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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 while you visit others’ blogs, 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.

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    1. 1. Reduce the clutter.
      – Share icons can be simplified with just the icons.
      – Sidebar is very busy you can reduce the clutter there as well such as you twitter feed can be replaced by a simple link to your account
      – your image on the top of your sidebar confuses me, why is it there?
      – the share and likes don’t need to be seen from the first page, I’d go with the option where it’s on the post only page
      – Your sidebar needs work. I think this is the major area that is distracting viewers form your main content.

      2. Your header is simple and bare to the bones. I think it’s good. I’d keep it. You’re not wasting anything and it’s very less-is-more.

      3. Your menu – you kept it simple. That’s a good thing.

      4. Does your theme allow for footers in the layout? If so, then transfer some of your sidebar items to it. This will also help reduce the clutter.

      Like

      1. I can’t reply to your reply so I’m adding this. I would add something to the photo like put it as a link to an “about me” or something like that. Otherwise it makes it look like an ad for dating… ;)

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    2. Hey,

      Firstly, I am a complete newbie to this. I’m here asking myself the same questions, though I’m a day old fledgling so I am not brave enough to ask other people to comment yet!

      But as you asked…
      + the content.
      + the posts/ pages are easy to navigate.
      – visually it’s an assault on the senses – there is a lot going on! Alignment, colours, boxes…

      Best of luck with it all.

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    3. I agree with Marie – the sidebar does seem overloaded with a lot of stuff. But I like how you have the different categorizations of writing up at the top, which is easy to navigate and get to whatever the reader likes. For my tweets, I decided to show only the last one. And I chose to put blogroll as a a separate category, instead of in the sidebar as a community with icons. But I think layout and format really depends upon the type of blog. Mines writing-heavy and yours seem more photo-oriented. Good luck in any case!

      Like

    4. Great start and good for you for asking for feedback! I agree with those before me.

      I used to have all that stuff in my sidebar when I first started and have since decided that it’s too busy for my taste. Best of luck!

      Like

  1. I’ve been told my blog is confusing. People don’t know what I’m targeting. Trust me, sometimes I’m not so sure myself. I’m like the Mini-Wheat blogger. Am I a sweet tasting treat or a healthy food? I have no clue what my niche is or should be and I’m all over that place.

    I would love to hear thoughts on direction – where am I going with this thing? Where should I go? Is all this confusion in my head?

    http://mycyberhouserules.com/

    All thoughts and input (negative or positive) would be truly appreciated!

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    1. I’ve had a look through your blog and I liked it. You write very well…

      I also love the images you’ve posted.

      I take the approach in my blog that I write about what I feel like, when I feel like it. Perhaps you could put different topics into pages – that’s what I have been told I should do next but I haven’t had time yet…

      More importantly – do you like your blog the way it is and who are you writing it for?

      All the best!!!

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      1. Do I like it the way it is? Ugh. On most days I do. But then I click elsewhere and see something different that I love and go back to mine and feel all sorts of disappointments. I’m just not sure really!

        But thanks a lot for the comments!

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    2. The only suggestion I can give that may be some help (?) is at the top with your menu bar, I would somehow have one for your photos, one for all your writing challenges etc.. just so people can directly access your posts more quickly…if you think which areas you contribute to most, and have the most feedback from (likes & comments) mattsden101 :-)

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      1. Great idea! I thought my categories accomplished that but since you’re the 2nd one to mention it… I’m not sure I know how to create such a thing but I’ll give it a try!

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    3. I have a lot of things I talk about on my blog. I am all over the place with my paintings, poems, and my daily life. I love your blog!

      Like

    4. Hi Marie,

      I think your blog layout is fun and entertaining – I’m sure what you want it to be. I also had a really huge problem with properly classifying my stuff (ie. Writing). But I realized it’s centered around my parents, my cultural heritage, and my dating disasters – so that’s how I classified each post and I put a separate link for each category on a sidebar. I also worry about readers finding my schizo log and trying to figure out what’s what, especially since my handle is one thing but I might write about something else. Took me over a year to figure it out though. You will too, I’m sure! Good luck!

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      1. yeah, those categories sure help a lot don’t they… I work with them, but sometimes I feel they need some revamping since my content has changed so much since when I started. Thank you so much for your time and comments!

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    5. I am kind of in love with your blog. I love your honest writing style. Photography is great, too.

