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This List Goes Up To Eleven: How to Create List Posts That Rock!

You tell me: are list posts cool, or kinda lazy?

List posts are one of those post formats that almost every blogger has written for one reason or another.

Some bloggers draw huge audiences with nothing but lists. Others write painfully dull list posts that lose 99% of their audience beyond the first couple of points.

The question is, what’s the difference between dull lists and list posts that sparkle? And the answer is…

You.

You have to pimp that list like a boss. Here’s how.

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Write a list post that rocks!You tell me: are list posts cool, or kinda lazy?

List posts are one of those post formats that almost every blogger has written for one reason or another.

Some bloggers draw huge audiences with nothing but lists. Others write painfully dull list posts that lose 99% of their audience beyond the first couple of points.

The question is, what’s the difference between dull lists and list posts that sparkle? And the answer is…

You.

You have to pimp that list like a boss. Here’s how.

1: Hit the Headlines

It all starts with the headline. You’ve heard that before, and it’s still as true as ever. Create a strong, enticing post title.

  • “Ways to Make Cats Go to Sleep” becomes “Top 10 Sleep Tricks for Cats: Simple Solutions to Feline Sleep Problems”.
  • “Reasons to Give Up on Men” becomes “The 20 Reasons He Keeps Letting You Down… And What It Really Means About Your Love Life”.
  • If your blog is already full of long headlines, consider a more concise one to shake things up.

2: Give Them the List They Want

Think about it: what posts are already the most popular on your blog? Those are the topics your readers want, so create list posts that lay out related points. Link back from your list items to more detailed information, on your blog or on other reputable websites.

3: Drive Your Point Home With Images

A list post with thumbnail images for each list item can look great – it’s a little more effort, but worth it for the extra visual appeal it adds to your list. For a list post on a topic like travel, food, or interiors, I would definitely recommend an attractive image for every single point on the list. You’ll benefit from greater reader engagement and more Pinterest repins, too.

4: Don’t Take Too Long

Know your audience when it comes to list length. “257 Ways to Spend Less Time Reading” has less appeal than “5 Quick Tricks That Will Boost Your Reading Speed”. And if you say they’re quick tricks, it shouldn’t take more than one or two paragraphs to explain each item on your list.

5: Don’t Be Too Short, Either

Make sure you’ve allowed enough points to be useful to the reader. “5 Tips to Save You Money on Food” may be nice, but a list of 10 or 20 ways offers greater money-saving potential, and hence greater value for your reader. Give enough detail to keep your audience interested, without overwhelming them.

6: Keep It Clear

Format your list for optimum readability:

  • Don’t use too many bullet points in a small space.
  • Don’t nest bullets unless you really have to.
  • Do use h1 to h6 tags to emphasise the structure of your list.
  • Do make sure  images are neatly aligned, and add a margin if necessary to avoid cramping the text.

7: Help People Find the Things They Need

Sometimes it makes sense to link to websites, products and services from within your list posts. If you’re creating a list of great WordPress plugins, for example, or your favourite books, give a link to each so that your readers can go straight to the one they want.

8: Don’t Be Afraid to Make Money

A list post that rocks isn’t just a great resource for your readers. It can be a moneymaker for you, too.

If you’re an affiliate marketer, your list can include relevant affiliate links to products you genuinely love. If you’re a freelance writer, create a list post you know you can easily sell for a good fee. If you’d like to promote your own products and services, link them into a list post alongside other reputable products and services from businesses you admire.

9: Don’t Post Your List Post

You may be wondering if you read that right. Yep, you did. I’m suggesting that you write a brilliant list post and put lots of effort into it… then don’t post it on your blog. Don’t even post it on someone else’s blog. Why?

Because sometimes, a list post that rocks deserves to stand alone. Is your list big enough and useful enough to be released as an ebook instead of a blog post? Do it! Use your blog to promote the ebook, rather than to publish the post itself.

You can offer a free download of your ebook in exchange for email subscriptions, social shares, or something else your readers can do that you would like. Or, you could simply sell the ebook for a reasonable fee.

10: Tell Your Friends You Love Them

…And you made this list especially for them. Ask them to check it out, and to share it with their friends if they like it. Because…

11: Sharing Makes the Web Go Round

When you’re writing your brilliant list post, think about who’ll find it the most useful. Now, do you know anyone who knows a lot of those people? If you do, great! If you don’t, start now.

Get in touch with someone who already has a suitable audience and (concisely) let them know how your list will help their friends and followers. If they agree that it’s a useful resource, they’ll share it and bring a whole new set of readers to your list post that rocks!

Now, let me ask that question again: do you think list posts are cool, or lazy? Will you be writing one any time soon?

Sophie Lizard is a successful freelance blogger on a mission to help bloggers increase their income by blogging for hire. Grab a free copy of her freelance blogger's cheat sheet, The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs: 45 Blogs That Will Pay You $50 or More, and take a look at the free "How to Make A Living Blogging" Expert Interview Sessions!

