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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 absolutely loved your latest post, your love and passion really shines through. Lily is one lucky little girl to have such an amazing and dedicated mom. Now excuse me, I have to give MY mom a quick phone call… :)

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    2. Beautiful blog and very inspiring! I would only encourage pictures- I know you may not want photos of Lily, but, say, a close up of her hands? Something to break up the writing?
      This will be a treasure for you to look back on one day :-)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hello everyone! :D I would love to hear your thoughts on my recent post about music. :) Don’t feel shy to criticise me in any way, we’re all here to help each other be better at writing! thanks in advance :D (click on my name to get to my blog.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a really great post. It’s well-written, and uses the lists to make it scannable and easy to digest, even though it’s very meaty. And it is very meaty. You go from talking about what music can do for you to giving specific playlists, which I love. It’s so meaty you might even be able to get several posts or a regular column out of it. It’s very clever….

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    2. I really enjoyed this! It is visually appealing and easy to read, plus your description of how music makes you feel in the beginning is very well-written. I’m not THAT into music, but I still liked reading this, which tells you that it’s a good post.

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      1. Thank you Sabinaleybold :) the visual effect is mostly thanks to the awesome WordPress theme!
        and by the way, you really should start listening to music hardcore! :D because you’re missing out on something great!

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      2. I like music, and actually our tastes are relatively similar (Arctic Monkeys SO GOOD) but I’m not one of those people who hates sitting in quiet so they’re always listening to music.

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    1. I don’ think you’re rusty at all! I think this is perfect. You gave enough of an intro, and you wrapped it up well, but you let your beautiful photos do the talking. I love the interplay of colors and the balance of the photos. Nicely done.

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      1. Oh my, Thank you so much for visiting and giving your kind opinion Jenna. I really appreciate it !

        I loved your About page, Although I’m not a big fan of football neither do I know know a lot about it. It was honest and straight. Wish you well with blogging. Keep it up :)

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I like the content of your blog. I know very little about your country except what I see and read on the news and from the book “I am Malala” so I like the insider view. I have one small criticism – the background graphic is so bright as to be a little distracting particularly where you have photos.

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      1. Hey,Now that I think about it, you are totally right about the background being too bright. I never thought of it because I didn’t really used to share a lot of photographs on my blog before. I’m thinking of changing the theme altogether. Thank you for great insight.
        And about my country, Can I please just say, Don’t believe everything that media tells you. Most of it is just the wrong interpretation. They are sold out.
        About the book Mala wrote, I won’t say all of it is wrong or is a lie but it isn’t the WHOLE truth either. Thats just one side of the picture. You know how young she is and in this kind of world how easy it is to change the meaning of one thing to the other. I just hope that one day world will see us for what we really are.
        Thank you so much for taking time to comment and valuable advice =)

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      2. Aah, I’m hardly a representation of my country but I’ll try Trent. I’ll be happy to answer any of your inquires. Thank you for the follow, Hope to see you more often :)

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    1. It’s funny, there is a big North/South thing here in the states and I was a few paragraphs into your post where you mention BBC and Manchester and I realized you weren’t talking the city up the road from me, Manchester,NH. Not sure of the North/South thing in England so I don’t have too much of an opinion.

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    1. Love it. I love that it’s a niche blog piece and it gives information you might not get elsewhere (instead of just a regurgitation of other people’s content). I love the colors and the way you balanced the text with the pictures. I also like that the “sell” to the etsy pieces didn’t feel like a hard sell. Nicely done.

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    2. I like your blog a lot! It definitely takes an informative approach to what you have in your shop. The pictures make it easy to read and visually interesting. I hope you’re promoting this to your customers!

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    3. I liked it. One thing you might think about – you have some links to sites selling some of the items you talk about. You might want to have the links pop up a new window so people stay on your blog page.

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    4. It’s a beautiful and clean blog where your images really stand out! I didn’t feel I was pressed into buying, rather, I felt that I wanted to find more about the stuff you write about, so no issue here at all!

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    1. I think it’s fantastic! the pictures are gorgeous and well-placed, and I love how you tied the whole piece together with the mountain theme in the title, beginning, and end. for me sometimes ending a post is the hardest part, you have to kinda just awkwardly stop talking while also wrapping the whole thing up, but I think referencing the mountain again was perfect. great job. :)

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    2. Your writing voice is easy and honest and it flows. “Direction” was lovely…you have a fan in me

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    3. Your content and experiences are definitely interesting to read. I’m assuming those are your pictures as well? Either way those add a lot to the posts when reading. You have a very intelligent sounding voice.

