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8 Reasons Why Lists are Good for Getting Traffic to your Blog

Here’s a tip for how to get people to link to your blog.

Write lists!

I’ve been reminded by this again today by seeing just how many people are linking up to Piaras Kelly’s list of Tips on writing content for your blog. I must have seen 10 or 15 people link to it in the last few hours (including me). Even though I don’t agree with all of it there is something about a list that bloggers and blog readers love. Here’s a list of reasons why lists can be good for your blog:

  1. Lists are Scannable – online readers are notoriously lazy. A list helps communicate a number of points quickly and easily
  2. Lists keep posts succinct - there is something about a list that keeps you from rambling
  3. Lists look ‘neat’ - I don’t know about you but when I surf onto a site that is full of messily formatted text – I don’t tend to stick around long. Lists on the other hand can be quite visually pleasing
  4. Lists are easy to link to – most of the links to the link above simply summarize the list (giving the keypoints) – bloggers seem to like linking up in this manner
  5. Lists can be comprehensive – Piaras covered 12 points in the above list
  6. Lists are persuasive – if you want to mount a case for something quickly presenting numerous arguments in a list can be quite convincing
  7. Lists can add to the ease of writing – I like writing in lists because they break down my thoughts into bite sized pieces which is good not only for readers but me as a writer as I consider how to express myself
  8. Lists as Memes – I’m not quite sure how to describe this – but lists can start epidemics of ideas. For the above reasons (and others – bloggers seem to love linking to lists and as a result they have the ability to spread quickly

There is obviously a pretty good case for using lists in your blog writing. Of course you can use them too much – sometimes a topic calls for something a little more meaty and in depth than a list – but overall I’d recommend that using lists on your blog as part of your writing mix is an worthwhile strategy.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Cashmore says:

    Your absolutely right – my post 7 Things To Do With Your Old iPod Mini was just a collection of off-the-cuff comments, but it still resulted in a massive traffic spike:

    http://mashable.com/2005/09/08/7-things-to-do-with-your-old-ipod-mini/

  2. Allen Heat says:

    Darren, i totally agree with you, in fact…this post made me realize some very important things about my own personal blog:

    http://me.heatmax.illusionfxnet.com/?p=22

    this post is about common mistakes in newly created forums, as you see, the caluses numbers are a bit bigger, and the title of each clause is pretty stand-out.

    This post was very very popular, got linked in alot of webmasters and foruming forums and sites, probably the most popular post i ever posted.

    http://me.heatmax.illusionfxnet.com/?p=31

    Now this is another post about foruming, that i invested as much time in, but as you can see, it’s not put up as a list with numbers, it’s put as little paragraphs for each clause.

    Even though i invested alot in this post, it wasn’t that popular comparing to the common mistakes one…

    And i guess one of the main reasons are what you just sharpened in my mind right now, listing! =)

    Thanks for another great post
    Heat

  3. Lester says:

    I had a blog that had a blog directory list on the navigation menu. Some of my readers emailed me thanking me for the list. They also said that they will reference the list when they submit their blogs.

    Based on that response, I recreated that blog and it’s now called

    http://www.SubmitBlogs.net

    As long as the list is useful to readers, they’ll link to it.

  4. Tom McKay says:

    Great observation, Darren. You’re so right about lists.

    Years ago, when I was a struggling magazine writer, I discovered the list format. Until then, I had really struggled to get my head around article ideas, and it took me forevere to actually write one. But list-type articles suddenly freed me, and unleashed all sorts of ideas, energy and creativity. (As a bonus, they’re easy to explain to editors, who also seem to love them!)

    I still use lists frequently when I write ads, brochures, Web content, newsletters, etc., for my copywriting clients.

    Tom McKay
    Attract More Customers
    http://www.MaineCreative.com/blog.htm

  5. duncan says:

    Hey, don’t let this secret out of the bag, you could be charging for it :-)

  6. Mike Sigers says:

    Darren,

    I’m glad I read this before Duncan talks you out of sharing with us.

    Bad, bad Duncan !

    This is now a sticky note glued to our monitors. We are now officially “listing” fools. Or at least part of that phrase.

    Once again Darren is da man.

  7. Hey – nice list.

  8. Darren Rowse says:

    :-)

    ok – so if you’ve read this – send me $3 pls….

