Hundreds of Blog Post Ideas for Writers

Hundreds of Blog Post Ideas for Writers offers an extensive list of blog posts full of blog post ideas, and inspiration, for writers who blog.

I’m frequently asked by writers and authors what they should blog about. Regularly writing for your blog does seem like an overwhelming task and if you’re new to it, it is likely to take a while until you get your sea legs (yes, another idiom!) and feel comfortable and confident doing so, but it definitely helps to have some inspiration.

Being a firm believer in not re-inventing the wheel, I thought it would just make sense to share some of the many existing articles on this topic with you. There is bound to be some overlap with ideas suggested in these articles, but combined I’m sure there are literally hundreds of ideas in this list. Enjoy!

So, without further adieu, and in no particular order, here’s a list of posts filled with hundreds of ideas, and inspiration, to get you writing those blog posts:

Do you know of another article that I should be adding to the list? Let me know in the comments.

Photo credit: Pixabay

WordPress: To WYSIWYG or Not to WYSIWYG?

Wordpress: To WYSIWYG or Not to WYSIWYG? explains some basic HTML tags that can be used in the Text editor of a Wordpress post or page and why it is better to use HTML than to rely on the Visual (WYSIWYG) editor option.

Whenever you create a new post or page in WordPress you have the option of using the Visual editor or the Text editor.

Visual and Text tabs

The Visual editor is a WYSIWYG (pronounced WIZ-ee-wig) editor. WYSIWYG stands for What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get, only in WordPress, what you see in the WYSIWYG editor and what you see when you hit that big old Publish button, are very often two different things. The Visual editor is also prone to popping in extra code that serves no purpose other than cause confusion and frustraton in my opinion. For these reasons, I never use the Visual editor and instead use HTML code in the Text editor.

Using HTML to format a blog post or page is actually quite simple and today I thought I’d give you a crash course in some of the basic HTML tags that are used to format posts and pages in WordPress.

  • Opening and closing tags: There are a few exceptions but practically every HTML tag needs an opening tag and a closing tag. Opening tags look like this: < > and closing tags look like </ >. The opening and closing tags enclose the text that they are formatting. So for example, a heading opening tag will go directly in front of text that is designated to be a heading and the heading closing tag will go directly after the text designated to be a heading as you will see in the examples below.
  • Headings: There are six heading tags. Opening tags look like this: <h1> and closing tags look like </h1>. The exact size of the headings is determined by your theme in the CSS (Cascading Style Sheet). Some themes allow you to make changes to the CSS but we’re just newbies at this, right? So, we’ll worry about that another time.
     
    So here’s what the HTML will look like for the six different headings:

    Heading HTML

    And, here’s what the actual headings look like:

    Heading Visual

  • Bold and Italics: There are a couple of options with this. You can use <b> or <strong> to make the font bold, and you can use <i> or <em> to make the font italicised.
     
    This is what HTML looks like for bold and strong:

    Bold and strong html

    This is what the actual font looks like for bold and strong:

    bold and strong visual

    This is what HTML looks like for italics and emphasized text:

    Italics and emphasized

    This is what the actual font looks like for italics and emphasized text:

    Italics and emphasized visual

    Whether you use <b> or <strong> to make the font bold, or <i> or <em> to make the font italicised is a matter of choice. I have clients who use both. I tend to use <strong> and <em>.

  • Lists: There are primarily two kinds of lists – ordered and unordered. Opening tags for an ordered list look like this: <ol> and closing tags look like </ol>.
     

    • Ordered Lists

      This is what the HTML will look like for an ordered list:

      Order list HTML

      And, here’s what the actual ordered list looks like:

      Ordered List Visual

      Order lists can also be alphabetical, use Roman numerals, etc. To learn more about these options, click here.

    • Unordered Lists

      Opening tags for an unordered list look like this: <ul> and closing tags look like </ul>.

      This is what the HTML will look like for an unordered list:

      Unordered list HTML

      And, here’s what the actual unordered list looks like:

      Unordered list Visual

    You may not believe me, but you can go a very long way with formatting blog posts or pages knowing only that much HTML. Next time, I’ll explain hyperlinking, paragraphs and images.

    If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.

    Photo credit: Pixabay

Google Images: What You Need to Know

Google Images: What You Need to Know explains why you shouldn’t assume that all images that appear in a Google search are available to be used freely.

You’ve written a blog post and you’re searching for just the right picture to go with it. Say, your blog post is on dogs, specifically Great Danes?

So you fire up Google and type in “Great Danes” and then you click on the Images option above the search criteria field.

Google images - Great Danes search

And, wow! All of the sudden there are a million gazillion pictures of Great Danes there at your finger tips. Woohoo! You’ve just hit the Great Dane jackpot!!

Uhm, hold on a minute. It doesn’t quite work that way.

Step away from your keyboard. Do not start madly opening and saving those pictures to your computer.

Take a deep breath and please don’t freak out when I tell you this: You probably, in fact most likely, cannot use these pictures.

Google is a search engine. It indexes websites including the images on those websites, but for the same reason you can’t start randomly copying and using text from a website just because it’s on Google, you can’t start randomly copying and using images just because they’re on Google. Sooner or later pretty much everything can be found on Google, but this content belongs to someone else and unless permission is specifically granted on the site allowing you to use this information freely, it’s best to always assume that it’s copyrighted and it’s hands off.

