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Introducing: The Community Pool

One of the things we’ve been excited to see develop here at The Daily Post is your engagement with one…

One of the things we’ve been excited to see develop here at The Daily Post is your engagement with one another in the comments — offering feedback, ideas, and support. We thought it would be valuable to carve out a space here for those of you looking for input on your work, so today we’re introducing the Community Pool.

Community PoolIf y’all are interested, here’s what we’ll do: once a week (probably on weekends), we’ll put up an open Community Pool post. If you have a post, page, or idea you want to bounce off someone, leave a comment. Your fellow bloggers can then click through and offer input either on your site, or in the comments here (feel free to indicate which you’d prefer).

We’re hoping the Community Pool will be a way for you to both get the feedback you’re looking for and get introduced to new blogs you might not have stumbled across. That being said, this is not an open call to post a link to your blog asking us to come read, it’s a space for back-and-forth between bloggers who want to improve what they publish.

A few reminders before we get started:

  • You’ll get the best feedback if you can be as specific as possible about what you’d like people to respond to or where you’re struggling.
  • Please keep all comments civil and constructive. We’re here to help and support one another, not to beat anyone down.
  • If you haven’t looked at our Commenting Guidelines in a while, now might be a good time.
  • No running on the deck.

With that, welcome to the first Community Pool! Come on in; the water’s fine.

Photo by t_a_i_s.

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  1. I think this a great way to get more people to find similar bloggers or even get out of their comfort zones when it comes to writing. I personally need more help in writing fiction or anything that’s not dark and sad. :D

    1. Hi Theena, your blog sounds much like mine – I too sometimes write about sad events, especially of the past yet still try to see the ‘white lining’. I have just started to write some short Flash Fiction stories (very nervous about it at first) but I find that I can express myself further through my stories. Fellow bloggers can be very supportive :-)

      1. Thank you. I will have to look into yours because I’m sure I can gather some tips from your dabbling in flash fiction. The past is what gets us where we are, and I am grateful for it all! Thank you and look forward to more interaction in the future.

  2. This sounds a brilliant idea! The blogging buddy idea when you first started postaday really made us all reach out to other bloggers around the world.

    I am currently writing a novel which could be filed in travel and romance. It is a far cry from my blog and I wonder if I should create another blog dedicated just to writing?

    1. You’ve already done the first thing I would have suggested: broached it on your blog. Now, how do *you* read those comments? Enough to indicate serious interest? Or not? I’m in no position to judge, obviously. How about this? Do a “progress report”, or two, or three. See if there’s sustained interest.
      OTOH, OpEding myself, if you feel really strongly about it, especially if you think blogging about it would help your writing, then forget the previous paragraph and go build your site. And see what happens.
      (aside: I deliberately wrote “really strongly” as opposed to the sadly overworked, previously good word, “passionately”. After the first million times, it sort of lost its punch :D)

      1. Thanks Chopin :)

        You’ve been a great help. If I stop and think about my followers, different people/bloggers comment on different types of topics. For instance gardening may spark one persons interest but not my excitement over completing NaNoWriMo. So I suppose posting a variety of topics keeps the blog active. I already have a gardening, healthy eating and photography blog. So if I start yet another blog as well as keeping ontop of social media, I won’t acutally have time to write!

        BTW I could not see your blog URL

        Kind regards,

        PiP

      2. Hi PiP,

        Glad it helped. You’re right…blogging should be a a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Given the kind of posts you write (I’ve had a very pleasurable look-see), staying with what you have seems the thing.

        Aaah yes, you could see my URL, because I’ve been procrastinating. All there is is a filler post anyhow. With the start of the semester (I’m an academic in my bread+butter life), things have been a bit hectic. But nothing is forever….

        CS, aka %%robert

  3. OK. I would love people to come by and look at my blog. I post daily, journaling feelings, recounting conversations, saying what I think.

    I would like comments on the illustrations. How do you think they fit to the subject matter? I would like comments there on posts where you think they fit particularly well, and why, and where you see room for improvement.

    1. Hi Clare. Took a quick look at your blog. One thought is this. You might want to break up your paragraphs and make your font darker and bigger. It’s hard on the eyes.

