31DBBB – Day 2: Write a List Post

This is Day 2 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, a group project 50+ other bloggers are doing together in an effort to help each other become better bloggers. You can read more about it and still sign-up to participate here.

What an awesome first day we had in this series yesterday.  I am blown away!  To see my observations from  yesterday check out 6 Things I Learned from Day 1 of #31DBBB.

Today’s lesson is about the list posts.  If you’ve been reading blogs for any length of time, you know list posts are very popular.  In fact, we have done our fair share of list posts here at Christian Web Trends.  Here are some examples…

Top 5 List Posts on Christian Web Trends

The lesson gives several reasons list posts are so popular.  They are easy to write. They’re easy to read. They break the main point up into clearly identifiable bite-size nuggets.  In fact, you could make the case that list posts are the Chicken Nuggets of blogging.  (Would you like some dipping sauce with that?)

Personally, I have my own theory for why list posts are so popular…

Geeks like numbers.

But that’s just one number-loving geek’s theory. (Full discloser: I was on the math team in high school)

Assignment

The assignment for today is to write a list post for your blog.  If you’d like some more advice about writing list posts, check out 10 Steps to the Perfect List Post

Discussion

  • Do you agree that list posts are both easier to write and easier to read?  Why or why not?
  • Of all the tips you’ve read about list posts, which do you think are the most important?
  • If you did the assignment and wrote a list post, include a link your comment.

The Extra Mile

A few other things you can do to take your blog, other bloggers, and this project even further today…

[image by fboyd]

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

302 Responses to “31DBBB – Day 2: Write a List Post”

  1. Brilliant the idea of name-dropping list! I might re-use this idea on my blog.

  2. Later in the day for me to get my list up but been hanging with the family alot today. So I decided to make my list the top things I love about working from home! Go check it out and let me know what you think.http://guardraildamageahead.com/day-2-of-31-days-

  3. Later in the day for me to get my list up but been hanging with the family alot today. So I decided to make my list the top things I love about working from home! Go check it out and let me know what you think.http://guardraildamageahead.com/day-2-of-31-days-

    • Definitely makes me wish I could work from home!

      • Man you can if you put your mind to it. I didn't think I ever would. Got sick of working for other people and found an interesting niche moving cars for a living as a broker.. Now I do that and toy around with other ways to make money online..

        Is it my passion? Probably not.. But I know how to do it and it's pretty easy..

      • Man you can if you put your mind to it. I didn't think I ever would. Got sick of working for other people and found an interesting niche moving cars for a living as a broker.. Now I do that and toy around with other ways to make money online..

        Is it my passion? Probably not.. But I know how to do it and it's pretty easy..

    • Nice list and done the way I like them with an intro and an outro.

  4. Agree with both crispone and justapen.

    Each section needs some explanation / brief descriptive blurb. I have to say that the list didn't induce me to want to click on any of them.

  5. Agree with both crispone and justapen.

    Each section needs some explanation / brief descriptive blurb. I have to say that the list didn't induce me to want to click on any of them.

  6. I like the idea for your list, but the content and format left a lot to be desired. Try making each list item a "catchy phrase" in bold font and then explain it in one or two sentences.

  7. I really enjoyed your post (I commented there). I was looking for a different kind of list at first…but you sold me on yours. I loved it!

  8. I hate this reply thing. It doesn't seem to post where you want it to. Anyway, I did think that 39 in a row would be a bit much. It needed a break for readability and effect. I see your point too. Thanks for the critique!

  9. I hate this reply thing. It doesn't seem to post where you want it to. Anyway, I did think that 39 in a row would be a bit much. It needed a break for readability and effect. I see your point too. Thanks for the critique!

  10. I love list posts. Not only are they easier for me to write and read, it is always easy for me to get a quick idea by jotting down a few ideas and putting it into a post.

    I think the key concept for list post is to keep it short and simple. You obviously don't want to do a post for '101 Reasons I Believe in My Eschatology'
    http://ragamuffinray.blogspot.com/2010/05/six-way

  11. It's always a good gimmick to do more than the stated number – make them freebies or honourable mentions, just don't do it everytime.

    However, you added at the bottom that you could have added another 5 or so – why not make a second list and schedule that for a lean time?

  12. It is a list, but I'm not sure this is what is meant by a list post. To my mind, a list post is supposed to contain a list of several items of information that a reader can scan to quickly learn that information. This is a list of links to larger items, which I have to click on in order to learn anything, rather than a list of short, scannable items of information.

    Could you include below each list item an "elevator pitch" for what each item in the list contains?

