Tips for Creating a Successful Top Ten List

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There are now well over 2,000 top ten lists on TheTopTens and after looking over a few years worth of data showing millions of visitors, one can see that there are certain characteristics that make any one list more successful that another. Below we have provided some tips we have for creating successful, high quality top ten lists.

1) Create a list with well defined parameters
People are more likely to take an interest in your list if it is clear what types of items do and do not belong. For example, with lists such as the Top Ten Best Tenacious D Songs and the Best Male Golfers of All Time, it is easy for people to choose which items to vote on or which new items they want to add to the list. Lists such as the Top Ten Animals are more difficult for a couple of reasons. First, people can get confused about how they should add new animal to the list. If their favorite animal is a Grizzly Bear, should they add Grizzly Bear, Brown Bear, or just Bear? What if their favorite animal is an African Lion and someone has already added Cat to the list? Do they vote for Cat or add a new item?

2) Add a good list description
List descriptions are good because they let other people know more about the list and because they will help people become more interested in your list. But maybe even more importantly, list descriptions help the search engines better understand what your list is about so it will rank better in search results. Over 90% of all people who visit TheTopTens come to the site from a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. The most popular lists on the site receive over 10,000 visitors every month. A list description of a paragraph or two may be the difference between a list that fades into obscurity and a list that makes it big.

3) Have 10 good items for your top ten list
People will be more interested in your list and more willing to contribute if you have done a good job of finding 10 legitimate choices. For example, if you are creating a list of Top Ten Best Albums of All Time, make sure you know enough about the topic to consider albums from the Beatles, R.E.M., Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd, and Frank Sinatra. Very few people are going to bother with your list if your selection of the best albums of all time has 4 albums from Madonna, two from Britney Spears, and 4 more albums that were released after 2006.

4) Add comments explaining why you feel the items you added belong among the top ten
As is the case with a good description, lots of comments also help the search engines figure out what your list is about. Comments also provide a secondary purpose of setting an example for the people voting on your list. If you start with good comments, you will find that people are more likely to add good comments of their own.

5) Tell others about your list
Email, IM, text, and Twitter friends letting them know about your top ten list. Ask them to vote on your list and add comments.

6) Write about your list
Have a blog or a forum you contribute to? Add a quick post and a link to your list. Ask for feedback and get other people talking about your list too. You might be surprised how many other people will mention your list in their blogs or on other forums.

7) Link to your list
Have a Facebook, MySpace, or LiveJournal site? Add a link to your top ten list on your profile or send a link in comments to your friends asking them to check out your list. Have a website or a blog? Syndicate your top ten list by clicking the Get Code link below the top ten items for your list and pasting the provided HTML code on your site.

Think of any tips we missed? Please add them to the comments below.

Comments

Really good ideas. Another one is make a bunch of random lists and soon you will get up to 30 - 40 lists. then you will be in the top 5 profiles with the most lists. thats how people can find your lists. I kind of worked for hatcher234 but it worked for me. - biscuits

Good list and good ideas. As a new member I should use this to my advantage. - fireinside96

Great ideas! - visitor

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