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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. Zero to Hero participants, head to the forums to chat about today’s task.

  • 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.

323 Comments

    1. Hi – I enjoy your “voice” and the clean layout of your blog. And you made me smile, more than once or twice. Plus, you will forgive me, I’m a sucker for a British accent!

    2. I thought your blog was a riot! I can tell you the British grocery stores have it all over the American shops–middle-aged couple kissing the doorway? Really! I enjoyed this lots.

    3. Hi Suzie81,
      Are you aware of the zero to hero challenge Staff have going? http://dailypost.wordpress.com/zero-to-hero/ I see you post here every week for months now, but I don’t see a Links page or Blogroll on your blog. That’s why I’m thinking that you could benefit from the instructions provided in the Challenger that lead to creating a your own blog centered community. Although it’s rather late to enter the challenge the zero to hero documentation is available and it is helpful.

      1. I think creating my own community is definitely the next step I should take… I’ve been following zero to hero but not participating. Thanks for the idea!

      2. Hi again Susie81,
        Although the challenge will soon be over all the documentation is there and the focus without any doubt at all is on creating community. That’s in the best interest of the bloggers as stats indicate that most blogs created today will be deleted or abandoned in less than a year. It’s also in WordPress.com’s best interest too because deleted blogs can’t draw traffic (ad clickers), because newly abandoned blogs without much don’t draw much traffic (ad-cickers) for long after they are abandoned. So best wishes for getting community pool and into the mainstream of blogging. Your content is great and you will do very well. :)

    4. How funny! I can so relate to having nights like that and seriously don’t worry about being 32 and watching that movie. I’m 37 and I’ll still keep it on if I come across it flipping channels. I really need to visit your grocery store though because mine just isn’t that exciting. :)

  1. Well, I am a little confused. I recently thought about writing abstract stuffs just what I really feel deep about something. I created a category and named it Abstract. But I felt my first post wasn’t one. After a long pondering here’s my second piece. Do let me know what you think about it. Is writing Abstract thoughts advisable? What are your thoughts on my Abstract post?
    http://thinkerscap.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/love/

    1. Heyyooooo. I think maybe you could tailor your “abstract thoughts” into poetry, and characterize them as such. It makes the reader expect more choppy writing (which is awesome) and makes us relate to it a bit better. Cheers!

      1. Yes i did think about that :P But i wanted to leave it abstract , something like an abstract art or a abstract painting. To let readers to have a different experience but i shall consider your words , thank you :)

    2. Hi there – I would say that you have an abstract work in your second post. And I agree with the poster above. The first thing I thought when I read your work – he’s a poet.

    1. Hey, I love how you opened with a personal anecdote, and I totally feel for you. I think I do, but I don’t really anticipate what other bloggers would say, but mainly what people that I know might think about what I write. Lots of my readership comes from people in my personal life; as a high school senior, I get lots of direct feedback in choppy comments about my posts, which can be constructive. So yeah, I can kind of relate to you, but I think that bloggers (including myself) ought to try to balance writing for ourself and for others. AKA don’t write solely what people want to read because all that does is create boredom for the writer. :)

  2. Hi there – I’d appreciate feedback on the design of my page. Is it readable on your desk top or hand held? I prefer minimal clutter, but wonder if this isn’t a bit too stark? Comments welcome on this or any other aspect of my blog. If you could post your remarks to the blog itself would be great. Thanks a bunch.
    http://mcwilson1956.wordpress.com/

    1. I really like the layout. It is just, and that could totally be my screen resolution, that at first glance I mostly see the header and that your actual blog is only 1/3 of the screen. It looks blank. That feeling is immediately gone, after I scroll down. Then it just look nice and clean with the right amount of pictures. So maybe the header less tall? But then again, as I said, it could be just me.

      Everything else in lay-out I liked. So I would appreciate it if you would return the favour I just started my blog this week and I’m not sure yet about the look. http://ej386.wordpress.com/

      1. Thanks, EJ! May I ask, are you viewing the blog on a desk/laptop or handheld?

        there is room for a header on this theme, and I’m not using it, _ I’ll see what I can do about that. Now, off to visit your site!

