5 simple ways to come up with blog post ideas
I will be the first one to say that blogging for my business has been the key to growing my business and ultimately the success I've had so far.
I publish a new blog every single Tuesday & Thursday, and have for months now.
In fact, I'm quickly coming up to 1 year of consistently blogging twice a week.
(For anyone who's attempted consistent blogging, you can imagine what a challenge that has been!) When I do indeed hit my 1 year of consistent blogging, I'll be sure to publish a post on it to let you in on the strategies I use to ensure I'm publishing consistently.
For now though, I want to talk about another aspect of blogging.
A question I'm often asked is, "How do you come up with the post ideas?!"
I'll let you in on a little secret first, and then get into the exact methods I use to come up with the ideas.
Here's my secret: When you pick a defined niche, coming up with post ideas comes sooooo much easier.
I cannot even tell you how much easier, it's really night and day.
When I first started blogging years ago, I had a 'write whatever I come up with that day when I sit down at my laptop' blog. It was a monumentally useless space on the internet to be completely honest.
It was only once I picked a niche (travel blogging) that my blog actually became useful to anyone.
When I went to take my business full time, I knew the travel blog had to go. There was no way I could do justice to both, and dividing my time and energy between two wasn't going to lead to success in either.
I however still see that past blog as massively useful to what I do now. There were so many lessons I learned which gave me a head start on properly blogging for my current web design business.
The purpose of this blog is to connect with potential clients, and demonstrate my knowledge on my topic (web design & business).
So, what do I post about on this blog? You guessed it. Web design & business.
My niche narrows the scope of what I talk about here, but it enables me to go deep into topics and become an expert.
So, my very first tip on how to come up with content ideas is absolutely, without a doubt to choose a niche. Determine the purpose of your blog first, and the post ideas will come all so much easier.
Okay, so here's the practical, you-can-steal-these-methods-for-yourself ways to come up with blog post ideas.
1. Browse through your site search queries
This is my go-to method of coming up with post ideas. I LOVE the info I find in here, its truly a gold mine of blog post ideas.
If you're using Squarespace, this is how to find the site search queries.
Head to Analytics > Site Search Queries.
You can see up to 31 days worth of searches in here, so I check it at least once a month.
Alright, so now I know what people are searching, how does this help?
If I have posts on the topics my blog readers are looking for, I'm set. The most common things being searched for on my site are 'template' and 'squarespace'. I've covered those topics pretty thoroughly, so I know when a blog reader searches for those things, they'll find lots to read on those topics.
As I move further down the list of search queries, I find more things I either haven't covered, or haven't covered very thoroughly.
For example, I'm well aware that I don't have a comprehensive guide to Squarespace SEO, but I know my blog readers would benefit from one. I see that 'seo' is a very frequently searched term. I have some tips on SEO throughout other posts, but not a complete guide.
So this would be a fab post to write!
In the photo above you can see that beside all of the search terms there's a few little dots. If I were to click on the dots, it'd open up to show me what post the searcher clicked on. You'll notice there's no dots beside the term 'g suite'. That's because I haven't mentioned it once on the site!
A guide to setting up G Suite with your Squarespace site would therefore be a valuable post to write!
Pro tip: The exact phrases used in the search bar also help determine the long tail key words that could be used in a post title, in headings, in image names, etc.. I see that 'set up blog' was searched a few times. So if I wanted to write a post on that topic I wouldn't name it 'how to get started with blogging on Squarespace' but rather 'how to set up a blog on Squarespace'. I want to speak the way my readers do, so using their exact terms is important.
I also know from past months of checking into the search terms that the words 'Asana' 'Trello' and 'Basecamp' have come up frequently. If you're unfamiliar, these are all names of project management systems.
I can tell that readers are interested to learn the project management system I'm using, so that would be a worthwhile post to write.
