Menu

Community Pool: Design and Layout

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).

This week, bring questions about your theme, layout, or design. It’s all up for grabs — widget placement, custom backgrounds, font choices, you name it.

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.

Photo by t_a_i_s.

Show Comments

206 Comments

Comments are closed.

Close Comments

Comments

  1. Hi everyone! I would love some feedback about the placement of my widgets. They’re on the bottom of the page and I think that it seems fine, but would love other opinions. I’m a high schooler and I haven’t purchased custom design…I just very much like that the focus of my blog posts are the pictures on the homepage.

    neverstationary.wordpress.com

    Thanks! – Catherine

    Like

    1. Hello Catherine! First off, I must say I feel your piece on The Human Rights Crisis in North Korea was very well done. Just when I’m starting to ask myself, “but what can I truly do to make a difference? So many people in so many places need help,” at that moment you present an answer that I CAN follow through with – raising awareness. And then you take it one step further by explaining how unfolding events could emerge in which our having raised awareness can further help. Once again, well done!

      As for the placement of widgets, I could see nothing wrong with them. Everything is well organized and easy to find. There is quite a bit of information there, though, and if you did want to change something, my suggestion would be to pare down to a more minimalist look. Perhaps make the upper links less wordy. Incorporate roll-over menus on the bottom of the page.

      Good luck and happy writing!

      Like

    2. Catherine, your blog really looks good. I like that “main grid” … there is only one thing I would consider changing (and I am facing the same questions myself): Would it be better to show more posts at first glance – maybe 12 or 16 instead of eight? It is only a matter of taste though, and whatever you decide: The basic layout is just great!

      Like

    3. I like the layout of photos for your posts, though like the others said, I wish there were more posts. And maybe too many widgets at the bottom? Like you have Top Posts and Hot Off the Press and Monthly Archives. It feels heavy at the bottom- which perhaps can be remedied by more post photos showing at the top?

      Like

  2. Hey guys, I recently started writing my blog, I write about this and that, college and life and things like that, no real overlying theme. I was wondering if yee could give me some feedback on what I write, here or on my blog, I don’t mind! I was wondering if I’m going the right way with it, I love writing, and at the moment this is my main outlet :)

    My blog is amybyrne19.wordpress.com , cheers lads :D

    Like

    1. Hi Amy, I had a look at your blog and I really enjoyed reading it, you’r writing flows well and made me want to carry on reading. I’ve started following you and so I am looking forward to hearing more from you. I’m in a bit of an experimental phase myself with my blog, not sure which direction to take or just take it all directions and any directions I feel. Yours seems to flow and fit together. I like it, keep up the good work :).
      Alicia

      Like

    2. Hey, I think your blog is great (and not just because I love Fleetwood Mac), your writing style is really easy to read and I love the randomness of your content. I don’t think there’s a pressing need to have a consistent theme (because I don’t have one either!).

      Like

    3. Write what you enjoy writing about. I tend to like blogs about people lifes and shorter blogs so I really like yours.

      Like

  3. Hi everyone, I am a new blogger and I would love if you can check my blog out and let me know what you think about my content and my style of writing. This is my blog sheilacioustreehouse.wordpress.com

    Like

  4. Hello…I have two blogs, one personal & one that is only about butterflies. I’d like feedback for both.

    My personal blog is at http://2sojourners.com/. I mainly just would like general feedback on this one.

    Mostly, though, I would like feedback as to whether navigating my butterfly blog is intuitive or confusing. When people visit this blog, they often spend a lot of time on it…well over 200 page views per visit. I want that experience to be the best, easiest, I can make it, for people to find the information they want and I’ve worked hard to organize and make it easily searchable. But I wonder if it makes sense to others or just me? Are there things I’ve overlooked? Or just have a blind spot too? Any feedback or suggestions appreciated.

    http://mybutterflycollection.com/

    Thanks!! Sylvia

    Like

  5. Hi everybody, I’m wondering if my homepage is too cluttered or if others find it easy to navigate. Also, since I blog about the horses in my life, and lately there’s not been as much on that front to write about, I’ve started filling the lull with posts about food. At first, I thought I should stay “on topic”, but then I thought, hey, horse people have to eat to! So, what do you think? Thanks for the input!

    asthehorseturns.wordpress.com

    Like

    1. I like your format,though it took me a minute to realize the pictures on the right were photos and not links to other posts. It could just be me and the color of the header-font for that section being light grey. And I am all over the place with my posts, so I say go for it if you want to post non-horse stuff too.

