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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. I actually didn’t think it was “funny” per se. I don’t mean that as a criticism. There was definitely a lighthearted tone, but the advice all seemed practical and straightforward. So, if you wanted to post something educated with a cheeky tone, I think you hit it.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. This was really nice. The only advice that I could give is that with a few exceptions (like your mother’s pie) all of these items could have come from anyone. They are very generic “nice things”, which may have been what you were going for. But I think there’s an opportunity to insert your own personality just a little more, which would not only let us know more about you but might give us ideas as well. (Would love that recipe!)

      Like

    1. This was really good, but I kind of felt like I was reading two posts. The first was about judging others, the second was about your experience with a decision that you are still struggling with. I would like to know more about that, myself.

      Like

    2. I like it. Your witing style is light-hearted, but still get’s your point across. And I agree with the person who posted directly in your blog, live your life for you. Make the choices that feel right for you and you alone.

      Wordsgood

      Like

      1. You are most welcome :)
        The biggest advantage of random topics is that it never gives the reader a sense of monotony. Every time you write something it’s like a new surprise. Wohooo Here I come again :P

        Liked by 1 person

    1. First off, “that’s what she said” (sorry, had too heh) and actually more firstly (and only) you seem to be doing a great job. I wouldn’t know what else to suggest other than keep doing what you’re doing. It’s all definitely humorous and interesting so yea, still a bit funny ;-) Your blog is what I expected mine to be because it’s who I am but it turned into something else, although I’m still proud of it. So I’m a bit envious.

      Like

      1. Well I mean I expected my blog to be based on my humorous and comical side and for it to have the personality like yours but it took a more serious tone.

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      2. Oh I see! I try to stick to the comical tone of my blog… At one point I created a separate blog to vent out my serious tone. As long as you’re happy with what you’re writing, who cares! :)

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    1. I’m actually fond of the design. I like the sticky nav particularly (would love to know how to do that for my blog!). Overall, the design does feel a little cluttered, though you do a good job of trying to soften that with the colors. Most of the time, I say that more images is good, but in this case you might want to throw in some text-only stuff to balance it out. Your content is VERY aggressive, which I think is a good idea if you feel you could keep it up. Overall, I really like it (and I do experience design for huge companies in the US).

      Like

      1. Thanks for your feedback! Have you got any advice on how I could get more traffic?
        If you’d like some help with getting the sticky navbar email me at:
        ridwan [at] sparkzweb.com

        Like

      2. I think the design is great. The photos are eye-catching and they are aligned properly on the page. I also really like what you did with your menu bar! Is that a feature of your theme to have a featured image appear beside the other posts in that category? I really would love to have something like that :D

        Also for traffic, I just wrote a post on Friday about how to get more traffic on your blog. You can have a look at it if you like: http://thesisterseternal.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/how-to-build-a-community-on-wordpress/

        Like

      3. Do you mean the slideshow of refs in the sidebar? That’s actually a WordPress widget called Gallery which I think can be used in most templates. It’s really easy to set up, too.

        Like

    1. Um…I love it! I love your writing in the post. You have a very nice, very natural voice. I also think that your content is very unique and “you”, and the imagery with the hand drawn picture is very nice. In fact, I’d love to see you find a more “artistic” template that reflects that voice and uniqueness. The one you have now, particularly the nav with the black box nav, is a little utilitarian, even with the photo background. Overall, though, a very nice site.

      Like

      1. Well, I’ll tell you right now that my “day job” is as a user experience manager for the online properties of a large US bank. SO… ;) If you go to your upper nav, and scroll over your navigation (debate, etc.) you get these drop downs. They’re dark grey, basic and a little dull. A lot of this template is like this. Nothing wrong with it, but you’re such an artistic sort. I’d like to see something more … fluid. Does that make sense?

        Like

    2. Your blog is professional in appearance and easily navigated. As a book reviewer myself, I give you an “A” on your recent review! In fact, I’ve added the book to my to be read list. Thanks for the invitation to come check things out.

      Like

    3. I didn’t read the book review, sorry, but I have knowledge about writing book reviews. I did want to say I like your blog theme. I like the background images that kinda makes it seem more organic and down to earth. What I don’t like is your blog post titles, they seem huge and totally threw me off until I scrolled down. They seem out of place being that big, that font is very square, and the black on white was harsh. I don’t know if you can change that or not.

      I think you have a lot of stuff in your side bars. I recently read an article about things you don’t need on your blog, and too much stuff in the side bars was mentioned like 3 times. I’m trying to scale back on mine as well, its hard! But one thing you could do is to remove your archives or make it a drop down option; keep your categories but remove the tag cloud. I like your photo and about me on the side bar and your recent posts and photos look good. I also like your Menu format.

      Like

    1. WordPress has some great tutorials for those things under the “Help” tab that pops up when you hover over your user name. I think you can even search for what you’re looking for.

