Have you ever come up with the situation where you don’t find any topic to write on? I do. I am not a person who likes to replicate what is already out there like so many other blogs do. But then, how to come up with a nice blog post that will be different from others? As it is said, ideas are the fuel for blogging. But where do you find this fuel?
In my cases, following are my sources for digging out the blogging ideas:
1. Google Reader
This is simple yet the richest source for getting the blog ideas. You can subscribe to websites and blogs of your interest to stay updated on what’s going on in your niche. Another useful feature is Recommended Items which list down random articles from the web which matches your interest. You can build up a good list of subscriptions and rest assured that you may never run out of steam for blogging. For example, my article on Google Shopping was result of news from Google India’s blog which I first saw on Google Reader.
2. Google Alerts
Blogging is also about timing. The sooner you can blog about a breaking news, the bigger are your chances to get more traffic. Google alerts can give you near real-time updates related to your keyword. Just enter the keywords related to your niche, divert alerts as RSS feed to your Google reader and stay updated.
3. Stumbleupon/Digg/Other Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking sites is another great source for blogging ideas. As these sites host variety of different articles submitted by various people around the web, you can see what other people liked and blog about them. Stumble! button on stumbleupon toolbar walks you through random submitted posts related to your preferences and if any particular article/site catches your interest, you can blog about it. I wrote an article on Browsers Supporting HTML5 when I stumbled upon the site HTML5Test using StumbleUpon.
4. Social Media
No one can undermine the importance of social media these days, especially for promoting your business or product. However, sites like Twitter and Facebook does provide you with a chance to engage in conversation with other like-minded people. This conversation may turn out to be useful as a source for your new blog post. Also, you can invite people opinion on the news/events/tools and turn them into blog post. Successful bloggers like Darren Rowse used this strategy quite effectively.
5. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a tool which provides you with your blog statistics. You can see where your traffic is coming from, which keywords getting most hits, what is the average time user spends on your site etc. By looking at the keyword hits, you can see which topics the readers are most interested in. Check out which keywords drive readers to your blog and focus your blogging efforts on them. I saw that people were searching for Microsoft Outlook related keywords more on my blog, hence I decided to put together an article – How to be smart with Microsoft Outlook – 7 Tips and it turned out to be quite popular.
6. Google Trends
Google Trends is another useful tool which provides information on what people are currently searching for. Enter multiple keywords separated by comma and it will show you how popular that topic is over a period of time. It also displays few news results related to your keyword which may be useful to generate more blogging topics. Also, you can do a blog post about trends itself. For example, compare Facebook against Twitter popularity and blog about it.
7. Google Insights
Google Insights is a more advanced version of Google Trends and it gives you ability to watch the search trends with finer control. You can filter your results by time (last 10 days, last month, specific year etc.), region (Worldwide or specific country), category (like technology, sports, entertainment etc.) or type (news, images, web or product). Looking at what is hottest search trend, you can take take advantage of the traffic by blogging about it.
8. Other Blogs
You might get an inspirational idea from reading other blogs in your niche. I did my post based on Darren’s post asking what’s wrong with blogging? As a side effect of this, you may get positive attention from the fellow blogger if you link back to their original post. I did two posts, one describing reader’s view and other describing blogger’s view, based on Darren’s question and I still get good number of hits for these two posts.
9. Discussion With Fellow Bloggers
You can get blog ideas by connecting with fellow bloggers in your niche and engage in active discussions. Also, providing attribution link regarding the discussion in your blog post to that blogger may develop healthy long-term relationship with him.
10. Invite Suggestions From Readers
When you don’t have a clue on what to write, ask your readers! It is a win-win situation for both – blogger as well as reader. Blogger gets a topic to write and readers get to read what they want to. Also, by inviting reader suggestions, reader feel more connected to the blog and this may create a loyal following to your blog. I recently introduced Skribit tool on my blog for this sole purpose.
11. Reader Comments On Own Blog
Sometimes, a reader suggestion can make the magic and provide you with Eureka! moment. You can use that idea in your next blog post along with reader name and you have one more loyal reader to your blog.
12. Reader Comments On Other Blogs
When you visit other blogs, don’t just read the blog, make sure to read other people’s comments as well. That may spark an idea for your blog.
Images provides visual stimulation to my brain. People love images and you may get an inspiration to write from them. You can also create your own visuals/chart/comic strip to break free from regular textual format. I did my post on Novice Blogger Vs Seasoned Blogger taking inspiration from a funny image I watched online.
14. Google Search
You can not forget the good old Google web search when searching for blogging ideas. Google provides you with tools like related searches, wonder wheel and newly introduced “something different” feature to find out related keywords and topics.
15. Offline Sources
Google is not everything, sometimes you get great ideas when you are not in front of your computer. I got the idea to write about comparison of IPL versus blogging while watching the semi-final of IPL. Use sources like magazines, newspaper, television to recharge your blogging genes.
16. Self Experiences
Not everything you blog has to be about others, just blog about what new you learn every day. However simple or small it may look to you, it may be totally lifesaver advice for others. Convert your daily experiences or findings into blog post. It’s absolutely not necessary that every time you have to share something that has worked for you, you can also write about something which didn’t. Occasionally, I just ramble about some hiccups I get while surfing – just like my post on Orkut feedback or funny synonym problem I faced while working with MS Word.
What are your sources?
If you are finding it difficult to find a blog topic, try one of these ideas. If they work for you, let me know by leaving the comments. Also, let me know where do you derive your blogging ideas from. If you like this article, please share with your friends. Keep geeking!