In the famous words of the Star Trek series – “Space, the final frontier.” And it fascinates us, from science fiction, to the reality of exploration, to the discoveries that space scientists make every day.
If astronomy fascinates you too, and it fascinates you enough to want to inspire others to be the same (it’s called passion), then you should consider setting up your own blog.
So, do you have to be a space scientist to do this? The answer is absolutely not. You have to have a passion for the topic; you have to be willing to continuously, every day, do the research, check the latest news and developments, and then report on those through your blog posts. And you need to do it in a way that engages and excites those who share your enthusiasm.
The Two Aspects of Developing a Blog
There are two major pieces of creating a blog. The first, of course, is to decide the subject of your blog. This, you have already decided – astronomy.
The first piece is the actual setting up of that blog
The second is actually the more complex and ongoing task – choosing topics, writing amazing content, and then promoting your posts so that you grow a following.
This guide to developing your astronomy blog will cover both aspects.
The Nuts and Bolts of Setting up a Blog
If you have never had a blog before, you have some work to do, but it is not tough or complicated. Here are the steps you will take to get your blog set up.
1. Pick a Domain Name
What will you call your blog? Just the word “astronomy” is probably not available. Plus, it’s a bit boring. Your domain name cannot be the same as anyone else on the Internet, so you may need to get a bit creative. You want to get this right in the beginning, because changing a domain name once you are established with a following is not a good thing. You want a blog name that will be memorable, so spend some time on it.
You must also pick a suffix – .com. .org, .net
2. Register with a Host
You cannot have a blog without a web host. And there are a huge number of them. You want one with a good reputation, and here is the best recommendation for newbies. Use a host that is recommended by WordPress, because this is a content management system (CRM) that is easy, simple to set up, and that provides lots of extensions that you may want later on. Check out your options here. These are hosts that have a maximum of uptime and will reliably keep your blog post up and running.
3. Design Your Blog
WordPress has an ocean of themes that you can choose from and a super-easy way to set up your blog with one of these. You can actually have a blog up and running in a very short time. You will be “walked through” the entire process.
Now, you are ready to actually write and publish posts.
Crafting and Promoting Your Posts/Blog
- You are now ready to create a post. On your WordPress dashboard, simply click “Add New,”
and you will be taken to a page where you will actually write the post.
If you want to add visuals/videos, click the add media box, browse for the file, select it, and then click “insert into post.”
When you are happy with the post, simply click “Publish.”
You will learn more about WordPress as you work with it. And there are plenty of tutorials
2. Now About Those Posts
To have a successful blog, you must first write amazing articles and then promote them, so that people come and read and return for more. And, because you will be giving them the chance to participate in discussions and to share your posts with their friends, over time your following will grow.
Here are the steps for writing a successful post:
- Choose Your audience. There are all levels of interest in and knowledge of astronomy. Obviously, you will not be writing for physicists or expert astronomers. Your audience will be everyday people, but they are different too. Will you write for school-aged kids? Will you write for young adults/adults? Our audience will determine your language, style, and tone.
- Finding Your Topics: If you have a passion for astronomy, it should not be difficult to find topics to write about. You probably already have a bunch of ideas in your head – information that will educate, entertain, and inspire.
And of course, you keep up on the latest research and discoveries (e.g., a mini-moon for the earth?) and will certainly want to write about these things too.
- Grammar, Composition, Tone, Style, Readability: No matter how interesting the topic may be, if it is not written well, it can turn readers off. So, let’s talk about not what you have to say, but how you say it:
- Be certain that your writing is grammatically correct. There is a “check” on your WordPress page, but it won’t catch everything. If you are unsure about your grammar, spelling, vocabulary, etc., get some professional editing. Most writing services have departments that focus on crafting the best writing websites page, and you can look for editing or re-writing there.
- Sentences should not be long and complicated. No one wants to struggle to understand what you are trying to say. Keep it simple.
- Tone and style should be conversational and informal – as if you were talking to a friend over lunch.
- Readability: The reading level is important. Most experts say to keep it around the 7th-grade level. If you are using scientific terminology, be sure you define it in easy-to-understand terms. You can run a check on the reading level with Grammarly.
3. Scheduling Your Posts
You need to set a regular schedule of postings and stick with it. Your followers need to know when they can come by and read something new. If they don’t find anything new for a period of time, they are likely not to return.
4. Promoting Your Blog
There are three things you can do here:
- Get social media accounts, especially Facebook and Instagram. Promote your posts by giving “teasers” about them and include some amazing photos that relate or that you have placed into those posts. Then, of course, provide a link to those posts.
- Encourage your followers to subscribe to your blog with an email address. You can then send each post out to them as it is written.
- Always give your readers the opportunity to share your posts with their communities – this is how your following grows.
There You Have It!
This guide should certainly get you started. As you gain more experience, get to know your audience more, and fine-tune those writing skills, your blog will only get better.
- Your Ultimate Guide to Developing an Astronomy Blog - March 14, 2020