Brainstorming a Year’s Worth of Post Topics

blog post brainstormingHave you ever sat down at your computer to write a blog post and ended up spending most of your time banging your head against your computer screen because you were clean out of post topic ideas? Running out of blog post ideas can make blogging feel like a chore. Believe me, I’ve been there and it stinks (and hurts…ouch)!

In an effort to help keep your forehead bruise free this year, I’m going to share with you some tips and a series of 20 questions that will inspire an entire year’s worth of blog posts. These tips are going to fill you with the inspiration needed to start posting on your blog like a boss!


Tip #1: Schedule Time to Brainstorm

In order to have an effective brainstorming session you need to set aside about an hour of uninterrupted time to focus on just one thing: post topics for your blog. Growing a blog takes time and effort. You can’t grow a blog if you aren’t producing new content on a regular basis, so really take this brainstorming session seriously. I know you’re busy, but please chisel out some time soon to do it. It really will make all the difference in the success and growth of your blog this year.


Tip #2: Just Start Writing

blog post brainstormingIn The Ultimate Blog Planner, you’ll find a page specifically designed for brainstorming called “Post Topics Brainstorming.” I recommend printing off one of these pages for each of your main blogging categories. Then spend 5-10 minutes per category brainstorming and listing as many post topics as you can think of off the top of your head.

Just start writing. Don’t worry about whether it’s a good idea or not at this point. Jot down anything and everything that comes to you. You can weed out the not-so-great ideas later.

HubSpot’s Blog Topic Generator is a cool tool you can consider using for brainstorming blog topics. All you do is enter in three keywords (preferably nouns) that you want to write about and it will spit out five post ideas that have to do with those keywords. It’s a fun tool you can give a try.


Tip #3: Ask Yourself These 20 Questions

If you’ve finished tip #2 and you still need more ideas, ask yourself the 20 questions below. Write down the ideas that come to you as you read each question and you’ll have a year’s worth of blog posts compiled in no time.

1. Are there any past posts you could expound upon, update, or do a follow-up on?

2. Are there questions you get asked often that you could write a post about?

3. How could you invite your audience into your life through a blog post? Here are some ideas:

  • Behind-the-scenes
  • A day in the life
  • How you got started
  • What you wish you would have known when…
  • Tell about your process
  • Share some things people don’t know about you
  • Show examples of how you or your business has grown through the years
  • What products, services, or tools do you use every day?

 
4. What areas of expertise do you have that you could teach your readers about?

5. What types of how-to posts or tutorials could you share that would be beneficial to your readers?

6. What have been your most popular posts? Use these to inspire new posts.

7. Have you reached a milestone in your blogging journey, profession or life? Feature those milestones or achievements in a blog post.

8. Is there a blog in your niche or a professional in your field you could feature?

9. Do you have a product or service you could highlight in a post?

10. Is there a free printable or resource you could share with your readers?

11. How did you come up with your blog or business name? Share the story in a post.

12. What interesting stories or experiences from your life could you share?

13. Do you have a list of posts from other bloggers that you find helpful and refer to often? You could list a roundup of these posts as a help to your readers.

14. What have you learned along your blogging or professional journey? Share about your successes and failures.

15. Who do you work with? Who helps make your blog successful? You could feature the people you work with in a memorable way.

16. Where do you get your inspiration for what you do? You could write about what or who inspires you.

17. Who do you know that you could ask to do a guest post on your blog? You could offer to do a guest post on their blog as a trade for them doing one on yours.

18. Are there products you use often and love that you could review or promote on your blog?

19. Is there a big project you’ve been working on that you could feature in a blog series?

20. Have you surveyed your audience recently? Create a survey to find out what your readers would like more of and then implement their ideas into future posts. Here’s a recent survey we did that you can refer to as an example: 2015 Reader Survey Results



Next up I’ll show you how to use the following pages from The Ultimate Blog Planner to schedule your lists of post ideas into the year.

  • Post Brainstorming Guide
  • Monthly Post Calendar
  • Weekly Post Planner

 
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Posted by: Erin

Free January Wallpaper

Free January Wallpaper

january wallpaper previewFree January Wallpaper

Happy New Year!
Enjoy this month’s wallpaper on all of your devices!

