guaranteed

Check out 31 Days to Build a Better Blog

Give me 31 Days and I’ll Give You a Better Blog

Check it out

A Practical Podcast… to Help You Build a Better Blog

The ProBlogger Podcast

A Practical Podcast…

FREE Problogging tips delivered to your inbox  

Write a List – Rediscover Your Blogging Groove Day 1

Posted By Darren Rowse 17th of July 2007 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

Rediscover-Blogging-Groove--1Today’s task in the Rediscover Your Blogging Groove project is to write a list post.

I find that one of the easiest ways to write a blog post is to write a list.

  1. Lists are Scannable
  2. Lists keep Posts succinct
  3. Lists look ‘neat’
  4. Lists area easy to link to
  5. Lists can be a comprehensive to tackle a topic
  6. Lists can be persuasive
  7. Lists add to the ease of writing
  8. Lists can start memes and go viral

The above reasons for writing lists was taken from – 8 Reasons why Lists are Good for Getting Traffic to your blog

There are a few different types of ‘list posts’.

1. Simple Lists – the above post (8 Reasons Why Lists are Good….) is a fairly simple list post.

  • There’s a small introduction to the topic (A couple of sentences)
  • There’s a short summary at the end (a paragraph).
  • The points are all short and quite succinct
  • The list makes up the majority of the post and really speaks for itself.

Simple lists are often shorter, sharper and to the point. They can be quite powerful and make a real impact.

2. Longer List Posts – the majority of list posts that I write are slightly more complex lists. I like to introduce a topic, explore a need, give some examples and then launch into a list.

Once I start the list itself I then like to expand upon each point along the way. This suits my style which is a little more long winded.

A few examples of my own include Wedding Photography – 21 Tips for Amateur Wedding Photographers and How to Take Great Group Photos.

In actual fact these sorts of posts border on being more essay like – but are broken up and formatted with headings for each point to make them a little more digestible and scannable to readers.

3. Lists as Parts of Posts – lists can also be used within posts quite effectively.

These lists might help to make one of numerous points along the way or there may even be multiples lists within the whole post (like this one).

Be a little careful not to overwhelm readers with too many lists and sublists (lists within lists can be confusing). But don’t feel that a list needs to be the only thing within your post. If you’re looking at an example of this type of post – you’re reading one. This post has numerous small lists in it with other commentary between them.

OK – so enough theorizing about list posts – it’s time to go and write one. The hardest part is probably going to be picking a topic to write your list about. A few ideas (and another list):

  • 10 Ways to Use a….
  • The most common mistakes….
  • How to be an effective….
  • The most popular 17…..
  • Reasons why I love (or hate)….
  • The most beautiful (ugly, fascinating, crazy)….
  • 5 Steps to achieving….

If you want more examples of list posts check out the Lists Group Writing Project which has over 300 examples of list posts.

Go write a list. Post it and come back here to share a link to it in comments below so we can see what you came up with.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. And here I thought list posts were dead…

    Just kidding, my blog is almost entirely lists at this point. Lists do provide an excellent organizational structure, and they help the post cover all different aspects of a topic with out the superfluous transitioning in between.

    On top of that, they really are the most scan-able format for a blog post. And in today’s internet world that means a whole lot.

    Great post Darren, I’ll be sure to link to you with my next ProBlogger inspired list post.

    – Mason

  2. Haha, lists are incredible. They make writing a post easier as well as reading it. :-)

    I just wanted to let you and your readers know I’m testing out a new pluging that gives Prime Placement Text Links from my high traffic blog for just $1.

    Check it out (or edit this out if its too commercial): http://www.oneyeargoal.com

    Thanks for the great posts.

  3. Even thought it might seem to some that you’re overselling the point of lists, I have to say thank you because I’ve started in incorporate them more and more and I can tell that the my posts are becoming stronger because of it. Thanks again!

  4. Good idea . . . I’ve done this with bold headings and brief paragraphs and I’ve done it to some extent.

    But the lists are terrific for the reader who has to wade through so much info anyway . . . and if they contain original how-to information then the reader may even come back to read the list again.

  5. I just had a series on What You Should Know Before Joining Adventure Race

    Series posting in the topic of What You Should Know…works great sometime.