      You’ve clearly already taken the above suggestion of separate pages for separate topics into consideration and applied it. Looks great.

      I believe that blogs should reflect the humans who create them. Some people put everything all in one blog, some people separate them into different blogs for different topics. It’s a personal decision and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. …as long as one doesn’t say “this is a ________ blog” and then start making tons of off-topic posts.

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      1. Well, the pages were something I’d been considering and wondering how to do it. So I just attacked it and found out how to do it. I wish I could link my Instagram feed directly in the sidebar as a widget but WP blocks it out. Sadly.

        I just discovered via today’s WP prompt that blogs like mine are considered Hybrids. I like that and shall use it. And you’re right about how blogs should reflect the person behind it… Sometimes I think my blog is similar to my wardrobe – so all over the place!

        Thanks so much for all your nice comments and for all the likes you’e given me today on my blog. Perfect timing!
        :)

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    1. Your header is definitely catchy. Bold. Daring. Anybody who sees it should not be shocked by your content. If so then they are oblivious or their surrounding and deserve to be shocked!

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      1. Thank you Marie. I appreciate the feedback. When I decided to pull that frame off my wall and create my own artwork it was a huge step. I have been concerned how it would be received.

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    2. It must be a big thing to put such thing out there. I found it very affecting. I feel for you. I do feel your blog should have more of a written warning that it’s not for the faint hearted and contains real violence. Or that you need to gird your loins, as it were, before entering. I know the main image depicts blood but maybe that’s not enough.

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      1. Clearly the wrong choice of words, but maybe you could put a caption at the top of the “about” page stating that this is not creative writing.

        I do agree with Marie that the imagery is strong and powerful, but that didn’t keep me from at least *hoping* that your blog was a place for your creative writing outlet.

        And yes, I’m incredibly impressed with your decision to air out your life in the hopes of true healing. I hope that other people who have suffered similar attacks are able to find your blog and see hope.

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  2. How do you guys feel about guest posts? Do you go to a site to read what the author has to say, or are you interested in reading a post from a guest every now and then?

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    1. It depends. On a blog that focuses on a very specific topic it’s interesting to hear a different opinion every once in awhile. But in a blog that’s all over the place content-wise, I follow it because I like the blogger’s style. In those cases guest-posts don’t really do it for me, unless they have something really interesting to say.

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  3. I’m wondering if people think I need to add writing on my current post: A…Video Profile of Patrice http://wp.me/p2WFYj-g4 or if the video I make is enough to stand alone. Also, any feedback on the layout is welcome. This is at kristinshermanolnes.com Intrinsic: Self-directed Learning.

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    1. I would possibly include a little write-up purely in case other users have problems with playback of the video. Some software and java don’t allow it. :)

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  4. Hello again, Community Pool.

    Just a few things… I started a daily post thing a while back (Not quite been able to keep up with it lately because it is kind of exhausting to keep up with). If you could go back to a few of my recent posts and let me know what works and what doesn’t, that would be helpful. Just so that I know what I should work on and what might need improving. Also, any other advice and criticism is always welcome.

    http://thehoaxofadigitallife.wordpress.com

    As always, your feedback is appreciated! Thanks a lot! :)

    -Bradley.

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  5. Hey everybody,
    I’ve been working on redesigning the layout and theme of my blog, and I could use some new input. I was going for something with clean lines, but still bright and fun. I wanted everything to look cohesive, like it was designed to go together (if that makes sense!) I’m not necessarily finished designing yet, but I could certainly use your comments and opinions on my sidebar, widgets, and anything else you want to mention. Thanks everyone!

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    1. I would promote the ‘Popular Picks’ to the top of your sidebar, people like to see what good work you have done… also a Follow widget would be a nice idea too! Great main photo though, bright, creative and eye-catching. :-)

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    1. Post often, but not overboard. Tag correctly. Thank followers and Likes, and comment on things like this, all generates a better profile for you! Number one is great content! :-)

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    1. My only criticism is the flow of your blog is quite busy, and could be streamlined more, the side bar is quite a large feature and appears to be fighting with the main content for space. Your ‘Follow my blog’ is lost below other widgets, I would bring that up further, and create a separate page for your ‘About Me’s’ to clear some space up. :-)

