If you just started your blog like me, you will notice that everyone who is writing about blogging will tell you that list posts are the most popular of them all. And they are right. Even in the short life of my own blog my list posts were the most succesful. Blogs like smashing magazine base their tremendous succes almost completely on list post. ProBlogger Darren Rose tells you very early in his new book that you should write a list post. It is essiantial to have the list post in your repertoire of blogging. I think there is a specific place for list posts but it is specific and can’t be used for every kind of content. I’ll tell you more about that later.
Why are list posts popular?
A list post is easy to write because its title defines the content before you start writing it. You can create an artificial title and you will know what to write about. This makes it easy because you can ceate as many posts as you can come up with titles for them. A typical list posts title is constructed like this: Top 10 Wedding Photographers in the US. For your readers list posts are great because they have a structure and are easy to scan. There is nothing really wrong about this but stay with me.
How do we read on the internet?
I’m active on the internet for about 13 years as of now and I learned how I personally use the internet and especially how I read content. If I read a title like I’ve written above I will scroll straight to the first bullet point. I have to force myself to read the introduction and because of this I won’t do it. What I am basically saying is that you just wasted your time writing that introduction. The question now is: am I the only one? Certainly not, but what does it say about the post if I scroll over the introduction? Most of the time the introduction is the only piece that the author really did himself because most list posts contain lists of other peoples content. The work you’ve done is the work of a filter. You may think I am trying to undermine the importance of this but I’m not. The internet is such a vast, enormous place that we need filters.
Do you care about the content?
In my introductions to list post I always try to put a perspective and opinion into it. I want the reader to know what I did and why I did it. The problem is: I think nobody cares. Hell, even I don’t. My suggestion is, and I am willing to discuss this of course, that we shouldn’t use list posts (of this kind) to communicate an opinion. I say that because your opinion is worth more than to be scrolled over. Don’t you agree? List posts are essentially a promotion piece for other peoples content and a filter for your reader who trust that you will pick what they like (that’s why they visit your blog).`I know that you can put any kind of content in a list. Because of that it is of course possible that a list post is not at all promotion for others peoples work but I’m talking about the typical list post we see everday on the internet.
Do list posts really engage readers?
In my personal journey over the last month I learned that opinions engage readers. Either because they have the same opinion and feel satisfied with me because I reinforced their position or because the hate me and want to tell me that. Both is fine by the way, if nobody hates you something is seriously wrong with you. Back to the list posts. In my observation opinions are not heard in list posts and because of that they won’t engage readers. They will, most of the time, just scroll through the bullet points and leave your blog. Maybe they subscribe but almost no one will engage with your blog in any other way.
In a few easy word: List posts will get you high amounts of traffic while opinion posts will get you high quality traffic. Write list posts but don’t forget that your opinion and vision is worth more than to get scrolled over and put your thoughts in specially crafted posts that will communicate what you think.
This post is an opinion and because of that, feel free to hate me for mine and say so in the comments. Maybe you do read every introduction and you want opinions in list posts. Maybe some of you agree with me and see where I’m coming from. Either way, let me know!