What Next? How to Find Ideas for Your Blog Posts

When you first start blogging, you feel as if you’re standing before a well of endless money making ideas. After all, you love writing, you love your topic, and you love sharing what you know. You foresee weeks and months and even years of hosting a popular, prosperous blog. 

Except the well runs dry. Not just the occasional dry spell that occurs when you’re tired, and magically resolves itself when “the muse” visits you in the shower. No, a drought of the imagination that wears on and on, manifesting itself in boring writing, skipped weeks, and a gradual exodus of all but your most loyal readers. There’s only one solution – to drill another well!

Here are suggestions on where to start….

1.  Charging Your Imagination 

All writers experience some form of block eventually. If yours doesn’t lift within a few days, chances are you need to recharge your life in general. Try these methods for getting out of your funk: 

Exercise: We writers are often sedentary creatures. However, for some reason, words flow best when your blood is flowing, too. When you’re hard-pressed by everyday concerns, it’s hard to find time for activity, but you’ll quickly see the benefits. You don’t need to join a gym.  Take a walk, ride a bike, dance around in your underwear. Make it simple, but keep it consistent, and don’t be surprised if the words start flowing mid-step!

Read: The best writers are also the best readers. Read what you love, and don’t feel guilty. You’re not wasting time, you’re refueling!

Get Crazy: Take a few sheets of paper, a pen, and brainstorm. What is the most insane topic you can think of? The silliest? Scariest? Happiest? Ask yourself what if? Nothing is off limits! Will most of it be useless? Sure, but you’ll find some good money making ideas, and get your mind moving.

2.  The Big Wide World 

It’s easy for writers to get overly attached to their desks. Problem is, not much happens there. So get out! Go to the store, the park, the library! Anywhere you find people. Then listen to them. What are they talking about? How? Why? Look around and don’t just watch – observe!

3.  The Interwebz

Can’t get out? Well you can via the Internet. Only this time, don’t just look at your go-to surfing sites. Wander a little.  Read your competition. Can you do them one better? Get caught up on current events. Browse Wikipedia. For more directed inspiration, search for articles about your niche or subjects. Scout keywords on wordtracker.com. Spend some time on niche-related forums to see what money making ideas people are looking for–or what they think they know, but don’t. Then provide it.

4.  Learn Something New

The wisest blogger is the one who knows they don’t know it all. When you believe you’ve shared all you know – learn more! You may not find it online. Go to the library. Explore journals, newspapers, magazines. Enroll in a class. Interview an expert in your field, and post it on your blog (the interview and resulting discussions could provide weeks of blog-fodder). Stimulate your brain; you’ll be surprised at how many ideas just a little new information will create.

5.  The Big Event 

One way to learn a lot of new things in a very short amount of time is to attend a conference. No matter what your niche, chances are there’s a conference or other large-scale event targeting you.  If at all possible, get there! Not only will you learn more about your niche or business by attending lectures and browsing the presentation booths, you’ll meet people who share your interests, network, make friends and contacts. You’ll visit a new city, see new sights, breathe new air and come back invigorated, full of new passion for money making ideas you already love.

6.  Book Reviews

You might already keep on the books, articles, and programs that deal with your niche – or with business itself. Let your reading do double-duty by reviewing those materials for your blog audience. What should they read? Buy for their “keeper shelves”? Avoid entirely? Unsure of what to include in a review? Check out examples in the literary sections of larger newspapers, often available online.

7.  Reconnect With Your Readers

We sometimes get caught blogging for ourselves. We write about what we’re thinking, what interests us, and forget that, unlike a private diary, our blogs are supposed to provide content our readers can use. How can you find out what your audience wants and needs? Go through your back posts. Which attracted the most comments? What questions have readers asked? What experiences have they shared? Better yet, just ask, via survey or open-ended question, then pay attention to the results.

8.  Oh No You Didn’t!

If you generally love to make people happy, look for the compromise, usually avoid religion and politics, then this tactic is for you. Court controversy! Say something outrageous, then back up your opinion. You don’t have to be obnoxious, just provocative. Sometimes people need to debate the Big Questions. Let them do it on your blog. Just keep it civil and remember, it’s ok to moderate. You want a discussion, not a civil war.