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  6. Hello everyone. I’m very new to the whole scene for blogging, so I apologize if the feeling of my blog is puzzling. I’m just looking for any kind of constructive help or positive reinforcement. Be it visually, or even just a comment on something I wrote. Anything would be nice and very much appreciated. Here I am: http://chaoticcriminal.wordpress.com/

    Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

    Like

    1. Hey, I don’t want this to sound too much of a criticism (the content I feel is great by the way) but the colour palette you have chosen, personally, I think makes it feel a little washed out? Maybe try something a bit bolder maybe? (without overdoing it obviously) ;-)

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      1. I like the look of yours. I think I may keep mine crisp (basic black and white) for now until I can get my creative juices flowing (i.e. coffee in my bloodstream). :P Thank you. I appreciate your comments!

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      2. Not a problem, yeah basic black and white is good, focus on your actual content being the best it can be, then slowly build up the visual!! P.S. Coffee is my creative fuel too :P

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      1. Thank you very, very much! Was there one in particular you liked? I tend to think I’m funny, but am sometimes a little shy about writing about it because I come off a little crass or blunt. I don’t know if it will be well received.

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      2. I really liked your latest post. The one about the woman breast-feeding in Starbucks.
        And yes, you are funny, you had me chuckling to myself on several occasions. Don’t be shy, humour is very personal, different people have different kinds of humour, but I think you should be able to express your own humour in your blog as it personalises your voice.
        And you are very welcome :)

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      3. Oh, you mean your profile page, gravatar thingy? That is showing yeah. It is a little short, so you might want to make a separate ‘about me’ page and maybe write a bit more about yourself. I just found myself wondering, after reading the Chaotic Criminal part, I wanted to know more. I’m still not too sure how in depth to go though on an ‘about me’ page. I’m still not completely happy with my own ‘about me’ page, I still need to tinker with it a bit I think. Sometimes I feel like I’ve said too much, whilst on the other hand I feel like there’s stuff in there that I couldn’t just leave out. And then of course there are always thousands of other things I could add… :P

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      4. No, not the grav thing. Maybe I did the page wrong. I see it from my end, so that’s what makes me think it’s not being seen on the other end. How I’m seeing it is at the very top of my blog above the title of “Sad Magic” there are two titles. And one is the about me page. But, possibly because I’m new to the show, I did it wrong and it’s not showing up. :/

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      5. lol, no actually that helps me. Because if it wasn’t easily seen, then I need to rethink the possibility of placement or theme, since that’s where the theme places the menu items at (which I think kind of stinks).

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    1. Hi there! I went through some of your posts and they are very well written. I think that it may help readers find your work easier if you had links at the top of the page? It was a little hard finding the posts.

      Like

    2. For me personally your lay-out and design is a bit too much in your face. I would use a smaller font size and in the background I wouldn’t use something more neutral, a bit less bright and not a repetition of a picture. It makes things feel a bit chaotic and messy.
      Apart from that it seems fine to me.

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      1. I agree – your header made me super interested in the content, but the format makes it really difficult for me to read the content.

        This is from someone who truly loves that template you’ve chosen, but has continued not to use it for my own blog because it just overwhelms my computer screen.

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  7. Hi! I’m quite new to blogging and WordPress. I know there is not much to my blog but I am learning and maybe you can help!

    I’m wondering about a few things. I post on different subjects, should I have more than one blog? One of my friends makes music (pounding techno music), what sort of post could I make about his work? Should I generally make mini reviews about music I like or are there too many of those? :)

    http://jakekuyser.wordpress.com/

    Like

    1. No need for more than one blog, there are enough settings and features to allow you to have several pages on your blog that can each feature a different topic, and if shown on the menu correctly, navigation around your blog will be easy enough. :D

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  8. Hello everyone! I have been trying out different writing styles and would really like critiques or suggestions on what I can do to improve my writing or maybe try out different styles/genres.
    I’m also thinking about making different pages for different types of writing – would that be good for organization?
    My blog is at http://megelert3.wordpress.com
    Any and all criticism is appreciated! Thank you!

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  9. Hi! I started on WordPress in March and today I am looking for a few comments on my blog page (do any links, widgets or menus appear to be missing?) Also, I’m not a professional writer, so am also looking for feedback on my writing style. Anything I could improve upon? Thanks for your feedback, this is an awesome blogging community!

    http://maryjmelange.wordpress.com/

    Like

      1. Thanks for your comment. I thought I had added the “follow me” widget, but I see that it’s way at the bottom of my page, where readers may not go. I will get that moved to the top.

