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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.

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  1. I feel like none of my posts are deep; I feel as though they’re shallow and abstract. I want my blog to be about my life as I become a teacher, and other things that interest me, but not if I can’t get out of this rut.

    Can you please offer advice on how to make the life posts more interesting and my other posts more detailed? I want to be interesting; I don’t think I am.

    1. I liked your Facebook post!
      I don’t feel that your posts are shallow. Maybe if you are feeling a little exposed at the thought of really saying what you think, do it a little bit at a time? Continue the style you are using, and add little personal touches to it? That way you will begin to feel more comfortable with “putting yourself out there”. That’s kind of what I have started to do, and I got a great response!

      http://laugraeva.wordpress.com/

      1. Smartsstunningseaerching, I have to agree with Laugraeva that your Facebook post is fantastic. Sensationally written, so obviously you are on the right path at the very least.

        For interesting, deep, detailed, and any of that, I simply suggest being completely open and completely yourself. It is my experience that the blogging community are amazingly accepting and you will never feel alienated for any opinion or part of yourself that you offer up on your blog.I know it can be daunting, but with great risk comes great reward. Personally, I love witnessing all the little quirks and individualities that make us completely us. And so many people will agree with that. If you play it safe, you will not truly express yourself. If you are able to express the absolute you onto that page, people will find you interesting, because they will see what it is to be uniquely you.

        That is the theory behind it anyway. I have not and may never master this myself, but I think my theory is solid. Haha. Anyhows, I think your blog is great and I’ve no doubt you will be wowing people with your interesting self for a long time to come.

        And Laugraeva, I know you did not ask for feedback, but your blog is also magnificent. A wonderful read!

        Kudos to both of you!

    2. I don’t think your posts are shallow. It can be hard to put yourself out there. You can start by doing a little at time like the person above me suggestions or you can start by starting with something small and build from there.

    3. I think your blog post does a good job if identifying what’s wrong with Facebook. It reminds me why I prefer WordPress because it has a bit more depth to it. Keep it up.

    4. Fist off, I’ll suggest that you not take one random person’s opinion of “interesting” because there’s a broad array of views out there.

      That said, your topics aren’t generally what I would choose to read (but plenty of other people would). So I’ll just offer some advice on how to be more “interesting,” if you feel you need to be:

      Write about what excites you. If it’s not interesting to you, how do you expect to make it interesting for anyone else? If you have that enthusiasm going in, the details will flow naturally. (And also remember that different readers are interested in different levels of detail. There’s no right or wrong around here when it comes to that.) That often means sitting down to write when inspiration strikes, and not so much at a scheduled time.

    5. I’ve been having the same problem lately. I’ve found that keeping a journal can be helpful. I type my journal up digitally so that I can password encrypt it and feel sure that nobody else will read it. The security gives me peace of mind and allows me to express myself openly without the fear of being judged restricting me mentally.

      If nothing else, writing a journal entry seems to be a good way of warming up and getting into a writing mindset.

      1. I totally agree with the journal comment. I have been writing one for forty one years, and find it is a great way of releasing emotions, trying out new ideas, practising the literary devices we all use – and learning to find your own writing voice.
        I rant and rave, sing and play in mine; I siphon off all the overblown crap – and then synthesise what is left into my blog posts, novels and so forth!

    6. The Facebook post was extremely well-written. Loved what you wrote about YouTube comments ;) – so right on. I don’t think you are shallow at all. I would have loved to hear more about your Uncle and family. I’m looking forward to your updates when school begins.

    7. Everyone is interesting when they think deeply and honestly about themselves. The problem usually lies with the ‘uneasiness’ that comes along with expressing ones deepest truths. Don’t be afraid to say what you really feel! It is real and authentic and engaging. The pains that come with true self expression is great. But, the rewards can be unimaginable. Not only will you show the world who you really are, you’ll learn more about yourself!

    8. You will feel “deep” when you start writing honestly. Some will say that “your posts aren’t shallow”, because they are probably pretty good, pretty “deep” in fact, at least from the readers perspective. Only when you begin to write honestly, with no reservation, will you feel “satisfied” that your post is now “deep enough”.

      Tip – write about something you would not even say to your Mother. Really. Remember that controversial subject matter is the key ingredient in creating excellent content. Offer an opinion about something your passionate about, but your not usually willing to make public. This could be a risque topic, or it could be about Autism, abortion, or marijuana…If the phone doesn’t ring 10 min after the post, try again.
      -Moneymakerspy

    9. This is deep so think about it, you should be grateful for the air you take in and let out. When you have lost every thing you have and you haven’t had a income in two years. The lawyer you trust have tied you up that you can’t see your way out, and when you fired him his words ” you will never find a lawyer to represent you”. Why? Milwaukee Wisconsin is control by Marquette University graduate Lawyers. But wait you took all the change in the jar you were saving and that is gone. The last straw is you are running out of toilet paper. All you want to do when you trust this lawyer is feed the homeless and start you a group home for trouble children, But wait their is nothing like the Creator when every thing look dark, your faith has to come through, when you work at it..the Creator wants you to Create!!