      Like

    2. I do find your home page too cluttered and confusing. But I’m very much a minimalist. What truly matters is, do you like it? I think the fact that you asked the question in the first place, might mean you would like it a tad less cluttered as well. But if you really do like it, then that is all that matters. If you like it, your more likely to be enthusiastic about blogging and that will come through to your readers.

      As to the topics…I think it’s fine to write about whatever you want. It’s your blog, and your life. But I do think that food is kind of one of those things that…well…I want to say this politely :-). When I landed on your homepage just now, the first thing I see is the words “horse poo” and then dogs, and then…food. It might just be me, but I personally don’t want to see poo and dogs anywhere near food. That’s just a turn off for me. Perhaps if you want to combine the two topics, you might want to consider a layout that you don’t see all of it at once somehow keeps those a bit separate visually?

      I hope that makes sense. It’s just my first quick impression. But I think the point is, if you want to attract new readers, then the first impression is critical. If you want to just write to your core audience, horse people, well, then they might not be bothered by that at all :-).

      Like

      1. LOL, there’s a fresh perspective, for sure! XD I hadn’t even thought about how that would look to a new reader – thank you for the input! I definitely do want a more minimalist look… I’m just not sure how to go about it right now. There are things I really like about the current theme, but wish I could pare it down to two columns while using the same theme. I will keep your suggestions in mind as I ponder new changes. Again, thank you! :)

        Like

    3. I don’t find it cluttered in a confusing way at all. My only beef would be that your food posts have taken over the photos near the top of your homepage in such a way that there’s not really any visualization of your main topic, horses. I don’t know if a header photo of a horse would help, but it’s just my opinion. I personally enjoy bloggers who write about different things. It makes it easier to write posts that aren’t forced.

      Like

    4. I really liked your content. I post about a lot of topic myself so I enjoy bloggers that do so. Crocodile Dundee is adorable by the way. I really did not like the three columns with the pictures in the middle. I am not sure if it would be better for my eyes if it was on the left. I think the main problems was it not being as long as the other columns or if it is just me but it was not confusing or really cluttered.

      Like

      1. Hi there! Thanks for your input. Oh, yes, Dundee is so adorable, and SUCH a sweetheart! Everybody that meets him IRL absolutely loves him! :)

        I didn’t like the three columns either, but I couldn’t customize it to make it only two. Today I totally scrapped that theme and went with another one that is entirely different. I like it better, though it does have a few little tweaks that I would love to make if only it were possible. Thanks again!

        Like

    5. I opened your homepage and I was overwhelmed and lost. The photos in the middle column confuse me- are they the same photos as your flickr account? Or maybe you could have a Photo Gallery page instead of placing them on your homepage. It does disappoint that the photos do not link to anything. If you place them separately on a Photo Gallery page you could explain at the top they are just photos from your life. Or do something like an Instagram account.

      Perhaps per each title you could include a category, like this “Recipe: Chicken Dinner” or “Recipe: French Cooking Tips” and then “Horses: ….” or “Work: …” something so we know what we are reading and can separate the food from the horses. Know what I mean?

      Like

      1. Thanks for your input! I’ve changed the theme entirely to hopefully make it more user-friendly and streamlined. The photos in the middle column were supposed to actually link to the posts that they belong to. Oh well. Hopefully it’s no longer overwhelming. I definitely like it better now. Thanks again! :)

        Like

    6. Completely different topic than I usually stumble upon! The only thing I wonder is if the theme you have used will allow you to create more than one page for all your posts; the list goes well beyond your widgets, quite a bit of scrolling!

