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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. Suzie, your post blew me away. Posts like these lest written on the wrong side, can lead to gender sterotypes. However, you grasped the technique well and wrote it in a balanced and fair “statement”. I really like this post and I’m glad you shared it with the community. :)

  1. I invite everyone to check out my blog! I feel I’m a pretty strong writer, but my opinion is bound to be biased. If you like, please take a look and let me know if it puts you to sleep or not. I’d really like to know if my posts are too long and if you find the blog to easily navigable with all my categories and sections.

    Check me out, I’ll check you out, thanks!

    1. Oh my. I like the piece titled “shrooms”! It seems like you did a lot of homework there – providing scientific facts and explicit descriptions. Great job on that! However, posts like these could be preferably shorter but still rich in content. But nevertheless, well done!

      1. Thank a bunch for taking a look! I also ran through your (bonus points for being on the same theme team) and the first thing I noticed — or didn’t notice is pictures. You seem like a fairly philosophical guy, so I’m sure you understand what I mean when I tell you a lot of humans need pictures to accompany long stretches of text. I understand you’re not one for aesthetics, but admiring things for their beauty is a part of the human condition, so don’t be afraid to throw down at least a ‘featured image’ with your posts. Aside from that, you’ve chosen to approach some challenging topics and you do a great job addressing them! I commend you most because I presume English is not your first language, yet your dialect is notably elevated for a secondary speaker. There are a few bumps and cracks, but just write on, little bro!

      2. Thank you so much for the constructive feedback. Yes, I’m lacking in photos and I’ll work on that! English is in fact my first language while mandarin is my second. :) I will!

    1. You most certainly can. I believe it leans heavily on what theme you’re using, but I’d be more than happy to walk you through it.

      You should be able to create a new page, title it “Contact Us”, under the “Pages” option on your dashboard. Instead of typing anything in, you’re just gonna click “Add contact form” and fill out the necessary information.

      After you’ve created the page, go into the section where you edit your menus, (Dashboard – Appearance – Menus) and on the left side find the “Contact Us” page you just created.

      Drag that bad boy over to the right side under your primary menu (make sure you don’t drag it so far it becomes a sub item).

      Save menu and go check out your site to make sure it’s there. Then, come back here and let me know if you got it!

    1. I agree with The Ergot, and vote light blue, particularly if you choose a color that will match the banner. I fear that many of your widgets, like your follow button, calendar, and search bar will be lost if you choose a light grey color.

    2. I like the banner, but go to a search engine and search for banner makers and make your own banner. Also, SIGHT looks better with featured images.

    1. Wow. Deep and beautiful. It’s a really good piece. I personally like poems or writings that uses a “cliffhanger” technique. It’s not an easy technique; but when one uses it well, it’s incredible.

      1. Glad that you liked it. Thanks for dropping by :)
        I think cliffhanger technique gives the reader food for thought, it leaves room for interpretations and that is why I like it.

    1. I like what you’ve done with it so far, especially your choice of blog theme. That blog theme was designed for weddings but it lends your blog a tone that (probably) no other theme could. Since you’re writing about diverse topics, you really needed that extra something to make yourself stand out. Insightful selection.

    1. Normally, the most effective method is to ask your readers for their opinion at the end of the post. (And it’s what I would recommend to you.)

      However, I notice that your blog is just a couple of weeks old and that your audience is (probably) made up of people who know or are associated with the musicians you’re reviewing. That brings up two points:

      1- It seems to take most people a lot longer before any real number of comments start coming in.

      2- I wonder if your audience, because of its unusual makeup, might inherently be less likely to interact with a blog. (I don’t know the answer to this. It’s just something to think about.)

  2. Amateur blogger question: please tell me how you make it on the “Freshly Pressed” page? My blog only contains all amatire photos, and I love the feedback…especially from all the professionals and other enthusiast. Thank you. ~ Efren

    1. I think the most detrimental bit about your blog that I noticed is that there’s so much up there in the header/banner area that it takes a minute to get to actual content. I’m not sure if that’s a consequence of your theme, but maybe you can get rid of some of those hard to pronounce links at the tippy top, as it takes away from the beauty of the orchids (which is what you want visitors to appreciate) and leaves your blog with just something tough to look at.

      1. Thank you for your comment, The Ergot. I am baffled as to why the header is so slow to load for you, as it loads for me instantly in various browsers. The “hard to pronounce links at the tippy top”, as you call them, are necessary because this is not just a personal blog but also the website of a fully functioning (horticultural) society and community organization with specific goals and missions towards culturing, promoting and preserving orchids in all their diversity.

