How to Brainstorm New Ideas For Your Website
December 7, 2007 - Written by Gyutae Park
If 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.
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.If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.