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Successful Blogging: EXPERIENCE and Learn

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Do you know how people tell you to live and learn? Not the best advice. EXPERIENCE life and observe your lessons. THEN learn. Successful blogging is observing, learning then moving forward with those lessons firmly impressed on your mind. All that sweet blogging money only appears if you experience blogging by diving in, and blogging every single day for hours daily. After, you need to observe your experience. What did you learn? Take those lessons with you to succeed online. Living is useless unless you learn from experiences. EXPERIENCING blogging and learning from experiences separates successful bloggers from everybody else.

Let me explain…..

Me and my wife house sit in Brooklyn for 3 weeks now. The homeowners have a car. I need to move the car to find a new parking spot once weekly as alternate side of the street parking rules are in effect due to weekly street cleaning. The owners simply told me it’d be easy to find a spot early in the afternoon. Cool. But their advice did nothing to prepare me for the EXPERIENCE of actually trying to start the car, and find a new parking spot. I never used a key-less car before. I had no idea you need to press on the brake while pushing the start button because I had no experience doing so, and the owners did not give me instructions to do this. I know you place a key into ignition and turn it because that is my experience for 30 years as a driver. Anyway, 45 minutes later, I figured how to start the car. But wait! I had a new experience to…..experience. I had lessons to learn. Because after exiting the parking spot, I drove side streets for another 50 minutes before finding a spot. Frustrated and agitated, I learned a valuable lesson *from* my experience; change parking spots from one street side to another immediately after the street sweeper comes through. Cool.

But I had another lesson to learn. Traffic cops give tickets if you park on the alternate side before 1 PM; even if the street cleaner plowed through. Being burned by yesterday, I drove around for 90 minutes today to ensure I’d have an entire city block of open parking to choose from. OK; I also illegally parked on that open block for about 45 of those minutes. Why? Yesterday’s agitating experience told me it’s wiser and less time consuming to circle for 90 minutes to guarantee I get easy parking. Wait! I learned another lesson based on today’s experience. Never leave your parking spot at 11:30 AM when street cleaners move thru because you’ve 90 minutes to kill before legally parking on the alternate side. I asked a traffic cop. He offered the answer. More experience. Next week, I hop in the car only if the alternate side seems to fill up fast but based on prior experience, this only happens at about 12:50 PM, 10 minutes before the expiry time.

Blessed experience wins again. Life-wise. Blogging-wise. Seize it. Capitalize on it. Succeed. Blogging is no spectator sport.

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1 Blogging Lesson I Learned from Parking a Car in NYC

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Alternate side of the street parking day here in NYC. This means you need to move your car to the other side of the street for street cleaning. Cool. I heard it on the radio many times. First time I had to experience it in person, though. We house sit for a couple in Brooklyn. This couple owns a car. Cool. But the car did not start for a good hour because I did not know one steps on brakes while pressing key-less start buttons. Oh well. But after that, I drove around for 45 minutes looking for a new spot on the other side of the road because you get a nice ticket otherwise. No spots availed themselves for 45 minutes. I spoke to my wife. She told me cars need be parked 15 feet from fire hydrants. I was 5 feet away. Shoot. On returning to the car, a bus moved in front of me. I slid in to a parking spot. Phew. Relief.

What lesson did I learn? No matter how calm you THINK you are, agitation arises in you. Unless you’re enlightened. Alas I am not. I am a regular guy. Calm? Yep. But I routinely find events feeling uncomfortable to navigate. Sometimes, aka rarely, I experience events triggering deeper fears. Today was one such event. I did not flip out, scream, panic or throw a tantrum. I did however feel super agitated about needing to spend almost 2 hours driving around NYC and trying to start a key-less car because 2 hours are precious to me. I hate wasting time. Inefficient actions disgust me. BUT perfect place, perfect time. I needed this experience to trigger fears for feeling, hugging and clearing, to make me even more calm. No matter how much growth and success you experience, leveling up introduces you to new fears. Deeper fears. More unpleasant fears.

With deeper fears comes greater responsibility and even more success. I suspect if I do become a billionaire blogger how I’ll keep nudging into unpleasant-feeling fears along the way. But inspiring millions and making billions? Worth it. I am humble enough to know my calm demeanor a good 95% of the time may-does evolve into agitation some 5% of the time. Maybe less. Progress has been attained. Because I have not genuinely screamed at someone in about 1 year and I have been agitated like today about 5 times over the past year. I am calm most of the time. Agitation arises rarely because I am human and apt to be afraid of stuff. Sue me, LOL.

Be with fears as you grow. Energies arise. Anger. Terror. Horror at the future. Blanket disgust. Never resist these energies. I stumble across non-enlightened folks who hold self to enlightened standards. No way guys. Never be surprised at your getting angry or upset because only enlightened souls and repressed people never anger or feel agitated. Burying fear stifles your growth. Hugging fear accelerates your growth. You know I hug my fears. NYC parking agitation still subsiding now.

