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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.
  • To keep from losing your place in the comment thread, right-click on a link to open it in a new tab or window.
  • No running on the deck.

And a heads-up for next week: we’ll try a focused Community Pool specifically for those of you with theme-related questions (feel free to post here, though — there’s no need to wait).

Photo by t_a_i_s.

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  1. What an awesome idea! I think this is going to be a very useful forum to get honest, peer reviews to enhance our own blogging experiences. I would personally like some feedback on post length. I’ve been trying my best to narrow my travel blog posts down to 15-20 photos and keep it below 1500 words. I personally have a hard time doing this because I write and use images to try and place people into the scene and or story I’m describing. I’m not sure if it is such a big deal to try and keep them shorter/sweeter because my audience seems to actually read almost everything I write. My blog started as a photography/travel blog and has been a great creative outlet to foster my writing. I actually forgot how much I loved to write before I started it. Any comments/constructive criticism on how I can enhance my page and attract more followers would be awesome! Great idea from the Daily Post!

    http://www.theadventuresofadr.wordpress.com

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    1. Your photos are gorgeous! Spectacular! That said, I didn’t bother trying to read what you’d written because I find it hard to see light lettering on a black background.

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      1. Hey! I’ve had that same comment before. The theme I chose and customized unfortunately does not allow me to change the color of the font. I’d love to have it in white but I guess that is not an option. I believe if I pay money for an upgrade I can get around that, but I like that it has been free up to this point. I just changed it to a white background and I am trying to see if I like it as much as the black. Thank you for the comment!

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    2. Nice travel blog. I like:
      The variety in style of photo. Often one sees a photographer develop a signature style and stick rigidly to it, but your portfolio retains a freshness because you don’t.
      Your writing is very good. Perhaps a little more attention do grammar in order to guide the reader through the text more fluidly. Being drawn into an environment worked well, and I particularly liked the description of coconuts falling at night with a thud onto the sand.
      The extracted, highlighted text. Works wells if one is skim reading.
      Ideas to develop:
      You say your blog has evolved, and it may be worth refining exactly what you are now trying to achieve. That said, you’re not a million miles away from being focussed on this, but what do you think should be the reason people read it? Get that nailed and you’ll have a loyal following.

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    3. Wow! I Love your blog! For me, whether it be long or short I’d still be hooked into your posts, great job! Just keep doing what you do, and the followers will flow! It’s perfect :)

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    4. If your posts are getting too long, you may want to write more than one post. You could focus one post on the food and one of the beaches etc.

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    5. Wow! I love your photographs!! I found it hard to focus on the writing with so many pictures to admire, and on the weekly photo challenges the writing was more noticeable. The pictures in all posts are magnificent though! :)

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    6. Your photos are amazing! I did found the font too small too and sometimes didn’t bother reading the whole content since the photos grabbed my attention unconditionally! Maybe just a summary info for each photo would be interesting, but I am no expert and that was just me. Loved the blog!

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    7. Hi Dan,

      Happy February to you! Your blog clearly shows your love of travelling as well as your dedication to and delight in bringing your many journeys and experiences to your readers. Hence, SoundEagle would like to congratulate you on the consistency and quality of your blogging endeavours. That you believe that most if not all of your readers wade through most of the contents in your long posts is another cause for celebration and also a testimony to the strength of your blog. Bravo!

      The only but important suggestion from SoundEagle to you here is that the size of your text be increased by at least one or two notches, as your font is quite small to read comfortably, even if/though some of your readers may know how to increase the font size in their chosen web browsers.

      If you are interested in SoundEagle’s multidisciplinary blog, please kindly visit and comment on whatever strikes you as good or bad, excellent or problematic. Thank you.

      All the best!

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    8. Like everyone said, the photos are wonderful. I also really like the layout of your posts – the photos and the use of large quotes within the text.

      But as a rapid reader, I would appreciate breaking the paragraphs down into smaller segments. It would help to focus on the most interesting parts. For example, you write:

      “We had to wait until the right moment to make a dash around the receding waves that would no doubt get us completely engulfed in salt water. Once we walked around the physical barrier the beach opened up into a wide bay of sorts. This was no doubt part of the park. It took a little over 2 hours of constant walking to find this gorgeously hidden cove, but it was worth every effort. A fisherman and his son could be seen in the near distance, throwing out a hand line into the surf. Our tired bodies retired on the sand while my eyes and mind took everything in. The universe felt in alignment and we were completely in tune with the fruits that it offered. Travel at its simplest, and it’s best.”

