Lists posts will always be some of the most popular content on your blog – provided they’re done properly. But no matter how much attention you pay to detail, everybody makes mistakes, right? There’s no shame in making them, but there is if you don’t go back and fix it. Here are the top six mistakes bloggers make with list posts so you can catch them before you hit “Publish.”
Neglecting To Show Relevancy
I’ll be the first to admit, I love a good list post. I don’t even care what it’s about. But I really love a list post that’s relevant to my work or personal life.
What if you just want to share your “Top 10 favorite YouTube videos” with your readers, or your “Top 7 tips for making paper airplanes“? What if you just want to give your readers a good laugh for the day but your list has nothing to do with your niche?
You might have a car repair blog and one day you decide to publish a list of your “Top 10 Favorite Internet Memes“. What does that have to do with car repair? At first glance, absolutely nothing.
But, if you tell your readers your publishing this list so they can print it out and hang it in their shop so they have something to laugh at the next time they’re pulling an engine, then you’ve made it relevant for your readers. Not to mention the fact, you’ve given them a laugh for the day.
Putting The Wrong Number In The Title
I hate to click on a link for the “Top 101 Movies for 1990” and only find 100, or 99. And I really hate clicking on an article titled, “7 Steps to Financial Freedom” only to find out it’s really more like 27 steps. Always deliver what you promise in your title and never intentionally mislead your readers.
They Don’t Number The Items
Numbering the items in your list helps the reader establish reference points. Most readers are going to scan that list first, looking for the juicy items they’re really interested in. If you number your items it makes it easier for them to go back and find those items.
They Don’t Put The Items In The Proper Order
With some list posts it doesn’t matter what order you use, but with a How-To post it’s crucial. Or if you’re ranking the Top 10 Movies or the Top 25 Earners for 2012.
You’ll also want to consider your readers. Remember, they’re only scanning your list the first time through. Put the items with your keywords at the top of the list, or the items that establish relevancy, or the items you really want them to read.
The Descriptions Are Different Lengths
Sometimes I’ll be reading a list post that has a lengthy explanation for each item, and then there’s one item in the middle that just had one sentence. It always makes me wonder if the blogger forgot about that one or if he just threw it on the list for filler. Try to make your descriptions as even as possible.
They Pad The List
Those 101-item lists are great. They often get bookmarked or go viral. At the very least, they generate some good activity on your blog. However, if you’re padding the list just so you can say it has 101 items, them you’re doing everybody a disservice. You’ve mislead your readers and you’ve wasted your own time. Don’t pad your list just to make the title look more attractive. It’s what’s on the list that really counts.