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Creating the Mindset of a Successful Blogger

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5 Greatest Landing Page Optimization Tools For Your Blog

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landing page optimization tools

Landing pages can steal people’s attention. And if you play your cards right, these pages hold the ticket to attracting more customers.

However, let’s be clear:

Landing pages are double-edged swords. While they can help you, they can also harm you — unless you’ve optimized them accordingly.

So if you know your landing page needs work, why not get around it?

Well, there are plenty reasons for this, and there are also many landing page plugins that can help to further critique your LPs as well.

As you go through this article, you’ll find five landing page optimization tools for your blog. With them, you can revamp your landing page then have it increase conversions and your blog’s income.

Unbounce

Unbounce - landing page optimization tools

Optimizing landing pages is not possible if you haven’t built them yet. So to construct great landing pages, the tool for you is Unbounce.

And Effin Amazing, a Florida-based agency that specializes in analytics and growth, will tell you all about the tool’s power.

When one of its clients, Chupa Mobile, asked for help generating new leads, Effin Amazing used Unbounce. The team’s idea for its client involved a lead nurturing strategy and a content calendar. That and Effin Amazing wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.

True, it was a rather ambitious plan. However, it was realistic. And get this:

The marketing agency reached its goal. Chupa Mobile was satisfied with its landing page. It also began generating dozens of new leads. Plus, it also walked away with a 44% increase in conversions.

Crazy Egg

Electronic Arts is a successful media company that knows that Crazy Egg lets you set up an A/B test in minutes. It also knows that the tool features Visitor Insights and Heatmaps. Both of which provide information about user behavior on landing pages. So before launching SimCity 5 in 2013, it set up an A/B testing process to maximize revenue.

Crazy Egg

For the control version of its landing page, it merely focuses on promoting the simulation game. While on the other version, the company offers a 20% discount.

Here’s the control version of its landing page:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Control

Here’s the variation:

Crazy Egg - SimCity5Variation

After a while, the media company discovered that its landing page’s variation was a hit. Compared to the version that brings an incentive into the table, the landing page design without a 20% discount performed 43.4% better.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics

If you combine Google Analytics and Google Adwords, a powerful tool is in your hands. You can use it to track landing page performance to haul in leads even after they exit your site.

To demonstrate the power of Analytics, let’s explore Marketo’s conversion increase that happened after using the tool.

So here’s the story:

As a go-to company for many B2B and B2C folks when it comes to marketing and automation, Marketo’s goal is to help its clients improve conversions. And to reach that goal, the plan was to use Analytics and real-time personalization.

So it took its clients’ website data such as industry vertical and top products. Then it merged all of it with the user behavior data it got from Google Analytics.

Because of what the analytics tool reveals, Marketo provided audiences with relevant data. From what it gathered, it also created topnotch remarketing campaigns. The fruits of the marketing company’s labor? A 10x conversion rate improvement for its clients!

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect

Thrive Architect is a WordPress page builder. And if you’re searching for a tool that can help you create visually impressive, high-converting landing pages, it’s the tool you need.

Take it from Louise Hendon. She is a solopreneur who uses Thrive Architect to whip up topnotch landing pages for Nourishing Brands. That’s why, over the years, she succeeded in building a sizeable six-figure business.

An upside is this:

Thrive Architect features a drag-and-drop interface that lets you build your page quickly. If you want detailed instructions on how to use the page builder, this article from ProfitBlitz will come to your rescue.

Pingdom

Pingdom

Did you know that Refinery29, a globally recognized brand for smart, creative women, uses Pingdom? And because the tool provides insights about how to increase page loading speed, the brand welcomes 36 million monthly visits.

So if your landing page loads slowly, Pingdom can help you. The tool works by taking your site out for a spin and pointing you to the root of the problem.

The excellent news is Pingdom is free and easy-to-use. All you must do is paste your site’s URL where the tool specifies, and you’re good to go.

To see it work in action, let’s check the page loading speed of a random site. For this, let’s go with Goliath National Bank’s website. So let’s paste its URL on the appropriate field and click START TEST.

Pingdom - Example

After the tool is done with the analysis, scroll down the same page to see the results.

Pingdom - Results

And if you scroll down some more, you’ll find suggestions on how to improve page performance. If you want a detailed explanation on how to improve page performance, expand the suggestion.

Pingdom - How to Improve Page Performance

Final Thoughts

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes and think of a landing page as a gateway to something unknown. Now, if someone herded you toward this gateway, would you want to see what’s on the other side of the fence if the entry point is dreary?

Chances are, you won’t. By the looks of it, choosing to pursue the dark path won’t lead to anywhere promising.

Remember, creating landing pages and creating landing pages that convert are two different things. So as you build your landing pages, make sure to implement nothing but the best landing page optimization practices.

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