Now, I know that Digg, Reddit and all the other fun sites that let you post and rate links thrive on postings that are presented in lists. And rightly so! When you’re in a hurry, or don’t feel like reading something properly or simply just want to the gist of it, a list is what you need. And, most importantly, they’ll tell you exactly what you have to do, feel or think.
Latest example: Leo Babauter’s list titled: Mistakes That Could Be Killing Your Blog.
Great title, I bet that alone managed to get a majority of his readers all hot and bothered when it appeared in their feedreaders. So, what’s it say, you ask? Well, there’s one item called “Less-than-useful posts”. Quote:
You want useful posts, and you want them fast. Bloggers should have lots of posts packed with useful information, and they should be on the front page so the reader doesn’t have to look for them. If your front page displays the 5 most recent posts, and they’re all updates about a competiton or a new product you’re selling or a contest on another blog … well, the reader will leave rather than having to wade through 10 non-useful posts just to find one useful post.
Ah, I remember the day when blogging was a fun activity, something you did because you liked to write, liked to exchange ideas or just loved being the creator of your own little universe.
For Leo Babauta, and I’m using his name now mainly as pars pro toto for the whole of the marketing, PR and corporate blog world, blogging is about creating value, making money and advancing yourself. Which are not bad things per se, but writing lists detailing how you are failing your mission of becoming the world’s most prolific writer because you’re writing about the stuff you’re interested in, is (that “is” pertains to “bad”, in case you’re wondering. Writing in English when in fact you’ve been trained in German means longer sentences and less comprehension).
Now, not all of Babauta’s points are without merit. There are those that tell you not to have pop-ups, too many ads or a whole lot of clutter on your site. While these are still up to whoever created the site, they are valid points. But please, do I need a 10-point list to realize that pop-ups and ads can annoy the shit out of my readers?
Unfortunately I’ll have to go and mix my Martinis now, but you’re of course invited to roam my site and pick out the most uninformative, boring posts and then write snarky comments about why I’ve got about 2 readers a day while someone like Babauta is raking in the cash with lists your grandma without access to a device more elaborate than a blow-dryer could write.