The most common problem that bloggers like me encounter is that point in time when no idea seems to be good enough to be written and published. You’d think that the biggest problem here is thinking of what to write about, but the underlying problem is really answering the question, “is it good enough?” or “will my readers like it?”
Thankfully there are a lot of tools and people who can help you verify if that idea of yours is good to be written about or not.
Whatever niche you are blogging about, this guide will be relevant.
Looking Into Trends
Know what the people want and the world is yours to rule. At least a portion of it. Apparently, people can’t get enough of certain things and will do everything to get more. This is your chance to ride the Bandwagon, know what is trending and write, or create, them instantly. Soon people will flock to your website and will ask for more. This is actually easy to do, but the challenge here lies in your ability to be always on time, just when “they” are all awake. You need to be one of the first to hop on the trend to get noticed.
Trendsmap is the perfect tool for bloggers who want to target a specific geographic audience. I never knew such a tool existed until I began researching about how to find trends.
Other noteworthy tools to look for trends:
It’s all about trends. Going with the flow will definitely bring traffic to your website and will give you a new topic to talk about. This is the easiest route, in my opinion, to gather ideas to write about. Since there are always new things online, why not use that to your advantage?
The tools linked above provide a summary of what’s hot for the day, or what’s being talked about in that hour, but if you want to have a more real-time view of what’s being talked about around the globe then Twitter is your friend.
Everybody knows what Twitter is, but it seems that people underestimate its search function. Here you can key in any term you want and see what people are talking about, and don’t forget to use hashtags too.
Google Alerts is also one of my favorites when it comes to being updated about current events on the web. You need to simply add a keyword you want to be notified of when it appears on the web, and Google Alerts will notify you once something comes up.
- 102 Respected Designers You Should Follow On Twitter
- 94 Interviews With 39 Designers, Developers, And Bloggers
- 15 Most Influential People In Web Design
- Ted Talks, Ranked By PostRank Engangement Data (Opens in Google Spreadsheets)
In order to succeed in what you do you need to have someone whom you can look up to. A living inspiration that you can always look to to find guidance, and possibly outrank someday. I’ve listed some resources below to help you get started. As the saying goes, if you want to be the master, think like the master, and walk like the master. These people are masters in their own ways, and it appears to simple people like us that they have an unlimited trove of ideas! In order to be like them, first you’ll need to know what made them them.
Through Online Communities
Two heads are better than one, but a thousand heads is definitely better than two. In the past it’s impossible to connect with thousands of people, or even a meager hundred, but today it is very possible. With the rise of social media and social news websites like Reddit and Digg it is now possible to contribute what you know and learn new things in return.
I spend a lot of time browsing reddit, answering questions and posing some, and throughout the day I have had several moments of, “why didn’t I think of that?”
Websites you can productively waste your time on:
- StumbleUpon – this is probably one of the most innovative tool online, a first of its kind enabling people to randomly see web pages that are based on the users’ interests. I stumble daily, although I rarely “thumbs up” a web page, still it provides me with enough ideas to write about be it for work or personal projects.
- Reddit – over the years there have been blogs that mined information on reddit, which is kind of frowned upon (see TIL-Blog.com). Anyway, reddit is a trove of useful information, especially when you know where to look. You know what’s the good part? I wrote a guide on how to use reddit some months ago.
- Digg – a social news aggregator and forum where people discuss things. Same with reddit, it’s a trove of useful information.
- Pinterest – a place where creative people gather and share their own creations. This is not just like any other web directories, it’s like the Etsy of displaying what you made for the whole world to see.
- Hacker News – here you can find fresh ideas and hot topics being talked about by professional tech guys.
Benjamin Franklin once wrote, and in this rare instance we’ll take it without context for it to work, “Either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.” You can’t flesh out ideas out of thin air, you need to do something!
