In my years as an interwebs information consumer, I've gleaned great insight into one of the mainstays of online content: The top (n) list.
Here are some essential tips to creating amazing top n lists that will thrill and excite your readers:
- Pick a number, any number, ideally the one that takes the least amount of work to fulfill. Top 5 foos, Top 100 bars, doesn't matter. If you want to cover, say, online apps for a making lists and you have 100 of them to cull through, forget that grunt work and just list them all. The number in the list doesn't matter. (Bonus tip: The higher the number, the less essential that you actually have that many items. Who's going to count to see if you actually list 200 free icon sets? See the tip about numbering, below!)
- Screenshots or logo images can help, but don't worry if you don't have them handy. Some lists, such as this one, are full of plenty of pith without pictures to prop them up.
- Drink your favorite beverage while writing it. Why? See the next point for explanation.
- Don't worry about including an irrelevant, off-the-wall, non-sequitur point in the list. People won't quite "get" the connection and will just think you're smarter than they are. This boosts your online credibility!
- Numbering is optional! Entertain your readers! Think of the fun they'll have counting up your bullet points. If you have a big huge long list, motivated readers have even more items to count. Minutes of enjoyment! Think of all the fun you'll have with comments if you in fact don't have the right number of items!
- Don't worry about how well you fill out the list. People clicked to your site. You already won, right? Linkbait! That's what Top (n) Lists are all about!
- Ask for feedback. Never mind that this is just a good policy for blogging. By asking for feedback on your list, you're covered and won't look totally stupid if you forgot an obvious thing.
- Add an extra point as a bonus. People love this shit.
Adding an amazing graphic doesn't hurt, either.
Did I miss anything? What do you think?
Laura Scott is a designer, tech geek, fiction editor, and author.