        Happy August to you!

    2. Michelle ~ Your blog is very informative. I like orchids, but I heard they are hard to plant. I would love to photograph them. The colors are incredible. ~ Efren

    1. My thoughts are:

      1- Your posts should include at least 1 picture; it will help you attract readers.

      2- If I were you, I would select a blog theme that allows more customization if your current one does not offer enough. (I especially recommend themes that allow a custom header and custom background, although you have to be careful that the background doesn’t interfere with readability.) There’s nothing wrong with your blog as it is right now, but there’s also little to distinguish it from lots of others. Having a distinctive look can help.

      3- You need to start adding tags to your posts if you want to attract readers. Adding a category to each post will also help you as you amass more and more posts.

    1. Hello. Interesting site, though I must admit I’m a bit confused; what is it that you’re hoping to achieve? Are you sharing recipes or giving us a preview of your book? Either way, I would love to see more pictures of your food. Also, some other things I noticed

      1. Your About page is incomplete
      2. Some of your posts like “Steamed Mussels with ginger, chilli and methi” are incomplete as well while others like the “Chicken Stock & 2 Chicken Soups” don’t link to anything.
      3. There is a typo in the About blurb that appears after each post and an extra capitalization in your Recipe Category.

      As for the recipes, the ones you do have up all sound fantastic and are unlike anything I’ve come across in cookbooks before. I hope to try your Slow roast Chicken Legs with Thyme and Orange sometime soon.

  3. Hello all.

    So I have a traffic related question. I write a personal blog that covers topics I want to write about. This has been the premise of my writing since I started my original blog in 2009, as well as with my current blog started last year. As such, I tend to write short stories, political rants, social commentary, and sports posts.

    Last week I wrote a sports article series, only to watch my traffic nearly vanish. While I realize sports posts make up a very small portion of my content (less than 20%), the utter lack of traffic was depressing. My question to all of you is this: should I completely drop sports as a topic from my blog? As a former sports reporter, I have a huge passion for it, but there seems to be a lack of interest from my readers.

    Reference posts
    Recent sports post – http://absentelemental.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/2013-afc-predictions/
    One of my short stories – http://absentelemental.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/fyf-soma/
    Blog – http://absentelemental.wordpress.com

    1. (Apologies in advance for the stereotyping, but I think it will make my point.)

      You just told us that your blog contents tend to be intellectual topic, intellectual topic, intellectual topic, and sports. One of these things doesn’t belong with the others.

      However, there’s no reason you can’t have two blogs simultaneously: one for sports and one for the rest. The sports blog could have a name, tagline, and look that more closely reflects sports. And you could also announce the second blog’s creation on your current blog and have a link for each blog on the other’s homepage.

      The answer isn’t to stop writing about sports. It’s to create an appropriate vehicle for attracting sports fans. Your current blog isn’t it.

      1. While as an intellectual who likes sports I would argue that it is certainly possible to have an intellectual debate about sport, I certainly see your point. I’ve toyed around the with the idea of writing a blog solely based on sport before, so this does provide some appreciated feedback and direction.

    1. 2 thoughts:

      1- I wish your pictures were bigger. The passport shot is a good size but lots of your travel photos are tiny. Most people aren’t going to click on all those photos to get the full-size version. You can resize them when you’re writing your posts; just click on a corner and drag it like you would in MS Word or PowerPoint.

      2- Your tagline is really wordy, so people may just skip over it. Maybe try “My adventures at home in London and Casablanca and a timeline of my travels” or something like that. (I assume it’s not inaccurate to call London and Casablanca your “home.”)

  4. I don’t know if there’s a brazilian, a portuguese or any other who speaks this language, but here’s my blog. I’m a journalist and I write about football (the sport that north-americans weirdly named soccer), about daily business, myself and etc.

    http://www.rafaelpezzo.wordpress.com

    thanks, no harm feelings.

  5. I’ve had my blog for over 2 years and have lots of readers but lately, not so many comments! Any tips for me my blog in general, the subject matter, and/or advice on how to drive engagement? I’ve got the writing down, it’s the readers I need… http://running4thereason.com/

    1. I can’t tell you what “normal” is for a 2-year-old blog, but I notice that many of your recent posts have over 10 comments. (I’m sure some of those are responses from you.) My gut feeling is that your blog is actually doing quite well as far as reader engagement goes. The only thing I notice is that you’re using way more than the 15 [tag plus category] limit on most posts and that’s probably keeping your work out of the WordPress Reader… and that costs you visitors.

