We’re often told that lists are great for use in blogs and across websites in general because they’re quick and easy to read, and they tend to rank highly for search engine optimisation purposes. This is true (or at least it seems to be true for SEO, that most dark and inscrutable of arts). But a bad list can make you or your organisation look like idiots.
Let’s look at the positives first, though. A genuinely interesting list is undeniably engaging, for a number of reasons.
- Lists are easy to scan read, picking out the bits of most interest
- List-making, and reading, is a natural human instinct – we like to order and compartmentalise to make understanding easier
- Rankings are intrinsically appealing, provoking debate and discussion
- Franz Liszt was a very popular music-type guy (see photo)
But just adding a list to your blog because it seems like a good thing to do is not smart. Not necessarily, anyway. Take a look at this example, from the always informative Fox News’s online magazine.
It’s moronic, right? It’s utterly pointless, and it makes no sense.
Hey, why not spice up your relationship by giving your partner a wedgie? If he’s the ‘living in a two-storey property-type’, why not tie his shoelaces together and push him down a flight of stairs? Sure, he’ll have a concussion and maybe a few hairline fractures (or worse!! LOL), but it’ll be worth it for the intimacy it brings to your very grown up and mature relationship.
The problem here is that Fox News Magazine has misjudged its audience and opened itself up for ridicule (though that doesn’t seem to be a worry for its TV news output), as evidenced by the comments left beneath the piece.
This might result in a short term spike in traffic from rubbernecking Tweeters, but it doesn’t do anything good for the reputation of your brand.
The lesson to be learned is that website content, even on a blog, still needs to be there for a reason – it needs to be interesting and relevant to its intended audience.
And unless you’re the sort of person who likes to take their erotic guidance from ‘1001 Crazy Jokes For Kids’, don’t try any of those tips at home.