Menu

Community Pool

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.

461 Comments

    1. I love this post! It’s very informative as well as inspiring to see how much you’ve learned and how much success you’ve had in such a short amount of time! Seems like you’re a “blogging natural” (is that a thing? it is now!) and I have no doubt you’ll learn from those mistakes and have continued success in 2014!

    2. I liked your post a lot. I thought it had some really worthwhile blogging tips and suggestions. I did think, though, the post was a little on the long side. The introduction, while interesting, was, IMHO, a bit off topic. Perhaps you could have pulled most of the introduction out and used that as a separate post. But hey, this is just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions. Besides, who am I to suggest something to someone whose blog has a ton more followers and views than does mine?

    3. 70,000 hits in just eight months is not an easy thing. Also to get active readers as well. You have some amazing points there. And I really liked your last point. Even I’ve written some blogs without much enthusiasm. And I suffered the same consequences.

      1. Thank you – I find that I can sometimes lose interest in a post half way through but finish it because I have already spent so much time on it.

    4. Thanks for all the tips – it was a very useful post and I shall pay good heed to what you’ve said. It’s nice for me to read a blog that has such an English feel to it as well. I shall read it when I’m travelling and missing the UK! Well done on having such a successful blogging year – I have enjoyed looking at your posts. And the photos for the review of 2013 are wonderful, especially the London Eye shot with those magnificent clouds!

    5. Hi Suzie! Your post is so informative, I absolutely love it. I’ve only just gotten started blogging (seriously, I just started this month) and it really helps to see what you have to say. I didn’t even realize that I should be linking in my articles. Thank you so much for the tips.

      1. I’m new to WordPress, so I’m not really sure how everything works yet, but having some ideas about what to avoid is more than helpful. I can already see a few mistakes that I was making, particularly in the area of linking and adding pictures. I appreciate the tips.

    6. Hi
      I have only been blogging for a few days and I think I’m hooked.
      I thought your post was very helpful Thankyou Jan

    7. Hello Suzie! I loved your post- and honestly these were many of the same things I learned during my first two years of blogging. Im roughly on my second year now, with followers and a steady pace regarding traffic albeit somewhat low. I kind of smiled at myself because I was able to check off a lot of your suggestions that I am currently doing, so that means Im on the right track! The last quarter of 2013 was when I got my current blog Works By Anastasia off the ground and it has a few thousand views and counting which makes me happy. I am long winded as well so your intro (for obvious reasons) looked ok to me! Again, thanks for your post! I took a follow of your blog cant wait to read more!
      -Anastasia

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      I too am a retired paraleagl (Canadian) and I`m still working as a technical writer. I liked your About page and I like your images. The Egret image is wonderfully clear. I also have a thing for Great Blue Herons, as there is pair who fish in my pond, and there are many others all over the sandbars I watch while fishing. I ♥ WordPress.com too and have made many friends here. I also self-host WordPress.org installs but here is where I prefer to be and these are my 7 Reasons Why I Like WordPress.com Hosting.

      1. Thank you for reaching out, TT! I don’t think paralegals can ever give up their writing, but now we get to do it for pleasure! You must enjoy the Great Blues in your own yard. I’m originally from Michigan and my Dad would always point it out when he saw one. I’m anxious to read your 7 Reasons…sounds like we have lots in common!

      2. Hi again Elizabeth,
        Thanks so much for the blog visit and the kind words too. I have been keeping a blogging tips blog focused on providing tutorials and other resources to WordPress.com bloggers since 2006 and I love doing it.

      1. Haha Well there’s this thing called Publicise that automatically adds your g+ and fb friends as followers , i still haven’t figured out how to remove it :(

      2. You can try this out.
        Go to your Dashboard>Settings>Sharing.
        You’ll see the sites you are connected with in the ‘Publicise’ section. Then, you can disconnect from those by clicking there.

        Hope this works :)

    1. Your poem was lovely. I remember writing haiku for Japanese class in high school and know its super hard (five, seven, five….always struggled with the last five) Tanka is a little easier because it is 5-7-5-7-7.

    2. There is a huge world of english language haiku out there in the blogosphere and countless local groups meeting face to face, publications both web and print. Wikipedea has a good article with links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku_in_English
      On wordpress you will find some fantastic links at http://awalkinhaiku.wordpress.com/category/haiku/
      On facebook a wonderful feedback community, (enormous) at https://www.facebook.com/NaHaiWriMo?fref=ts&filter=2 Lots of well practiced haijun (writers of haiku) and lots of beginners also. If you ask for feedback they will give it and are mostly kind. They work to prompts each day, but you don’t have to stick to the prompts.
      Have a look around because the guidelines mostly given here on WordPress are at best out-dated (there was a lot of misinformation in the first translations of what haiku is) and at worst, wrong. (Speaking as a well-published haiku poet of 15 years experience.)
      It is a wonderful form, and has enormous potential.It taught me more about poetry and trusting my readers than any other thing. I really urge you to go find it. Enjoy.

