Things To Do Article Template

Things You Must Do Article TemplateHere’s a fun article writing template 2-pak called: “Things You Must Do” and “Things To Avoid.”

Your “things to do” articles will mostly be ‘pleasure seeking’ themes while your ‘things to avoid’ articles will cover ‘pain avoidance’ themes.

Article Titles options:

  • Use different tenses:
    • BEFORE: “9 Things To Do Before You Buy A Hybrid Car”
    • DURING: “8 Things To Do To Get The Most Gas Mileage From Your Performance Car”
    • AFTER: “7 Things To Do Get The Highest Resale Value On Your Old Car”
  • Use adjectives for emphasis:
    • “6 Simple Things You Can Do Before You Go On Beach Visit”
    • “5 Romantic Things You Can Do While On Vacation”
    • “4 Easy Things To Do When You Return From A Trip To Lose The Weight You Gained”
    • “3 Things You Absolutely Must Do To Become Rich By Selling Real Estate”
    • “11 Things You Must Do To Prepare For Your Next Olympic Competition Event”

What To Put In The Article Body:

The article body should not repeat the article title (as it is with all articles). Be sure to include a simple 3-5 sentence paragraph that explains the benefit of the things to do you’re about to list rather than rolling immediately into the list of things.

Reason why: Because we use your 1st paragraph to help sell your article to potential readers via email, rss, the widgets, etc. that are part of the EzineArticles system.

It looks best on the eyes when you use a numbered list, bolding the thing to do followed by a sentence or two that explains why the thing to do should be done. Most people would say that using the OL & LI HTML tags do make numbered lists look best, but that comes at a price: Incompatibility with TEXT-based email newsletters that syndicate your content.

End your article body with a brief summary of what the reader can experience in their personal or business lives when they do the list of things you’ve just outlined… then, roll directly into your Resource Box call to action.

Things To Avoid Article Template
(polar opposite to the Things To Do template)
Things To Avoid Article Template

EzineArticles Factoid: There are 705 articles that have the “Things To Do” article title in use vs. 143 articles with the “Things To Avoid” title… proving that we seek PLEASURE more than PAIN-AVOIDANCE in a 5:1 ratio.

It’s widely known that people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure, yet there are currently 5x more articles written already with the “Things To Do” template. My theory is that it’s because of the positive vs. negative tone… even when you mean well to help save your reader from future pain… they might not be seeking knowledge on pain avoidance.

One way you can flip the “Things To Avoid” article template so that it has a positive spin: Write articles that helps the reader to understand your credibility by outlining why from your experience they should avoid X number of things having to do with your niche expertise… ie: How can your reader gain pleasure, peace of mind, wealth, etc. by avoiding x number of things.

Lastly, be sure to deliver in the article body on the promises you made in your Things to Do/Avoid article title. If you say here are *21 Things To Do To Win Your Next Golf Game*…there better be 21 items numbered in the article body… :) or you’ll be left on the golf course alone in the rain. Seriously, our readership tells us almost instantly whenever a newly accepted article doesn’t deliver on the promise made in the article title.

Have you ever used this article template, and if so, any additional insights to share?



Another great template – I especially like how you broke it down into “before, during, & after”. Also the factiod re: positive spin vs negative spin is a useful nugget of wisdom I will add to my “Virtual Buzz Tool Kit.”

Enjoy following you on Twitter.


Comment provided August 4, 2008 at 3:13 PM


Kathy writes:

I agree with Melody. Thank you for these templates and writing tips. They are incredibly helpful.


Comment provided August 4, 2008 at 8:48 PM


Pearls writes:

Thanks for a such great template. It is very clear when you use OL & LI to highlight the TO DO and NOT TO DO list.

Comment provided August 4, 2008 at 11:00 PM


Avril Harper writes:

I love the ‘X Ways’ article type which until now I have created as ‘X things you didn’t know about (Subject)’. What I find particularly useful is to specify in the resource box that the reader can discover ‘X more things they didn’t know about (subject)’ by visiting a specific url. Thanks so much for putting this article type into such close perspective. I love it.

Comment provided August 4, 2008 at 11:49 PM


Gary writes:

Thanks for this great tip. I haven’t used it before but will be soon. I have used something similar with the “Do you make these X mistakes?” template.

Avril, the “X more things” in the resource box is a fantastic idea. Thanks for sharing it.

Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 1:47 AM


Phillip writes:

WoW wOw Wow … Thanks a bundle for this excellent vision version of “How to” … what an excellent way to share show how to ‚¬“Things You Must Do‚¬ and ‚¬“Things To Avoid.‚¬ it might have the key word fun in the beginning but this is serious insiders information I love this way of explaining how it should be done in my book the best yet!

All my best to you and your learned curve
Phillip Skinner

Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 2:01 AM


James writes:

thanks for this. It will be very helpful in enhancing my writing skills.

regards. more power!


Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 3:09 AM


Audrey writes:

Those “negative” words are huge when readers are choosing an article to read.

I recently saw 2 articles

One was “How to Scare Folks Away From Your Website” the other title was “5 Things You Can Do To Keep Visitors On Your Site”

The two articles were almost identical in content yet the one with the negative title had a fraction of the views.

My vote is really with the postive. In the above, one example is not put music on your site. There are a few ways to say this:

1. Do not put music on your site
2. Keep your site music free

The first has a negative feel to it. The 2nd sentence can be a way to keep folks on your site.

Chris, I wonder if you’ve looked at stats on the articles with the “negative” in the titles?

Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 9:09 AM


Laurence Meier writes:

i know i have yet to write for this site, but i thought i would do a little scouting before i began. One way to get a good feel for the arena one is entering is to hear what others are either unhappy about or happy about so i read the posts of others who have been around for a while.
This one grabbed my attention as it is one of my soapbox topics. I have to agree with Audrey, i would like to extend her observation and suggest one can actually takes the negative, and in most instances, through careful thought make it a positive statement.
The phrase ‘Keep your site music free” has a negative connotation in that is is a command.
Yet is phrased as a question illicits a response or piques the interest
‘How to keep your site music free…”
the Audience once captured is almost negative free… well that’s i see it anyway thanks for all the great ‘stuff’ makes for really good reading


Mark Singh writes:

Great article / tips, Chris. Helpful as always.

Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 9:11 AM




I’ve thought about doing a study on negative titles vs. positive titles to see how much traffic each attracts… but it’s so subjective that it’s hard to get a big group of articles together with keywords alone.

It’s safe to say POSITIVE tone articles outperform NEGATIVE tone articles.

Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 9:24 AM


Susan writes:

I have been procrastinating at writing my first article, as I get writers block at how to write rather than what to write. This is excellent!

Positive tones are great. I would much prefer to write like this, but didn’t realize the benefits as outlined here.

Comment provided August 5, 2008 at 11:38 PM



Love this article and the great templates Chris. Guess I am a little confuse though. I thought I remembered being warned against using templates? But these suggestions look great can’t wait to get my ebook and ecourses done so I can get back to article writing.

Hope you and the EzineArticles community are all having a great summer!

Comment provided August 6, 2008 at 1:41 AM


pamela strange writes:

Attracting more visitors to my site is the aim.
Writing for me is a must – not a game
It’s a plus is to have such a very odd name
Historical, nostalgic, wartime madness is Strange.
With Christophers tips and everything to gain
Daddy’s Little Spy will shoot to Amazon fame.


Comment provided August 6, 2008 at 5:26 AM


Ntathu Allen writes:

Excellent. I decided to try and follow your templates on my latest article. I focused on what my yoga students fedback to me re the breathing exercises they find most useful to reduce stress. It made the article feel more alive and relevant to everyday life. Template also gave me a structure on which to base rest of article. Thx. Nx

Comment provided August 6, 2008 at 7:34 AM




Who warned you against using templates to help structure your original article writings?

That’s nonsense. :)

The templates job is to help focus your mind in a particulate direction… a way of freeing your mind to not worry about structure so you can focus on delivering solid new content in original ways only your unique mind can deliver based on your expertise.

Comment provided August 6, 2008 at 8:18 AM


Jan Verhoeff writes:

WOW! (I like that word today – did you know that when you turn it over it spells MOM! – just thought I’d share that.)

Templates are a great way to “sing up” people for your website. They bring attention to the right items, capture the audience, and give you a methodology for writing.

Some people look for specific article templates when reposting articles, because they’re effective in their ezines. Consider for a moment if you have a column that always offers “Ten ways to…” you can have a real variety of topics and still stay on target with your column.

These templates WOW the audience and drive traffic – I’m in.