  2. With each post I make I feel as if my writing style is lacking something. Having never had writing classes. At times I find it difficult to express myself in words so others can see, feel, and grasp ideas that I am expressing. I hope to be a light in a dark place, within thoughts and minds of people who may be experiencing life as I am, along the somewhat same pathway, expressed in blog form.

    1. I don’t see your writing style as lacking something because I think there’s a fairly large audience that would be very happy with what you’re putting forth. One does not need writing classes to be a strong writer.

      Also… although you didn’t ask about it, I do feel the need to comment on one or two other things. First, your blog theme split your blog title in an unfortunate way. Since there’s no hyphen or lowercase letters, it looks like your blog is called “Compass Ion Pages.” I like your intended blog title, so you might be better off changing themes if you can’t get “Compassion” into one line. Also, consider replacing the default “A topnotch WordPress.com site” with something more relevant to your blog.

      1. Great points you gave to me. I never thought of that as of yet, but would have come to it at some point I would think???? But then… Thanks so much for your views and those points.

    2. @compassionpages – Didn’t you just start writing?? I only see 2 posts listed for you. Its hard to know if your writing is lacking anything this early. I really think if you keep writing with your content focused you will find your niche. I have never had any writing classes either and I don’t think they are necessary to write on a level that relates to people. Another tip, your layout kind of confused me, and your blog name appeared like this, 2 lines, “COMPASSI ON PAGES” So thats something to think about with your layout, how it will appear on other screen sizes. You can’t please everyone, but the horizontal layout has me confused where I should be looking.
      http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

      1. Thanks for the feed back. I know I need to do something with the layout. But I liked the look of the theme, but now may need to look for another one better for me. Yes I just started posting and hope to have more to come soon. But I’m a slow writer and need to work on it. But no need to rush right? Just having some fun with the ideas in my head. Thanks again.

    1. I don’t know what to say about your posts other than; do not change a thing. You have a real knack for this. I could not care less about Dirty Dancing but still found your post incredibly interesting and enjoyable to read. I have worked as a teacher, so I could relate more to the first, but even if not, I still believe I would have loved the post. Keep up the terrific work!

  3. Hello, I recently found a scrapbook of political Cartoons that my dad had collected when he was young. I didn’t know what I should do with them but I thought perhaps there are people out there that might enjoy seeing them. I have put together a blog and would like to post one a day so anyone who may wish to view them can also enjoy them. Please visit and give me some feedback or suggestions on how I can improve of changes that might be helpful. Thanks, http://dadspoliticalcartoonscrapbook.wordpress.com/

    1. Thank you for posting these. That’s going to be an amazing blog.

      I do have a question, though. Are all of these cartoons going to be so light in color? Assuming they will be, they might look better against a black background instead of the white. (I’m not 100% on that, so perhaps test the black and see what you like better.)

      1. Thank you I will try that. Also I have been simply taking photos Do you think maybe scanning them would help make the print a bit more clear? I haven’t attempted taking them out of the scrapbook yet however I believe I can without harm to them. Thanks again for your thoughts!

      2. I am having trouble getting the background of the header and photos a darker color. Is this possible? I found how I can change the color of the font however not the background of the header area?

    2. I have to agree with BUMBLEPUPPIES. The white background creates a wash-out of the images your putting on your blog. You don’t necessarily have to use black in the background. A dark brown or sepia color could work giving an antique look of the blog.
      Good Luck …

    3. It might be necessary to change the theme of your blog. Some start out with a black or brown background and some will allow you to change the background color. (Some are also specifically labeled as photo blogs… you may be able to search based on that one feature.) If you’ll need to change the background color, be sure to pick a theme that has the text directly on the background instead of in a box. (My blog has the text in a box, which protects it from the loud background pattern.)

      And I second Isadora’s idea of a dark brown or sepia as an option. That could look really good as long as you’re not putting up any black text against it.

      1. That’s definitely better. Half of me wishes the light brown were darker and the other half realizes that you’d lose your header menu that way. So I’d say keep it like that.

    4. Just came from the cartoon site – great idea. They seemed to have held up well over the years. I would look into ways to make sure they stay in such good condition – definitely a scrapbook you will want to pass on.

  4. I’ve changed the look of my blog quite a bit since I started trying to find my favorite look. Interested in anyone’s opinions on the current version. Thanks

    1. Hey there. I find your background color really strong. Reading long texts while having that in the background is really heavy on the eyes. You could try something more mild. I would suggest matching the bg. colour with that of your widgets, which is a nicer shade of blue.

