15 Tips to Writing The Best Listicles

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Listicles are everywhere! Many readers love to browse through these lists daily. You can find them everywhere, from major websites (think Buzzfeed) to local newspapers. How to write the best listicles for your page? Here are the top 15 tips for creating a listicle that everyone will want to read.

What Is a Listicle? 

As you may have guessed, a listicle is any type of content formed into a list. Many of the articles are divided into sections with numbered subheadings. You might see a “Top 10 List of Dog Jokes” or “5 Ways To Treat Your Pet.”

At any given time, you can find hundreds of listicles on the internet. Listicles have quickly become one of the most popular types of written digital content

People love listicles because the information is presented in a format that is easy to read and understand

Now that you know about the basics of a listicle, here are some tips for creating that perfect one for your website

Related: How to Do Keyword Research for SEO 

1 – Choose a Topic That Belongs in a List

Will your topic translate to a list? Can that information be converted and broken down into several discrete points? If the answer is yes, then you can write a title for your topic.

If you have a more narrative piece, it could be time to skip the listicle and just tell your story in a typical format. 

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2 – Match Your Title With Your List

Your list should make sense. You don’t want to write about “9 Surprising Benefits of Owning a Dog” and then write about the great qualities of cats. It is vital to make sure that the listicles flow from one section to another. Otherwise, it might seem like the piece was written by two different people, and that will make your site look amateurish

For those who are creating many listicles, try to make unique titles for each one. After a while, the subjects may seem the same, but you need an individual title to keep the content fresh and engaging

3 — Determine the Ideal Length

In most cases, you want the number of items in your listicle to be similar to the ones currently ranking for your target keyword(s).

For example, if you keep finding listicles on your topic with numbers in the double or triple digits, your audience likely won’t care about a list of five items.

However, this isn’t a hard and fast rule—use your best judgment to determine what your ideal readers want to see.

Finally, the length of your listicle will also be limited by the number of ideas you want to include; it’s still good to have a ballpark figure in mind.

4 — Choose the Right Format

When fleshing out your listicle, there are two formats you can use: basic or detailed.

A basic listicle keeps things short and sweet by using one to two-sentence descriptions for each item on the list. This format is ideal if:

  • Your listicle is long: Your readers don’t want to read multiple paragraphs about each item if your listicle includes 50+ ideas.
  • Your topic is simple: If your listicle includes hundreds of simple items, a single sentence will likely do—you don’t need to write hundreds of works about each one.

However, you want to use a more detailed format if:

  • Your listicle is short: If you only plan to include a few items, you’ll attract more traffic by providing substance and details for each one.
  • Your topic is complicated: Complicated tips will likely require you to provide step-by-step instructions or practical advice that you can’t explain with a few sentences.

5 — Offer New and Unique Ideas

Like with any content, bringing new, unique ideas to the table is essential when writing a listicle. If you copy the same key points that every other listicle on your topic uses, it’ll be much more difficult to rank.

In addition, you probably won’t attract backlinks, making bringing in search traffic even more difficult.

6 — Expand On Each Idea

Unless you’re an expert on the topic of your listicle, you won’t be able to provide entirely original points for each item on your list. You can either get input from your colleagues or take inspiration from top-ranking pages.

An excellent way to find inspiration for your listicles is by looking at the subheadings from high-ranking pages. However, it’s best to only read the subheadings—not the entire article—so that your listicle doesn’t become a carbon copy of someone else’s post.

7 — Flesh Out and Illustrate Your Points

In addition to the two formats we mentioned earlier, you want to think about the angle of your listicle. For example, if it’s aimed at beginners, avoid using industry-specific jargon and unnecessary details.

Plus, it’s crucial to keep your listicles easy to skim and easy to digest. One excellent way to do this is by breaking up things with illustrations and images, which also helps readers remember the information in your post.

Illustrations can also help your readers understand complicated, complex subjects much easier.

8 – Don’t Write Clickbait

Want to drive off your readers? Then continue to write those clickbait titles for your listicles. Not only do they look bad, but your site could get a reputation as spammy. You need to avoid any of these issues, especially if you want to be the source of high-quality content and establish yourself as an authority on certain subjects.

9 – Hook the Reader’s Attention With a Compelling Title

One of the simplest things that you can do is create a compelling title. In their true essence, lists are shareable, and you want a title that will capture the reader’s attention

So how do you write a great title? First, you need to start with declarative, short sentences. Along with that, don’t tell your reader everything in the title. Let them have a little curiosity as they continue to click on your listicle. 

You never want to overpromise. Stay away from anything that includes “One Weird Trick” or “X Will Shock You.” Those titles are clickbaity. Finally, you always want to highlight your content’s strengths. Your title will sell your listicle. Make it exciting for your readers. 

10 – Surprise Your Readers

When you write in the list format, it pulls in the reader. You should use a sense of progression as the reader moves through the article

Remember that the average reader has a short attention span. Don’t overwhelm them with long sentences and large paragraphs

Related: What is SEO? A Beginner’s Guide

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11 – Create a Scannable List

What sets listicles apart from other forms of content? Their scannability. Imagine creating a listicle that is five pages long without any headers or bullet points. That is extremely hard to read, and it will turn away most of your audience. 

A great listicle can summarize a point in two to three sentences. If you are writing a paragraph, keep them relatively short. Bold those important words, and break up huge chunks of text

Want to set yourself apart? Strategically insert images into certain areas of your listicles. You will want to make sure that they are relevant to your list. 

12 – Pick the Right Number

What number to pick? Some people have suggested writing lists with odd numbers, while others have applauded those with solid prime numbers. However, in many cases, the number ten seems to be the most popular choice. Depending on your information, you need to find the ideal number for your list, whether you are writing about exciting travel spots or popular dog breeds

13 – Go Big or Go Home

Now that you have your golden number, how many words to write? If you want to do it well, then swing for those fences. In most long-format lists, the average length is over 1,000 words. However, Moz concluded in an exhaustive study that content with over 2,000 words performed better.

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14 – Choose Your Content

Listicles can be anything that you want. You can share your favorite dining spots, rank the best Star Wars characters, or simply provide tips to motivate others. Listicles that provide some type of valuable information to the reader will keep them coming back to your page. 

Related: Organic SEO vs. Paid Search: What’s the Difference?

15 – Write a Strong Ending

Like a strong introduction, you want to find a great ending. You don’t need to end with “in conclusion,” but tailor it to your listicle’s needs. 

With these 15 tips, you will be creating listicles that everyone will want to read. 

Are you looking for a little boost to your content writing? Content Dog can help you create lists, articles, and other content for your website!

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