Writing articles is a big part of many online business models. It’s one of the cheapest ways to attract attention from potential customers and the search engines. Cheap doesn’t always mean easy, however. Getting inspiration for your articles is often a major challenge.

I have a lot of sources that I use. I won’t get inspiration from every technique every time, and sometimes it’s just flat out a case of writer’s block, but having a few ways to find something to write about really helps.

Write Ideas Down When They Happen

I really have to get better about this one. Article ideas come about at the most inconvenient times. Carrying a little notebook and pen makes it possible to catch some of those inconveniently timed ideas. You still aren’t going to easily catch the ones that come while you’re driving down the freeway, but it’s a help.

Some people like to keep a notepad and pen by their bed too. A light up pen can be a great help, so you don’t have to turn on a light if inspiration strikes in the middle of the night. My kids are a bit young for that one to work well for me. My youngest is great for scribbling on all paper within reach, with whatever writing materials she can find, and they will usually wander off with her.

I’m great for coming up with ideas when I can’t possibly write them down even if I were behaving better about it. Same syndrome as remembering I need to call someone at 11 at night, I suppose.

Read

If you need inspiration, read. Then read more. Read every chance you get, and it doesn’t all have to be about your niche. Sometimes the things you read outside your niche for pleasure will inspire ideas you can use for your business.

You can read articles written for other sites in your niche, but don’t copy them. You can take a point and expand upon it in more detail, or do a better job of explaining the information. If I’m inspired by something in someone else’s writing, there’s one of two ways I will handle it. I may note the basic idea it gave me, and come back to it another day, so I’ll have a fresh perspective and not simply regurgitate what I just read. Or I may run with it immediately and credit the other article as appropriate. You want to keep your ideas as your own, and give credit where credit is due.

Reading forums related to your niche works as well. So do sites such as Yahoo Answers. You can find out what questions people have about it, and write up the answer in an article.

The news is another great place to get ideas. What’s happening in the world? What’s new in your niche? How can you use that information?

Keyword Research

Keyword research can provide a number of ideas, and there are a few ways to go about it. You can type your keyword into Google and see what comes up on the instant suggestion list. You can use the Wonder Wheel search tool they provide in the list off to the left of your searches. You can use their AdWords keyword tool to find more keywords.

If you want to make your research a bit easier, I suggest using Market Samurai. I have it and love it. There are occasional frustrations with it, and it will take some time for it to come up with all the data (generating it takes time), but once you have the list, you might find something that will inspire you, or at least give you fresh perspective on keywords you might want to start targeting.

Site Statistics

Your website statistics are often full of inspiration if you just look at them. How are people finding your site? Any keywords you never considered? Any questions you could be answering in more detail than the page it originally landed the visitor on?

However things go for you, don’t just say you don’t have any inspiration to write. If you can’t write full articles, write titles. If you can’t write titles, research places you can find ideas. Don’t just let a lack of inspiration hold you back. There’s always something to do.