How to Brainstorm New Ideas For Your Website

December 7, 2007 - Written by Gyutae Park  

storm.jpgIf you’re anything like me, brainstorming is an exciting yet crazy time where ideas flow like an uncontrollable waterfall. Sure, there are days when I’m dry out of ideas but optimizing the brainstorming process can lead to a steady stream of creative ideas. Think of it like a weather storm. Rain, hail, snow, and ice all fly down from the sky at random and unpredictable intervals and are usually accompanied by thunder, lightning, wind, and darkness in an eerie atmosphere. If you want to collect the downpour, you have to be prepared and eliminate all distractions. In the same way, a brain storm results in a downpour of ideas and thoughts accompanied by many distractions, poor decision making, and unrealistic goals. In order to collect the good and discard the bad, it is important to weather the brain storm and ensure the process is streamlined for those brilliant ideas. In this article I will lay out the process that I use to brainstorm my ideas for blog posts and articles, website ideas, and business/marketing strategies. You might have a different methodology that works better for you so feel free to share with a comment, email, or blog post.

Find the right places
Sometimes a change of scenery does wonders for your mental activity. Don’t just sit behind your computer screen for hours trying to think of something to write for your next blog post. Go outside and enjoy the weather (or storm), interact with people, go sightseeing, or exercise. Seeing and hearing new things can spur on new ideas that you may not have been able to access otherwise. Below is a list of random places where I’ve come up with some of my most creative ideas:

  • at the gym working out
  • waiting for a train at the station
  • on the toilet in the company bathroom
  • at a church service
  • Panera bakery
  • in my bed, waking up late on a Saturday afternoon

You get the idea. As you experiment with new locations, you’ll find that certain places work better than others. Mix things around but give priority to places that work best for your brainstorming endeavors.

Be spontaneous
It’s difficult for me to just set aside some time in my schedule and expect myself to effectively brainstorm. Not only will this be awkward and forced, but most of the time I won’t be able to come up with anything that I really like. It’s important to be spontaneous – to go about your day doing other things but still looking for new ideas as well. By using this method, I’ve found that ideas will just start popping up left and right at random moments.

Write things down
Since some of the best ideas come spontaneously triggered by your environment, it is very important to write these gems of enlightenment down for future reference. I’ve had so many instances where I would come up with a great idea and then struggle trying to remember what it was later on. To avoid this problem, carry around a small notebook and pen everywhere you go. This will allow you the freedom to constantly think about new ideas without having to worry about forgetting any of them. Whenever a new idea for your website or business pops up into your head, write it down in your notebook. Some of them will be good and some bad but you want to get everything down on paper first so you can filter the list later.

Filter your brainstorming list
Once you have a pretty long list of ideas, you want to sit down and analyze all of them. Sometimes you’ll look at an idea later on and wonder what in the world you were thinking. Filter the list by placing all of your ideas in different categories. I usually divide the ideas according to website or niche and then create categories within each including realistic, unrealistic, now, and later. Then I create another list that include my top ideas, how much they will cost to implement, and when I plan on taking action.

Bounce ideas off of others
If you have a business partner, this would be an excellent time when you can share ideas and get a different perspective. Even if you work alone, it’s still very important to get a second opinion on your ideas. Ask some trusted friends in your industry or experts who can provide guidance on whatever it is you plan on doing. This is a good opportunity to make friends, develop partnerships, or receive funding for your ideas.

Test it & scope the competition
If your ideas for websites or business requires a large money or time investment, make sure you test them and scope the competition before implementing. For example, if you plan on creating a new website feature, first check to see if there is a demand for it. Your website idea will flop if no one cares to use it. Once you find that there is sufficient demand for your idea, check to see if there are other sites out there already using your same idea. Just because you thought of it doesn’t mean you thought of it first. You want to implement a new and unique idea that will gain attention and make you money. Entering into a competitive niche that’s already been covered will be much more difficult to succeed and will require much more effort.