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  10. Hello! Thank you for this opportunity for feedback. I have only just started my blog – about two weeks ago, so it is great to have the chance for feedback right away, and make improvements. I welcome ANY and ALL suggestions on any aspect of my blog site and…..I would like to know if it is too simple / plain? and does that make it boring? Please leave comments HERE on this site, and I will return to read. Thanks! http://www.wantonwordflirt.com

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    1. Hi! I actually commented on another blogger’s theme this evening. As I looked at your site the first reaction I had to the theme/colors was 1970s basement. Your blog has the potential to look aesthetically so much better! Take the time to go through the various themes available, press the “activate” tab, and the system will automatically convert your content to that theme. If it doesn’t look good, simply press “cancel” and you are reverted back to your starting theme. Just a few days ago I changed my blog’s appearance. The one I started with seemed too stark. In the future I know that I can always change themes again if I get tired of the way it looks. These are meant to be friendly suggestions! And by the way, I love your short, simple bio. It made me re-think mine. Cheers!

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      1. Lindsay, thank you for your comments, I agree with your suggestions for improvement. Being a newbie, I was not too sure how big of a pain it might be to change themes but if it as simple as you say, I will definitely be trying out different “looks”.

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      2. Lindsay, thank you for your comments, I agree with your suggestions for improvement. Being a newbie, I was not too sure how big of a pain it might be to change themes but if it as simple as you say, I will definitely be trying out different “looks”.

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      3. I love the way you have streamlined it! But yeas, too BIG! LOL :) Keep playing around. It might take a little bit but eventually you will find the right one. Keep me posted!

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  11. Hello everyone,
    Thanks for this chance to ask for feedback!
    Last March I started a blog to document a specific project I am working on: it is a creative postcard project and everyone who is interested can participate in it.
    I would really love some feedback on this blog – anything that comes to your mind!
    Please leave any comments and feedback HERE. I will come back to read them.

    http://receivecreatecombine.wordpress.com/

    Thanks!

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    1. What a cool project! I would say that although I think your theme works well to display the postcards, maybe some words along with the images on the front page would help. You could try where/who they came from, what inspired you to group them together, or some other details. Maybe this is directly against your mission of imagery only, but that’s one thought.

      Good luck!

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      1. Hi PaigeElizabeth, thanks for your time and your thought! It’s a good idea, I’ll think about it and about how I can possibly do this within this lay- out… Probably I will need another lay-out theme to allow this. I tend to think in images and I forget that other people might prefer words.
        Thanks!

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  12. I write about beer and much of that centers around visiting breweries. I recently traveled to Boston and had a very negative experience at a highly recommended brewery http://wp.me/p2tTkJ-pY . I want to know from all of you, especially reviewer/critic types: 1) do you write bad reviews, or do you omit places you don’t enjoy? 2) How do you avoid sounding whiny and unreasonable while still being personal and clear about your stance?

    Thanks much for any feedback! I need help!

    Paige

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    1. I don’t do a lot of reviews (here’s one quasi-example of saying something negative that I did: http://ampcideas.com/2012/06/10/dear-readerca/ – also, I have no clue what happened to my link title…), but that being said, I’m all about respectful honesty. Also, I love beer, so I’m now following you. :)

      If I were in your position, I would reach out to the brewery where I had the bad experience, give them honest-yet-respectful feedback, and give them a chance to respond. I would definitely make sure that they know hypothetical me publishes beer/brewery reviews on my blog.

      I wouldn’t censor myself against the negative review, but I would let the brewery response guide my language in the write-up. Were they responsive and willing to listen to/do something about negative feedback? Awesome! I’d recommend giving them another chance – and that for folks who have tried/planning to try them to give the brewery both positive and negative feedback so that they can continue to improve.

      On the flip side, if they weren’t responsive to feedback and/or responded as if my post didn’t have any effect on their business, then I would definitely write about that because, in the craft brew world, there are plenty of awesome people who want their customers to have the best possible experience – and those are the ones who we should support with our dollars.

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      1. Thank you so much for that response. I agree, and I feel like it’s only fair to allow the brewery to respond.