      As far as your illustrations go, they are very detailed and consequently, hard on the eyes. Your content is reaaly good in that you express how you honestly feel. I know I have a hard time expressing my own views on controversial subjects in a way that doesn’t come across as accusatory and angry. Anger has a place but it generally expressed better in person. In print it is hard because we can’t see your body language and facial expression. Blogging is hard work. I’ve struggled with the very things I’ve brought to your attention. Hope this helps.

    1. Have you thought about sending an email praising their work and then put forward your suggestion to see what they think? If you do this offline you are not publicly critiizing their work.

      1. That’s a really good idea to email offline and to still keep it constructive by giving feedback on good points and the not so good in a kind manner. This would also work well if the blogger asked for an in-depth critique of their work by someone who has a lot of knowledge about the particular content, like Poetry, and applying to others styles. Yes, good idea! :-)

    2. I probably would not use the word, “hate” just because it can sound harsh! I think I would say that the line really didn’t “work for me,” or it sorta “turned me off.” And, then I would explain why.

      1. Lauren, I will agree with you about the word hate, it does sound harsh, however, it is the truth. And people can appreciate the truth. There is some hate that I am dealing with and the only way that I can be helped or get help is to admit the truth. Call it the way it is, hate is hate. And there is somethings that I really HATE right now. Good Post, thanks for being HONEST!!!!!!!!

  4. great idea, still a bit shy for comments, but have a group that does encourage me. Glad to know this exists, and when I get bold enough to even let my group of friends know I have a blog I may join in, for now I remain anonymous… ;) Thanks for being here and offering support and encouragement and ideas. I look forward to reading your posts daily. DAF

  5. I think this is an excellent idea! It will not only help the visibility of our blogs, but it will also be a great place for us bloggers to learn from each other.

  6. I think i like this, but i am a “Show me” type of guy. I can glean more b y looking and touching or using than reading. i will eagerly await it in its trial form.

  7. This sounds like a really great feature. I know I often need questions answered and I think I’ll find this feature useful.

  8. Well, my blog is here: https://liquidmatthew.wordpress.com/

    I guess what I’m wondering is whether it’s interesting. I know that’s sort of vague, but it’s basically a development blog for my writing, and I’m wondering whether the stuff I write about is the sort of thing people would find interesting if they’re interested in the writer.

    1. hmmmm Liquid I taken aback by your banner. I suspect I have some prude in me somewhere….but before I even read your posts, that was jarring for me. I tried reading but all I could think of was…Is that you in the banner and why would you want so much of yourself on the banner?

      It’s distracting. Those are my honest feelings. I will try reading again.

      1. It makes sense, in that you’re an erotic writer. But I’ve been reading and you don’t write only erotica so maybe consider something a little more subtle, so it appeals to a wider audience?

      2. I think that’s a good idea. I like the reading imagery, though. But I’m sure I can find something equally valid. I think I’ll try to see what I can find. Thanks for the advice!

      3. I agree that a more subtle banner would appeal to a wider audience. I clicked through to your site, saw the banner, decided that I’m not really a reader of erotica, and then left the site before even reading what you had to offer. But after seeing Vernette’s response, I clicked back through and she is right – you do write well. I think if you toned it down – maybe made it more suggestive (perhaps draped in a sheer fabric or hidden in shadow or something) rather than nearly explicit, you would prevent what I did (click away before reading) from occuring with other readers.

    2. Liquid I love the banner. I think it’s tasteful, beautiful, and sexy. I only skimmed your writing, but from what I’ve seen it looks very interesting and I’ve decided to follow your blog.

      1. Thank you! I appreciate it! I think the banner isn’t too risque, but it’s not exactly safe for work, either, so it might be turning people off who might otherwise read it in more formal environments…

    3. Perhaps you could stencil out the word EROTICA and overlay the image. It would still be there inside the alphabets, but not so bold as to turn readers away.

    4. I found the direct aproach on your blog amusing and have subscribed. Although the Interracial Sex Survey took me surprise until I realised it was an erotic blog :oops: I loved the banner and as someone said above “it’s tasteful, beautiful, and sexy.” It ties in well with your theme. Now if people came across to my blog the banner would not be appropriate as my target readers are different and would be shocked. Still it’s horses for courses …

      1. Well I love surveys. I have a few on the site. It seems like people like the banner… Maybe I’ll keep it the way it is.

