OK, I don’t have 10 reasons, just a couple good ones, and no they aren’t in list form. Every blog has them. They are the quick filler posts that allow you to keep content churned out on a daily basis. But what is good for you is not necessarily good for your readers and here is why.
List posts are good at giving a quick overview but that is all they provide. There is no meat, no opinion, nothing to really think about or get mad about or agree with. Just plain, boring facts in an easy to read format. And hey, sometimes that is just what you need, but if your blog has more than two of these posts a week your readers are going to get bored and start looking for real substance elsewhere.
List post are the most safe kind of post you can make. Even if your title is 25 Reasons Why Facebook Sucks, you are getting a gab in with the title but the list is just a bunch of fact without a punch of their own. And safe is a nice way of saying boring. You give the reader exactly what the post is about in the title and nothing is a surprise during the read. Most times I read list posts just to see if I could guess the 5 or 10 listed concepts correctly, and usually I get most if not all of them right.
Lists are unoriginal. Every blog has list posts. Many times the exact same lists show up on ten different blogs. What makes your list better than anyone else’s? You might say our voice and writing style but if you’re only giving one paragraph per item it is hard to hear a voice in that.
Yes, list posts are excellent for making easy to read and digest posts but they aren’t the only way. If you are using heading, images, infographics, and blockquotes you should have just as nice a layout that is just as easy to read. Being easy to read isn’t always the best thing either. If you have a list of ten things with a short paragraph for each, it is “easy” for the reader to see what is there, notice it isn’t what they were looking for and move on, never to return. And since the content is pretty dry you aren’t going to hook a lot of repeat visitors.
List posts always start out strong but end up being a letdown by the end.
Another problem with list posts is people run out of items for their lists and it ends up being pretty weak at the end. Either that or they are tired of writing and only give 1-2 sentences for the last couple items.
It is getting to the point where I ignore any post with a number in the title because I know it is fluff. Maybe I’m the only one and your analytics show differently, but I think readers have caught on or will be soon. And I really hope it is the case. Because it means bloggers will have to step it up a notch and produce some original content.
What to Do Instead
I am not advocating banning lists posts from your blog. Just use them sparingly and only when applicable. In most cases if you spend the time and think about a few of your list items there is probably enough you could write about with just those to make a more interesting post. Challenge yourself to put a little feeling and a little opinion in everything you write. That is what sets you apart and will bring readers back for more.
Man I’ve been feisty lately. I think I’m going do write some tutorials for next week. Take a break with some different content. Let me know if you like any of these posts or if there is something you’d rather I write about.