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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. I like your writing style, and in contrast to what JWKUYSER said, I found the pictures, while apropos to the narrative, too distracting and disruptive to the flow of the piece. Perhaps smaller pictures with the text wrapping around them rather than actually breaking the flow of the text would provide better flow to the piece overall. I do think there is a time and place for the larger images that completely break the chain of text, but this particular piece isn’t it, at least as far as I’m concerned.

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    2. I agree with PCGUYIV that the pictures are a bit distracting. I think your content was good, but posting from an iPhone doesn’t allow very good formatting options. Other than that I like the writing style, you get to your point succinctly and move on to the next point.

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    3. Your post is wonderful! The content is fantastic and relatable. I would often wonder how teachers felt about students and what they taught. Thanks for sharing a little window into that world. My only thought would be to start your first sentence off in a way that drags me in. I worked for a couple of news papers and they always said the first sentence is your hook, what brings the reader in.

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    4. I like your writing style! But if you want your readers to feel at home when reading your amazing posts, I think being cheerful and happy about your new posts, will surely make others feel happy too!

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    5. I’ll comment on your post content directly on your site. But as for the graphics. WordPress allows you to right or left a picture. To text wrap. http://en.support.wordpress.com/images/image-alignment/

      I think wrapping the text would provide the reader with a better and organized flow. While the link above shows one way on how to achieve this…it can also be done by clinking on the graphic in the wysiwyg editor. There you can resize image, and left, right, or center it’s placement. And remember, there is an advance area that allows one to remove or tweak picture borders, and a horizontal and vertical tweak in the event of a text-wrap crowding, abutting the graphic.

      One other suggestion. I would have made bold each lie #, and perhaps made bold and Italicized the beginning of the truth.

      Good luck to you…teach.

      Regards,
      Doug

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    1. It feels a little dark. Instead of changing the header image (which is a good photo), is it possible for you to change the background color? By background, I don’t mean the white that the text appears on; I mean the gray border around the screen. If you can change the white but not the gray, maybe try experimenting with ultra-pale shades of different colors. A little more color would look good but you don’t want to make the text hard to read.

      Also, your tagline is incomplete. You are missing a word after “interesting.”

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  1. I would like some constructive criticism about my blog in general. Please comment about the writing style, blog layout, ease of following etc. I am always looking to improve. Here is a link to my site http://creativity arise.com. Thanks!

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    1. You’ve got a good flow to your writing, and the overall design of your site is appealing. There are things that I would do differently if it were my site, but we would be talking about things of personal taste, not true issues that would potentially need to be addressed.

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    2. My only suggestion would be to put a “break” in your posts before you list the several dozen trackbacks/pingbacks. The long list of links almost discouraged me from scrolling further.

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      1. I like the idea and the photos but they are all different sizes and it confuses my eyes. It could be just me. Better if the pictures in the collage were all the same size.

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      2. I agree too – the header, coupled with the color scheme, is a bit too much visual stimulation. You could get away with half as many pictures and it would look less hectic.

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    1. Overall I like the look and feel of your blog. I would agree that perhaps the header image is a bit too busy, but I understand your reasoning behind it. My suggestion would be to rearrange the way you have the collage laid out slightly. It appears to have 3 collections of 4 images and then two single images. If I were to use those same images, I would move one of the single images between the first and middle collections of 4, and the other single image would be between the middle collection of 4 and the last collection of 4. Represented by numbers, your current layout is 4:4:4:1:1. My suggested layout is 4:1:4:1:4.

      Also, I would make the text above the header image a little more impressive. As it is, the text above the collage just gets lost. I didn’t even realize it was there at first glance.

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      1. Thank You so much for making time for this review. Your insights is extremely logical. I will have this incorporated over the weekend — the day job over the week leaves little time for work on images :( . And yes, I will correct the header too.

        Am really grateful for your feedback and time. Wish you the very best in your work!!! Good Day!

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  2. Hey, Heather,

    Thanks for the info. I actually had run across this while I was researching. Have you ever used them to review your blogs or your site?

    We went to lunch with our niece, her husband and son yesterday at.a Greek place. Really good, but it upset my stomach. Now I still feel like shit.

