Over the ten-plus years I’ve been writing content for the web, I’ve come to loath listicles.
“Did you know that a listicle is a portmanteau word combing ‘list’ and ‘article’?”
Although it is a common journalistic technique and most of us love a good list. Listicles can have a dark side
Listicles are hard to maintain
On my first long-term food blog, I kept a list of Brisbane food bloggers. As you can imagine, with the trend of food blogging growing in popularity so did the number of links on the list. I tried my best to keep the page updated, but the web addresses would change.
As I tested the broken links I discovered that some people had stopped posting and updating their blog. At some point, it became too much work and then I stopped maintaining the listicle
Search engines rank on accuracy
Search engines, like Google, rank websites and web pages on 200 plus factors. So if you stop updating your website and it has too many broken links, it will gradually start to rank lower and lower. This is sometimes referred to as your domain authority (D.A.)
Depending on the search term a user enters, an individual web page may also drop lower. This is sometimes referred to as the page authority (P.A).
Listicles make us less intelligent
Critics of listicles complain about how listicles can oversimplify a complex subject and can dumb down our readers. Articles written about science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subject matter may be better suited to another format. Life isn’t always black and white.
Consider adding a video and illustrated diagrams to appeal to visual learners. Podcasts might be good for auditory learners. It is good practice to spell out all acronyms in full. You might like to add hyperlinks to scientific papers or academic references.
If you love listicles then make sure you keep them to under a dozen good ideas. Spend time researching and writing all of your online articles.
What are your personal thoughts and experiences on listicles?
Image Credit: Andrew Neel on Unsplash