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Developing Post Ideas for Your WordPress Site

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July 20th, 2009
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WordPress

I am sure the people who visit this site on a regular basis are very passionate about WordPress as a blogging platform and use it in the day to day running of their personal and/or work related websites.  You all visit this site because it is a terrific resource for the latest and greatest information about WordPress. Of these things I have no doubt nor do I wish to challenge that part.  For me it is quite obvious as I watch this community interact.

As technically minded as everyone is that helps makes it easier to get the website up and running on WordPress.  Then you tweak the code and install plugins to get the site looking and doing exactly like you want. You have an awesome WordPress based website and it needs the life blood of any site – content!

Your sitting there staring at your screen and waiting to have that idea come to you that will make the basis for the most awesome blog post ever. Where does that idea come from? 

How do you develop those ideas? What process do you use to decide what you will blog about this time?

If your running a technical blog then you might find easy idea targets that relate directly to that type of site.  For instance, this site is about WordPress and the tools available for it and you will find it hard to track down a post that is not at least remotely about WordPress in some way.

If your blogging about cooking, poetry, or whatever subject there will be a fairly clean flow of ideas – to a point – then your mind will be as blank as the screen in front of you.

In those moments – what do you do to find inspiration for that next blog post?

I think bloggers can suffer from writers block as much as any other writer can – I myself have experienced it in the past. It would be terrific to share amongst this community how you get past those points and find your inspiration.

I also believe the talent is out there amongst you to write a plugin for the community that builds on this post and lets bloggers create a list of ideas right in their WordPress admin for future reference and safe keeping until it is time to create that masterpiece of a blog entry.

So I would very much like to hear from you on how you bring together ideas for your blog posts, where do you store them until your ready to write, do you use any part of WordPress itself to keep a list in work for future posts? Looking forward to your comments and the discussion on this.

Stay Safe and update to WordPress version 2.8.2!

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35
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Comments

  1. Scott Bannon (1 comments.) says:

    A plugin to handle this is a great idea! I’ve thought about this myself in the past, but no plugins I’ve ever created interacted with the dashboard at all–which something like this would have to do–so I’ve never got around to building it.

    As I see it, and maybe this will inspire some coder who sees it, you would need to add a new table to the DB to hold your “ideas”, something very basic with just a title and notes fields, then a page on the dashboard for adding, editing and removing them as you go.

    You could also get fancy with the table and add fields for source citings, media URL’s and etc. if you wanted to spice it up, but just title and notes would be a great start and technically the notes field could be used to hold citings and any other URL’s or info needed.

    There would also need to be a display block on the New Post writing page too, so you could browse your ideas when sitting in front of an empty new post wondering what to write about today.

  2. Crawford Harris (1 comments.) says:

    I had writers block as a foreign correspondent.
    I had writers block writing for an academic journal.
    I had writers block writing my first book.
    I am having writers block writing my second.
    I get writers block writing for my blog.

    I get past it more easily with the blog. Concentrating primarily on current affairs, I just need to scan several mews sources. Taking a contrarian position is easy. There is so much nonsense out there the subjects seem to be self-selecting.

    Hairspray apparently protects media types from having to know about whatever subject on which they happen to be pontificating. Congressmen say whatever they are paid to say. The nonsense that results makes for easy targets. I adopt the attitude of an old maid schoolteacher or a parochial school nun, ruler at the ready.

  3. Dan (1 comments.) says:

    I usually create a list of articles as I think of them, then flesh them out with content one by one later.

    Try to think of what you want to read/know (which should be similar to what your readers want to read in theory).

  4. Lefebvre (3 comments.) says:

    I have 45 drafts in WP, but were a pain in the a@$ deal with them. Drafts Dropdown Plugin helped me. Now, when I have an idea, I write a introduction and “draft it”.

  5. George Serradinho (107 comments.) says:

    Well, I carry a small black book with me. It’s very small and can fit in my shirt or pants pocket. When I think of an idea, I write it in there with a few small notes. When I hit writers block or don’t know what to post about, I take it out and read over some of the ideas I wrote down.

    It would be nice if we could have a plugin to do so, then it will always be readily available. I say that as I sometimes miss place my black book and spend a few minutes trying to remember where I put it.

  6. Lyndi (2 comments.) says:

    As I get ideas for new posts I normally type these up as a WordPress article. These articles I save as a draft. As I do further research I add to the notes until I am ready to actually write the real article. These drafts are shown on the dashboard. I just wish WordPress could let us choose how many of these drafts are shown on the dashboard.