9.  The Tour

Everyone runs out of ideas. Everyone gets bored. Your fellow bloggers are no exception. So propose a change of scenery and organize a “blog tour,” with several of your colleagues. Trade posts, conduct interviews, offer product giveaways, and promote the heck out of it! You’ll all meet new audiences, gain new followers, and perhaps some new money making ideas.

10. Best Laid Plans

If you try a few of these strategies, you’ll likely find yourself happily blogging again. We hate to break it to you, but this won’t last. Eventually you’ll find yourself again wondering if you’ll ever write another word. Now is the time to insure yourself against another dry spell by writing ahead.

Keep a list of great money making ideas, topics you wish to explore, the information your readers want. Don’t fall into the trap of writing procrastination. Write several posts ahead, building up a bank of good writing you can turn to when you hit a slump or run out of time.

Like all worthwhile pursuits, blogging isn’t as easy as it looks. Still, with some go-to writer’s block remedies, you can make it look effortless.

200 Ways To Make Money Online

200-Ways-To-Make-Money-Online

Making Money From Home – What you need to know

Making money from the comfort of your own home is a topic that is discussed here a lot at Grad Money Matters. Whether your goal of working from home if to just make a little extra money on top of your full-time job, or if you want to eventually make your home job into your full-time job, there are many things that you need to know.

Once you decide on what legitimate home business idea or what side job that you want to start, you have to start thinking about how you are going to start it, and what you are going to do to become successful. Preparing to work from home is very important.

 

Related posts: 

Building your Reputation as a Freelancer

Finding Private Health Insurance When You’re Self-Employed

Freelancing Options

Advantages of Becoming a Virtual Assistant

 

Making Money From Home - What you need to know

http://www.flickr.com/photos/liamdunn/2683642114/

You might have a bad month.

If your side job income is something that you really rely on (or maybe your home business is already your full-time job!), then a bad month is something that should be expected and you should be prepared for it.

No, I am not saying that you should be negative about working at home and always worried about a bad month, but you should be prepared for it and not let it break you down when something does happen.

Having a well-funded emergency fund can really help you with preparing for self-employment and a bad month. Also, living on less than your income (if you can help it), is also a very wise idea. Recently, Diversified Finances published an article about emergency funds which you should read.

You need to be accountable and have some sort of schedule.

Yes, it would be nice to think that working from home means that life will be super easy and that you can do things whenever you want. But it would probably be best to have some sort of schedule so that you can be as efficient and effective with your self-employment.

Having a routine can be very beneficial for those who work at home.

Have a place where you can concentrate.

Having a place where you can concentrate when you work at home has so many positives. If you can have a place where you can have uninterrupted work, then you will be able to complete tasks much more quickly.

If you have children, then it might be best to find a babysitter, nanny or a daycare. Just because you are working at home does not make the work any less harder! Some think that this is wrong, but what is best for your kids?

Also, having a home office can be very great as well. You want a place where you can stay organized and escape to when you need to work. If you have an extra room, transform that into a home office. If you don’t have an extra room, maybe designate an area in your family room for your business.

What else would you add to this list? Do you want to work at home?

 

A quiet night in: an exercise in frugal saving.

image1As much as any couple, family or group of friends might like going out, it’s never cheap. Whether it’s fine dining or going out to your local bar or restaurant, these are costs that add up all too easily. They may seem cheap once in a while but once you start doing it on a weekly or semi-regular basis, it becomes a larger and larger chunk of your expenses.

In contrast to this, understanding the benefits of a quiet night in can prove useful. More than offering something different and relaxing it can demonstrate a way to stay cheap and cost effective whilst still enjoying the usual perks of life.

Food

If you go out to eat, you should know how much this can cost. Cooking for yourself is usually the cheapest but there are still other options. For instance, if you have the urge for Chinese food, it may be cheaper for everyone to pool money together for chinese takeaways than visit your local restaurant. It’s much cheaper and doesn’t have the added costs of additional drinks and restaurant prices and other service charges that are often forgotten about.