    The above makes me sound so normal. I never thought it would happen to me. Normal. Aargh.

    In my soul, I’m still a 70’s radical. The girl from the small town who wanted nothing but out. Which I did.

    So, I think I picked up that you live in Maine. Wow, we’re are on opposite ends of the country. I live in Seattle, Washington.

    Here in Washington, we have a spot that is the farthest northwestern area of the US. I’m thinking there must be a like place in Maine. But I’m not sure. I’m horrid at geography.

    You have one crazy governor. A tea party guy. He’s ruining your state. Those tea party people are frightening.

    I think I figured out how to do the menu thing and have sub-menus.

    You have really been a great help. I really appreciate it.

    Kerry

    kcm

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      1. Tacticianjero can correct me if I’m wrong, but considering the title is Greyskeil Rainbow, it stands to reason that greyskeil is a phonetic variant of gray scale, the same way that i 8 ΃ π reads “I ate some pie”, or ghoti or photi are both phonetic variants of fish.

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      2. It’s just some wordplay, no actual word.. But it’s somewhat similar to the word “greyscale”/”grayscale” which means a range of gray shades from white to black

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  3. I changed my theme to Triton Lite today. Not sure if I like all the CAPITALS but I like the way the homepage presents small parts of posts with pictures. Any thoughts?

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    1. The Caps takes some getting used but it’s actually not bad at all. I also like the excerpting of the posts with pictures. The ‘read more” link is a bit hard to read, though.

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    2. I think it makes it interesting, but I also feel a little out of order when I first see it. Could just be me though! However, I enjoy your cute pictures and you have a very sweet and sincere writing style. :) Keep up the good stuff.

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    3. I think the theme would work better if you included more pictures with more posts. It would help to break up the lines of text and therefore the caps wouldn’t look so harsh.

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      1. I agree. I do try to find or make a picture for each post. Sometimes I don’t bother though. I spend too much time on wordpress as it is! Will try harder. :)

        I like your theme. I would try it if it was free and not $80.

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      2. Thanks. I debated back and forth if it was worth getting that theme, but ultimate went for it in a moment of weakness. I’m glad I did. My previous blogs all fizzled out around 3 months, so that purchase helped me push through the plateau!

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    4. I like the look. I do see the issue with the “Read More” link, but that is minor. The title serves as a link to the post, so it isn’t that big of an issue to me.

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    5. The theme looks good. You might try to keep your titles short, so they don’t extend beyond one or two lines. Think like a newspaper. Possibly center a longer subtitle to a post as the first line of text.

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  4. For the life of me I do not understand ping backs. I get them and approve, but when I tried to do a ping back on someone else’s blog it failed. How do they work? How can I start doing them? What are the steps to take in doing them. Also, I would like to thank those that helped me before with my blog content and the Daily Prompt. You guys rock!

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    1. If you put a link to another blog post in your post that will automatically do a pingback. Unless you have turned pingbacks off. You can even pingback your own posts, which is a good way of testing the theory!

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      1. Literally, just copy and paste the weblink into where you type. It’s as simple as that, you’re making it more complicated than it needs to be!

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    2. A pingback is sent to your blog for approval when someone includes a link to your blog on theirs. The way to get a pingback on someone else’s blog is to include a link to that other blog on yours. (And then you have to hope that the blogger approves it. Not all people do.)

      However, it also seems like there is a 100 pingback limit for each blog post. Since I notice that your most recent post is from a daily challenge, I wonder if that’s the one that hasn’t been generating a pingback for you. If so, it’s might be because the daily challenge post had already reached the limit; I didn’t check the challenge so I don’t know how many pingbacks are there already. Challenges tend to reach 100 pingbacks fairly quickly.

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  5. I feel like my blog design is too plain and I’m insecure about my writing style. Can someone help? I don’t want to spend much money on blog templates yet but maybe there’s an easier solution? What can I improve in general? http://ototw.wordpress.com/

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    1. I agree with Kinna. The header is eye-catching, but it took me a moment to focus on it because the background is too similar. I would make the background a solid color that matches the green-black of the sunglass frame in the header photo. It will help the text to stand out more too.

