Tonight (Monday 18 Jan) we’re hosting an ASC event at the Science Exchange, Adelaide on science blogging (http://ascscienceblogging.eventbrite.com/).
I asked some of our guest bloggers for some tips and tricks of the trade, and I’d like to make it available to all the ASC members. Big thanks to Sarah (http://www.aschoonerofscience.com/) for putting this together…..
If tonight has given you an inkling to try out this blogging business yourself, here’s some tips from our panellists to get you started….
How to set up a free blog
You can do it with blogger.com or wordpress.com. They are very easy to use, and you can set your account up in minutes. You’ll get your own website address such as you.blogspot.com or you.wordpress.com. If you go with WordPress, you can switch to a custom address later if you like (at a cost.)
Adelaide-based science blogs
A Schooner of Science http://aschoonerofscience.com
Brave New Climate http://bravenewclimate.com/
Conservation Bytes http://conservationbytes.com/
Disease of the week http://diseaseoftheweek.wordpress.com/
The who’s who of science blogging
Carl Zimmer at The Loom http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom/
Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science http://scienceblogs.com/notrocketscience/
Ben Goldacre at Bad Science http://badscience.net
Other great writers
Deep Sea News (biology) http://deepseanews.com/
ERV (biochemistry) http://scienceblogs.com/erv/
Lab Rat (bacteria) http://madlabrat.blogspot.com/
Science Geek Girl (Sci Comm) http://blog.sciencegeekgirl.com
Carbon-Based Curiosities (Chem) http://coronene.com/blog
Not So Humble Pie (Science Cookies) http://notsohumblepie.blogspot.com
PZ Myers’ Pharyngula (Dev Biol) http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/
BadAstronomy (Astronomy Scepticism) http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy
Respectful Insolence (Medicine) http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/
Australia’s Deltoid is a good complement to Barry Brooks blog http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/
The ScienceOnline 2010 blog, with lots of good science blogging tips will help with lots of issues on Science Blogging. http://scienceblogs.com/scienceonline/
How to attract readers
• Comment on other blogs (and put your website in your profile.)
• Add blogs to your blogroll and ask to be added on theirs.
• Put your blog on lists such as blogcatalog.com, delicious.com and stumbleupon.com.
• Start a Twitter account and set it to automatically tweet your blog posts (install the Tweetable plugin on WordPress.)
• Post links to your Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and LinkedIn, if you have them.
• Write catchy titles, use eye-catching pictures and write in small paragraphs. Internet users have a VERY short attention span – grab their attention quickly.
• Increase your Google hits by writing longer titles, and using tags and categories. Google does not search your whole post for key words, just those three places and any images.
• Label images correctly so they appear in a Google Images search – this will boost your hit rate, and improve your rating in Google searches.
• Use Google Analytics for blogger or the WordPress stats to check where you’re readers are coming from. Learn what works and what doesn’t.
• Use surveys, polls, quizzes and video to get people involved.
• Install widgets to send your posts automatically to aggregator sites.
• Lastly, don’t be overzealous! People will find your blog eventually and you will build up a solid readership over time. Excessively marketing your blog at every opportunity will often do more harm than good.
• Install a spam filter such as Akismet on WordPress, or enable word verification on Blogger.
• Check comments regularly and delete any spam.
• Respond to people who write negative comments, but don’t be rude.
• Don’t delete comments just because you don’t like them, it makes you seem untrustworthy.
• Reply to comments that ask questions, be helpful whenever you can.
• Blogger also has a “require confirmation on posts over two weeks old” feature, which catches a lot of spam. WordPress has a “hold comments for moderation” feature which also works well.
E-mail Captain Skellett at firstname.lastname@example.org