      Like

      1. That theme didn’t allow for any customization unless you paid for it. I have yet to see a theme that allows for what I think you are saying, although I guess you could get around the scrolling by clicking on categories… but there would still be alot of scrolling if there are alot of posts in a category. In any case, I completely changed themes… hopefully this one is better received!

        Like

  6. OK, I was just writing a post about this (and other stuff) 4 months into blogging. It seems that if I find a theme I like appearance-wise, it isn’t very customizable, or I use a customizable theme for color and widgets, but the pages still all look the same. Blog is http://sortaginger.com, post regarding this is the first one listed on the home page.

    I don’t think I am looking for feedback as much as just venting. In my trying to do something different, am I just making things more complicated or confusing?

    Like

    1. Well, all I can say is the second I landed on your page, I LOVED it – it has a very clean and elegant look to it. The color scheme has a great feel to it as well. I hope you get past your frustration with it! :)

      Like

      1. Well, thank you. Part of my issue is the sidebars and pages can’t be customized. That hasn’t been a problem before, only now because I want to do “more”. The color adjusts all over depending on the background, which works great for blue or green, but a dark red background turns all white areas pink :-D.

        Like

    2. I liked your blog. You might want to consider taking a class where you learn to make your own template. LVS has a class and the teacher is very helpful ( i have taken her another other class) I am planing in taking the class this next session.

      Like

    3. While I like the clean layout, I am unhappy with the way the pictures are displayed… many of them do no show the whole picture, and, with many of the pictures, if you can’t see it all, you don’t get what it’s about.

      I don’t feel a need to click on a picture either, if I saw all of it, then I got what it was about. If I didn’t see all of it, I am not interested enough to click on it.

      I hope I don’t sound harsh… as I say, I really like the layout and the side bar on the right. It’s a GoodThing™ that you have the older post link before the sidebar runs out. That’s a real chore with a lot of themes.

      So… everything is good, except you can’t see all of the picture in the picture previews.

      Like

      1. Ouch!

        No, just kidding :-). That is one of the things I don’t like. I had never used featured pictures before, so now I kind of have to and sometimes I don’t choose wisely. Or I am in a rush to get something and forget to go back and fix it. It also seems that my personal pictures get cropped way more vertically compared to memes I make but I can’t change it for now.

        Thank you for the feedback!

        Like

  7. Hi WP friends, We have been blogging for over a year now with the same design. We like that it is clean and shows thumbnails of a bunch of recent posts on the same page. It also looks like a gallery which is nice. Do you think we should change it to freshen the site or stay the same because it is simple, it works for what we are doing, and people associate it with Broken Light Collective? Thanks! http://www.brokenlightcollective.com
    Any other changes you think we should consider? Would love feedback.

    Like

    1. I’m no pro, but I’d say that a business or company should always be looking for ways to stay fresh. There are many ways that you can maintain the features you like while updating the overall look. It does look good, though, and I can’t see harm coming by keeping it the same. If it were my job to change it, I would like to present it as more of a gallery than it is, with just the photographs showing on the home page (rather than all the words underneath the photographs also showing).

      Like

    2. Do not change it at all.

      I love the clean, minimalist design. I love the way the post changes color as you move you cursor into it.

      Only one *tiny* thing… on some posts, the “continue reading” link does not occur early enough, and the bottom part of the post gets cut up by the date posted and number of comments box.

      Other than that, it all looks really good to me.

      Like

    3. Great layout for photography, very nice. The only little thing I can see is that the navigation is lower down on the page and it requires you to scroll down a little bit; could this be moved up underneath “submissions” if possible? Would make it quicker to navigate.

      Like

    4. Hi there. I think your decision as to whether to update your theme should really be based on whether the one you have is accomplishing what you want it to do. In addition to the attributes you mentioned that you like, there is the element of the familiar and comfortable that is very important to people with several mental illnesses, as well as the tendency to isolate and fear sharing. So the fact that it is fairly understated may be a good thing. I like statement about your group and the blog’s purpose as well.