      The most interesting part is the fisherman and his son, and your tired bodies in alignment with the universe. It gets buried in the middle of the paragraph – you should make that the start of your paragraph, or put it in its own paragraph, so it doesn’t get buried.

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  2. Wander through the site, but after you dive in ( sorry could not resist the pun), tell how the water is. My theme overall is to provide insight, common sense perspective, to the art of aging. My question is should this be more content driven information to increase readership. Or is it style worthy and need to find better marketing.
    http://www.eularee.com

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    1. Hello Eularee. I do not consider myself experienced enough to advise about anything related to your blog but I think I can give you my feedback.
      I think you have a lovely writing style. The theme of your blog is very simple and clean which makes you writing standout. I think for writing-related blogs, the cleaner and less distracting themes are best. I also like your selection of images related to your posts. Regarding readership, yes you might need to market it more. It would be nice to have Archive or something like that related to finding your older posts.
      I hope this was helpful. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I just took a quick look–it’s a nice blog, looks great. I’m sure there’s an audience for the subject matter. If you’re having trouble getting hits/views you may have to reach out and find that community that would respond to your content.

      I didn’t see a way to follow/subscribe to the blog on your main page (unless I missed it?) so you may want to add that.

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  3. I designed this blog more as a way to share pretty things i see and love not necessarily as a fashion blog. I also wanted to give shout outs to super nice salespeople at places i frequent because the good ones deserve our loyalty!! Here’s my question. Should i continue with the local idea of here’s where i got mine or is that obnoxious abd just posting pretty images w links is perhaps more appealing? I’d love your feedback! xo

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    1. I had a little trouble finding the blog post, perhaps a direct link would have helped. The images are a little small but still work. The “here’s where I got mine” idea is good, but be more specific. I have no idea where those places are, what country or city. If there is a site link to the shop, it might help to include it. Also, if you personalize a little by writing what you like about the item it might feel a little more cozy for the reader.

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    1. Your blog looks very interesting. I did not think it was sales-focused. I think it is organized and easy to follow.

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    2. Your website looks very clean, well-organized and professional. It does not look entirely sales-focused. The blog is even better, I like the header image a lot, I too have 2010 theme for my blog. I hope this was helpful. Have a great day!

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      1. Many thanks Ritu. Yes, it’s interesting that although we spent quite a lot of money on our website, the blog can give people a much more intuitive feel about who we are. It’s also more fun to add to! I appreciate your feedback.

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    3. I work in the digital marketing industry and write my own blog and can tell you that your blog doesn’t come across as ‘salesy’. It looks like an informative resource for your industry but you have a clear sign post to your main website, so I would say job done!

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      1. BB, that is very helpful and encouraging, thank you. That you are in digital marketing is clear from your own blog. I really like your use of pictures in the same dimensional format; it makes your home page very easy to navigate, and very pleasing on the eye. I might just adopt that trick!

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    1. I read several of your posts and think you have a fine sense of the ridiculous and a talent for word pictures. The only suggestions I would make would be to watch your grammar and spelling a little bit more, not in a teachery way, but to make your word pictures even more clear to the reader. Some of the images get muddled too much and the sentences get to seem like run-ons. Let someone near you read them out loud so that you can see how the fresh mind phrases things. This usually points out the places where there might be confusion.

      But I love how prolific you are and how romantic and passionate your opinions are! Good luck, I am new to this too!

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    2. I skipped over the love story because I have only a little time this day. But the one about how people drove was good. Using images will break up longer posts improving appeal.