Entertainment

Likewise, if you’re not going out, there is nothing to stop you from being social. Your home can prove entertaining enough with the right company. Cheap entertainment can be anything from a movie rental (if you’re only going to watch it once, don’t buy something you don’t need) to various games, which offer entertainment again and again. These are all cheap, whether you use it once or buy it to use again and again. This is another lesson to be learnt in saving, by understanding the real value of something.

If you come across some movies that you and your friends love, it makes sense to purchase the DVD so you can all watch it whenever you like. Luckily, you can save money by ordering your DVDs online, so you do not have to worry about breaking the bank. To make things more interesting, consider having each person purchase a DVD online and then choosing between your favorites every time you gather.

Additional expenses

Hopefully the two areas above should highlight how easy it is to cut down on those little costs for every social occasion but there are always other areas to look at. Take your appearance, for instance. If you don’t go out to an expensive restaurant you might not need to risk your best shirt or shoes. It can also save on other expenses, such as getting a taxi home late if you’ve been drinking or other travel costs.  So, next time you think you might go out, suggest staying in to the others and see how much can be saved.

Freelancing Options

 

To me, freelancing is my perfect world. I have dreamt of it for a long time, and my dream/reality is finally here. Working for yourself has so many positives. Not everything is perfect, and there are almost downsides to everything, but to me working for myself very much outweighs working for someone else.

Freelancing isn’t for everyone though. Some prefer to work for others. If you work for someone else, you can most likely go to work and then go home, without the stress of being an owner and having an unstable paycheck.

If you want to become a freelancer, then you have to have some sort of skill. Not everyone can be a freelancer because there has to be some sort of market for the services that you want to offer.

via http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/5730523107/

Don’t worry everyone, freelancing doesn’t mean that you can only be a writer. It’s amazing how many people consider freelance writing as the only form of freelancing in the freelance market. There are so many things out there that you can do:

  • Writer – of course I have to add this one.
  • Website/graphic designers – This is something where it really takes talent. I would be a horrible designer! There are website designer, logo designers, and so on.
  • Translators – Do you know more than one language? Maybe you can translate a language. Another idea would be to teach others a new language.
  • Editors – There are so many websites out there. They all need to be managed somehow!
  • Virtual assistants- As a virtual assistant, you can help others with their website, manage emails, help with online conferences and so on.
  • Customer service representatives – There are many companies that hire for customer service representatives where you work from home.
  • Photographers – Same with website and graphic designers, talent is needed if you want to become a freelance photographer.  Many also go to school for this as well.
  • Interior designers – Do you love to decorate and come up with floor plans? Then interior designing would probably be perfect for you!
  • Wedding planner/consultant – Planning a wedding can be a lot of fun, but also stressful. You can help a bride plan her perfect day

 

 

Do you want to be a freelancer? Why or why not?

 

Do you ever get writer’s block?

All writers get it, writer’s block! I’m sure at one point or another, every single blogger and/or writer has sat down and couldn’t think of a single thing to write.

If you write a couple of times each week, or ever every single day of the week, then it can be easy to feel like you are out of content ideas.

Think about what someone would like to know about your niche

If you’re also a beginner in your niche, this is simple. Start with beginner questions that you may have, and then eventually add on to this. If you make an article about “Investing Basics,” then later you can do a post such as on “Dividend Investing.” You can think keep branching out and diving into each detail.

Document on your site what you learn in articles that you write. You can also ask your readers if they have any questions that they would like to read a post about.

Write your ideas down.

Something that I do nearly every single day is add to my list of “article ideas” on my phone. Whenever I think of anything, I type my idea into my list. My list has well over 100 things on it, and it’s very helpful for whenever I sit down and am looking for a new post idea.

Complete research for your articles.

No matter how much of a brain freeze you are suffering from and no matter how much it seems like you can’t come up with an article at all, don’t try to just make something up and publish it.  Your website it most likely very important to you, and you want to keep your content and writing at a high quality.

Make sure to research your articles if you can or should. Of course some articles and some websites are personal and don’t require much research, but if a post does require research, it is usually best not to make up facts, statistics and so on just so that you can create and publish a post.

There are many reliable websites out there where you can find trustworthy information. Find them!

Do you ever feel that you run out of ideas for content?

