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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. Excellent sentiments. I am not familiar with the celebrity that you wrote about. Thank you for the introduction and for providing another thought-provoking question.

      The movie: The Bucket List is my all-time favorite. The combination of Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson is truly a show-case of their best acting performances. I love the two questions that are posed in the movie and have tried to answer: Yes to both of them every day. Just in case you don’t know what those questions are: 1. Have you experienced joy in your life? 2. Has your life brought joy to others?

      It sounds like your idol, Bruce can answer yes to both of those questions.

      Enjoy your day!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi, community pool swimmers!

    I’d like to ask for feedback about the footer widget area at my blog. I moved some widgets from the sidebar to the footer because I didn’t want the sidebar too crowded. But do you notice the footer widgets when visiting the blog? Is the footer helpful or is it better to have all the widgets just in the sidebar?

    I’d much appreciate any suggestions! Thanks and happy blogging!

    The blog I need help with is http://www.maraeastern.wordpress.com.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The footer is great, but less posts per page would increase the chances of visitors reaching that footer. The double side bar is overwhelming and distracting from the main content. My advice would be to let go/reduce some of the sidebar content and go to one sidebar. This would help many focus on what you wanted them there in the first place, your interesting content. Hope this helps <3 #0charm

      Like

      1. Thank you so much for your very helpful comment! You are right, I guess, I should reduce the number of widgets and sidebars, but I find it hard to part with any of them. I must figure out what to lose and what to keep first… Less posts per page is a great start, though, I’ll definitely go for it immediately! Thank you for taking the time to look at it and happy blogging!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. First of all love the blog. The footer widget matches nicely with the blog layout but I don’t think it’s really noticeable. Sure the sidebar might get a little crowded but in my opinion I think its better. This is my own opinion, at the end of the day it’s your blog and you should build at as you wish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for your feedback! It’s much appreciated. Sure, the decision is mine, but I love to hear what you folks think! Based on your responses, it looks like I’ll need to go for a cleaner and less cluttered look and possibly find a way to put all my widgets in a single sidebar. A challenge! But I’m glad to take it :-) Once again, thanks, and happy blogging!

        Liked by 1 person

    3. @mara eastern
      This may be hard to read but I believe it’s important to speak truth. Look closely at your stats and notice that you aren’t getting clicks on the cached widget data. When it comes to widgets less is more because each and every widget you post slows page loading time down.

      My website is faster than 78% of all tested websites and that’s because I’m on top of making sure that it loads quickly. Your website is faster than 40% of all tested websites and that’s NOT good at all http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/#!/cW13eR/http://maraeastern.wordpress.com/ Within 3 -4 seconds of clicking in if a site has not fully loaded there will be a click out rather than a click in.

      The test for whether or not to add a widget or any sidebar link or footer link or widget to your blog is to answer these questions:

      1. Will adding this widget or link to my sidebar or footer provide my visitor’s access to blog content that’s not found on the front page of my site?

      3. Will adding this widget or link to my sidebar or footer provide my visitor’s access to additional high quality related resources beyond my blog?

      The rule of thumb is that if it does not accomplish the foregoing , then do not add it. So if your blog were my blog, then I would eliminate almost all the widgets in your two (not one but two! sidebars) and in the footer area as well.

      Like

      1. Thanks for that link! I just checked it out and it definitely makes for a great resource. I removed the community widget I had and it made a very big difference.

        I do have a question about it though and I’m wondering if you know. Under the “Performance Grade“ tab, the top 2 things seem to always be the poorest. But those have to do with javascript and query strings. With a free account, there isn’t anything one could do about those, is there? I’m assuming it’s how wordpress handles things when one doesn’t use their own hosting and such.

        Like

      2. Wow, thank you so much, Timethief, for your detailed and insightful answer! It is hard to read in that I’m not sure I fully understand all the technical aspects you’re referring to – but I’ll look it up and of course, I get the main idea. Yes, I’m now convinced that I must reduce the number of widgets; I think I’ll do it as part of Zero to Hero 2 the latest. Once again, thanks so much for the valuable advice!

