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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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It’s still one point

When writing a list of ideas or tips, it is worth making sure each one has enough value to be in the list – it is better to read a short list of valuable ideas than a long list of mostly junk surrounding a few good ideas.

Even if you’re calling your list something like “top ten tips” or “101 things to do with cheese”, don’t get tempted to make the list longer just so the title seems more impressive. Your credibility will suffer if the list doesn’t provide the help or interest people were looking for.

What I find even more annoying is a list of say 20 things which actually turns out to be a list of 10 or 15 things. I’m not sure if these writers are deliberately trying to plump out a short list or don’t realise how repetitive they are being, but either way it wastes my time and I don’t like it.

Here are the common ways I’ve seen people repeat list items…

  • giving the same point in different terms. For example, “use good spelling and grammar” and “don’t misspell words or use bad grammar” as two separate points – obviously, they mean exactly the same thing!
  • making the same point in different words so it almost seems a different point. For instance “remember to market your existing customers as well as potential customers” is really the same as “don’t neglect your current customers in word of mouth campaigns” in a list of ideas for treating customers well
  • breaking one point into two points – neither point fully makes sense alone, but if they are long enough they can look acceptable

Are there are other common repetitions or problems with lists that you have come across? What has been your reaction to these annoyances?

Happy writing!

Good blogging

I recently read a post by Jeff Attwood in his Coding Horror blog. He wrote thirteen blog clichés that he doesn’t like seeing in blogs – it is like a list of what not to do for a good blog, and was quite an interesting read.

While his post stands as is, some of his points particularly stood out to me so I will discuss them in my blog 🙂

One that I very much agree with is his point 5 – the big blogroll. He writes about the waste of listing many blogs in your blog roll, and wrote “It feels artificial and insincere.” Personally, a selective blogroll is a value-add; a long blogroll is ignored.

So what is wrong with listing so many blogs? For starters, a long list doesn’t give any sense of referral or recommendation to the listed blogs, compared to a select listing is likely to be meaningful. It is also hard to find anything from a long list – so at least break the list in to sub-lists to make it more user-friendly.

A particularly long list can also distort the look of a page, especially for short posts.

Having said that, what are the advantages of including some blogs in your blogroll? For starters, it builds the blogging community to link and refer to each other. A crafted blogroll can also help your readers find more information on relevant topics, which they will appreciate.

Links to and from your blog can help with your traffic and search engine rankings, so that in itself makes a blogroll and reciprocal links worth considering. But remember that links within your posts are also effective for rankings and readers, so a minimalist blogroll doesn’t mean you can’t link to additional blogs.

What do you think? Are you impressed by a long blogroll when you visit a blog?

Happy writing!