Finding good fresh content for your blog will make it more attractive to your readers. There are a number of great online tools that I have used to come up with up to date content that might be useful for others.
Let me say first up that the relevance of these tools will vary from blogger to blogger. Most of them will probably be of less use to those writing Personal Journals than to those writing K-logs or filters. Personal Journals will probably draw more upon the brain of the writer as a tool than anything I share below.
The following tools help you to see what else is happening online – if current up to date information is of relevance to your blogging you might find them interesting. It is not a definitive list so please feel free to add your own tools in comments and if appropriate I’ll add them to the following list:
1. YahooBuzz is a useful tool if you want to know what kind of information people are searching for on Yahoo in the last 24 hours. Check out Yahoo’s top 20 searches here. They also show you search terms that are on the increase and decrease and and break results down into categories such as TV, Movies, Music etc. Also interesting is their Popular Search by Country page which I check out weekly when updated on a Thursday.
2. Google Press Centre is a similar yet much simplified tool to Yahoo Buzz except that it looks at search terms on Google. I don’t find it as helpful as Yahoo – but still check it out from time to time.
3. A great way to keep up to date with the latest news on a particular topic of interest is to get yourself hooked up with a News Aggregator. The one I use is Blog Lines but there are many others available. Basically it helps you to read blogs, newspapers an other frequently updated websites quickly and accurately. If you want more information on RSS and News Aggregators check out News that Comes to You, Bringing the World to Your Desktop and An introduction to RSS news feeds.
4. News Now provides a list of news feeds from around the world.
5. Technorati is a tool I check out daily. It provides readers with Breaking News (which is a collection of news items that have been getting a lot of links in the past 12 hours) and Current Events (which is a list of links (not just news) that are popular in the blogosphere in the last 3 hours.
7. Blogosphere also tracks trends on a 4 and 24 hour basis (see its sidebar).
8. Feedster is something I’ve only just discovered – it is like Google but it searches RSS feeds. So if you are thinking of writing a post on a particular topic plug it into Feedster and see who else is or has been writing on it.
In conclusion it is worth saying that the above tools are unlikely to present you with new original content for your blog. They only point you to what others are writing and reading about online. This is useful – however in my experience the content that tends to get attention is original in nature. Only a small number of blogs successfully rely upon second hand content so put something of your own into the mix!
Leave your own suggestions in comments.