        Like

      3. Thanks – that website tester link is so useful. The problem is when you start a blog you tend to accept all the defaults in the settings area as you don’t really understand the implications of changing them. It is really important to go back and revisit these regularly. For example, after doing the speed test, I realised that I was displaying nearly all my blogs (up to 10) on my home page. As this is a gardening blog these were all rather image heavy too. This was especially unnecessary as I am using the twenty fourteen theme with the magazine style image links at the top of the page. Anyway after reducing this number to 2 the speed of my page load increased significantly.

        Like

      4. @Ron R
        @ mara eastern
        @ annette2121

        I’m happy I was able to help you. One of the biggest mistakes I see beginners making is cluttering sidebars and footers and not being conscious of the impact on page loading time.

        Like

    1. Suzie81–Hi, you have a great blog site. All those moving pictures are great! You had a very busy month, lol. Congratulations on all the traffic you get and awards. You make blogging look so easy. I’m new and I definitely don’t know if mine is interesting enough to continue.

      Like

    1. Your blog is different, it has a different theme, overall image and I can see you must have worked really hard to bring up all of this. Best of luck for your future blogging experience. Following you :)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have created by own TV show in which each series consists of 13 episodes. On my blog, I have just finished posting a small extract from each episode of Series 1 in novelised form. Some feedback would be nice on individual episodes, the blog on the whole and the videos on YouTube (links on the blog). Also, any tips on how to keep readers interested in the gap between now and next series? Thanks

    http://theparadoxcycle.wordpress.com/

    (Similar to shows like Doctor Who, you don’t really need to read the episodes in a particular order so go back and find a random extract if you like. The Characters page should give you sufficient background to understand)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have put so much effort in. I’ve watched the trailer and only wish that I had been half as talented as you are when I was your age. Keep doing what you are doing!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have read that the new trend in indie publishing might be serials. Some have described the serials as being patterned on TV show seasons. Maybe you are riding the new wave to fame and fortune. Thank you, Silent

      Like

  3. A big Hello to all the Pool Swimmers,
    I would like all sort of feedback on my blog (positive or negative) as I write about social behaviors and routine life feelings and emotions. I would especially like feedback on the poetry section of my blog categorized as “When words become Poems”.

    http://sonotsimple.wordpress.com

    P.S: Criticism is most welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looks good! I just had a slight trouble locating your categories at first because it was way down the sidebar – maybe move the list of categories upwards and place it before the archives and comments? No big issue though!

      Like

    2. Hey! I really like your blog! I like the suggestion Mara made; another possibility you might consider is putting your categories up by your header with your about and home tabs. You have a lot of free space there, and it would make them very obvious.

      Also, I love your poetry section. I like how you give little descriptions for your pieces; it makes them very real. Also, you keep the poem very well separated from your description, so it’s obvious what is the poem and what’s the description.

      Like

      1. Thanks girl, I don’t really baked gluten free things yet. But will sure to experiment on something vegan style in future. :)

        Like

    1. Hi, I’ve had a look around your blog. You really do like brownies eh? This is a god thing! ;)
      In general, it is a nice blog. You have some good ideas and some nice photos. I have a couple of tips for you, which I hope are helpful.
      Firstly, Most of your photos are nice, and show off the food really well. However, my advice to you is to make it look as though you have placed it in front of the reader for their consumption, to make it look more enticing. For example, your lovely Chocolate Brownie Cake is facing away from the reader in the main photo, which doesn’t draw us in as much as it could. There are lots of tutorials and tips on food styling about, particularly on pinterest that you may find helpful.
      Secondly, take care with some of your instructions. You need to approach them really clearly, it is not enough to say “cook for 45 minutes, or until it is done” It is better to say “cook for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer pushed into the middle comes out clean”, otherwise you leave room for interpretation, which may not actually be the case.
      Other than that, I’m sure you will do well. Good luck