For personal use only.

Posted by: Erin

Get Organized for the New Year!

imgHappy New Year! I love the New Year because it’s a time to start fresh. It’s a time to look forward to the person you want to be and the goals you hope to achieve.

If you are a blogger, you probably have in mind great plans for growing your blog this year…am I right? Maybe you are hoping to increase your blog traffic or start earning a better income through your blog? If so, hopefully you’ve already downloaded The Ultimate Blog Planner, which is packed full of amazing tools for setting goals and tracking your progress toward reaching those goals. If not, there’s no better day than TODAY, the very first day of the year, to get The Ultimate Blog Planner downloaded so you can start your year off right!

Our 24 page blog planner is the most comprehensive blog planner out there and has been specifically designed for driven, full-time bloggers who are determined to increase blog income and traffic. The Ultimate Blog Planner helps you set yearly blogging goals and provides ways for you to break those goals down into manageable, achievable pieces. It allows you to document your blog growth journey as you go, which means you’ll be able to watch your blog grow right before your eyes!

We’ve made a few changes and additions to the blog planner since we first released it a year ago. We’ve added six new pages and have made slight updates to several others. Here’s a look at what the updated kit includes:

what-you-get-tall-UPDATEDClick the button below to download the updated blog planner. Note: if you have already subscribed and have the old version of the kit, you can still click the button below to receive the updated version.

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Over the coming month’s I’ll be explaining how to best utilize each and every page in the planner so you’ll be able to make the most of your blog planner this year. Stay tuned!

Enjoy getting organized and growing your blog!

Posted by: Erin

Holiday Tags Printable

CHRISTMAS-TAGS-PRINTABLEAre you done with your holiday shopping yet? I’m just about there but still have stacks of presents to wrap and tag. For this month’s free printable I decided to create some modern Christmas tags that I hope you’ll enjoy using as you prep your gifts for giving. You can tie these babies on gift boxes, baked goods, pretty gift bags, or attach them to neighbor gifts to add a thoughtful, modern touch.

These holiday tags can be printed from any color printer and look best if printed on bright white heavy card stock. Cut out the tags, punch a hole in each one, and attach them with string or ribbon to your gifts.

Do you have a request for a future free printable? Leave us a comment with your idea(s) below!

CHRISTMAS-TAGS-PRINTABLEEnjoy!

For personal use only.

Posted by: Erin

How to Read Google Analytics | Part II: A Deeper Look

how-to-read-google-analyticsWe’re back with part two of our Google Analytics series. If you missed part one, be sure to check it out right here. In part one, we took a look at the basics and gave you a general overview to reading and understanding Google Analytics. Today we are going to dive into Google Analytics a little deeper and break down each section bit by bit so that you’ll have the confidence and know-how to start using your data to grow and improve your blog.


Audience

The audience report provides valuable insights that help you understand your audience better. With a better understanding of your audience, you’ll be able to produce more content your readers will love, which will keep them happy and thirsting for more. Here’s a breakdown of what each section of data in the audience report tells you.

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ACTIVE USERS – Shows you how many active users you have in increments of 1, 7, 14, and 30 days. This info can be used to determine the level of long-term engagement your readers are having with your site and content. Do your readers visit once and never return or are you producing content that motivates repeat visits by your readers week after week? This metric helps in determining how well your content motivates visitors to come back for more.

COHORT ANALYSIS – A cohort is a group of readers that share a common characteristic. For example one of your cohorts might include traffic generated by a single day email campaign or promotion. With the cohort analysis you can watch how traffic generated each day performs over time. Does the traffic acquired on a certain day seem to disengage with your content after a certain number of days? This information can help you in understanding how frequently you need to post on your blog, send out email campaigns, etc. in order to consistently keep your traffic engaged with your content.

DEMOGRAPHICS – Shows the age and gender of your readers. This information can help you tailor your content and advertising campaigns to the primary age group and gender of your readers.

