- Books, Literature, and Writing
What are Good Topics to Write Articles About?
Choosing Article Topics
This page is a mix of up myself nonsense which is where I started my writing 'career' and genuine information and tips born out of a few years rather bitter experience.
My heart is in humor, art and free-writing but that is not where the money is on the internet. So I have expanded this article, leaving the original pointless humor because I still like it (sorry) - and adding my honest views on topic selection for article writing.
The best topics to write about have these main points...
- You can write original, entertaining, intelligent and informed comment about
- Few people have already covered the subject
- Lots of people are looking for it
... and that is about all the advice you need.
If you search the internet for this, and of course I have, you will find a complete range of every blessed article under the sun. Lists of subjects to cover, designed for the old way, where producing keyword soaked derivative garbage was the key to internet writing success.
The internet writing game has changed, and in my opinion, it has changed for the better.
The search engines are much better at assessing the worth of any article you write, and measuring reader response to your writing. It is not enough to keyword and back-link your article - you need to engage with the reader and offer them something real and unique that other pages do not offer.
That is the key to acquiring an amount of internet traffic.
So the short, and possibly unwanted answer to your query is this.
Write about anything that you can deliver a decent reader experience on, and don't fall for the stuff that says you should write about the usual spam filled topics.
The remainder of this article is a satire, sort of, on the garbage filled writing that clogs up the internet. The stuff that is slowly sinking without trace.
How I Make My Money!
By selling lies to people.
Writing About Making Money
All writers will have searched the net for reasons why they don't make money, and how they can make more. They will have realised after six months of blogging and site-building that the daily income amounts to a few cents if lucky.
Surprisingly there seem to be many people out there who really are making money! They post screen shots of earnings and nicely written blog pages that half-explain how they decided to make money and did.
They are all lying. All of them. They may make a few dollars selling their courses and books to gullible punters like you and me. But they are stuck in the god-awful trap of the dream of making some money out of the internet.
Fact is, as soon as you reveal earnings on the net your entire contents will be scraped, copied and republished across the web. Any genuine lucky hit will be grabbed and used by others who are better writers, spammers or business people.
And these 'money-making' gurus are writing in the most competitive area! There is no way any of them do anything other than grab a few dollars from idiots who believe their lies.
Sorry about that but wising up is the probably the first thing any would-be writer should do before they waste their time.
Millions of other amateurs, professionals, journalists, news media, content management, publishers, Google, Amazon - all producing trillions of pages
You Won't Read This
You won't actually read any of this article. The purpose of your visit was to grab some neat subjects if possible and go and create some 'quality' content to make money out of the internet.
The truth is that pretty much everything has already been covered. Much of it is very high quality, researched, engaging and part of a reputable site authority on the subject. Other content is provided by those who already have money and can afford an Adwords budget or are supported by mass media or large corporations.
So where the heck does the keen amateur fit in? When I initially wrote this article I had the mindset that all I needed were some good subject headings. I could write them and make some money. That was a delusion.
Out of perhaps thousands of pages I have the odd one that gets some search visits. Most of those odd ones were pages I put a lot of myself and my knowledge into. They contain real information and effort. They are genuine.
How the hell does Google know that? Google can't judge quality or content. No, it does not need to. You do it, I do it.
Every time we visit a page our activity is measured, our next actions taken into account. That builds the pool of what Google considers good and bad content.
The idea of pulling a few titles out of a list of subjects and knocking up some web pages is misguided. It can not work any more. You need to write the best content on a subject you know something about that the visitors find interesting and you also need...
... to be lucky.
The evergreen mythology
Evergreen content can theoretically provide a small income for many years. In practice as soon as an article is written it is out of date either in content or technique.
There are some brilliant amusing blogs out there written by some seriously talented writers.
I have not stumbled on any yet, but I’m more of an output than input guy. I’ve done a lifetime of listening, and I don’t feel that reading people’s innermost thoughts add much to my day.
But if you can pull off the interesting yet quirky and amusing style then blog style writing might be just the thing.
I say ‘just the thing’ without any idea what that means. Is it success? Fame? Fortune? One of those maybe, or all three would be nice. Anyway the world is eager to know what you had for dinner, or what next door’s cat is up to.
The ever shrinking niche
The niches for possible search engine traffic get ever smaller. For many queries Google just answers the question straight away.
How To Stuff
This is where you take a subject which you know about, or have looked up, and tell people how to do it. It could be a DIY skill, putting up shelves or something along the personal improvement lines – get a girlfriend.
There are not enough How To’s on the internet, so any small achievement can be written about. A diagram is good, and of course a video is absolutely brilliant.