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    2. I fully understand not wanting to spend money on templates. I am a cheapskate when it comes to such things, myself. Why pay for something when I can get it for free? Unless you’ve recently changed the background from whatever hideousness the previous two individuals were discussing to the wave you have as the background now, I don’t see what they’re talking about. I do think that perhaps a solid color in the aquamarine tonal range would serve you better. It would still compliment the overall look-and-feel, but not be subject to such anomalies as photo-wrap. Unfortunately, the way you have the background set up, there is an obnoxious striping effect on the left side caused by the photo tiling to fill the space if you have a rather wide aspect ratio on your monitor.

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    3. Thanks everyone! I fixed it and hope it looks better now. Maybe some day I’ll actually invest in a nice theme.

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    1. The layout is fantastic and appealing. It makes me want to explore more.

      What you could do is make the Categories/Archives visible at the Home Page. It makes things more organized. I would also suggest describing what your blog consists in the About page. This is so viewers can get a clear view of what themes your blog has to offer.

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      1. I just check out one of your articles: http://blueberrynice.com/2013/05/01/suffer-your-abuse/

        I think you should bold the main points of your articles to emphasize and make things interesting. I am, like a lot of other people, skim through articles to get a feel first before reading thoroughly.

        Your subject titles are pretty engaging. :) I think you have the hang of layout and appearance.

        Not a problem. I’m glad I could be of help.

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      2. Thank you that is a great tip! I will do that too. I think I am getting a hang of how to change up my About page as well. Thank you Samantha :)

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      3. No problem. :)

        (Also, pardon my obvious mistakes on my critiques. I should probably edit my comments before posting. Lol.)

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    2. I definitely like the layout, and the posts. But to make it more accessible, I would suggest adding some sort of tagline, blurb in the sidebar, or some other indication of what your blog is about. At first glance, I get the “berry theme”, but I don’t know what it means.

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    3. Your site is wonderful. So wonderful in fact, that my initial reaction when visiting it was that there were only two possibilities regarding your post here: 1) You are truly naive about your own talent, or 2) You are fully aware of your own talent and simply lying through your teeth to boost visits. I’m still not entirely sure which is the case. Either way, you’ve got a great site visually, and a good writing style. Any changes or suggestions I could offer would simply be based on matters of personal aesthetic taste.

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      1. You are too kind. I have not been able to drive engagement to my site, which is why I am wondering if I am doing something very wrong? I know that I should write more and write better but I feel like there is something definitely missing. Thank you for looking at it. I just seem to be unable to retain a returning readership.

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      1. I enjoyed your blog and love how it speaks. I really can relate on some levels (except in a opposite form.) I am white and grew up in an almost all white school but was really attracted to different ethnicities. I remembering in middle school telling my parents I wanted to marry someone who was black and they looked at me like I was crazy! There really wasn’t but five black people in my entire school. When I went to college, a very diverse one at that, I met my husband. He is half black and half white. We fell in love immediately and I couldn’t be happier. Honestly, though I find him physically attractive, his heart is the most beautiful of anyones that I’ve known. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful insights it really can encourage others struggling with America’s “idea” of beauty. Also, your second post I read on being sedentary really got me thinking! I want to catalog my day like that and see how much I sit. It is actually a little bit frightening. Thanks again! And keep it up. <3

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      2. Your about page has one part written in the first person and one part in the third person. It read a bit oddly to me. Try writing it all in the first person, after all it’s you writing about you!

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      3. WHATSBREASTSFORYOU: Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I really appreciate it. I’m glad I can be of help. :)

        JWKUYSER: Thank you for your feedback. :) I appreciate it. And I understand. Thank you for pointing that out. Makes a lot of sense. And I’m going to figure out how to add pictures.

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    1. I like the overall aesthetic of your site; however, I do agree with JWKUYSER that the random bold type is a little jarring. Perhaps using italicized text would still convey that sense of added importance without disrupting the eye quite so much. I was also a little taken aback by the jarring magenta color that shows up before the pink denim background has a chance to load. You might think about toning that down a notch, as people will see it, even if only briefly. Your writing style seems well thought out and flows fairly smoothly. I doubt I could be of much help in that department.