    1. I liked your photos. One idea I had was that it would be nice to give a little blurb about where it was taken and maybe a little tidbit about something you did there, the weather, or some other aspect, depending on the circumstance (just an idea that readers might like, not a criticism.)

    2. prpurohit I agree with Marcy. I think that including text is a very important element in any photoblog because it provides context for the reader. I also know that any post that has a single image but lacks 125 words of text or more does not do as well on Google as posts with images and text of that length does. The Hummingbird algorithm update by Google made this clear to us all. Always remember that it is search engines like Google that send the majority of all traffic to healthy blogs.

      In addition, I would like to suggest the you create an actual profile – Dashboard – Users – My Profile scroll down to About you and enter a brief bio that does exceed 140 characters then click save changes. When you do that same section will also automatically appear on your Gravatar profile page. You can also use the same brief bio on your Twitter account as well.

      I do more to suggest lol :D and though I could on and on and on I usually get paid to do blog evaluations but here are two more suggestions I make to all bloggers. Expand your brief bio into a fully fledged bio and place it on an About page
      Why About Pages are Essential. You will also want include a blog description on your About Page that states the purpose you have for your blog, as I have described in the post on my blog titled: Creating an Effective Blog Description. Sorry but I cannot include the link because only one link is allowed in comments here.

    1. So I only looked at the one image (Underpass) that you linked to…to be honest, it’s to average for me. I live in a city, so I see things like this everyday. It’s “normal” to me, but it doesn’t bring forth any feelings because I can’t explicitly identify it as my home.

      Keep shooting though!

    2. Hi there! So I agree that it is somewhat normal HOWEVER- this does not mean normal cant make great images! I encourage you to tinker with your camera settings to avoid noise for different scenes, and also use a tripod that has a level gauge on it so you can tell if your just a hair off balance wise. Im no pro- but these are things I have recently learned myself- I have plenty of images on my blog you can check out! Have a great day!
      -Anastasia

  1. I’m hosting a give-away on my blog
    http://newyorkcliche.com/2013/12/26/holiday-give-away-with-minted/
    I was contacted by the sponsor-which was pretty awesome- and asked to write a review. I tried to include personal anecdotes to make the post more interesting to my readers. I’m not exactly getting paid to do it, but part of me worries it comes off like an advertisement.

    Another site contacted me shortly after to do a similar post. Which on one hand is awesome, but on the other hand I’m concerned if this sort of thing de-values my blog? Makes me seem like a sell out? It is my blog, but I usually write personal anecdotes, not reviews.

    I’d love feedback on how it appears to a reader and what your opinion of this kind of thing is. Any feedback in general is super appreciated.

    Oh, and if you’d like, feel free to enter the give away!

      1. Do you have a badge saying ‘WordPress Police’ as you seem to pop up at the least thing that does not adhere to WordPress. If there is a problem then let WordPress sort it out not some wannabe. So just leave it alone. If you wish to come back with some witty comment, don’t bother as I am not interested you have already accused me of not having a WordPress host blog, which you were wrong about, so just leave people alone to do what they wish to do and that is write……..The whole philosophy of WordPress

      2. New York Cliche

        I’m sorry you chose to feel so defensive. Name calling is never civil behavior. You and I both know that. I simply exercised my right to free speech above by sharing my surprise. I suggest that you don’t launch personal attacks when surprise is expressed, because an honest response will take you a lot further in life and in the blogging world than namecalling ever will.

        I just published this post and did not include what you are doing in it Providing Additional Content for Blog Readers Provided there is a p[positive response from Staff on this issue I will have more material to create and publish another helpful post for other WordPress.com bloggers.

        May peace be with you and within you in 2014.

      3. New York Cliche
        Note that I do wish you well and that I choose to communicate with you and through you in my second comment, rather than communicating with anyone who chooses to behave like a troll.

    1. I just entered your fun giveaway!
      I don’t think you’d be a sell out by reviewing a product and getting paid to do so. I think that as long as you love the product then getting paid to review it would be extra =) AND, it’s a blogger’s dream to get paid, am I right?! Plus, you’d still be writing other stuff and not just reviews, ya know?
      Don’t hesitate or worry what people think and do what’s right for you and your blog. I hope this helps! <3
      Christina

      1. @girlychristina

        AND, it’s a blogger’s dream to get paid, am I right?!