 

Improving Your Blog with Less Clutter and More Fun

Are you trying to become a writer or blogger? Well, you probably want to be successful, right? Who doesn’t? Today’s post will give you some tips in what you should do and what you probably shouldn’t do and is an extension from Part 1 which I published yesterday.

Other ways that you can improve your blog and writing skills include having less clutter on your blog and actually having fun with writing and blogging.

Less clutter on your blog or website.

Do you have a lot of clutter on your blog? Many blogs do. You want to make sure that it’s easy for your readers to find what they are looking for. If you have 100 pictures down the sidebar on your blog, this is probably a lot of clutter and can also take a lot of time to load.

Your blog design should be as simple as possible, but still be useful. Simple can really mean anything, but if you think that your website is too cluttered, then it probably is.

When you start out and create a brand new blog, it is very easy for new bloggers to be carried away by all the great plugins and widgets that are out there. There are so many out there, but make sure that whatever you put on your blog or website is useful and effective. You don’t need to fill every single spot in your design, blank spaces are always good also. You want quality not quantity.

 

Having fun with writing and blogging.

I love blogging and writing online. I never really thought when I was younger that I would become a blogger and enjoy every single second of it, but I truly do. With blogging, try to have fun! Sure there are commercial blogs out there where no one has fun with it and it is more of a job, but try to have fun with it if you can.

Yes, monetizing, promoting your blog, search engine optimization and so on are important for your blog, but you should try to have fun and network also. You want to enjoy what you do as well, right?

Blogging is a great way to express yourself and share your thoughts and opinions with others. The fact that you can make money while you are at it is a fantastic bonus.

Do you have a lot of clutter on your blog? Do you have fun writing and blogging?

 

Becoming a Successful Writer/Blogger

Are you trying to become a writer or blogger? Well, you probably want to be successful, right? Who doesn’t? Today’s post will give you some tips in what you should do and what you probably shouldn’t do. There are always exceptions to rules, but they are nice to know anyways.

Before you jump into writing and blogging, there are some basic rules that you might want to brush up on. You should be aware of what generally is considered a no-no and what will make you an instant hit.

Plagiarism is never good.

I can’t think of a single instance where it would be okay to copy someone else’s work. If you can think of one, then I would like to know, ha!

When writing and blogging, you need to make sure that all of your content is original. You should never just copy and paste articles onto your blog and claim them as your own. There are many negatives of this, mainly that no one will ever want to work with you and everyone will automatically assume that you are a cheater even if it was only one time.

Readers also do not like plagiarism. It makes you very dishonest and not likable at all. If you use a source, you should credit the original source. If what you write is an extension of somebody else’s idea, you need to be sure that you present the ideas in your own words instead of copying someone else’s.

Instead of just regurgitating what the other person said, offer your thoughts on it and add your own unique perspective. Add to the conversation and extend it. Publishing unique content will help you draw readers.

Have some meaty articles every now and then.

Publishing meaty content is very important. Yes, every now and then a short post of 200 words may be worthwhile, but posts with more details and meaning is also great.  There are tons of blogs and articles online that anyone can find. You as a writer and/or blogger need to be unique so that new readers can find you.

Inject your personality into your writing.

If you have to drag yourself to the computer to grind out another blog entry, you are probably wrong about this being the perfect money making idea for you. In order to have the most fun with blogging and writing, you should try to inject as much personality and passion into your posts as you can.

 

How to Make Money as a Freelancer

Are you interested in becoming a freelancer? Maybe you want to work for yourself and not someone else anymore. Or, maybe you are looking for ways to make additional side income.

Below are some different freelancing jobs that you can get into:

1. Selling items.

This can be anything. Maybe you shop around for vintage items and sell them online. Maybe you go around to garage stores and look for something that is an expensive antique. You can sell items that you buy or sell items that you make yourself. The options are endless!

2. Tutoring.

Tutoring can be a great way to make extra money. You can tutor young children with basic skills such as addition and subtraction, spelling and so on. You can also teach others to speak another language, study for an important exam (such as the ACT or SAT), and so on. Pay can be relatively high, and if you are successful with tutoring then pay will most likely be even higher since you will be in demand.

3. Website design.

Are you creative? Do you have great computer skills? Website design is a nice business that you can start growing. You can create full websites, logos, fix websites and so on.