    1. Ok let me dust off my college literature class cap from a few years ago and take a stab at it. Great use of imagery and action verbs. But I was still wanting a little more. I couldn’t picture the setting, other than the lamp post, and what were the stakes? Why did she need his help without hurting him. I know it’s a short story so not everything is going to be spelled out, but I didn’t quite get the undercurrent of their story. I do like the rhythm of your writing though, it’s very easy to follow:)

      1. I like to keep it simple when writing short stories. I just don’t think too much about the details, only the action that is happening. I totally understand what you mean though. Thanks! :D

  5. I MUST PARTICIPATE!!! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL HUMANITY! :P

    But seriously, I love wordpress bloggers. You’re all so helpful and supportive. Rock on!

  6. I have written a post for the Daily Prompt – but I have absolutely NO IDEA how to get it onto the page with all the other entries. My technological skills are very poor. Please could someone help? Thanks. Alienora.

    1. To join that list, simply include a link to the relevant Daily Prompt post in your own post. That should do the trick. If this is not clear, let me know. Good luck!

  7. I’m not sure if my more recent style of posts are any better than my older style? Blogging almost everyday this week has actually begun to change my style slightly. Not sure if it’s a good or bad change!
    Would really appreciate feedback!

    I’ll do you if you do me!

    http://laugraeva.wordpress.com/

    1. I don’t think it is vastly different in style. There may be a few subtle changes in delivery, but all in all the posts are still very much ‘you’ from what I can gather. I read a fair way back and I think you’ve been on a winner for a long time. So, I don’t know, just keep doing what you’re doing! If there is a change, I think it’s certainly not a bad one.

  8. I have an idea to start a blog or website which can maybe be expanded into a magazine wherein everyone who contributes does so under an anonymous name. Not everyone likes this idea of not getting credit under their real name but I think it is an interesting concept which if used with respect can bring about a change in journalism. The blog/magazine will have a theme and people contributing to it can use their poetic license to put forth their views in a safe environment and thus readers can see it as well. The main aim of maintaining anonymity is to eliminate personal bias and to direct the attention to the content rather than the individual who wrote it. If anyone is interested in being a part of such a project then please get in touch with me via this account. Thanks. Also any feedback is appreciated.

      1. The subjects are unlimited as I see it as a platform for various subjects, anything that you feel passionate about. I’m not entirely sure about the audience but I feel it would be appropriate for teenagers and adults.

    1. Putting egos aside may well be extremely therapeutic and, actually, have a sharpening effect upon the writing of the posts! I like the idea, Vedra25, and would certainly be happy, in principle, to contribute to it. It could be liberating for the self-conscious, a safe space for the angry, dispossessed and unhappy – and a great way for writers to get together. Go for it! Alienora

      1. thank you and I am really glad that you understood the whole point of the anonymity without me even having to explain it! You seem perfect to be a part of this and I would appreciate any contribution you can make, if you are interested. What type of things are interested in writing about?

      2. I am mainly a creative writer, but have also been a community reviewer and, for the past forty one years, a journal writer!
        So, descriptive, lyrical writing; humorous pieces; very blunt and graphic rants…
        Have a look on my blog if you want:
        alienorajt.wordpress.com/
        That should give you a flavour of my style and approach!
        Alienora

    2. This sounds really cool! I just started my blog here on wordpress (sexualfluidityfrolicker.wordpress.com), but I have been writing poetry for years. I like writing because it feels like its organization my often scattered brain. I see the idea of writing posts anonymously as a great way to develop and hone skills while the world remains oblivious. Let me know if this idea goes anywhere and you’d like me to participate!

    3. @Vedra25 I think this sounds fun, especially for some bloggers (such as myself) who for reasons such as social, family, blogging expectations, cannot veer from their current subject matter. I would love to participate, as there are many topics I have opinions on or things I want to say, that I cannot always link with my name. Please let me know if you go through with this!
      http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

  9. I have a question about my own blog. I have Oxygen and I have all my featured posts on the top. To you, does that look good? Or you do think it will look better if I nixed the idea of having featured/sticky posts and have it as a regular theme? I welcome any opinions on the blog.

    1. Personally, I like the way you have set it out. The post links at the top look good and entice you to check them out. They’re also more accessible that way, without having to do any scrolling or searching or any of that. Great for lazy wanderers like myself! Haha. But yeah, I think it is basically perfect as is.

    1. Your blog looks very nice, I really liked it. However, I saw some of your posts had over 15 tags, which means they won’t make it in the Reader ( please correct me if I’m wrong), and that is a real shame.

    1. I don’t think the “read more” links have any effect on how I perceive your subject matter. When you’ve reached a high number of posts, they can be useful for letting people browse through large numbers of posts. Some people like this. Others (and I belong to this crowd) will read fewer posts on a page with “read more” links because we can’t simply scroll through everything from the home page. So I don’t think there’s a wrong decision either way you go.

      However, the green background color seems a little out of place for the topic you’ve chosen. (It also doesn’t go with your header image.) You might want to consider changing that.

