The Power Of Lists

List features are ludicrously popular with readers and writers alike, both online and in print. Why? Writers can easily order their ideas and are not forced to write essays. They can keep their copy breezy and succinct which always has massive appeal if you blog regularly and are pushed for time. Readers like lists because they are a quick and simple source of information. Scanning such articles for key information you need is easy, much easier than picking out information from a big block of text.
This said, every blog out there is using lists so it’s difficult to stand out from other sites that use them unless you have an angle to attract a specific readership.

Six ways to make the power of lists work for your blog

start making your own lists

Tip One: Play with the numbers

The most common types of lists across the internet are top 5s, top 10s, top 50s and top 100s. Rather than following this numeric trend try listing in 7s, 11s, 13s, 99s and 101s. It may sound a little strange but the sites that use this technique are very popular and it’s because, in part, the number they’ve chosen stands out as a strange and intriguing choice. People click to find out why you have chosen that specific number.

Tip Two: The quirkier your list, the better

Anyone can compile a list of the top 10 greatest sci-fi films of all time but few would think to compile a list entitled ‘13 Bad Turns for Brad Pitt.’ Such titles are a great way of getting your blog, and your writing noticed. Put yourselves in the shoes of the reader: would you want to read another top 5 reads list or would you prefer to read '11 moving companies to get your stuff to the other side of the Earth’?

Tip Three: If you can’t be quirky, be niche with your lists

Search engines are looking not just for particular words but for particular phrases. If you’re writing a list about a certain topic make sure you make it as niche as you possibly can. For example ’10 shoes to wear this summer’ is quite niche but ’11 strappy sandal styles to wear this summer’ is much better. Often, in summer, people are not wearing ‘shoes’ but ‘sandals’ and are thus more likely to be searching for them. On the other hand, people looking for lists about losing weight at the start of the year (when their new year's resolutions are fresh in their minds) may type in a specific term like, protein pancakes instead of a broad heading like healthy foods. Whatever field your list is in see how far you can narrow it down. That’s the way to get people to find you.

Tip Four: Information versus comedy

You might write the most hilarious lists in the cyberverse but if they don’t really tell the reader anything the novelty is very likely to quickly wear off. Just because a list is funny doesn’t mean that it has to be void of information. The best foundation for any list is research. Once you know what information you want to convey you should, only then, be thinking about how you will do so in a fun, light-hearted way. There are dozens of blogs offering funny lists but if your lists actually inform as well as entertain then your readership will undoubtedly become stronger.

Tip Five: Keep the language fresh in your lists

One way to spice up a list is to use subject specific vocab. Although this list uses the word “tips” similar words such as “ways” and “steps” are very common and if the idea is to go against the grain these words should definitely be avoided. Instead use language associated with the topic you’re talking about or use more sensational or dramatic words to stand out. For example: mistakes, blunders, crimes against humanity, wonder cures are all much more exciting words and can be used for a range of purposes. As a writer you will, of course, be easily able to think of many other examples. These are just a few to get you started.

Tip Six: Alternate your posts

If every post you write is a list things are going to become quite predictable quite quickly, which is a great way to lose readership. Just because you can use lists well doesn’t mean you have to use them every time. Variety is definitely the best way forward when it comes to pleasing your readership and lists should be part of a range of article structures you use. Other writing forms you may consider include: diary entries, transcripts, newspaper-style reports and fake dictionary or glossary pages. Using lists alongside these other tools will offer your blog readership a varied, informative and fun experience that will, undoubtedly, set you apart from the crowd.

Recommended reading: how to write better articles and make your blog popular. Also visit our How Do I Blog page for more helpful blogger tutorials like this one.

 This is a guest post by Christine Connor.


Self Sagacity August 17, 2011 at 10:30 PM  

Such wonderful tips Anne, I can spend the whole day hoping around your blog. After which, I should feel a lot smarter. :-)

Icy BC August 18, 2011 at 12:25 PM  

Fantastic article, and wonderful tips! To be honest, when it is more than 20 on the list, it escapes me totally. Attention span for me nowadays is very short..

Anne Lyken-Garner August 19, 2011 at 8:07 AM  

Thanks for the visit, Amanda and Icy.

What a kind remark! I try to included something for everyone here.

CuppaTeaDear August 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM  

Your blog is really helpful. We are new to blogging so love reading your blog.
Check us out at cuppateadear.blogspot.com


Anne Lyken-Garner May 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM  

Thanks for visiting. I'm glad we could help you with your new blog. There are several fabulous articles around this site for new bloggers. Let me know if you need help finding them.

Anne's a published author, freelance writer and experienced editor. She's just signed her second publishing contract this year with 2 separate publishing houses. You can hire her or see her available books in the side panel on the right.
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