  6. 1. I think this idea is good
    2. Lists are goods
    3. Lists related post titles always sell

  7. http://dillydesigns.com/2007/07/16/my-top-10-short-term-goals/

    http://wordpressreworked.com/2007/07/16/my-top-10-favorite-wordpress-theme-sites/

    and I am still coming up with ideas for my third blog. Thanks for the great ideas Darren, I am looking forward to the rest of the series!

  8. Agreed with HH! – Lists are wonderful when I have writers block*=)

  9. Lists seem twice as quick to write. I don’t know why:

    7 tips for compelling blog posts

    http://www.netwriting.co.uk/2007/07/16/how-do-i-write-compelling-blog-posts-7-tips/

  10. I did one today… Seven Geeky Products for Summer… but I’m not horribly happy with it because usually I *write* a several hundred words of unique content and this one was basically just speed linking. Good approach, though, I’ll have to try for other posts. Thanks!

  11. I use lists all the time on my blogs. In fact, I already had one in the works when I read your post!
    http://diywedplan.com/3-tips-for-a-great-bachelorette-party/

  12. Having just published a list post, reading this article has removed any doubt I had with regard to the effectiveness of my post. Thanks.

  13. I’ve been trying to do lists on my blog; however, it comes off as I’m trying to create a lists for “lists’-sake.” Some of my posts should be in list format at all, but I still try to make a list. I need some help with the list format because I see it used on almost every blog.

    Brandon J
    Money for Military

  14. Here’s a list post I wrote just the other day: 13 SEO-Only Firefox Extensions.

  15. I like writing lists and my special twist is that my lists are always questions. I write a business, technology, training, organisational strategy mash up blog and the question-list format provides real world applicability and a great framework for readers. My latest posting today with lists is here – http://blog.robinyap.com/2007/07/celebrating_milestones_1.html

    Please let me know your thoughts on it. Thanks!

  16. Unfortunately, I’d already done a list before I read this post, and I don’t think I did a good enough job of keeping each post brief and to the point. It’s Stop F….ing About – Time Management Tips for Internet Start Ups at: http://cathlawson.com/blog/?p=117

    Never mind, I’ll try again tomorrow.

  17. I already posted something at my primary site (http://www.techtraction.com) on the topic of sponsored WordPress themes for today so I decided to do top 5 election issues post over at my shared blog Brothers In Blog (http://brothersinblog.com/2007/07/16/top-5-election-issues-for-2008-scooter-libby-is-not-one-of-them/)

    BTW: This week long series with very loose rules is a great way to get past writer’s block. Let’s see how I feel about it at the end of the week. :)

  18. here the list of the top scripts on scriptvote.com: Free and ready to use php and javascript scripts

  19. Thanks much for the advice. I put it to use today with my top 10 sleeper/undervalued fantasy football picks:

    http://nflminute.com/2007/07/16/top-10-undervalued-fantasy-picks-sleepers/

  20. Some people may argue that the list thing is overdone. However, all of my list posts are the best performing as well as responsible for a majority of the inbound links.

  21. I respectfully disagree. Lists are a hallmark of a lazy blogging style that is often used as a crutch to hide that a post has no depth and little new content.

    I’m as guilty as anyone, of course. I’ve written fluffy lists like “Top 20 retro cars” as link bait. I’ve even tried a hybrid approach with a list called “My favorite oddball microcomputers,” which links into my site archives to encourage people to read in depth. It worked, but only because I had solid content to back it up.

    But a list all by itself? Ask yourself how much information you’re really generating for your reader. It probably isn’t much, and therein lies a serious problem. Anyone can write a list.

  22. I agree with James that lists are pretty easy articles to write, however, they do provide great value to readers. The list articles that I have added to my blog are always very popular with my readers. Here is one very popular list article – Top 10 World of Warcraft Podcasts.

  23. I use lists so much that I began to think in ‘list’ form, if you know what I mean. They’re a great way for readers to pick up your main points.

  24. Excellent topic I’ve enjoyed visiting the lists on this thread. I use a combination with my post but the ones that usually receive the most response are the lists. Taming the Savage Beast: Five Ways RSS Has Made Blogging Easier

  25. I like lists for the quick way they get key points across. Here’s my list.

    Five Ways to Set Up Your Blog To Chase Readers Away
    http://karenshanley.com/blog/?p=582

  26. To me, lists are fun to read, almost as an addiction. Though they do not often give the most information, they do make concise points without drivel and sometimes tedious wording. Plus, in a case like fantasy football (what I write about ) they are often useful to the reader as a quick reference.

