Experts say that lists are great attention grabbers for blog headlines. But what number is the most effective for attracting attention to your list post? Top 5 Reasons… 7 things you should know… The 10 most effective… Should the number reflect the actual amount of examples you have, or should the list of things be based on a pre-determined number? Some people say 7 is the best, maybe because God used it when creating the world. Other people say 10 is optimum, it’s a nice round number, the first number with 2 digits, and David Letterman has made it an indelible part of our culture.
I prefer a short list, like 3 reasons why, with 5 being the upper end of the echelon. Mostly because I have a short attention span, and I believe most arguments can be boiled down to 3 points (George Carlin was able to break the 10 commandments down to 2.)
No offense is intended to all the 12 step programs, as those are geared toward life transformation as opposed to trying to induce a web surfer to click on your link. I don’t know if AA ever would have taken off if it had been a 3 step program.
So here are my 7 reasons why 5 is a better number to use for a list post headline.
1. People’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter
2. Some people won’t remember the 1st reason by the time they get to the 7th
3. 7 reasons will inevitable have some overlap
4. Fewer reasons forces you to be succinct
5. People may not even read all 7 reasons
6. You want to be able to count the reasons on one hand
7. By the time you get to 7, there’s usually some overlap