        By the way, I also donated my hair–that’s why its so short!–and obviously didn’t do my research. I had no idea that LOL charges for the wigs. That is great information to have.

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      2. Glad to be of help! Yeah – I totally gave LOL my hair the first time, too. And then someone mentioned that LOL may be a little shady, so I did my homework before the next donation. Needless to say, I’m still a little annoyed that I ever gave them hair in the first place.

        Also, just read your review – bravo! It was totally clear that you were being fair. I love/hate the pic of everyone’s backs. Such a perfect visual.

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  13. I really want to improve and expand my writing through feedback from my readers, how can I get more feedback and comments? Is it my content or is it that my blog isn’t out to enough readers yet?

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    1. I started looking for blogs that had common interests as I did, to read. And from there, you just start commenting and hope you get a good base started that way. In time, relationships develop and comments should come in. I just started this past week. I’m lucky I have people following me and liking me at all! lol Good luck to you!

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    2. I am now one of your followers, and I saw that you are now following me as well. Thanks! So, I began looking at your blog and I have a suggestion for you. I would consider changing your theme setting. You have a lot going on there with text and pictures–which are both great–but I think changing to a bit more minimalist look would allow viewers to concentrate more on your content and (for me) not become overwhelmed with large headings and background colors. I actually just changed themes myself. I was using Manifest and it felt too stark and uninviting. It took me a number of tries but I found a theme and layout that I feel really fits with my content. Simply a friendly suggestion!

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  14. I am a poet and post many of my pieces on my site, A Drop of Ink. I would really like to get more traffic to my site to showcase my poetry and get feedback on it. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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  15. Hi, all. I just started last week, so I guess now’s a good time to ask for feedback, before I get too used to doing everything all sorts of wrong.

    I guess I’d like thoughts on anything you feel is worth mentioning, be it the content, the layout, the color scheme (or lack of same — I was shooting for simple and legible, but I think I might have overshot that and landed in Boring).

    Warning, a couple of the posts have some adult language. To me it’s not too over the top, but bear in mind that I grew up in Brooklyn in the 70s and 80s — nuns would curse openly during Mass.* :)

    Thanks!

    *Okay, maybe not quite THAT bad.

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    1. Congrats on taking that leap to start a blog! It looks great to me. I love the clean lines/colors because stuff like your awesome otter really jump off the page.

      Of course, you can always change your theme later, too. Note, if you do that, you may end up with posts that look nothing the way you intended because they were created in respect to the them at the time. (example: http://ampcideas.com/2012/11/21/color-my-world/… See how the pictures are just a verticle stream with lots of white space to the right? They totally used to be 2 or three to a line.)

      Like

      1. I see what you mean about the white space. It’s not too bad, though — I’m not sure I would have noticed it had you not pointed it out. As a reader, I probably would have just thought, “Well, that’s just the way it’s formatted,” and then not thought about it again after that. It certainly doesn’t detract from the substance (which is very good).

        I was looking at it on my iPad, so I don’t know if the layout is different on a non-mobile device. But I like how easy it is to navigate through the categories — it made it very easy for me to home in on things I was most interested in right away, and quickly get a feel for your blog and what it’s about.

        I’m looking forward to reading more! :)

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  16. Hello! As the one-year anniversary of my blog approaches (June 11) I decided to branch out and move from a .wordpress.com address to my very own domain name! I just registered today! I’ve been online for more than half my life and never felt so online-grown-up before. So, in honor of my new URL I thought I’d throw this out there for suggestions:

    http://www.lipglossandabackpack.com

    My rough plan right now is to just spend the next year posting more regularly and connecting with people who are interested, and about a year from now I might move to an external host and possibly look at making some money off the blog!

    Like

  17. I’m new, and Im wondering what exactly is happening when i “press” my post after i publish it. and also how can I get my picture to show? I have one on there but it seems to just be a generic icon. Thanks in advance..

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    1. Re your picture….Go and check your general setting…. ‘Upload Picture’ and see what displays… If your picture does maybe you did very recently and it’ll take a bit of time…like a day or so…Try to upload it again if it shows as being there ….you may have to delete and re add …not sure.

      Re the ‘press’ I don’t know anything about that.. I did read once on it but have forgotten …you can check WordPress.com forums or even google the question…and you should get some answers…. I have never used it…I thought it was mainly for readers…??? Diane

      Like