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    3. I’m fairly new to blogging as well. I feel like my posts can be about as random, but maybe not the same by any means. I found your Jan 31st post long to read, and that could be in prat because there was nothing to break it up such as a picture or two. That being said, I’ve written some pretty long posts on my blog magnuswendler.com so I’m not one to really specify on length. I think quality of what you write is excellent overall! If you have any thoughts or comments on any of my posts if you check out my blog, any criticisms, compliments or other comments are more than welcome! :)

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    4. I just read your “Things you see while driving” post. Hilarious. I think you have a fine writing style. I would suggest you to add your Twitter/Facebook widgets to your site or a few images to make your blog look more personalized and appealing. Another important thing would be an About page, people would like to know the person behind the blog. I hope this helpful :)

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    5. I agree that using pictures sparingly in your posts is a good idea. Pictures can help hook a person into reading a post or keep someone actively interested in a longer post. You have nice content. Good luck :)

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  4. First off, I love the Community Post. It always helps me receive the best feedback and so, I am back!

    My questions:
    I have recently re-designed my blog, what do you think?
    Do you think that design is an important aspect of blogging?
    Do titles really matter?

    I’ll be browsing the comments and trying to help some people. In the meantime, this is my blog: Opinionated Duck.

    Thanks!

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    1. The chipmunk is an adorable image!

      I didn’t see your blog before, so I can’t comment on redesign, but I do notice that your site takes a long time to load. I’m not sure if it’s my computer, the theme, or the images, but it took more than 30 seconds to load it well enough to navigate the pages. Worth looking into, anyway. The individual posts load much faster.

      Design matters to me because I don’t spend much time on blogs that look cluttered. Yours does not. It’s nice and clean.

      Titles are incredibly important. I follow a lot of blogs. On a day when I am busy and my inbox is clogged, a great title can mean the difference between reading and just clicking “delete.”

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    2. If you can, you might put a widget or two on the right side as well, all that dark emptiness is a bit distracting. It also took a long time to load on my system; if I were in a rush, I would have closed it and moved on.

      I, too, believe that titles are very important. Both the blog name and the titles of the posts. I have avoided some blogs because the name sounded off color. IF someone calls there blog, “This is a bad blog,” I’m not going to check it out. I also avoid posts and blogs that suggest bad language or off-color topics. Creative titles can bring readers to your blog and even keep them reading longer than they intended.

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    3. Titles are important I would say too. If I’m looking on the reader part of wordpress of my blogs I’m following, the title has to catch my interest before I consider reading on because I can just scroll down to other posts if it doesn’t catch my interest. Short and catchy titles are good, but the more important thing is creativity than length I would say. I’m not the most experienced blogger so I’m sure I could use some feedback on my own blog. However, I was also thinking the right side of your blog layout is very bare. I wouldn’t mind seeing something on that side to even things out a little bit. It is nice and clean though.

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    4. I agree that the emptiness on the right side of the blog doesn’t look right. It looks uneven or something. I like the color scheme. Also, if possible, you might want to redesign that silver button with the duck on it. The words are kind of unreadable and that takes away from the quality of the image. I really liked the content. I think as far as that goes you are golden.

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  5. What I look for in my blog page is space. I am no keen on the cramped up narrow columns to write in. I like a wide space for my writing, and also to accomodate photos at a decent size. I have found it in the theme Andrea. I had to change the background to black as the print is a sort of wishy washy blue, which I do not like. Actually I would appreciate being able to change the various widths ôn the themes yourself. Increase the writing column width. then I would be interested in perhaps using another theme.

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    1. I agree, Pat … don’t know why they’re all narrow. I don’t like the Andrea theme, so for now, I’ll stick with the one I have. When you have a paid upgrade, you can do the CSS thing, but I don’t feel like being bothered with that nowadays .. I’ve lost the grip :)

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    2. I used to use the Andrea theme and moved on to Twenty Twelve. I am frustrated that all the themes seem to have a fixed width central column so you cant put in photos bigger than 640 pixels wide, and would LOVE to change that too :)

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      1. You can put photos up to 800 pixels wide in the Adrea theme. Another bother with this theme is that it is actually transparent. If you want to put a photo as background you cannot read the text. I still find it the best of the bunch at the moment. I would upgrade, but I am not a friend of css, prefer html which I can use more or less at the moment. I am not sure if I upgrade that I can remove the transparency, which is the only reason I would do it.