      Like

  1. Hey hey!!!

    I just wrote a post last night! About my Olympic dream and bad race this weekend. I would love input on shorting it if needed for next time or ways to
    make it look not as plain lol or just any indeas of what you all think!

    Also input of how to get more people to follow my blog as I try to reach my Olympic dream :)

    Like

    1. Tiffany, I think your voice and your subject matter is really unique. The critique I would have is that the post is a bit too long. I think when you haven’t written for a while, the temptation is to try and just spill everything. I think you actually have 2 or 3 posts within this one, and I for one would like to read in serial form about your (very interesting) life.

      Like

    1. There is a LOT of great content here. I especially like the “positive” slant you take on the world (i was just wondering if there was a blog out there that aggregated “good” news). The one piece of advice I have for you is that your blog subhead really doesn’t tell me much about your content. I might rework that a bit to be more enticing and give readers a sense of what the content is about. Otherwise, I like the overall feel of your blog.

      Like

      1. Hmm .. You’ve got a point seriously. I never thought about it before but yeah you are so right. :)
        I am gonna the subhead right away.
        Thank you so much for popping by.

        Like

      1. I think the content is good, but it isn’t very scannable. I might even break this into a two-parter to give people a serial reason to keep coming back.

        Like

      2. I liked the content. And I agree to breaking it up more. But this is perfect for another Facebook group we are building our own “community” of support with others to support and we call it building our net. So I shared your post with our group.

        Like

      3. You’re welcome! I, too, glossed over the Reader’s potential until recently. When I started choosing interesting tags and engaging with the posts under those tags, I saw a dramatic increase in traffic to my blog :)

        Like

      4. I loved it. Nice job. I’d love more info (another blog post!) about how to use tags better. I try to write longer tags for Google searches, but when it comes to the Reader and tags, I’m sure I am missing followers that way.

        Like

    1. Absolutely great advice. I have focused less on the number of subscribers and more on their interactions. I also figured that if I wrote about something that inspired me, it will ring true with others from time to time. Being a good follower is the best way to get followers.

      Like

  2. Hi guys,

    I’ve just started this blog. It’s my first and 100% sure if I’m on the right track and if it’s entertaining to people outside my circle of friends? I’ve described it as a funny look through a father’s eyes and anecdotes. Any help, advice or feedback would be really appreciated and I’d be more than happy to return the favour :)

    http://t.co/yCHkmTG2VW

    Thanks
    James

    Like

    1. I laughed at your Anyone Seen the Irish post. “Boo Hoo for the Irish” was great.

      One thing that I noticed is your header has a misspelled word (unless this was intentional?). It says “Older but Definately not Wiser” instead of “Definitely”.

      I overall liked the tone and the design is easy on the eyes :)

      Like

  3. I’m not getting the Pingback suggestions anymore. The ‘related’ posts that are below the ‘add new’ text box have disappeared. I have started writing again after a sabbatical so I’m not sure what happened! The suggested tags aren’t there anymore either!

    Any and all tips will be welcome!

    Like

    1. So far so good, but be careful about what personal information you put on an “anonymous” blog. “Anonymous” bloggers don’t always stay entirely anonymous (and I say that as an anonymous blogger myself).

      Like

      1. Not specifically.

        However, I did once chat with another anonymous teenage blogger here and the email address attached to his blog turned out to not be anonymous. (He used my “contact me” form to ask for more ideas.)

        However, your IP address (and everyone else’s for that matter) is sometimes visible to other bloggers you communicate with. And if something big comes up, your internet service provider can be forced to turn over its records on your online activity.

        And I’ve seen someone screw up by using a non-anonymous email address for their blog registration.

        I just see an anonymous teenager and think that you might not have had the opportunity to hear these things because no one knows what you’re doing. (That’s nothing against teenagers. Adults mess things up in spite of having heard these things, which is far worse…)

        Like

    2. I like your blog a lot! Especially your recent post on “How to write…”. The thing is that I’d love to learn more about you but I couldn’t find an About page, which is a bit of a drawback to me…

      Like

    3. A small suggestion: Avoid superfluous lead-ins.
      Here’s an example from one of your posts:

      This is my first short story on my blog. Please let me know what you think.

      True or not, it’s irrelevant. Just write the post. Let your short story speak for itself. The superfluous lead-in does two things: First, it makes me as a reader want to skip over the story completely. It shows a lack of confidence in your own writing ability. Even if that lack of confidence is real, don’t let your audience know. Second, it begs for comments, which, again as a reader, is going to inspire me to move on without leaving comments and not come back.

      Like

    1. This looks like a great blog with a great idea behind it! Maybe it’s me, but for some posts no pictures show, which doesn’t look very good because your theme apparently shows a featured image for each post by default. What I see for some posts is en empty grey box instead of a featured image, which is discouraging.