      2. I haven’t seen this theme before. I like the black background as it makes a good display for the photos. And I like the formal arrangement of the photos on your about page. Makes a nice contrast to the playful floral motif at the side.

        My only difficulty, is I did have some trouble reading the text. I must qualify this by saying it’s late in the day and my eyes are tired from a lot of screen time. You might want to play around with fonts a bit – the size is good, but the white on black might be a problem. Perhaps its just the font type itself. Sometimes a serif font helps with the flow of reading. Good luck with your blog.

      3. Thanks for your feedback! I will see what i can do about the font, although I’m not sure if I can change it without having to pay for it.

        I watched yours on my laptop. What might be cool is [and I have no idea how to actually accomplish this] if you can place a smaller picture of the zombie from your about page in the right hand corner of your header. Not sure if and how that could be done, but I think it would look good ;)

    1. From one who also has a wide focus, I’d say that if you find that you do not have enough time to attend to the blog as often as you’d like, then perhaps a narrower focus might be the answer. My gut tells me that over time, the path will reveal itself. How corny is that?

    2. I really don’t think you need to narrow your focus! Personally, I like to read so-called “random” blogs because they let me get to know the different sides of the writer, which keeps it interesting. I like your writing style, keep it up!

    3. As another author of a “random” blog, I definitely agree with those who say to keep your focus broad, though from personal experience, you may find that you tend to write more about one of the topics more than the others. If you do find that to be true, however, don’t take it as a sign that you need to restrict yourself. You never know when you might need a place to put a post about Belgian waffles, and if you’ve narrowed the scope of your blog, then you’d be out of luck.

  3. Hi everybody, I started blogging this year, but I need to make my page more inviting, yet fit my personal style. How do I make it viewer friendly and convey my own personality. Also,if you are able to view my recent blog, feedback is appreciated also. Thanks.

    1. First, I think your latest blog is well written and expresses your feelings very well. About you site…just a couple of thoughts… Have you considered changing the color of your text.

      Have you considered (I didn’t look on every post)… but adding a photo… If it’s your own photo it’s quite easy to do.. If you want to choose one off the web… and not worry about infringement there is a site for free when you sign up… (except for the shutterstock premium ones) Anyway it’s called ‘stockvault.net’ I just found it .

      Maybe a blogroll on your sidebar…? either by links or ?called gallery.. I’m not sure but you can probably look on dashbar. Just a couple of thoughts.. Diane

    2. Hi.. I made a comment but perhaps I didn’t click to post it… I read your recent post and it is very good and I enjoyed reading it.
      Regarding any suggestions …. what about adding photos or pictures to your posts sometimes. Either your own… or if you want a site that is free with no fear of copy right infringement go to stockvault.net ..except for premium photos eg shutterstock the others are completely free to use
      Perhaps you might consider using colored text sometimes
      Perhaps a blogroll by link or by photo….
      Just some thoughts…. If my first comment shows up you may get double… Diane

      1. Hi, Thank you so much for your feedback. It is well received and I will absolutely look into your suggestions. YOU ARE AWESOME! Thanks again.

  4. Hey all! My name is Talia- I love to write about my trials and tribulations with running, yoga, and life. When I was sixteen I was diagnosed with lupus, an auto immune disease, now, at 26 I have been learning to cope and overcome the obstacles associated with the disease. Please stop through! Also, any feedback is good feedback!

    52milespermonth.wordpress.com

    1. I read lot of your posts and liked the style of your writing :) Honest, clear with a touch of warmth :) I observed that many of them are uncategorised , it will be more readable if they are categorised and there’s a sidebar widget of all the categories , except that everything’s fine , keep writing :)

  5. I simply want to say “Thank you WP”…I appreciate the lessons, advice, tutorials, the insights & all the other significant tips that helps to assist my need. A long ways to go, but moving right along. ~Storm

      1. I agree Alex. The font does need to be a tiny bit larger. I liked how you incorporated the pictures, Emily.

    1. I like the look. It’s tranquil, but there are enough pictures to prevent it from becoming boring. I wouldn’t mind a larger front, but it wouldn’t be a necessity for me. The look fits with your writing style. One thing confuses me: your parents are from Trinni, you grew up in Montreal and you are abroad [or did I misunderstand]? Where do you live now?

