It is a myth that you must post on your blog every day for it to be successful. Sites like Zen Habits and Easy Green Mom post an average of twice a week, yet have a strong following of readers. According to Zen Habits’ Facebook page, the blog has 240,000 subscribers. They have over 24,000 likes on Facebook. Easy Green Mom has over 8,000 likes on their Facebook page.
On the other hand, About Guide Susan Gunelius, CEO of a marketing communications company, believes that posting frequently is key to keeping your readers. She uses the example of a newspaper and how people won’t read it or subscribe if the articles don’t change frequently. The truth is like most things, and probably somewhere in the middle between driving yourself insane trying to keep up with frequent posts and not updating your site often enough to keep readers interested.
However, while it might not be necessary to post every day to find success on your blog, there are many reasons why you might want to post every day. Perhaps you are taking part in the A to Z Blog Challenge and need to come up with 26 fabulous ideas for the month. Maybe you have set a personal goal to provide your readers with one post every day this month. Maybe you are planning a guest blogging tour that lasts 30 days and you need to come up with 30 different blog posts. Whatever the reason, there are some things you can do that will help you come up with fresh ideas regularly.
Writing prompts give you a simple idea that you can build on and grow into a unique post for your site. You will find ideas for daily writing prompts at:
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- Daily Post – For example, one of the prompts was about your favorite way to spend a Saturday night. Does that spark any ideas for you?
- No 2 Pen – This blog offers 365 days worth of writing ideas. The posts are broken down by month and include diamonds like looking at the weather in your area and around the world and how that is impacting your business industry.
- Daily Writing Prompt – This site is devoted completely to offering different types of writing prompts. You’ll find prompts for journaling, fiction, holidays, by calendar month and so much more.
Join a Blogging Event
I mentioned the A to Z Blogging Challenge above. There are many such blogging events that you can join, which can help you stay focused and even give you ideas on things to write about. For example, if you are on the letter A, you might choose to write about “A-List Clients and How to Keep Them”. Even a small tool like a letter of the alphabet can jog your thought processes and help you come up with a fresh idea. Here are some other events for bloggers.
- Ultimate Blog Challenge – This event is held once each quarter and encourages participants to blog for 30 days during a single month that quarter. Join in January, April, July and October.
- 7 Posts in 7 Days – Join other bloggers in this challenge that runs seven days at a time. Bloggers can follow each others new posts.
- Suitcase Entrepreneur 30-Day Blog Challenge – This challenge encourages you to write specific things for 30 days, but more importantly it has your explore things like why you started your blog, who you want to reach with your words and to look at long-term goals.
None of these quite what you’re looking for? You can also create your own blogging event and invite other bloggers to join you.
Poll Your Readers
Your readers come to your blog because you offer a niche topic they are interested in. Find out what you haven’t covered that they want to know more about by creating a poll and having site visitors answer that. If you want more in-depth information, you could do a survey instead.
- Survey Monkey – Create simple polls or complex surveys and invite your readers to take part. Survey Monkey offers both free and paid options, depending upon how specific you need your poll to be.
- Easy Polls – Create a simple questionnaire, get an embed code and place it where you want on your website.
- Poll Daddy – This site offers three different packages, including a free basic package to get you started. You can ask 19 different types of questions, from multiple choice to fill in the blank to gain the specific feedback you need.
- WP Polls – If you run a WordPress blog on your own website, you can install WP Polls and conduct simple polls from your own blog.
Pay Attention to Comments
Do you allow comments on your site? If so, then pay attention to what readers are discussing. Often, you can come up with a topic based on questions the readers have or information they’ve added to an article.
Another advantage of creating a post based on a comment left on your site is that you can quote from that comment and credit the poster with the quote. Quotes can highlight information and offer readers a break from reading unbroken lines of text.
Don’t overlook your site visitors. Many have a lot of useful information to offer or intelligent questions that can spur ideas for new posts.
Keep Up on Topics in Your Niche
Jerry Low, WHSR’s founder and web guru, recommends keeping a good reference list of blogs that are related to your industry. He also recommends following Google+ profiles of experts in your area. He also recommends that when you come across an interesting title, save it, even if you don’t have time to read it right then. Occasionally, a title itself will spark an idea for you. If you use Evernote, then Evernote Web Clipper is a good tool to use for clipping articles and saving them for future reference. If you read print magazines, you can pull out pages and put them in a folder to sift through when you need an idea or two.