      1. Ahhhh, interesting! Thank you very much for the feedback, I really appreciate it. And will be sure to *specify* and limit my tags to 15 in the future- I always thought the more tags, the better.

    1. I don’t use Vine, so I can’t say for certain. From a layout perspective, the clip is not too big.

      However, I would ask what the file size is compared to something in a smaller format. If this takes up a lot of memory, something smaller would help people who are using cell phones (and paying for data) or slow connections. Larger files (memory-wise) reduce people’s willingness and/or ability to load your blog.

  6. Hi colleagues, please kindly take the time out to read through my recent post, title: TIME AND CHANCE! Then comment to tell me what you feel. Thanks.

    1. Hi! I really like the visual theme of your blog. It’s colorful but in a way that doesn’t detract from your posts and there is a nice coherency of color throughout.

  7. Hi there!

    We’re a young music blog from South Africa looking to make our mark in the competitive pool of music blogging. Its only been in recent months that we’ve started to see a steady increase in followers, likes, subscribers.

    We’d appreciate advice on how to deal with teething in order to get the exposure we’re after. Any other comments on layout, design and posts would also be appreciated.

    http://feedbackmusiq.wordpress.com

    1. A few thoughts:

      1- Since your blog is on a very specific topic, it might help if you put the word “Pokemon” in your blog title. Perhaps call the blog “Tallboy’s Pokemon.” That should attract more visitors.

      2- Your tagline could be more interesting. Your About page says you’re a competitive battler, so why not mention that? “Thoughts from a competitive battler” would be much more enticing than what you have now.

      3- The purpose of categories is to organize your posts, kind of like a file cabinet. For instance, I have an “Entertainment” category and a “Money” category so people can quickly find posts on one topic or the other if that’s what they want. For your blog, having “Pokemon” as a category doesn’t help readers because every post will be about Pokemon. You might want categories like “Characters” and “Anime.” (But definitely keep using “Pokemon” as a tag.) Then add the Category widget. The archive widget might also be a good addition

      4- Your layout is nice and simple. The category and archive widgets are available as dropdown menus so they wouldn’t clutter things up.

      5- I love your header image and I love your custom background. I’m not sure I love them together. Unless the red and white has some significance in Pokemon, I think I’d switch out the red for a blue or green, but keep the pattern. (And then make the header text color match.)

      6- If I were you, I would stick to one or maybe two posts per day. When you start, it’s easy to crank out so many; however, the post topics don’t flow as quickly once you’ve been writing for a couple of months. If you have multiple post ideas in a day, you can always write all of them up as drafts, publish one, and save the rest for other days.

  8. I’m a newbie on WordPress. This platform is way more complicated and detailed than others, like Blogger. The thing I’m good at is writing, well at least I think I am! The rest of the technicalities just fly over my head.

    If there’s anyone here willing to check out my blog, give some constructive criticism and help me customize it a bit, I’ll be really grateful! I just need to know what widgets should I add and how I can make it more visible in search engines’ results etc.

    Thanks a bunch :)

      1. Minimalist is fine, but it’s just not me! :D And well what I did want to add, had something to do with the paid account! I wanted to add some music… Other than that, I want an interactive, eye catching blog (but no bright colors please)

        Also, I have theoretical knowledge of SEO, and according to that I need to be linked to other blogs for mine to grow. I can’t just go begging to larger blogs and get them to give me a link on their site! So any thoughts on that?

      2. I started blogging with a small community of others, but it didn’t really work out: no-one’s fault, we were all different & wanted different things.

        I wish I knew how to grow a readership – is it content, or quality/originality of writing? Is it by linking to Social Media accounts? Tags?? A combination of all of those? I dunno.

        When you find out – let me know! ;)

    1. In theory, yes. All you have to do is copy and paste your content. Your likes and comments won’t carry over, though. (But: you might run into complications with WordPress over copyright issues if the two blogs aren’t connected to the same user ID.)

      However, you might run into SEO problems if two blogs are running much of the same content. (I can’t expand on that idea. I only know that I’ve heard something similar before.) If this is the case, you might simply try using the “reblog” function. If you do that, the front part of your post will appear in the new blog together with a short explanation from you, and then a link (to the old blog) will appear for the rest. If someone clicks on the reblogged post in the WordPress Reader, s/he’s likely to be transported directly to the old blog, though.