      I would appreciate it, if you would return the favour I just started my blog this week and I could use some feedback. http://ej386.wordpress.com/

  6. Great timing. I’ve been wondering what happened to the sidebar widget in the editor run by Zymanta (?) that suggests related content. It’s no longer available for either one of my two blogs, AustinDetails.me and VanishingAustin.me , and I sorely miss it! Is it a settings issue I’m having, or did WordPress eliminate it?

  7. I have been posting on different challenges and prompts but I can’t get the “ping back” option. Is that the same as “linking” to a post? I understand it gets more readers to your site but I don’t get how to do it. 😕

    Thanks for any input and/or direction. 😊😊

    1. To do a pingback you need to copy the URL from the post that you wish to link to and paste it into your own post. When you publish your post it will automatically link.

    2. @lifeisabeach

      Susie81 is right. By default all WordPress.com blogs have pingbacks enabled. Whenever you post a properly formed link in any post or page there will be a ping sent, provided you have not disabled pingbacks. That being said, many bloggers do not read the support docs, and don’t know how to check their pingback settings and many don’t know how to create properly formed links. Note that you will find a deatiled answer to your question here http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/zero-to-hero-day-seventeen?replies=13#post-1605112

    3. Normally, I would recommend pingbacks over trackbacks, but don’t underestimate their usefulness, either. If you want to write a related post, but there isn’t a way to naturally work in a link back to the inspiring post into your post, you can use the trackback feature to still connect back to the original post that was your jumping off point.

    1. Your header links (home, about me, etc.) get completely lost in the background, they blend right in. Maybe make them the same color as your blog title and tagline.

      1. You should be able to change the color from your dashboard. From the dashboard go to the appearance menu, and then go from there.

    1. Hi A. Layman. Looks great to my eye. I like the neat orderly arrangement of the “headlines” juxtaposed with the colourful art work. It’s inviting and compels one to explore further.

  8. My blog seems to be turning into a diary of the effects of mind-altering drugs, if anyone wants some insight, here is it! climbeverymolehill.wordpress.com

  9. creativelychaotik.wordpress.com

    Could you guys maybe check out my blog. I am fairly new to this and I just want to know if I should keep going at this.

    1. Definitely keep going, you have some really nice photos on your site but I don’t think the layout you’re using works all that well. Also, don’t worry about posting to apologise for not posting, it doesn’t achieve anything.
      Trying using categories perhaps. I.e: ‘Make Up Tips’, ‘My Life’ and so on. That way viewers can easily find what bit of your site they find the most interesting.
      You also need to go out and find readers on wordpress. My own blog is for my writing so I follow and comment on other writers’ blogs but I also follow sites of various interests because that way I can reach a larger audience and also my own interests are varied.
      I would also advise adding some more text into your makeup posts. You could give instructions, reviews on makeup brands, on different brushes and applicators.
      It took me three years to reach the amount of followers I have now and I’m still working my butt off so keep at it. You’ve got a good starting point it seems.

      1. Thank you for taking the time out to critique my blog. I am new to wordpress and don’t really know what layouts work well. I was on blogger but I was spammed and decided to switch. I will take what you have said to heart. Appreciate it.

    2. Admittedly, I have not looked at your blog yet, (though I will, I promise,) but that is deliberate. This is my response to your query of should you continue, and what I think of your blog does not change my response to that question. Personally, I do not require the affirmation of others to continue to blog. Yes, I do enjoy seeing when people find my blog and actually like it or comment on it, but the audience is not why I blog. I blog for personal reasons. If I needed the affirmation of others to decide whether or not to continue to blog, I would have quit a long time ago. That being said, I put the following to you: Think on whether you have a personal motivation for blogging and whether or not you truly enjoy blogging, then base your decision to conintue to blog on those two factors rather than what others think of your work.

