To sum up in 6 points
Write short! I can’t stress this enough. This is the most difficult challenge bloggers in general and science bloggers in particular. Focus on one idea, one point and write about it. Preferably no more than 3-4 paragraphs – or less!
Write often – or at least regularly. Especially in the beginning it’s important to post content at least once a week to make people invested in checking in. Posting regularly is also the best way to practice writing intelligibly on difficult subjects, keeping it short and succinct (see no 1).
Don’t have all the answers. You may think people come to your blog to be blown away by your immaculate reasoning but you’d be wrong. If they want to be lectured to they’ll pick up a book. It’s much more rewarding reading bloggers that pose questions, speculate and ruminate on issues, as well as providing new information. This is also the best way to get people to actually comment.
Process is more interesting than results. Once you’ve completed a project you should publish it in a journal. But a blog is about everything that leads up to those results as well. Blog about your week, the seminars you attend, the interesting article you read, how a lab trial went, an excursion, the idea that came to you as you were about to fall asleep. The process of doing science and research is a lot more interesting to the public than we realize and it is also a great way of spreading understanding of it. Sure, post your results as well, but they will be greeted with far more enthusiasm if you have involved your readers in the process to some degree. Focusing on process will also help you with no 1, 2 and 3 above.
Be passionate (but not emotional). A scientific article should be dry and objective – a blog post on the other hand can let your commitment, interest and fascination shine through. You probably invested all these years in this subject because it felt rewarding in some way. Show that you care, try to communicate why the mating habits of slugs, the soil composition of the Tundra or changes in pig husbandry in 13th century Bulgaria is the most fascinating thing ever! Just remember to not attack like a bear defending her cubs when people critique you (see Part 4). Don’t be afraid to show a sense of humor (but remember that irony rarely comes across in text)
Link!!! Don’t be an island, you need to build bridges to others in the blogosphere.
Remember – a blog is a flow, not an anthology with chapters or a journal with separate articles. Don’t focus too much on separate entries, write them and move on, just as your readers will.
Finally: If you want to get inspiration from well written science blogs check out ScienceBlogs and Discover Magazines blogs. Note that these are ”professional” in the sense that the bloggers receive some income and therefore are often written more as articles. However, it’s a great way to find interesting subjects under discussion and reading some really excellent bloggers.
Also check out PLOS, as they have both featured blogs and host a blog network where you can find various interesting bloggers, look up key words and perhaps your blog may be added in time.
The blogosphere is forever changning. If you find other networks or portals feel free to link to them in the comment section below.