If you are considering crafting your very own year end recap list, you are in good company. Whether it’s a process of closure or the simplest way to recap, blog posts that “list” it all are extremely popular with both writers and readers.
1.) The result is measurable. It’s highly specific. Writers can target a topic in a manner that creates a definitive shared goal for readers. How many different thingamajigs made life simpler in 2013? I can list 7. You only know 5; learn about the other 2!
2.) A quick study. Readers like specific and they really like succinct. Lists are easy to digest, especially when formatted with bold, numbered headings. The average time spent on a website’s landing page is decreasing, and on content pages it varies based on the loading time of the site and the format of the content. Blocks of text tend to generate rapid bounces. List content has a slightly higher result for average time spent on the page.
3.) They keep clicking. My analytic results for companies I represent prove that hits to list posts average slightly higher than content posts in a non-listed format. Nielsen reports both Yahoo and CNN news sites in the top 2 for visits, and after running assessments on both sites, I find that Yahoo news (#1) consistently employs a headline offering a list within the first ten headlines displayed on the primary news page.
As a side note, I personally don’t enjoy reading content in list format. I started looking into lists based on their incredible popularity in search results. I have since developed new ways for my clients to list without formally listing, such as seasonal selections and pictographic media walls. NPR did something similar to this recently for its 2013 book review – the Book Concierge . They cited “list fatigue” as the reason for the new approach. Most companies will agree there is no such thing as “click fatigue” and lists = clicks, so they have not tired of lists yet.
My suggestion: test your audience. Two posts. Same time and the same day of the week. Go mid-month. One post should be full content and one post should be listed with a clear headline identifying it as a list. See if your analytics prove lists the right choice for a selection of your posts. It’s possible your specific audience suffers from list fatigue, too.