How to Start a Science Blog
A Step by Step Dummy Proof Guide
For thousands of years, man has strived to understand the world we live in. Generations of great scientists have passed. They took man to the moon with only 4KB of memory, discovered penicillin with a microscope that barely has the magnifying capabilities of your camera phone and here you are, a modern scientist…
When science meets blogging; a legacy lives on; lives are changed and generations are educated. There’s no better way to share your passion for science with the world than to start a science blog. As broad as science, you surely can’t lack something to tell your visitors. You can blog about your science experiment, world inventions just anything.
Starting a science blog is not as hard as titrating or calculating the stopping torque of a Bugatti. You don’t need to have prior knowledge in coding or web design. I have compiled an easy to follow guide followed by a video tutorial and I can guarantee you that you will have a blog in less time than it takes to boil mercury on a 500oc flame. So stay put…
How to start your own Science Blog in 3 Simple Steps
I will only need twenty minutes of your time. In just three steps, you will go from a science loving guy who can do calculations quickly to a proud blog owner ready to educate the world. Below is a three step guide to having your first blog followed by a video tutorial on the same. So brace yourself, the beaker as about to be heated up…
1. Choose and Buy Your Domain
What is a domain? A domain is anything that is contained after the “www. “ in a web address. What am I saying? A domain is technically the web address to your website. You should keep the domain name as short as possible and make it easy to remember. The domain name will more often than not become the name of your website (well, according to your visitors).
The ideal domain name should have either a “.net” or “.com” prefix since they are easy to remember and happened to be the most popular and most expensive too. While you can buy a domain name, you can get a free domain name by simply buying a hosting package at Bluehost. Before you start freaking out, let me tell you what a hosting package is.
2. Sign up for Hosting
When you create your blog with all the tutorial videos and amazing scientific imagery, you need to save all these content somewhere where people visiting your website can fetch them from. And since you can’t save it on your computer (technically you can but it is not practical), a web host comes in. A web host is someone with a fast computer with massive storage capacity and high speed internet connectivity that offers to store your webpage for you.
Your webpage is saved in a folder that is saved with your domain name. I will run out of space if I decide to emphasize the importance of a reliable web host. Just know that, a web host determines the availability of your blog site. . I always recommend Bluehost for hosting because:
a. It is so easy to use
b. Signing up takes just moments, and they let you register your domain on their site as well.
c. If you purchase a hosting package, you get a free domain!
d. Their service is also very affordable so you don’t need to invest much at all to get your science blog started.
e. They offer excellent 24/7 customer support if needed.
[Disclosure] BlueHost gives me a small commission for my referral and it doesn’t add anything to your cost. This helps me continue to provide lots of free information for bloggers.
3. Install WordPress
Finally, you need to install WordPress in your Bluehost control panel. WordPress is a web software that makes web creation as easy as unwrapping a Christmas gift. WordPress is the most popular website platform in the world, and it is exceptionally easy to use, even for those with no previous experience.
From your Bluehost control panel, you can have WordPress installed in just one simple click.
I’ve found that it is easier to follow these steps if you can actually see them being done. With this in mind, I’ve created a simple video that will walk you through each of these steps so you can see how it is done yourself. Watch this video, and then follow the link, which will bring you to BlueHost where you can purchase your domain and hosting.
Tips for the Science Blogger
Congratulations for your newly created blog. Now it is time to ‘pimp’ your blog. I have prepared some tips that I believe will help you grow your blog and attract more visitors.
- Think about the type of reader you have
As much as you need to sound professional, you need to take in consideration that not all your visitors understand the scientific jargon. Use language appropriate to the audience you want to reach, excessive use of jargon can be tedious for the layman.
- Quote the original source
Remember to quote the source of your information and scientific facts. Where possible, confirm directly with the sources. In the current Internet age, it is easy to get the email addresses of any person or company; asking is free and fast, so that in less than 24 hours you have an answer or direct confirmation of something, to avoid sensationalism and especially errors.
- Keep a consistent posting schedule
Whether you have no ideas or many great ideas, always stick to your posting schedule. Figure out your best pace of publishing – once a week, once every two weeks, three times a week – and stick to it. If you have more than enough article for a time, save them for the future when you will be out of ideas or busy with something else.
- Have fun
It is never that serious. When you first start as a blogger, aim to have fun. Not to disappoint you, but the reality is that you will not earn from blogging until you have enough traffic to entice advertisers. But there are other potential benefits that you should consider. Create your network and expand it any time you have the opportunity.
- Allow comments and moderate them
A science blog is more interesting if others can participate. Most visitors will leave compliments or general comments. If you post material that is edgy or controversial, be ready to have some people disagree or challenge you. Some visitors do it a civilized manner while others will go all vulgar on you. Keep calm… the internet is like that.
Top Free & Paid WordPress Themes for Science Blogs
A WordPress theme will control the appearance of your blog. You should dedicate adequate time to choosing the perfect theme for your blog post. Here is a guide that will help you choose an amazing theme. I have arranged them in no particular order.
This feature packed theme deserves praise for excellent readability, beautiful print styling and excellent LaTeX support. This theme is clean, widget ready and responsive. It should be the first choice for anyone starting a science blog.
Looking to add more features in Twenty Ten theme? Start with Coraline. It has more widget areas, more custom options and it is as good as Twenty Ten.
Suits is a purely blogging WordPress theme ideal for sharing science and educational content. Suits does not have fancy extras, but its sleek design and classic blog layout makes it ideal for blogging. You might need to code custom features or use plugins to achieve specific functionality, but all the basic blogging features are there.
Cost: $179 (bundled)
The name says it all. Science is a premium WordPress theme crafted especially for experimental science blogs. It features a clean and well organized layout, along with a clever color scheme to match the subject area.
Tears of Joy
Tears of Joy (T.Joy) is a responsive WordPress theme that has a characteristic dark color scheme inspired by space and astronomy (and astrology), according to its authors. Needless to say, T.Joy is perfect for astronomy or space related science blogs and websites.
Recommended WordPress Plugins for Science Blogs
A WordPress plugin is a small application that adds features to your blog site. It is a nice tool to compensate for what the theme left out or to increase customization of your website. I have compiled a list of five plugins that will help enhance the productivity and add fun to your blog.
- NextGEN Gallery – this is a classic WordPress plugin. With this plugin, you’ll be able to display your images in thumbnail galleries with lightboxes, sliders, and awesome post/page layouts.
- WordPress SEO by Yost – It helps improve your search engine ranking. I can never find enough terms to describe the importance of SEO
- AddThis – is the seamless, most powerful, and easiest way to add great social media integration to your science blog. With this plugin and service, your readers will be able to share your content easily putting your hard work in front of their community.
- WP-Backgrounds II – Adds full screen background image/video/YouTube video slideshow into your blog.
- PMID Citation Plus – This plugin allows you to simply enter in PubMed IDs (PMIDs) and have a references list automatically built at the bottom of your post for you.
Great Science Blogs to Network With and Be Inspired By
4. Less Wrong
I am always ready to help you when you get stuck. I believe that, given the right partner, your blog too can be featured on other blogs, journals and magazines. For a successful blog, you need commitment and a good partner. You have a partner in me, are you committed?
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