Listicles don’t need to be clickbait. These mind-numbing posts about the perfect potato chips or most ripped celebrities that you just see on Fb give listicles a nasty identify.

It’s completely doable to put in writing an amazing listicle about… nicely, just about something.

On this publish, you’ll discover ways to just do that.

Listicles, in any other case often called list-posts, are articles structured round lists. Normally, they increase on every checklist merchandise with extra data to make them extra helpful for readers.

Why do folks like listicles?

Listed here are only a few causes:

  • Simple to skim as a result of every subheading normally corresponds to an inventory merchandise.
  • Simple to digest as a result of they’re damaged into bitesize chunks by definition.
  • Simple to gauge since you all the time understand how a lot is left from the quantity within the title.

Is that an exhaustive checklist of causes? No, however we are able to’t checklist all of them. Try this publish by Smithsonian Journal when you’re interested by different causes for his or her reputation.

Writing a listicle is simple. Simply open a clean doc, checklist a bunch of issues and also you’ve obtained a listicle. However writing a listicle that drives site visitors and that individuals truly wish to learn is a little more difficult.

Right here’s how one can do it:

  1. Select a matter
  2. Guarantee it makes sense
  3. Resolve on size
  4. Select a format
  5. Select a successful angle
  6. Brainstorm checklist factors
  7. Develop in your concepts
  8. Flesh out every level
  9. Illustrate your factors
  10. Wrap issues up

1. Select a matter

If you need your listicle to drive site visitors from search engines like google, you might want to select a subject that persons are looking for.

As a result of key phrases usually characterize matters, you are able to do this with key phrase analysis software like Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer. Simply seek for a broad matter, then go to the Phrase Match report the place you’ll see key phrase concepts sorted by their month-to-month search volumes.

Ensure to decide on a subject that you’ve got some information about. In any other case you’ll wrestle to put in writing a novel and precious checklist.


 In the event you’re not an Ahrefs consumer, you possibly can stand up to 100 concepts utilizing our free key phrase generator.

2. Guarantee it makes sense

Not each matter is appropriate for a listicle format. That’s fairly apparent for some matters, like “how one can tie a tie.” You possibly can inform from the question that persons are searching for a step-by-step course of, not a listicle with numerous completely different strategies.

However issues aren’t all the time so apparent…

Take a subject like “search engine marketing knowledgeable.” It’s not clear whether or not folks need a step-by-step information, an inventory of suggestions, or one thing else.

You possibly can determine this out by wanting on the top-ranking ends in Google. As a result of Google’s enterprise mannequin depends on them delivering related search outcomes, the highest outcomes are an amazing proxy for what searchers wish to see.

Trying on the screenshot above, you possibly can see that just one listicle ranks within the high 5 for “search engine marketing knowledgeable.” As the remaining are step-by-step guides, this in all probability isn’t matter for a listicle.


In the event you’re struggling to discover a appropriate matter for a listicle, strive including these phrases to the Embrace filter in Key phrases Explorer: concepts, suggestions, finest, instruments, issues, methods, ways, checklist. This may slender the outcomes all the way down to key phrases that embrace not less than a kind of phrases, which can typically be nice candidates for listicles.

3. Resolve on size

Typically talking, the variety of objects in your checklist ought to roughly match the variety of checklist objects you see amongst top-ranking pages. In spite of everything, in the event that they’re all nicely into the double or triple digits, then an inventory of 5 objects in all probability isn’t what searchers are searching for.

For instance, the highest outcomes for “date concepts” are lists of a whole bunch of concepts.

Whereas not one of the high 5 outcomes for “running a blog suggestions” exceed 30.

Is that this a tough and quick rule? No. In the event you suppose an inventory of 100+ objects is totally pointless and doesn’t truly assist searchers, be at liberty to deviate from this recommendation. What we’re doing right here is utilizing the top-ranking outcomes as a proxy for what searchers need, nevertheless it’s not 100% foolproof.

Plus, the size of your checklist could in the end be restricted by the variety of concepts you could have, nevertheless it’s good to have a tough ballpark determine in thoughts to begin.

4. Select a format

There are two doable listicle codecs.

a) Primary

Primary lists are brief and candy with 1–2 sentence descriptions for every checklist merchandise. Use this format when one or each of the next are true:

  1. Your checklist will likely be lengthy. Individuals in all probability don’t wish to learn an essay about every of the 50+ objects in your checklist.
  2. Your matter is straightforward. Let’s say you’re placing collectively an inventory of date concepts. Most of those are in all probability easy issues like ‘go roller-skating’ or ‘go mountain climbing.’ You don’t want to put in writing 500 phrases about every of these issues.

b) Detailed

Detailed lists are meatier lists the place you increase on every level with a number of sentences or paragraphs. Use this format when one or each of the next are true:

  • Your checklist will likely be brief. In case your checklist will solely have a number of objects, your publish will in all probability appeal to extra site visitors when you present extra substance and particulars about every one.
  • Your matter is difficult. Let’s say you’re placing collectively an inventory of search engine marketing suggestions. search engine marketing is an advanced matter, so readers will in all probability want sensible recommendation or step-by-step directions on how one can execute every tip.