    2. I actually like the read more links, I know some arent a fan, but I like to quickly scroll down the last couple posts and determine which one I would like to read. I feel that if people are interested they will click in!

  10. Hi,
    I started a regular feature on my blog where once a week I would take a picture and talk about a local species: “species of the week.” These posts have proven to be less popular than my regular posts. I like doing them, but will I lose my audience? Any thoughts?

    1. The posts are good and you should keep doing them. However, based on what you’ve said I would advise eliminating “Species of the week” from the post titles. I suspect that more people would click on something called “”The Twelve-spotted Skimmer: A Dragonfly with Attitude” or something like that. The idea is to make the titles interesting, just as you do for your other posts. “Species of the Week” is not an interesting title that will grab readers’ attention.

      Then at the end of these Species of the Week posts, you could say something to the effect of “This was the species of the week. For more posts in this series, click on the “Species of the Week” category in the sidebar.” That mean’s you’d need to add the “Species of the Week” category to all posts in the series and start using the Category widget. That would let you keep writing the posts you love and attract an audience.

      1. Thanks, that sounds like a good idea! I was thinking of something like that. I didn’t know about the category widget. I will have to look into that.
        I appreciate your help!

    2. I think your species of the week posts are interesting. Perhaps you could try to connect with other bloggers who are interested in these, while keeping your existing audience interested with your usual posts. Or you might consider having a second blog and keep the two types of post completely separate. Sue

    3. @CathyMCallister I agree, come up with a more catching title and people might click more. I like to learn about nature and such, but your posts vary, from trees to flowers to bugs. Find a key descriptive phrase and spin it into a catchy title!

  11. Hi Cathy: I think you have flagged up something of great importance here, and there is no easy answer. If you enjoy ‘Species of the week’, and it is just one part of your overall blogging pattern, I would not worry too much. Obviously, trying to gauge what the audience likes is important – but so is your creativity, your need for experimentation, your need to express yourself in your own way.
    Perhaps you could tweak the Species pieces a bit – ask your readers to share their own favourite species in fifty words or less/get a guest blogger to write about his/her species of the week, something like that? Just a thought.
    Apologies if these are things you already do: I have only been on here for a six days, and am responding to you ‘blind’, as it were! Good luck! Alienora

  12. I am not sure about the design on my blog and I wish I could get more followers and readers (especially ones that will comment and give advise and constructive criticism.) Any advise is much appreciated.

    dwbb.wordpress.com

    1. I think your blog is easy to read and navigate through. Furthermore, I like your work. The only thing you should have in mind is to pay more attention to spelling/ grammar. I know it can be tricky but in creative work it does make the difference. Goodluck with your writing.

    1. You should try to upload a blog post on a regular basis. It makes it easier for people to come back to your blog. It means they can incorporate reading your posts into their weekly schedule. It also makes it easier to post as well, because then you have a deadline!

    1. Hi, I just want to give you one tip, comic sans is pretty much a design no no, and you have used it (or otherwise something that looks too much like it) for the title of your blog. I would change the font, because I think it will put a lot of people off. The first thing I look at when I’m looking at a new blog is the design and if it is messy or unattractive I often don’t bother reading. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but design is pretty important. Hope this helped :)

      1. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving an input, i will definitely redesign my title font, was having it in mind for a long time but do not have enough time to think of something good.

        As for the design, my blog is pretty simple. It will have only 1 story, which i want people to read one by one post.

        Once again Thanks!

  13. I’ve not been getting very many views lately, and even fewer likes and comments than I usually get. I’m not sure why this is. Has the quality of my posts gone down the drain? Is my concept not narrow enough? If anybody could help me with this, it would be greatly appreciated. I need all the help I can get. Thanks! :)

    http://lifeaccordinglee.com

    1. Define “lately.”

      I understand (from a couple of very seasoned bloggers) that summer tends to be a slow season. Since your posts seem to have been consistent in quality and timing, this might be one reason for a downturn.

      Also, pay attention to your tag count. I believe the limit is 15 tags PLUS categories. A couple of your posts have edged over to 16, which prevents them from appearing in the WordPress reader.

  14. I am new to wordpress, with a blog about sexuality and sexual fluidity, and about how it intersects with the rest of a human’s identity. I was wondering if the set up is good? My homepage is an introduction to the blog. The posts are on the page “sexual fluidity”. Does the introduction capture your attention, or does it drag on? Does the picture fit the static page?

    1. I like the intro page, but I think I would rename the “sexual fluidity” page to “the blog” or something similarly functional. It’s not immediately clear what that page is.

      I think the rainbow picture on your introduction is exactly right, but I’m torn on the header image. Since your blog advertises a social science perspective, having something so sober seems like a good idea. However, the image almost looks like a 70′s tablecloth. It’s not something that needs an immediate change, though.