  13. It is a list, but I'm not sure this is what is meant by a list post. To my mind, a list post is supposed to contain a list of several items of information that a reader can scan to quickly learn that information. This is a list of links to larger items, which I have to click on in order to learn anything, rather than a list of short, scannable items of information.

    Could you include below each list item an "elevator pitch" for what each item in the list contains?

  14. Thanks for the input. This blogging thing is not easy.

    You are right. The information that I announced in the title is way down on the page and is not the prominent information in the piece. I will see if I can fix that for this post. I am realizing that shorter and more concise posts may be a much better option for the future.

    It seems that I could have or rather should have broken this post into a series of shorter posts. That would keep the article focused on delivering the information that the title says is there and it would be easy to find.

    I truly appreciate everyone's feedback!!!

  15. Richard, after thinking about your comment, I decided to indeed follow your advice and edited the post in such a way.

    I still feel the list items needs more that just the little explanation, and I will definitely post more on that, probably later today, but I understand what you were trying to say.

  16. Good to know. That is what I want to hear. :)

  17. Today I wrote "How to Write a Book Review Worth Reading" and included 10 points:http://captainestes.blogspot.com/2010/05/how-to-w

    I do appreciate that lists can be easy to write, easy to read, and easy to draw in an audience. At the same time I don't find that I remember many of them. So many times when I read a list it isn't actually that helpful because they state the obvious. I think I'd rather read two points of articulated discussion than ten points of mediocre ones.

    More often than not, if I use a list on my blog I'm just using it for humor purposes, not for teaching.

    • I thought it was a good lists. I use to do a lot of book reviews on an previous site, so I definitely found this to be helpful.

    • Great point Chad. We see alot of lists in our lives now "Top 10 albums, guitar players, actors, tv shows and etc".. We don't remember most of them though..

      But as a blogger I suppose it brings 2 things: 1) A way to relate to every reader, as you can usually find common ground with everyone and 2) It makes a great jumping point for them commenting on your blog or sending it to others..

    • Great point Chad. We see alot of lists in our lives now "Top 10 albums, guitar players, actors, tv shows and etc".. We don't remember most of them though..

      But as a blogger I suppose it brings 2 things: 1) A way to relate to every reader, as you can usually find common ground with everyone and 2) It makes a great jumping point for them commenting on your blog or sending it to others..

      • Good point, Scott. I'm not very good at soliciting a lot of comments on my blog. I didn't even ask for additional points at the end of this post. I think I'll go back and remedy that. Thanks for your input.

      • Good point, Scott. I'm not very good at soliciting a lot of comments on my blog. I didn't even ask for additional points at the end of this post. I think I'll go back and remedy that. Thanks for your input.

        • I always try to remember these days to finish my posts with open questions that invite comments. However, despite that I still see umpteen folks reading but saying nothing.

          The why of that I haven't a clue about. But I will keep on keeping on with that.

          What I try and do with lists is use them as a springboard to write other posts about the short succinct ideas. So my list was on ideas to use tech in your ministry and I plan to expand on several if not all of them.

        • I have that same problem Chad. I don't want a "yes or no" type of question, but not a PhD thesis either.

        • I always try to remember these days to finish my posts with open questions that invite comments. However, despite that I still see umpteen folks reading but saying nothing.

          The why of that I haven't a clue about. But I will keep on keeping on with that.

          What I try and do with lists is use them as a springboard to write other posts about the short succinct ideas. So my list was on ideas to use tech in your ministry and I plan to expand on several if not all of them.

    • Good format for your list. I like the bolded statement followed by a couple sentences explaining it. And it was a helpful list as well.

  18. I managed to sneak in a comment on yours, too. Stupid job. Haha…

  19. That's funny.. Not sure it's the point of the lesson, but funny anyway!

  20. Nice post, Richard.

    Could I offer a couple of suggestions? The links took the reader off of your site and onto the next. You might consider having the links open in a new tab so that the reader won't have to leave your page.

    Also, your title says you will share six links, but you actually have seven (I'm assuming you added the last one as an edit?). Maybe you could list the final one as a "Bonus link" or you could update your description to 7.

  21. Nice post, Richard.

    Could I offer a couple of suggestions? The links took the reader off of your site and onto the next. You might consider having the links open in a new tab so that the reader won't have to leave your page.

    Also, your title says you will share six links, but you actually have seven (I'm assuming you added the last one as an edit?). Maybe you could list the final one as a "Bonus link" or you could update your description to 7.