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh Thanks! that’s huge advice. Will see over it. Thanks for taking time and give a look over. I really appreciate it. And yes I do love brownies, who don’t? :)

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    2. I like it! I like your balance of copy and photos (too many food blogs overdo the ‘process’ photos because that’s what Pioneer Woman does, but they just overpower the post.) The recipes seem a good balance between sweet and savory, and I’m totally trying that brownie cake. ;) The only piece of feedback I have is that I’m not a huge fan of these large sidebars that take up half the page and stay static while the copy scrolls. It just takes too much room away from your content and doesn’t really add value. I might look for another theme that allows more room for your great recipes. Hope this helps.

      Like

      1. Thanks Jenna, I would love to know how your brownie cake turn out. Be sure to tell me. And thanks for the feedback on sidebar. I was also thinking to reduce the height of it. :)

        Like

    3. I like your blog, the recipes seem very good and I’ll definitely try some (*yay* for chocolate). The only thing I would have as critique is that some of the pictures are a bit blurry, but I agree with JENNA that the balance of recipe and pictures is very good :)

      Like

    1. I love your theme (it’s one of those that I never thought of trying out but it looks excellent) and I love your troubled writing – in the best possible way! I just followed you on Twitter and I’m looking forward what you have in store next :-) Happy blogging!

      Like

      1. I only came into to changing to this them after seeing on another blog I like, seems like it was a good choice. And thank you for applauding the mediocrity of my life :), hope I can please you.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! I like your poem! You take the simple subject of “nail biting” and make it really interesting. I particularly liked the line “you can just go about turning/your cuticles into victims.” That’s a great metaphor. It also has a nice flow to it. Keep it up!

      Like

  4. Hey everyone ! I would love if some of you peeps give me some honest opinions about my writing. I specifically want to know if it’s engaging\interesting. I write a lot of lyrics, poetry and flash fiction on my blog supertrampspeaks@wordpress.com. Critics, fans, lovers – head over here please!

    Cheers,
    Supertramp.

    Like

    1. I checked out a few of your poems and I really loved “A hard day’s wanderin.” I think your style flows really well and I think that your use of syntax is really well done. I felt like I could follow the image of the speaker going through the day as if I was watching a short documentary. Even though the story line was quite simple, your attention to detail and inclusion of vivid descriptions made the story come alive. The poem reminded me a lot of the song “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega because it was very simple, very relatable, and very easy to follow along, but when it was over, I felt like it’s message was worth a lot more than the actual events of the story. Overall, I think your sense of voice is very present in your writing and that can be one of the most difficult things to accomplish as a writer. Good work!

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      1. Hi Tess, I can’t thank you enough for taking out the time to go through my blog. I’m so happy you liked “A hard day’s wanderin’ “. Finding a voice, that’s the hardest part when I’m writing and Im glad someone feels i’ve got a distinctive one! This is very encouraging Tess. Lots of love and light to you!

        Cheers,
        Supertramp.

        Like

  5. Hi guys. I’ve started a new blog and on the last Community Post I got great feedback bit also some great constructive ideas. I’d really appreciate you taking a look, following and sharing bit most importantly your thoughts on the content. It’s been described as a “hilarious look at Life through a father eyes, comic rants & anecdotes”. http://t.co/Wut9SodYEY

    Thank you in advance :)
    @JamesBromley5

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hm, I wonder if the tagline of the blog is misspelled deliberately: you say “definately”? I like some of the posts transcribing conversations with children, but what I miss is some pictures and some other visual elements. The blog looks a bit bland to me…

      Like

  6. I welcome and would like to hear what anyone thinks about my blogs. I am incarcerated due to non-violent drug charges and with the help of my fiance I post stories about the chaos I am surrounded by daily.
    I also am a cartoonist/writer/artist who each day strives to better his life. I post my work as well and some of the success I have achieved while incarcerated over the past 5 years.
    Please let me know what you think, I appreciate all feedback!