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    1. I just tested it out, and it’s not possible on your theme, without paying for CSS customization. I can’t say for sure about others, though. Your header is pretty big, but if you really love the rest of the theme, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily a deal-breaker.

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    2. The header is large but it is not so large it looks oversize, I would keep it myself but you might look at other themes.

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  6. I, along with millions of others, write about and photograph food. While I am realistic about the reality of creating stand out at this stage I do love creating posts and am trying to hone my photography techniques, without relying too heavily on filter apps. I’ve just moved from the UK to Cape Town and have some rare time off so am using this time to inject some energy into my blog. I’m curious more than anything to know how it’s received and would welcome any comments for fellow bloggers. With thanks!

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      1. Thank you for taking the time to have a look and thanks for the feedback. I like your focus on a niche subject. It’s very easy to drift off from the subject we’re focusing on.

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    1. I agree, your photos do look great! And I think you do a good job of writing with the local area in mind, which I think is always interesting for a blog focused on food!

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      1. Trying to develop setting the scene, it’s getting easier but sometimes takes a while to ‘get in the zone’. Thank you to a fellow iphone addict. I also like your commitment to the weekly photo challenge. Good practice and you’ve given me motivation to have a go.

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      2. Those photo challenges kind of give me a motivation to post something, if I can I also try to direct the subject back to the subject of the blog, and it tends to have a big audience too!

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  7. Hi all. Goodfoot Editorial is my business blog—I’m a freelance copy editor—but I like to keep it humorous because I don’t want to appear stuffy (or boring). That ain’t my style. Many blogs I’ve seen on grammar or language are flat and visually boring. I’m curious if my sense of humor comes through, and if my photos are engaging. (I’m also interested in design, so occasionally I post about that—can’t help it!) Any other opinions are welcome & please post here…..or if it’s positive, you can post directly! :) Thanks much. Lisa

    http://goodfooteditorial.wordpress.com/

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    1. The humor almost flew over my head. It seemed more sarcastic than humor. I had an issue with finding a post to read, had to hit the random button a couple times. I found one that had a image and a caption but I could not find anything more of it. It was the one based on why grandpa was grumpy.

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  8. Hello you water lovers! This is my first time in the pool because I wanted to have something worth coming to this esteemed gathering to share. So i have a blogging question. I have varied topics on my blog as i write about whatever interest me. Soon i intend to add several gardening blog posts. I will also continue to add fiction posts. My question is this: Is their value to having specific blogs for the major topics I blog about? Or do you like just having the one blog to visit?

    Here is my blog so you can come and give me your feedback! Welcome!

    http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/

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    1. Personally, I prefer topic-focused blogs; something I have yet to achieve ;-). Here’s one thought: how about utilizing the option of adding additional blogs under your name and having each with its own topic. This way, viewers interested in specific categories can connect with whichever one of your blogs mirror their interests. Just a thought…best wishes!

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      1. Well, you’d likely get a different audience for each blog, possibly increasing your readership. You would be able to periodically remind your followers of your other blog topics. My concern is that users seem to prefer the comfort of visiting a blog that focuses on a particular topic and get discouraged when they have to search for which topic they like within a blog and then which entry they like. I favor compartmentalizing for easier navigation…long story short :-D

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    2. Good suggestion. Another idea would be to utilize categories (and tags, too) as best as possible, using a theme that makes categories very obvious. List them as clearly as possible.

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    3. I’ve pondered the topic of focus of the blog. I’m not sure I want to write about one thing so I figured I’d just do a blog about whatever I felt I should write at a given time. But I ended up using the categories to enable posts that are of a certain category to be linked together. I’m not sure how efficient this tactic works, as I haven’t been blogging long but it was my thought so far.

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      1. I have the same questions. i use categories and that works okay. I din’t see an advantage yet to a subject specific blog, so I have not created any other blogs.

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    4. Hi Joe, I spent some time browsing/reading your blog. If I got it right, I think that posts about gardening fit perfectly well in your blog; I wouldn’t make another blog for those. From what I have read, I think that even if you only give practical gardening information, the essence and deeper message you want to send out there will be clear in the posts – better said: I think that gardening (the way I think you see it) has a lot to do with the other themes you’re writing about. Having said this, I might consider a different blog or a separate page for the fiction posts. Personally, I like it the way it is (it’s very good that you mention it when it is fiction!!! It makes it clear before reading) – but I think that it would be easier to follow for people who are only/mostly interested in fiction. Good luck!