    1. Lidia,
      If you copy your URL at the top of your blog page and paste it here, it would easier for all to just click on your link that leads us back to your blog. Hope that helps. <3

  9. I like this idea :) As a new blogger, I’m hesitant to write a post saying “hey followers, what do you want me to change” because it would interrupt the flow of my posts (and make me sound insecure?).

    That said, I write about my travels and experiences – but I’m not sure that at first glance my blog screams “travel blog”. I’m still with the original theme I started with a few months ago, which has a dark background that highlights the posts/pictures, but it is generic enough that it could be a blog for any genre.

    What do you all think? I would appreciate your thoughts on the visual appeal of my blog, whether I should stick with what I have or make massive changes (if so, what would you recommend?).

    Thanks!
    Jen @ http://wanderoneday.com/

    1. HI there Jen, I like your blog and it’s super interactive. If you have to make a change…maybe the theme so you can highlight more photos? One with a gallery format perhaps?

      1. Thanks for the suggestion! I just worry that if I make a gallery format, my non-photo-centered posts will get lost in the mix. I do write quite a few posts that are more detailed travel planning posts, and I don’t want to lose those via a gallery format (hard to convey a detailed itinerary through a single photo)… Any thoughts on how to do that?

      2. Thank you! And I don’t know if you are looking for feedback on your blog at all, but I really like the way you break up the text in your posts – it makes for very easy reading!

    2. I am also in a similar dilemma. My blog is a general blog but travel sort of dominates. Your theme looks fine and your category/arrangement is also fine. I think it’s a good idea to mix personal posts with travel posts, otherwise our blog may become monotonous.

      You could start categorizing your travel (Like US, Europe or individual countries, etc). That will be helpful for people who want more details on a particular location (in future). Does trip summaries contain all your travel posts? If so, you can start sub-categorizing (a suggestion).

      Your photos are very small (inside some posts), larger pictures maybe attractive to audience. Your about me page could be shorter. But if you want to include the whole thing, try to put up a summary at the beginning.

      1. Thanks for the suggeston on the categories. I’ve been cleaning that up slowly, but it took me the first 3-4 months of writing to even figure out what my categories should be. I will try to make it easier to pick out travel posts based on destinations – that is a great idea!

        I see that on your blog, you do have “places to visit” by location under your Categories. That is very helpful. My suggestion to you would relate to your long list of topics on the right side, below your “hosting” banner. At first glance, my eyes just want to glaze over the list because it appears as a wall of text.

        Perhaps you could intersperse the topics with a representative photo that spans the width of the sidebar? For example have a picture of you above “my autobiography”, a photo of one of your travel destinations above “places to visit”, etc. I think it would help to break it up a little, and catch someone’s eye and make them more likely to look closely.

        Thanks for your suggestions on my blog!

    3. Hi Jen, I like your blog. Maybe try a theme like Twenty Ten or Publish. They are clean themes, but they are not so much the gallery format that you want to stay away from.

    4. I like the look of the blog and your content is well written and presented. My one suggestion would be to possibly start using the MORE functionality, your posts are great but are a bit long.
      When viewing a blog like yours I tend to find it easier to have a couple paragraphs and maybe a photo to preview and then click through to the rest on posts that catch my interest.

      Think like a news paper, the front page has the start of the story but you don’t have to flip inside to read the ones that don’t interest you.

      Still great posts from what I’ve read.

      1. Good suggestion! I always forget to use the “break” tool, to shorten the initial view of the posts on my main page. I’ll have to start using that – perhaps I’ll even go back and reedit some of my older posts to include that for better reading while scrolling. Thanks for the suggestion!

    5. I really like your travel blog. My only comment would be that – you have such lovely photos and they speak of the travels – I felt it would have been nice to see them a bit bigger. :)

      1. Thanks for the suggestion! I do need to figure that out – several people have suggested that I make the photos bigger, I’ll have to look into the best way to do that. Thank you!

  10. I can’t really picture it, but it’s probably great idea, like most of y’all’s ideas, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it works.

    1. I really like the format of your blog – there’s a lot of awesomness going on. At a first glance, it is colorful and interesting without being overwhelming. The simple text in the center and upper right balance out the vibrant background, while the photo slideshow of posts at the top center provide the visual link some of us need to click on posts. I also like the way that you begin many of your posts with a quote that draws you into the story.

