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The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout,…

The Community Pool is for those of you looking for input, whether on post ideas, writing, blog design and layout, or anything else. 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).

Read on for the ground rules and to leave a comment . . .

  • 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.

Photo by t_a_i_s.

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    1. You have a lot of different points but no clear way to see where they are. Categories or a tag cloud may help. Poems that are centered are more difficult to read in my opinion.

    1. Hi, Eva,

      I read “One Step at a Time” and it is somewhat clear. However your beautiful thoughs suffer from too many words and too long paragraphs. Try cutting about 1/3 of the words and breaking it up into smaller sections for emphasis.

      For an example from my work:
      “I am a person who writes pretty well most of the time,” could be better stated thus: “I write well sometimes.” See?

      Of course, the temptation to write as we talk is ever present, but do not worry: Your personality will still shine through with fewer words. :)

      1. Thank you so much for taking the time out to read, I will keep that in mind to be more precise while staying simpler at the same time :) Thanks again!

      2. Thank you so much for taking out the time to read and give your valuable feedback, I’ll definitely keep that in mind :)

  1. Yes, I agree with interactions. Liking the post is good. We do want to hear from the liker, therefore, leaving a comment is much appreciated.

    1. I do appreciate all the likes too. It’s really helpful when people leave comments, saying either what they especially like, or what they think might make the post better.

  2. OK, I’ll bite:

    Here is my “About me” page: http://alexanderbrown.info/cv/

    After some feedback from friends and readers, I changed it from being a straightforward CV (as you can tell by the URL) to being a more narrative piece.

    However, I’m still not happy with it. does anyone have any tips for how I could make it more attractive, and get people to click through from it to other parts of my blog? Would pictures help, for instance?

    If you could post feedback on this thread rather than the page itself (to keep things tidy), I’d really appreciate it!

    Any other comments people might have about the site’s appearance would be great. I trust my words, but how they appear on the page is something I’m less sure about.

    Thanks!

    1. checked out yoru info page Alex and it did not catch my eye… too much text, no eye appeal. I am a visual person so even detailed information can hook me if I can relate to the object. Just thumbnails would help me to connect a little better. Good luck!

      1. I am more visual (see things in my mind rather than analytically reflect) I have been this way forever, able to see my projects completed in detail in my head… I believe it is a gift… of sorts :-)

    2. I am also a visual person, and agree with that so much that I am thinking about how my own “about me” page needs something visual — hadn’t thought of that before. Are you worried about all the links actually distracting away from your blog, rather than into it?

      1. well, most of the links (the top bit at least) are to my own posts. the rest are to things I’ve written elsewhere, so I’m not too worried about that :)

      2. Oh, okay. I actually didn’t click on them, fearing it would distract me from the about me, which is what you asked us to read. I was a afraid I would go off on a tangent and forget the assignment altogether! :)

    3. I think it’s slightly too formal – the blogs I like reading as more informal and fun, it reads more like a linkedin page or a CV. I also think it might work if you listed the ‘other places you can read your work’ on a different page. Maybe you’re trying to fit too much into one blog, you could have a separate blog for each of your interests, as people who like science might not be interested in languages – just something I read when I was starting a blog. Mine’s not very focussed though, so what do I know – good luck!

      1. Thanks… having multiple blogs is something I’ve already thought about, but because each of the topics has come up separately over time, I’ve just kept adding them on. I’m planning a major overhaul soon anyway, so this kind of tip is really useful. I’ll make sure I include the possibility for people to only subscribe to one type of post if they want to.

        If it sounds formal, I guess it’s because I want it to be “semi-professional”, but I’ll see what I can do to make it more fun to read, too.

        I’ll consider moving the list of other places I’ve written stuff to its own page… what do others think about that?

      2. Good luck with your overhaul! I thought it may be the case that you wanted it to be semi-professional – I think it achieves that and it’s well written for intelligent readers, my blog is just a stream of stupid thoughts!

    4. I have read a few times that the “about me” page – while text – should be eye catching where the first sentence grabs whomever is reading. Verbiage can be visual – attracting the eye – wanting to see (read) more.

    5. Well. I llke your writing style, but I’m a languist, so . . . we could have some conversations about word connections I’ve recently noticed, and forget the blog. :)
      However, something that you need to decide is if you are trying to inform or entice with your About page. I found the information fascinating–all the differing experiences and knowledge you have managed to pack into a young life, but I let my imagination do the walking and left the clicking for some other time.
      I think you should just talk about self and then list the links in a list at the bottom. Let us read, then let us sort our thoughts and click where we want. As I worked my way through, it felt like an obstacle course. Sighs.
      (You don’t want sighs.)
      Another thought: Does your blog theme automatically color links blue? That is unexciting. You have led an exciting life! Excite us!
      Also, tell us to click. Write it directly above the list of links like this:

      Go here to learn more about what I’ve been doing:
      1. Philosphical writings – http://theconqueringmom.com/
      2. Practicalities – http://katharinetrauger.wordpress.com/

      You’ll find many who need their thoughts sorted for them and need someone to tell them what to do with their thoughts. Organize for them and they will follow your links.

      And. From the teensy thumbnail, it appears that you are gorgeous. Some of us (I’m 62, so don’t worry) would love to see more. So, yes. Pictures. You and your professor. You and your science lab. You and your bucket. You and your boat . . .

      1. I like the blue/brown combinaition in the theme I picked. I think I get the message about pictures. The point of my blog is be semi-professional… I don’t write about my lunch!

      2. Sorry, I shouldn’t have linked those comments – I meant the blue/brown works great, it looks really professional and neat.