4. Start a blog.

A blog can be a good way to make money, but it is not guaranteed. Also, it can take months or years before you start making any money also. There is a lot of dedication and motivation needed in order to be successful with your own blog. There are many advantages and disadvantages of blogging.

5. Photography

Do you consider yourself creative? If so, there is definitely opportunity out there to become a photographer. You might need to work in the beginning for free or a very low rate, but after you build up a portfolio you might have a booming business. It does take a lot of work though. You charge hourly most of the time, but there is a lot of editing behind the scenes that will most likely need to be done.

6. Mowing lawns.

Mowing lawns can be a great way to make some extra money. Most of the time you can make anywhere from $20 to $50 an hour per lawn that you mow. If you are able to grow a large client base, this can be decent side income. You do need to calculate your costs as well, such as gas, maintenance and so on.

7. Consulting.

Are you an expert in something? Do you have knowledge in an area that many people are wanting? If you have website experience, you might be able to find consulting experience in that, and help companies improve their websites or long-term outlook.

 

Are you a freelancer? What do you do?

 

Old Fashioned Ways to Generate Brilliant Ideas for Your Next Blog Post Part 2

You know many different ways to find ideas for your next blog post … the comments on your previous blog posts; mining social media sites like twitter, Facebook, Digg and delicious; searching through related forums and question/answer sites; other blogs in your niche and their comments – the list could just go on.

But some days, you just feel a little blah, and none of these usual sources of ideas seem to cut it. No amount of caffeine seems to help improve the situation.

No matter how many times you wrack your brain, or how many times you’ve sat in front of your computer screen and prayed for inspiration, you just cannot seem to come up with a blog topic that will keep your readers interested. You need something new, something unconventional, something that will crush it. Maybe it’s time to go back in time and do what Shakespeare probably did when he needed some ideas.

 

Read a Book

Much like watching a movie to get blogging ideas, reading a book can provide you with tons of blogging ideas. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading a Shakespeare play, a modern take on an old classic, or a bodice ripper, you can find plenty of ways to put a 180 degree spin on the regular topics you usually write about. Blogging is a money making idea that can easily flow from what you read to what you write…to what others will read. Harry Potter, Moby Dick, Catcher in the Rye, Bad Moon Rising, and other super famous books were written to entertain, and you can use your love (or hate) for a book to spark off a new conversation on your own blog. This illustrative post on Mind Meister inspired by Dale Carnegies popular book “How to Win Friends & Influence People” has over 150,000 views via stumbleupon alone – just imagine how much the overall traffic should be!

In addition to using books to generate ideas, you could also just write a book review of the new best seller in your niche, or a classic that never went out of fashion, to provide some new avenues for your blog readers to explore. Many of the popular blogs use this technique – for instance check out the book reviews on the two most popular personal finance blogs The Simple Dollar and Get Rich Slowly to pick up some pointers on how to do it the right way.

 

Go Shopping

Go shopping either as a means to just relax (Yes, to all you men out there, I used “relax” and “shopping” in the same sentence – that’s jus how we women are :)) or to get an errand done. Look at the products on the shelves – does something stick out as funny or strange? Is there any new product you spotted that could make life a lot easier for people in your niche? How about the people you see and meet, and the conversation snippets you overhear? When you are observant, you will find a ton of ideas all around you. A mall, a busy department store, the small corner store or a farmers market are all perfect places to gain these ideas.

And don’t forget that product reviews are the perfect way to provide content to your readers while offering you the potential to make some money. Just make sure you stick to the products that are relevant or complementary to your niche. There is no point in reviewing an iPad if your blog is all about fly fishing (unless you focus on the new upcoming 4G features that will potentially allow your readers to search for the perfect technique to use while fly fishing in the remote corners of Wyoming).

If you have picked up (or are considering) one of the content related money making ideas–blogging, freelance writing, niche sites, eBooks, flipping websites etc.,–then you will invariably be in the funk every so often. What separates the successful folks (like you and me!) from the other million people out there we are competing with, is that we find a way to get out of the funk, and come out the other side stronger than ever before!

 

How do you get inspiration for your blog posts?