I particularly enjoy spending some minutes of my time watching an inept and let’s be honest – usually unattractive - presenter stumble through a video without a script or plan. There’s something compelling about that mumbling in the background as the demonstration progresses.
Not watched one till the end yet, but who knows. Your effort may be the one that I just can’t resist.
A simple honest and genuine article about a job you personally tackled, with content and real photos, may get daily traffic if it is niche enough.
Surely the easiest? Actually not so. Easy to write “buy this it is very good” and slap on some pictures – but the canny buyer needs a bit more.
Actually I haven’t a clue what they need, or why they don’t just go to Amazon and buy the thing. Maybe they are looking for reassurance. Someone on the internet thinks it’s good.
Jesus. That’s certainly what I’d look for when buying something. A page that says “buy this”. As recommended by someone on the net.
The old game of stuffing a page full of adverts and a few keywords is long gone.
They Don't Use Search!
It is bad enough trying to get some Google traffic. But as less people use Google and stay within their Apps and Facebook - the possible search market is shrinking. Actually looking something up may end up as extinct as using a dictionary.
The big benefit of product reviews is the possibility of affiliate sales.
You may not be getting much praise from your fellow writers or a great deal of self-respect but writing reviews can generate income through sales. Rather than a few dollars for thousands of views you can earn that much for just one viewer who uses their credit card on your adverts.
You need some excellent skills to make product reviews work now as there is so much competition - from places like Amazon, the paid adverts on Google and the large review sites.
Weaving the personal story and how you use, live with and admire the product is required. Some people are good at this, and yet they still find it hard to make money.
Like all internet article writing these days - your product review pages need to be genuine. Obviously writing, content and presentation will be the best you can do - and then you need that angle that people may be querying or investigating.
Quite useful these. I mean we are all the same these days – addicted to fame and personality, consumer driven, right wing. Same sense of humour, empathy and age group.
So it stands to reason that if person A has seen a film and tells person B they like it, that will be enough for B to have a gay old time (in a non gay way, unless they are gay of course, which is fine although not my cup of tea) on viewing the film.
I can’t count the number of times friends have said “watch this it’s brilliant”.. and it’s been crap. Of course I don’t say that – because they’re friends. I pretend I enjoyed it.
Film reviews are fun, easy to do and sometimes interesting. But like all internet article writing there is a heck of a lot of competition out there. They also have a shortish shelf life - unless your chosen film becomes a once in a generation classic I suppose.
Personal Battles Against Stuff
These can be good, especially if you are lucky enough to have had a really miserable life. Some people enjoy that sort of thing. I generally find them depressing and intrusive – but there’s a market for it.
Unfortunately for me my life is reasonably OK – so not much mileage there.
“I have a very average life…”. Nah, that isn’t going to sell anything.
Yep, one page stories. There are a lot of these and I don’t get any of them. Patience you see. The net is fast moving, or at least surfers are, so personally I just scan and skip.
I’m guessing my first appraisal of a page is about five seconds and it’s hard to get interested in the carefully crafted character or the story premise with my few remaining brain cells in that time frame.
So stories aren’t for me. As for writing them, there’s a lot of imagination required to produce a believable story so hat’s off to those who can.
There are countless short story writers including myself. It is relatively easy to create a few thousand words and they may be quite readable. The key problems are who would search for it and what advertising works?
Perhaps if you are creating a short story as a teaser for Kindle sales but being a successful author is a whole new level of very hard work and luck.
Don’t bother. Write a book.
Artistic Studies in a Natural Setting
Strictly speaking this isn’t writing as such but it’s something I have picked up while doing my net thang.
I have to say some of these, er, photographic experiences are pretty damn good although best not to let the wife catch you viewing them.
If you do decide to go down this route always remember to take the lens cap off before posing your model.
What I am skirting around is pornography - a highly lucrative and competitive area. Impossible to break into and frankly not somewhere I would want to be.
Quality Informative Content
THIS is the must have of the day.
Apparently everyone who uses the internet is searching for Quality Informative Content. Quite what it is no one knows but apparently they are all looking for it.
I must say my day isn’t complete until I have searched for and found some quality informative content and on reading it I will immediately buy everything associated with that page.
Of course there is no way you or I can write such a thing, so we must leave that one to the Amazons, Walmarts and Murdochs of the world.
The truth is that good quality content will with luck get views from searchers if it rewards them with information that they were looking for. Google does its best to match queries against content. Deliver genuine content and maybe get views.
There is probably a market for someone to write a ten best jokes page.
