What is it?

A blog (or web log) is a website that features regular, separate updates or posts, most often arranged in a chronological order with the newest posts on top. These posts, which can range from long-read articles to just a picture or a video, can be the work of a single or multiple authors. Blogs can take a very minimalist approach, just featuring the articles on the front page, or they can be more elaborate, featuring not just the posts on the front page, but becoming a hub for the author's online presence. Blogs are often interactive, with a comment section for discussion and at times several blogs will engage each other in a series of posts in a polemic, much like those held through letters in the past. Blogs can be followed in several ways, through RSS, by email subscription, or by just checking the blog on a regular basis from your browser bookmarks. The frequency of posting isn't relevant  once a week, once a fortnight, once a month  as long as it's regular and dependable and doesn't come with very long intervals.

What can it do for me?

A blog can give you more exposure. It allows you and your research to show up in search results and lets you posit yourself as an expert in your field. It will allow you to reach out to the general public, be discoverable for the media and your fellow scientists and hopefully create opportunities for collaboration in the future. Having to write for the general public means having to exercise a different set of writing muscles and at the same time will let you see your subject from a different angle and perhaps give you new insights.

Privacy issues?

Blogging doesn't have many privacy concerns attached to it. As the author, you are in control of the information you put out there in your posts. The golden rule is: Think before you post. Be aware of what you are putting out there and what the ramifications might be, both in terms of privacy concerns and in terms of professional consequences. In addition, it's advisable to be aware of the privacy policy of the blogging service you use. Blogger, a Google service, is heavily connected to Google+ and other Google services, allowing them to track much of your online movement. Wordpress has less entanglements, especially if you choose to go with a self-hosted version. Self-hosted blogs, regardless of the platform used, give you the most control in all cases.

Pro’s & Cons


  • Creates a fixed presence online from where you can link out to other networks.
  • Makes you discoverable as an expert.
  • Content is customisable to your wishes.
  • Privacy concerns are minimal.


  • Requires a considerable time investment.
  • Requires commitment to post regularly.

Who in Leiden?

Leiden Law Blog
African Studies
The Leidener (Leiden International Students)
Sara Polak - Research Blog about FDR's Image (History)
Chris Jacobs - Science Explained (Evolutionary Biology)
Peter Burger - De Gestolen Grootmoeder (Jounalism and Media Studies) (Dutch)
Overview of Leiden blogs