I have been writing blog posts for the last few years. I still have a feeling that I have a lot to learn. When I look around the internet I find many posts on how to get started. But not that many posts on how to improve your blogging once you have started. I think the first 10 posts are the easiest and from there things starts to get more tough. You start to run out of ideas and creating great content begins to get tough. Therefore I have made this post on how I get ideas and inspiration for new posts. Here goes:
Write ideas down during the day
So when do you get your best ideas? For me at least, it is not when I am in front of my computer writing. My ideas come during the day. Whether it is during a walk, in the shower or at work. Inspiration just happens, and when it happens we have to grab it. What I have done is downloading an app where I can write a checklist of post ideas. So if something comes up, I then hurry and write it down. This way I do not forget the idea. Without this I would have lost a lot of good posts. It doesn't have to be an app you use to write it down. Just make sure you get it done. An important thing about this is that it has to be easy to write it down. Or else you just wont do it. If it takes too much time you might also get distracted and not pay attention to what you are currently doing. Write it down and move on (unless of course you are driving or doing something else that requires your full attention).
Everything is a blogpost
You are most likely aware that you should stick to the theme on your blog (which I am most definately not doing right now). But sometimes you need to think broader. Sometimes you have to think, how can I turn this into a blog post? What you are currently reading is actually a product of this. I was wondering how I could become more effective at blogging. Why not blog about that?
In general you should consider more things as something you can blog about. This should of course not compromise your current topic and you should not include things which you have no interest in. Do not blog just to get something out there - it has to be quality.
Do not write and edit at the same time
The title says it all. Do not write and edit at the same time. Correcting what you write at the same time as you are writing it takes away focus. Yes you should correct your posts after they are written. But when you are in writing mode don't look back. Just keep on writing and edit when you are done. It took me a long time to learn this. But I use this all the time now. Write something and then refactor it later. You might create inconsistent sentences and things might not be as refined as you want. It might seem braindead to write this way, but it is fast and gets things done. You also do not get as easily distracted (by new mails or social media).
This is how I write new blog posts fast and most importantly this creates the perfect flow and focus for me.
Do not be a perfectionist
I think we have all been there. We've written a long post and we just can't make ourselves publish it. What if it is not good enough? What if it will never get any views? You know what, Just get it out there! You can always return to it and make it better. As I stated earlier, this is not a ticket to create bad content. Just don't keep gold plating what you are working on. You should always strive to create great content, but sometimes you just have to jump. The posts that are not published are often a bit experimental. The sooner you publish them the sooner you will figure out if they are worth anything.
A published post which is not good, will get more views than a world class post that is never published
Take a look around
This one is most likely given, but it still belongs here. Inspiration is often found in others. There are several sources for this. My favorite is to get into Q/A forums. For Software engineers such as me, stack overflow (on stack exchange) is great. Here are the brightest minds in the world. Stackexchange has many forums like this one. Here you can really help others, help you (blogging). You might also be able to create backlinks to your blog this way. All by answering questions that other people have.
Quora might also be a great ressource for this.
Besides forums you could also take a look at what your peers are doing. Here I am thinking other people working with your craft. This could also be other bloggers. But do not copy from other blogs. You can always look at a topic from another angle or find a topic you have not yet discovered. Getting involved on other sites can get you a lot of traffic as well.
Consistency and timing is everything
Consistency is everything. But what does this mean? Well you need to figure out which days you want to publish new posts. A key thing in blogging is to be consistent. Some say that this is good for search engines, but who it matters the most to is you. If you are not consistent odds are that you skip blogging sometimes. Your viewers might also expect your posts at certain times, and knowing when they can expect something new is an asset to them. So how do you accomplish this?
For me, I have some days in the week where I publish. Recently these have become Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At first I just wanted to blog 3 times a week. But the consistency that I have made has made it easier for me. I know when I need to have something ready to publish. I often have posts laying around in advance that I can publish. By having days that I publish on, I also get days where I need to write. This is often the day before. Sometimes I write one post and sometimes I write two in a row. However having some posts in advance is great as you have some content for when you go on vacation or have little time.
Find your best days for writing and publishing. We all need a little planning and consistency in our lives.
Those were my tips. Do you have anything to add? let me know in the comments!