Sometimes the hardest thing about blogging is deciding what to write about. Either you have no idea what to write about, or on the contrary, are so consumed by the sheer amount of information freely available on the internet that you lose focus.
This happens to me quite often.
Using social bookmarking site Delicious is one way to avoid not having ideas ready for blog posts or feeling the pain of information overload.
Delicious is the best place to store and find links to websites and blogs online. Since anyone can see how many times a given link has been saved by the community, it’s easy to see which stories or sites are the most valuable and interesting.
If you’re looking for a story idea, having a look at the front page of Delicious will show you what people are saving, what’s fresh, and what’s trending. This may give you the little push you need to write an epic post. It’s an interesting site because you never really know what you’re going to find.
Well, maybe you do actually. You’re going to get a mix of links of interest to web designers, marketers, and tech folk, but there’s always a few wild cards like news stories and random cool links that have bubbled up to the surface.
Often, you will find an idea for a story right there on the front page. But even if you don’t, you can try the Delicious search function. Type in the category or genre of your blog and see what comes up. The top entries will be authoritative sites that you probably know (if yours pops up, congrats) and you can work your way down to find links and sites that may interest you and give you a fresh idea or a new take on something.
You can also break down your searches by selecting tags to help filter your search and you can search by “freshness.” In other words, you can look for bookmarks that have been saved over the past year to the present, 2 months to the present, or 4 hours to the present. This will allow you to find perennially popular links and the hot, trending ones.
Delicious gives you a good sense of the authority of an article or blog post because you can see how many other people have saved it. Sure, it’s not a perfect system, but items with fake authority (ie, 20 friends saved it) stick out like a sore thumb.
You can also easily save and tag items you find on Delicious for use as research for a future post. If you’re going to do a link post, like a “100 Ways to do Whatever,” this is a good place to do your research. Use a unique tag for the items you’re going to include in your list or use for research and you will be able to reference them at your leisure. Pay attention to tagging saved links and you’ll make your job easier.
Also consider following the bookmarks of people you respect or listen to online. This can give you a good inside perspective on what topics they are interested in.
Hopefully, after reading this post you can see that Delicious can be an idea generating powerhouse that can help you avoid blogger’s block.
I didn’t get hugged as a child. Show me the love.
Update (4/21/2012): Delicious sucks now.