Keep a Journal
Many writers swear by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, myself included. This book teaches creatives how to refill the creative well so that ideas will flow more easily. While there are dozens of ideas in the book that could be discussed, there simply isn’t room to talk about them all in this article. However, the one thing from Cameron’s book that I’ve found most useful over the years for avoiding writer’s block is to keep a journal.
Cameron’s method is simple. Journal three pages every day, handwritten, no more and no less. Do not stop and fix grammar or worry about what to write. Let the words flow until you have written three pages. In fact, if you get blocked and don’t know what to write, then simply write “I don’t know what to write” over and over until the three pages are filled or an idea comes to you.
This type of free writing, Cameron claims, helps to rid your mind of stress and distractions and free it to come up with ideas instead. Try it. I have found it really works, but you do have to be consistent and write the pages every day.
Refill Your Creative Well
Speaking of Cameron, she and many other experts on writer’s block, insist that when you are blocked and can’t come up with ideas or perhaps with words to write, that you are empty. In “10 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block When Blogging“, I talk about some specific things you can do that will put info and art into your empty well and help you come up with some fresh ideas. Here are a few additional ideas:
- Go to the park and swing on the swings like when you were a kid.
- Go to the coffee shop and sip on your favorite brew while watching those around you and observing your surroundings.
- Visit an art museum and take the time to really study the paintings.
- Do an art you don’t normally do, such as finger painting or throwing clay.
- Attend a class on something you’ve never tried before, like pottery, cooking or anything else that is creative.
Follow trending topics on Google or Twitter. These can sometimes spark an idea. For example, let’s say your blog is about pet rocks. You pull up trending topics and see that one topic that is trending is “life expectancy in pets”. Perfect. You now have an idea to write a blog post about how pet rocks are superior to dogs and cats because pet rocks don’t die and break your heart.
Writing Headlines that Sell is an article that offers some specific title ideas that can help you drive traffic to your site, capture reader interest and pull better SEO results. For example, here are some starts for titles that can help spur an idea:
- How-to __________
- Get the Latest Version of _________
- Get Rid of ___________
- Top 10 Ways to _________
- Review of ________
- What ________ Experts Say About ________
- Beginner’s Guide to _________
Keep an Idea File
Most writers have more ideas than they’ll ever be able to use. It’s a funny thing about ideas, though, that if you don’t use them they disappear never to be regained. Don’t let those good ideas slip away from you. Get in the habit of immediately jotting down any ideas that come your way. Here are some different ways you can get those ideas down, some more creative than others.
- Call your voice mail and leave yourself a message
- Keep a small notebook and pen in your purse or pocket
- Send an email to yourself with the idea
- Have an Excel file with your ideas
- Carry index cards around with you, jot ideas on them, and keep the cards in a recipe box (this one is my favorite)
- Write the idea on your hand and transfer it when you get home
- Send yourself a text message (be careful not to accidentally delete)
- If you have iPhone 4s or later, tell Siri to “take dictation”. She will open up a new note and you can speak into your phone and she will type it out for you. This is great for those times when you are driving and can’t write an actual note.
It doesn’t matter what method you use. What matters is that you write those ideas down. If you get in the habit of this, it’s very unlikely that you’ll ever find yourself at a loss about what to write.
Write in Bulk
If you find yourself struggling to come up with daily posts because of the time factor more than finding enough ideas, keep in mind that you can spend a weekend day or one day a week and write six solid posts for the next week. The beauty of blogging platforms like WordPress is that you can schedule posts ahead.
This method doesn’t work for everyone. Some find that writing six posts in a single day is too draining. You can also break it down and write three posts on Monday and three more on Wednesday.
Set a Personal Goal and You’ll Achieve It
Writing a post every day can be challenging even for the most prolific of writers. However, if you set a goal to write a post a day, you’re much more likely to come up with the ideas you need. It might seem like a daunting task at first. It also seems that everyone has a solution for coming up with ideas. However, the truth is that different things work for different writers. While visiting an art museum might spur my creativity, going for a job might spur yours. Get to know yourself as a writer and what works to spark the best ideas and you’ll never be lacking in a good topic for your blog again.