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  6. FABFOOD ‘N FLOWERS
    I love Italy, take food addicts, flower addicts (gardens) and history addicts there on tour. Being of older generation, my daughter assisted me in producing a blog. Each time I post anything she says I am too long winded, too historical (!), too impersonal. I have shriveled up!

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    1. There’s nothing wrong with being long-winded as long as the words aren’t just filler. I don’t know who is responsible for this advice, but I read somewhere that you should write with no more words than absolutely necessary, and likewise, with no fewer words than absolutely necessary, either.

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    1. I like the content and what it is about. Very interesting as gambling is considered an addiction for some but isn’t talked about a lot in society. Oklahoma, my home state, in the past 7 years, has allowed gambling and often I drive by the casinos and wonder about what is going on inside. However, I am really confused by the first post saying content is being stolen? Maybe clarify a little bit, it makes people feel confused on what they are supposed to, or not supposed to do. Other then that I like how peaceful the colors and the picture is on your page. :)

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    1. As a quick bit of feedback, your tagline still reads “This WordPress.com site is the bee’s knees”. I would update this with something that indicates what your blog is about.

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  7. I’ve written several posts in response to the Daily Prompts but only one of them showed up on the list where the Daily Prompt is announced each day. Can someone help me learn how to do this. I am not very computer savvy, I admit, but I husband who is in IT couldn’t figure how to do it either.
    If someone could walk me through it step by step, I would really appreciate it.
    Thanks ever so!

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    1. I’m new to this too, but I think all you need to do is include a link to the Daily Prompt page in your text, then you should appear at the end of the list. To include a link, highlight some words (eg Daily Prompt) and then click on the chainlink icon, and fill in the link details. Good luck!

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  8. Hey!
    I have a few posts put up on my blog and would love to get some critique on the writing style and the things I write about.

    I also welcome any suggestions on the design and readability of the blog.

    Thanks for all the support!

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  9. Hello community!
    I’d love some general feedback on my blog: writing style, content, blog design etc. All comments are welcome and appreciated. Also want to know if you would follow me, why or why not?

    Thanks!

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    1. At first glance your blog seems a little “busy.” To me it’s a bit overwhelming when there is so much information to sift through all at once. I do think your content is good and interesting.

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  10. I’m still new to this, and haven’t worked out how to include pictures inline with the text, without everything wrapping round – they leap all over the place! I’m sure it must be pretty obvious, but I can’t work it out at all. Any help much appreciated! At the moment I’ve ended up just sticking the pictures at the end, but it isn’t really how I want it. Thanks!

    http://greenlegs7.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hedwigia: You’ve got a lot of nice pictures to display! You’re correct, sometimes pictures can create text havoc. I was just dealing with some of this myself today. If you want the text to not wrap around the pictures at all, the easiest thing to do is use the center alignment rather than left, right or none. Click on the picture in your “edit” view so it is highlighted yellow. Click on the mountain icon in the upper left corner. (If the icon isn’t there, try clicking the picture again.) Select “center” under the preview image of your picture in dummy text. You should see the dummy text line up above and below the picture, not beside it.

      If you are trying to wrap text, the key is to insert the picture at the right place, especially if you’re trying to right justify it. I’ve not found a better way to deal with that other than trial and error. Another helpful tool inside of the picture editor is to scale down the picture size to improve the layout.

      Last idea – You might look into some of the magazine-style themes and see if they have any other picture layout options available.

      Hope something there helps!

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  11. Hello, I need some help with my blog! You see, I do these different posts with “Top Ten” advice/ favorite stuff, and I’ve run out of ideas! :( I’m loosing views by the hour, and I need to get to my big goal. Although I can’t do that without ideas, so if you have any ideas, please don’t be afraid to use your great mind! :)
    Here’s the link to my blog…

    http://toptenthingsblog.wordpress.com/

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    1. Top ten important cooking skills?
      Top ten places to go in a city/country etc?
      Top ten resource websites for a topic? (Ie fashion, parenting, self harm…)
      Top ten things our parents taught us?
      Top ten dodgy ingredients in food? (E numbers, pesticides etc)

      Depends how deep you wanna go really. Top ten lies the media tell us, top ten false facts about the economy…

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