Chances are the reason why you are here reading is because you’re in search for inspiration to start or end your day with. You’re on the right track, reading daily is one sure way to find inspiration. See, there are a lot of beginning bloggers that whine about not having enough ideas to write about, and they don’t notice the problem because they have secluded themselves in their tiny universe. This is not the way to do it. If you are experiencing lack of inspiration to write, just randomly scan your reader for new blog posts or use StumbleUpon to randomly find entertaining posts online.
- 250+ RSS Feeds For Every Web Designers and Bloggers To Subscribe To
- 40 Informative Blogs For Developers And Designers
- 33 Blogs To Make You A Social Media And Marketing Guru
- …and don’t forget to share your favorites too in the comments below!
There are many people who have found inspiration through 1stwebdesigner, but that doesn’t mean you should stop at that. Above is an extensive list of blogs that you should find time to visit, each having important things to share.
Through Yourself and Your Competitors
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, they say. This works well for websites competing in the same niche. What topics do they usually write about? What keywords? Frequency of publishing? Who writes for them? And more importantly, who are their readers?
SimilarSites – use SimilarSites to find popular blogs like yours and see why they’re doing well. You may also find new things that you can also do, but of course do not copy!
SEODigger – with this tool you can analyze what makes your competitor really popular, what kind of keywords people are looking for on that certain blog, how often, and a lot more.
Using SEODigger I checked what keywords are common for 1stwebdesigner. It also shows a report on what keywords provide more traffic.
Through Existing Ideas
Let’s face it, 99% of the things that you’ll ever think about creating have already been created by hundreds and thousands of people. Through the use of the internet nothing remains unique for more than a day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use an existing idea to give birth to a slightly angled idea.
Blogs are a great example of this. Every blog that you can think of has a lot of competition. Even huge eCommerce websites like eBay and Amazon, streaming music, streaming videos, fan fictions, and a lot more. But what differs them from one another is the content they provide, and that’s what makes or break everything. You can start a blog today with the same niche as 1stwebdesigner, but in the end what will give your blog an identity is on how you present things differently, from a different angle or from a whole new perspective. It is literally a “lather, rinse, repeat,” kind of process for everything, with slight changes in every turn.
This article you are reading has been written hundreds of times across hundreds of blogs, but what makes it unique is it’s more updated and I’m trying to take a different angle, every angle possible.
A question begs to be answered, is it ethical to get ideas from existing ideas? I will be annoying and say, it depends. If your goal is to take an idea to simply have new content for your blog, that is a terrible way to make it. But if your goal is to improve on an existing idea, by all means please do. You are content creators, and part of the unwritten and unspoken rule every content creator has is to constantly improve things. You can’t call yourself a content creator if you can’t improve things.
Do yourself great favors and read as much as you can at the start of your day, allot a few minutes to think about the things you have read, morph them and merge, and come up with a new and improved idea. It’s like polishing an armor or whetting your favorite knife.
Sit Back and Relax
- 14 Unusual Websites To Kill Time With – entertain yourself with these 14 unusual websites.
- StereoMood – select your mood and listen to a matching playlist.
Literally. Sit comfortably in your office chair, or half lie on your couch, and hit it with a TED talk or run the Blu-ray player for a marathon. Humans are visual creatures, just like when you look at clouds and see images that aren’t really there, simply watching things while relaxing can stir up your mind and make you catch, or generate, ideas.
- Listen to your favorite music, or try a new genre
- Watch a movie
- Read a book
- Read the newspaper
- just stay away from work
Talk and Talk
As opposed to the tip I gave above, talking and talking for countless hours is also a great way to come up with several good ideas. But I should mention that the talking is done with another person. Yes, I’m talking about going outside and having a social life. I know many writers that mostly spend entire months at home and they begin to wonder why they’re into so much creative block. Well, sir and ma’am, I may have a solution for that. You need to talk to people, socialize and laugh and spend your Friday nights getting wasted. As they say, life is too short!
Further readings from experts:
- Data Mining: The Ultimate Guide to Niche Analysis | Viperchill
- 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue | Copyblogger
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.