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How to Come up With More Than Enough (Great) Ideas for Your Blog

Posted By Ali Luke 24th of January 2017 Writing Content 0 Comments

How to Come up With More Than Enough Ideas for Your Blog

Do you ever sit staring at your computer screen, wondering what the heck you’re going to post about?

Maybe you scramble around for an idea – any idea! – and then rush into it.

Or maybe you give up, and you don’t write a post at all.

Coming up with enough ideas for your blog can be daunting, whatever stage you’re at. If you’ve just started blogging, you might be struggling to decide on your topics and what to blog about. If you’ve been blogging for years, you might feel like you’ve already covered everything.

Some bloggers also have some unhelpful hang-ups around ideas and inspiration. Perhaps you feel that ideas will only come when you’re not looking: when you’re in the shower, for instance, or doing the dishes.

And while ideas can and do pop up out of nowhere, you don’t need to just hang around waiting for inspiration to strike.

Here’s how to come up with loads of ideas:

#1: Think Like a Beginner

Whatever you blog about, at some point in the past, you knew little or nothing about it. That might have been years or even decades ago.

Think back to how you felt then. Ask yourself:

  • What confused you?g. if you blog about short story writing, perhaps you didn’t have the first clue how to structure a short story.
  • What did you learn the hard way?g. if you blog about parenting, perhaps you were completely thrown by your kid’s first tantrum and you had no idea how to react.
  • What do you wish you’d known sooner?g. if you blog about healthy eating, perhaps it took you ages to realise that a lot of processed foods contain far more sugar than you’d expect.

Any of these could make great topics for a post: chances are, if you found something tricky when you were starting out, your readers are struggling too.

#2: Talk to a Reader

My readers have always been my best source of ideas. Sometimes, a reader suggests a post that I’d never have thought of on my own.

This can happen quite naturally through blog comments and emails (look out for suggestions that aren’t explicit – you might not receive an email saying “here’s an idea for a blog post”, but you might get a question on a topic that would probably be of interest to a lot of your readers).

You might want to be more proactive about seeking your readers’ opinions, though. My two favourite ways to do that are:

  • Through surveys. You can get ideas and feedback from a lot of people at once, and you can ask about what topics they most like to read about, or what types of posts are most helpful, using multiple-response questions.
  • Through one-to-one conversations. While this is obviously a lot more time consuming, it is a fantastic way to find out exactly what people are struggling with or desperate to know more about. If you offer short, free, consulting sessions, these can give you heaps of great ideas for your blog … and they could potentially become a paid-for service in the future.

#3: Swipe Someone’s Else’s Blog Post Title

While you certainly shouldn’t take someone’s exact idea, there’s nothing stopping you borrowing their title and using it to create your own post.

For instance, if you read a post titled “Ten Simple Tips for Organising Your Closet,” you might repurpose it like this:

  • Ten Simple Tips for Organising Your Work Day
  • Five Simple Tips for Organising Your Kitchen Cupboards
  • Eight Simple Tips for Overhauling Your Closet

For lots more about drawing inspiration from other people’s blog post titles, check out my post How to Swipe Great Titles … and Use Them On YOUR Blog.

#4: Get Inspired By a Blog Post You’ve Read

Have you ever read a post that seemed to miss something out, or that made you think of another related topic? For instance, you might read a post on a blog aimed at mothers-to-be on “packing your hospital bag” – only to think that a great counterpart would be a post for fathers-to-be about what they should think about taking too.

Depending on how closely linked your post is to the original, you might want to link back to it and acknowledge the source of your inspiration.

How to Come up With More Than Enough Ideas for Your Blog | ProBlogger

#5: Brainstorm From an Old Post on Your Blog

If your blog has been around for a while, you can use your own posts as a source of inspiration. Perhaps you wrote something a few months ago that you realise could lead into a series of more detailed posts; maybe an inspirational piece you wrote could spark off a more practical post.

When looking at old posts, you might think about:

  • What knowledge or skills are pre-assumed by this post? Could I write something that helps beginners get up to speed?
  • What could readers tackle next, after reading this post? For instance, if you’ve written a post about crafting a great short story, the next logical step might be a post about editing short stories.
  • Could you take a sideways step from the post? Maybe that post about crafting short stories could inspire you to write a post about crafting a poem.
  • If the post is an old one, has anything changed recently? Could you write a new post explaining these changes?

#6: Update and Republish an Old Post

Some of my most popular posts are long, “evergreen” ones that have been around for several years: perhaps the same is true for your blog.

Inevitably, information and links get out of date over time – and old, but popular, posts are great candidates to update and republish. You may also find that your writing style has shifted and developed, so it’s a good idea to do a thorough edit even of the parts of the post that are still factually correct.

I recommend doing this by updating the content then changing the date of the post. Don’t copy-and-paste content into an entirely new post with a different URL: you won’t keep the search engine traffic from the old post (which has probably been linked to be various other websites).

