The internet is full of pages providing us with numbers.
Numbers and tips!
Numbers OF tips.
That’s right. The internet is full of posts containing a designated number of little advisatory gems. I don’t know how much use there is in reading these lists, but I’m convinced there must be a point to writing them. I reckon the wisdom must reside in the numbers. So, the secret to providing advice online must be to put the advice in the form of a list of useful tips. Most importantly, you have to number them. Then put the number in the title. Netizens love numbers. They will read all the tips you want to give them as long as you put them in a well-numbered list.
Anyway, I’m gonna give it a try. I do have a list of my own. It’s totally full of good advisings too. At least I will have such a list when I type out a bit more of this post. Here are my tips! My, …um, [INSERT NUMBER HERE)-point list of how to do [REPEAT NUMBER]-point lists. Yeah, that’s right. I don’t even know the number of points on my list, but I will have a number when I’m done writing my list, and you’re gonna read it to.
The number anyway. You’ll probably skip the rest. Dog knows, I would. Anyway, here goes…
First! Number one! The main, first-most, and totally beginning number on my list list of numbered things on the list that is totally numbered. The point of that number is to, …um …Number you tips! Yep. You gotta totally number them. Otherwise people won’t know the count, or maybe they will forget your advice as they read through it. Plus, it might be that your advice really sucks, but at least the numbers will make sense, so if you give bad advice, you can at least give good numbers. That’s why you gotta make sure you give people tips and make sure you number them so people can count as they read your tips.
And anyway, numbering your tips makes them way more important.
“Look before you cross the street?” …Meh!
“Number 1: Look before you cross the street.” …Dude, that is so totally profound!
Trust me, numbers profundify the lamest advice, and if that isn’t enough for you, then I just don’t know what else to say. Just fricking number your tips, okay dude!?!
Two: At least half your advice can be totally obvious or completely meaningless. In fact, it’s probably better that way, because it leaves less for people to disagree with. You just have to use the right words. If you are giving advice on how to do a bang up blog, for example, then be sure to tell people they should produce ‘quality content’. That may sound to you like an obvious call to write good stuff, but that’s because you haven’t grasped the full nuance. See, words like “quality content” are just so qualitative, they will make people feel all somehow, and then they will think you’ve actually said something, and they will respect you more. Plus, think how important that advice really is. Your readers were probably planning to write something that sucked, but you totally steered them in the right direction with that advice. Isn’t that cool?
Oh, what do you care? It’s a hit to your website one way or another!
Drei: Use your advice to drag people by the nose through your website. This isn’t hard to do. You just add all sorts of links to each piece of advice, hinting each time that they can learn more about whatever they’ve just read if they click the link. This way the vacuous nature of your not-so-helpful advice will work to your advantage. People will think; “Oh, I just haven’t found the real information yet. I have to go to that link where I will learn everything I need to know about this and it will finally make sense.”
If you’ve figured out that nothing at the link has to actually make sense, then you are catching on. The point is that this practice will generate extra hits on your website, which will totally drive up your search rankings. Your readers won’t learn a damned thing, but fuck them anyway, right? Your advice is good because it’s good for you, good for your rankings, and good for your blog. It’s probably also good for Jesus, all of your fellow countrymen, and if you can swing the suggestion, starving children somewhere in Africa.
…don’t forget to shed a tear as you write that last one. Also finish your dinner.
Quatro: Try to include at least one useful piece of information. It doesn’t have to be original. It doesn’t really even have to be all that relevant. Hell, you can steal it shamelessly from someone wiser than yourself. The point is that you want your reader to have something to hold on to. That way when they remember your post and can’t remember all the other stuff you said, because – CAN THE CAN, HONEY – after all you really didn’t say anything in most of your advice post, but when they think about that, they will hopefully remember that one thing, which probably didn’t come from you anyway, but they’ll remember it just the same. Then when their buddies ask why anyone should go visit your site, they’ll say; “Oh I learned that one cool thing and some other stuff. If you go to the site, you’ll see that one thing and all the other stuff too, and then you can remind me about all the stuff I forgot.” …which is of course totally cool for you, especially if their friends start following the links. No-one will remember the useless non-advice, but they’ll remember the one good point and think there were others that they forgot. If your lucky, they will even come back to check.
I know, I know. You’re worried that you may not have any really good advice to give, right? Don’t worry about it. All you have to do is find someone else who is worth listening to and use them as a source. The advice they give will be the one that matters. So, just pick something that seems superficially relevant to the topic. Don’t worry. It doesn’t have to be actually relevant, just as long as it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb and make people think it doesn’t belong in your post at all. Then you’re sunk.
Ashdla’: Be sure to write in short sentences. Also make sure that your grammar is nice and standard. It’s best to avoid run-on sentences. For instance, most of what I wrote in bullet point Suzi needs a red pen. That kind of writing is right out! (Seriously, don’t write like I do. It’s bad for the economy.)