        On a separate note, the comment about LinkedIn is only because almost all professionals are on it, and what you see on the homepage is what you get. By having such a similar landing page, I simply thought that perhaps by habit the reader may forget it’s actually a blog, and not take the time to read your work.

        I loved your article about sexism in science by the way, it was really interesting to read.. As a business student I often face similar problems when networking.

  3. I really would like to have a open, honest, and intelligent conversation about race, slavery and how we can get to a point where we can agree to a course of healing. I hope that I don’t attract some of the hurtful and racist comments that I read on some of the generic stories that I sometimes read.
    Just a conversation.

    1. No chance.
      Whenever you write about a controversial topic, you’ll get trolls, stupid comments and racism.
      Or no comments at all.
      But then this reflects society. A conversation in a pub wouldn’t yield any better results.

      1. Good morning from Sydney, everyone. Thanks for this opportunity. I´ve just started a new blog,http://feelingnomad.com/ with the intention of creating a virtual repository of the things that matter in our planet in different languages. I would love to get other bloggers, writers, photographers, travellers, etc, to share some of their experiences when travelling. I need unique stories with a conscience. It doesn´t have to be anything too lengthy, a memory, a poem, a haiku, accompanied by an image.
        Any suggestions to get the ball rolling and start attracting contributors to this project will be much appreciated!
        Thanks everyone, have a great Monday!
        Teresa

    2. **@PARTYARTY SUDLER..>Let me know if you get that type of dialogue rolling..I’d like to participate and have a following that would also I’m sure. And with no negative vibes. Adding you so I can follow your page for when you begin. I began a couple of cultural topics myself but only had interaction from actual people I know offline..Good luck & stay UPlifted!

    3. If you hold all comments for moderation, which might be your best bet for a while, you will never let a bad one slip in. And if you allow a few not-too-bad comments, you will encourage those who maybe just are afraid to say the wrong thing, like I would be. So you could filter out the hate and enighten the ingorant.
      However, I think the hate comments are fewer than we realize, and for me (I write controversial) the easiest thing is to let haters post, then delete them, put THEM in moderation, and apologize to the readers. My reasoning? When I get a hater, my stats go sky high and my followers come to my defense in a very affirming way. It’s kind of nice to know who your friends are and so easy to eliminate any problems from enemies.

    1. You have a strong writing voice. I read the post about Norman. An image of Norman isn’t necessary as you painted a clear picture; however it might attract the eye to the story.

      1. Yep–one of the best pieces of advice I ever got was from michelle w. here at WordPress when she told me to add photos to my blog posts. For whatever reason, folks don’t want to look at long blocks of texts. It makes a world of difference.

      2. I’m a bit embarrased to say. Well, quite embarrased in truth, that I’m not sure how to get pictures on my Blog, and Norman is quite shy. That being said,many of my posts are not about people or things. I will look into it. I’m sure its sound advice

    2. Sign up for the Zemanta service for starters. You could nearly automatically post a photo of almost anything with it. Too easy. Adding your own photos is better, but Zemanta is a great way to get something up when you don’t have what you need. Have fun!

    3. You’re a terrific writer Peter (countingducks)! :-)
      About the photos, I believe I left some pretty easy steps on one of your posts a while back… I’ll leave you another one on your blog. Uploading photos are easy once you get the mechanics down. Also, you must activate Zemanta which offers both photos and related topics that you can link to when you write. :- Glad you took the advice to show up here and connect… Good for you! :-)

      1. Lavidavidzi,
        Your layout is fine… but if you add photos, it would add color to your blog and make it pop. I understand you might be a fan off minimalism, so pick pictures that have clean lines and that aren’t too busy… then your page will totally rock… try it. :-)
        Eliz

    1. Your theme choice seems to be more of a newsletter or news type blog, but your topics are fun, smart, witty. Maybe some color to reflect that fun and wittiness, or a different theme with more visual appeal would draw in more readers. Great writing!

    2. I agree with Kami Tilby. Try changing your theme to one that lends itself to longer text posts and adding a header image that encapsulates the theme of your blog and shows off more of your engaging personality.

    1. I like the subject. I’ve had two friends go through the surgery, one it was great one not-so-great so any information or experience from those who do it is a lot of help. I think, if the point of your site is partially information for those considering the surgery, you should get as detailed as you feel necessary. If it is just a personal diaryesque thing, then as personal as you want to. I personally don’t care so much for gory details, but I have several more scientific friends who would want to know all the details possible. It really depends on what you are thinking about. As far as the blog itself, I like your writing style a lot! You do a great job of writing out things simply yet informatively. I might throw in a little color or something though. The constant black and white doesn’t attract the eye as much and gets tiring after a bit. Maybe make your headings a different color or the pages background some new color? Good luck!

    2. I poked around and read through a number of posts. Your about page indicates you plan to write about your weight loss journey, jumping off of this statement I would encourage you to get more personal. I think that people like to know how things make us “feel”.

    1. Hello! I visited your site,and one thing I noticed is that the questions are sometimes hidden within a long paragraph. Perhaps separating them a bit more from the content of your article by putting them in a new paragraph would help. Also, do you follow many other blogs that are also about fashion and comment on those blogs (developing relationships)? Oh, and yes I would participate in the no pants day :) I seldom ask questions of my followers, but when I do I will often lead with them in the first paragraph…but I have seen it done both ways and I think it can work both ways.

      1. @ Renchick, thank you for stopping by my blog and giving me your feedback. I will definitely consider starting out with the question in the future and see the changes. I do follow other bloggers However I will follow more and be more interactive with their blogs and see if it will help out. Thanks again.
        Jyune
        ~xo

    2. I think if you are looking for more comments on your own blog, it’s important to be active on other blogs by commenting/contributing.

