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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. :)

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  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!

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    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!

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      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!

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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    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.

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    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.)

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  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

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    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.

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      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!

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    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

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    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.

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    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.

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  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

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    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.

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      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.

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    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.”)

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  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.

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  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/

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    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.

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      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.

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    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.

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  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.

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    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.

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  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

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