I don’t know if this has been done, or if it has, just how excellent the jokes are.
Presumably they are indeed the ten best jokes as recommended by the entire planet in a jokes poll.
Or maybe it’s more subjective than that. Much as film reviews the definition of best on the internet seems to be rather stretched.
Anyway jokes are probably good although not really my cup of tea.
There are two main problems with humor.
One is that it is a very subjective thing - people vary in what they find funny. The other, possibly more important issue, is that humor does not pay. The advertising is low value and a successful funny will at best get high quantity poor quality traffic.
Poetry is Not Great for Article Writing
I have been very unfair on poetry in my time as a, er, writer. Yes, I call myself a writer nowadays. I feel that eighty odd pages is sufficient, although of course a proper writer would have written several rejected manuscripts before finally getting a publishing deal - and only then calling themselves a writer.
But in internet terms, where there is no shame, and now fortunately no audience either, I am sufficiently up myself to describe what I do as writing.
It seems like only last week I was saying poetry was a waste of time. In fact, it was only last week.
But I take all that back. Poetry is fine, just not for me. At least with writing generally you don’t really have to do much with the words. Just string them out, add up the word count, job done.
Poetry is an art. And who can judge art? That’s right – Google can – but apart from Google? Exactly. No one.
Google does not know how to index poetry and advertisers have got nowhere to go with it. Writing poems about products seems the only possibility and that combines two areas that make little sense - either for literature or marketing.
There is NO money in poetry.
Recipes are great if you know any, and cooking is great too.
Ingredients and instructions, plus a picture and indigestion cures as appropriate – there is a theoretical living to be made in recipes.
You could say it’s a recipe for success, if you were living in a cliché world of the 1940’s. Fortunately I am not.
People look for recipes all the time on the net and there are marvellous recipe pages. This is a highly competitive area as any search for virtually any recipe will demonstrate. There are professional sites, cooks and chefs with fantastic photographs competing for views.
That makes it hard to break into. Some small possibilities of sharing via Facebook, Pinterest and the other sites - people like pictures of food!
As suggested by kknde, below in the comments - we need a Sport section.
I had omitted it at first because I don't know much about the subject but never let lack of knowledge about something put you off - that's just amateur.
Sport is a great area for article writing. Essentially consisting of blokes running round a field or occasionally punching each other - there are endless opportunities for reporting results and rumours.
Thankfully, most sportsmen, having dedicated themselves single mindedly to the goal of perfection in one area, tend to be lacking in other areas - and there is much can be written about off field activities.
I will mention no names but surely the intriguing story of 2010 was the crashed car and an eight iron - whatever that is. Great entertainment even if you are not an avid fan.
Celebrations and Holidays
I checked Google for Halloween and there are fifty million results. That seems to indicate the topic is probably covered although no doubt there is always room for one more.
A new angle on a holiday theme is a possibility - if you can find one. No doubt Easter, Xmas and 4th July are reasonably well represented but perhaps the National Mongolian Goat Festival is worth pursuing.
Sometimes it seems that every damn thing has already been written - thousands of times over. And still they come! Hopeful writers eager to tell the world their own view of a holiday. If only they had checked Google first they could have saved a lot of time.
Time to find some long-tailed and frankly bizarre celebratory days.
Listicles are those articles that consist of lists. They are extraordinarily popular and ideal internet clickbait eye-candy. They appeal to the curious and the time-poor.
Want to know what the Seven Best Somethings are? Of course you do. And because the title promises a limited number you can make the decision to pop in and have a look.
There are many sites that deliver on this promise and many that do not. They deliver ONE of the items from the list and hope you will click through to another page full of adverts in order to see the next one.
Lists are a fun thing to read and an OK thing to write. A list of seven things - how hard can it be?
How Google Decides on Quality
There are some basic measures - spelling, spam - that kind of machine analysis. There are no marks for wonderful prose or original thought.
The key measure in my opinion is obvious and easy to understand.
A person searches via Google. They choose an article to read. If that article satisfies their curiosity it is a good article. If they back arrow and continue the same search it may not be so good.
That is how I think Google decides.
And that is your measure for writing an article. Give the searcher what they were looking for.
This article covers the main areas I can think of. There will no doubt be many more and they can be added in as I learn a little about them.
Most internet writing fails to get traction in the search engines or social networks. A successful article needs a good deal of luck but you need to have the content in the first place to get the luck.
To borrow a famous phrase - "The more I write - the luckier I get".
Whatever you write about should be your best effort. All those clichés of genuine, informative, unique, engaging are more true than ever.