  7. Tommy Brunn (6 comments.) says:

    I run a technical blog, and because I’m also an aspiring open source developer, I get a fairly steady stream of content for my blog as I release new versions of software that I or someone I know have developed. However, sometimes I do find myself without anything to write about. That’s when I either scour the web for something to report on, or I start to think about what problems I’m having with my computer or some piece of software, research how it can be solved, and then I share that solution through my blog.

  8. Michael (19 comments.) says:

    Because my blog is so image heavy, I gather pictures and other reference material in folders, labelled in year/month format (0907, etc.) on my hard drive.

    In WordPress, I preface all my drafts with the same year and month reference as the folders, so that I can tie the two together when it comes to completing the text of the posts, and preparing and optimising all the images. It also serves as a reminder many months later that a post should be completed (or killed off, if it seems lame with distant hindsight).

    This method helps to minimise chaos, but it doesn’t of itself generate ideas!

    If you have a unifying theme for your blog, it helps you to focus on the sort of ideas you will post about, obviously, but more importantly, if you are driven by a big idea you will take the trouble to lay out your thoughts carefully, and (this is the vital bit) enjoy setting them out for others to enjoy too.
    If it’s not enjoyable for you, then why would anyone else enjoy your posts?

    Some of the best topics come from finding the conflict between two different ideas, and blowing on the resulting sparks.

    Last but not least, I use the fantastically useful research tool Zotero (a FireFox add-on) which helps me gather and annotate all my online research, recording all the URLs as it goes.
    Have a look at the videos on the zotero.org site.
    Brilliant.

  9. Blog (1 comments.) says:

    It is really great to see a post on this topic really i face many problems while looking for content as i have two blogs every time i have to look for some good content for it …after all you cannot copy paste all things on your blog.

  10. Babs (37 comments.) says:

    Livejournal has this thing called “Writer’s Block” where members post cues and suggestions to inspire blogging. The closest thing I could find for the WP community is “Skribit” and its WP plugin. I’ve been using it for a few months. I like that can pop in my own ideas as they come to me, as well as see what others think I should write about (and keep notes and progress status for both at Skribit).

    Granted, this does nothing for the ever growing pile of drafts I have but at least I don’t have to worry about forgetting an incredibly great idea.

  11. J. Pablo Fernández (1 comments.) says:

    Every time I have an idea, even if it’s abstract and all I have is a sentence I will create a draft. Some drafts only have a title, some draft are almost finish. At the moment I have 19 drafts and my idea is to keep the number constant or rising and only let it slip when I’m really blocked and I want to post anyway.

    Whenever I’m blocked, and or tired, instead of firing up Reddit or any other time waster I go to my drafts and go one by one re-reading them and correcting everything I can. Sometimes I pick a post a fix a grammatical error. Sometimes I pick a post and re-write it. Sometimes I finish a post and then I post it.

    This method has worked fine for me in the past and I’m re-implementing it.

  12. manga (24 comments.) says:

    Well. When I´ve got no ideas or no inspiration I tend to stop blogging for a while and don´t do anything with it. Maybe change the theme design or something. Tweak it a bit more so it gets so much prettier or something.

    Then inspiration hits me while watching TV or just doing something and I start to think out a post and what it should be about.

    As I suck at anime episodic posts I tend to write short thoughts about certain anime.

    The hardest part for me is to find the right words to write the post. As it can usually get very far away from what I imagined the topic would be in the first place.

  13. Shaun (1 comments.) says:

    This is a very interesting question, at the end of the day it all comes down to what type of blog you have and if you are the first person blogging about a certain subject? But again depends on your niche? I have a blog that is all about cars, so for me I need to find the next big thing in the car industry and be the first to write something about it. I think the best way for me to write something if there is nothing is to go around to other sites in my niche that are not South African and see what they are up to and then post something along the same lines.

    When it comes to storing the content for a latter post I still just prefer writing a draft and the working on it till it’s ready for posting, this way I have no need for re-posting content or adding all the pictures I have gathered.

    That’s just me

  14. Mike (3 comments.) says:

    I’ve got a .txt file that sits on my rather clear desktop. Keeping the desktop clear focuses attention on the file and that I should write something up.

