[Mistakes #5] Five Common Mistakes Bloggers Make With Ideas … and How to Fix Them

By Ali Luke

This is part of our mistakes series. Previous posts cover post titles, sidebars, About pages and Contact pages.

Ideas lie at the heart of everything you do with your blog and your business.

However much of an expert you are at writing, marketing and technology, you won’t get far unless you have some good ideas.

Sometimes, bloggers think that “ideas” just means coming up with ideas for individual posts. Of course that’s important – but your ideas will also include potential ebooks, ecourses, or other digital products, plus ideas within posts (particularly list posts).

Here are some common mistakes bloggers make, and how to fix them.

Mistake #1: Only Coming Up With Ideas When They NEED To

I understand this temptation (and I have to confess that I’ve found myself in this position quite a few times during my blogging career…)

If you wait until it’s blog posting day to come up with an idea, you’ll always find yourself struggling to get started. You may also end up writing about the first thing that comes into your head – regardless of whether it’s a particularly good topic for a blog post.

Fix it: Today or tomorrow, set aside ten minutes to come up with (at least) ten ideas for your blog. Also, write ideas down whenever they come to you – don’t rely on your memory!

Mistake #2: Hoarding Their Best Ideas

This is another easy trap to fall into: “saving” that really good idea until you’re a better writer, or until you have more traffic, or until you’ve got the time to do it justice.

While the time won’t always be right for every idea you come up with, if you’ve been sitting on a brilliant idea for months, get moving! You might be worried that you won’t come up with any ideas as good in the future … but you’ll almost certainly find that you think of even better ones.

Fix it: Have you got a really good idea for a post or product (or even a whole blog) that you’ve not used yet? Find a time in the next month when you’ll get started, and mark it on your calendar.

Mistake #3: Not Using Reader Feedback to Decide Between Ideas

Have you ever come up with a great idea for a post that you know your readers need, only to write it and find that it got a lacklustre response?

I’ve done that not only with posts but with whole ebooks – and it’s a massive and costly mistake. However much you love your idea, and however much you think readers need it, you need to find out what they want you to produce.

Fix it: Run a survey to ask readers to choose between several options whenever you’re considering investing a lot of time or money in creating an in-depth post or digital product.

Mistake #4: Only Thinking of the Exact Right Number of Ideas

Let’s say you’re writing a list post and you want ten items – perhaps “Ten Beginner-Friendly Tips” on your topic. You sit at your computer and write down the first ten tips that come into your mind.

While this isn’t a huge problem, it can prevent your post from being as good as it could be. The first ideas that come to you often aren’t the best – and by coming up with a couple of spare ideas, you can cut out the weakest ones.

Fix it: Always aim to come up with 2 – 3 more ideas than you need. Then go through your list and cut out any that are weak. (Sometimes you can merge two weak ideas together to create a stronger one.)

Mistake #5: Trying too Hard to Create Unique Ideas

While you don’t want your blog to feel like a regurgitated version of every other blog out there, you don’t have to worry about every single idea being totally original.

The truth is that most ideas have been done before, in some shape or form. What’s unique is the way you treat the idea, your writing voice, and any extras you can add.

Fix it: Look at popular posts on major blogs in your niche for inspiration. How could you write a post on the same topic that takes it on from a different angle, goes further, or provides more value for readers?

 

Do you struggle to come up with ideas, or do you find that you have more than you can handle? Let us know in the comments…




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15 Responses to “[Mistakes #5] Five Common Mistakes Bloggers Make With Ideas … and How to Fix Them”

  • aly c.

    yay! most of those already happening here and i haven’t even launched my blog yet. thank you for the reinforcement ali.

  • Nate Balcom

    I like Mistake #4: Only Thinking of the Exact Right Number of Ideas. I’ve fallen victim to this as well. The problem here is that by the end of your list you’re really grasping at straws and your post bemomes watered down. I prefer to shoot low if I have a list. It’s better to give some great tips instead of a so so list. Great article!

  • Shawn Gossman

    Great writeup, Ali! 🙂

    One thing I commonly do is carry a little notepad and pen with me everywhere I go. I know that is ‘old school’ but I tend to remember things a lot better when I physically write them down rather than typing them into my iPhone or computer. So I get ideas constantly for new blog posts – when I get an idea, I write a few keywords related to the idea in my little notepad. I have about 8 of the little notepads full of different ideas, LOL.

    Now getting ideas is the complex but fun part – I look at everything, all the details, any activities that happen in my life and I attempt to relate it or ‘integrate’ it into my blog niches in some way or another. Life is a wonderful idea factory if you use it right.

    Thanks for posting this article!

  • sharma

    awesome post Ali..!!!w getting ideas is the complex but fun part – I look at everything, all the details, any activities that happen in my life and I attempt to relate it or ‘integrate’ it into my blog niches in some way or another. Life is a wonderful idea factory if you use it right. i haven’t even launched my blog yet. thank you for the reinforcement ali.

  • Ian Buchan

    I find it difficult to come up with new ideas for my blog as I am trying to keep it relevant to my industry. Posts that are used as a resource seems to work quite well though!

    I recently came across a blog post which was titled – “A day my life..”. It was superb and relevant as it was all about what the person did in their day to day life which gave customers and readers an insight to the effort involved.

  • shoujishipin

    I like Mistake #4: Only Thinking of the Exact Right Number of Ideas. I’ve fallen victim to this as well. The problem here is that by the end of your list you’re really grasping at straws and your post bemomes watered down. I prefer to shoot low if I have a list. It’s better to give some great tips instead of a so so list. Great article!

  • Fanzi

    create a unique posts pretty difficult because sometimes when we make writing unique and someone took our writing in his blog post without informing his sources. it is very upsetting.

  • Ryan Biddulph

    Each mistake Ali is based on fear. ID that fear to release these mistakes. Write like mad, Keep creating and you will defeat many of these fears.

    Thanks!

  • Patty@homemakersdaily.com

    I go through spurts. Sometimes I have more ideas than I know what to do with and other times I can’t think of a thing and I’m sitting down to write tomorrow’s post with NOTHING! I hate when that happens.

  • kelly jones

    nice tips and all the bloggers need to do is to keep the work simple and work regularly. your points are awesome and i agree if trying hard to spark out the ideas will burn the main idea too. thanks.

  • Angelina

    look at everything, all the details, any activities that happen in my life and I attempt to relate it or ‘integrate’ it into my blog niches in some way or another. Life is a wonderful idea factory if you use it right. i haven’t even launched my blog yet. thank you for the reinforcement ali.

  • Lakhyajyoti

    Another great post. I am making two big mistakes. I never run survey to on my blog to ask readers to decide among many ideas. Let me correct it now.

  • Jay Patel

    i like your post but can you give me some detail information about 3rd mistake.

  • Ali Luke

    Thanks everyone!

    Shawn, great tip. It’s so easy to THINK you’ll remember a good idea … but I know I forget mine if I don’t write them down.

    Jay, I’ll put reader surveys and feedback on my list for future posts, as I think I’ve probably got more to say than I can cover in a comment!

  • maxwell ivey

    Hello; som great points here. I think the most important one is not to wait until you are better to write that post. I just recorded my first two videos. I know they could be better and I will learn more every time I do one. Its the same with blog posts. You are so right that father time doesn’t always cooperate with blogging or any other major undertaking in our lives for that matter. so, go ahead step out in faith. And after you write it promote the heck out of it. that amazing post you have been putting off could just be waiting to be that post which goes viral and makes you a blogging superstar. It could happen. Thanks again for your good work and take care, max

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