Some bloggers are reluctant to republish old posts in case readers complain: in my experience, readers (even ones who’ve been around a while) aren’t likely to even notice that the post has been around for a while! Even if they do, they’ll likely be glad to have an updated version.

#7: Have Themed Posts for Different Days / Weeks

Whether you blog every day or once a week, you can “theme” your posts according to a pre-set schedule. For instance, if you blog on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you might have this schedule:

  • Monday: A beginner-friendly “how to” post
  • Wednesday: A case study with more advanced tips
  • Friday: A round-up of interesting news / links from the past few days

Schedules like this can be helpful for readers, who may like to know what to expect from your blog; more importantly, though, they give you a starting point for coming up with ideas.

I know it might seem counter-intuitive, but it’s much easier to come up with ideas when you’ve got some restrictions in place (e.g. the idea needs to be for a “how to” post). If instead you could blog about anything, you’ll probably find your mind going blank.

#8: Set a Timer for 20 Minutes and Brainstorm Ideas

You can do this in any way you like: as a list in a Word document, on individual post-it notes, using mindmapping software … whatever works for you!

However uninspired you feel, if you sit down for 20 minutes and force yourself to do nothing except come up with ideas, you really will get some ideas! Some may be weak or unusable … that’s fine. Sometimes you need to work through those to get to the really good stuff.

#9: Use Ready-Made Title Templates

While you can swipe titles you’ve found on other blogs (see #3), if you want to come up with a lot of titles at once, it’s helpful to have a list of ready-made ones.

One of my favourite sources of these is Jon Morrow’s ebook Headline Hacks. Some of his headlines are a little high-octane for my personal tastes, but there are plenty that I really like.

You might like to use this technique alongside #8: spend twenty minutes, perhaps once every week, working through some template titles and creating versions that would work for your blog.

#10: Use Blogging Prompts

While I find it helpful to start out with a title in mind, some bloggers prefer to work with a more general idea (or partial title) and gradually refine it. If you have a more personal, essay-style blog, you may also find that pre-written titles don’t really fit with your tone or content.

There are hundreds of blogging prompts all over the web. ProBlogger has a great set of them – six month’s worth! – which you can download completely free here.

It’s simply not true that some people are really good at coming up with ideas while others are doomed to struggle. All of us can come up with more than enough great ideas, if we deliberately set aside time for this.

Which of these idea-generating tips will you try out this week? Or do you have a different way of coming up with ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

About Ali Luke
Ali Luke blogs about the art, craft and business of writing at Aliventures. She has two free ebooks on blogging, Ten Powerful Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Stronger and Ten Easy Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog … And Keep Them There. To get your copies of those, just sign up for her weekly e-newsletter (also free!) here.
  • Thanks, Ali. That was really helpful for everyone especially for a beginner who just started the very first blog. Sometimes, Brain stops responding and then a flood of negative thoughts. What would be my next post? How would I maintain my blog if I run away from ideas?
    This is the worst feeling especially for a beginner because he/she is feeling it for the first time.
    But after reading this, Brain gets recharged.
    Thank You

    • Thanks, Jayant, I’m so glad this was helpful! It’s a while now since my first blog but I do vividly remember worrying about how I would ever have enough ideas. And that worry still comes up from time to time, but these days I just sit down and generate a bunch of ideas so I’ve got plenty ready. :-)

  • Hey Ali,

    To curate the effective content, you should definitely have some great ideas. I always get the post ideas from my old posts.

    And you know that your readers always ask the question which should be answered.

    Social media groups are really what I prefer. I get so many ideas from Facebook and LinkedIn groups.

    Thanks for sharing with us.
    ~Ravi

    • That’s a fantastic suggestion about using social media groups, Ravi — thanks for adding it!

  • Hello Ali,

    Thanks for writing such a beautiful and informative post. Ideas really helpful to generate quality content for the blog. I usually take these ideas from sites like quora which help me to learn more about the common questions asked by the users in my niche.

    • I find quora a bit too distracting … I go there looking for ideas and end up reading all sorts of questions and answers on unrelated things! But I’m glad it’s working for you, and I agree it’s a great place to find out what readers what to know. :-)

      • You are right Ali I also find Quora distracting and has random questions and answers. I may not get what I want on there and that’s why I don’t usually visit Quora. By the way I enjoyed reading your beautiful post. It was really helpful. I would love to read your ebook but I don’t know how to reach that.

        Keep it up!

      • Pushpendra Singh

        That’s so true. Quora is so addictive and distracting. But spits out good query keywords too. But, I have to keep myself focused to not get lured away by other non-related questions. :D

  • Hi Ali,

    Much thanks for this informative read!
    It happens to me a lot of times that I am ideally sitting in front of my laptop and scratching my head for the new post ideas. Your this guide will certainly help me out to gather or maintain posts for my blog.

