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101 Reasons Why Most List Posts Suck

Warning: Incoming Rant. Please note – List posts do still work great, but they can be done wrong…

Ever read something like this? “10 Reasons Why Facebook Will Be Worth A Trabillion Dollars” or “6 Things THEY Didn’t Tell You About Blogging” I’m unimpressed. Yes my friends, the list post sucks (most of the time) and in true ironic fashion here are 101 reasons to tell you why they suck:

101 Reasons Why Most List Posts Suck:


1. List posts as link bait are so 2006

Get more creative and do infographics instead. Oh wait – those are so 2010. My suggestion? Vinfolistographics: That’s video information list graphic posts (you heard it here first folks).

2. Your list post is simply a bow slapped on top of the turd of information you’ve collected about a subject that’s already been discussed elsewhere on the web

Seriously why should I read your list post about the “6 Things They Didn’t Tell You About Blogging” when all I “learn” is that blogging is hard work?

3. The topics in your list contain vague information and never any real world examples

Put some effort into your list post and try using some real world examples or data. For example, one of the most popular posts on this blog remains the Top 7 Tips I Used To Make $41,438.42 With Amazon Associates In 2009 because I provide actionable advice based on data I actually collected.

4 – 101. Over half of the topics discussed on your list post are thrown in simply so that you can use a larger number like 101 instead of 4

Yes, I only have 4 reasons why list posts suck and although it would have been funny for you to try and see me come up with 101 reasons why list posts suck, I think I can just end my Friday joke/rant here.

List posts can be a great way to generate traffic, but only when used correctly. I urge you to trim the fat off your list posts and really put some thought into the content you create for them otherwise you won’t get as much of an impact that you were seeking.

/List Post Rant Over

Don’t you think that some of the list posts people publish on their blogs are a little ridiculous?

Next Week: I have some cool stuff planned for next week including the next installment on my series of how to make a profitable info product (see part 1 and part 2 here) as well as an update to my Amazon earnings along with some new tips – stick around.

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28 comments… add one

  1. haha yeah i agree but they do work from time to time…

    Reply
    1. Yah, they do work I’m not disputing that I just had to rant about it for a bit because the way I’ve been seeing them done lately is very poorly…

      Reply
    2. I sort of agree with you Dino – but they are getting a bit out of control, should they ever be longer than 5 points long?

      I actually saw a post which contained a list ‘The most useful lists’. There were 100 items in the post and each one linked to a list – which means there were as many as 10,000 items in the combined lists!!!!!

      Reply
  2. They’re link bait and are currently pretty Google friendly but with the amount of list post spam that is being created I would guess that it won’t be much longer before Google starts ranking down this format as well.

    Reply
    1. Hey Peter, I think the posts can continue to work as link bait but in general I feel like most link bait is working less and less because of the sharing options of Twitter and Facebook so rather than me writing a lengthy blog post linking to an article I can just toss out a few words and a link.

      Reply
  3. I seen the title and was like, did he seriously think of 101 reasons why. Haha. I agree that most are filled with wasteful info. Why don’t people just do the real number of importance? “2 Helpful Ways To…” is way better than “2648372 Ways To…” when there are really are only 2 good ways in the article and now it’s your job to figure out which ones among the sea of filler “content”.

    And to anyone who hasn’t bought Chris’ course, read the “Top 7 Tips…” article he links to above first. It’s a great first glance at how powerful the course is. Thanks for sharing all your amazing info Chris!

    Reply
    1. Hey Randy,

      Yah I had a few people email me laughing while saying “I just clicked through to see how many reasons you actually came up with lol” I guess I just haven’t ranted in a while and it felt like a good time to do it.

      Chris

      Reply
  4. I think most list posts suck ’cause it’s such a cop out. There’s no analysis and just fluff. People don’t back up what they say and make horrible generalizations. You’ll hardly learn any new insights about life, or whatever in list posts.

    Reply
  5. http://twitter.com/#!/chrisguthrie
    Thanks I am in!
    I found you from smart passive income
    Wordpress Themes Rock.
    Thanks for the free ebook too :)

    Reply
  6. Most people write list posts because a Guru told them it was a great way to go viral and get free backlinks. Problem is that they usually just throw up a list of links and think that’s great viral content.

    http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/is a great example of a site that publishes new list posts almost daily, but they go viral pretty much every time.