    I don’t like saving my ideas as a draft posts encase I accidently schedule it! Also its time consuming to write 10 one sentence posts when I only need 10 lines of a text file. I write the thought flow later and refine it a day after that for publishing.

    I tend to only have 6-7 drafts in WP, usually a months worth so if I do stop writing for a bit my readers don’t notice. Any more I think I’d get too used to not writing and stop blogging entirely.

    My main blog is a personal one so I can write anything on it, whereas if it were a graphics/web industry one the scope of inspiration would be smaller which makes me appreciate those who do regular businessy blogs.

  15. Q Ball says:

    I get inspiration to write by reviewing rss aggregators for current events to comment about; I brainstorm ideal subject matter and “flesh” out more ideas per subject; and I do basic research. My research will often produce more topics to write about by either “testing a theory,” or I write about the topical affect a topic will have on a social, personal, artistic, or environmental matter.

  16. Mik (3 comments.) says:

    I carry a plethora of different sized Moleskine notebooks and usually find myself on the bus scribbling away at overheard conversations or when some silly idea pops into my noggin.

    Only of late have I been drafting them up and the draft drop-down plugin has been a big help.

    That way when I find myself stuck I at least should have a few drafts to consider publishing.

    Unfortunately I’ve been able to use the scheduled posts option as there seems to be some issue with that function and my host (Yahoo!).

  17. Steve Ridsdale (1 comments.) says:

    I leave the comments enabled on my blog and also have a small forum. I can then get a feel for what my readers are intereted in based upon these comments. Often the replies that I need to give to these comments are so comprehensive that they require a whole blog post on their own.

    So make a short reply to a comment/question from a reader and then link across to your new comprehensive blog post on the subject.

    I find my site becomes more niche and targeted to the topic that my readers are interested in. Hopefully this results in more targeted, higher quality traffic and an increase in sales, affiliate and advertising revenue.

    Steve Ridsdale

  18. Steve (1 comments.) says:

    The articles are not tough, their is so much you can comment on and post, the key is controversy, people like blogs with conflict, you have to have enough to keep people interested, but do it in a way that they are not offend and come back for round two, three etc.

    Anyone can be bland and boring but you have to stir them up without getting angry, some times it is tough, you also have to post their comments, they will tell their friends how they put you in your place and tell them to go look. I also use their comments for future articles etc

    Here is an example, weather you agree or disagree with my views I responded so he feels free to come back and for others to comment. I know I am a bit sarcastic but not over the edge. Even people that hate my view always thank me for my comments some just come for those and they post them on other sites.

    comment

    It’s not like Senator Schumer has helped the security of our financial institutions – basically setting up Indymac for a run on the money. Indymac deserved it, but it could have been and should have been handled in a more controlled and methodical manner than letting Schumer open his mouth. As for carrying weapons from State to State – if you can’t afford to employ enough police officers in your State than who is going to provide for your security? New York is taxing its citizens into oblivion; in the top 15 states with worst deficit problems layoffs of state employees, which will include police. Or maybe they’ll keep the police and close the schools?

    Response

    First thank you for your comments. We love exchanging ideas and fight for your right to speak your mind on issues. As a former director of public safety, I will let you in on a little secret, police respond to crimes that have already been committed or that are in the process of being committed. They do not prevent crime. Citizens prevent crime by the course of action they take. Some departments have units that will consult to the local community to help them improve security. But it is up to the individual to refuse to be a victim not the federal government, not the state, not the county, not the city. I will say it again if I was not clear. It is the people who make the community safe. Not the police.

    I would encourage you to set the example for the rest of us. Please go to a high crime area and lead the charge. We will be happy to watch your progress as you show us how to teach the poor criminal element to behave and leave innocent victims alone, and turn in all of their weapons. I am sure the government will even pay you to do it, and you can recover some of your tax dollars. Further I am sure there is some world monetary prize for it as well. You will be rolling in cash before long.

    You are exactly the kind of person this administration loves and needs to continue. Remember, your government loves you, wants to care for your, make all of your decisions for you. Not because they want to control your life, but they know what is best. Oh it makes me all tingly just feeling the love. I know you feel it too.

    Trail Boss

  19. njmad (1 comments.) says:

    hi ,

    thank you i so some differnet by use developing post and the wordpress will help any site to get more ads .

  20. Aaron (1 comments.) says:

    A variant of this good idea would allow separation of both post ideas and design ideas.

    Some kind of “Editorial Board Room” plugin.

