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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.

293 Comments

    1. Is the “ugly, overweight French bloke” part supposed to be a quote by this Samantha Brick person or your own comment? Because if the latter is the case, I find it pretty inappropriate tbh. It would make your post very ambiguous since you accuse society of being superficial and “ugly” for pointing at others.

      1. Absolutely agree with what you meant. I didn’t word it very well – i found his attitude ugly because he told her that he’d leave her if she gained weight. I might go and change that now. Thanks for your comment…

    1. I completely agree with one of the points that you made in your post – that it’s annoying to receive the same news multiple times in social media. You also mentioned the inappropriate pictures that pop up from time to time.
      I think you covered the topic well. Great job!

    2. I can agree with a lot of this. I like social media, but I also hate some parts. While I’m not that much annoyed by their “repetitiveness”, there are many other things that bother me. And I can understand that you worry about your son… There is btw an excellent TV show dealing with the question what might happen if social media actually took over the world in case you’re interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Mirror_%28TV_series%29 (Each episode stands on its own, so it’s more like a film series.)

    1. Hiyah. I think I would prefer to be a happy scientist rather than perpetually ‘mad’. Angry scientists might be too emotional. I visit some invitational blogs, like We Write Poems, and enjoy the prompts. Hope your blog prompt site takes off.

  1. Happy Sunday!
    I’m about three weeks old in this blogging game and am using the “Koi” theme. My blog is about dog & human friendships, and I just feel the theme might not be the right fit. Too feminine? Too artsy? It’s a beautiful theme, but maybe just not right for my blog.
    How long did YOU spend picking just the right theme?
    How did you know it was right when you chose it?
    Any free themes you’re just head-over-heels in love with?
    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Vanessa

    1. I love the theme, too, but maybe if you found a theme where you could put your own picture in the header and use a picture of your own pets??? That would make it more personal to you and to what you are blogging about. I do love the theme you chose but since you mentioned it might not fit what you are blogging about I thought it might be a good suggestion. I think you can search for themes where you can use your own photo as the header. Beautiful blog!

      1. Hi Beth Ann,
        Thanks for your honest feedback. I like the idea of a theme that allows pictures of the pets.
        You know, I tried one when I first started and it tiled the photo multiple times and I gave up. Now maybe that I’ve been here three weeks and know the system better, I’ll try again.

    2. Hello Vanessa,

      While I do think the Koi theme is cool and creative, I believe there’s a disconnect between it and the idea of dog and human friendships. Personally, before choosing a theme I like to make a list of elements I’m looking for in conjunction with my “brand.”

      They could be adjectives such as excitement, happiness, fast, light, sharp, clean, geometric, etc… That way when you’re browsing themes you’ll already have an idea of the look you are going for.

      And of course this list of adjectives will stem from what you want your blog “brand” to evoke.

      Happy hunting!

      1. Excellent advice, Veronica. You’re right on about deciding what my brand image is before I choose a theme.
        I think I just found the new theme but if I get bad reviews, I have my fallback…and it certainly isn’t koi. :)

  2. I’d love to get some feedback on my blog in general: Posts, Theme, Visuals, and Writing Style, please. Any or all of the above would be a great help to me as a developing blogger!

    Also, how do you think I could attract more interactivity on my blog? Thank you!

    1. About the interactivity: Maybe ask your readers directly for their opinion on whatever topic you wrote about at the end of your posts..? I wouldn’t necessarily do it each time but every now and then to encourage comments. And I think it helps if you comment on your mutual followers’ posts too. Some people are more likely to give input to you if they get a lot of input by you first.

  3. Hi all!
    Does anyone have any suggestions on where to look for guest post writing opportunities?
    Or how to get others to write guest posts on your blog?

    Also what about suggestions on increasing page views?