      Like

      1. I added some pictures to the grey boxes, I’ll think about adding a few more. I didn’t put pictures on all of them because I thought that would be too much stimuli. Thoughts on this matter, as I am a new blogger and am still in the developmental stage as far as overal precensence in the blogshere.

        Like

    1. I always find picture collections like this fun to read. A lot of chain emails and social media posts link to stuff like this on other websites that involve picture chains on a topic. I’d say even make a category of these (I would name this one Carrey Quotes because it sounds cool) if you plan on doing a bunch more and maybe add a category feed link somewhere. Like Mara said, maybe add a couple of sentences before just to set the tone of what we are about to look at.

      Like

  4. Hiya! I’m a writer and cartoonist, and I like to blend the two in my work. I recently put up this short story, ‘GANGSTUH WEDDING’ (no, that wasn’t a typo) and it’s written as a rap (or what’s supposed to be a rap :D ). Would really like y’all to come over, check it out, and tell me what you think. I’ll try to check yours too. Thanks!
    Oh, here’s the link: http://www.emmanuelpresents.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/gangstuh-wedding/

    Like

    1. Not sure what kind of feedback you were hoping for, but I like your content overall. I think you picked a nice template, too. The only thing I saw was that I was expecting a pure bicycling blog, and yours is so much more than that. You might want to play with your subtitle or description to let people know you have deeper content.

      Like

      1. There’s nothing wrong with it. That said, you might just want to test a few new ones out. Be sure to actually test it with your content and not just look at it in the previewer. That’s how I found mine.

        Like

    1. The content is great. Really great. The one piece of advice I have is that it isn’t very scannable. I would use things like bolding the first sentence or adding spacing to make it a little easier to read. Otherwise, great content.

      Like

  5. I have a very specialized blogs (professional football/soccer referees), but I’d love feedback on the general look and feel, as well as the overall balance of content.
    playtheadvantage.com

    Like

    1. I like the general look and feel of your blog. Specifically, I like the way your images look (eye catching, colorful, ties in with content) on you home page as well as when I click to a particular post. I also like all the resources you have on the sidebar, they all seem practical and necessary, I feel I could find what I need as far as resources go. A slight change that could be nice is having contact links for twitter and email in the header bar if possible since people need to scroll down a bit and look to the right to find that info. Also, at the top right it says “NEWS, UPDATES, AND PROFILES DEDICATED TO THE MEN IN THE MIDDLE: THE WORLD’S REFEREES”, that seemed wordy enough that I stopped reading, perhaps if you varied which parts were capitalized so that some of the words stood out more I would be more likely to read it. This is my first time giving feedback here, I hope it was helpful!

      Like

      1. Thanks so much. Believe it or not, that all caps bit in the sidebar is forced by the template…one of the few things about this template I don’t care for. I’ve struggled with getting something that says enough without being overwhelming because of the dumb caps. I’ll keep working!

        Like

      2. It’s just a text widget. The problem is that the template doesn’t support a subtitle, so this is sort of standing in for that. And yes, shouty text is very ‘referee’. ;)

        Like

    2. I personally agree that the all caps thing works for the content of the site. The look & feel fits quite well. The only thing I seemed to have an issue with, and perhaps I am alone in this, the images at the top of the page when you go to individual posts seem to be entirely too large. Some of them are blown up so large they became blurry, and all of them were too big to fit in a maximized browser window without scrolling. If it was just that I had to scroll to see the text content, that would be fine, but the actual image won’t fit on the screen.

      Like

      1. Just out of curiosity, are you seeing the blurry images on all the photos? I’ve just scrolled through the top 10 or so and they’ll all completely sharp for me. Is it a specific photo or all of them?

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      2. Okay, there’s a problem because it looks perfectly fine on my system and my other systems. It must be pixelating at higher resolutions or larger monitors. Shoot. I need to look into this, or change themes. THANK YOU for letting me know.

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      3. You are welcome. I’ve done a lot of photo editing for personal use and made some terrible mistakes regarding cropping and final image resolution. One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that you can shrink photos all day long, but to expand them, especially to more than twice their native resolution, can have less than pleasing results, especially if the image has been optimized for online use in any manner.

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      4. Yeah I get it. I actually do this for a living. This is a theme that expands the photos for me. I don’t have control over it, and I don’t have a problem. (In fact, what you sent is fine for me.) So, I don’t need your lesson

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      5. Most of the pictures were quite good. Obviously the background is going to be out of focus, but the subject was always sharp. The ones I am referring to were a couple of extreme close-ups (associated with “This Weekend’s Referees: Premier League” & “Nicola Rizzoli’s Hair” specifically) that were pixelated and blurry from being shown at a larger size than their resolution would adequately support.

        Like

      1. I can sort of understand why you might say this, but to me, that seems fairly obvious. I’m not sure that is truly necessary. The content of the blog speaks for itself, in my opinion.

        Like