    3. Hi simply jyune,
      Interact more with other bloggers, comment on other blogs and build on it… A bit of advice: some bloggers will respond and some won’t reciprocate so keep it up and gradually you’ll see movement. Join a few social media outlets and connect there too… It takes time, so be patient with yourself too. :-)
      Best wishes!
      Eliz

  4. I would love some feedback on my blog. Any constructive criticism (I’d like for it to center around the content but should you wish to give feedback over design, I’d be happy also) is truly appreciated.

    Is my writing style okay – if not, how would you suggest I improve it? Are the topics I cover topics you enjoy reading of – if not, what topics do you enjoy? Any feedback whatsoever is appreciated.

    My blog is Opinionated Duck. Thanks.

    1. I like your blog – some funny stuff, not much writing though to comment on. Your About page seems to be a tad long, maybe just cut to the point and leave it or divide it up into headings – otherwise really good!

    2. I like your blog – Maybe some of the content doesn’t exactly match your blog title and subheading, but I suspect they definitely match your fun personality! For instance, I expected a little bit more opinion and writing, and definitely more quirky and geeky stuff (in a good way!). I think you have a great blog title and premise, but branding is all about keeping a promise, so if there is a discrepancy between what you say you are and the content you post, it can be confusing for readers. That said, I followed your blog because I truly think it is great, but there was a little bit of a disconnect for me as I described above. Funny that I say this, because my blog title does not at all match my content :)

      1. Thank you. I completely agree, staying true to my branding is something I’ll be sure to work on.

        I have got a few opinionated articles but they tend to be posted on a Monday for my ‘Monday Musings’ where the rest of the week is more relaxed, but I completely agree with your point.

        Thank you for the follow and also for the feedback, I appreciate it very much. :)

    3. Your ‘about’ page is good, even though it is slightly long. If you can include some kind of a USP/unique thing about your blog there, it might be even more compelling. That reminds me, I need to do the same thing :)

      I feel that categorization could be improved – There are too many categories and still 49 posts in uncategorized! Maybe you could consider broader categories for your site. Your writing style is good.

      For some reason, first time visitors (me) get the impression that your site is more about design/visual stuff, than about writing. I feel that in your case, it might be ok to start without a picture, because you have the talent of drawing people into your articles, with your words. Why not focus on it?

      1. Thank you, I’ll certainly be reviewing my ‘About’ page after this feedback. It is long. :lol:

        Categorization is something I struggle with, particularly as I didn’t begin categorizing my posts until well into my blogging journey. I’ll take your point into consideration, thank you.

        I have two passions at this stage in my life: design/art and writing. I intended for my blog to focus more on writing when I first created it but, as your accurately stated, it has steered closer to the design/art side of things. I’m definitely working on building upon the writing aspect of my blog!

        Thank you for your kind words and input, I value it dearly! :) Have a wonderful day.

    4. Reading your About page helped me get a better sense of your motivation and your goals are fine. I’m not a big fan of polls but it would be helpful to add a little blurb in your post when you offer one. It will help explain why you’re doing it and that you’d appreciate participation… Short posts are fine; but add a little something to them when feasible. . I like the one you wrote about your experience here… ;-)

      1. Queenie,
        It’s not that you have too many categories but that some have only one post attached. Do you need all of them? You can consolidate your categories into a smaller grouping and that would work. Also add a most recent post widget to your sidebar… It makes navigating a blog a heavenly experience… I can’t say it enough. It’s a roadmap to help visitors zero in on your latest missives. :-)
        Best wishes,
        Eliz

  5. I created my site to help writers, including myself, find inspiration and learn more tricks for writing. I’m new to blogging so I’m still finding my way through, but I was wondering if there is a way we, at least the bloggers who focus on writing as a craft or a discipline, can be of more help to the students of writing, whether or not they are in the blogosphere, especially if they need a push or some guidance. Maybe I’m being paranoid but I feel that my site is becoming more and more a medium of self-expression for me. Although I find absolutely nothing wrong with that and I am thrilled by the feedback I get whenever I write to express myself, I’m worried that my blog is becoming more and more about me and may be of little use to anybody else. Is there like a “blog” school I can participate in whether as a teacher or a student or both? I’d appreciate your feedback to this or to my blog http://aapatawaran.com/. Thank you.

    1. I did a random post and came up with “Dear Adam.” I didn’t understand where that post was going or how it connected with helping writers. I could not find anything on the home page that relates the purpose of the blog. I was interested in reading some of your tricks for writing but had trouble locating them: a tag cloud or perhaps a category on the menu that says ‘tricks and tips for writing’ would help.

      1. Thanks for your critique and advice. Will keep them in mind — sorry the “Dear Adam” post might have been a knee-jerk reaction to what happened in Connecticut. I can get obsessed with things like that and I had to wean myself off the story or else I would have written more posts about it. I’ve visited your About page. I like it — I think you have much to share with this world.

    2. Great writing! However your blog does not look like a site for helping writers. It looks like a site for self-expression.
      Perhaps you should use a subtitle to the point of helping others?
      Also, your tags would not attract those wanting help, but those wanting a great read. I read some and it is really great, but not instructive.
      If I were searching for “writing help” would your site show up in the search, based on your tags? I think that is a big thing. Also you might befriend other writing-helps sites. Leaving comments gives their visitors a chance to find you, too. Also ask if you can guest post at other writer-helper sites, or ask them if they would do so at your site. That gets your intention out in the open more.

      1. Thank you very much.

        I haven’t been writing lately. It’s been a busy time but during the lull I’m trying to figure out the best approach to this blog.