      On the possible cons side, I prefer photography blogs to more prominently feature photographs, and yours has a lot of text with the thumbnails. If I were to recommend a different theme, I’d suggest one of the grid type themes where you could show a larger portion of the photo as a square, with just a short phrase or title as the accompanying text. On some, the text shows up only when you move your mouse over or touch the photograph. If you go that route, I’d like to see your statement of purpose placed smack dab in the middle, maybe in white text on a solid colored background. And just a tip — color theory says that the color green makes us feel at home in a new place, so you may want to consider bringing that in as an element. Just don’t do black type on green because it can be hard for people to read.

      Thank you for the site — I will be following you!

      Like

      1. Hi…I think it looks good…you’ve got widgets figured out. The ‘like’ button lately is being temperamental I think on several blogs… I have figured out though that on some the like button isn’t accessible until the comment is put in and if necessary ‘signed in if requested to do so’ and I found out that if a reader is not a wordpress user they can’t ‘like’ your post… I recently asked wp support re the like button and others are having some problems too… Diane

        Like

    1. Very interesting content. I agree with above that you need a column on one side with a about three widgets.

      Like

  8. After reading about how important a landing page is, I updated my theme to Twenty Twelve in Sept. 2012 and built a comprehensive landing page with a customized menu, widgets, Twitter feed and two feature articles. As a licensed tour guide I use the blog to share my experiences and information about Israel and as a marketing tool for my business. I think photographs add a lot to a travel blog. I’d appreciate your feedback left as a comment at the end of the page.

    My blog is http://israeltours.wordpress.com/

    Like

    1. P.S. I’d appreciate comments about my landing page but it looks like you can’t leave a comment there. You can leave a comment on any of the blog posts or here in reply to my post. Thanks.

      Like

  9. Hi. I am a new blogger and on one of my pages I want to set up monthly writing competitions open to all. As this is on a static page rather than the blog home page I’m wondering if there is a way to layer each month on top of the other rather than open a brand new page each time which would quickly become to unwieldy. It was suggested I could use my home page and do tags instead, but if there is a way to keep them all in the same place physically (without losing the entries for any previous months) I would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction. Thanks

    Like

  10. 1-
    I need help choosing five easy specific intuitive descriptive categories to sort everything into.

    2-
    Is there a way to be a part of the Daily Prompt and Challenges and still keep tags to down to 10?
    3-
    Whatever else you see that I don’t and needs attention.

    Like

    1. Hello Wayward spirit!

      If you don’t want to tag your post as Daily Post/Daily Prompt, you can just add a trackback to the post. Basically you click on the little hyperlink icon when you’re typing, and insert that day’s topic’s URL either directly or disguised as another word. That way, it automatically adds a link to the daily post blog and you don’t necessarily have to add the tag.

      Hope that helps!

      Cookie

      Like

      1. This is really helpful Cookie!
        Just what I needed to know.
        Such instructions seemed like a complicated mythological jumble of vage out of reach solutions till now.
        Also for me to know how to start to ask more right questions is a relief.
        This is one thing I think I can handle.
        Your answer is clear and feels easy.
        Because I asked the question I know why I need this. It’s focussed and manageable.
        Maybe I’ll even figure out how to make photos and badges stick on my cite now.
        Following instructions never worked for me.
        But I think they will now.
        You are awesome.

        Like

      2. No worries, we all have to help each other out right? Looking forward to reading your awesome-r blog! =)

        Cookie.

        Ps. I just answered the badges question somewhere below your question. It’ll save you some time! =)

        Like

      3. If you want I have simplified the instructions on how to put badges/awards (is that what you mean ?) because when I first received them they were too confusing.. If you want I will send them to you

        As for photos you download them into your media library and copy the url and then paste it into a widget for your sidebar….If you download a picture into your post it automatically goes into your media library… Diane

        Like

  11. Hi guys! I’d love some feedback on my blog layout! I liked the 2 columns and their widths of the Twenty Eleven theme I’m using, but there are things I don’t like about it as well. For example, my widgets in the right column: Facebook, RSS feed, Follow Blog via Email, Category Cloud, Archives and Text only appear on the homepage and category pages. Once you enter a specific blog post, or go to the About or Contact pages, the widgets are gone. I’d love to know if you think that matters enough to change my theme, and if so, what other themes have a similar layout.

