Love those lists!

Love those lists!

What is it about lists that are so darn appealing? People just love ’em — numbered lists, bulleted lists, grocery lists (OK, never mind that last one).

Personally, I know I was finally able to unblock myself and start writing magazine articles when I discovered the list format years ago. Somehow an article titled “Six Ways to Save for Retirement” was easier (for me anyway) than just a vague, amorphous piece about retirement saving.

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has some theories about why lists are so loved:

  1. Lists are scannable – online readers are notoriously lazy. A list helps communicate a number of points quickly and easily
  2. Lists keep posts succinct – there is something about a list that keeps you from rambling
  3. Lists look ‘neat’ – I don’t know about you but when I surf onto a site that is full of messily formatted text – I don’t tend to stick around long. Lists on the other hand can be quite visually pleasing
  4. Lists are easy to link to
  5. Lists can be comprehensive
  6. Lists are persuasive – if you want to mount a case for something quickly presenting numerous arguments in a list can be quite convincing
  7. Lists can add to the ease of writing – I like writing in lists because they break down my thoughts into bite sized pieces which is good not only for readers but me as a writer as I consider how to express myself (Tom adds: amen!)

Read Darren’s entire post here.

When I started using lists as the core of my articles, they had more direction, better focus, higher energy. As a bonus, I finished a lot faster, too.

Try it yourself for your blog posts — or any other kind of business writing.

Afterthought: A list isn’t an excuse to be shallow, of course. As a Maine fisherman would say, you still have to give good weight.

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