Generate more content ideas by tweaking your site
One of the biggest problems that I've been running up against when creating content for my websites is figuring our what to write about.
I've come to the realisation that I struggle to make this work because of one simple fact:
My categories really needed some work.
In some ways, my categories totally sucked.
By the way, when I'm talking about categories, I'm talking about the categories in Wordpress that you sort your blog posts into.
Wordpress categories help you retain visitors
Categories should form the basis of your site organization and without them, your readers have no way of telling which of your blog posts might interest them and which will bore them to tears.
As you want your readers to come back, you should be trying to get them to see the articles that interest them so you should group them into specific topics so people can find what they like.
Categories aren't tags - they represent the core values of your website and if you have too many it can like you're not really an authority on anything because you write about everything.
Around five or six is a good number to show your site is organised but to provide you with some flexibility to develop your content.
They should of course be relevant to your niche. It's not a good idea to have a category about car cleaning products when your niche is about skin care products for armadillos.
You can make these categories (and their associated posts) accessible as a Wordpress menu item - usually resulting in a nice drop-down menu, although this depends upon your theme being written correctly to support it.
Many Wordpress themes include the category as a clickable link on each post or article so the reader can find more content on the same subject.
Don't disable this functionality - remember, you want people to stay on your site and keep reading.
How categories help to generate content ideas
I have a process that I use to find content ideas:
- Select one of the categories for my blog
- Use Google Instant to suggest ideas when typing the category
- Explore some of the suggestions from Google Instant in Jaaxy to discover traffic, keyword quality, and competition.
- Select some of the results as a topic to write about.
The trouble is, this doesn't always produce actionable results.
I want to the end result to be a keyword that makes grammatical sense on a subject that I want to write about.
And recently the categories were getting in the way.
Why my categories weren't helping
Some of my categories are fantastic sources for content topics. One of them, productivity, generated lots of ideas.
You'd think this is great but if most of your content is written for one category, your niche becomes that category, not the one you originally planned.
If you can write plenty of content for that category then maybe that's a good thing.
You could switch to that single category as your niche and then explore sections within that area for your new article categories.
So, back to my weak categories. I had one or two categories that were easy to produce ideas for but the other four were a real pain to try to create starting titles for.
As I didn't want to refocus my niche on the one good category, I needed to address the weaker ones.
I needed to find categories that inspire content creation.
Back to the category drawing board
I'm a stay-at-home dad and the website is my bootcamp website designed to promote WA.
Or at least that was the original idea.
I had no desire to write reviews that criticize other people's products just to suggest that WA was my preferred choice at the end.
To me, that just feels really negative and I'm trying hard to live a more positive life.
Just to be clear - I'm not saying that those of you that write reviews are negative people. I'm just not in a place where I can write them myself.
So, back to my categories. What is my core message?
I think Wealthy Affiliate is awesome.
The training is comprehensive. I've learned so much about content marketing here that I never knew that has really helped my day-job as a freelance web-developer.
The community is awesome. There are so many wonderful, helpful people here that help to keep you motivated and believing in yourself.
The members are generous with their time and success - some of the most successful members here, instead of just enjoying their new-found incomes, write blog posts explaining how they did it and offering evidence that we can all achieve that success.
I wanted to reflect that helpful ethos in my website. I want to create a website that makes people feel positive about become a content marketer.
That's my core message.
I want to write helpful posts about how to become a content marketer, how to overcome the problems along the way and how to develop the skills that a successful marketer needs.
Sometimes, this won't relate to WA at all but when it does (if I'm talking about a subject I first learned about here, for example) I can link to my WA review.
So, my categories needed to be related to subjects that people in my target demographic are going to want to read about.
That suggests that my categories should be about Content Marketing, and five other categories focused on the core skills my target readers will need to use, SEO, for example.
Testing the new categories
The most effective way to find out if my categories are more suited to my site is to try to plan at least ten new articles spread across the different categories.
If I can find at least three posts for each category then that's a good sign that they're a better fit for my website.
Obviously I still need to write the content for the new categories but that's an organic process that will happen over the coming weeks.
Yeah.... I'll let you know how that goes. :)
[ Update : It went very well. I now have 21 titles for future posts thanks to this. ]
The right content attracts the right readers
You might be happy with the categories that you have but if you're struggling to come up with ideas to write about it might be worth checking if your website message is reflected in your writing or if you're missing the mark just to find something to write about.
If you're not writing the correct content, you won't be attracting the sort of reader that will read your recommendations and then convert to a customer.
What do you think?
Have you had to re-structure your website categories to better reflect your message or did you find a better way?
Please leave a comment below!