      And the title “Sexual Fluidity Frolicker,” I must admit, made me think you were going to have some explicit adult content. I’m not sure whether that’s a clever marketing trick or a recipe for disappointed visitors.

      1. I will rename the page with my blog posts on it, you are correct. What you say makes most sense. I would also like to change the header image, but that would mean upgrading right? I would like to be able to replace it with a more scientific like image, to give the sense to people what kind of blog this is (like my sub-title).

        A 70′s tablecloth, that is really funny!

        The fact that people cannot think about sexuality without simultaneously thinking of the actual act of sex I find upsetting. Human sexuality is a vast and unexplored area of the human psyche. While sex is a large part of it, there is also so much more!

        The other title I was considering was “Sexually Fluid Frolicker”. The reason I like the term “Sexual Fluidity” is because that is the term that is actually used. “Sexually Fluid” however,sounds much more pleasing to the ear, don’t you think?

      2. Actually, it’s the word “frolicker” that conjured the sexual imagery.

        And you don’t need an upgrade to have a custom header. If your theme does not allow it, other themes do. It’s possible to search for themes based on what functionality they offer; just be sure not to not to pick something that lacks the static front page option.

      3. I suppose I should go back to the drawing board for the name then. I have a hard time matching what I like to what people will like to something that would be accurate to my content. Perhaps I just have a hard time making up my mind? Most titles I came up with don’t even sound like titles.

      4. Yeah… that’s a tough one. I’ll just suggest not changing simply for the sake of change. What you have is fine for now; don’t force something new unless you’re sure it’s better. (And I’m having a hard time coming up with anything…)

  15. Does anyone have any tips on how to post more regularly? How to get into the routine of posting more often? I love writing and once I get down to business and actually do it, good stuff comes out (I think). I don’t feel like I post enough though. Sometimes I don’t know what to write about. I think it’s a bit of a self-discipline problem.
    Furthermore any tips, comments, feedback on my blog would be great! (both positive and negative, I also want to know if I’m doing anything wrong and what I’m doing wrong)
    aliciathornborrow.wordpress.com

    Thank you :)

      1. HI Alicia – I love the look of your blog, and found the tribute to your mother very moving. I do wonder, however, if it might be worth considering making some of your posts a bit shorter. Two reasons for this: one, it might enable you to blog more regularly and two, people tend to have short attention spans!
        I think the thing that has helped me the most is keeping a journal. This I have now done for forty one years, and it is a great way of organising my thoughts, expressing my emotions safely and trying out new ideas.
        The daily discipline of the journal has carried over into my comparatively recent life as a blogger.
        I think you have a lovely way with words, and a quirky outlook on life which I really like.
        Good luck with it all!
        Alienora

    1. Normally I would suggest the daily and weekly challenges that WordPress sponsors (and you may find those useful anyway.)

      Instead, I’d like to suggest a different way of structuring your posts. Many of your travel posts are extremely long. Instead of going with a chronological organization, why not try writing shorter posts on specific themes? (For example, one on food and one on the comic book store and one on other shopping, and so on, for Den Bosch.) You’re writing enough content; you’re just not structuring it in a way to produce a lot of posts.

      Also, tags. Keep your (tag plus category) count below 15. And when you produce something over 1000 words, be sure to use the WPlongform tag. Both of those will help you get readers (and the right readers) on your blog.

      Lastly, your blog title and tagline emphasize nerdiness but you mostly write about travel. That’s a mismatch and it will discourage some people from exploring you blog further. Therefore, integrate the travel theme into those first and most prominent words your visitors see. (For instance, you could retitle your blog “The Traveling Nerd.”)

      1. Thank you for the useful advice! Some handy stuff there. I will try and rethink a few things. I want to post more than just about travel, that’s why I don’t have a title integrating the travel theme. But my travel posts are the only ones I am managing to put out there on a regular basis. Maybe I should change my blog title temporarily until I manage to get myself to write more about other stuff. Thanks again :)

  16. hey.its meen 7 months since I have been blogging but not many people comment on my posts.I want to know from public whether my blog is nice or should I improve it more.
    I want to know what can I do to make my blog popular because I am a completely naïve blogger.
    Please I want reply because its the third time I am writing in community pool without any reply.

    1. Hi Mehakzaidi: I like the look of your blog, and you have some lovely, interesting ideas. I do think, however, that you could edit your posts a bit – and perhaps bring your feelings out even more. Could you give us a sense of atmosphere? Perhaps describe your surroundings? I’d love to read about your home and customs. Do you keep a diary/journal? I started mine when I was around your age – a long, long time ago! – and it has been so useful in terms of helping my writing style and allowing my emotions free rein.
      I think you have loads of great things to say. Good luck! Alienora

      1. thankyou Alienora for an honest reply.I don’t keep any journal or daily because I am too busy due to studies.But I think I should keep one.I write on random stuff and I am not ever regular in blogging.I will write more on my culture and tradition.
        once again thank you for stopping by.