        My response is you are wrong! Granted there are legions of hyped people who think they will make a living at blogging but I know better. I have blogged for over 8 years. However, I have been a writer for pay for much longer than that. I am a technical writer, who has been in the business for over 3 decades. Like many other bloggers I consider blogging to be a hobby and I have absolutely no interest in being paid to blog and/or having any sort of advertising on my blogs, so I pay for No-Ads upgrades to keep all ads off of my blogs.

        P.S. Good luck in the giveaway.

      2. @girlychristina
        Your quite right, if you like a product then write about, if the company wishes to pay you as a thank you then thats a huge bonus. I know two people who not on WP but using other blogging software make quite a resonable living from photographing products and writing about them, companies love it. They are now invited by supplies to write blogs for them.
        I have two blogs that are using WP platform that I write for two different companies, money for old rope. If you work hard enough and know your trade then you can be a success.
        btw I taught the two photographers who now are earning their living. Also WordPress is for freedom of speech so write what you like, I would like to see the person who tries and denys freedom of speech on media that freedom of speech has been fought over on. Yay Freedom of speech!!!!

  2. Hello everyone. I’m trying out writing a daily short story/journal on a Zombie Apocalypse type story. So each day I add more to the story, so over the year it will progress further and further. Does this sound like a dumb idea, or should I try something else out? I love doing the daily prompts here, they are fabulous. It helps me get my mind thinking. Thank you for your time. I do appreciate it. :-)

    1. I don’t think that sounds dumb at all. My main caution though would be, simply and ironically put, that zombies have been done to death.

      If you think you have something new to bring the table though, go for it. I think adding a little more each day is great, an especially great format for teh internets.

      1. I definitely understand about the Zombies being over done. It’s more just for fun and if anyone wants to read it they can. I do appreciate your feedback.

    2. Nah, not dumb. It’s like the old serial novels that they used to put out back in the day. Stephen King originally put out The Green Mile in monthly segments.

      Go for it!

    3. I also would like to know, I just started my blog the beginning of this month, does my blog have too many categories? Should I not add as much information or should I change the template/layout around some? Any information you can share with me is a great help. I appreciate everyone’s honest answers. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year.
      http://nicolesloansbooks.wordpress.com/

      1. Hi Nicole,
        From the search engine point of view and from a reader`s point of view it does not matter how many categories and tags you assign to posts in your blog at all. They are provided for the convenience of on blog readers and for appearance on the WordPress.com Topics (Tags and Categories) pages.Note: Do not exceed assigning the combined total (Tags and Categories) of 15 on any post.

        Successful blogs draw between 30 – 60 % of their incoming targeted readers from search engine referrals. Targeted readers are those who arrive on your site because they already have an interest in the content expressed in keywords that your posts and blog contain.

        Know that Tags and Categories are not essential for SEO purposes. Know also that search spiders treat Tags and Categories exactly the same way. They are not focused on the Categories and or Tags that you assign to your posts. They are focused on keywords found in your textual content within posts. They are also programmed to detect whether or not any Tag or Category you assign to a post is a keyword or keyword phrase that`s actually found in the textual content in the post. If it is not found there then Bing spiders flag that as a spam detection precursor because there are legions of spamdexers ie. tag spammer out there who assign multiple unrelated Categories and Tags to their posts.

        Now that I have your attention and you know that Categories and Tags are treated the same way by search engines please allow me to share some blog post tagging ie. categorization tips that will increase targeted traffic to your blog posts. Quick Blog Post Tagging Tips

      2. Thank you so much for explaining that to me. To be honest, I never knew that. I appreciate your help and time. I really enjoyed the post that you attached to this. Thank you again!!! :)

      3. Take a look at Suzie81′s post (linked at the top of the comments) She gives a lot of great information. I also started at the beginning of the month, but I think having plenty to say on a variety of topics is a good idea. I personally could never pick just one topic of discussion.

        I just use the categories widget to make it easier to navigate the topics. You can see what I mean here:

        http://theauthorwhoknows.wordpress.com/

      4. Hi again Nicole,
        You’re welcome and best wishes with your blog. Though there is no limitation on the number of categories and/or tags you can create in any blog it’s always best to develop a focus and create a core collection of pillar posts on your major topics so you can reach a target audience. Identifying who your target audience is, what they already know, what they want/need to know, and the best way to deliver your message is critical to success. How to Identify Your Blog’s Audience

        Pillar posts are comprehensive posts that offer great value to readers as their content is timeless in nature. They assist you to create authority in your niche and to attract targeted readers to your content on an ongoing basis

        If you don’t develop a collection of pillar posts you may go off course by creating so many categories/tags that dilute follower enthusiasm, because most readers won’t be reading topics in your posts that interest them personally frequently, so some readers will begin to unfollow.