      Perhaps I am speaking from too personal a frame of reference, but it is the only frame of reference that I have. Blogging isn’t always kind if you are looking for positive responses (or sometimes even just any responses) from an external audience, but it is seldom dissapointing if you blog strictly for yourself. (Now, to go and look at your blog…)

      1. (…Back from your blog…) Ok, admittedly, it’s not particularly my cup o’ tea, content-wise, but that doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. The site itself is well thought out, and has a good look and feel. The theme, title, and tag line go well with the artistic nature of the site. The posts are well thought out, and the photography is good. Based on my visit, you should definitely continue. Stay true to your vision and yourself, and your blog will only improve over time.

    1. I don’t find them too lengthy, and considering they cover two separate topics, but in and of themselves, for the most part they can stand alone as individual posts, I don’t think you have anything to be concerned about. Yes, there is a lot of written content in each part, but it is nicely broken up with images of the play; and as stated earlier, each part can stand relatively well as its own independent article without the other.

    1. Hi Hayley, you have a nice layout on my mobile device. I also think you are pretty smart to choose a theme that allows you to add a print card for your recipe – that is thinking ahead. I look forward to more posts, but don’t forget that the photos are so important for us food bloggers. My advice would be to always include some kind of picture with all of your posts. Apart from that, good luck, I hope this new way of looking at food gives you the benefits you seek, although it may take a bit longer than two weeks, so stick at it!

  10. I’m launching a poetry book at the Shrewsbury Coffee House poetry evening in April and I’m trying to bump up the traffic coming through my blog to help publicize the event.

  11. I’m a tad unsure how to run this website as I’ve just fairly recently began blogging. any tips/advice or constructive criticism as to what I’m doing wrong?

    1. When I followed your link CARLYDC it took me to a site.. If you meant it to be your ‘About’ info you should make it an ‘About’ page’ and then have a home page that will always show your latest post at the top and others underneath which can be clicked on to take a reader to that specific post only… and like or make comment.
      You would likely benefit from sidebars with information on it… like a ‘follow me widget’ and an ‘archive’ widget….which is just a way a reader can select a month to look at some of your posts
      Perhaps a ‘tag cloud’ which takes ?20 or more unsure of # of topics you write about most…which is of course taken from the tags you use on your post. …. There is a lot you could learn… so I’m going to give you a link to WordPress support… and WordPress forum where you can ask a question or search to see if there is something regarding what you want to know Diane http://en.support.wordpress.com/ http://en.forums.wordpress.com/ Hope this helps….

  12. Hi Guys, Celestia and Catia here! <3
    We are two teenage best friends just starting out on our blog, and would really love it if some of you could swing on by and check it out for us :) We also would love to gain some followers! We currently have none :P Thanks so much

  13. Hey all,
    I’m new to WordPress, but I’ve been loving it so far! I’d be really grateful if you could check out my blog, The Inky Pages. I post some personal writing, as well as some book/film reviews, or just my general thoughts.

    I have nothing for you to comment on specifically, but I’d be very happy if you could give some criticism on my blog as a whole. Thanks for reading!

    http://theinkypages.wordpress.com/

    1. I have to say, I really like your blog. It may just become my go-to place to read about books and movies, particularly good fantasy novels. (Since I am working on a fantasy novel, I like to know about what is well-liked and what is a flop from the perspective of a reader.) I like the layout, since it’s simple and easy to read. And the varied topics keep everything interesting.

      1. Thanks a lot! I am also working on a fantasy novel at the moment. There will be lots of fantasy-related stuff coming, and it’s great that you like the variety. Remember to follow if you want notifications on new posts!

  14. I am wondering if one layout is better than another when it comes to the possibility of monetizing my blog, which I’d like to do. Also, does anyone have any insight or opinions regarding how frequently I should be posting?

    Thanks,

    Matias

    PS. I prefer responses via email as opposed to on my page.

    1. As far as frequency of posting, it all depend on you. I post three times per week because I cannot possibly post every single day (I rarely have enough time to write a post on weekends). Some bloggers like to write once per week, others like to write daily.

      The key is consistency. If you think you can consistently write only once per week, then pick a day and post on that day. If you can consistently write every day, then go ahead and write a post daily. Focus on how often you feel comfortable writing a blog post.