    1. I created a post with ‘Would Anyone Like To Guest Post?’ as my title and included my email address. It proved very successful – I had fifty five entries in the space of a few days. I’ll include a link below…

    2. You could also create a page with a link in the menu or a widget with a contact form. There you can specify which type of guest posts you’re looking for. To increase page views, engage with others. Comment on other blogs and promote via facebook, twitter, etc.

      Many bloggers regularly feature guest posters, but I don’t know of an easy way to find them apart from browsing blogs and look who’s requesting.

    3. Hello!

      I have never guest posted nor I had someone do it for my blog but I would look on the blogs I love as well as google (might come up with sites for this) and send e-mails around. Wait and have passion about your writing and let other people know you are looking for writing and having guest post written.

      As for page views, I guess you could go around reading other blogs and, if you like them, comment, follow or like their posts. If you have something insightful to say on their blog, some of them might visit you too. Also, if you’d enjoy it, do Blog Challenges or Prompts and don’t forget to engage your commenters. Don’t just look over their comments and walk away. Communicate, make them feel loved!

      This is how I builded my readership back in the days when I was active. I hope those things will help you. You have a very nice blog with a honest writing style. I will stick around~

  4. Hi, I’m a spanish blogger, and I’d like you to read my new post: http://buscandotrabajoatiempocompleto.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/feria-de-empleo-buscar-trabajo-en-irlanda/
    It’s about a Jobs Expo in Ireland. Here, in Spain, we are living a difficult moment and It’s very difficult to find a job; so I’m doing my best to help other people in the process.
    It’d be great if you re-blog my post; because all I want is for the information to spread through Internet.

    (I apologize for the mistakes writing in English. I hope you forgive me) :)

    1. I think you’re doing fabulously! You’re using different sized pictures and spacing them well throughout the blog.
      You have good word and picture flow and keep the reader’s attention.
      I would say you might want a less playful theme? It is a bit distracting from your core message.
      (My theme is doing the same and I am changing it today!)

      1. Thanks! Thats a great point, I was honestly thinking about changing it before :) I’ll have to search for some new themes in the next couple of days. Thanks again for the helpful advice! :)

    1. Hello Stephanie,

      Great header photo! It really fits with your blog title: The Energy of Mindfulness.  I don’t think that it’s confusing that you’re mixing photography and writing about swimming.

      However, I do think there are a couple of elements that might help the layout of your blog:

      1-You can use Categories (that way, readers can go directly to the topic they are looking for, let it be about photography, or about swimming,

      2-You can use the “More tag,” so that only an excerpt of your blog post appears on your home page. Readers will be able to see more that way (instead of having to scroll all the way down).

      Happy writing!

    1. Hi Beth Ann,
      I love that giving idea!
      I would say the only thing I would add is an update on how Betty is doing now. If May was her diagnosis month, surely there must be some updates on her progress. It could be a simple one liner about how she’s doing.

      1. Oh great idea!!! Thanks! It is all on her CaringBridge site which I linked to but did not actually say in print on the page!!!! Every day is a battle for her but she is back at work part time so that is a good thing. I will figure out how to word that so it sounds better than what I just wrote. :-) Thanks!

  5. Hi guys. I’ve come to the conclusion that ill be using my blog for more photographic purposes and I’m not sure whether my blog theme is suitable for my blog. Also. I’ve changed my theme a couple of times as well as my header and wanted your opinion on whether it flowed nicely and if the colours and header went well together? An objective view is always so helpful!

    Thanks for your help!!

    Elsie.

    1. Elsie I have in my blog a free theme that is specific for photographic, is call Nishita with 18 widgets; althoug I have very long post it is working for the thematic I write about (Art History) that theme focuse in images and you
      can personalize colors, pages wide and so on. this is the link for the theme….http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/nishita/.
      Is you whant take a look at the theme in use in my blog to have an idea if can work for you too.
      http://www.historiadelarteen.com

    1. I liked your layout and design. I prefer the clean look and your template works well with that. It is not all cluttered and distracting which is a plus in my book. Love your positive attitude and message. Encouragers are great people—-always good to have those folks in your life.

