If you’ve recently set up a blog and are looking for ways to drive traffic to your website there are many things to consider. The first thing you’re probably wondering is how do these huge websites like Buzzfeed and other blogs attract so many millions of readers every week.
This article will shed some light on the tips and tricks of the trade. We’ve compiled a short guide on how to drive traffic to your blog, specifically focusing on the type of content you can produce to boost the success of your site.
More than likely, everyone has seen a link to a listicle on Facebook or other social media sites. Top 10s are so common on the internet it would be a surprise if no one has ever read one.
These articles, that are written in list form are referred to as listicles. They attract more traffic than any type of post and if you need further convincing of their power to attract readers, take a look at this data.
The last 50 posts on Hubspot’s blog were listicles, the top ten most popular posts on Econsultancy were in listicle form and Buzzfeed, who produce almost entirely listicle blog posts, garnered an impressive 76 million visitors last month.
- 1 Why are listicles so popular?
- 2 Formatting a listicle
- 3 How to write a listicle
- 4 What else can I do to drive traffic to my site?
Why are listicles so popular?
Perhaps the reason behind listicles immense power to attract interest is the appealing and accessible format. People are short on time and often don’t browse the internet reading articles for entertainment.
They want to be informed, educated on a topic and most of all they want this information as quickly and simply as possible.
Listicles are a great way to organise information to be received in the easiest way. A top ten list is clear, concise and breaks down information into a hierarchy.
Readers have the option to skip the first 9 and go straight to no.1 – the piece of information they were really looking for. Listicles summarise information into manageable chunks that don’t overwhelm readers in a rush.
If you’re committed to learning how to attract an optimum amount of traffic to your blog, then you’re going to want to learn how to write listicles. Lucky for you, this guide contains everything you need to know on the subject.
Formatting a listicle
We don’t want to sound patronising and assume you don’t know how to write a list. But we can offer some helpful tips on how to optimise your listicle to find a place higher up on search results.
Below are 5 tips to formatting your listicle:
Consider your qualifiers
The most effective articles will use qualifiers that catch the interest of readers. Words such as ‘greatest’ and ‘best’ will appear more important and relevant to readers. Ask yourself if you would be more attracted to an article that used superlatives in the heading or simply advertised itself as an ordinary list.
A sense of hierarchy is important as it progresses from start to end and interests more people. Alternatively, you could write a listicle on the ‘worst’ or ‘most appalling’, as long as your heading contains these types of words you’ll increase your likelihood of traffic.
Ask yourself: why would anyone care?
By giving your list a purpose and explaining the benefits that reading the list has on the visitors, you’ll boost your chances of people reading the listicle. For example, no one wants to read an article titled ‘top 6 best exercises’, they are much more likely to read one titled ‘top 6 best exercises to burn fat and gain muscle’.
The list needs to have relevance and benefits to the reader and not be a simple list of information. When writing your listicle, consider what readers will take away from this list and why they would want to read it in the first place.
The longer the better (within reason)
Readers are much more likely to read a top 10 list than a top 3. If the listicle is a product list or a list of things, activities, places, jobs etc, then the list needs to be long enough to feel valid. Sometimes you can get away with a list of 3 or 4 if each point is long enough and the topic is broad. Any less than 3 simply wouldn’t be a list.
Primary numbers are the best numbers
Studies show that listicles with a number that is odd and indivisible by anything but itself and 1 attract more interest. Even numbers unfortunately don’t perform as well. This may be because even numbers feel to rounded and unrealistic. Legitimate lists will more than likely be an odd number like 7 because it reflects realistic research.
Keep it short and snappy!
When writing your listicle, keep the content short and to the point. Essentially your list should aim to sumarise information on a bunch of different things. If people want a lengthy review of a particular product or a step-by-step guide on how to perform a certain exercise, then they more than likely won’t be searching for your list to give them this information.
Keep each description and point short and sweet to make it easier to read and more accessible.
How to write a listicle
So, now you understand what a listicle is, why they are so important and how to lay it out on your page, you’re probably wondering how on earth do I actually write one?
As usual, we have you covered. Here are some more tips to writing the best listicle:
Make it unique
Pretty much every list you can think of has been done. This is why it is so important to not go with the first idea you have – chances are, everyone else had the same idea.
When compiling your list, think of alternative angles you could take, be as specific as possible. Instead of writing ‘6 best exercises for losing weight’ try ‘6 ways to organise your work out to optimise weight loss.’ Those are just examples, in reality there are so many angles still yet to be discovered. So, try to be unique when writing your listicle.
Understand your options
There are many types of listicles out there, all waiting for you to choose them. Sometimes it can be hard to know which ones are the most suitable for your topic. Understanding each option will help you figure out which form to choose:
- Personal experience.
These listicles describe a personal experience of something that others may go through or might be wondering what its like. The reader wants to know all the ins and outs so don’t spare any details. Offering advice, while remaining humble of course, can be a good move for these types of listicles.
- Researched topics
These are lists based on solid research. You’ll have to use your investigative skills for these ones. Readers expect these listicles to inform them on a subject in an easy-to-read manner backed up with research.
- Reporter’s lists
Much like the researched topics, these listicles will be backed up with solid evidence. However, they often aim to persuade rather than objectively inform the reader.
Wrap it up
It can be more than tempting to just end your listicle on the final point of the list. But, if you want the reader to identify with your delivery of the information and associate you as a writer of the list, then consider including a conclusion. Keep it short and simple, you’re not writing a piece of academia but make sure it summarises the general information presented thus far.
What else can I do to drive traffic to my site?
If you’re ambitious and want to go the extra mile you may be wondering, besides writing compelling and engaging listicles, what else can I do to bring readers to my site?
Well, one of the most overlooked aspect of any page is the ‘About me’ page. This briefly describes the writer and owner of the site (you) and highlights their achievements.
If you want to create a compelling short bio of yourself to attract committed readers, you’ll need to consider the following things:
Essentially, you’re writing a sales pitch.
Your bio is what makes you stand out from everyone else. You’re trying to convince first time readers that they should subscribe to your newsletter or keep visiting your blog.
Connect with the reader
As with any piece of writing for an intended audience, you need to connect to your reader. This means sharing personal information about yourself, experiences you’ve gone through that the reader may also be going through themselves. If they see that you have experienced what they have and still come out on top, they will be 100x more likely to listen to what you have to say.
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