      For layout, that is a personal choice. Try out a few different options until you feel comfortable or feel that it reflects either the content of your blog or your own personality.

    1. I think it was quite effective and am immediately able to connect with what you have to say. The way it was written gives me some insight to what has been going on before this, but I still don’t know why the falling out happened or when. Hope this helps :)

  15. Where can I get advice from on setting up a local community allotment blog. Which wordpress do I go with, dot com
    or dot org

    Need some help…
    anybody out there?

    1. Hi there. Whether you go with .com or .org is up to you. Com is hosted and run by WordPress, so all you have to do is set up the content, choose the theme that will give you the right look and feel you want, set up the widgets and pages you want, and get going. If you want it to look like it belongs to you, you can also register a domain. It’s really straightforward, and the instructions to do so are clear.
      .org is using the wordpress blogging platform, but you host the site yourself, and so are also responsible for the traffic, site maintenance, and any costs you may incur to run a site. This tends to be the way that bloggers with very high traffic and/or sound technical know how go.
      Many people start with .com, then if they need to self host later, for whatever reason, they find it pretty easy to migrate between the two at a later date.
      Whichever method you choose, you can give one or many people editing rights so you can have a community of people uploading blog posts to your site.
      I have a great community of fellow gardeners I interact with regularly, many of whom I now consider good friends, so once you get started, visit a few other blogs with gardening or grow your own, or other similar tags, and you’ll quickly find your niche. Good luck

  16. Hey everyone

    I know that this comment is bound to get lost in the inevitable sea of responses, but oh well. It’s worth a shot, right?

    So recently I’m getting into doing weekly video blogs, I see it as a sort of self improvement project. Getting better as I go along and following the improvement tips and general feedback given by others. I’d like to make this an ongoing project, even though these posts aren’t quite generating as much interest as my usual posts.

    If anyone would like to have a look at my blog, my general posts and, particularly, my recent video posts, and give me some feedback or criticism, that would be fantastic

    Thanks a lot!

    -Bradley

    http://thehoaxofadigitallife.wordpress.com/

    1. Hello,
      I think your artwork is amazing and some of your blog posts are interesting (I like the 10 Questions post). I don’t know much about videos (I have none on my blog), but it seems fine to me. Your expressiveness makes it interesting to watch. Perhaps the lower interest is due to the fact that it’s new? Or maybe just the topics in general.

      1. Hey, thanks for the reply!

        I’m glad you like my artwork, it’s definitely something I’m going to try and do more of!

        I think you might be right about the videos, I don’t think it’s something that people generally look for on WordPress, so I guess it wouldn’t be as popular or something? I don’t know…

        There aren’t many places where you can get genuine feedback on that kind of thing, especially not on Youtube! Trying to get genuine feedback on Youtube is like going to a vegan restaurant and asking about chicken recipes… you’re mostly not going to find what you are looking for!

        Thanks again :)

  17. How do you motivate yourself to make posts? I’m so easily inspired, often by the littlest things, and I can think up an entire essay worth of thoughts, but never have the motivation to type it up. Any tips on how to motivate oneself to post more often?

    1. Hi driftinginspirations,
      Motivation is a tricky one for myself too. I find making the decision to simply get started, just by typing a few lines, gets the ball rolling. Suddenly, before you know it you have the entire piece you had in your head in front of you! I hope that helps, obviously we’re all different so you will have your own ways, but we are all here to help each other if we can. :)

      1. Thanks for the reply, and thanks for checking out my blog! I’ll try that out sometime, its true that the hardest part can sometimes be just starting. Hopefully once I start posting some things it’ll begin to come easier to me!

    2. I jot down new ideas, for me it is about inspiration I’ve had for interesting flavour combinations, as new posts, then save them as drafts. This can start with a couple of words; for example, one I have right now is just an empty post called “Jaffa Cake Trifle”. Then I will add to these posts as I get ideas. I might scribble down a technique, or a way to build on the initial thought, or an anecdote I want to include in my post. Of course, for me all this thinking results in a recipe and some testing before I can actually publish, but I do find the posts I have that start this way are often the ones I like the most. Why not try using draft posts as a way to record your thoughts too? Once you are in the habit of typing in ideas, you may find that the full post flows from there, or at least a paragraph happens, that you can come back to when inspiration on the topic hits again.