INTERESTS – Provides information about the interests of your readers and is based on your readers online purchasing activities, travels, and online searches. This information can help you better cater your posts to the interests of your readers.

GEO – Shows you the main locations and languages spoken by your readers.

BEHAVIOR – Shows whether the traffic during a designated time frame consists of new visitors vs. returning visitors. Is your site attracting a high percentage of new visitors? If not, what changes can you make to gravitate new readers to your site?

TECHNOLOGY – Shows the browsers most widely used by your readers. It’s important to make sure your design is translating well across all of the main browsers being used to view your site. This metric also shows the networks (Verizon, Comcast, Qwest, etc) most used by your readers.

MOBILE – Shows the type of devices (desktop, mobile, tablet) being used by your readers. Not having a mobile responsive site could prove detrimental if the majority of your readers are using a mobile device. It also shows the brands of devices being used by your readers (iPhone, Google Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy, etc.).

CUSTOM (must be configured) – Allows you to set and define custom variables.

BENCHMARKING – Compares your site data against other sites in your industry that have opted to share their data. This can be helpful in knowing how you are doing compared to your competition.

USERS FLOW – This is a cool graphic that shows you the paths your readers take through your site. Where they are entering and where they are exiting.


ACQUISITION

This section of your analytics shows how people are finding your site. When you know where your readers are coming from, you’ll have a better idea where to spend your efforts so you can drive even more traffic to your site through those primary sources.

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ALL TRAFFIC – Shows your top traffic sources including social networks and websites people are being referred from. If people are coming from a website, you can click on the domain to see the specific posts that are sending traffic your way. This can be a great tool for developing relationships with the bloggers linking people to your site and/or for evaluating whether or not your networking efforts are paying off.

ADWORDS (must be enabled) – If you have Google Adwords enabled, you can view the performance stats of your adwords here.

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION – Shows all of the keywords people have entered into search engines to find your site. It also shows where your site ranks in search engines for each keyword and the landing pages those keywords take people to. This information can be helpful as you work on bettering your SEO.

SOCIAL – Shows the top social networks driving traffic to your site. Here’s a breakdown of the data you might find helpful:

  • Network Referrals: Click on each social network listed to see which posts/pages on your site they are sending traffic to and how long people are staying.
  • Data Hub Activity: Reports activity from Google partner networks like Google+, Disqus, etc.
  • Landing Pages: Shows which pages on your site receive the most traffic from social networks.
  • Trackbacks: Shows blog posts made by others that have linked people to your site.

 


BEHAVIOR

The behavior report helps you understand how visitors are moving through your website and how well they are engaging with your content.

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BEHAVIOR FLOW – Another flow chart that shows the path visitors take when landing on your site. Shows the first pages they land on through the final pages they exit from.

SITE CONTENT – Shows the top posts or pages on your site that attract the most traffic. Also shows the average time spent on those pages. This information can help you determine what content performs best on your site.

SITE SPEED – This breaks down the average load time for each page on your site. This information is helpful in knowing which pages might be causing your site to load poorly. If a page is slow loading, try reducing the sizing of the images on the page or removing unnecessary clutter.

SITE SEARCH (must be activated) – This shows data about the search terms people enter into the search box on your website.

EVENTS (requires set up) – Allows you to track specific actions on your website such as file downloads, video plays, clicks on external links, etc. Once it’s set up, you’ll be able to view these reports.

PUBLISHER (must be activated) – If you use Google Adsense, this is a great feature to activate because it shows the revenue you’ve earned from Google Adsense as well as the top pages on your website that help generate the most Adsense revenue for you.

EXPERIMENTS (requires set up)- This can be set up to test how different landing page configurations work to help you reach your goals. This report can help you tweak your landing page until you find the configuration that results in the highest conversion rates.

IN-PAGE ANALYTICS (must be activated) – This is a cool feature that allows you to view a live view of your web pages along with your Google analytics data. It shows percentages next to each link on the page so you know which links are receiving the most attention on your site.


BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THESE RELATED POSTS

How to Read Google Analytics | Part I: The Basics
How to Install Google Analytics to Blogger
How to Install Google Analytics to WordPress

Posted by: Erin