      For the blog itself I have to say I think it looks really elegant and appealing. It immediately struck me pleasantly at first glance when I first clicked the link. I love the effect with the picture in the background and the content that scrolls over it, too. The cleanness of it all puts forth your content really well. I know it’s the theme but it seems all very fitting. :-)

      Like

  2. Hi, Please could I have some feedback on stories and blog features.

    I have been posting my story extracts for 13 weeks now and I’ve just finished ‘Series 1′ of ‘The Paradox’. I have created a list of all episode extracts hyperlinked to the appropriate story. If you want to read them in order then please be my guest!; but if you don’t have time they don’t really need to read in a particular order to understand what’s happening:

    http://theparadoxcycle.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/whats-new/

    Thanks

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    1. I think as a personal “day in the life” blog it’s great. But I think that kind of blog will most appeal to people who know you already. If you were looking to expand your readership, you may want to focus more on one topic. Here, you kind of skip from a very big thing (wanting to move to a city you never visited) to small things like skirts. I’d love to know more about Portland! I think you could really dig into these topics and get some great posts.

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      1. I agree–perhaps focus more on one specific topic from your day and flesh out how it came to be and where things might go in the future.
        (side note, I’m from Portland! It’s a great city)

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      1. Thank you guys. My life is random and I’ve tried sticking to one topic, but that isn’t how my brain works. I’ve explained and wrote about my life, so it’s in there if anyone wants to know about me. Thanks Mara :) I’m glad you think it’s fun.

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  3. Hi everyone! I am fairly new to the blog scene (I started in January) so I’m looking for any tips you can provide. Specifically any ideas about tagging/categorizing–right now they’re all in “personal” because I like writing about topics inspired from my life, but I’m more focused on how moments in my life relate to the bigger picture. Let me know! I’m excited to start connecting more on WordPress.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I really love your posts! They are well written and fascinating :) I’m a photo junkie so this might just be me, but I think you should try adding some more visuals, or atleast on the home page.

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      2. Hi Sabina! I really love the casual and personal tone of your blog- I feel like we’re sitting down to coffee!

        I’m new too, so don’t have much to offer in regards to tags, etc. but I will say I’m a fan of photos! Like your lounging post- I would love to see pics of all those things you’re talking about to flesh it out a bit. Like you did when talking about your passion for Unicef- really adds to the personal connection!
        Great job :-)

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    1. As you already saw, I also only started in January so like No Name Cat, I don’t have much advice either. So far it all looks good to me! As for the tags, one thing I learned over my short time is to look at the current trending and most popular tags on wordpress (found here: http://wordpress.com/tags). It helps to remind of tags you wouldn’t have thought of as well as maybe help people find your posts through those relevant tags. I definitely got more views and followers since I started doing it.

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    2. I liked your blog, but I have the same thought as everyone else – you need more pictures. Maybe you could write about your interests – photography would give a great excuse for a lot of pictures and, actually so would knitting. Also you could talk about the differences between landlocked Ithaca and Portland or East vs West. Anyway, I like what you’ve written but you asked for ideas.

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      1. I appreciate the feedback! This will definitely help. I like the East vs. West idea, I talk about it a lot with my friends but haven’t thought to write about it. Thanks!

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    3. Oh, I forgot to add this earlier – I think when someone clicks on your name it should take them to your blog or Gravatar. It makes it easier to find you.

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      1. I’m not 100% sure. I think you can click on your picture in the upper right corner and go to settings. Maybe from there it is under profile. There might be a help page on it someplace on the site.

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    1. I wish there was a little more structure to your blog. I get “mindless musings”, and I love the photos, I’m just not sure what your blog is about. It may be a good idea to focus on a type of content, or two or three, but basically build your blog around a particular conceit so it doesn’t wander too much. Hope this helps.

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      1. Thank you so much I was wondering whether my blog was too random. I think I might center it around food and photography with short reflections/quotes.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I actually disagree with Jenna–I think your purpose is fairly clear. It’s mainly a photography blog, with accompanying writing (either your creation or taken from another source) to show what inspired the photo or to give the viewer a textual connection to the visual image. I think it’s great!

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      1. Thanks! I decided to just let it become what it becomes..which I think is exactly what your describing haha.

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    3. I agree more with Sabinaleybold here. I like the photography. An aside – In my opinion you should make your name “hot” so someone clicking on it will be taken to your blog or at least to your Gravatar. It just makes it easier for others to find your bog.

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      1. Thank you :) I’m definitely not changing the name, I think I’ve grown way too attached to it over the past couple weeks/month haha.

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      2. Hi Jessica. What I mean about the name is this: click on my name and it’ll bring you to my blog. Then try clicking on yours. You can’t. It’s so convenient to click on a name to get to a blog.

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      3. wowww I am so sorry for misunderstanding. That is definitely a good idea and I will try to fix that. Thanks!

