On to Day 2 of the 31 Days To Building A Better Blog Challenge! If this is the first post you’re reading in this series then you may want to check out our first article: 31 Days To Building A Better Blog. Basically we set out to improve our puppy training blog by purchasing Darren Rowse’s popular 31DBBB Workbook (Affiliate Link). The book assigns a task each day to help you “build a better blog!”
Today’s task is to “Write A List Post”. I’ve known about list posts for a while now and I’ve implemented the technique in many of my posts whether it be as Darren mentions:
- The Post As A List – The entire post is the list – I’ve rarely if ever done a list post like this. I usually defer to the extended list.
- Extended Lists – Extended lists are explained as lists with explanations to each bullet point. I’m not sure why, but this is what I usually do when creating a list post.
- Lists Within Posts – The list is used to break up your text and basically what you’re reading right now.
Above is an example of Lists Within Posts.
After seeing todays assignment I decided to look back at my puppy training blog to see how well list posts performed according to Google Analytics. I took a peek at the top 5 blog posts based on the number of page views they received in 2011. Here were the results:
- Top 10 Dogs Good With Children Part 1
- Top 10 Dogs Good With Children Part 2
- My Older Dog Is Disoriented, Unbalanced, And Confused
- How To Handle Your Puppy’s First Night At Home
- The 6 Best Dog Costumes On The Internet
So, as you can see 3 out of my top 5 blog posts were list posts (according to 31DBBB they would be extended lists). By the way, those three articles garnered over 240,000 page views so far in 2011. If every 3 posts I wrote pulled in 240K page views a year I think I would be a happy man
Lets move forward and talk about the list post we plan on writing for today’s task
Write A List Post
Just in case you did not or do not plan on purchasing the second edition of the 31DBBB workbook revised for 2012 (affiliate link) you can check out Darren’s original post from 2009 that basically goes over almost all the same stuff you get in the workbook. Here’s a link to that post: Write a List Post [Day 2 - 31DBBB]. The only differences I’ve noticed thus far are that the workbook is more refined then the blog posts, there are additional resource links, and there’s an interact section (basically just a twitter hashtag). I actually would probably prefer what Darren did back in 2009 and have the interactive are be a forum rather than use Twitter (hope you’re listening Darren).
So, what did we decide to do to complete this portion of the challenge. We decided it would be a good idea to work on the 3 different lists mentioned in the 31DBBB. We took our Puppy Training Blog and created the 3 different kinds of list posts: The Post As A List, Extended Lists, and Lists Within Posts.
Post As A List
Seeing as we’re heading into the holiday season I decided to put together a “post as a list” post that was also a holiday list. 10 Reasons Why Santa Should Not Bring You A Puppy For Christmas.
The “Post As A List” post seems so thin on content. I’m almost positive this is the first time I’ve written a post of this type. The majority of my “List Posts” are “Extended Lists” like the next example
This year’s extended list also followed the holiday theme as I went ahead an put together a an extended list of the top 10 most popular dog toys on Amazon. This list is a little more than just an extended list as the beginning is also a little bit of a “how to” post. Just in case you don’t know how to find the most popular items on Amazon visit this post and it will teach you how to find the most popular dog toys on Amazon.
If you look at my Puppy Training Blog Archive you’ll find a number of “Extended List” Posts. The majority have names like “Top 5 Reasons…”, “10 Most Popular…”, or “7 Can’t Miss…”
Lists Within Posts
Finally we also put together a list within a post. In fact I seem to do this for a lot of my posts so it wasn’t all that difficult. Here’s the process I went through:
- Think of a blog post idea
- Start writing the post
- Integrate a list somewhere in the post
This comes very natural to me and it’s probably because I’m a bit on the lazy side, but I also feel it’s much easier for people to consume content when it’s broken up into a list. Sometimes the list can be bulleted or numbered. Other times the list is broken up with headings (h2, h3, h4, etc.). I mostly go with the bulleted or numbered list.
I started writing a post a while back on Deer Antlers For Dogs and went ahead and incorporated a list into that post. It’s fairly simple and I’m sure if you look back at many of my posts they are “Lists Within Posts”.
There you have it…3 examples of different kinds of list posts. As a blog reader myself I find that list posts are easiest to consume and often times when I’m looking at blog post titles I gravitate towards the list posts.
I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever written a “Post As A List” before and I’m not sure I’ll ever do one again. It just seems so thin on content, but we’ll see how it performs through Google Analytics. You never know, my audience may enjoy “Post As A List” posts more than any other kind of list post. It’s always a good time to experiment and see.
How about you? Have you experimented with these 3 different List Post types? Which one do you find has the most success?