    • Chad,

      Thanks for the help. I forgot I added one afterward.
      The probelm I had is that the blogspot post editor did not have the option to have it open in another tab or window. Since you wrote I have looked at the html source code and found I could add the code target="_blank" after the link to make it open in another window. I do not know the code to tell it to open in another tab.
      I am beginning to think I don't like blogspot.

      • Good for you figuring out the code! I hear you about Blogspot's editor. My friend Ed just recently shared with me about using Windows Live Writer to use as my blog editor. I've really liked it as it gives many more options. It's a free download if you are interested.

  22. '101 Reasons I Believe in My Eschatology' <grinning>

  23. '101 Reasons I Believe in My Eschatology' <grinning>

  24. You crack me up (as I take over Paul's comment section)…

  25. Easier to write. . .maybe. I've been having major writer's block for awhile now and that played into today's blog. It was nice having an 'assignment' to work from though.

    Here is the post: http://matman42.blogspot.com/2010/05/top-10-podca

  26. Tex – Thanks. As I said yesterday, I think your blog is the most honest to God blogs participating in this exercise!

  27. I did think that 39 in a row would be a bit much. It needed a break for readability and effect. I see your point too. Thanks for the critique.

  28. wow, seems like this series is going to break all sorts of records for the blog. Maybe at the end if 31 days you could give us a list of those records broken :)

  29. My list post was already done on Monday because I am part of the Gratitude Community at Ann Voskamp@Holy Experience. Each week, we count the things for which to give thanks. The goal is to reach a 1000. But the real goal is to see how the Lord changes your focus and your heart. On this journey, my list post can be found at: http://openmyearslord.blogspot.com/2010/05/every-

    I do find it easier to do a list post. I'm a recipe-kind-of-girl. The list post helps you to focus on the important points you want to convey. And, it is easier for readers to grasp the information
    they need.

    Looking forward to your comments,

    Janis

  30. List posts can be easier yes. I have done some for my transport blog a few times. When writing one it gives you a definite starting point and ending point. But, as you can see in my list, I went from 10 things to 15!

    I like the tip about breaking the list into a series. You could maybe do a post that shows what the list will be and then write the series for how ever many days. This also can let you go back to the original post and post links to the blogs on each topic, thus creating more internal links on your blog/site.

  31. Excellent list but made frustrating by the popups whenever I accidently rolled over a hyperlinked word.

  32. I'm with Richard on the format …

    When I think I'm reading a list the format, to me anyway, should be pre-emminent in the posting. It may have been my browser but your points went from bold to non-bold to a single word. It left me looking for the list when I realised I had in fact just read it.

    Perhaps bulleting each point or numbering them would have helped that but consistency of style (format) goes a long way.

  33. Nice list Kim, tx

  34. It's always a good gimmick to do more than the stated number – make them freebies or honourable mentions, just don't do it everytime.

    However, you added at the bottom that you could have added another 5 or so – why not make a second list and schedule that for a lean time?

  35. Good list but it didn't really adderss the title – as I saw it.

    To me the title appears to indicate that you are going to help me create a social media policy (and taht's just my take) but even though it didn't I still enjoyed the list.

  36. I agree that list posts are easier to write and read. They are short and to the point. There are also lots of fun things you can do with lists, beyond giving information and instructions.

    I think one of the best tips for writing list posts is to get focused, brainstorm, and then pick only the BEST items for your list.

    I wrote a list post. It's going up on my blog on Thursday, May 6, 2010. Here's the link:http://wp.me/pG2Wu-cX

    ~Jennifer

  37. I agree that list posts are easier to write and read. They are short and to the point. There are also lots of fun things you can do with lists, beyond giving information and instructions.

    I think one of the best tips for writing list posts is to get focused, brainstorm, and then pick only the BEST items for your list.

    I wrote a list post. It's going up on my blog on Thursday, May 6, 2010. Here's the link:http://wp.me/pG2Wu-cX

    ~Jennifer

  38. I agree that list posts are easier to write and read. They are short and to the point. There are also lots of fun things you can do with lists, beyond giving information and instructions.

    I think one of the best tips for writing list posts is to get focused, brainstorm, and then pick only the BEST items for your list.

    I wrote a list post. It's going up on my blog on Thursday, May 6, 2010. Here's the link:http://wp.me/pG2Wu-cX

    ~Jennifer

  39. Sorry I am late to the party today, my job is once again getting in the way of effective blogging…here is my list post: 6 Lessons from the "Real World" Pastor--http://bit.ly/apuBKN

    • I dropped in and read your post. That's a great list – succinct, informative, well written, engaging, and (unfortunately) so true.

    • Interesting post and perspective.