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      1. It is interesting you say that. It is the only real type of writing I thought might need the seperate blog. Just on the basis of the replies from community pool I will likely begin a fiction blog.

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      2. Well, maybe I’m wrong – I don’t know how detailed/specific and how often you will be posting about gardening – but I still see a connection… I’ll visit your blog again soon, curious what you’ll decide. (I have the same dilemma with my blog, but I haven’t been blogging for a couple of months)

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    1. I read the first part of “Life is Short.” It was a good start, but I needed a little more to understand why we went from life is too short to enjoy the life you have.

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      1. Hm alright thank you for the feedback. These were 20 minute writing challenges so I wasn’t able to say everything I wanted to. Anyway thanks for taking the time to go and read.

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  9. Hi folks,

    The other day I posted a poll regarding how best to present a Picture-a-Day project (on my site, through Facebook, etc.), and I thought I’d see if anyone here has their own thoughts. I know which way I’m leaning, at the moment, but I’m especially interested in hearing from anyone who’s had experience in doing this themselves. You’re welcome to vote in my poll or comment here, either way, though :).

    http://markmushakian.com/2013/02/01/the-return-of-photograph-365/

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      1. Thanks for the feedback. :) I am planning to blog more apart from posting poetry. Hope that will bring more readers!

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    1. I might be the one stick in the mud but I would really like your theme if it were for a food blog or something but for poetry it seems a little off. That might just be me though. I really like your blog’s niche. As a writer and poet I guess I am just a wee bit biased ;)

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      1. Haha. What you said about my blog applies very well to me too. Looking at me, you will never think, that I could write poetry.:D Thanks for the feedback. I like the light look and though the blog is currently mostly a collection of my poetry, I would soon be posting other stuff too. I want it to be an equal proportion of articles and poetry in future. Hope the theme would feel appropriate to you then.:) Thanks again for stopping by.

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  10. My question is about views because I seem to be suffering from a problem that arises from an obsession with hits. I have been blogging for 8 months now, before August last year, my top hits for a day was 49. But I wrote this post http://balamaga.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/things-they-havent-told-you-about-studying-law/ on August 23rd and made 512 views in one day and almost ran mad.

    Ever since that day it became all about the views, I did so many things that border desperation all in the name of getting more hits. I don’t have a big following on my blog, most of my views stream from facebook, and through sharing in different facebook groups, I manged to get up to 1500 views in a day.

    Sometime last month, I started feeling petty. While accumulating over 300 facebook shares on certain posts gave me some twisted sense of accomplishment, it feels empty when all these shares and views are not reflected in comments and likes.

    Owing to certain personal reasons, I decided to deactivate my facebook account, my views plummeted back to below 50 on a day of publication (from an average of 200 on a day I publish) but I am content with that for now, I however want to concentrate on building a bigger WordPress following. That’s where I ask then, how do you guys do it? I see posts that have over 100 likes but less than 10 facebook and twitter shares, how do these people get there? I the only one who is obsessed with views btw?

    http://balamaga.wordpress.com/ is my blog. Many thanks.

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    1. You are not likely the only one for whom views or hits are important. I am no one to tell you how to get more hits as my own are but a shadow to yours. One way to generate hits is to interact with other blogers. Ask direct questions that encourage readers to comment might help with gaining comments.

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    2. I’ve never had as many hits as your record numbers in a day, so I’m not sure I can offer anything to you at all. But I found that I gained followers, views, and the occasional comment through looking at other blogs, commenting, and following them which caused some of them to do the same with me. I liked your post, and thought it was a great way to express the experience of law school. I feel that something that helps the reader feel and understand what it’s like to be in a certain situation is much better than something that is just the cold hard facts. I believe you have given insight into the feelings associated with the experience as well. Good Job!

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    3. I do not usually get a lot of views and comments. The most I go were on one day when another very popular blog put a link. Interact with other bloggers is what I suggest.