        What I feel I want to do is to explore ways to strike the delicate balance between instruction and inspiration, which was how I approached my writing book. These are so far my guiding principles:

        1. Aside from the strong desire to express something, nothing pushes a writer more than a great read, the desire to replicate the joy of having read. And yes, I agree: I need to do more instruction.

        2. As a writer, like any writer, one of my constant exploits is experimenting with all forms of writing — narrative, dialogue, poetry, free form, epistolary, etc.

        3. I’ve to read up on how to do tags and categories more effectively, as you and the other kind blogger so generously pointed out.

        4. I need to stay in step with what’s going on at the moment so I can write about it, express my feelings about it but in such a way that I inspire the reader to share his own and instruct him or give him tools and tips to share them with correctness, coherence, and clarity.

        5. I have been constantly in search of the writing gurus in the blogosphere and I’m sure it is only a matter of time that I will find them. Still, these daily prompts, as well as other challenges like Trifecta, are like teachers to all of us, drawing out without exactly requiring us to write.

        Thank you very much agan for these tips and for visiting and for your very kind, encourgaing tips.

  6. I would absolutely love feedback on my site. I am just a newbie at all of this, and would love to be able to draw attention to one specific area, which to date, I’ve not focused on. Regardless, any and all comments are welcomed as I have my “big girl panties” on! LOL and thanks.

    http://janetholthilton.com/

    1. If what you are trying to get across is “easy, relaxed, calm”, I think you nailed it! The only constructive comment I would add is, with the layout of the theme you chose, I would try to have a photo for each post. Even if it is a photo of an open journal with a pen that you use over and over to signify that it is a writing post, rather than a photography post, I think that would work. :)

    2. I love your layout! Your picture above “A photo journey” isn’t showing up, but that may just be my computer. Other than that, I really liked it! You take some amazing pictures, and I like that most of your stuff is the pictures not a lot of text. You captured a simple and clear mood really well.

  7. This is your collegue on wordpress.com. My address is http://www.tztmukobe.wordpress.com. I am interested in having direct sharing with you – especially those looking for partners to share comments on blogs. Let us team up and help one another – constructively: to get out and have our writings, blogs and the likes, more appealing and inspiring. You are welcome. Those who may want to email me – this is my email address: tztmukobe@gmail.com I am a Ugandan – living and working in Uganda and interested in both writing and blogging.

    1. For me I felt like the story really started with “Mama, you know how the Russians have lots of bombs,” and ended at “Eventually I did as well.” The other pieces are important, but might carry more power if dropped in lightly with the story of Norman building the shelter. The comment about the Russians will set the time period, making stating 1956 not entirely necessary for understanding when this takes place. The death of the father matters, but doesn’t really add to the conflict of building and retreating to the shelter, which seems to be the main part of the story. It might work to put the father’s death closer to the beginning, but subtly, like “before we were safe from the bad guys.” The conflict between the mother and father at the first trip to the shelter would make it clear that the real bad guy was the father and not the Russians without hitting the reader over the head with it.
      I do think you captured the voice of the children very well.

      1. Melanie…this is GREAT! I really appreciate the feedback and tips. I really like the story and want to tighten it up a bit with the feedback I get here. You gave me such great ideas on how to improve…and putting when the story begins and ends helps me tremendously. TY :)

      2. I’m glad it helped. It’s a good story and has some power in it. I think once you tighten it up it will really hit readers with the trauma of living with an alcoholic.

      3. The story has power, but I feel it has so much more potential to evoke stronger feelings from the reader. Adding more detail, such as elaborating in the middle where you describe the bomb shelter not just the first time but continuously, (how Norman was resourceful and always had different snacks, or the stories he used to tell to pass the time, or how the shelter started to weather and over time it became more homely as more objects were added..) allows more time to draw the reader in. Also, the horror of living with a violent alcoholic could be demonstrated more in the mind of a child – at four years old the imagery depicted would probably be a little more fantasised. It portrays a very real picture from an adults view, but even writing as an adult, remembering childhood might include ‘rose coloured’ memories like the beautiful fireflies which made the angry yelling disappear, or something like that.

        Great story :)

      1. What I thought of doing was to put up a front page with an explanation about the idea and how to participate and then to add subsidiary pages for energy and reusing and recycling, say. Then people could either do the same thing on their own blogs or add comments on mine. What do you think…and could I make it a challenge? Sue

      2. Well, you could do something like what No Impact Man did where he set himself an environmental goal and blogged about it while he was accomplishing it. You could do a blog carnival with submissions from people talking about their eco-friendly actions. I think this would be a nice theme for a blog carnival. There are lots of pages out there with green lifestyle tips and you could like to them if you are interested.

      3. OK, I’ve just checked and green lifestyle is a category.
        Please would you explain what a blog carnival is; I’ll have been blogging or six months this week and have not come across that term before. Sue

      4. A blog carnival is an online event in which you and a group of other bloggers all blog about the same topic – in this case, environmental lifestyle changes – together. If you promote it and have enough responses, it can be very interesting. I would write a post for it.

    1. I could be available – if you still need further sharing on this subject. In Uganda, where am hailing from – it appears alot has been done and could possibly have something to contribute. That is if you have not yet accessed Uganda’s experience i.e in the areas of energy saving initiatives.

    1. Dear Sophiebowns, I am now online with you. The entry point is clear. I am perusing through your story. I like it. It is quite impressive and or captitative: It is a great story – one which is a great inspiration – especially for or to those seeking to find and make love a great moment in their lives. I am still reading it and I will come back with more comments. Aii I wanted, at this material time, is simply to let you know that it is with me – I am reading it. When I am done – I will volunteer out to you comments – serialised or otherwise as the Lord shall guide me.