  9. Ozh says:

    Actually that’s wise words. Time to publish my five reasons why truncated feeds suck

  10. Kevin says:

    I made a list entitled “Top 5 ways my baby will be similar to Google.com”. Unfortunately it did not receive the attention that I thought it may. Possibly because I was/am a new guy in the blogosphere or maybe it was too short. Hell maybe it just was lame I dont know.

    http://www.webgoonies.com/2005/07/top_5_ways_my_baby_will_be_sim.html

  11. jozef imrich says:

    Human nature just never changes. We love lists even as long as fifty ;-) 50 Reasons Why We Can’t Change

  12. Ed Byrne says:

    While I agree with you in theory, in practive I’ve found it doesn’t always work!

    A few weeks back I made a list of 9 reasons why blogging is good for business ( http://bdminnovate.com/journal/2005/08/18/why-a-blog-is-good-for-business/ ) hoping to get some comments to build it into a better list, but alas only 2 peoepl!

    I think the time you post and the title are important too – I titles it ‘Why a Blog is Good for Business’ as oppose to ‘Ten Reasons why Businesses Should Blog’. Might have made a difference!

  13. Nick says:

    For me, reason #7 would be reason #1. Not only do writing in lists keep you the author on track when you are writing, but they also help the reader follow your line of reasoning (especially if each point builds on the previous pioints).

  14. quaisi says:

    Clever of you to write about why lists are good in a list format :)

  15. Tom says:

    I feel like this post will make tons of blogger start a “list of” has their posts. We’ll find tons of “why”, “where”, “how” lists getting high in blog lists since they are easy to read and everything. But please, at least, make the list coherent and have some value, don’t just make a list to have a list…

  16. Lars says:

    9. Lists worked for Schindler

    10. Lists go great at a tailgate party at the San Antonio Saints game.

    Don’t forget to lighten up. If you’re awake late enough to be reading this, you’ve surfed across Letterman’s show.

  17. Lucy says:

    At last, validation for my favorite writing style! Lists rule!

  18. Darin says:

    I definitly agree with number one, that online readers are lazy. They are also very busy and long post sometimes is to much to read to find the point where a list gets to the point short and sweet.

    I also agree with keeping a site clean. There are enough ugly sites out there and we don’t need any more

  19. Tom says:

    If you have a semi to highly customized site, then creating a list of the plugins, themes, and customizations that you use is interesting to other bloggers and will generate a lot of hits from trackbacks and searches. I was often asked what plugins I use on my site, so I made a list. My list of the plugins, More Fun with WordPress Plugins, gets tons of hits and was pretty easy to make.

  20. tipsblog says:

    Hey, I really appreciate all of these blogging tips.

  21. sedgemonkey says:

    I couldn’t agree more especially regarding point number 2 (keeps post succinct). Writing more than a sentence or two on a list just feels wrong.

  22. Shawn says:

    I definitly agree with this article, we posted a list on one of our design articles and it definitly helped traffic.

    Shawn G
    Bathroom Vessel Sinks & Faucets
    G-NET Car PC & Vehicle Computers

  23. Good stuff! Nice and to the point.

  24. Nick Uva says:

    A tip: there are always lots of opinion surveys floating around and they are good places to find “listable” material. If you are writing something substantive as opposed to humorous, it helps of course to stay on theme and remember all the other rules of good blogsmanship. In other words, please have something intelligent to say about the list you just put up for all to see.

    I have a religion- themed blogged and I got a big spike from Reddit with a list of the Top 10 Reasons People Stop Attending Church.

  25. esofthub says:

    I couldn’t agree with #1 more…people like to quickly scan for information–get to the point.

  26. Chris L says:

    I couldn’t agree more especially regarding point number 2. I do not like long lists.

    Chris L

  27. Romie Bourne says:

    Best advice money didn’t have to buy!!! My webmaster (luckily a friend) sent me here. Glad she did…she costs $75 and hour!!!!

  28. The more you know about a subject, it seems, the less valuable these blog lists are. They enforce clarity and a kind of discipline, but they also encourage superficiality.

    A list like “Five great e-books on SEM” sounds good and helpful, but not “Five Ways to Attract More Readers.”

    I’m getting burned out on this format, but at least they are easy to scan and then discard.

