Blogs or 'web logs' are online journals that should be updated regularly. Blogging offers an effective and inexpensive way to disseminate and publicise research, as well as involving research participants and end users. Some ESRC-funded researchers already use blogs to disseminate their research.
Blogs offer a useful way for an online community to share thoughts and opinions, and debate a subject.
There are several ways of creating your own blog, including using blogging platforms such as WordPress or setting one up on your website.
How to write a good blog
- Focus each blog post on a single topic
- Develop a writing style and tone appropriate to your subject material
- Post often, even if your posts are short. Blogs that attract the most readers are the ones with frequent updates
- Allow readers to comment on your posts
- Develop a distinctive voice
- If you decide to allow comments on your blog, keep an eye on them – not only does this enable you to monitor for anything offensive but it also aids consistency
- Use easy-to-use blogging software – this makes it easy for you to post and manage your blog
How to attract interest in your blog
If you go to the effort of creating a blog then you probably want to ensure that you attract as many relevant new and return visitors to it as you can. There are a number of steps you can take to attract visitors, including:
- Make sure your blog posts are interesting; interesting posts are more likely to be shared and will also encourage return visits
- Write well and write often
- Promote your blog whenever you can, eg on your website, and in email signatures and conference presentations
- Make sure your blog interacts with any other social media tools you use, eg use Twitter to tweet details of latest blog posts to your followers
- Add links to other relevant blogs within your blog (blogroll). The authors of these blogs will appreciate this and may provide a reciprocal link
- Encourage readers to make comments, and reply in a timely manner to any comments they make
- Set up an RSS feed for your blog. This will make it easy for RSS users to know when you've published a new post
- Tag your posts so that they are categorised. This will improve the chances of your posts being found by search engines and readers
- Use relevant images to brighten up your posts
Examples of blogs
Some examples of blogs include: