Are you a blogger who is constantly trying to come up with new and original feature ideas? Maybe you come up with an idea or two, but then are too worried about how others might respond that you never actually put your ideas up on your blog? This post is for you, my friend.
A couple of months ago, Kelley had emailed Leanne and I to ask about our opinion on a possible feature idea. She thought it would be interesting, but was worried that others might not like it. Our automatic response? GO FOR IT! That’s not surprising since Leanne is all about not letting worst-case scenarios hold you back from doing things, and I myself am known for experimenting with random features on my blog. Kelley has yet to actually go through with her idea for her feature, but it made me wonder how many other bloggers are in similar situations where they come up with feature ideas but don’t try them out.
The Feature That Almost Never Was
If you were to ask the blogosphere one thing I’m known for, I think one of the top answers would be my features. I have a lot of them, and though I don’t use them all regularly (especially now that I only post twice a week), I do like having them because it gives me a chance for variety when creating posts that keeps me entertained.
One of my top features is my Bookish Games. I’m always surprised when I think how successful it is, because it almost didn’t happen. Let me explain.
When I started my blog, I LOVED to come up with new feature ideas. Of course, I was starting to have so many that I decided to create a survey to see what features people loved and hated on my blog, and which possible feature ideas they might want to see next. The results were interesting, and it led me to introduce two new features on my blog: Bookish Wars and Bookish Games.
Of course while my survey was up I had changed my idea about what I wanted the Bookish Games to be and that left me really conflicted on what to do. Originally, it was just going to be a feature where I played a bunch of different games incorporating books and invited followers to play along. I had created a post with Pictionary and one with a crossword puzzle (which inspired Kelley to start creating crossword puzzles herself) in preparation of launching this new feature.
But then I had an idea.
Way back when I was thirteen, I remembered playing this game in a forum where you had to fight to be the last person standing, using only your words. I couldn’t remember what it was called, but could remember how much fun I had playing it, and thought that maybe it would work for a blog. I did tons of research to find out what the game was called (Mafia) and then wondered if it would be a good idea to do for this feature. I emailed both Kelley and Eve asking them their opinions, and though I’m not sure they completely understood my idea, they were more or less supportive. I was still unsure myself, but decided to just throw up a post to see how the blogosphere respond and… well, the rest is history.
But, the funny thing to me is how that feature almost didn’t happen because I was too worried about what other bloggers would think. It was so unlike anything else that anyone does, that I thought I must be out of mind for putting it on a blog. And though I may still be out of my mind, it did end up working. Phew!
I can’t say all my features have been so successful (Bookish Wars and Bookish Parades aren’t that loved), but I don’t let fear hold me back from trying. If I’ve learned anything from Bookish Games, is that there is no harm in trying a new feature out. The worst that can happen is people don’t love it, and the best that can happen is people do love it. Either way, you find out the truth instead of being stuck in your head, and you can make your decisions much easier from there!
Coming up with new Feature ideas
Now what about those who want to come up with new features, but don’t know how? Well, I can’t do everything for you. But I will try to help however I can!
In my opinion, the best way to come up with new feature ideas is to think things that you love that you can somehow put together. If you just look around the blogosphere, you can see quite a few amazing examples of this:
- Books + Music = Playlists (Book Rock Betty)
- Books + Graphics = Backgrounds (Crazy Red Pen, Novel Sounds)
- Books + Tarot = Exploring Tarot With… (Oh, the Books!)
- Books + Bags = Pairings (Hello, Chelly)
- Books + Nail Polish = Bookish Manicures (The Bookish Manicurist)
- Books + Art = Bookish Finds (Oh, the Books!)
- Books + Surveys = Bookish Surveys (Flip That Page)
- Books + Shopping = The Literary Shopaholic (Pop! Goes the Reader)
(Note: These aren’t all the interesting features out there, not by a long shot, and some of these combinations have been used in multiple ways by multiple blogs. These are just the first few that popped into my head!)
When I created my survey last year, a couple of ideas I came up with revolved around possible combinations I thought might be fun to try. Here they are (along with some other random ideas) that I have never used but might someday try:
- Books + Scrapbooks = Bookish Scrapbooks (I go through phases where I love scrapbooking, and I always thought it would be cool to make scrapbook pages from the character’s point of view of important scenes, quotes, etc.)
- Books + Travel = Bookish Itineraries (Choose a location in the world and find out what book-related activities you can do there, whether visiting places from a loved book or checking out their bookshops and libraries.)
- Books + Doodling = Bookish Scribbles (What better way to show your love for a book than through fan art?)
- Books + Challenge = Bookish Challenges (If you find something in a book that you’ve never done or tried, give it a go! It could be something like zip lining (Divergent) or dying your hair blue (Daughter of Smoke and Bone). Do something new based on a book you’ve read and talk about the connection and your results!)
- Books + Parties = Bookish Parties (Plan themed parties based on books! Or what would you do at a party if you invited the characters from a certain book to join?)
- Books + Video Games = ?? (There really should be some kind of possible connection. Highlighting books mentioned in video games? Talking about the story lines within books? Recommending one based on the other?)
See, it’s all about having fun and trying new things! Of course, there are other ways of getting inspiration for new features. The important thing to remember is that if you do pull inspiration from someone else to credit them for that inspiration (so if anyone is inspired to do a feature based off of one my ideas, please contact me and provide credit) and to HAVE FUN!
Are you afraid to try out new features on your blog? Have you had any success/failures with features you’ve tried? What new feature ideas do you have in the mix?