      1. Awesome, thank you! I really tend to over think my writing, and end up putting an hour or more into something at a time… and end up not even posting it. If I gave myself a short time limit, I might very well be more motivated to actually post something. Thanks!

  18. Hey :)
    I just started blogging and everything is new to me. I am just at searching my “red line” , but at the moment my content is all over the place and I am not happy with it yet…

    Do you think layout, colors etc. are ok? Is my english readable? I am struggling with every post to publish :/

    Appreciate it a lot for you helping me out :)

    http://thehabricou.wordpress.com/

    1. Hi, theHabricou! I started blogging too recently. I liked two things about your page: no 1, the picture of a cake at the top! It made me hungry haha. And no 2, you post in two languages! Great! I would love to do that, I can speak some Spanish, but I don’t know if it will work well. Your english is very readable, so keep it up! :)

      1. :D last year i spend 2 months in north spain and my spanish is horrible unfortuneately…maybe once you´ll try out posting in spanish :) I will come and learn from you :)

      2. Thanks :) That’s great, so you can probably speak several languages. I lived in Asturias, near to Oviedo and Gijon. I taught english there to little spanish kids.

      3. Sounds cool, so you´ve been much closer to the sea :) enjoying teaching AND beaches ;) unfortunetaley my spanish isnt good, I can barely remember the words ;D

    2. Ich mag das sie in zwei Sprachen schreibt, aber ich fühlte mich betrogen ;). I read the German part, which I can, but is hard. Only after I was done I saw the English bit. I was so proud that I understood, and now I felt dumb…

      Really like the look and your pictures. Although I don’t think the expression ‘red line’ exists in English, I do think you have one or maybe not really need one. I like the menu, which makes navigating your blog easy and then it’s okay that there are different themes and not just one common theme. There was just one part I didn’t find that interesting and that was the shoproll, otherwise your blog is awesome.

      1. Hey EJ :)
        Many thanks for taking the time to have a look at my blog. I wasnt sure about the “red line” and I didnt find something similar and I feel dumb now…will def. change it…I think I can express it with other words ^^

        For the German and English posts: there is a hint in the about page, that will show when you enter the blog. In the english part of the about text you´ll find the info that the english version of the post is on the bottom of each of them, :) because of this I picked the about page as the starting one. Maybe I should change that, too.

        Youre right, the shoproll really doesnt suit the blog, I even do not know why I put it there…maybe because the blog looked so empty at the start O.o ;D

        Thank you a lot for your suggestions :)) and for following me :))

  19. Another Sunday, another week of improvements on my blog (I think!) thanks to Zerotohero. Grateful for all comments, especially on my new header image, updated about me page, and the two posts from this week, one a nostalgia for my life in Italy recipe post and one a geeky appreciation for my new labelmaker! Thanks all! Happy Sunday evening!

    1. Hey Anna! I genuinely enjoyed your post on Italian food in Tuscany. You were so lucky to experience home prepared food like that, what a nice woman. I have been to Italy, unfortunately only briefly, but please God I will return this summer. The food is amazing. I can’t wait to have it again haha. By coincidence, I wrote a piece in this last week on my time in Italy too (it’s about the Irish college in Rome). If you would like to read it, just click on my page. Keep up the good writing!

      1. Loved your post too! Italy is a pretty unique place in my opinion! Where are you going in the summer? If Florence is on the cards I will write a post with some tourist tips and restaurants etc. In fact, I should probably do that anyway! It would be long though, maybe I’ll split it into three. Food and eating needs a whole post on its own!

      2. Florence may be on the cards, as I would love to see another city. However, I’m off to Rome again. I would like to do a small bit of traveling though around Italy. Regardless, if you write something on Florence I (and surely many others) will want to read it!

      3. True – Italy is one of those countries which people just fall in love with, even if they have never been! Maybe that should be the focus of my post – why we love it so much!

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