  6. Hello, I’m cosidering the following lines for the opening of a story. Does it grab your attention? Let me know, any comments apreciated.

    Charlz blinked in shock. “From the day I was born, every member of this family has made it plain by word and deed that I did not belong. Now you want me to save you?” He laughed derisively and said coldly. “Give me one good reason why I should bother!”

    http:emilykarn.wordpress.com/

  7. Hi everybody, I would love to get some feedback on my poetry blog:
    notenoughpoetry.wordpress.com.
    Please share with me any suggestions you may have on the entire experience: poems, layout, theme, etc. Thank you!

    1. You could have less categories. So instead of game reviews and game news, just put it under a general tag of gaming. Same with Movies and guides. Maybe cut out the fitness and focus on the rest.

      Other than that, I hope you manage to keep it up :)

    1. Sanyay I visited your page and I personally liked, is very clean and go righ to the point, I read your marketing ideas and I am glad i did that I learn a few things I did not know about it.

      I would like personally tho some post guia- list in a left or righ column, because now you have few post but when you have a lot of them, visitor will have to scroll down and up in order to find what they are looking for. But overall I thing your fine. Good lock

      1. Thanks! I will implement a list of posts in right sidebar to make it easy for visitors to find out what they are looking for. Thanks a lot for sharing your feedback.

    1. I liked your post on gardening, and I think your humor is very clever. She really thought you were growing drugs? The castor leaf only vaguely looks like a cannabis leaf, and I say that without even being a smoker. It just goes to show that some people are just too ignorant. Sadly, it means that too few people garden these days, and that’s a real shame. Keep on writing and posting yor photos!

  8. Hello everyone! I joined WordPress a few days ago and I’d just like to hear if you think my layout works for my blog’s purposes. It’s about illustrations of squirrels made in MS Paint. Also… if you have any ideas what “situations” I could put my squirrels into in the future, that’d be great! :)

  9. Hi guys,

    Not sure if this is the right place, but is it possible to get feedback on a theme I’ve been working on and am planning to submit to WordPress.org. It’s my first attempt at a submission so any feedback would be great. If this isn’t the right place, can someone point me in the right direction?

    Happy to post link to the development version of the theme (if it’s allowed). Any advice would be great!

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Doggies! Lovely little creatures and a nice, funny and easy to understand writing style.

      As a wanna-be designer, I would recommend aligning the photos (somehow), on the right with your current theme, as it balances the negative space out (never have them perfectly centered of the page though), Also, you could make them a bit bigger to tip the balance as the font is also very small and those doggies are worth showing off. The white border is nice too.

      A photo on the side (as a widget) with your dogs and their names that links to your ”Who We Are?” Page could go nicely somewhere.

      I admit not being a fan of the theme but that is easily personal preference so I won’t comment on it as it would simply be a biased opinion. *nervous laugh*

      I really like your blog and the way you write your posts. It’s definitely something new, in the good way. :)

      Me likey! *hits the follow button for more doggie awesomeness*

    1. Love the layout. Very neat, clean and edgy, with great close-ups. The whole blog, including the typography, is reminiscent of a fashion magazine, which makes me think this was the look you were going for. So if you were… Success!

  10. Hello everyone. I am very new at blogging. I have written a few posts, but would like some advice on howto make my blog look better visually. I do things pretty slowly, so I would appreciate just a few suggestions with a brief explanation on how I would make those changes. Thanks to all. https://clairek44.wordpress.com/

    1. Hello Claire!

      Hmm…It depends on what looks good to you and what you are comfortable using. I see we happen to use the same theme but those things apply to everything. It’s up to you to find a balance.

