Blogging is full of questions: Should I write this post? Is the title catchy enough? Do I have enough supporting material? How is the readability? Is the subject interesting? And many questions means many answers, a lot of which contradict each other. One such question is should I use lists when writing a blog post? It comes as no surprise that there is a camp that says No, numbered posts are clickbait and as such bad copy. In this way clickbait and their eye grabbing promises have hurt numbered titles. Others feel the eye jumps around and content is not internalized. Some say the lists are shallow and repetitive. I say, numbered posts are great. Numbered lists work and here’s why.
A post with lists is organized, making it easier to hold a discourse. This encourages sharing and creates greater opportunity to build your brand.
A list keeps your material orderly. Let’s be honest, we all skim posts before we decide if they’re worth our time reading. Our eyes jump around the page looking for interesting information before we make our decision. Lists attract attention. That’s where you want your readers to look since that’s where your key points are. The thing you need to remember is that a list on its own is not enough. A list is only as good as its content. So if the content isn’t engaging and informative the eye won’t settle and the post will not be read in its entirety. Quality wins over quantity.
Lists broaden the discussion. Since a list is broken down into concise points readers can choose to disagree with the whole thing, agree with it all, or pick the points they like. Of course a reader can always choose to argue against an article in its entirety when it’s not laid out in points, but with a numbered system it is easier to explain which portion they do not agree with. Communication is clear when one reader argues a point and a second reader can see exactly where they have found this information. Readers do not need to count lines to confirm they are discussing the same thing.
Because a sectioned post is easier to read it’s easier to connect and this translates into shares. When readers connect, either positively or negatively, they want to share with others. We all value our own voices and want to give over our opinions to the public. A post that’s created to promote dialogue encourages readers to pass it on to continue the discussion with a greater crowd.
With each number comes a header. Each header can contain keywords since they are capturing the section subject in just a few words. And since search engine optimization is all about helping search engines find your work, keywords are always helpful.
People read listicles
Let’s face it, there’s a reason why so many sites have lists on them. People like them, so why be snobby and ignore what people like? Give the people the content they want. Lists it is!
List posts are not the end all and be all of blogging. They are great for driving in traffic but are not necessarily as comprehensive as a post on a single subject. Use your numbers wisely. Readers are not coming for lists they are coming for content. Grab their attention with a list and keep their attention with quality blog posts.