Now you might think that the point here is to communicate more effectively, but you would be wrong to think that. The real reason is that your 8th-grade English teacher will haunt your fricking dreams if you don’t follow this advice. You don’t want that, now do you? I know I don’t. Seriously, Just leave me alone Mrs. Lawrence, will you please just leave me alone!
5) Some bullet points can be really brief. People won’t mind the break. Reading is hard.
Tallimat) Oh, brevity? That’s a good one! Reading is hard. Remember that point when you write stuff. People don’t like to read, which is one of the reasons that writing is hard. Writing is hard, because reading is hard. Maybe writing is actually hard, because reading seems hard, or maybe there is a lesson about laziness here, but the point is writing is really rude. I don’t know about the rest of this paragraph, but I am totally serious about this point. Writing is definitely rude. When you write something, you are asking someone to read it, and no-one wants to do that. So, don’t write anything, you rude mother-fucker!
…Alternatively, remember that whatever you write, your readers are just waiting for an excuse to stop reading. Why they started reading in the first place is a mystery to me and to you, and probably to them as well, but they are just waiting to bust away from your damned blog post and go do something fun. So you have to keep it brief, and you have to do stuff to keep their attention. Words like ‘fucker’ help with the last part. When I figure out how to keep it brief, I’ll write another post to let you know. I’ll probably even add it as a link to this post.
VII: Promise them money. I don’t mean that you should offer to pay your readers, though that might work. …No, it wouldn’t. (No-one wants to read.) Anyway, my point is that you should allude to financial success. Hint that people will earn a lot of money if they just follow your advice. Ideally, you should get that hint into your title as well, and into every other bullet point. In fact, you should probably get it into every bullet point, just to be on the safe side. Just keep suggesting that you’re offering people the keys to a successful career in whatever, and you’ll be fine.
Now you might think the point of this advice is to get readers to think they can make money by following your advice, but that is totally not the point. Seriously, no-one is that stupid! The point of doing this is to convince other internet advice-bloggers to think that you are in the same business they are, and hopefully that you are really good at it. If you can sell that image to them, then those guys are totally gonna start coming to your blog, commenting, and hopefully referencing you on their own blogs. That will totally drive your hint count up, at least as long as you do the same for them. You won’t make any money off any of this, but it’ll be a gas to think that people came to your blog, even if most of them only did so in the hopes of getting you to come to theirs. They didn’t read your posts. Don’t forget that. No-one reads blog posts. But they will count as hits, and that’s cool.
See, no-one really believes advice on how to make money online, but some people evidently believe that others believe you can make money online. THAT, my friend, is your target readership!
восьмой: Wrap it up and hit the ‘Publish’ button. Seriously, just get on with it!
No seriously, just hit the damned button.
…No fair, using this advice for 10-point lists. It’s only meant for 8.
Regarding DREI – it’s even better when each numbered point on your list is on a separate linked page on your website.
And the White Lion Roars! said:
I trad and believed every bullet point. So, when do I get my check?
And the White Lion Roars! said:
Read. I read every one.
OMG, love this. Am so (so!) tired of coming across headlines such as: “Eight ways to write quality blog posts!” and “Five things wrong with your blog post!” blah, blah, blah.
I especially loved this, and laughed like hell, too: “Your readers won’t learn a damned thing, but fuck them anyway, right? Your advice is good because it’s good for you, good for your rankings, and good for your blog. It’s probably also good for Jesus, all of your fellow countrymen, and if you can swing the suggestion, starving children somewhere in Africa.”
Oh, my! And so funny. And yet so true. Also loved the part about how no one reads, how reading is hard, write is rude.
Really great post.
Had a laugh! I came across several blogs yesterday that could have benefited from this advice… well, maybe not… but I’ll keep it short as it’s rude to make you read. 😉
E Mockingbird (@Uncle_Zeno) said:
Hold that Sousaphone, Mr Author. (just to let you know I get your visual joke).
After this writing you will undoubtly be authoring a Business Management book next. A tome with many mysterious “universal Laws” no one codified until you happened upon the scene.
None adhere to cultish bullet points and numbered lists more religiously than middle-level managers seeking the Grail of Managerial Advancement. (Which sounds like a good strong antibiotic might be more appropriate & effective).
Remember the 3 uh, Stages of Twitter formula:
Obsequious, Irrelevant, Obnoxious.
E Mockingbird (@Uncle_Zeno) said:
Much as I hate to kibitz (Well, that’s not entirely true – I hate to KIBBUTZ. Kibitz is really more in my wheelhouse)…
Tic Tac Tallimat, give the dog your phone
Isn’t Tallimat — five, & not six?