How to write a checklist article: A 5-step checklist

Checklists are one of many easiest (but Most worthy) content material sorts to create.

You most likely make checklists on a regular basis with out even figuring out it.

Shopping lists. Grocery lists. Chore lists. To-do lists for finishing tasks.

So it is smart to take that extraordinarily acquainted format, apply it to a widespread downside or process your viewers faces, and publish it in your weblog.

That’s content material your readers can put to use instantly. So if you happen to’re on the lookout for extra concepts for helpful content to add to your web site, look no additional and write a checklist article.

How is a checklist weblog put up helpful for website positioning?

When contemplating how a checklist weblog put up would possibly assist your website positioning, suppose key phrases.

No matter your business, your viewers has issues and questions related to what you promote that they’re researching on engines like google.

Problems like, “how to plan Thanksgiving dinner,” “how to load movie into a 35mm digital camera,” or “how to write a meta description.”

If yow will discover such a downside, one which’s related to what you promote and could be helped or solved with a checklist, and tie that downside to a key phrase you possibly can win in search outcomes…

That’s a recipe for focused leads coming your method.

Here’s an instance: This images web site is focusing on newbie movie photographers with an introductory checklist of the primary steps for his or her new passion.

You can do the identical factor, besides place it on your business and viewers.

Here’s how to write a checklist article on your weblog (or your consumer’s weblog) that might be extremely priceless and helpful on your particular viewers – as a result of that’s the type of content material that grows belief.

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Your 5-step checklist for writing a checklist article

A checklist for writing a checklist? Why not.

Here’s how to write your new checklist article, step-by-step, together with how to tie your article to a key phrase for website positioning.

1. Choose an actionable subject based mostly on an audience-specific objective or downside

Technically, any subject that helps the reader obtain a objective or clear up a downside could be became a checklist.

Just be certain that the subject is:

  • Actionable, with clear steps wanted to full the motion.
  • Audience-relevant, i.e., it’s a objective or downside they’re really apprehensive about.

Most how-to subjects could be became checklists since you should comply with sure steps or do particular duties to arrive at a explicit end result. The reader can “examine” these off as they go. For instance:

Topic End objective
How to bake bread Bake a scrumptious loaf
How to steadiness a checkbook Manage funds neatly
How to prep for a get together Throw an unforgettable get-together

Ultimately, you’re creating a checklist as a result of your reader wants to do one thing, however they don’t essentially know the suitable steps or actions to take to accomplish their process. You may also help them do it together with your checklist.

2. Tie it to a key phrase

If you need to deliver extra site visitors and leads to your web site, you must optimize your checklist weblog put up with a key phrase that maps to your subject.

For instance, say you promote get together provides and your subject is “get together planning checklist.” Could that even be your key phrase to goal within the weblog put up? 

To discover out, you must use an website positioning software (like Mangools KWFinder, Semrush, or Ahrefs) to analysis that subject/key phrase and discover out its key phrase problem (or KD, a measure of how arduous it might be to rank for that key phrase) and search quantity (the common number of searchers who lookup that key phrase over a particular period of time).

If the key phrase is certainly too troublesome to rank for, you could possibly seek for variations or synonyms to goal as an alternative.

For occasion, if you happen to lookup “get together planning checklist” in Semrush, you’ll see it has a KD of 69 (troublesome).

However, wanting on the checklist of associated phrases, you’ll see “bachelorette get together planning checklist” has a KD of 29 (simple). 

keyword research for checklist post

To goal that second key phrase, all you’ve to do is slim your subject barely. Write a good article, and you could possibly rank on web page one for that key phrase and pull in your audience.

3. Create a top level view of duties

Next, create a top level view of the principle duties the reader will want to attain their objective. This is the naked bones of your checklist, so think about writing them out in a checklist as if you happen to’re going to tick them off one after the other. (This additionally serves because the define of your article.)

At this level, solely jot down crucial or priceless duties, and get them organized from most vital to least vital. 

Why? As a normal rule, you need to front-load weblog posts with probably the most valuable information so your readers keep engaged – or not less than to allow them to shortly discover the knowledge that’s most vital to them and thus have a satisfying content expertise. 

That mentioned, if the duties want to be sequenced to make logical sense, get them organized that method. For occasion, a checklist for get together preparations most likely wants to begin with planning a menu of meals and gathering provides forward of different duties like adorning or making appetizers.

And that’s precisely how this checklist from Social Tables is ordered.


On the opposite hand, this fall dwelling upkeep checklist from Better Homes & Gardens follows the order of significance of duties:

fall home maintenance checklist example

Once your article is printed, you can begin tweaking your headers to not simply assist pull the reader down the web page, but in addition to emphasize the actions they want to take. And, after all, you’ll want to insert your key phrase in not less than one header (ideally multiple) for website positioning.