      Some easy choices would be adding images or grabbing attention to specific section by formatting you posts (bold, underline, center etc).
      Also, you could also add widgets and backgrounds as well as widgets.
      I found some links on WordPress that explain how to do those things. Take your time, do things at your own pace and only use what you like and when you like them ;)

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/themes/custom-header-image/
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/themes/custom-backgrounds/
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/category/widgets-sidebars/
      http://en.support.wordpress.com/visual-editor/

      So much information might be a bit overwhelming, I know it was for me at first. If you ever need further help, let me know. :) Hope this helped!

    2. I think your writing is very informative and professional. Great job!

      You may want to add an image at the top of each post — something that represents the content. Visuals draw in the reader, and they also represent what your post is about.

      Keep up the great work!

      1. You’re welcome!
        We all have to go through the initial work of setting up a blog and getting it to look just right. Just have fun with it, and don’t try to do everything at once :)

  11. Hey Everyone!! I run a poetry/writing blog and i am looking for any general feedback, advice, criticism, suggestions, questions or comments. Check It out please. And suggestions for subject matter will also be lovely. Thanks in advanced!

  12. Hey Everyone!! I run a poetry/writing blog and i am looking for any general feedback, advice, criticism, suggestions, questions or comments. Check It out please. And suggestions for subject matter will also be lovely. Thanks in advance!

    1. As a Yank, I find English football fascinating. I love the concept of independent clubs as opposed to team franchises under a corporate league (NFL, NBA, MLB) that we have here.

      Anyway, I think your posts are very informative and reflect your love and passion for football. However, I didn’t see any posts on cricket. Perhaps it’s a new blog or maybe it’s not cricket season (sorry for my ignorance).

      Just one small piece of advice: You may want to give credit on the images that you post. As your blog becomes bigger and more well-known, you’ll want to be as professional as possible.

      Overall, very impressive!

  13. Heyy :D I just started blogging a few days back and I would love it if you could give me some feedback on it :)
    swagnificentintellect.wordpress.com (I’ve only posted three entries, of which I’m really excited about the second one.)
    Thanks a ton! Good day to everyone! ^_^

  14. Hi! I was wondering if I could get some feedback on my blog design (banner, color scheme) and my tagline. I blog about my faith and how I handle mental illness. I’ve had the same tagline since I started and am wondering if it is effective.

    http://thepsychword.com

    Thanks!

    1. I like your design, but the more important thing is that *you* like it. If it’s meaningful to you, people will get that. I like the picture of the saint, and how each of your posts has an image to go with it. I can’t put images on my posts unless they’re mine, since it’s a creative work, but you are able to find something that goes along with what you have to say.
      Moreover, I think your blog is important. A long of people out there deal with mental illness, and it’s hard for people to be understanding since 1, it scares them and 2, they can’t see it the way you can a physical disability. I personally don’t have MI. but I know people who, and they all say that it’s hard sometimes. Religiously speak, I think there would also be people who bring faith and God into question. In your blog, are you willing to speak to how peple have reacted religiously to your illness? Do they say God is punishing you? Testing you? I’m not saying that, but I know there are people out there who think things like that.
      Best of luck to you, and keep sharing your perspective. Even with MI, you are still worthy of being human, and you deserve love and respect!

      1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply! Yes, it is hard to deal with mental illness. My prayer is that I can help those who suffer by being understanding and relatable.

        I like your suggestion about addressing religious types who say that God is punishing me. That is something that I haven’t thought about.

      2. Actually, I don’t talk about it at church or with people that I know from church. I don’t want people to view me differently. Maybe I need to open up about it, but I just can’t seem to at this point.

