Hey fellow blogger, have you ever had writers block? I’m often confronted with this because either I have too many ideas and get lost when trying to focus on one, or simply put when I have the time to write a post my mind is blocked and have no clue what to write about. Just a while back I found a very nice way to break this block – Google search history. Read on and you will understand what I mean.
My blog is mainly about programming and that is not by chance. I have a day job as a programmer so that’s why I blog about it. Usually my blog post subjects are about various problems that I have to solve for my job. However, sometimes there are so many topics that go before my eyes that by the end of the week I can barely remember one or two of them.
So, if more than a week goes by without me writing a post a lot of potential interesting topics just slip by me. Of course, it would help a lot if I would just write down ideas for posts when I encounter them, but the matter of fact is that I simply don’t do it.
Activate Google search history
Google search history is a tool from Google that records searches your searches. You would not really think of it as a blogging tool, but for me that’s exactly what it has become for me.
First of all, you need a Google account. Then you need to activate the Google search history here https://history.google.com/history/ because I think that by default it’s deactivated.
Once activated you will get a dashboard looking something like this:
This dashboard shows me right away a very nice overview of my latest searches. Underneath the dashboard I get the actual list of searches and the results I clicked.
Let’s take a look at the dashboard. First thing to notice is that you can select the time frame. In the screenshot above you can see I selected last week’s history. So, apparently I search in average about 190 topics each week. Now you can also see why it’s a bit difficult to remember those 190 searches when trying to write an interesting blog post.
The dashboard also shows the top 5 search click, so top 5 destinations to which my searches take me.
stackoverflow.com is the first one since it’s a very nice source for troubleshooting various programming and IT problems. Then comes github.com which I accessed a lot in the last period of time. Mainly because I’m doing a lot of Ionic framework projects, and plugins for Ionic with their documentation are stored on github.
Now, number 3, libgdx.badlogicgames.com is really an interesting point. This is the website of libgdx, which is a game engine for mobile and desktop. Can you guess what my Making mobile games, the easy way post is about? You guessed it, it’s about libgdx. I had started making games with this engine a few weeks ago and therefore I did a lot of searching that lead me to the libgdx website.
Number 4 is about Liferay. My day job is almost exclusively about Liferay, so it’s not a surprise to see that site in the top 5. There is also gradle, and that is not totally a surprise and it’s not unrelated to Liferay because for the last few weeks I’ve been working on getting a Liferay 7 portlet to work, and the new deployment method for portlets in Liferay 7 involves some gradle configurations.
See, already that gives me quite a few topics to write about.
You can do even more with the Google search history. If you use the search bar on top or the list below the dashboard you can browse through all the search key words you used and the sites you landed on while using these searches.
So, whenever I have writer’s block I just browse through my latest searches online and choose one. Chances are that the more I searched for an answer or a solution to a problem the more interesting the answer will be to my readers.
Let me know in the comments area if you already used this tool for your blogging or if you use any similar tools.