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Blog Exercise: Category Brainstorming

Blog Exercises on Lorelle on WordPress.In the first of my new Blog Exercises, you will begin work on clarifying the purpose and mission of your site.

Take a minimum of 25 minutes to list all the words and phrases that describe what you blog about. If you are new to blogging, list all of the words describing what you wish to blog about.

When you are done, group the words together in like topics. Title the groups.

Compare these group titles to your blog categories. Do they match? Do these truly define the topics you cover on your blog, or wish to cover?

The next step is to list five article titles under each category group title. Do not write the whole article but a title representing the topic idea and concept.

Having trouble coming up with five article ideas under a category? If you cannot come up with three titles for a category, it’s time to reconsider the category and the focus of your site.

Have a category title that generates 300 titles and ideas? Maybe you should throw away the rest of the categories and put your blog focus here.

When you have completed the process, ask yourself what lessons you learned. What you think you blog about and what you really want to blog about may be the same or completely different? Is it time for some category cleaning and reorganizing? Time to shake out the sheets and do some early spring blog cleaning?

Blog Exercise Task from Lorelle on WordPress.To help with the process, I’ve put together a Blog Category Brainstorm Form PDF file to guide you through the project of brainstorming your categories. Open it or right click and save the file to print it out and work on it. Instructions included.

If you were to do the entire brainstorm project in one sitting, it is estimated to take 2 hours. However, I recommend that you use the recommended minimum time limits as a baseline. There are reasons for the time length. Through extensive experimentation of this process for eight years, I’ve found that the real magic happens after 20-25 minutes of struggle and frustration. That’s when the mental dams break loose and the real magic begins.

If you would like, you may break up each of the four sessions on the form across several days or weeks, allowing your mind to sift through the data and process it. I recommend you complete this exercise in less than a week as procrastination and forgetfulness tends to set in.

This is a powerful exercise for your blog. It can change the path you are on, or confirm it.

Either way, remember to blog your passion, the mission of this series of exercises to flex your blog muscles.

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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen.


  1. Posted January 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Well, I kinda just naturally found myself doing this series of tasks after having blogged for a little over a year, so I guess I’m off the hook for this assignment! 🙂

  2. justtralala
    Posted January 31, 2013 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Dear Lorelle,
    Thanks a lot for this simple exersise! I’ve started blogging like… 10 or 11 years ago, and it was always ‘just blog’. A couple of years ago I was tired to spend my time and energy for ‘just blog’, so I quit. I tried so many times to find a concept of niche blog, because I like the process and I write good enough (in Russian). But it usually ends with ‘I want to write about this, that, and that, and about those interesting articles as well’… It was like a way to nowhere.

    I just printed your PDF and filled it without very much thinking – on my way back home from the office. It was so obvious that I do have a theme for niche blog, and I have like 50 articles titles already. So I reduced my ‘writing wishlist’ and left there only two categories. I owned a domain for a couple of years, so I just installed WordPress and started a project… While I was setting it and doing some research on this, I found that one of my two categories is actually well covered in Russian Internet, and there are people who know more than I do about the topic. So I cut this category from my plan – and it was easy.

    Thanks to you, I have clear plan now. I have a niche blog idea, after all those ‘I want it all, and I want it now’.

    Yours, sincerely,


  3. Posted April 16, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle… So I have decided to go through your exercises, starting in January and I must say that I was completely overwhelmed by the vast amount of content, advice, topics, etc, that you have to offer. I applaud the giving of your knowledge that you have put out for all of us.

    Thank you.

    PS – I am still working on this first task as it is not as easy as it first appeared.

    • Posted April 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      LOL! Well, that is what happens when you are late to the party, my friend. 😀

      Thank you for having the courage to plow through what is now 3 1/2 months of stuff published 5 days a week. Some exercises take minutes, some take years. Go at your own pace and glad to have you join us. Thanks!

      • Posted April 17, 2013 at 6:12 am | Permalink

        🙂 I am not sure that I will catch up that quickly but it will be fun trying. I am looking forward to it!

    • Posted April 17, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Well, I finished the exercise.. it was good as it helped me define clearly what I focus on rather than being scattered and just running with whatever comes to mind. I could not figure out how to group my existing categories into the parent file, but i am sure that there is an article on it, so I will wait until that comes in a lesson. 🙂 Thanks for the focusing lesson!

      • Posted April 17, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        You are very welcome. How does it feel to be more focused than scattered? Will be interesting to hear updates from you as you go through the process.

        There is no real right or wrong way to go through these exercises, though some of the posts follow a chronological order. I’m anxious to hear your feedback as you start it all now! Keep me updated. I can tell you are doing great already!

      • Posted April 17, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Thanks Lorelle 😄 It was awesome to see the things that I have already written about fall into place in how they fit neatly under six head categories. I absolutely recommend this exercise for both new and established bloggers. It gave perspective and compartmentalized all that I want to blog. Eventually I would like to separate them into pages. But, for now, I will follow the lessons.
        Thanks again,

      • Posted April 18, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Thank you! That’s wonderful feedback. Isn’t it amazing how one simple thing helps so much. Thanks!

  4. Posted April 8, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    I discovered your blog about a week ago. I completed this exercise (after cheating with time the first time I followed the instructions) and it has helped me connect my blogging goals with my professional goals. Thank you for sharing your insight and skills.

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