    2. To get more visitors, emphasize your location. That’s what makes your blog interesting and that’s what would attract more visitors. How would you feel about calling your blog “Pakistani Dreamerofpeace?”

    3. I love your posts. Read a few of them actually. Anytime a blogger starts off with a nostalgic anecdote or begins with a personal piece of them I immediately get drawn in and I go in there with them. So your posts are great. Visually though, your layout seems a little busy to me, but that’s just my personal opinion. Luckily that can be easily fixed if you choose to do so. For example the widgets bar on the right should hi-light the recent posts. I found it was hard for me to find the titles of your posts because the big grey circles were so distracting. Nevertheless you have a follow from me:)

      1. thankkyou! its the theme which has grey circles which I cant remove unless I change the theme.Making changes in the widget bar is the most confusing thing for me.

    1. Your blog’s home page is an empty “About” page. I found your posts by clicking on the archives for July 2013, but that’s not the first place I looked. (And, honestly, few visitors will take the time to look.) If you want to keep the “About” page as your entry point, you need to add some information there and then rename the “home” link in your header to “Blog.” Or you could just have your blog as the home page.

      The page called “Shukriyah’s Cogitation’s” is also empty (and has an unnecessary apostrophe in the second word.)

      Also, I can decipher the tagline but it’s difficult.

      But the poetry is perfectly fine. (I wish I could see a larger view of that one picture, though.) Problem is, few people will find it on your blog without some changes.

      1. Hi there
        firstly i would like to thank you for taking the time to read some of my work,it is very much appreciated :)

        you stated that ‘very few visitors will take the time to look’? is that because my blog is in archive? (which i had no knowledge of, im still quite new to this)
        if yes how would i be able to take it out of there?

        as for the about page and the empty page,thank you i fixed them both up.

        and as for the tagline,slightly confused..what do you mean?

        lastly still trying to make that picture bigger,lol bear with me

        once again thank you for your help and tips!

      2. First off, I say that “few visitors will take the time to look” because people have lots of things to do with their time. If they can’t find your blog content immediately, they’ll move on. There’s nothing wrong with having the archive link; most blogs have one. I’d recommend making your blog content your home page; there’s not enough on your “About” page to have that be your blog’s entry point (like it is now).

        And let’s say that the tagline could be phrased better. Maybe just cut it to “I’m in the gray area.” Or, tell us what you’re in the gray area of; that might help readers know what your blog is about.

      3. so i have gotten rid of the ”About Page’,but it looks strange to me.
        From someone viewing it from the outside in, is the blog content now my home page or?

        As for the extra bits of details i have missed,i understand i just prefer not to spread every little detail to do with me in it.i like to leave a little bit of anonymity

      4. Your content is not on your home page. Right now, your home page is an error message.

        Go to your dashboard. Then, click on appearance —–> customize in the gray bar on the left. In the blue bar that appears on the right, you should see the option “Front.” Click that and select “Your latest posts” from the menu.

      5. Okay sir i think i have finally done it.
        All appearing on the front page?
        i redid the picture one also and enlarged it
        bless you for your patience lol

      6. Which i must give you all the credit!

        last but not least,i didnt want to write poetry pieces that only i could read so i added tags (so i think) lol could you please view one of my pieces and see if i have done it so correctly?

      7. I don’t think you need the # in front of your tags, but it looks pretty good. For poetry, I suggest that you also include “poem” and “poetry” as tags. (WordPress recommends having 5-15 tags per post.)

  17. Anyone have any ideas on how I can more actively engage my readers. I would like to spark more feedback with my posts and comments. thank you in advance.

  18. I’m fairly new to wordpress. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to make my blog better? Thanks.

  19. I am beginning to love fictional stories but sometimes I feel as though I am going too slow with the plot. Or that I write too much unnecessary stuff about the character. I have written two parts of a short story im currently working on and it would be awesome to be evaluated by anyone. :)

  20. I just started blogging again rather than just “tumbling”. I also found my old Blogger blog and merged everything together. Now I have the lovely task of going through and making tags and titles eliminating duplicates etc. I also am creating new posts.

    Can y’all give me some advise on my blog. I am one who does not want it seen on Facebook. Twitter is okay, that is a separate part of me. Facebook is one facet of me, Tumblr and Pinterest is another and my blog is the combo of all.