Comment provided August 6, 2008 at 10:36 AM


Jim Kesel writes:

We occasionally use a different tactic of combining both positive and negative aspects of a subject such as:

Title: The positives and negatives of selling your own house.

We use two sets of bullets and it seems to work well. So there may be a 3rd template.

Comment provided August 6, 2008 at 6:14 PM


Nenad writes:

Many thanks for sharing this with us.

Comment provided August 7, 2008 at 2:24 PM


Steve Shaw writes:

Using this kind of template certainly helps to get an article written – you have a ready structure in place to use before you even write, rather than trying to structure it in a meaningful way after you’ve written it. Any kind of numbered list type article – 3 Tips on…, 20 Ways to …, etc. – works well, and is also good at attracting readers.

Comment provided September 4, 2008 at 8:21 AM


Roylan writes:

Great article! Will use the tips in my writing.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Comment provided September 19, 2008 at 2:47 PM



Just joined last night, this is a great resource to systematize projects, thanks!

Comment provided October 6, 2008 at 12:12 PM


bet (Elizabeth) writes:

Thanks for this template. All help is much appreciated.

Comment provided April 13, 2009 at 1:37 AM



The economy is in such a rut that we’ve got to keep things positive. People are feeling down on their own. They need a cheerleader in their corner. So we write articles like “6 Things you CAN do now … “. I like it better, even if my readers don’t.

Comment provided May 11, 2009 at 1:10 PM


Wayne Hollwoay writes:

Hello Chris,

Great article that inspires more article writing! I find it curious, yet, understandable why people prefer to read about positive matters, as opposed to negative subjects.

However, in business, I find that people are more often guided by their desire to avoid pain, than to enjoy the pleasure.

Again, thanks for the suggestions.

Comment provided May 11, 2009 at 1:21 PM


jitendra bharai writes:


Very useful and great tips for effective article writing.



Comment provided May 12, 2009 at 9:04 PM


Ruth Bonnemare writes:

This is a good tip, I’ll definitely come up with some articles using this template.

Comment provided May 13, 2009 at 2:26 AM


Tom Cosgrove writes:

Great article especially the discussion of the “how to avoid” vs. the “how to get” headers ratio being 5-1. Goes to prove you can’t outhink the market, but you can read the scat droppings and learn in what direction to go.

– Tom Cosgrove

Comment provided May 13, 2009 at 8:17 AM



Thank you for another straightforward, user-friendly template.

Re: the Please vs Pain angle – of course, most folks would say they like a positive spin to an article, yet how many will read an article titled, “25 Things You Do to Sabotage Your Success Every Day” because unfortunately they are afraid they really are sabotaging themselves.

Work to do for us coaches and healers!

Comment provided May 13, 2009 at 12:59 PM


bet (Elizabeth) writes:

Thanks, this will really help as I have a massive attack of writer’s block.

Comment provided May 14, 2009 at 7:44 PM


Motown Terri writes:

‘Avoid’ and ‘Fail’ are great words to use in article titles.
Good tips for a template when creating articles.

Comment provided August 16, 2009 at 11:54 AM


Olga O'Mara writes:

Thanks Chris,

Your caring, thoughtful suggestions and guidance clearly indicate your sincere desire to help us to get organized, “templatized” :) and get started or to continue on the right track.

Thank you so much! The above projects the supportive and concerned attitude for the “family/ coworkers/ members”. of a concerned “father/benefactor/leader”-YOU, Mr. Christopher M. Knight!

I greatly appreciate it. Thanks again.

(I have difficulty to get around: is there a ” Bank-File” for these Templates? When I click on “Article Templates” it brings me to this section. ?)

Speaking of the letter “W” vs. “M”.

If you were to substitute the letter “M’ for “W” in the word “CHRISTMASLOVE” you will read:

Comment provided November 4, 2009 at 11:10 PM


Marc writes:


Eventually we plan to release all of the article templates in a package, but there are still many more in the hopper to be created. For the time being, the quickest way to find all of the existing templates is to click on the Article Templates link in the right navigation bar of the blog. This will filter out everything but the blog posts which contain or discuss article templates.

Comment provided November 4, 2009 at 11:28 PM


Isaac Bertoud writes:

Thank you for this excellent tips and guide. This is a great help to make quality content.

Comment provided September 13, 2012 at 3:18 AM


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