    Reply
    1. Hey Clare,

      Yes I think that’s true and that’s why I published this post is that I think there are still too many people doing it wrong. But when done write they can help out a blog’s growth a lot.

      Chris

      Reply
  7. I do think that sometimes it can be
    pretty good way to structure info in a post.

    Because it makes you wonder – when having read like ‘Painting by Numbers’ the first few things in a list – what other things are comming Next. In other words an ‘Anticipation Creation’ That’s exactly the reason why I alway’s think of interesting Sub-headings to write for my Posts, making people wonder What Comes Next.I actually once wrote a post about Successful writing and ‘What Comes Next’ on my Writing Blog, so feel free to let your – Next Thing – be a visit to my Writing Blog…?
    (or any of the other blogs)

    And please don’t come up with a
    list of reasons why not to :)

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Money Making – Inspiration,
    HP

    Reply
  8. Well, apart from that being that they do work, I do agree with you that they are getting a bit out of fashion. :P

    I’m seeing list posts everywhere these days… So much so that I don’t have as much interest in reading them anymore. It’s hard to differentiate between well-done ones and bad ones.

    Reply
    1. Hey Allen,

      Yes I think they can work and when they do they work very well. As I’ve said before, the massive response and dozens and dozens of emails I got from my Amazon earnings post led me to create an info product showing my steps more in depth because people kept asking and that info product has made me several thousand dollars. So in a way you could say that list post lead to the creation of an info product that made me a nice chunk of change.

      In any case, this was more of a rant about the bad list posts I still keep seeing.

      Reply
  9. As a newbie blogger, I’m trying to gain as much information as possible from well established bloggers. Many of the blogs that I’ve visited have encouraged list postings. They’ve all said in some fashion that they will be a great way to get traffic and catch the reader’s attention.

    I do think that they are losing their value, because so many people are doing them. And as you stated for the most part they’re all doing them on the same topics. It’s nice to see someone providing some different advice.

    Reply
    1. I think the point that I was trying to make is that the list posts don’t have to suck and I keep reading ones that do.

      Reply
  10. Haha, yes, list posts are sometimes lame but they do work at times I have to say.

    Reply
  11. Oh…that’s too bad…I saw 101 reasons and I got excited. I actually just completed a list about 101 Reasons People NEED A Financial Plan that actually has 101 Reasons in it – and they’re good in my oh so humble opinion :)

    Reply
  12. I totally agree to your article Chris!! It is indeed true that articles cant be successful and won’t be read by visitors due to its very vague information. Sometimes writing an article requires a great deal of information explained in the simplest way. Cheers to you! This only means that brief but concise ones is better than long articles posted.

    Reply
  13. Hahaha! When I saw the title I was like, “What? 101?!”
    Anyway, you did nail it. I see far too many of them but mostly they are just list and a description instead of actual explanation or example and at the end of the article it makes me sigh that I wasted my time reading such a long list with so little information.

    Reply
  14. Hey,
    I agree with Dino and Fazal, that lists have also its own advantages.
    Just for instance is its “comprehensibility”. Lists are very comprehensive and also time consuming. You could know varied ideas and insights at just a post. And another thing is, list is always immemorial. Its effective before and still effective today. Just take a look at listverse.com, and you could see the number of people that are into lists. :)

    Reply
  15. Nice, looking forward to the next part of your info product posts, how many are you going to do?

    Reply
    1. Not sure yet :)

      Reply
  16. Sometimes you need to write something to add content and list posts seem to be the ones you think of with ‘how-to’ posts. I would keep the points way under 101 though ;-)

    Great blog Chris BTW! I just listened to your interview by Yarro. Thanks for sharing so much of your experience.

    Reply
  17. List post for me are so boring to follow. The author just put those so there’ll be additional content to the blog though sometimes it makes no sense.

    Reply
  18. Yahoo! is the biggest list post spammer.

    Reply
  19. Good one Chris. You caught me there at No. 4.
    Sometimes it is justified to list 101 reasons for whatever you are writing about.
    I have a site about a complex subject that academics try to oversimplify. I wrote a “101 things that …” list, not so much expecting folk to read through point-by-point, but more to illustrate that it is complex.
    But then the purpose was not a 2006 style linkbait.

    Reply
    1. I guess my point in writing this post was to highlight the pointlessness of so many blog posts that I briefly skim before determining it’s just a stupid attempt at link bait.

      Reply

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