Develop a plan and start implementing
Now that you’ve gotten this far, you are pretty serious about your idea and its chances of success. However, it doesn’t just stop here. You actually have to go and do what you’re envisioning. Many people get stuck at this stage and never implement the ideas that they have. They either procrastinate or think of excuses of why they can’t do it or why it won’t work. In order to experience the fruits of your brainstorming efforts, it’s necessary to do some laboring. Develop a plan of action complete with a rough timetable and goals for each step. This will motivate you and help you stay on track. Take action and your ideas will come to fruition.

This is the process that I use for brainstorming new ideas and implementing them on websites and businesses. Every project that I took on in the past was an idea that came to me (probably on the toilet), filtered out, and developed through much planning and thought. In fact, every post and every idea I use on Winning the Web has a specific purpose to accomplish my goals. More on that later.

Do you use a similar process in your brainstorming efforts? I’d like to hear more about how you come up with new ideas so be sure to leave a comment with your feedback.

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Comments

26 Responses to “How to Brainstorm New Ideas For Your Website”

max on December 7th, 2007

I like that one. “Gym working out”
I usually think of ideas while I am driving on the highway since there’s nothing else to do but “think”.

 
NSpeaks on December 7th, 2007

I’m a Winning the Web winner!

Do I win? :grin:

 
charles on December 7th, 2007 Subscribed to comments via email

Nspeaks, you beat me. haha.
Anyhow, I’m a Winning the Web winner! too. :)

 
SpostareDuro on December 7th, 2007

You know, I am a person with many different modes…Bipolar, ones, if you will. *>)

I find that first thing in the morning, if I refuse to ck mail before hand, I am more capable of singling out my directives for the day. I make sure that my target audience gets first attention with my adding content to my new site Once I have written the addition of my SEO piece, I like to post a blog or article of someone I have met and appreciate in my Social Network. That gives me a feeling of unselfishness. It is not only fulfilling, but useful in helping others get another source of coverage.

Then comes mail and of course SEO Alerts. (I try not to get carried away til later!)

I am still in school (Search Engine College) so I move into my studies doing 1 lesson and 1 review test per day.

And finally, I socialize. Keeping a strict schedule is not my forte’. But it has been very useful in prioritizing and allowing for the more creative side of me to feel less burdened.

Kudos to Winning The Web for providing great posts to distract me! Thanks alot. lol

 
Collin LaHay on December 7th, 2007 Subscribed to comments via email

Looks like im not a Winning the Web winner. =(

Congrats NSpeak.

 
Jeff on December 7th, 2007

Looks like I’m a Winning the Web Loser… great ideas, I’m gonna have to remember this.

 
Tevin Anderson on December 7th, 2007

Great points!

I have this unfortunate thing where I do my best brainstorming in two places.

1) In the shower in the morning.
a) This is unfortunate because I don’t always have a lot of time to fully develop ideas.
b) it’s really inconvienent to write the good ideas down. And all too often they leave me by the time I try to thing of them again.
2) After I turn off late night TV and am getting read for sleep.
a) I have the advantage of being able to write things down. But when I do:
b) I lose lots of sleep. Because my ideas start hemorrhaging out of my brain for several hours on end at times. I must admit however, I have produced some pretty awesome results when I actually do take action on my brain storming session during the wee hours.

 
Gyutae Park on December 7th, 2007

@NSpeaks
Congratulations, you’ve won a free 125×125 button 1 month ad spot on Winning the Web. For those of you that didn’t notice in the RSS feed, the prize goes out to the first person who commented with “I’m a Winning the Web winner!”

@SpostareDuro
You seem like a very busy person! But having that structure definitely helps. I especially like the idea of giving back to others and being unselfish.

@Tevin Anderson
Haha, those are pretty humorous circumstances. Maybe you can sing your ideas in the shower so you don’t forget?