    4. Hi Nicole. Go for it! I think it sounds really interesting, especially if you are thinking of turning it into a novel or short story in the future. I’ve discovered that story RPG and similar character development options can help you breathe life into the characters that you are creating for a short story or a book.

      1. Thank you for your support on both comments. Yeah, I think its fun and I can turn the story how I want as I go, so it makes it interesting.

      2. If you love what you’re writing, then I think its worth exploring. Although I personally have never written a zombie story, I love writing fantasy stories. There’s just something about magic that makes it a lot of fun and you can really let your imagination run wild. I would imagine that writing from the perspective of a survivor would be fun and I would love to see where you go with your story.

      3. I can’t agree with you anymore. I’m in the process of writing my first novel now and it’s a young adult fantasy novel. I’ve written the first rough draft and I’m editing it now. I hope in the next few months to have it finished. I’m incorporating a magic system in it now. I haven’t shared any information on my novel yet for the fear of someone stealing my work. I think I’m going to self-publish on Amazon when it’s finished. It’s my goal that I’m working on. My blog is just fun stuff on the side to keep my mind active and practice writing.

      4. Hey Nicole – I got confused when you said “I can’t agree with you anymore”…that reads like you “no longer agree”. I think you meant to say “I couldn’t agree more”. :)

        Not to be “that guy”, but this one genuinely confused me.

    5. I think it’s a great idea, especially if you’re passionate about it. =)
      Yes, zombies are popular right now but I think that most people can’t get enough zombie stuff! (Hello, The Walking Dead. Love that show!)
      I think your story sounds interesting and something that I would read. I hope this helps! <3
      Christina

      1. Thank you Christina!!! I’m addicted to that show as well. I’m not ruining it for anyone who has watches it and hasn’t seen the last few episodes, but I do have to say it has some crazy twists and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  3. Merry Christmas from Ireland!

    I’d appreciate some thoughts on the appearance of my blog ‘Put The kettle on’ http://oliviafitzgerald.net/

    I’m an Irish mum of twins and a new freelance writer. My blog has a dual purpose at the moment, as a portfolio and somewhere to write, have fun and meet fellow bloggers.

    Please tell me if you think it’s working. It started off all rather pink and fluffy, and now i’m going for a more professional feel after I was gifted a very nice new theme for Christmas.

    Thank you!
    Olivia :0)

    1. hooray new theme! What a nice Christmas present. It looks very professional now, I think you might benefit from meeting somewhere in the middle of pink/fluffy and professional to accomplish your duel purposes. I think just adding an image or graphics or something more personal as a header will go a long way towards that! Hope that helps.

      1. Perfect. Thank you for having a look. I had some images on the previous theme, but now they’re hiding somewhere.. I’ll have a play around and see if I can give it a little lift.
        Thanks a million!

    2. Hi, I love the look of your blog as it looks professional and it was easy for me to navigate around =)
      Personally, I love pink and fluffy (hello, life being girly!) I wouldn’t be scared to be pink and fluffy if that’s who you are. I can relate to your content as I am also 30, so I think your blog is great! I hope this helps! <3
      Christina

    3. I love the look! Everything looks organized, easy to navigate busy but not too busy which is great. I am immediately turned off when I go to a blog and its got too much going on at the very sight of it. Yours looks great! Id love if anyone could give me some feedback on the layout of mine? Thanks and Happy New Year!

      -Anastasia, Works By Anastasia

      1. Hi Anastasia,

        Thanks so much for having a look. My blog is quite new, so I needed to make it look busy.
        I had a look at your blog. It’s very elegant and refined.
        I was immediately intrigued by the blog title and image. I want to know more! I haven’t had a chance to read any posts yet, but I promise I will as i’m following you now too.
        Talk to you soon, Happy New Year!
        Olivia :0)

  4. I write about a variety of topics, from dating to technology to politics to photography. I think I’d get more traction if I could present more focused options to readers, but I’d like to keep it all on one site, under my DalyDose branding efforts.

    Are there better WordPress.com templates for me to use for this? Ideally, I’d like the whole blog visible, but allow quick filtering by just those main three categories. I’d also like to allow people to subscribe to specific categories.