5. Select a successful angle

Listed here are a number of standard angles for listicles:

Though you might select an angle primarily based solely on what feels most fascinating, it’s higher to take inspiration from the highest outcomes. Bear in mind, these are the perfect proxy for what searchers wish to see.

If we do that for the key phrase “journey suggestions,” we see that almost all are primarily based on private expertise:

For “dinner concepts,” just about all outcomes are targeted on ease.

Nonetheless, issues aren’t all the time this clear-cut. Simply have a look at the outcomes for “advertising and marketing concepts” the place there are two dominant angles: artistic and free. The perfect one to decide on is anybody’s guess.

Both means, make certain to remain away from clickbait angles. In the event you can’t ship on what your angle guarantees, select one thing else.

6. Brainstorm checklist factors

Bringing new and distinctive concepts to the desk is essential when writing a listicle (or any content material for that matter). So whereas it may appear tempting simply to repeat everybody else, if all you create is a carbon copy of present listicles, no person will care about your publish.

Even worse, it in all probability received’t appeal to backlinks, so it’ll be tougher to rank in Google and get search site visitors.

For that purpose, it is best to jot down your personal concepts earlier than even occupied with what present listicles on the subject need to say. This course of doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply open a clean doc and begin itemizing potential concepts.

7. Develop in your concepts

Except you’re tremendous educated a few matter, you’ll in all probability wrestle to provide you with sufficient factors for a complete listicle by yourself. Getting enter from buddies or colleagues is one approach to remedy that, however you may as well take inspiration from the top-ranking pages.

Listed here are two methods to do that:

a) Use the “additionally discuss” report

Plug your goal key phrase into Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer and go to the Additionally discuss report. This reveals phrases and phrases frequently-mentioned by the top-ranking pages in your key phrase.

Not all of those phrases and phrases will likely be notably insightful, so it’s finest to eyeball the checklist for recommendations that would type the idea for potential factors.

For instance, listed below are a number of phrases and phrases that present up for “date concepts”:

  • ice cream
  • movie show
  • animal shelter
  • board video games
  • mountaineering

If we mix these concepts with our personal information and customary sense, we are able to simply convert them into worthwhile factors:

  • Get ice cream
  • Go to the movie show
  • Go to an animal shelter
  • Play board video games
  • Go mountaineering

b) Verify subheadings

Most listicles use subheadings for every level. So a great way to extract inspiration from top-ranking pages is to extract the subheadings. You are able to do this without cost with Ahrefs search engine marketing Toolbar. Simply set up it, open one of many top-ranking pages, then hit the little web page icon within the high left for the on-page report.

In the event you’re questioning why not simply have a look at the pages instantly, nicely, you possibly can. However you possibly can simply take an excessive amount of inspiration that means. You may find yourself studying every part beneath the subheadings and your listicle quickly turns into a carbon copy.

8. Flesh out every level

It’s now time to increase on every level and flesh out your listicle. The extent of element right here will differ relying on the listicle format you’re going for.

  • For easy lists. Add a few sentences to every level.
  • For detailed lists. Write as a lot because it takes to elucidate every level intimately.

Hold the angle of your listicle in thoughts when doing this. In the event you’re writing a listicle aimed toward newbies, you’ll wish to keep away from pointless jargon and particulars. In case your listicle relies on private expertise, now’s the time to increase on that with additional ideas and opinions.

9. Illustrate your factors

Listicles are straightforward to skim and digest. However they’re arguably even simpler to digest once you break issues up with photographs and illustrations. This turns into much more vital once you need readers to really keep in mind the factors in your listicle because of the image superiority impact.

In response to Wikipedia:

The image superiority impact refers back to the phenomenon through which footage and pictures usually tend to be remembered than phrases. This impact has been demonstrated in quite a few experiments utilizing completely different strategies.

In the event you’ve learn any of our listicles, you’ll know that we embrace loads of photographs. For instance, our checklist of 17 advertising and marketing concepts accommodates 39 photographs. That’s as a result of advertising and marketing is an advanced topic and a few factors are exhausting to grasp with out photographs as an instance. You don’t have to make use of so many photographs in your listicles, so don’t drive them in for the sake of it.

10. Wrap issues up

Listicles tend to finish abruptly. You get to the ultimate level and issues sort of simply cease.

It’s straightforward to see why. Most listicle readers are skimmers, in order that they in all probability wouldn’t trouble to learn a conclusion anyway. However that’s no purpose to not embrace one. For the parents that learn your listicle from begin to end, conclusion may help wrap issues up and drive the purpose house.

Listed here are a number of suggestions for writing conclusion in your listicles:

  • Hold it brief.
  • Don’t repeat factors you already made.
  • Give attention to the principle level you wish to drive house.
  • Hyperlink to different related posts (they don’t need to be listicles).

Provided that we roughly comply with this recommendation for our personal listicles, we thought we’d wrap issues up by sharing a number of listicles from our personal weblog that rank excessive and drive numerous natural site visitors.

Remaining ideas

Not all listicles are created equal. Simply because Buzzfeed’s listicles are the bottom widespread denominator doesn’t imply yours should be. Select the fitting matter, angle, format, put some effort into the content material, and you’ve got a recipe for natural success.

Bought questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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