Moving Write Along: Advice from the Experts – Top 10 Lists
by Tony Hastings, Founder, The Top 10 Blog

1. Choose a subject that has at least 10 items. For instance “Top 10 Continents of the World” may be hard work. If you feel that 10 may be a stretch, you probably should widen the subject. By the same token if you have too many choices then split the list down to more than one category, it’s a shame to waste good material.

2. Ranking. Some types of lists, like this one don’t really require to be ranked, as they are more for providing information. If you do rank the choices, then start with number 10 at the top and work down to number 1 to build up the suspense. People tend to scan a Top 10 list fairly quickly, so give them a reason to read the whole post.

3. Choose a topic of interest to you, or one you know well. If you feel that you do not have enough knowledge in a particular subject, seek out an expert and invite them to compile the list. Make sure to give them proper credit for the work.

4. Research thoroughly. Make sure you get your facts right. People may disagree with your opinions and that is fine, but, if they are pointing out errors, you will lose your credibility.

5. Don’t be afraid to be controversial. Slip in the odd unusual item, as that is likely to stimulate debate. If you are listing music or movie items, then add something obscure; don’t play too safe, and just list the obvious choices. Maybe leave something obvious out, that will usually get people talking … and commenting.

6. Give reasons for your choices. A straight list of items is boring. Again, expressing your opinions is more likely to start a conversation. Be logical in your arguments for including an item but, as with #5, don’t play too safe all the time, be outrageous from time to time.

7. Be consistent in how you present your lists. Readers like to know what to expect. A consistent layout is pleasing to the eye for regular readers, constantly changing font style, size  or the way you use images can be irritating.

8. Have variety in your topics. I invite guests to write lists on my blog and have had subjects as varied as dog fashion, raw foods, ghosts, and poets! Vary the way you source your lists, invite guests to compile their own, run polls, or perhaps ask for suggestions from your readers as to what they would like to see.

9. Use appropriate images and links. I think that the correct use of these can significantly increase the appeal of your listings. When adding a link, set the target to open in a new page so the reader does not leave your website.

10. Ask for feedback from your readers. As with any blog post you are much more likely to get a response if you pose a direct question to your readers, so …

Let me know what you think. Are there any other important list factors that I have missed?

Tony Hastings is the founder of The Top 10 Blog, a fun blog where you can find Top 10 lists on a wide variety of subjects. Tony specialises in producing Twitter based lists and high quality posts from invited guests on Social Media, Technology, Entertainment, and just about any subject really! Tony, who is based in the UK, has been blogging since early 2010, after a career in finance and retail.

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