      I've long been a world worker and unless God asks it of me being a full time church worker is not on my cards thankfully. However, one of my pet ideas is to somehow get my pastor back into the real world once every 5yrs for 6mths or a year. Make them realise (again) that the world doesn't revolve around church.

    • Interesting post and perspective.

      I've long been a world worker and unless God asks it of me being a full time church worker is not on my cards thankfully. However, one of my pet ideas is to somehow get my pastor back into the real world once every 5yrs for 6mths or a year. Make them realise (again) that the world doesn't revolve around church.

      • would love to see that…I work at Starbucks and unfortunately I see my fair share of pastors who think they are being "in the world" just because they bring their laptop and Bible into the store to work on their message for Sunday. They are often rude, non-engaging from a conversation standpoint, and appear to be clueless to the needs/hurts of the person sitting right next to them…the really sad thing is I can spot him because I used to be him!

    • Read the list. Good idea. I would've liked to see you try to turn the "negatives" into "positive" suggestions for "real" Christians. The tone seemed a little harsh (maybe you meant to come across that way?).

    • hahaha. Get your priorities straight! Agreed to all points on your list. Blessings

    • Great word man! Been 3 years since I got fired from my church job.. I've missed it some, but working back in the "real world" has taught me many of the same lessons as you have learned..

  40. Wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Today I wrote about why your 20s are the most foundational years in your life..
    http://tinyurl.com/2679jx5

  41. Okay, my list post is up athttp://cindyinsd.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/think-o… . Based on Php 4: 4-9. Now I'm going to go spend some time with my sweetie, but I'll be back later and check out some of the other posts up here.

    It was easier to do this than I expected, and I'll be interested to see whether you think it clarifies the scripture I used or takes away from it.

    Blessings, Cindy

  42. The first time I went through 31DBBB, my list post became far and away my most successful (and controversial) post. It is "14 Reasons to Stop Evangelizing Your Friends," and I was surprised at the response. Radio shows criticized it! I was amazed to see how a short post, with almost no explanations, could take off.

    This is my second time through 31DBBB, and I am cheating a bit because I actually spent weeks wracking my brains to come up with another list. I ended up with a piece of satire. After writing it, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go ahead with it, wondering if it's too strident, and whether responses will just tire me out. When I posed this question on Facebook, my friends (without having read it) said to go for it. So here goes nothing.
    http://www.blogoneanother.com/2010/05/the-six-dea

  43. "Things to Decide Before Starting A Blog"http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/thin

    For me list posts are easier to read. Especially if the post is about things that could be bullet points or numbered.

    The lists I think are most important are – scannable, neat, and breaks down what's complicated.

    • Becky,
      Thank you for your visit and comment at my blog on thankfulness. I noticed you also devoted a whole day and a special list of people you wanted to thank. Very nicely done. Hope we all grow through this process of learning how to build a better blog. It will be great to see how our blogs progress through the exercise.

      Blessings,

      Janis

    • Great list there Becky and one that can so easily be used to launch into a series of posts expanding on the topics.

      It may just be the theme you use but it all seemed rather cramped to my eye. Still, that didn't detract from the content.

  44. "Things to Decide Before Starting A Blog"http://tijuanabecky.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/thin

    For me list posts are easier to read. Especially if the post is about things that could be bullet points or numbered.

    The lists I think are most important are – scannable, neat, and breaks down what's complicated.

  45. My blog – Is There An App For That? – deals with Tech's Role In Christian Formation. I have recently been advising churches about ChMS (Church Management Systems)

    My post ended up containing 2 lists: one list for selection criteria and the other a list for recommendations. http://jerryfultz.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/buildi

    This was the easiest post I have ever written. I've never thought about writing a list post before. Looks like a great way to overcome writer's block while still adding value to readers.

  46. My blog – Is There An App For That? – deals with Tech's Role In Christian Formation. I have recently been advising churches about ChMS (Church Management Systems)

    My post ended up containing 2 lists: one list for selection criteria and the other a list for recommendations. http://jerryfultz.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/buildi

    This was the easiest post I have ever written. I've never thought about writing a list post before. Looks like a great way to overcome writer's block while still adding value to readers.

  47. '101 Reasons I Believe in My Eschatology' <grinning>

  48. 6 Inspirational Gifts That You Can Afford To Make!

    Here is the link to my blog list post: http://inspirationalgifts.blogspot.com/2010/05/6-

    • I just wanted to add that after my 1st ever list post I had the largest number of visitors to my blog in one week that I have ever had. In fact double, give or take. Only 2 comments, both from the same person, but hits count with the search engines, exposure counts for income potential and usually I get no comments at all.

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