      But one thing is obvious – for sure: your writing and this story in particular shall find several tags with many – for example: in love, leisure and entertainment world. I am continuing to read and enjoy the story. Thanks for this offer. I am sure I shall also directly benefit from it – that is if – you may allow me to.

    2. I found the start good, I’ve never read Fifty Shades of Grey (or Gray?, I don’t know) but I can imagine it’s quite similar and that’s doing well! I found the rest a bit hard to read as I hadn’t read the previous posts so was a bit lost – I guess I would have to go back and read the beginning. There were a few typos and questionnable actions – does anyone ever really ‘chuckle’? Sorry if that seems harsh, I would say work on making sure all the characters’ actions and speech is believable – but definitely a good start in my opinion. It’s only my opinion of course.

      1. Yes, people chuckle all the time, perhaps without realizing how much. Chuckle is commonly used in fiction writing to describe a laugh that is not quite a laugh. It’s an eruption that happens when one is attempting to hold back another emotion. It is quiet, short, and sometimes a negative response that comes off more like a challenge.

      2. True, maybe people do chuckle all the time without realising.
        As you’ve had to describe the action to me, perhaps that would also be better in the story, as other readers may not understand correctly: ‘a small laugh erupted from his mouth.’
        I understand your point that ‘chuckle’ is commonly used in fiction writing, but isn’t the point of creative writing to create something new; to write in your own distinctive way?

  8. Hello one and all! :) I’ve just started up a small informational/educational blog that lists different study abroad programs for students. However, I’ve been struggling a little with the format/colors. I would really appreciate it if someone could glance through the home page and tell me their thoughts. I think I’m happy with the overall format, but I’m unsure if the colors on the posts work or if they are too glaring. Thank you so much!! :)

    http://worldofmanypages.wordpress.com/

    1. I think your blog looks very nice! I really like the way you have color coded your text, I think that is very smart. Overall, I think it looks very good. :)

    2. I have checked out your blog (great topic btw), and my initial thought is that I’d be careful of the use of reds. The colour scheme of this particular theme kind of locks your choices, I know, but the trouble with red is that it is often perceived as “demanding” or a warning (we are all familiar with the teacher’s red marks on our assignments).

      Personally, knowing the limitations of this particular theme when it comes to restyling it, I would probably opt for another brighter theme in bluish-green colours. Those colours are generally more inviting and reassuring to readers (educational and professional sites are often kept in these colours for that reason).

      Alternatively, if you do not wish to change the theme (I know how that sucks and fully understand, trust me), I would try to complement the reddish-orange of the theme with whites and soft earth tones. Also, if possible you could add some pictures or graphics to give the link colours something to “bounce” off and pull it all together.

      A great tool for playing with colour combinations is Adobe’s Kuler – see link below. Kuler is free to use (but requires registration for full effect), and it is super fun and helpful even without access to Adobe programs. You can even upload a pic and get Kuler to extract 5 different colours that either complement or contrast the image. If you know how to use hex codes in your design I am sure you will enjoy it.

      If this makes no sense at all you are more than welcome to get in touch :)

      https://kuler.adobe.com/#create/fromacolor

      Good luck with your blog! I am sure it will be fantastic!

    3. I love the idea. I participated in three study abroad programs and I believe it changed how I learned and how I see the world. Plus, it’s the single most affordable way to see the world, outside of the Peace Corps. On to my suggestions…
      1. I had trouble with the colored fonts. I couldn’t read anything you had in yellow. The black and gray basics of the these do open the possibility for the color in the posts to pop, but some colors are harder to see than others.
      2. Do you have pictures from these available programs? It might generate more interest if readers can see what the foreign land looks like before jumping in to learn more. Morocco is nice, but a picture of Morocco is interesting.
      3. Last one, promise…have you considered using the “More Tag”? It truncates the post on your home page so people have to click the post to read it in it’s entirety. The reason I see this as working to your advantage is not everyone is going to be interested in every program you highlight and there is less scrolling to get to one that does interest the reader if only the first few paragraphs are readable from the home page. You get to choose where to put the tag.

      1. Thanks! I think I’ve fixed the coloring issue you mentioned now. It was looking pretty bad. And thanks for the thing about the more tag, I was wondering how I could get that to work! I couldn’t get the home page to quit putting out so much info :)

      2. Glad I could help. Some themes have the more tag built in. I use the Origin theme for my main blog and it does it for me.

    4. Hi Deceptively Blonde,
      I looked at your site and while the color coding looks fine, I would suggest exploring other themes that will present your material in a way that makes it feel less cluttered and look more professional… The narrow meta theme feels a tad clustered. Experiment with a few others and choose a layout that is broader with more spacing.
      Eli

  9. What do people think about niche blog vs. personal blog (multiple topics)? My blog is a personal blog and I have been mulling over the idea of converting it into a niche blog (travel), but I finally decide against it. One of the reasons for doing so is the interest levels shown by the audience for travel-related posts. While people love general topics (if they can associate with them), they do not seem to be interested in travel posts. Once upon a time, even I was not. So, I sort of ‘get it’.

    Any tips on making travel writing more interesting/appealing? You can reply here, of course.

    1. Can you relay your personal experience through a travel experience? This might be a good way to do both.

    2. Destination Infinity,
      I know quite a few successful travel blogs… It’s all about offering content that excites and appeals to your audience. Plus, a few great photos and a personal write up can do wonders for a travel post. That said, the danger is if you don’t travel often and have only so much in your arsenal, you’d soon run out of travel topics. Since it sounds like you enjoy both, alternate and write on both and build from there . Best wishes!
      Eliz

    3. If it is a historic site, you would certainly interest me by relating what, exactly, happened in this exact place. For instance, the Natchez Trace Park still has wagon trail ruts you could photograph and a few ancient trees. You could say, “Daniel Boone helped make this rut and who knows, maybe saw the squirrel that was burying the acorn that made this tree,” only in a more romantic or interesting way. See? I often think of the hills around me rustling with aboriginal Americans in search of roots or berries, etc. I’d love reading something like that. You could have a “whistful wednesday” or something, when you romanticize your travels that way. js.