 
SpostareDuro on December 8th, 2007

Tevan Anderson: “Hemorrhaging out of my brain”….that’s gr8. lol

 
The University Kid on December 8th, 2007

Nice post mate. I’ve found that in bed, after I turn everything off and try to go to sleep is the best time to think about stuff. I have the same problem as Tevin though – I can dwell for hours and sometimes have to get up and write it down so I don’t forget it.

By the way, tried to send you an email but couldn’t – either your blog contact form is messed up or my math is really, really bad. Maybe it’s the latter, but anyways it asked me what 10 – 5 was and I said 5… wrong! according to the form. Here’s the email that I typed out; let me know if you’re okay/want anything changed with it.

—–
Heya,

About the guest posts – perhaps in a week? Say December 15th. I have to get some stuff sorted out on the blog, exact dates and ‘posted by’… and organize my ideas a bit so I’ll be able to do a somewhat professional post on yours (not promising too much though :D).

Sneaky trick with the RSS though- I’ll definitely be reading through Google Reader rather than off the site now.

Talk later mate

Jason
—-

 
Doron K on December 8th, 2007 Subscribed to comments via email

Hello! I have created a poll to find out “The Best Website to Learn Money Making on the Internet”. You have qualified for the poll. Go to http://www.doronkutash.com to vote. Make sure your viewers vote as well. Can’t wait to see who comes out on top!

 
betshopboy on December 9th, 2007

You made some interesting points there. I usually develop blogging ideas while on the journey to and fro work.

I don’t really have an organized brainstorming habit, and that perhaps explained my current dry patch.

 
Jerlene on December 9th, 2007 Subscribed to comments via email

I think I would get kicked out of church if I advertised my site anywhere near there.
I’d put fliers up at a train station or write the URL to my site in bathroom stalls though.

 
jblu on December 9th, 2007

Wow, your comments sections seem to have gotten crowded overnight ;) The more, the merrier. I use a method similar to yours. I try to stay organized, and sometimes I can tend to overdo it resulting in an idea brainfreeze. I force myself to turn off the brainstorm switch before bed so I can sleep well and function properly in the morning.

 
Ruchir on December 9th, 2007

The best place where I come up with ideas is when I’m sitting in front of the computer. I agree on the notebook part. It’s of paramount important to carry a notebook at all times. Sometimes ideas have popped up in my head when I was taking a walk or traveling.

 
hts on December 9th, 2007

Good tips for brainstorming. Really true about the gym thing. As for myself, besides the gym, I have a great “ideas flow” right before falling asleep, at night, in my bed :) and at school, during long and boring classes (well, this applies only to students, but anyway…)

 
NSpeaks on December 9th, 2007

Just send you the button ad. Sorry got delayed as I had to get it designed.

 
SunEGrl on December 9th, 2007 Subscribed to comments via email

I usually do my brainstorming in the car on the way to work. I have a half hour drive each way, so there is lots of time to think. I have also had some great ideas that came to mind while resting. I actually find that to be the best time for me to figure out things are really puzzling me.

 
Brandie on December 10th, 2007

I usually go “blog hopping” if I am needing an idea for a blog topic.

 
Rome on December 10th, 2007 Subscribed to comments via email

The last one sounds nice, when you are about to wake up in bed but is still too lazy to actually get up. You get to think of a lot of stuff doing that.

 
DNYL in Budapest on December 10th, 2007

If I were a stranger who sits next to me when I’m on the underground and I’m writing into my notes, as a stranger I would laugh out loud at first:D !
Imagine a man with an unworldly meaningful face and with great passion & enthusiasm :D That’s me storming my Brain while riding on the METRO :D :D :D

 
Michael Heindel on March 11th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I read 2-3 books a month. That helps keep my mind alert and gives me knowledge to use when I do get an idea.

I also love MindMaps. This is something I learned about 10 years ago. Most people look at them and don’t understand. but when you know how to do them right, they are very powerful.

Michael

 
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