How to Write a Compelling List Post

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If you’ve never written a list post, the following tips will help you write one that attracts readers for a long time after it’s published.

It’s no secret that blog readers LOVE list posts, probably because they’re so much easier to read online than long paragraphs. I even read somewhere that post titles starting with a number have a much higher likelihood of being clicked on. Obviously, giving readers what they want is going to be more effective than publishing something just because it happens to tickle your fancy.

From the blogger’s standpoint, it generally takes less time and effort to put together a list than it does to write a more traditional article-style post. But that’s not to say you can just fire off a bunch of random facts or tips and expect an amazing response. Like any content you create to promote your business, to be effective it must meet the needs of the people in your target audience and provide valuable information they can use. Here are a few ideas to consider for your blog:

  • Top 10 productivity apps
  • Top 10 myths about organizing
  • Top 10 reasons to hire a professional organizer
  • 10 strangest things I’ve found while organizing
  • My 10 most popular blog posts (this is not only the easiest to write, but a great way to get more mileage out of your older content!)

Of course, you don’t have to come up with ten items for your list – anything from 3 to 101 will do just fine. In fact, I’ve read that, for some reason, titles beginning with an odd number generate more traffic than those that begin with an even number! Ensuring that every list item offers value to your readers is more important than meeting an arbitrary standard. Just make sure that the number in your title matches the number of items in your list! 🙂

It’s equally important that your list be consistent, in both topic and length. Don’t include detailed explanations for two or three items and no description for the others. If you do plan to provide descriptive paragraphs for your list items (which will make your post more informative), make sure your list isn’t so long that people won’t take the time to read it. If necessary, break your list down into categories. Since most people prefer to read less content more often, splitting it into a series of posts could be an effective way to generate new blog subscriptions.

I hope the above tips will be helpful as you write your next list post.

© Mariusz Prusaczyk – Fotolia.com

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Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

8 Comments

  1. Avatar Seana Turner on February 19, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I’ve done a few lists… 5 myths about Professional Organizers, Top 5 gifts (I do this one every year). I like your ideas… I made a “clutter quiz” out of the funny things I’ve found when organizing. You’ve got me thinking. Maybe this will be my next post!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 19, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      I always enjoy your “top 5 gifts” posts – you may recall that I mentioned it in my presentation on How to Write Blog Posts that Get Results.

  2. Avatar Andi Willis on February 25, 2016 at 6:59 am

    I love a good list post – to read and to write. Several of my list posts like 32 Inspiring Quotes and most recently I give you permission to have been some of my most popular. Thanks for your tips. They are great as always.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 25, 2016 at 9:59 am

      I loved your “I give you permission” post! It really opened my eyes to things I had been overlooking.

  3. Avatar Jamie Steele on February 25, 2016 at 8:11 am

    Great tips, Janet. I too have read that odd number list generate more traffic. One reason I read for this is that it is harder for our brain to process odd numbers. When an odd number is in the headline it is more likely to grab attention and get clicks. I love learning about how our brains work.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 25, 2016 at 10:00 am

      That makes sense! Thanks for the explanation.

  4. Avatar Autumn Leopold on February 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I love to do reverse lists posts as well. Like my post about Why Not To Clean Off Your Desk, Why Not to get organized…Those you can make super funny and relatable too!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on February 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      That’s a fun twist and a sure attention-grabber – thanks for sharing!

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