    http://www.joewriteshiswrongs.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joe – I think your blog depicts extremely well the chaos in prison. I thought to myself – if I ever think about writing a story that has to do with prison, your blog will be first on my research list :o) Keep up the good work, your blog feels very authentic. I wish you best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Joe, I’m really glad you’re doing this. Your posts are well written, and really give a sense of a place many people don’t understand. Your POV is really well-established and interesting. i think you’re onto something really good here…

      Like

      1. It is really great to hear such positive feedback and it is such things as that which keep me motivated and positive when surrounded by such negativity daily.
        I really appreciate your feedback and I am glad you took the time to check out my blog. I am happy to have you as a follower and I hope you enjoy what is to come.

        Like

    3. Hi Joe,

      I just had a quick look around, read your latest post, and I’m hooked! This is really interesting stuff. What a unique perspective you have. I’m definitely following your blog. Stay safe and remember, we choose who we are and what quality of person we are every moment of every day. Our past doesn’t define us, our actions and choices right now, at this moment, define us.

      Like

      1. Very true! I want to thank you for your feedback and checking out my page, I really appreciate it. I am glad to have you as a follower and it is comments/support like yours that motivates me even more. Thank you!

        Like

  7. Hi everyone, if you are interested in spreading happiness around the blogosphere then do join in my endeavour and participate in the event -http://processingthelife.com/2014/03/02/happy-post-challenge-alive/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jessica,

      I loved your blog! There is an easiness in your writing, posts, photographs that I enjoyed a lot. I think your blog is very easy to connect to, a delightful experience. Good job!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. The look and the feel of the blog is nice! Just one suggestion, maybe you’ll want to get a personal avatar/blavatar image to replace the generated one? I love it when each blogger has his or her own individual avatar to remember the person by and immediately recognise them in the blogosphere!

      Like

    3. I agree with all the other feedback, particularly the personal touch. I like your style of using clever headlines with great photos to entice readers. I might actually like some of your recipes, like the chocolate chip cookie, but overall it’s a style you really seem to be owning.

      Like

    1. Your blog is fantastic. Really. Great theme choice for your content. Great content, well written and well presented. There is a great mix of content here, and you use photos and inserted quotes REALLY well. Quite frankly, I can’t think of a single piece of constructive criticism. It’s just great.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hello guys! I’ve been wondering if my posts are any good. I don’t usually get many views/likes. I think my posts are somewhat on the long side and to different. I created 3 different blogs for 3 purposes.

    The first one I want to ask advice about is my fiction blog, the first series isn’t exactly fiction but the past of my own other. What I want to ask is how the style is, is it any good ?

    http://fictionalnightmare.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/big-little-girl-abandoned/

    Secondly I made a gaming blog for gamers duh :P I tried working on my layout skills etc, is that any good ?

    http://hexagamer.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/mmo-weekly-1-world-of-warcraft/

    And finally my personal blog with thoughts and stuff.

    http://criplemike.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/why-parents-think-they-know-whats-best-for-you/

    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    Like

  9. Hello, Happy Sunday!
    I am looking on some advice on setting up a blog hop/ competition. I have a food blog, which is where I mostly post about my own recipes, but I’d like to have a food waste feature, where I look at all the parts of the food chain where there is the potential for wastage, and what innovations people have come up with for reducing this waste, with interviews, news etc.
    Part of this feature is that I would like to host a monthly blog hop on recipes using leftovers. However, there are a couple of similar blog hops that I have found as part of my research, the closest one being No Food Waste, where people also link up recipes to use a glut as well as leftovers.
    My question is, do you think that my idea is too close to the others, and if so would there still be merit in setting it up? Do any of you have any suggestions for me that would help me to give my idea sufficient points of difference to go ahead?
    Thanks very much in advance
    Mel

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually another of your posts caught my attention, the one called “Why That Fire-Spitting, Demon-Chasing Christian brother is just NOT RIGHT for you”, I loved it and left you a comment :-)

      Like

    2. I actually love what you’ve done with your content. You definitely have picked your point of view and all of your posts support that POV. You have a good strong voice, your posts are readable and scannable, and all at a pretty good length. The only advice I have is that you have this very feminine, emotional subject matter, and yet you’ve chosen a very utilitarian theme. I’d love to see your blog in something more creative that really supports your great content. Hope this helps.