    Remember the thing Mark Twain said about I would have written shorter but I didn’t have the time? Bad writing really shows itself in this format.

  29. Sean says:

    WOW! This is a really good little tip! I am a web designer by trade and very new to blogging… Like many, I have read hundreds of blogging tips that repeat the same old “keep posting”…. “Keep posting some more” line. Well we are all doing that already! LOL

    Your tip is some of the first usable info I can leave a site with and implement right away.. Very cool..

    http://www.sixfigureproject.com

  30. sink says:

    Darren Rowse (My Idol blogger) has a even better list at his site located here: 8 Reasons why lists are good for getting traffic to your blog

  31. all4free says:

    Thanks for your article. I’m a niwbie and still have to learn much for making money through a blog. Once again thanks. Please feel free for visiting my blog. Gbu

  32. ElvisFan says:

    I must agree with creating lists, my entry page at Elvis Presley News offers just that and it is the most hit page. Thanks

  33. earn says:

    Hope to to increase traffic,thanks.

  34. LoL.. I’ll give this ago on my blog soon

  35. moser says:

    Never thought of it myself. Definitely going to try to put in more lists henceforth. Thanks man.

    http://www.nela.in/

  36. neat but great reasons, i like list but not long list, :)

    http://www.colorfulmars.com

  37. Aashni says:

    Thanks a lot! This post really inspired me to write my own list on what to do with your ipod nano… If you would like to read it, and leave a comment, here’s the link – please don’t be too harsh as I am still new to the whole blogging world, thanks :)

    http://tellingitaashnisstyle.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-to-do-with-your-old-ipod-mini.html

  38. Aashni says:

    hey…sorry, posted the wrong link earlier…
    it is actually: http://aashnisblog.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-to-do-with-your-old-ipod-mini.html

  39. jenny says:

    nice list, perhaps I could write about the best 10 lists on the net

  40. amit verma says:

    And you also have a list here. Great thoughts..

  41. my new blog at balootisme.com always practice with listing.

    listing can make me got new idea and easy/fast reading for my blog visitors.

    from my poll at malaysian forum community, many people love listing because it makes them read faster and can scan fast to search for what is the ideas of that articles.

    thanks for this ideas darren. i use it on my own post.

  42. Dimitri says:

    This is it, I am going to work on the list tomorrow, check it out and let me know what you think. Again, Darren, thank you very much and God bless

  43. stone stair says:

    Never thought of it myself. Definitely going to try to put in more lists henceforth. Thanks man.

    http://www.chinastone-export.com

  44. i reckon you can write a list and then eaceh week expand on the single tip to get them coming back

  45. Thanks a lot! This post really inspired me to write my own list on what to do with your ipod nano…
    http://www.allystone.net
    http://www.chinastone-sink.com
    i reckon you can write a list and then eaceh week expand on the single tip to get them coming back

  46. Matthew says:

    For so many yeard i have tried http://www.crawlingthenet.com and i’ve got great ROI with their traffic.

  47. joepete says:

    those are some good points. do you think that creating a numbered list is better than a list with bullets?

  48. joepete says:

    my blog http://jojobanjo.blogspot.com has such a list also with less list and more paragraph content, does that distract from the effectiveness of the list?

  49. HoomanCan says:

    Darren, Keep up the good work. You are the man. I recently wrote 5 steps to a better you. I hope you enjoy it. http://hoomancan.com/blog/?p=16

  50. List is very good, because it is more easily to read such posts.

Trackbacks

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  14. [...] The same thing could be said about our culture’s obsession with lists. It’s all the rage to use lists to get your point across. Why? Because they grab attention, and everyone knows that grabbing attention is the way to get traffic. [...]

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  17. [...] 8 Reasons Why Lists Are Good for Getting Traffic to Your Blog | Problogger [...]

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  25. [...] The viral nature of lists Some of my most popular articles have been lists. Lists are easy to scan, and they just have a power to them. People may disagree with a few items from the list, but overall they seem to agree with much of them. So they are easy and popular to pass along. Read 8 Reasons Why Lists Are Good For Getting Traffic to Your Blog. [...]

  26. [...] List – the ‘list’ format of post is a classic way of getting a post to go viral. Find out why in my post – 8 Reasons Why Lists are Good for Getting Traffic to Your Blog. [...]