    In other posts you can go into greater detail concerning something, but a list is a nice change of pace, something that is easily scanned and read.

  27. Speaking for lists posts- “all rumors of their death have been greatly exaggerated”. I don’t think they’ll ever go out of style, they’re so readable.

    I just posted this yesterday:

    10 Expert Tips to Increase Blog Traffic
    http://jobmob.co.il/blog/how-you-can-win-the-jobmob-guest-blogging-contest/

  28. Its always easy to break the post and keep them interesting this way, here is mine

    http://www.technospot.net/blogs/five-drawbacks-of-text-link-ads/

  29. Funny coincidence, I had this post online before reading this topic:

    http://www.dailyblogtips.com/blog-setup-40-practical-tips/

  30. Here’s my list attempt. At times it seems “listy”, but overall, I think taht this is a solid and informative post. What do you guys think?

    milestoneworship list

  31. I just finished a non-blogging-topic list post and I came upon this post… so I’ll share my post “EarPlay – 5 Alternate Titles for Your Summer Outdoor Concert Listening.”

  32. Nice idea – lists are always easier to create than other posts

  33. I did this a few weeks ago – The Seven Stages of Blogging – http://mamarant.blogs.com/a_mamas_rant/2007/07/the-six-seven-s.html.

    It was based on a list type article in the NY Times – The Six Stages of Email.

    Lists are perfect for blog posting because they break up the copy into small blocks that people can scan. That’s why they work.

  34. Lists always boost trafffic to my blog. Here’s my latest: Household and Personal Products [in Germany]

  35. Thanks for the great inspiration. I’ve been working on a bunch of new posts as cornerstone content for my new blog, and I will definitely make sure some of them are list posts.

    http://eversmall.com/index.php/get-help-when-you-need-it/

  36. I’m a fan of the simple list myself One thing I find that helps with lists is bold text. It’s a really great help for scanning. All the users of bold out there, my RSS reader commend you.

    Here’s a list post I churned out some time ago. Still gets good traffic:

    5 Tips On Saving Money At The Car Wash

    Baz L
    Day In The Life of Baz

  37. Great stuff Darren, just what I needed. I can’t write pure list posts because of my subject matter, but I’m incorporating them as much as I can, they certainly help readability.

    You can see my latest one here:

    http://www.urbanmonk.net/95/emotional-mastery-the-danger-of-positive-thinking/

  38. In our time-scarce lives, most of us would rather read a list to get the specific information we seek than read a post full of paragraphs. It’s a little disheartening, but lists are a hallmark of useful blogs.

    Great information packaged in small sound bites = giving readers what they want

    Blogs are much like the Tivo of the internet.

    Thanks for another great opportunity Darren. Here is my list – The Top 4 Parenting Styles And Why You Should Avoid 3 Of Them.

  39. Here is my list of the top 10 mispelled words in blogs. :)

  40. I’m running a weight loss experiment for my readers and today was my update day. So, I incorporated a list into my post, listing the top 5 benefits that I have experienced from the Six Week Body Makeover. Here’s my post:

    http://www.thefitshack.com/2007/07/16/the-six-week-body-makeover-experiment-update-week-two/

    Darren, I’m looking forward to the rest of the week. This is a good idea, something to spark our enthusiasm. Thanks! :)

  41. My blogging groove just started – but already I feel the pressure and pain of keeping a groove going. I find writing list articles to be easy – and they organize my mind. But sometimes I feel a little cheesy writing them simply because they’re so popular. Then I try to write a non-list post (some of the material I cover requires other formats!) and it seems hopelessly LONG and difficult to navigate. Still working on that…

    Anyway, here’s mine:

    7 Ways Chinese Medicine is Changing the World for the Better

    Thanks for this great series!

    Eric

  42. A list post about list posts, genius! Why didn’t I think of that?

  43. Thanks for the great idea! My website has HDR photography of the scenic places Michigan locals love (but might not tell you about), with google map links to each of the locations. And, now it has a list of reason’s why visitors love Michigan. Check it out: http://michigansweetspot.com/