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    4. I’ve only been at this blogging stuff for a couple of months now. I’m not sure if this will be helpful or not as my comments fluctuate. Some posts may only get a handful of comments and others will get a boatload. I’ve found that participating in certain writing prompts (while lots of fun on it’s own merit) has a nice side effect of garnering lots of feedback. I also make sure that I regularly visit others’ blogs and comment/like when I have time.

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    5. Your hits are phenomenal, better than I’ve ever had, but you can’t expect to recreate magic every single day. I know that the likes and comments are validation and we all crave them, but try instead to focus on writing and engaging in the community.

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  11. Maintaining focus: Often I see blogs that are so focused, like on counting down the days until their 40th birthday, or travel blogs, or parenting blogs, something specific, and mine is just about journalling, getting thoughts and ideas out on a daily basis. I do have certain topics I return to throughout the course of my blog, but the blog itself is a hodge podge of ideas and thoughts. What do you think? Should I just focus on one thing or keep my diversity?

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    1. I’m in favor of blogging about whatever keeps you blogging. I’m wondering what you think the advantages/disadvantages of your current method are?

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      1. Honestly, Karen, I think the advantages are clear. I don’t have to try to fit my thoughts into a closed format. Whenever I come up with something I can just say it and post it. But the disadvantage comes in when people only want to read certain things, certain topics, and I only speak about them randomly. For example, if my blog was focused on parenting, I would have a ready-made fan base.

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    2. This is really why I love “lifestyle” blogs – I love the mix of random thoughts, the glimpse into people’s lives and opinions. I think it’s a great way of organizing a blog, as a representation of yourself.

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    3. I enjoy the diversity idea. However, if you have someone following who expects more of a certain type of post or topic, you might be at a disadvantage with said followers. I think however you blog you’ll keep those who agree with your method and who enjoy what you post, and you might lose the occasional one who gets turned off by a particular post or posts that they find do not fit in with what they thought your blog would be about.

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    4. It all comes down to what is important to you. Do you want a lot of followers, blogging for family and friends, or just because you enjoy I have a cousin that did a blog when he went overseas to work. I personally like to read lifestyle bogs but sometimes I go to ones on a certain topic I am researching.

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    5. Hi Sam, we were having a conversation about focus further up in this string and were discussing the use of categories. It’s a great way to keep the main focus of your site structured but by adding categories you can meander down different subjects at your own free will. Have a look at mine and see how I’ve used categories… http://www.barefootboho.co.uk

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    1. I think your conclusions look good from post to post! Nothing cheesy I noticed upon a brief look!! I, myself, don’t really pay that much focus to conclusions and just feel when it’s coming to an end and let the ending flow out of me. Whatever feels right for the post is probably right to the post regardless of how it compares to other posts. I don’t see repetition happening that much, maybe the format remains similar but they aren’t canned conclusions that you just cut and paste as far as I can tell.

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  12. Hi everyone! Thank you for reading this comment. My blog is aimed towards presenting topics related to love, life, and, very soon, dating. I attempt to present entries in a light-hearted, thought-provoking manner. This blog is meant to introduce and lead those interested in finding love to an innovative dating website being launched in the coming months. I do not want to be an advertiser, but rather a doorway through which people can enter and find love naturally in their everyday lives versus browsing online through thousands of profiles that are dead-ends and result in dissatisfaction.

    I’m not sure if my blog is going in the right direction so people know that I truly want to help affect a positive change in our society and help people find love within themselves, as well as with another.

    Thank you for reading!

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  13. Hi everyone, I’m still in the process of refining my first blog. I am using blissfully blog templet . What are the ” categories ” on the right side of my home page and how do I get the best use of them? We’re in the dashboard can I fill them or tag them or whatever I’m supposed to do with them? Thank you for any help. It has been a hard thing for me to I at sixty, but at least I’m still willing to learn. Thanks for your help blog is atdweddingandeventflowers

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    1. I could not access your blog page. You might be talking about the a widget. I don’t use the category widget, I add categories from edit mode. There is a box for it on the right side of my edit window. I click on the category I wish to file the post under and display the categories in menu-fashion at the top of the blog site.

      By creating categories a reader can go directly to the posts that interests them either by clicking on the category or clicking on the menu at the top.

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