By Alyssa Gregory

If you are trying to ramp up traffic on your blog, you need a plan. It’s one thing to get people on your blog; it’s another to build a community of regular readers. Content is the key to doing that. So you create a content strategy and you know you need to write, and write often. Well, have you ever hit a wall and been unable to come up with a post topic? It happens to all of us. And the more you blog the more often it happens.

One of the things I do to get around this problem is keep a running list of topic ideas I can pull from when I’m short on ideas. But where do those ideas come from? I have five go-to places that never let me down.

1. Other Blogs

One of the best places to find blog post ideas is other blogs. I have a hefty list of blogs that I subscribe to, and they are excellent sources of ideas. My inspiration rarely comes from other blogs’ general topics, though. There’s nothing worse than regurgitating an idea someone else wrote about for their blog. I’m usually inspired by a sentence, reference or statement made in the post. Or try sharing an opposing viewpoint with a link back to the post that inspired you.

2. Books

I read a decent amount of business books, but my favorite “down time” books are fictional thrillers. It may be surprising, but I am often inspired to write a post on a specific topic by character dialog or the way an author phrases something in a book. I even wrote a post on how starting a business is like being a detective once.

3. Kids

Kids provide an abundance of inspiration for me. That happens when you work from home! Many of my posts have references to my kids and the impact they have on my work and life. But my kids also inspire me to write posts like this one: Five Principles for Success in Business and Preschool.

4. Television

I don’t have much time to watch television, but I do check in on some of my favorite shows on occasion. Just like books, I am often struck with blog post topic ideas by TV show plots, dialog and characters. I once wrote about what we could learn from comedian Kathy Griffin that we could apply to business blogging.

5. Social Media

There are millions of blog ideas flying around Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+, but not only through links shared. I have been inspired to write specific blog posts by social media comments, personal updates, questions and regular conversation. And if it’s relevant for your blog, you can probably come up with many different post topics that cover how you use various social media sites.

There are an abundance of ideas you can use to develop blog topics all around you, no matter what the focus of your blog is, as long as you’re open to being inspired. Take a look around and see if you can make a list of 10 blog post topics to start your own idea file. You may be surprised how easy it is once you get started.

Where do you find blog topic inspiration?