  • Sam

    Thanks for the post Ali. What really helped for me is when I began writing longer posts. When I first started blogging I would post often, but only would write around 500 words per post. Now I post less but write longer, more detailed articles. Simply put – you have more ideas when you post less!

    • Great suggestion, Sam — thanks! Yes, I think longer, less frequent posts work well for many bloggers and readers.

  • Hi Ali,

    Great post. Great ideas. :) When I need ideas for new posts, at least now I know what to do. So thanks.

    Right now, I don’t create much content for my blogs. I mostly create 1 or 2 big posts per month and then promote the heck out of them.

    I simply don’t have a big enough audience to create a new post every other day. If I were to do that, most of it would never get read. You know?

    Anyway, I really enjoyed your post. And I’ll be signing up for your newsletter. :)

    Cheers,
    Julian

    • I think creating one or two big posts and promoting hard is a great way to go (Jon Morrow has written about using similar tactics, I think … and SmartBlogger still only publishes one post a week).

      Hope you enjoy the newsletter! :-)

  • A great source for me is to look at the Twitter stream of a person I admire – the topics, ideas, replies they make are excellent fodder. And here’s a great free tool to pull up up to 3200 tweets of your fave Twitterer: All My Tweets (www.allmytweets.net).

    • Great suggestion and nifty tool — thanks, Terrance!

  • I am a new blogger. I appreciate your informative and helpful tips. I really love the idea of getting feedback from readers. I will definitely use other bloggers for inspiration and credit them with a link. Very helpful!

    • Thanks Shelly, glad this was helpful! :-)

  • Hey Ali,

    When it comes with blogging ideas I use points 2,3, and 4 quite bit. It saves me a lot of time and also the ideas I usually get from others, those same people will sometimes come to my blog.

    One thing I like to do more of this year is #6. My blog is about 7 years old now and I do have old posts that need updating. This not only saves time but also search engines will take notice which is always a good thing.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • I need to go back and do more updating too … it’s hard to take the time, isn’t it, when there are always new posts to write! Good luck with yours, Sherman. :-)

  • Creating high quality content is accomplished by writing content that engages the reader and keeps them interested. This is something that all writers should aim for in today’s digital marketing age. Thank you for this helpful tips for creating some awesome content.

  • Ali,

    I literally loved this. Honestly, you’ve nailed it.

    I heard someone was talking about finding the PASSION and said that “analyze the questions that you’re being asked, maybe, people look at you as an authority in that space, that’s why they ask you those questions”.

    It was mind-blowing.

    And, surprising, you hinted the similar point here. (in #2)

    So glad to read this blog post. Going to share!

    • Aw, thanks so much! Really appreciate the kind words. :-)

  • Hey Ali,

    Yes, I totally agree with your points – our reader are best source which helps us in our growth. Brainstorming is highly recommonded in any kind of business niche because it provides us much ideology regarding project.

    The most significant way to develop a loyal online following is by creating useful content that readers will consume and share. Blogging at its core, is about offering something of value to our audience, Starting by defining for ourself what readers want to serve, and then build a strategy about how to reach them. Eventually, thanks for reveling a light on this topic.

    With best wishes,

    Amar kumar

    • Thanks — I think you’re absolutely right that blogging is all about offering value to our audience.

  • Hi Ali. This article was fantastic – a great, modern look at the age-old problem of writer’s block, and how to solve it.

    If you’re looking to write blogs which appeal to a massive audience, there’s another useful place to look: newspapers, and their online versions. By their nature, newspapers are trying to appeal to as many people as they possibly can. They incorporate things like ‘How To’ guides and comment pieces on a daily basis, with incredibly populist subjects. Checking big news websites each day can give you another unending and effective source for blog ideas.

    • Great point — thanks, Hitesh! I’ve found that magazines can be good sources of titles and article ideas, too.

  • Ali, thank you for sharing these useful tips. I could definitely use #7 and #8.
    For me coming up with the topics to write is like deciding what to cook for the day. Once I know what to write, it doesn’t take much time but until that sweet moment, I keep dilly dallying:-)

    • I know what you mean! We do a meal plan at the start of each week (usually Sunday evenings) and I write a content plan for my blog at the start of each month … it really helps. :-)

  • Really actionable tips. In terms of coming up with ideas that are really valuable to your audience is actually just to ask them.

    I’ve found a really good way is to just leave it as a CTA at the bottom of a post, and especially if you have a YouTube channel, asking your audience what they’d like to see by leaving a comment often gets a great response rate!

    • I agree, Tom; often, simply asking is the best way to get whatever you want! :-D

  • Hey Ali,

    Awesome Article,it gives a Nice Insights to write Blogging. I`m Thinking to write the blog this article helps me a lot.

  • a nice post where i can understand and come up with more than enough ideas

  • Laurie FORTIN FEILER

    Also, if you speak more than one language, write your posts in these different languages you know, to reach more people :)

  • You Got some killer traffic on your wordpress bud :D

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