  15. Hello Topaz, I

    I think it is effective– I guess it is quite niche, mental illness and as a catholic—how does that differ from mental illness without catholicism? you are highlighting the importance of faith. the candle design works for me and the parchment feel and the sooty stains…

    I am wondering about which would be a better home page for my blog– I am mixing serious stuff with humour and want to attract the reader

    Thank you

    http://conanlibrarianlondon.wordpress.com/

    http://conanlibrarianlondon.wordpress.com/nympho-librarian/

    1. I think you should open it up a bit, the movies you like is really just a synopsis. the information we can all get on the back of a DVD. The blog is personal so what people might want to know is what specifically engaged you

      1. Also there are 5 more posts, not only the one with the movies, the idea it was review the movies , books etc in a fun way and to introduce some philosophical ideas along the way so that’s why I am asking if you have read the post because I’m sure you will not find that information on the back of any DVD.

    1. Well done for starting a blog!

      The very first post being a quote was a tad confusing and it seems like it’d better as a tagline of some sort. But that’s fine really.

      The main improvement is your about page. I’d recommend moving the contact widget below your text so the first impression isn’t that they’ve clicked on the wrong link. Secondly, split your text into paragraphs because currently it looks like a hard block of text while my eyes are simply drawn to the capital letters and exclamation marks.

      I’ve split it up below:

      “I’m Soraya Roch(pronounced “rock”) and like most people I am obsessed with music. I find music to be one of the few things that bind people together no matter where in the world they are. This blog is being used as my space to share ALL THINGS MUSIC. Whether it is an indie artist from England, and Belgium girl who does reggae, or a cute musical recital that I viewed on YouTube.

      I was inspired to create this blog because of my declaration in 2012 that 2013 would be my year of concerts and purchasing albums. After going to Rihanna, Beyonce, JT Jay-Z and buying tickets for Drake. I realized that my obsession with music went beyond simply enjoying a few shows. To analyze what makes an artist appealing and great is something that is ever changing and can be seen differently by so many people.

      This blog is not only an opportunity for me to share my views on all music, but to also allow space for other people to share music that they like. So if there is an artist that you say to yourself; “Everyone has GOT TO HEAR this” than share with me and I may just post a video and bio about that artist. It can be from any genre whether Rock, Soul, Country, Pop, Brazilian, Bachata.

      Just like music this blog is not just for me but meant to be shared and explored in more that one way”

  16. Good morning everyone! I am working on several fantasy novels, and I decided to start another one that I can post in serial on WordPress (http://legendsoflorata.wordpress.com/the-princess-of-the-kingdom-of-legend/). It gives the reader an idea of the background of my fantasy world, and my plan is to have it lead all the way up to the start of book one, which I hope to get published in book form.
    So far, I have posted chapters one and two of The Princess of the Kingdom of Legend, and I’m going to start Chapter Three: The Village of Norhill later today. If you are a fan of fantasy or just stories in general, I would love your input. What do you look for in a fantasy story? What do you expect, and what is off-limits? What makes you put a fantasy down and call it quits (i.e. what should I avoid)?
    I have been working with my fantasy world for years, and I even have book one completed, so I have a ton of plans and concepts laid out. Now that I’m working on a sort of prequel, part legends, part ancient history, there are a few things here and there that I can choose how to do. You can read the first part of the serial novel at http://legendsoflorata.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/the-princess-of-the-kingdom-of-legend/ and leave comments either here or there. Thank you and happy reading!

  17. Evening boys and girls!

    Been doing this for about 9 months now, but I only really focused my efforts for the past months, which has paid off quite nicely. A lot of my writing is about theatre and how I view aspects of it and/or performance – although recently it’s been to do with me, the Fringe and the shows I’ve seen.

    I guess my query is whether it might come off as a little…know it all? I’m hoping it’s not the vibe I give off because I want to engage people in their views on whatever I’m talking about, but I don’t know if it seems a bit brash. My aim (as seen here: http://laidigsbroadway.wordpress.com/about/ ) is to manage and perform within my own theatre company, so my blog is a way of organising ideas of performance techniques, writing, etc.

    Most of those particular posts are under the category Theatre Thoughts, however this is the most recent one:
    http://laidigsbroadway.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/look-what-happened-comedy/

    Thank you in advance!

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