    Secondly, I’d love to know whether you find the Category Cloud is useful and user-friendly, as well as the categories and sub-categories on the top tab.

    Lastly, I’ve been toying with the idea of creating an index page of my blog archive, but using photo thumbnails instead of text. Is this possible? And if so, can you personally select which picture to use as a thumbnail?

    Thank you in advance! Oh and I use WordPress.com not .org! =)

    Like

    1. First impression: I like the simplicity and minimalist feel of your blog’s look. I think it’s a great theme/layout for recipes.

      One thing I’m not crazy about…I don’t like seeing the B&W “cooking with photo” over and over as I scroll down your page. I think I would like it better if each post started with a great photo of that dish, then I could tell immediately if I wanted to browse the recipe or scroll on down. And then I could find it quickly if I wanted to come back to it.

      But having said that, I think that your cooking with logo does have potential to help people navigate your blog. It is a cool graphic. You might check out this link for an idea of what you could do with that http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/widgets-201/. I think something like that, with this graphic could be very useful for you.

      Also, I think well thought out categories can be great for finding content on a blog. But if they are not well thought out, then they are basically useless. It takes ton’s of time to figure that out, but the payoff for readers is really great, especially for food blogs. I think it’s worth the time to really do that right.

      Like

      1. one more thought. That photo of the spoon of corn chowder…that stayed with me, and I thought, I need to go back and read that recipe….that was what I’m trying to say. Lead with a photo like that…and you’ve got me.

        Like

      2. Hi Sylvia! Thank you so much for your feedback! When I first started putting the “category header pictures” in, I also thought that it might look a bit repetitive when browsing the homepage. But I like the way it looks when you enter individual blog posts as it seems to tie everything together. Will have to think about that more. And I hope you do try out the corn chowder! It’s definitely a “sometimes” food with 2 cups of cream in it, but it’s really warming on a cold winter’s day! =)

        Like

    2. Hello Miss Ling,

      Twenty Eleven seems to offer many layout possibilities – posts and pages with or without sidebars among other things. You get a lot of information about these options here: http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/twentyeleven/

      Usually you pick your basic layout of a post or page when you create it; the options are given on the right hand side of the “Edit Post” page. So, no need to change the theme (because I think it works well with what you do and once you figure out the details. you’ll be happy).

      As for the category cloud, I find it very useful. The only point I have here: You might want to consider what’s a good category for your readers. Countries are helpful if you present various cuisines. Courses and food types (like starters, mains, desserts, snacks and vegetables, fruit, meat etc.) could be a good idea, given your overall topic. “Food”, on the other hand, is very general given that’s what your blog is about. “Restaurants” certainly makes sense.

      Lastly, I always like the idea of using pictures as links. It is easy. You can link to any address you like; there is a box where you can enter the http address when you “Add Media” to your post or page. And you can also change the link when you click on the little “Edit Image” icon while you have the post open in “Edit Post”.

      Sometimes you might want to change the size of your image if it is only a link – you can either do that in your image editing program or in the “Edit Image” dialogue. Most of the pictures in my blog have been manually re-sized, so I have better control over the layout.

      I hope this helps and you have tons of fun trying out the options!

      Like

      1. Hi TMS! Thank you for that link! I will definitely look into it and see if I can play with the options available to my theme. Should be fun! =) And thank you for your feedback on my category cloud. I was trying to go broad for the categories, and put the specifics in the tags, but it is much easier to navigate the category cloud than the tags, so I will probably switch over some of the tags into categories to take on your advice. Thank you! =)

        Like

  12. Help please – I ma not too brilliant with computer technology but am really enjoying blogging and would like to set up a good reads widget.
    I started out on this but then got stuck.
    Are there any step by step instructions anywhere please?