      I think the only thing that didn’t fully mesh with the rest of the front page was abruptly scrolling upon the bottom of the page, with all of those colorful boxes of awards and photos. I don’t really have any suggestion on this, because I do agree that it is better they are at the bottom of the page rather than cluttering up the clean-lined side bar.

      1. Thanks so much for your feedback. I just switched to this theme, and really like it for the same reasons you listed.
        My old theme featured much more text from each post, so I hadn’t noticed how cluttered (and long) the sidebar had gotten. When I switched to this theme, it really stood out, so I moved a bunch things down below.
        I suppose I could put the “awards” on their own static page to create some white space.

      2. That would be a good idea – it’s not that I don’t like the bottom of the page, just that it is a jarring transition from the clean lines of the rest of the page.

      3. Thanks.
        I just followed your blog, meaning that now, I AM AWESOME.

        And to improve my awesomeness, I’m going to walk away from the computer and take a shower before picking up my kid from school.

        Seriously, thanks for engaging with me today. I really appreciate your thoughtful input.

      4. Thank you! You are the first to ever comment on my “follow” button’s text, so I’m glad it amused you :) I’m glad this community pool idea is working out so far!

      5. I like to notice the little things that bloggers do to individualize their pages, and to pull it all together with a theme.

        All of my widgets have something to do with ‘life’ but nobody has ever noticed (or at least commented).

        MUST SHOWER. Really leaving this time.

  11. Sounds like a great plan to me. I’m an amateur shutterbug and constructive criticism would be nice. Notice, I said constructive…not destructive. ;) :)

  12. Great! Okay, I know I have to look this up on my own, but just in case someone out there knows more readily and quicker….what or how do I put up RSS or subscribe by email, etc. on my site? I have terrible trouble just getting picture links over in the side bar. Thanks!

    1. Gardenlilie, there are widgets for both of those. Head to Appearance –> Widgets in your dashboard, and look for “Follow Blog” and “RSS Links,” then drag ‘em to your sidebar. Be sure to customize them as well.

  13. I’d love to get involved but I find that most of the good things are for english speaking bloggers. Why nothing as good as your stuff happens for french speakers?

      1. Thats very kind of you :-) But I was mainly complaining (obviously so as I’m french) about the lack of initiatives like yours for the french speakers.

      2. I understand. I know there is support no in WP for different languages. Maybe these initiatives will be too. I often see posts other than in English for the DP photo challenge. WP is growing all the time so hopefully soon there will be initiatives in more than English.
        I am very lax in only writing my blog in English.

      3. I have a translator on my computer, I can read most languages that way. My reply might be a little awkward, however, as I must use the translator to do so.

        J’ai un traducteur sur mon ordinateur, je peux lire la plupart des langages comme ça. Ma réponse pourrait être un peu maladroit, cependant, que je dois utiliser le traducteur du pour faire.

    1. I think your blog is interesting and I just signed on as a follower. Thanks Community Pool :)

  14. Looking for advice and feedback here, too. When I go to comment on another blog, I struggle with the spam blocker. Sometimes I give up after a few incorrect guesses as to what those blurred letters are. I decided I wanted to encourage comments on my blog, so didn’t install Akismet ( I think that’s what it’s called?). But the past few days, my comment queue has been flooded with spam. ( sometimes 20 per hour) I mark each one as spam, but they keep coming through.
    If I install the spam blocking quiz, would people still comment? Or are most people as easily-frustrated as I am with those things?
    Thanks for your input.
    Melanie

    1. I’ve found that having Akismet installed does not deter comments. The way I have it set up, I have Akismet installed to catch spam, and then I hold comments for review the first time someone comments on my blog. If the same person comments again in the future, they can post without delay. So far it has worked out well. I would highly recommend Akismet.

    2. Beyond Back Creek,
      I take it you have a WP.org site? We don’t have captcha on the WP dot com and I’m pleased with the way Akismet captures the excess. Honestly, I would recommend moderating your comments and skipping those blinding captcha… They are time-consuming and can be frustrating when they don’t work… In addition to WP, I also have a blogger blog and moderate all comments. It’s been the best approach.
      Best wishes!
      Eliz

    3. I agree the built in WordPress.com Akismet has been working fine for me, it seems to catch most all spam just fine. I’ve only had one false positive and only one spam make it to the approval queue (that i can recall).

      The hold for first approval seems to work really well for me too.