  21. Charles Hodgson (1 comments.) says:

    Did you know that hobnobing meant drinking?

    How about the fact that a bulldozer was originally someone who beat people up?

    Lucky me, I do a blog & podcast on word histories. Since there are hundreds of thousands of etymologies in the dictionaries I’m rarely at a loss for subject matter.

  22. Outsider (1 comments.) says:

    I have 2 blogs running. One for technical subjects and another for misc ideas. Tech blog is easy to write as you say. But the hardest to write is the misc one. I usually write about current affairs, not like reporting but my view of them, songs, movies, etc.

    Whenever I come across an idea what I do is writing them down. As a skeleton of a post. Then when I get time I express it, do some reading around and only then I boot up the machine. Then its only a matter of formatting and stuff.

    I try hard not to write about common stuff. So finding ideas to write about is not so easy. Most of the time the ideas come from daily life, usually from discussion among friends, political stuff etc.

    I don’t think anyone can name a specific place and tell that is the place they get inspirations from. Bloggers view the society from their point of view, and they usually see the whole aspect.

  23. Marcus Hochstadt (7 comments.) says:

    As I see it there are two solid methods to get past writers block once and for all, and I provided these also on my blog in more detail:

    – Just start writing. Doesn’t matter how strange it may feel or sound at first, but just write no matter what. Once you wrote a couple of lines you’ll start forming a nice article. (Crawford Harris’s above tip on scanning the news may also prove helpful.)

    – Hire good ghostwriters and let them write for you. Besides other things, make sure they familiarize themselves with your writing style by going through the archives.

    Of the two above, I prefer the latter. :-)

    —Marcus

  24. Henrik Bondtofte (1 comments.) says:

    I blog in the field of SEO, like many others, which can make it hard to make truly unique posts, often I think a lot about a post before I start writing, trying to find different ways to deliver my message, as mentioned above in a comment, the most important factor of a good blog is to have a strong opinion, which affect people in an emotional way.

  25. Car Leasing UK (1 comments.) says:

    I have 2 blogs running. One for technical subjects and another for misc ideas. Tech blog is easy to write as you say. But the hardest to write is the misc one. I usually write about current affairs, not like reporting but my view of them, songs, movies, etc.

    Whenever I come across an idea what I do is writing them down. As a skeleton of a post. Then when I get time I express it, do some reading around and only then I boot up the machine. Then its only a matter of formatting and stuff.

    I try hard not to write about common stuff. So finding ideas to write about is not so easy. Most of the time the ideas come from daily life, usually from discussion among friends, political stuff etc.

    I don’t think anyone can name a specific place and tell that is the place they get inspirations from. Bloggers view the society from their point of view, and they usually see the whole aspect.

    Read more: http://weblogtoolscollection.c.....z0M0EUwHN2

  26. Bill (2 comments.) says:

    Developing articles to post is of particular concern to me and the company I work for. We only have two articles on our site, which is not really a blog but has all the capabilities of one.

    What I have discussed with other members of our team is that we maintain a record of customer inquiries. Then we can decide which customer inquiries are worthwhile to write about.

    I admit that this is a new plan for us, but ultimately it will help us identify trends in our retail business and address the concerns/questions that most of our customers have.

  27. WereBear (1 comments.) says:

    I keep ideas in the draft folder, and as they progress or become timely I change them to Pending. I try not to let Pending get too many in it, which would defeat the purpose.

    Also, if I find myself going on too long, this is a sign the idea wants to be two or more posts. Myself, and ny readers, would rather have two short, focused posts, than one long one.

  28. Mathdelane (1 comments.) says:

    The hard part is chasing the trends when writing for tech blogs since information can just easily become outdated. Trying to find balance between reputation and niche focus is a tough thing to do but worth the effort. Writing entirely about software usage experience requires much attention to detail and focus on what I’m trying to build up for my blog. I’m not paranoid about traffic since I’m more concerned about developing my writing and enthusiasm to keep on learning.

  29. Tech Tips (2 comments.) says:

    There seem to be quite a few ways of approaching this and a lot of the methodology depends on the individual. I keep an ever evolving list of 20 – 50 topics, about 10 – 20 started or partially written items, and practice the fine are of “just writing”. In other words I just do a bit of a brain dump on a topic to get words out. I then go back and organize, embellish, expand and polish at a later time. Perhaps over several passes. By keeping enough balls in the air at any one time the worthwhile posts crystalize when they are ready.



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