How to Use Mind Mapping to Generate Article Ideas

boy-thinking

With all the emphasis on content marketing, many small business owners are at a loss as to how they can consistently turn out well written content.  Perhaps they should use a technique known as mindmapping in order to generate powerful ideas for their written content.

What is Mindmapping?

Mindmapping is a free-form graphical technique that allows you to write down your ideas and concepts in a hub and spoke design.  It breaks away from the typically linear fashion of making lists or writing down ideas in a step by step manner.  Other terms that are used for mindmapping are spidergraphs, idea sunbursting and  web ideas. Its purpose is to allow the user to generate ideas without the constraints of worrying about having to organize them, the way we are often taught in grammar school and English classes.  Ouch, yes, my English teacher would be very unhappy reading this!

Mindmapping is said to boost the thinking process because it follows the way the brain thinks or what some scientist believe natural cognitive processes.  Since it supports the user’s ability to connect concepts in a non-linear manner, most people who use this technique are able to develop powerful ideas than they otherwise would have using traditional methods.

According to Wikipedia, “the term “mind map” was first popularized by British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan when BBC TV ran a series hosted by Buzan called Use Your Head.  In this show, and companion book series, Buzan enthusiastically promoted his conception of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colorful, radiant, tree-like structure.”

What Are Its Uses?

There are a multitude of uses for mind maps.

  • Notetaking
  •  Brainstorming
  •  Studying and Memorization
  •  Researching and compiling information from several sources
  •  Writing – Developing concepts or connections

 How to Draw a Mind Map

These are the basic instructions on how to create a mind map.

-Start in the middle of a paper with a drawn shape or object and write down your main topic. Most mind map aficionados suggest you use the paper in landscape format. Use whatever shape that you want to use ovals, squares, triangles or diamonds are all fine. There are no hard and fast rules as to what shape you should be drawing or how well you need to draw.  So, don’t be concerned if you are not artistically inclined or blessed with graphic design talent.

-Using spokes or branches extend these lines out from the middle and write down one idea, preferably using a one word or two word phrase to list your sub-topic.

-From here, you repeat the process, extending spokes as third level sub-topics to the sub-topics above.

Note:  There will be no overbearing teacher to grade your mind maps, the whole point is to get your ideas down on paper and later you select which ones to develop or eliminate.

Mindmapping Technique to Develop Article Ideas

Using the process outlined above, write your main topic in the center point circle or shape.  From there begin to branch out and include subtopics that may come to mind that support your main idea.   If you get stuck, go to the internet and run a search on the main idea or keyword you are using.  At the bottom of the Google search page, you will find a list of keywords that begin with “Searches Related to…”.

With this list you can find, subtopics that you can add to your original idea and keep drilling down into further subtopics.  You may find as you use this process that you will come up with several ideas for articles rather than just one!

Tips to Make Your Mind Maps Rock

  • Use colors, images, doodles, etc.
  • Develop your ideas and illustrate them as much as you want. Draw happy faces,  arrows whatever fits for the idea you are developing.

 Mindmapping Business Tools

This concept has become so popular in business that there are many software tools available to purchase on the internet.  Companies such as Mindmapping, MindTools and ThinkBuzan offer  free downloadable software apps to help you get started.  They also offer other tools to help you use imaging software for mindmaps that you can use for presentations or group mindmapping.  Think Buzan offers free downloadable software for personal use.  The image below is an example of their imaging software tool.

Mindmap-image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although the software mentioned above are great tools, you don’t need them to get started using this technique.  Just get started with a pen and some paper and get your next article written in half the time.

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4 Ways to Optimize Your Blog Images for Search Engines

google-image-search

By now you probably have heard of the often repeated phrase that “Content is king!.”  While this is true, and you should pay attention to the content you create and keywords you use to write your blog posts.  Did you know that your photos and images should also be optimized for search engines and made seo friendly?

Many blog writers spend plenty of time making sure their blog posts are rich in keywords and full of helpful information for their readers.  Too often they are so anxious to get their blog or article posted, that they quickly insert their images (if they consider them at all) and publish their blog post without considering how search engines view images within an article.

You can make your photos, graphs and images much more seo friendly by doing the following:

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How Google+ Updates and Mobile Phones Are Influencing Local Search

local-businesses-Main-street

It was  around two years ago, Google introduced Blended Place Search, merging its traditional organic algorithm with its index of Local businesses from Google Places. Since then there have been a host of changes, that have made Local Search even more important and accessible than it had been in the past especially with Google’s most recent changes to Google + Local. Not surprisingly, other search engine companies have followed close at hand, Microsoft’s Bing with Bing Local and Yahoo with Yahoo’s Local Listing.

According to Search Engine Land, in their article regarding Local Search they quoted that Google had shared with them that

“More than 20 percent of searches on Google are related to location.” The key words in that sentence are “more than.”

By making local results (and Place Pages) more prominent than even they were before, users will likely respond with more local queries and rely on Google more heavily for local information. The overall volume and percentage of queries on Google seeking local information may in turn increase.”

Since then, internet users search for local businesses and the pertinent and informative results that come up with that search have made local SEO more important than before.  The following image should give you an idea of what the Google Search – Place pages looks like.

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5 Reasons Why Google Updates Will Improve Local Search

Local-search

Local search has been discussed over the last few years and many businesses have anticipated its development.  It appears that it’s time has arrived.  According to a recent article at Search Engine Watch, local SEO is fast becoming the hottest thing in search engine optimization.  “ Google has stated that about 1 million Places Pages were being claimed per month, putting them at approximately 9 million now, and over 150 million active users as of June 28” of 2012.

Instead of small “brick & mortar” types of businesses fighting their way into the national market via traditional SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay per click) practices, they might be better served by embracing local SEO techniques.  A small local businesses’ website and online marketing strategy is important but it can be tweaked and modified to provide results that improve local web traffic and lead generation.   What are the advantages of local search?

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4 Ways to Format Your Blog Posts So They’re Easier to Read

blog post target

Back in the early days of online writing and web development (1995), formatting possibilities were very limited for most web content.  You had to be proficient in HTML (hyper text markup language) in order to change the font size of your written content which was beyond the technical abilities of many internet users.

There were only a few changes you could make to subheads and most text and online fonts were limited to Arial and Verdana.  However, now with all the Web 2.0 changes, many blog posts and online content is now being formatted with the beauty and legibility of layout print magazines. Web developers have developed these features into their blog themes so that the average blog owner doesn’t have to learn HTML and can take advantage of more advanced formatting possibilities.  Of course, their (the blog owners)  objective is to get blog readers to read their content, share their blog posts and/or act on the call to action.

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5 Quick Tips to Generate Article or Blog Post Ideas

developing-good-idea

It’s a busy afternoon and you are sitting in front of your computer desktop or laptop, and are just stumped because you can’t think of anything to write for your next article or blog post.

You know what your niche is and you have studied your relevant keywords but you can’t seem to come up with a good article idea. You have a bad case of what is known in the business as writer’s block.  There is a way around this if you are willing to do a little research and follow a pre-planning trick that I learned,  an idea that will definitely boost your article writing.

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