A common dilemma, when you first set up your website, is finding ideas on what content to target. But there are many tricks you can use to springboard ideas. Once you start putting some of these suggestions in place, you will find that one good idea leads to the next in a snowballing effect. It thus pays to record these topics and sub-topics as you discover them. And as you start writing, you will find that your content ideas magnetically suggest other ideas for future articles.
So, which content-finding trick is a good one to start with?
The idea I am discussing in particular today is that of forums or discussion boards. Forums provide a great avenue for discovering what is topical and what is current within your niche. So, they make a great resource that can suggest content that you would like to write about for your website.
Why Use Forums & Discussion Boards
Discussion boards are a great repository of people’s interests, concerns, questions, problems, preferences and suggestions within a topic area or niche. In particular, they offer the following advantages:
- They provide a way for you to find out which problems need solving. You can then use these as ideas for articles on your site.
- Forums allow you to find out which are the top questions that people are asking in your niche?
- Scanning through the categories and threads can often be the catalyst for new ideas that you hadn’t thought of before.
- You can easily see which thread has the most recent comments. This tells you which topics are popular and what questions people are asking the most.
- You can easily see which thread was most recently commented on? That is, which thread is relevant to people right now.
- You can enter into the conversations. This will start to build your reputation as an expert in your field and help to generate traffic to your website.
How to Find Top Discussion Boards
There are a number of methods that you can use, but these 3 will get you started:
- You can do a search using your main niche keyword followed by “forum”.
- You can use Google’s forum search.
- Another very useful resource is Big Board www.big-boards.com. This site provides a ranking of top forums within categories and includes some invaluable statistics such as web traffic to each board. From the home page, you can see the latest forums that have been added to the site as well as the most popular boards.. And you can use 1 of these 3 means of searching for a board in your niche.
- Message Boards Search
You can search for your niche category and then get a listing of the top forums or discussion boards within that category. You can quickly see which boards have the most members and the largest number of posts.
- Forum Directory
You can simply choose a category and then drill down to the sub-niche that you are interested in.
Or you can browse the list of best ranked boards using various filters. In this section, you can sort the list according to ranking, number of members, number of posts last week etc. etc. This is very, very useful. You can also sort according to traffic and thus find out how many visitors per day a board has been getting. Or you can sort according to the board’s Alexa ranking, another way to determine its popularity.
- Message Boards Search
It’s a good sign if you visit a discussion board and find that several threads have posts submitted today. For example I have just searched big-boards.com for some forums that would be of great interest to me:
As a dog owner, I was interested to see which forums rated most highly in that category. One of them is called YorkiTalk.com, a forum about Yorkshire Terriers. It was ranked 2nd out of the 8 boards listed. When clicking on the stats symbol, I find that this site has almost 4 million posts and over 97 thousand members. But what really interested me was the fact that there were 6412 posts made last week. This shows me that this is indeed a lively, active board. It would give me lots of relevant ideas to write about, ideas that visitors to a dog-related site would find useful.
Recap on How to Use Forums to Get Content Ideas
- Find the most popular and most active forums in your niche.
- Find the threads that are active and have a lot of contributors.
- Register as a member and include your website address if permitted.
- List topic ideas for articles you could write for your own site.
- Start posting to threads relevant to your niche.
Adding Content to Your Blog
Once you have your ideas and you are ready to write your blog post, you might find these posts can help you out:
- Drupal Tutorial for Beginners – how to add content to your Drupal blog, how to edit content that is already in your Drupal blog.
- WordPress Editor – how to format your content as you add it to your WordPress blog.