Never Underestimate the Power of a List

List posts are an awesome way to generate buzz and drive traffic to your blog. Most blog readers appreciate lists more than traditional text. They’re easy to read and contain small bits of information per item, allowing us to take in some quick knowledge before moving on to the next entry. Most web readers scan rather than get involved in a full fledged read and lists are great for shorter attention spans. I’m also learning most people find list posts to be fun, and very link worthy.

Case in Point: Thursday I wrote a post for Simply Thrifty called 100 Things You Can Make Yourself. For the first time ever, a Simply Thrifty post received more than a few Diggs – almost 50 at last count. It was also picked up by Lifehacker, The Consumerist and several dozen other blogs, the traffic surge was huge. (It’s also one of my most copied posts, many a lazy blogger are taking credit for the piece.) This has been the case with my last few list posts as well, though they didn’t receive the thousands and thousands of visits and page views this last list received.

I submit that almost every blog out there is worthy of a few lists. I don’t care how narrow your topic, even if you can’t think of something off the top of your head, you have lists. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • List posts don’t have to have hundreds of items. They can have 3 items, a dozen or even a thousand. It doesn’t matter as long as they make sense.
  • You don’t have to say much in a list post, unless you feel the need to explain. My above-mentioned post contained a link for each item rather than a full-fledged explanation.
  • Lists are a great way to get over blogger’s block. As mentioned above, you don’t have to blog much about each specific item.
  • After you post your list, be prepared to defend it. There are always people who will debate certain points of your list or wonder why you didn’t include a specific item.<.li>

Lists can be a lot of work. A lot of work. The lists I wrote for Simply Thrifty took a couple of hours each to compile. You don’t have to spend as much time on your lists, but be prepared for lots of work if you’re creating something elaborate.

If you’re just starting out (and even if you’re not) and want to create some buzz, try a list post. If you have a really good list, Stumble it, Digg it and send it to places like Lifehacker. You’ll be amazed at the power of the list.

2 thoughts on “Never Underestimate the Power of a List

  1. Deb: So true. Some of mine took between 35-50 hours of writing and revising, not including collecting URLs to reference (which I did during regular research surfing). Way back when I started, I think i was sometimes earning $3-6/hr on lists. Hard work for sure.

  2. Lists can be a lot of work. A lot of work.

    Organized information is valuable. But organizing information takes a lot of work.

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