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How to Start an Academic Blog


When you think about academic writing, you might envision dissertations or peer-reviewed articles that take months (or years) to write. However, as technology infiltrates more areas of daily life, the importance of academic blogs continues to rise. Academic blogs are an ideal writing platform for those in scientific or research professions, university professors, and students working towards their masters or doctorate degrees. Even undergraduate students can benefit from creating an academic blog if they are passionate about a research topic and want to share with the world. In this post, we will discuss why you should write an academic blog, where to post your academic blog, and how to write an academic blog.

An academic blog can make your academic writing relatable

According to geographer and academic blogger Simon A. Peth, Blogging has the great potential to show the human faces behind science and to reduce the gap between science and the general public. Peth urges academics to use blogs to humanize researchers and to give readers a behind-the-scenes view of the experiences that academics face during the research process. Peth adds, It is important to reduce the distance between the academic world and the people out there. Blogs are a great tool to show that researchers are humans like you and me. Peth makes an important point: Academic writing can be dry and difficult to digest, so academic blogging offers a space to engage readers with timely research explained in more universal terms.

Academic blogs can help you reach a larger audience

Academic blogger Patrick Dunleavy identified one of the main benefits of academic blogging: Academic blogging gets your work and research out to a potentially massive audience at very, very low cost and relative amount of effort. Patrick Dunleavy and academic blog co-author Chris Gilson further explained, So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now. Dunleavy and Gilson encourage academic writers to consider multi-author blogs, which have a higher success rate and can pull readership from a wider demographic: By joining together and forming multi-author blogs, academics can mutually reinforce each other's contributions.

While one benefit of academic blogging is that it enables you to reach readers outside of your academic field, academic blogger Casey Fiesler noted that it can also help you reach fellow researchers: Others in your field might also be more likely to read a blog post and remember the basics of your work. And if particularly relevant, they'll then read the entire paper — and maybe even cite it!

With academic blogs, you can release research and information quickly

The 24-hour news cycle has made many people impatient and eager to read about the latest trends or research, so academic blogs give researchers a way to engage with the public without the long lead times associated with peer-reviewed journal articles or other research pieces. While you do not want to expose any industry secrets or unconfirmed results, an academic blog can be a great way to engage people in your research topic and to share your opinion on how your research intersects with current events.

Getting started: where to host your academic blog

Now that we've covered why you should consider writing an academic blog, it's time to discuss the process. The first thing you need to decide is whether you want to join an established academic blogging platform. Joining an established platform is probably the best option for beginning bloggers, because such sites will provide templates and statistics, and they might even help drive traffic to your blog. Here are a few reputable blogging platforms to consider besides your college or university website:

Promote your academic blog on social media

Regardless of where you decide to host your academic blog, it is imperative that you promote the blog and your individual posts through social media sites such as Twitter. Cross-platform promotion gives you the opportunity to broaden your reach and engage with readers who might be interested in your topic but would never think to sit down and search for your academic paper. However, if you can pique their interest with a tweet and a captivating blog post, you might be able to inspire readers to download your research papers.

Writing your academic blog posts

Here are some essential tips once you're ready to sit down and start writing your academic blog posts:

  • Know your topic: Identify your topic and make it the central point of each post.
  • Think about your reader: People are more likely to read your blog posts if you communicate in simple language and stay away from industry jargon. Try not to rely on acronyms that are only familiar to others in your field.
  • Be concise: People are unlikely to read an entire multi-page blog post, so if you want to retain readers, keep your posts between 500 and 1000 words.
  • Choose an engaging and accurate title: Do not try to engage in clickbait and trick readers with misleading titles. Brainstorm titles that reflect the tone and content of your posts. Readers appreciate a straightforward title, so hopefully they will keep coming back to read more!
  • Use headings and subheadings: When reading blogs, most people become overwhelmed by long, dense paragraphs. To prevent people from skipping over long sections (or worse, abandoning your blog altogether), compose short paragraphs with headings and bullet points. Additionally, remember to include the most pertinent information early in the blog post, in case readers do not read all the way to the end.
  • Include links: Make sure you include links to your academic papers, your personal website, and all of your social media handles. If you quote other sources or mention information from other blogs, include hyperlinks so readers can easily click through to another article. If you mention a topic that you've previously posted about, make sure to include a hyperlink that directs readers to previous posts. Insert hyperlinks to your scholarly articles and research papers so they are easy for readers to access.
  • Interact with your readers: At the end of your post, ask readers for their feedback. Respond to comments to encourage readers to engage and keep coming back.
  • Set a posting schedule: Think about how often you want to post blogs and set your posting schedule accordingly. Well-maintained blogs with frequently updated posts have a better chance of keeping readers. If your blog is sporadic and goes months without a new post, your potential readers will find another site.
  • Remember that things live on the internet forever: As you write your blogs, remember that you are sharing this in a very public space. If you feel inclined to share a controversial opinion or delve into a sensitive topic, keep in mind that your words are only a few clicks away for your future employers, employees, or peers. Society changes over time, so refrain from posting potentially offensive content or extreme views. Keep it professional and academic.
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