  10. I as well like to have feedback – ie the written word. I respect all words as basically blogging is an art form – where we all may not agree on what we read or see. I enjoy reading and viewing other bloggers as to see what their interpertations are in many forms. Here is my blog and please feel free to comment: http://thephotoseye.wordpress.com/.

  11. I am new to blogging and the WordPress community. I am looking for general feedback on my blog (design, content) including suggestions on topics to write about and tips on increasing comments and engagement. Thanks :)

    1. I just had a quick look – is it possible to add a tagline with your blog, maybe do that to give readers a one sentence overview of what your blog’s about. Write about anything that interests you – if you don’t, you’ll get fed up and it’ll seem like a chore, if it’s interesting to write, it’s probably interesting to read!

      1. Thanks so much! I was thinking about adding a tagline, but I am having trouble coming up with a creative one. And I’ll keep your tip about keeping things interesting in mind.

  12. Is my site too busy? Does the format seem clear-ish? Is the writing amazing? These are IMPORTANT QUESTIONS! :)

    Three Yards: threeyardsblog.wordpress.com

      1. I think it’s ok visually – looks like a well-made website, there’s a thought out header and straight-forward headings, but it seems a bit confused with the content. I get the feeling you want to make it ‘lads mag’ esque but trying not to put off readers, I think you should just state it’s very ‘laddy’.

      2. The authors I’ve had over the past year or so were…varied in their content. Me, as the founder and currently only author, will focus on tech, sports, and pop culture. Not so much the other, touchy-feely stuff. But yes, you’re correct in assuming it’s a little Maxim-esque.

    1. I’m not certain if I reached your blog or an advertisement. I discovered bold blue words with orange stars. Is that they blog? I clicked on your name and came to that page. I keyed in your link and it went to my search engine asking what I meant.

    1. Myra, this is a bold undertaking, and you really have just started out, haven’t you! Let me make a few suggestions (although I am not the best in the whole world!)

      1. You need a tag line. That is the small lettering under your blog title, where you have left the provided words, “A fine WordPress.com site”. This needs to be something personal, such as your motto or your purpose for blogging.
      2. Maybe you LOVE the colors in the theme, but they are not very inviting for most women. Something calmer would attract more women,as we already face hectic lives and would enjoy a calmer place to be.
      3. You have 2 aboutme widgets, and one does not work. Delete it.
      4. I have sent you an important email on the one that does work. Read it and do what it says soon. ;-)
      5. On your about page, you need to write more. We go to about pages to learn about the site or the author of it. Teach us what you or your program are about! Maybe 5 paragraphs would do it. Open up and share the program.

      Okay, I could say more, but maybe this will give you something to work on. Feel free to contact me at my site if you want to discuss this more. :)

  13. I’m looking for more traffic for my site, overall – http://klsprout.wordpress.com. Maybe I’m too scattered in my topics? I like photography, so sometimes I post pictures, which has gotten me a few followers among the purely photo bloggers. I like humorous writing about everyday life, which is most of what I put out there, but I don’t seem to be capturing any of those bloggers. Every once in a while, I’ll post a rant. I’m following and occasionally commenting on blogs that I do like, but I don’t have ‘relationships’ with any other funny bloggers out there. Advice?

    1. I gave the same advice upthread, but it bears repeating–if you want comments on your blogs, comment on other blogs. You’ll gain traffic, you’ll read some great posts and you’ll meet (at least virtually) some great people.

    2. Join the weekly photo challenge and post your weekly submissions on their site. You will be surprised at the loving community there, of folks who admire your work. They’re usually good for 20 comment or so, every weekend.

      1. You’re right – I should post my Photo Challenge Posts on the Challenge page. I’ve been keeping them to myself and waiting for people to find them through a ‘Photo Challenge’ search. Next challenge, ‘Love’, I’ll do that! Thanks!

  14. I wrote my blog’s about me page when I was slightly depressed. I want to change it now and make it more upbeat, but still relevant to the comments that have been left below. Any suggestions?

    1. The comments have picked up one the important parts of your About: your name and struggling with the economy. You won’t always be living with your parents, so that part will eventually have to change anyway. I think you can make changes and it won’t make the comments look too off.

    2. I just had a quick glance – if you want to make it more upbeat, you could keep the part describing your current situation then list things you’ve got to be grateful for, e.g you’re not homeless, you’re in a job, you’ve been to uni.

  15. I’d like some feedback, mostly on the look of my blog. I’ve played around with it a fair bit but can’t put my finger on what’s missing. Maybe some fresh eyes would help. Also, it started of as quite a niche blog, but now has all sorts of stuff on there. I’m wondering whether I’ve diversified too much?

    1. Might I suggest shrinking some of the space above your blog? The header image is quite large, and coupled with the Featured section and the menu bar, your fresh content is pushed pretty far down. It all looks fine, but as they say, content is king, so making your content as accessible as possible is ideal.

      I would also try lightening the background color of the links on the right side to help the pink text stand out more.

      Hopefully that’s helpful for ya, as those were just the two things that really popped out at me. And I wouldn’t worry too much about diversification. If it’s still you writing, the topics will still touch on your interests and use your voice, and that counts for quite a bit :)

  16. Feedback! I’m nervous but I’m excited about this post. I want it to be more engaging with readers, I just don’t know how. I feel sometimes like I’m dancing a fine line with being too narcissistic in some of my approaches, and I don’t like feeling like that :/. Any advice would be very much appreciated =)
    The Artist Mindset

  17. I want my readers to be more interactive on my webpage. However, my most pressing question at the moment is, how do I get only part of each post to appear on my main page? I have “summary” selected on the settings, but it still shows full text. Please take a look, my site is http://michelinam.wordpress.com
    Any feedback is greatly welcomed. Thank you!

    1. Not all themes show posts in summary form, but I wouldn’t personally suggest it for what you have going, anyway. Yours is pretty much a straight-forward blog, so being able to read the entry from the main page is a good thing, I think :). If you don’t want long posts taking up space on your front page, though, when writing you can add a “More” tag.. and that will create a link on the main page to “Continue reading…” the post on its own entry page.

    1. What do you feel doesn’t belong? It doesn’t look cluttered to me, though the background image is rather distracting at the top.. makes the blog title harder to read.

    2. I would start by removing the default “Meta” section. It is of no relevance to your blog. If you want to keep a links list at least make sure to put in your own links, and keep them relevant to your blog content.

      The text piece + picture you have top left could easily be under the “About” tab, unless you feel it is very important to put it on the front page.

      Also, if your theme supports two side columns instead of one you will be able to pull the side bar contents upwards on the page a little more (to avoid a long scroll). You can also limit the number of posts shown per page or use the “more” feature to cut your posts into previews on the front page (people can click them to read the full post) – this will also make the scroll shorter.

      Really, you do not have that much content in your side bar as it is – it is just a matter of rearranging it a little, perhaps?

      Good luck with the blog and your writing!

  18. Hello fellow bloggers! I’m fairly new to the blogging community (6 months), and I’m pleased to report that my traffic is increasing month by month. I so appreciate those who have taken the time to visit my site, sometimes follow, and share their thoughts. I like to visit and comment on others’ blogs too, however with a full-time job I find it difficult to carve out time to post consistently AND respond to fellow bloggers consistently. Does anyone else feel bad when they can’t devote as much time to blogging as they’d like? Do any of you put yourself on a publishing schedule (like I have started in 2013) or do you just find the time here and there and hope for the best?

    1. I’m with you Angelina. I don’t have time to comment much, however, I do comment on others if I feel moved to do so. I do certainly reply to any and all comments I do receive.

    2. Hey, I like your blog, especially the new ‘Scene on Queen’ feature! I’ve got the same quandry, I don’t know how often to blog, I seem to do it once a week on Sunday, but would like to do it twice a week – but then I don’t want to compromise quality.

  19. I’m loving this community pool idea. Last time I asked for some feedback on the layout and formatting of my site, but today I’d like some feedback on the balance of content. While I write a lot about my travels and participate in a few weekly photo challenges, I also have a feature that covers my extensive post card collection – and I occasionally write some personal posts about motivation, memories, etc.

    Do you all think the balance is sufficient? Or alternatively – can you even tell what the balance is? Essentially I’m asking if you understand what the balance is by the navigation available to you throughout my site.

    Thanks for your feedback!

    1. I like the personal stories you tell about the postcard collection. If you want to change anything, I’d suggest more posts about the postcards. It’s what makes your blog unique!

    2. That’s been my problem too, but I think you have a really great feel for the balance. It is an excellent mix of words v. photos; personal v. not-so-personal. I think you have done a great job :)

  20. I just started blogging this week. It has been totally engrossing getting set up and writing just 2 blogs. I would appreciate any advice or feedback on my writing and advice on how to move forward!

    1. If you really want comments, I’d solicit them in the posts themselves. That might help direct people to look for them.

  21. My blog at http://honestpuck.wordpress.com/ is a mix of both my technical and personal interests.

    I’m wondering if the mix is a good idea or should I have two different blogs, one for the technical computer stuff and the other for the personal, philosophical cultural stuff.

    Opinions will be listened to :)

    // Tony

    1. Hi Tony. I just spent ten minutes or so puttering around on your blog. My opinion is that you should separate the technical computer stuff from the rest, maybe on a different blog. My eyes glazed over when I came upon a technical post but the experience was very different when I used your categories to find topics I was interested in. I really enjoyed some of your writing on art and literature, for example. But the fact that you’ve got such extremely varied topics all mixed together would actually dissuade me from subscribing to your blog. You could always link the two blogs together so people are aware of your other interests.

      One other suggestion — I’d love to see more photos in your posts. Let’s see some of your Lego creations…. I hope these comments are helpful to you.

      1. Thanks Kim.

        I’ll be back to making more Lego soon so there will be more of them.

        I am seriously considering putting in the work to split the blog.

  22. Can i get some feedback on my blog, Danielinwonderland.wordpress.com ? I use to get likes everyday and today i hardly get any. Is there something i’m missing? Am I boring? Is this considered a humor blog?

    1. Daniel I just read your joke post and found it interesting, a good idea for a topic….just would be good if some of the jokes were funnier…..but thought it was interesting how stressed out people got when they were under the gun to come up with something funny…..good luck!!!!!

  23. I’d really love some feedback on my blog: http://www.natureismytherapy.com. Do you think I need to tighten up my content to focus more on the stated title and tagline of my blog? (If you’ll take a look at the category cloud in the sidebar you’ll get a quick idea of what I’ve been writing most about.) I’ve been wondering if my birding posts are boring people who come looking for more general nature topics. What do you think? Any comments about my overall content and writing are most welcomed. Thank you.

    I’m working my way through the other comments here, trying to give feedback to some of you as well. I love this Community Pool idea!