The reason I actually haven't written that post yet is because I legitimately was using the Notes app on my Mac to organize my business! (Don't judge.) Honestly, its worked well for quite a while, but I have outgrown it and am on to learning how to use Asana now.
When the day comes I have a solid Asana system down and go to write a post about how I use it to organize my business, I know it'd still be worthwhile to mention Trello & Basecamp in the post. Why? So the post is found when someone searches for any of those terms!
2. Note down questions posted in relevant Facebook groups
There's a few Facebook groups with my ideal clients in them, some are specific to Squarespace, others are creative entrepreneur groups. Anytime there's a Squarespace question that comes up, I note it down.
Basically any question can become a blog post. Or, if there's questions that don't require a full post and really are quick to answer, they can be lumped into one large Q&A post, such as my 'Your Top 50 Squarespace Questions, Answered' post.
It's important to note, if you decide to go this route, that you ensure the groups you're browsing for questions actually come from ideal clients/blog readers. I check out the Rising Tide Society facebook group, Savvy Business Owners, and Squarespace Photographers.
If you blog about how to DIY your home renovation, those groups would be pretty useless to you.
So choose your groups wisely, and only note down the questions that are relevant to your niche.
3. Questions from friends/readers
Once you start to be known as the go-to for a certain topic, the questions will begin to flood in. My personal Facebook messenger, business page Facebook messenger, Instagram DM's and email are now littered with questions about Squarespace and running an online business.
Not to mention, I'm often fielding questions in person about my topics. Anytime a questions pops up, especially if it's a consistent one, is added to my list of blog post ideas.
4. New things learned/found
As you can see above, the ideas normally come in the form of questions. However, I also write down post ideas for things I haven't been asked before, but just from new things I learned.
I spent forever looking for a good client contracts system, and when I found Hello Bonsai, I wrote a post about it.
I also had a client who needed to sell her product both one-time and subscription-style through her Squarespace site. A bit of Googling, chatting with subscription sales systems and knowledge of Squarespace helped me come up with a solution.
There was no clear guide online of how to do this, so I wrote the post. If I learned how to do it, and needed a solution to that problem, I'm sure others do as well.
So any time I solve a problem for myself or my clients, and anytime I learn something new, that's a blog post idea!
5. Spin-offs of popular posts found in Google Analytics
If you want to not just have a post idea, but an idea for a post that you can almost guarantee is going to kill it, then looking at whats worked in the past can be a good way to go.
We can find this info really well in Google Analytics by heading to Behavior > Site Content > All pages.
Note, you can also find this info in Squarespace by going to Analytics > Popular Content, but you don't get as comprehensive of information, so I like Google Analytics for this.
As you can see, 3 out of my 10 most popular posts are actually round ups of Squarespace example sites for inspiration. Clearly, if I wanted another post which would knock it out of the park for traffic, another one of these example inspiration posts would be beneficial to publish.
There's one thing you really want to note here though, and that's the last column.
That column shows how long visitors who were on that post read for. If I had a post that killed it in terms of traffic, but the time on my site was way shorter than normal, it's really not worth it to write another similar post.
Alright, let's recap! Here's the 5 main ways I come up with blog post ideas.
1. Find terms or long-tail phrases in your site search queries. Note down post ideas for topics you haven't covered or covered thoroughly from the list of results.
2. Note down questions from ideal clients/readers in Facebook groups relevant to your niche. Either write a full post on the question, or batch lots of questions that are shorter to answer into one larger post.
3. Once you become known as an expert in your topics, note down questions you're frequently getting from friends/readers.
4. Anything new that you learned can be turned into a post, so note down anytime you solve a problem for yourself or a client and turn it into a post.
5. Check what blog posts are already popular on Google Analytics, and write more content that is similar.
And of course the main thing that will help you come up with post ideas is to pick a niche, and go deep into your topic, as opposed to going wide on many topics.
Once you choose a niche, everything else in terms of blogging will get easier and fall into place!
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