Case in Point

Maybe you’ll understand if I explain it like this:

  1. Go back to Google.
  2. Type in “Shelley Sturgeon”.
  3. Click on the Images option.
  4. You will see many of the images from my website. Some are personal photos or photos taken by family or friends. Some are post images that I’ve used from photo stock sites.
  5. If you click on specific images such as this one below:

    Google images - Writers Stack Exchange

    It will be enlarged.

  6. Click on the “Visit page” button and it will take you to the website page on this blog where this image appears.
  7. Scrolll to the bottom of the post and you’ll see that I’ve added photo credits acknowledging where I got the photo. I had permission to use this image if I provided these photo credits.

So, if I had to follow certain rules in order to use an image, does it make sense that you can just copy that image because it’s a “Google image”?? Uhm, no!

You could also try this by entering your own name or the name of your blog into Google and selecting one of the images from your blog, preferably one that you wouldn’t want other people randomly copying from Google just because it’s there and using for themselves. Get it now? 🙂

There are a lot of free sites where you can download images. A post for another day. These sites usually require photo credits although this is not always the case. You need to read the terms and conditions.

Photo credit: Pixabay

What Scares You About Blogging and Using Social Media?

What Scares You About Blogging and Using Social Media? by Shelley Sturgeon addresses common concerns people have when they start blogging and using social media.

Authors are advised to create an author platform, an online presence which includes blogging and using social media, to help them to network with others and build an audience for their books. But, many find themselves suffering from paralysis by analysis when they think about starting out online. So, I’ve attempted to list a few of the worries and concerns I’ve heard and attempted to put things in perspective.

You’ll make a mistake and EVERYONE will see it!

Newsflash! EVERYONE makes mistakes so of course you’re going to make mistakes! Even seasoned bloggers and social media experts screw up from time to time. I’ve received numerous emails that were missing attachments or links. I’ve clicked on links that go nowhere or go to the wrong place. I even once accidentally clicked on the Publish button on a blog post instead of the Save Draft button. This of course meant that a half finished post was suddenly out there for the world to see! That was a big oopsie that required some pretty quick back peddling to fix it. But nothing ventured, nothing gained!

You don’t know what you’re doing.

We’ve all had to learn the ropes and at first we don’t know what we’re doing. Research and read. Create an account and observe what others are doing. Take baby steps but do take them. Before too long you’ll be confident and will have it mastered.

No one will see your efforts and you’ll be wasting your time.

It takes time to build an audience or following with any social media platform. Be patient. Offer quality information. Share your sparkling personality with the world. Learn how to attract people to your blog, find followers on Twitter, etc. It will happen if you work for it and research how to find your audience. Don’t just shrug your shoulders after a week and walk away because no one is acknowledging that you’re there.

You won’t know what to blog about, tweet about, comment on, etc.

Do research on the social media platform for ideas, observe what others with big followings are doing, promote others and share their information, don’t try to sell your product or service, at least not until you have a significant following and have built trust with those followers. Sign up for my newsletter for more ideas.

Your work won’t look polished enough.

Sometimes we are too critical of our own work because we want it to be perfect. Relax. Do your best. Your blogging and social media efforts don’t have to be as polished as published books. Books need to be professionally edited. Blogs are more like newspapers, often with a very short time between idea to publication. In time, you will be more at ease, more confident and your efforts will reflect that.

It’ll take too much time to maintain.

Yep, blogging and social media can take a bit of time. Won’t sugar coat that. But, if you’re marketing a book or business you most likely need the exposure that they provide, and for the most part these platforms are free. It’s always an option to hire some help. Virtual assistants can build you a mean WordPress site, format and schedule your blog posts, schedule your tweets, etc.

It keeps changing and you can’t keep up with it.

Yeah, this scares me about blogging and social media, too! LOL We don’t like change, do we? And, yes, there seems to be continual change in functionality within social media sites sometimes it seems just for the sake of change without apparent benefit, new social media sites, old ones falling out of favour, and so on. The more you learn, the more fluent and comfortable you are with blogging and using social media, the less this will bother you. Sure, you might still grumble about it (I do!) but you won’t be shaking in your shoes. It’ll be more of an annoyance than something that will keep you up at night – promise!

Agree or disagree with me? Did I leave any of your worries off the list? Let me know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici | Freedigitalphotos.net

A Rose by Any Other Name: How to name a blog

Naming my blog… Ugh! I’ve always felt that I kind of suck at naming things – characters in my novel, children, pets, etc. In fact, when I foster kittens for the SPCA, I don’t usually even try to name them in part due to the sheer number of the fuzzy felines that come and go, but mostly because I struggle to come up with good names for them.

There are many days I’m grateful that my husband came with a name or else he might just be simply known as #1. Don’t read too much into that! I just think that that name has flexibility and its meaning could vary depending on the day!

But when I started this blog, I decided that it needed a name that would stick and one that not only I would remember (I confuse my kids’ names and my dogs’ names all the time!) but one, that hopefully, my readers would remember too.

So I started to research how to name a blog, fired up Google and searched for tips for naming a blog. Overall, it seems that the name for a blog should be:

  • Fairly short
  • Easy to remember
  • Catchy if possible
  • Meaningful and describe your blog

In theory that all seems simple enough, doesn’t it?

Several sites offering help with naming a blog also suggested simply using the domain name. This has merit, but to create my author platform I’ve opted to use my own name for my domain name and that’s not really very catchy for a blog name nor is it really meaningful and descriptive when it comes to the content of my blog. Continue reading “A Rose by Any Other Name: How to name a blog”