Here are some suggestions to make your headers higher.

Use the system of ‘verb + noun phrase’ 

If you scroll up and down this text, you’ll see I’ve used the verb + noun phrase system in all of the H3s in my process checklist (e.g., Create [verb] a top level view of duties [noun phrase].

Using this system retains the concentrate on every motion wanted to full the checklist. This makes your checklist scannable and simple to learn. Plus, it’s motivating – you’re actually commanding the reader to go do one thing.

Change up your verbs

To make every header much more distinctive and interesting, attempt altering up your verbs. For occasion, in each H3 in my checklist, I might have repeated the verb “write” a number of instances (“write a top level view,” “write participating headers”). Instead, I change up the verbs to add selection and curiosity. 

Don’t be afraid to seize your thesaurus if you happen to’re struggling to provide you with distinctive verbs, by the way in which – you’ll simply develop your vocabulary, which is able to enhance your writing.

This end-of-year monetary checklist by Bankrate is a good instance of the “verb + noun phrase” system in motion. They additionally use a good number of verbs.

financial_checklist_2022 example

Note that “assessment” is repeated a few instances. Imagine if this complete checklist and all of the motion objects mentioned “assessment,” as in:

  • “Review your progress.”
  • “Review your spending.”
  • “Review your beneficiaries.”
  • And so on.

It could be fairly mind-numbing, proper? Plus, it might make it tougher to differentiate between duties.

Bottom line: Plumb your vocabulary and make your motion objects extra participating – and extra readable.

5. Include insider suggestions and how-tos in your checklist

Remember, your model (or your consumer’s model) is meant to be the professional on this subject and the way to full this checklist. 

With that in thoughts:

  • What items of knowledge might you add that most individuals don’t learn about or contemplate?
  • What’s your insider recommendation for finishing an motion merchandise sooner or higher?
  • What could be useful to know if you happen to have been the individual utilizing the checklist?

Don’t simply regurgitate what others have mentioned earlier than you. Add some taste from the model’s professional perspective, as if you happen to have been sitting together with your viewers and advising them personally in regards to the subject.

Not solely will that make your checklist article extra distinctive, however it would additionally make it far more useful and helpful.

For instance, Bankrate’s monetary checklist contains recommendation for every motion merchandise straight from the corporate’s Chief Financial Analyst and contains quotes from him that instantly tackle the reader.

It’s not rote recommendation, however moderately useful info from a true professional interviewed for the weblog put up.


Bonus: Consider creating an infographic or PDF checklist for downloading

A checklist is a nice piece of content material to contemplate repurposing and providing in several codecs.

First, if you happen to create your checklist article thoughtfully, it’s endlessly helpful, a lot in order that your viewers would possibly need to obtain it to save, reference, or print later – akin to in a helpful and visually interesting PDF doc.

Offering a downloadable checklist inside your checklist article is a confirmed method to convert readers, by the way in which. Simply insert a few calls to motion (CTAs) that hyperlink to a touchdown web page the place the reader can enter their e-mail tackle to obtain the checklist. Done.

A good instance: Updater contains a button with a CTA to obtain the PDF model of their checklist for a first condo.

example of downloadable pdf checklist

Second, a checklist article is endlessly shareable if you happen to condense it down to a checklist of the motion objects – akin to in a well-designed infographic. Include the infographic inside your checklist weblog put up for visible attraction, and share it on social media.

For instance, Venngage created a clear infographic for his or her picture optimization checklist.


For these causes, take into consideration getting the principle content material of your checklist designed in a few completely different codecs, or select one further checklist format to create relying in your objectives.

Write a checklist article to transfer nearer to your website positioning and advertising objectives

A checklist weblog put up is simply plain helpful content material, which is what engines like google need to serve their customers.

If you create yours round a related downside your viewers has or a objective they need to meet, tie it to the suitable key phrase, and write a distinctive and useful checklist that demonstrates the model’s experience, you’ll completely see outcomes.

Plus, the standard checklist article is evergreen, which implies, so long as you probably did your website positioning analysis, you’ll most likely see it pull in site visitors and leads for a very long time after it’s printed.

Whether you’re on the lookout for elevated model consciousness, website positioning rankings, or belief grown together with your readers, including the checklist article format to your content material roster is a nice thought.

Opinions expressed on this article are these of the visitor writer and never essentially Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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About the writer

Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy is the founding father of Content Hacker, 7x writer, and a main strategist round creating distinctive content material and model presence that lasts on-line. At 19 years outdated, she used her final $75 to construct a 7-figure writing company which she offered ten years later. In the 2020s, she’s devoted to instructing founders and entrepreneurs the technique, abilities, and programs they want to construct a enterprise via inbound content material, to allow them to create extra lasting impression on this planet.

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