  21. I started blogging in June, my first post being on How to start a Detox: The Basics, after having gone through a 60 day cleanse and finding great benefits of overcoming the difficulties of having an autoimmune disease. And although I originally started writing about health and eating well, sometimes I want to participate in the Daily Prompts or write journal entries without anything really instructive about health or food reviews, but I’m afraid I’ve carved myself into a niche/theme and if I start posting anything outside of that I feel like the visitors I get on my blog will think I’m all over the place. Does anyone feel the same way? Sometimes its nice to just post about a great book you’ve read or a crafty DIY. I mention this in my About Me page but I’m thinking of changing that too, any critiques out there for a new blogger? Any tips on the tone and my writing would be helpful as well. I’ll be happy to return the favor:)

    -Rakhi

    1. First of all, health and food reviews sound like they’d fit your blog. (If anything, I’d say that your blog’s tagline needs to make your niche clearer. If you don’t, you’ve left yourself no reason not to go all over the place… just as long as your writing style remains recognizable as you.)

      Then, as someone who likes to participate in the weekly photo and writing challenges, I understand the issue of not feeling that a topic will fit the blog. My blog topic is “Things that insult my intelligence” and sometimes the challenge topics look like they’d never work. All I can suggest to you is some creativity and some extra time to reflect on how a topic might fit your blog.

      For instance, a weekly photo challenge topic was “curves,” so I ended up photographing a bar of soap and pointing out how the curvy shape reduces the quantity of soap I receive when I buy it. (And that packaging ploy insults my intelligence.) In some ways it’s more fun to do the challenges this way because they force you to stretch your ideas beyond the obvious; you then end up writing posts you would never have dreamed up on your own.

      1. Thanks for the input I really liked the photo challenge topic tie-in, I’ll have to try that.

        As for the tagline, I’ve gone back and forth between changing it to something else. I was thinking maybe ‘Ventures in food, DIYs, and everyday fun’. But then I didn’t know if that sounded to cheesey. Thoughts?

        Oh by the way, love the titles of your posts. They gave me chuckles. Didn’t expect the picture of phlegm though :/

      2. Thanks! And believe it or not, the phlegm pic isn’t the one I thought would generate a reaction. I thought it would be the cancer pic…

        Anyway, your idea does not sound cheesy at all. It’s a little all over the place because “everyday fun” could be almost anything. (My idea was “Health, Food, and Health Food” but that cuts out some of your proposed content.)

        Since you’re such a new blogger, you might also try waiting until you’ve written another 10-15 posts to make a change. You may find that you don’t like writing the DIY’s or that a broader uniting theme becomes apparent in all of your work. And by then, “everyday fun” will have been narrowed down to a few things you find fun enough to write about… and that will help too.

      3. Thanks for the suggestions:

        And one would think a topic like cancer would generate more reaction, but it could be a desensitization factor. Phlegm is just not something that’s ever brought up, unless it’s your own;), let alone pictured.

    2. Hi Rakhi. I’m a new blogger who also has an emphasis on health and nutrition and I like your content. If you wanted to write about more than nutrition you could make categories for your various topics. For example you have a DIY post, you could have a category for DIY or crafts, one for reviews, one for recipes and so forth. Hope this helps.
      -Ashley

      1. Hi Ashley,
        I actually have categories set up on my blog. Did you mean different pages, kind of like tabs? I was thinking of creating pages for DIYS, Recipes, Motivation, Skin Care, Eczema, etc, but one thing about having Pages is you can’t assign tags or categories unfortunately, and I want my content to be found. So right now I’m putting them all on the Home Page until I can think of a better solution.

      2. I was thinking more for your readers. If they specifically wanted to read about “food reviews” they can look for that category. I wouldn’t change to tabs for the same reason you mentioned. And your title doesn’t make people assume you only write about food, so I say write whatever’s in your heart.

  22. Hello everyone, I’m a new blogger and will gladly take any feedback I can get. I’ve decided not to link to my Facebook until I get more familiar with the site and tweak my blog a little more. But I plan to link soon and open myself up to all my friends. I would like to be ready. Please help. Thanks

    1. So far so good. My only suggestion would be to capitalize a few letters in your blog title. hearthealthybeats is kind of hard to read (hearth… what?) but HeartHealthyBeats would be easier.

    2. I was going to suggest the same as what BUMBLEPUPPIES said, but he beat me to it. Great content so far :) I’m not sure how I feel about the black and white color scheme though. Heart, health, and well being all radiate positive light colors to me so white or anything vibrant:)

  23. Hi, I have started blogging not too long ago and would appreciate some advice and feedback. I have been wondering, as another poster had, about how to post more often. I always get the feeling that I need to do more research on tips I want to post, take the right (and beautiful/capturing/high resolution) pictures, pay attention to seo and all that good stuff, so I will have a few topics or posts drafted waiting for me to have time to go back to do the research to write them. Any advice on this? Am i being overly ambitious or over-thinking things? Would it happen organically?

    If you can also give me a little feedback on the look of my blog, that would be wonderful.
    http://www.lilhoneydreams.com

    1. It’s hard to know what would happen organically for you, but I have a couple of thoughts:

      1- On doing more research: it depends on what kind of blog you want to have. If you want to be an authoritative resource, research is important. If you want to give informal advice based on your own experiences, you just need to make sure that your tips aren’t counterproductive for most people (or illegal).