    Like

    1. I love the goodreads app for my smart phone. I can scan the bar code on the books I have or books I’d like to have and file them on different “shelves” in goodreads. It just looks like you don’t have any books on your shelf for them to show. You can always log in and add them by searching.

      Like

    1. Hello! =)

      I’m just out of the beginner stage myself, and it’s a little confuzzling on the start up, is it not, lol.

      What you can do is familiarize yourself with your dashboard. (when you clock your blog’s name on the top right corner, when you’re logged in of course, youre redirected to the dashboard. Or you can find it from settings too I think!)

      Under the dashboard area, you have a side bar showing you comments, appearance etc. this is where you can change whatever you like about your blog’s layout. Widgets are the little icons that appear in your menu bar, like Tag Cloud, Archives, About Me, etc. Just a tip, you might want to make the about me page that links away, it’s a pretty good deal and free too! You can select with widgets you want and arrange them in the desired order too, it’s pretty cool! Plus there’s so much more. You can link to a Facebook page, your twitter feed, ad badges linking to other groups and pages. Oh and just another tip, you might want to keep an eye on the spam folder. Sometimes legit comments and trackbacks and pingbacks end up there too!

      Hope I helped!

      Cookie

      Like

    2. Explore, try stuff out, usually there’s nothing that can’t be undone if you don’t like it. I don’t have a “landing page” I use my blog’s last post & the list of pasts posts my “landing/home page” I use a layout that summarizes the stories/posts an I use the “more” option in my posts often. I still play around with pages & widgets, after 2 years at WP and several at Blogger. There’s no “right” way.

      Like

    3. Start reading as much as you can in the support pages and forums. You will find a lot of useful ideas and help.

      Like

  13. I’d like to have views on the layout of this site: http://thepageanovel.wordpress.com/, which I switched to the theme Manifest recently. It’s work-in-progress for a novel and I hope to attract comments from readers. Is the lay out enabling for people to leave comments? Most of the posts are part chapters of what will be – I hope – a finished product, so they are tagged WPLongform. The home page is the main body of work, additional pages are building up material for characters in the story. Is this clear enough for readers? Is there a better theme for that purpose? Please feel free to comment on all other aspects of the site. Thank you ;-)

    Like

    1. I think the layout looks great, and it probably works really well for people who’ve been reading your blog since the beginning. But I think it might be difficult for a new reader to get started. Maybe you could add a widget or something that had a link to the first post and a suggestion that people start there and then click “next post” to navigate forward.

      Like

  14. Hi everybody,

    Please feel free to comment on any aspects of the Design and Layout (including theme, widgets, backgrounds, fonts, colours, music and graphics) as well as Style and Content at SoundEagle’s blog.

    Thank you in anticipation.

    Like

    1. I think that overall you have a very clean, well-organized layout. I like the grey, black, and white and the separation between posts. The orange in the header and background is a little bright for my taste, but I tend to prefer more muted colors in general.

      Like

  15. Hell, all! I have a very simple layout. I keep it that way because my posts are often complex and long. But, I’m wondering if the layout is too simple. What can I do to jazz it up? I’ve thought about starting again with a fresh template but, it would be nice to just add a few things to the layout I already have. What do you think?

    jollycarolyn.wordpress.com

    Like

    1. Hello Jolly! (what a cheerful name! =) )

      A really simple way to add pop to your blog is to fidget with the widgets! If you look in the dashboard>appearance, you’ll see there’s a lot of widgets and links you can add that will make your page busier. Another idea that’ll add color too, are badges. Badges are a great way to make your blog peppier, and simultaneously show your readers what groups etc you belong to! And even under your specific chosen theme, therell be a couple of options you can switch between, in color and font.

      If nothing else then you can always go for a new theme altogether, too.

      Hope that helps!

      Cookie

      Like

  16. Τα καλυντικά της ΒΙΒΙΑΝ είναι ποιότητα που μπορείς να εμπιστευθείς.Για παραγγελίες άνω των 50 ευρώ δωρεάν μεταφορά μέσω διαδικτύου ή τηλεφώνα στο ++35725720241

    Like