    I hope I’m explaining what I want, clearly. The obvious advice would be to run separate blogs, but I don’t want to go that route.

    Thanks in advance!

    Jeff

    1. I understand what you are wanting, you explain it clearly. I don’t know how you could do this but if there’s a way, I would love to hear the results to this as well. I do the same where I have different topics on my blog. Right now, I have my main page as a set page with my information and then everything is broken up into the categories. I like the idea of being able to subscribe to the different categories. I hope you get the answer that you are looking for.

      1. I agree that photo is awesome! I too have wonders about the separations of topic for discussion, pages, additional blogs etc. I am jumbling all of my “works” together at this point hence the name Works By Anastasia. I followed your blog and will likely spend the evening bouncing around reading! Happy New Year!
        -Anastasia

      2. Thank you!

        I just return followed and saw that you indeed have a variety of content across mediums. I LOVE THAT!!! I saw at least one short film that I’ll definitely be watching after I figure out dinner.

      1. I’ve considered it and it’s been so long since I started using this theme that I forget why I didn’t! I have some people who want to subscribe to every word that I type. There are others that are only interested in what I write about dating/single life and they have no interest in my technology writing.

        I have already made a separate blog for my phone-tographs, but I’d rather not have that many. Hmmm….

      2. Well, people are just going to have to subscribe to what you feel comfortable doing, and if that means one page full of different topics, then so be it! =)

        Seriously though, I like the idea of different menus and that way your readers can look at other stuff in your life. It’s a win-win for everyone!

  5. My blog so far is mainly focused on Japan and the places I’ve been, as well as cultural differences. Unfortunately I don’t get much traffic – and when I do it’s almost always for my photography (which I also really enjoy, but I want to improve my writing as well).

    Are there any topics that you think it’d be interesting for me to cover? I feel like I might run out of things to talk about, and I’m trying to do a post each day.

    I’d also like to write more fiction, but I’m having a hard time with that.

      1. Thank you for the comment and the follow!! I looked at your blog and it looks like you have a lot of inspirational posts for bloggers. =) Definitely following you back!

    1. Hello,
      It sounds like your blog is pretty interesting. With your expertise and travel experience, fiction might not be as hard as you think. Use your knowledge of Japanese culture and spin your tales around that. For example, use Japanese legends as the foundation for a character and then write a story from the perspective of that person.
      You can make a character who is a kitsune or a tenshi. For something a little more challenging, use an oni or akuma as your main character. Japan has a rich culture and really interesting legends that can act as inspiration for a fictional story.

      1. You know, that’s a really good idea!! I don’t know too much about Shinto lore, but it’s a good excuse to find out more. Thank you so much for the comment, I’m going to have to try that!

      2. No problem. I actually studied Japanese in high school and loved the cultural aspects of the country. The Shinto lore is really interesting, especially when you talk to locals who have different opinions about the old legends. I learned about some of the local stories when I want as an exchange student and was completely hooked.

        Good luck on your research and fictional exploits.

      3. No problem. I actually studied Japanese in high school and loved the cultural aspects of the country. The Shinto lore is really interesting, especially when you talk to locals who have different opinions about the old legends. I learned about some of the local stories when I want as an exchange student and was completely hooked.

        Good luck on your research and fictional exploits.

    1. Good stuff! My only suggestion is to create and utilize categories. This will help readers who are searching for specific types of material! I realized this recently- and am now categorizing my posts accordingly along with using the appropriate tags as always. I never categorize more than two in a post as my own preference. Just look at others categories to get an idea of how you would create your own if you need to. Have a Happy New Year!

      -Anastasia, Works By Anastasia

    1. I really enjoy your blog. I love all of the photos that you add to your post. I don’t know much about gluten free foods but I have to say that your recipes look good. Keep up the great work and I hope your blog does well.

    2. Hi Isabel, I love your recipes! Your blog looks great too, the only thing I would say is you should get rid of the fake snow effect. Personally it made it harder for me to focus on your writing because it was getting in the way. Hope this helps =)

      1. I know I was going off topic but it was just a one off “this is what I do with my leftovers” kind of post. Thanks for the feedback =)

  6. Hello all. My blog is about sports. However, it focuses on the younger generation. I have just recently started it and only have three interviews, the first being with an Arsenal under 21 player. My blog is sportsyoungtalent.wordpress.com It would be great if I could get some feedback.

  7. Thanks for this, Im a former athlete, so this isn’t super intuitive. Im attempting to post photos, but after I upload them ( status bar shows 100%) I don’t see the photo, help??

Comments are closed.