      And there is something to be said for writing about what you know instead of going research-intensive. Remember that a lot of other people may be writing about the same topics you are and, to attract and keep readers, your blog needs to stand out. Odds are, someone’s knowledge base will exceed what you can research in a reasonable amount of time. It’s also a lot quicker to write about what you know. (Nevertheless, you should write about what excites you.)

      2- On photos: Unless you already have a photo that you want to present, use the Zemanta tool. It’s a lot easier. And high resolution photos should only be used when they’re a post’s focus because they load more slowly and don’t add much beyond what an average resolution photo does.

      3- On the appearance of your blog: Your profile photo is hard to make out. (That’s not necessarily a bad thing if you want to keep some anonymity.) Normally I would suggest adding a little color to your blog but I like the way your pink title pops against the rest of the screen. I wonder if changing the border (background color) from gray to black might add something. Maybe test it and see what you like better.

      1. Thank you, bumblepuppies, for your feedback!

        1- On research: I will go with my own suggestions and perhaps post a few with more research when I have time. That would probably be more interesting (I hope). This will also enable me to “just write already!” rather than mulling over multiple topics with none completed

        2- On photos: I will get used to Zemanta. I have noticed that when I start writing, it offers either rather irrelevant photos, which was why I have not fully utilized it. I sometimes find/get stock photos with creative license from external sites as well, but that is more time-consuming. Adding photos to blog posts and the associated license to use or copyright issues still boggles me. Making me hesitant to add photos I did not take…

        3- On blog appearance: I will take your suggestion and give it a try! I was just thinking a few minutes ago if it looks a bit bland overall.

        What do you think about categorization? I have a feeling that I should keep it a bit more broad and general rather than go too specific to avoid over-categorizing. I am a bit Type A, so I can go overboard sometimes.

      2. Categorization will be really important once you’ve been around longer. Having a lot of categories makes it easier for visitors to find the posts that interest them most. It’s a lot easier for them than wading through months (or years) of stuff.

        Also, there is a search box above the Zemanta pictures. Using it will get you better results.

    1. A couple of thoughts:

      1- You need to write your “About” page because it is showing the default message.

      2- “I welcome all kinds of criticism” is somewhat good as a tagline because you’re inviting comments. However, it tells me nothing about what your blog is… and neither does your title. And neither does your pine cone picture (as far as I can tell… although it is interesting.) Your blog needs some information at the top that tells visitors what they’ve found.

      3- Assuming you keep the pine cone picture, you might want to change the background color. it doesn’t quite match the marble slab (although you could try to match the pine cone instead or try something completely different.) The gray color just doesn’t look quite right with the pine cone pic.

      4- You will want to add new categories as you continue blogging. Once you reach several dozen posts, people will want an easier way to find a particular kind of post. (There’s a limit to how far people will scroll.)

      1. The easiest way: when you’re writing a new post, look at the right-hand column. Underneath the “publish” button, you’ll see a box with category listings. Under the list of your current categories, you’ll see “+ Add New Category.” Click on that and type in what you want.

  24. Hi everyone!
    I just wondered if anyone else gets loads of pingbacks after posting the Daily Prompts or the Weekly Challenges? Are you supposed to approve the pingbacks as comments on your posts or not? It confuses me!
    Thanks!

      1. Oh, I am SO glad it’s not just me! I got four pingbacks yesterday (have only been on here since last Tuesday) and got incredibly anxious about them. In the end, I read each of the pieces and sent replies. But I am not sure whether this is what I was mean to do, or whether a pingback is someone throwing your work back at you or what?!” Does anyone know what they mean? Is it a compliment, an insult, a self-publicising stunt? Alienora

      2. Well, that’s my suspicion.. That it might be a way of self-publicizing. I have gone on some of these people’s blogs who have pinged me, and their posts seem to be full of lots of pingbacks. So it is hard to tell!

      3. I certainly hope so! I’m not sure I want these pingbacks filling up my comment sections if they are of negative consequence/ connotation!

      4. On the weekly challenges, some participants copy and paste a pile of links to previous entries into their posts… whether they’ve read the posts or not. When that happens, you get a pingback. If anything, it’s a slight positive for you because links to your blog improve your ranking on search engines.

    1. @Laura @retired2travel @alienorajt I wrote a huge response and then had trouble logging in- now its lost! Best idea is to search wp help for a great pingbacks explanation. But in general they are good and free advertising for your blog in the form of “Related Articles” or hyperlinks on someone else’s page. But do be aware they can masquarade as spam to a totally unrelated topic or a fake page. Pingbacks are not limited to wordpress blog’s and should be checked out before approved. They are also forms of linking back to your own blog’s past other page’s/posts to the one you are currently writing.

      1. Thank you very much for that, Christina. It sounds as if the best bet is to go onto the person’s page and see if it is, indeed, bona fide. I am much relieved!

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