    2. Yes, you can do this fairly easily if your last blog was a wordpress.com one too. As “Bumblepuppies” above says though it’s not meant to be good practice to have identical content on different blogs and it can definitely be confusing for your readers. My old and new blog were identical in content/focus but I just wanted a new, broader name and to start afresh with the design, so I used the export & import functions to bring all my old posts over. It’s a couple of years since I did this, but they seem to have come with comments intact too.

      Once I was happy with the new blog I deleted all the old posts and left “I’ve moved here” messages on the old blog so that any links on other people’s sites, previous comments etc, wouldn’t be left directionless if people happened to follow them to the old site. It’s a while since I did this but I don’t recall it being too stressful! The help/support sections pretty much answered all the questions I had:
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/moving-a-blog/
      and
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/export/

      are good starting points (and even if you export/import all your posts you don’t have to reuse all the old ones on your new blog – by playing about with categories and deleting/removing posts you can pick and choose which ones you want to reuse).

      Hope this helps if only to encourage you that it can be done!

  9. Hi all! I asked for feedback on my site here a while ago and received some excellent advice and viewpoints that I hadn’t even considered myself. Now I’ve made some changes and want to try again. The site: http://interviewsthatmatter.net/

    More specifically, I want feedback on the design/look and navigation of the site.

    Thanks in advance :D

  10. Hey guys, I am a new blogger and last week I got great feedback from you. I changed the colors and theme but I’m struggling with finding a combo I love. Currently I’m satisfied with it, mainly because I have tried dozens of combos and this is the one I’ve settled on. Any feedback and suggestions are greatly appreciated. You guys are wonderful. Thank you.

    http://hearthealthybeats.wordpress.com/

    1. :) It looks good! I find that grey text over white background is easy on the eyes.

      I also liked that your links were the same as the border colour – classy!

    2. Your blog looks great now. Though one thing if I may suggest would be that you may try to have a more eye-catchy header image. After all, it’s the first thing that someone sees when they visit your blog. Great job otherwise! :)

  11. I run a poetry blog and right now I am looking for any ideas for subjects or topics that i could write about. Also any general feedback on my post and my website. And any help/ways to get more traffic onto my site. Thanks.

    dwbb.wordpress.com

    1. I really like that you’re writing and publishing poems. :)

      Perhaps, for me, your page is a bit loud.

      It would be good to have translations of some of the Haiku too – does that make me a pleb? ;)

    1. A couple of thoughts:

      1- Your blog needs a tagline. Although your title is effective, it doesn’t tell me enough about what your blog is about.

      2- I’d suggest switching out the gray background color. Since you use a lot of images, I don’t think you’d want anything too loud. However, almost anything else would fit your blog’s character better. Perhaps black?

      1. Thanks for the input! Definitely will add a tag line. As for the background it appears as white on my screens behind the text and photos. The grey borders I’m kinda partial to bc I’m into minimalist stuff, but ill take a look at some other colors. Thanks again!

      2. Please stop emailing me!

        This is getting way too much and draining my battery. I just need it to stop.

        Shuaib Rasool B.Sc Physiotherapy (UWC)
        Tel: 014 552 2159
        Cell: 076 246 9243
        Fax: 086 604 7095
        Postal: PO Box 190
        Sun Village
        0316

    1. I had this theme for a while, if I remember correctly you just have to change the “featured image” from post to post to get that to change.

    1. I’d say you definitely need a tagline or a new blog title. “My Life and My Career” tells me nothing about the contents of your blog? What is it that makes your life and career unique? (Yes, I know your kids are unique, but everyone’s kids are unique. So they don’t count.) Then, somewhere in your blog title or tagline, tell us what distinguishes your life and career from everyone else’s? What makes you unique?

  12. I’m a lonely kid looking for friends on my blog, http://theergot.wordpress.com/

    If you visit[ed] my blog and like[d] what you see[saw], it’s probably worth noting that The Ergot is not at all selfish in its endeavors. I’m always excited to praise and promote new and upcoming artists, philosophers, or just those of you completely lost on the big, bad internet.

    Head over to my “About” page, get in touch with me, and we can talk about featuring your work on The Ergot!

