One of the very first posts that I published on Site Sketch 101 was titled “14 Ways to Increase Your Blog Traffic.” Within days that article had received dozens of twits and quickly began to rise in page hits. I felt that it was quite successful considering the fact that this site was only days old when it was published and that I had very few followers and subscribers at that point.

In that article I created a brief overview of 14 methods of increasing visitors to your website or blog. It was at point number six that I touched on this very subject. Let me re-share that point with you here and then let’s explore this topic in more detail:

Make list posts – This post is a perfect example of a list post. List posts are food for search engines like Google and yahoo. They allow readers to gain information on a subject in a quick, concise manner.

1. They have explosive, attention grabbing headlines.

Having creative headlines on your blog is an incredibly important aspect to getting visitors to view your content. Quite often readers will browse through your list of posts until they see a headline that really grabs their attention. If after browsing through your articles they don’t find any headlines that really stand out then they will most often leave and not return.

When combined with a little bit of creativity headlines for list posts can be the perfect way to grab the attention of your readers. Consider the attention grabbing power of these headlines: 14 Ways to Increase your Blog Traffic, 5 Websites That Look Divinely Inspirational, 4 Useful Things You Could Do Tomorrow, 9 Amazing Hand-Sketched Websites, 5 Sure-Fire Strategies for Better Blogging.

2. They are a skimmer’s delight.

Let’s be honest for a moment. When you’re reading articles from other bloggers, how often do you read every word from start to finish? And how often do you skim through the article and read the portions that seem the most relevant to you? If you are like most people, you probably do the latter of those two options. You probably skim for the highlights and then hone in on the key concepts.

When you create list posts, you are making this process that much easier for your readers. You are allowing them to see large bold headings for each of the core concepts of your article. At their leisure they can then grab the information that they want and move on to the next point.

3. They allow readers access to a quick overview of a subject.

Due to the very nature of list posts, they tend to cram a lot of information into a post in a concise manner. Your readers can take in your expertise on a subject simply by looking at each point’s headline. If they want more information they can read into that point…if not, they can move on to the next point.

4. They Demonstrate Clarity and Organization.

Organization is one principle that will help you gain success in nearly every area of life in which you apply it. When you become more organized in the office then an increase in your personal productivity often follows. When you are more organized at the workplace then a promotion often follows. Organization helps you get more done and it looks good to those who see you. As you work to demonstrate your expertise in your niche it is always good practice to be able to put your articles into blocks of information that are very organized and easy to sort through. In a way, this increases your credibility as a blogger and inspires people to return to your site searching for more.

5. They are perfect food for search engines.

List posts are great for getting hits from Google. Really this point goes hand-in-hand with our first point. If a user queries Google for something that they are interested in and a dynamic headline for a list post appears in the top ten listings, there is a very strong possibility that it will be that headline that gets clicked on. It’s like promising to give the searcher several points about their query instead of just one.

Leave Your Feedback!

What do you know about list posts? No, really. Leave some feedback on here and let me know what you believe are the pros and cons of list posts. I’ll see you in the comments!

Nicholas Cardot

About Nicholas Cardot

It's my personal quest to enable every person that I can to unlock that dormant potential concerning their online influence. Also, I'm a geek.

15 Comments

  • nelson says:

    we can all agree that list posts are enjoyable .

    the thing to remember is not to overdo it .

    the downside to these posts is that they allow little room for explanation .

    a list post is no longer a list post if after every list item you have 10-15 rows of explanation . it becomes something else .

    and because they allow little room for explanation you have to make sure you know WHEN to use these kinds of posts .

    you can’t write a list post like ‘how to set up a blog’ and have items like :

    – choose your cms .

    – seo it .

    and so on .

    these are points that require extensive explanation . they require their own posts .

    the other downside to these posts is that they usually require readers that already have some knowledge about the topic .

    if a reader that knows nothing about blogging for example would read that post you were talking about he would have trouble understanding it .

    and here comes the most important part of blogging ( in my opinion of course ) and that is : knowing your target audience and knowing what they know and what they want to know .

    • nelson » I disagree about the explanation business. In my opinion, and I agree that it is different for everyone depending on who they are and who their audience is, it is completely valid to have a list post with lots of explanations. I almost never create straight list posts like you are referring to, but I very often make lists like this one where I write paragraphs of information about each point. I want the portion of my audience that already knows a lot about the subject to be able to just read the headlines and the portion that knows very little to be able to read the paragraphs and learn the nitty gritty details. In my opinion, any post that has a headline like “5 Reasons To Mow Your Lawn” is a list post even though it is written like an normal article with the inclusion of numbers headlines before certain articles. I find these types of posts very useful and engaging.

  • Ruchi says:

    I agree with you Nicholas Clarity and Organization with the List Post. I have written quite a few list post.

  • Arisu says:

    I agree with Nicholas too.

    The reason why I, as a reader, like lists posts is cause I can just read the headlines and if I need more information about it, normally an explanation is right after it. It doesn´t matter wheter the explanation is short or long.

    More over, blog posts are online articles, regardles of the theme… and a 10-line-article ain´t gonna make me come back for more.

    But I would read over and over again, one like these: http://www.gapingvoid.com/Moveable_Type/archives/000932.html

    • Arisu » I had someone mention in the comments of another article that they got bored and starting reading the headlines and then they left a comment. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest because I do that. When a headline catches my eye that I want more information about then I read further into it.

  • Arisu says:

    Nicholas>>
    Yeah, I read that comment too.
    Personally, I would feel bad doing that, but everyone interacts differently with sites.
    Also, the younger one is, the more difficult you can keep reading loooooooooooooooooong texts. But every rule has exceptions ^^

    • Arisu » Yeah. I think that people’s attention spans just keep getting shorter and shorter and if we want to be able to disseminate our information then we as bloggers need to find ways to accommodate that in our readers. It doesn’t offend me to hear that someone only skimmed one of my articles. People are very busy and they want information the way that they want their food from McDonald’s: NOW! That where the challenge comes in for us…we have to find a way to accommodate while still blogging in a way that we can be passionate about.

      • Arisu says:

        Nick>>

        I know, and even if I wish it wasn´t that way, I guess it can´t be helped.

        But hopefuly a good taste of a good article will give readers a reason to savor and enjoy the whole.

  • Ben says:

    I like lists – my blog is all about them! 🙂 As with anything, you can overdo it with lists, so I try to keep them interesting.

  • akira07 says:

    First, i just know if title writing style is affect to search engine. Thanks for the information.

    Ah yes, based on my experience as a reader, i’m become victim of list post title, just like this post :P.

    Overall i’m agree with all of your point. But i wanna make additional info about the benefical of list post.
    We can use a part of list post to get reader from article directory.

    So, if your article is about 51method to get traffic, you can copying method 1-25 to article directory. It’s make people wanna know the rest and then their will click the URL provided.

  • You are right! Among all the articles in my blog, list posts are popular.
    I have a question. Is the roundup post can be considered as list post? Thanks!
    .-= My Latest Blog Post: Cri du Chat Syndrome – Human with Cat-like Cry =-.

  • I am always catch with posts with lists in it. I can see them immediately. And I agree that the list post should also be well explained so that the reader will not a blank idea after all. Thanks for the great tips man.

  • Andrenne says:

    Thanks! Always helpful to get to know more about increasing blog traffic. In fact, I applied the list post principle to this post: http://greengargoyle.blogspot.com/2011/05/5-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about_18.html

  • […] Use List Posts: If done right, list posts can pack a tremendous amount of resources into one article. This is the driving power behind this very article. […]

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