      If you are self hosting i would recommend installing Akismet

  15. I’m in! I love the idea. I’m on lunch right now but I’ll jump back on later with a link to a post for critique.

    I’m considering a change in template also but I’m not sure…

    1. I’m going to hold off on a specific post and ask for some feedback on my look & feel.
      Like I said I’m thinking of a switch of template to one which supports post types, is it worth it for my content or am I good with the way I’m doing it now.

    1. One suggestion is that on your home page, you should show more than one post at a time before having to ‘load more posts’. I wasn’t sure at first whether I was at the right page to see your posts, or if I had to click to another page.

      I would say at least 3-5 posts should show up on each page to let people know that is where to read the posts, that they don’t have to click any more to get more content. Having to click “load more posts” and only get one post at a time discourages me from clicking further.

  16. This sounds like a great idea. I would love feedback on my blog posts. I would also like to figure out how better to use wordpress. Recently, I was able to put a picture in my blog and the next time I tried to do the same thing it didn’t work. So, in order to get my thoughts out there I posted it without the pictures. Let, me clarify, they were not pictures I had taken, they were pictures I thought went along with the post. I like how other posts use pictures to break it up visually.

  17. I need someone to explain to me what an RSS feed is – I see it all the time and have no idea how to use it.

    As far as the feedback goes I think it’s a great idea and I’m in! ;)

      1. The dark clouds around the brain finally (hope-hope) gets blown to another universe!!! Dianne, I hope someone hurries with the ahem, SIMPLE explanation. ;)

  18. This is a good idea and it’s coming at a good time – I have a project I need some help and advice with. Also I love reading blogs of all sorts and have been finding some great ones here.

  19. So does this start now? If yes, I’d like feeback on whether you think my blog is focused enough? Does it need a tagline? I originally started it to write about things I wanted to write about but am now worried that it doesn’t have enough focus? Maybe I should start a new one with a clear aim?

    Also not sure if I should post a link to it? Here it is anyway:
    http://mojitosandhandbags.wordpress.com/

    Any feedback greatly appreciated!

    1. I’m all in favor of tag lines. I read a lot of blogs and it helps a great deal to be able to tell in a glance whether the blog is something I want to invest my reading time in or not.

      1. Another quick thing to do – update your blog’s title to put spaces between the words (unless no space is your preference, in which case ignore me!).

        You can always try out a few different taglines, and see which one feels the best — you don’t have to nail it out of the gate.

      2. I’ve added a tagline, separated the title and added a header, any better? Not sure whether my title looked better all as one word – so used to seeing it like that.

    1. I just read your chapter 46. This is incredibly interesting—are you going to submit this to a publisher? You should! I’ve long been interested in writing a novel based on a member of my family who sent letters home from the French trenches, but in World War I. You might be interested in reading a book called Dearest Ones: A True World War II Love Story, by Rosemary Norwalk. She left San Francisco for England during World War II to work with the American Red Cross, and her autobiography is compiled from her letters and journals.

      1. Thank you so much! It has certainly been a labor of love. I am almost a year into writing Dad’s story and have a long way to go. I will look up the book you recommended. Thanks again!

    2. Hi NotSoFancyNancy,
      You are covering a fascinating subject and what I see on the post currently on your page is a need to give endless running commentary on the letters. The power of letters or what they call the epistolary novel is that they stand beautifully on their own and give the reader a chance to imagine, fantasize, even speculate about the times and conditions in which they were written… You are blessed to have those letters and I’d say step back and present them with minimal commentary. Let the readers ask you questions. Add a paragraph at the end with some insights that are not obvious or that add background, but keep it to the minimum. Let the letters shine. Just my two cents. I love what I saw of the letters.
      Best wishes,
      Eliz

      1. I know what you’re saying, but I like the commentary! It’s interesting in the context of a daughter today looking back at her father’s life as he wrote it. Without the commentary, it’s just another WWII story. I agree with you though that the letters are powerful and they sparkle with energy, as if they were written yesterday.

      2. I hear you Caron. I like the commentary too, however, it would be more effective if it’s minimal and placed at the end of each letter though. Remember how at the movies, we want to see the action without our friends interpreting every scene? Same here. She has a great book there.

      3. Thank you so much! I will take your suggestions and run with them. I do like to add my take on the subject matter but try to keep it to a minimum. I will let them shine! Thank you so much!