  13. I would love a little feedback on this post in particular and on my new editorial calender in general. On the right side of my page under “A Girl with a Plan” I have the schedule of my weekly posts. If anyone has a moment to flip through my last week of posts–following my new themes–I would love some feedback about the new format. Do you think it is engaging for different kinds of readers but also still related to my theme?

    Any thoughts and comments are welcome!

    http://pennilesstraveler.com/2013/08/04/minor-surgery-for-our-national-monuments/

    1. Hi. Your blog is more of a personal online diary I must say. I have noticed your fluency in writing and I would suggest you to follow The Daily Post and participate in their Weekly Photo/Writing challenges.
      It’s a great platform for every blogger to stretch their capabilities and potential further. I’m sure you’d be able to get more readers and thereafter receiving more comments for possible improvements. :)

  14. Evening all, I’m an absolute newbie to this, and fairly lost still, but just published my first post and any feedback/advice/constructive criticism would be great! Idea with the blog is for it to be a pool of stories/advice about dating. It’s going to be very light hearted and hopefully amusing. If you’re interested then check it out http://matildabryce.wordpress.com/ Thankyouthankyou

    1. Hmmm. I might think quite carefully about personal stuff I published – especially if it were embarrassing stuff about friends and exes.

      On the other hand “stories” about love are the source of many films, TV shows and novels…

  15. I’m worried that this isn’t as funny as I am hoping. I can’t really count on friends and family to be honest with me. any advice at all would be great since I really don’t know what I’m doing

    1. Funny to whom?

      Here’s the thing. I also do a humor-ish blog and I get a satisfying amount of traffic. However, I also know that my sense of humor isn’t for everyone. And, truth be told, I rarely (if ever) laugh at the “humor” blog posts that land on Freshly Pressed and I know I’m not alone.

      I’m not here to say that there’s anything wrong with me, you, or Freshly Pressed (or the Freshly Pressed editors). It’s just that different types of humor resonate with different people. So I suggest that you consider what type of people are likely to find you funny. (College students? Educated professionals? Seniors?) Then, look at the titles you’re giving your blog posts. Are those titles likely to appeal to your target audience? What about the photos that will accompany those titles in the WordPress reader?

      And, I strongly recommend switching your homepage to the stream of your recent blog posts. My initial reaction to your blog was “where’s the content?” Or, if you want to keep the “About” page as your home page, you need to add a link in your header called “Blog.”

      1. I’m going to be switching my posts back to the home page, you’ve confirmed my suspicions. The goal was to make it look more like so many of the small newspaper web content I’ve seen but it isn’t working out. Thanks for taking the time to look.

  16. I just started blogging, and I would love some feedback on my ideas. My goal is to motivate individuals to achieve their goals in life. I’m just not sure if I’m truly showing that on my blog. Please feel free to guide me. Thank you a lot.

  17. Hello Everyone,
    Like many others here, I recently started a blog and I would really appreciate some constructive critique if you have time. I would particularly like the focus to be on my writing (i.e. Does it make sense? Is it too verbose? Too boring or dry? Does it flow well?) but any and all parts of the blog are open for comment. Thank you!

    http://experimentnumberone.wordpress.com

    1. I think that naming your categories by experiment numbers is very confusing. I would use your experiments, such as Food, as the name of the category. I also think your header photo could be more interesting. The good news is that your blog topics are interesting and I am signing up to follow you :) Annie

      1. Thank you so much for the input and for the follow! You’re absolutely right about the categories. I tried to change them to make them clearer while still keeping with the “experiment” theme of the blog. Do they make more sense now?

    2. I’ve just had a quick scan because I only want to comment on any blogs that I feel I might have something in common with, and I’ve signed up to follow yours because I liked both the concept and topics, the plain, clean design, and what I’ve had a chance to see of your writing.

      I think as your blog progresses it would be great to see a few more pages as well as the posts, but that’s just my personal preference: when I find a new blog I like to scan through the pages to get a feel for the writer’s style and attitude. Look forward to reading more!

  18. The reality of this world GOD IS THE WOMAN ,the CIA explain all in movie ,this nation brain wash in greed and ignorance only the soldier with moral ,respect and honor the rest people with money ,and our children became more gay and stupid by the day what a joke this nation nobody talk about reality were are the human only few ,we all should protect serve and educated if you are a man and human but we all are what we are because greed n ignorance, that is why 9/11 was done for order ,love and business ,but no love is education and respect all, also GOD is the planet so we all will go to hell soon a new 9/11 is on the work be ready…..