Do blog lists still have value in 2012?

The purpose of this post is to get a sense from the community as to whether blog lists bring value to the Web in 2012?

This is an open question to the community: do blog lists still have value? What do I mean by blog lists? I'm talking about the “50 best …” type blog posts that you see in abundance across the web.

This sort of post is particularly popular in the tech world and it sees a lot of action among WordPress bloggers too. I even posted a list of 15 trustworthy free WordPress themes on this blog some time ago.

The recipe for making a list goes something like this:

  • Find a niche that's not overexploited.
  • Pool together some sort of collection.
  • Make sure you have at least 20 items. Though 50 is probably better.
  • Add some nice eye-candy images and some short text snippets.
  • Embed your affiliate links.
  • Promote it like crazy across your social networks.
  • Sit back and watch the traffic flow in.

The general psychology of the list (on the maker side) is minimum effort for maximum gain. Probloggers will readily tell you that the list is a staple ingredient in a successful money-making blog. But does it really work? Isn't it all a little bit too easy? And haven't lists been done to death?

More importantly, does anyone actually look at lists anymore?

Personally, I find myself less and less interested in them as a user, but there was a time when I had a whole bookmark folder full of my favourite lists.

What about you? I'd love to hear what you think. Whether you're a list maker, a list consumer or you avoid lists whenever possible, do let me know what you think and hopefully together we can take stock of the value of lists today.

Will Ellington

Originally from the UK, I currently live in Osaka, Japan, where I work in higher education. I’ve been a WordPress user since 2004 and have developed numerous projects with it over the years. Wpliving is a place to share things i've learnt along the way, and to explore innovations in WordPress too.

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13 Comments on "Do blog lists still have value in 2012?"

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Tom Brady
First off I love what your doing at wpliving. Very cool stuff. As for lists, there must be value in making theme otherwise there wouldn’t be so many of the them. On the other hand, I know from personal experience that they don’t pack the same sort of punch they used to a couple of years back. I think people have become pretty much immune to them. For a list to catch your attention I think it either has to be really niche specifc or it has to do something special that others arent doing. I guess it’s time for… Read more »

I Honestly still find my self looking at list, but I’ve gotten so pissed at bloggers using hidden affiliate links I actually end up google’ing items I link in lists but yeah lists help you find new stuff or stuff you haven’t seen in a while and wanted to try at some point.

Nice work here at WP Living. You make informative and entertaining videos! I agree with Tom that list posts must be valuable if so many people keep creating them. I know I look at them a lot myself, like recently when I was researching “responsive wordpress themes.” I chose the sans. theme by the way too. Anyways, most list posts for that search were almost identical, except for this one: http://wpin.me/192-responsive-wordpress-themes-for-your-viewing-pleasure/# I looked at all 192. In this case I appreciated the unusually long list. I wouldn’t worry about the 2 affiliate and non affiliate links; just be clear when… Read more »
Matt Kaludi
Yes, From a user perspective: Lists are helpful. And from a blogger perspective, it does get visitors and build audience. Thing is that it needs to be done properly. It is often done without any research. Most of the lists we see are created to get in the search results. Lists takes much time to create and not easy to create unless you know about that niche. This is just a beginning of the lists. Bloggers found out about this 3 – 4 years ago and now everyone is making them and they are coming in frontpage search even though… Read more »
Hey Will, Excellent work here at WPLiving. The blog looks really neat and professional. I’ve been reading your blog from last few weeks, since I first discovered it through our conversation on Twitter. List posts still holds much value and can definitely help a blog to get more exposure. But bloggers needs to be more creative, you can’t do a post on 5 themes from themeforest and expect to get hundreds of visitors. And as Tom said, it’s time for someone to come up with a different way of doing lists. Keep up the good work, Will. Enjoy your rest… Read more »

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