      Like

    1. Hi Mila; I remember reading Mark Twain’s answer to the question of how long a story should be. He said, “Until you’ve said it all.” Still, we live in the age of Twitter.

      So, how do we balance that? I will let you know if I ever figure it out. In the mean time, I try to remember the art of setting the hook. My first word, first sentence, and first paragraph are the MOST important words I will write. If I can’t hook them by then, they won’t read on.

      As a thought, you might use the MORE feature. On your HOME page, people will get the first few words of each post, and can either dive in, or look at the next article.

      Keep writing,

      Silent

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Break your posts up into parts. My blog is mainly poems so i dont often run into this issue but you’ll notice for the two short stories i have written , one is broken into two parts, the other is broken into 4. I think theres three main reasons i find this is a good idea. 1. (like you expressed) people dont get bored of reading if from it going on too long, 2. It keeps people excited for the next part. Espessially if you try to end your parts on a cliff hanger or at a good part in your post. Rather than getting bored, they will more likely WANT to continue reading, and 3. This is a good way to assure you are posting frequently so there is less of a chance there will be long gaps where you might not post anything for awhile. (post a next part to your post the following day). Anyway, speaking of long posts, ill stop my rambling now ;) hope this helps!

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    2. At nearly 2800 words, this is way too long to keep people’s interest on a blog post. (I’ll admit I started skimming after about 1/4 of the way through.) The sweet spot for most blog posts are 500-600 words. You’ve essentially written a short story, which is great. One way to deal with it on the blog is to turn it into several posts…serialize it like they did back in the day. Not only do you not overwhelm readers at one time, but you give them a reason to come back. Hope this helps.

      Like

    3. My english teacher has always told us quality over quantity. Readers will only read a post that long if it is very good material. The good news is that the material can often be made better by shortening the length. Conversely, in my own experience, my longest post is most popular, but that is simply due to the fact that it is far better than any of my other posts. So it can go two ways…just it usually doesn’t, and probably shouldn’t.

      Like

    1. Interesting. (I am Shoshone by the way). Have your read David Corbett’s “The Art of Character”, or Noah Lukeman’s “The Plot Thickens”? They have chapters and chapters about character development. Corbett spends a lot of time on supporting characters, describing the type and purpose of characters, and shows a way for you to discover what they should be and do.

      I discovered that, for me to understand my character, I need to set her in motion, to interact with other characters. I wrote what I called a screen test and made it into a little story, to see how my characters acted. I’m not trolling for hits, but, if you want to read about the screen test, you can find it at http://wp.me/p3EszT-gk, as well as the brief biographies for each of the characters at http://wp.me/p3EszT-ed and http://wp.me/p3EszT-et. I even have a bad guy I have not screened yet, http://wp.me/p3EszT-fs, but will throw him in with the other two one of these days.

      I wish you the best,

      Silent

      Like

    2. First of all, this is a super idea and it is a great way to develop your characters. I do the same with mine. It’s good to develop a lot of information in the background that YOU know, even if you don’t actually say these things in your book. I think you’re on the right track.

      Like

      1. Thank you, Jenna. I’m finding that I might as well spend the time I would sit starring at a blank page on writing what made my character who they are. And, it’s impossible to write valuable dialogue (greatest struggle) without that history. On my way to check your stuff out. <3#0charm

        Like

    3. I’m not a writer and can’t give advice on that but I read some of your character sketches and found them very compelling. They make me want to hear more. I’m following your blog :)

      Like