  24. I’d really love some feedback on my review blog, thebishopreview.com. I’d like to know what people think about the layout and my reviews. If there’s anything that sticks out at you, I’d love to know.

  25. I am an amateur photo bug and started my blog a few weeks ago. I think it’s laid out fairly simple but due to lake of comments, maybe not. I get a lot of likes, mostly repeats but almost no replies.

    On my “About Me” page I welcome all comments of constructive criticism as that would/could help me to become a better photographer, or a least to a point.

    Where am I missing the boat on comments on my blog? http://phoport.wordpress.com/

    1. I like your photography – especially the Allen Seminary series. Maybe you could make the posts that accompany the photos more personal ? There’s a lot of background info on the seminary, which is very interesting, but I’d also like to know how you got inside those old buildings ? Was it hard to get in ? Did you step on anything ? Find anything interesting inside ?

      Also like the photo of the girl at the ice cream stand too. Who was that kid ? Someone you know ? I just find stories about how a photo was taken very involving, could just be me though!

      1. You make a good point Peter. I have been wanting to go and take photos of that historical site for almost four years. Yesterday I got that chance and as luck would have a bit rushed. A more personal touch I will certainly put in with my photo gear. I thank you for you useful advice, your visit and “Appreciative Eye”.

    2. Hi Jerry, couple of comments after visiting your blog, you have a lot of spelling mistakes, several in your About page :)

      From a personal POV I am not a fan of blogs that have an overt religious tone in the writing, which I found with yours, so thats one reason why I wouldnt follow your work regularly.

      However the photo of the wolf hair in barbed wire is fantastic :)

  26. **Good evening ya’ll..I’m still, I guess ,considered new here..Only been on the site & blogging for approx 2.5 months. (though I’ve been writing/poetry for a long time) Took me almost 1.5 months to learn how to navigate the site & design my page(still haven’t learned how to get my gravatar to not disappear) ..But I’d like insight from pro’s out there if possible(anyone whose been blogging and/or on the site longer than me) What can I do to make my page more interactive? (to start an actual on-going dialogue; same as how I interact on others pages) What attracts readers to actually read? (is it graphics or ?) Thanx in advance for your time..

  27. Well, it seems like I’m not the only one with this problem, but I’m not really sure what to put on my About page. http://liquidmatthew.wordpress.com/about/ Right now, it’s kind of short and bland, but I’m not sure what sort of stuff would interest readers. My blog is primarily for my writing and stuff related to that, so I feel I should include more about that, but I’m just really bad at summarizing myself. Any tips?

  28. Something I wonder about is context. Am I supplying enough background information in my posts for the reader to “get it” ? My family and friends know all about the people involved, so understand a story I tell, but will the reader of the blog ?

    Here’s a sample post. You can comment here, or on the blog itself.

    http://www.sofacents.com/tool-box/

    1. Sorry–you don’t think a person outside of your family would understand that story? I had no trouble understanding it–I was expecting cryptic “in-jokes” (like when I say to my sister–or she says to me– when we go to a restaurant, “Fresh ground pepper?” in a fake French accent, and we both crack up), but I don’t see any of that here. If you’re looking for feedback on your writing, I found it hard to get past “Mr. C” and “Ms. J” pseudonyms that you’re using for the characters. If you’re looking to reach a larger audience, and don’t want to use real names, make up names for them. If you’re just writing for your family, those are probably cute little nicknames that you use, and that’s fine :)

      1. Thanks!
        We have a number of pet names for our son, Mr C is one, so I was already used to that one. Making up a name for my wife seemed really odd at the time I started the blog, and i thought that with my limited brain capacity using a full pseudonym like “Jane” would just be too weird for me to remember. so I decided to be consistent and use the same format and Ms J it is. I do see your point though, and I know it’s not a great solution, so I should consider alternatives.

  29. I would love to get some feedback on my blog. I just moved platforms (from blog.com), and I am still learning my way around wordpress (which is 100 times better!) Thanks!

      1. As a fellow book addict, it doesn’t really matter to me what genre you write about. Sometimes a good book review is better than the book being reviewed. Maybe that’s just me though!

  30. I am having a difficult time bringing traffic to my blog. My blog talks about education from a gutsy and informative perspective that has never been told before: from the school teacher. It is a no holds bars blog and will not be effective if there are no responsible and genuine comments. Please help me and visit me at peopleinthetrenches.wordpress.com

    1. BUilding traffic takes time. I noticed that you only have couple posts so there’s not much content that people can find. Adding pictures, commenting on other education blogs, linking to interesting blogs and resources will help your blog grow.

  31. I don’t feel like my content is attracting as much attention as I feel it ought to. I know I’m just starting out and it will take time, but when I write my posts, I feel like I’m putting some decent stuff out there and it isn’t getting much recognition. Am I doing something wrong? How can I make what I write more appealing?

    1. You’re not doing anything wrong! Your content is great and you’re absolutely right about it taking time to grow your readership. I recommend continuing to blog at your current frequency plus interacting on other blogs that you find interesting to let people know you’re out there and to help your audience find you.

    2. You have a really lovely blog. You’re not doing anything wrong; you’re content is gold.
      It takes time to gain readership and the only thing I can suggest is, other than carrying on the way you’re going now, try to promote your blog more. Whether it be by sharing your posts or commenting on other posts. By promoting your blog more people will find it and share it, therefore gaining more readers.

      Should you need any help with this, just ask or you could read this.

      I’ve followed your blog because I think it’s really excellent. Great job and good luck! :)

      1. You’re not doing anything wrong. In fact, you’re doing a lot of things just right. It does take time and a lot of effort, but it’s worth it. Just keep going and being yourself. I hope I was actually helpful and not just gushing on your pages.