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When you start your blog the first thing you need to do is build the site. You can use all sorts of different hosts and builders but once you have found the right source for you, the website will jump right off the page and look amazing.
Then you just have to find some content to fill it up with…
And Writer’s Block hits.
Writer’s Block is a complete disaster for every writer everywhere. In fact, you would be hard pushed to find a writer who has never struggled. It’s just who we are.
But unlike the struggling first-time novelist who can literally spend his whole life trying to refine and edit an idea, as a blogger, you still need to come up with something publishable today.
The best thing about blogging is that the title of your blog will always indicate the format. This means that even if you only have a half-cooked idea, once you have given it a title, you will have a format to guide your research – or show that the idea was bad and you should pursue another one.
So, here are ‘X’ titles to help you in your quest for a good idea turned amazing blog.
X Things About Y
This is a classic blog title and is often used (even as the title of this very blog). Try to find an odd number and preferably stay away from 3. Everyone uses 3 because it is a perfect number for writers. 3 just sits right. 5 is usually better, 1 will add instant gravitas to your argument. Even numbers don’t do as well for some reason, but you can always experiment if you like.
If you have Writer’s Block, this kind of post will force you to do some more research in order to fulfill the title. Even just Googling your prospective title should throw up some interesting facts or show that there is a gap in the results that you can fill.
‘How to’ was the most Googled search term of 2017. This rather shows that instead of just wanting to look at things or understand ideas better, we now use the internet primarily to understand how we can do those same things.
A how-to guide will always concentrate the mind of a writer as it makes us really think about things slowly and logically. It also requires you to be more specific about each step. This sort of post is usually the most popular on your blog, but you can also create gated downloadable how-to guides in order to generate income from people wishing to download. So, it could be a solution to your Writer’s Block and to your finances.
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X vs Y
In other words, this is a comparison blog. Take a subject and compare it to another, similar but different subject, to examine the pros and cons of each. For example: to drink red wine or white wine (that is the question). This title is popular with bloggers because you don’t need to give a balanced argument but it does work on all sorts of ideas. In fact, it doesn’t even need to be similar subjects, they could be complete opposites.
Lots of X vs Y blogs remain inconclusive and invite the reader to make their own decision. This is good because unless you are certain that you fall down on one of the argument, you can leave the topic open for further discussion later down the line and refer back to this blog. One of the worst things you can do as a writer is to close off subjects, so allow room for doubt and give yourself space to return to the subject at a later time.
An Interview With…
Blogs can be very assertive and if you are writing in the first person, it is all too easy to slip into ‘I think this, I think that’ all the time. An interview doesn’t just break this pattern, it also offers a new perspective on an issue and allows you to take a bit more of a back seat.
You don’t even need to meet up in person. Lots of people are more than happy to be sent a list of questions via email and send back responses, or for a more dynamic interview, you could always phone them up and record the conversation for transcription later on. Interviews are great for demonstrating expertise and lots of people like to do that.
Another fantastic bonus of doing an interview is that you will also gain the attention of the interviewee’s followers. If you make sure that you take the interviewee in your social posts about the interview, and also request that they write about it and share the link on their social media, you will automatically extend your reach and get better viewer results. And hopefully, if they like what they see on the rest of your site, they will become your follower too.
Image Credit: Pixabay
A Comment on The Latest News About…
Your blog may not necessarily be about spreading news, but staying up to date on subjects that are relevant is a good idea, especially if you have Writer’s Block. This sort of blog post will be very simple to write and research because a journalist will have already done much of the legwork for you.
The trick with this is to create an argument around the latest news to be explored. For example, let’s say the latest news in the cooking sphere is that unicorn-themed cakes are going to continue to be popular in 2018. Now you can start the article with this latest news and the sources you have read and then go on to make your own comment.
Commenting on the news is all about conveying an opinion and making an argument about that opinion. So, to continue with the unicorn cakes, you might assert that given the continued interest in unicorn-themed merchandise this is a likely result, however, as 2018 develops, you feel that it is time to start celebrating the Phoenix, another mythical creature for x, y and z reasons. Alternatively, you might point to another trend as a likely candidate for infamy in 2018 or question why it is that so many people like a mythical horse with a cone on its head. The options are really limitless here. And your sarcasm is welcome.
A standby for bloggers who use their blogs as an extra source of income, the review is the best way to create an affiliate link. Lots of products are reviewed every day and you can effectively sell the review space on your blog.
Writing a review is all about giving the reader all the key information they need to make a judgment and then providing your own judgment at the end. Usually, bloggers write persuasive reviews that encourage people to click through to the product link but you aren’t really obliged to do this.
You don’t even need to write a real review. A spoof review can be a funny way to explore the nature of reviewing products and can also act as a way to make a comment on something abstract.
If how-to was popular, solving a problem is always going to work just as well. People have all sorts of problems from getting into arguments to not knowing what to wear. If you can think of a question along these lines and know what to advise, you already have the crux of the problem solved style of blog.
Agony aunts have been answering readers questions for years and if you have a social media following, you can encourage people to ask for your advice, either in short questions or in longer letters. This style of a blog can also be used as a spoof or even as a form of political satire so don’t feel that you have to give real answers to real questions. Have fun with the format and enjoy yourself.
Since everyone has Writer’s Block at some point, there are lots of creativity skills and triggers available online, including lists of title types a bit like this one. Something to remember about blogging, and writing in general, is that nothing is truly original every single time and there are certain subjects and titles that get covered over and again. The trick is to apply your own voice and logic to make your approach original.
Research is the key to a good blog and even if you think you have a good working knowledge of a subject, doing a little bit of digging around can throw up something really interesting or trigger a new idea. Unfortunately, ideas don’t tend to come on demand, but when they do come it’s often in a wave of 2 or 3 good ideas. Always keep a notebook handy to write them down and use later. And consider changing your title to force yourself in a different direction.
Good luck and have fun!
This post was contributed.