Numbered list posts are popular with blog readers according to both internet discussions and my own experience on the Brainzooming blog. Analyzing recent posts with PostRank demonstrated nearly all the most popular blog posts on Brainzooming incorporate a numbered list and feature the number in the blog title.
There are some pundits who even recommend making blog posts with a numbered list as long as possible to increase the impact they have with readers.
It was this point Barrett Sydnor and I were discussing one day about whether it's true that people really want to read long numbered lists. While I've had outstanding response to some long lists of strategy articles, there was a Stepcase Lifehack post I wrote with 15 steps which a commenter said was too long and should be simplified.
In answering the question, Barrett hit on two great points:
- When it comes to a set of sequential things to do, people want short numbered lists with as few steps as necessary to accomplish a result.
- When it comes to an array of options to pick from, people want long numbered lists with as much variety as possible.
While there are obvious exceptions (since too much variety can simply bog down decisions), these two general principles are helpful whether using numbered lists in blogging, business, or personal life. They're also a great add on when considering the best ways to aggregate long lists to make them more usable for others.
Is there anything else you'd add to these two reminders? – Mike Brown
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