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  4. I want to know how do I manage a multi-authored blog in terms of payments, post publishing etc. I also would like to know how should I write tech news, please see a few published already at http://binarywall.com and let me know how can they be improved. If there are any other suggestions, please let me know. Thank you!

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    1. Right now, I accept guest posts through email and manage the publishing myself. I have a specific style guide and an agreement that they have to sign. I pay upon publishing (not too much right now, but I hope it will grow) and do it through PayPal only. When I posted for a large blog like yours, I was given limited access to WordPress. I could enter my blogs, add images, etc., but didn’t have the permissions to actually schedule or published. So, I know WP has that capability…

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  5. Hi all. I’ve only been doing this since January and I’m wondering how I’m doing. Anyone have any advice or see anything worth me working on?

    Also I’m wondering how my ‘home’ page looks, more specifically the graphic I have with the ‘open-minded’ text. Does it look ok? Or does anyone have any ideas for doing something different? I originally just had it in just text but thought it looked too plain.

    deviatedperception.wordpress.com

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    1. Im actually not sure what image you mean. I think it’s an interesting blog tackling meaty subjects. I’m not sure what category it fits in; I thought it was a science blog at first, but it doesn’t appear to be. It might be a good thing to define your blog and content to your users…maybe in a blurb or a subhead.

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      1. Hi, thanks for replying! The image i’m talking about is on the ‘home’ page which can be reached by the links in the menu under the header image. As for the other info, I have some of that information in that page as well as the rest in the ‘about’ page. Isn’t that where you are supposed to add that stuff?

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      2. Actually, do you think a widget (maybe the text one) with some of the info from the other descriptive pages placed at the the top of the sidebar accomplish that? I could probably add links to the full info too as well.

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      3. That might be the way to go. I have a short text widget at the top with just a one-sentence explanation of my blog (I have a very specific niche). Something like that could ground people in your content, then you could link out to a fuller explanation.

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      4. Awesome, thanks. :-) I’m going to try that out next time I get a chance then.

        BTW, thanks for being such a great help around here. Ever since I discovered the community pool, I have been going through the posts each week just trying to gather information and ideas based on other peoples questions and blogs and I have found a lot of your replies to others very helpful to me as well. You’re very active each week and I can already tell you are part of the reason why wordpress has such a great community.

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      5. Aw thanks, Jon! That’s a very nice thing to say. People have helped me and given me a lot of great advice, so I like to pay it forward. :)

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      6. I like the look and feel of your blog. The image of the path on your home page? yes, it seems to work. I agree with Jenna about a text widget with a short blurb about your blog.

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    2. I think the layout looks great! Very easy to navigate. The only things I would change (and this is me being a nitpicker) would be to change the picture behind the openminded post on the home page. The image and the one at the top have different filters so the whole page looks jumbled. I would also put your “Continue reading” links earlier in your articles, such that readers can see more topics faster as they scroll your most recent posts page.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi, thanks for replying! That was actually my fear about the image behind it. Think it would be better to just put the text back in or would only changing the image suffice?

        About the continue reading links (more tags), I’m really glad you brought that up! I wasn’t sure if I was placing them in a good spot or if they were too far into the posts. I’m going to move them up higher then.

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    3. Agreed with Jenna about thinking it was a science blog at first. Of course that has partially to do with the post about the Higgs Boson being at the top, but also your heading photo does make it look kind of science-y/futuristic so it gives the impression of being about space or technology or something similar. I also agree with Emily about the “continue reading” links–by the time I’ve read that much of the post the cliff-hanger aspect is gone and I’m probably less likely to click through to the entire text to see your point.

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      1. Thanks for replying! Yea I can see that, it’s more of a coincidence I suppose since that was the latest post. Glad you mentioned about the links too! I did just change them. It definitely looks better and more enticing.

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  6. My blog Kaleidoscope Eyes (nykeypad.wordpress.com) chronicles the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project. What are suggestions, please, for reaching a wider audience and inviting guest blog posts (I’ve asked several times). This is one of President Obama’s fast-tracked projects and has garnered national attention. Thanks in advance.

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    1. I would say the first issue is that when I read “Kaleidoscope Eyes”, I don’t think “Tappan Zee Bridge”. Maybe there’s an inside joke I don’t get, but I don’t think I’d look for that content under that title. To reach a wider audience, you may want to rethink how you market and name your blog. As for guest blogs, I’m willing to pay a bit to get good guest blogs. I have a permanent space on my site to talk about jobs posting for me.

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    2. I agree with Jenna on the name. Also, when I click on your name here I’m taken to your Linkedin. I had to copy and paste the URL to get to your WordPress blog. If you have your name tied to your blog people would be able to get there easier. Use tags, like Tappan Zee and New York so people will see this when they search within WordPress. You also need to search within WordPress for things that are similar. Make comments on posts, not as spam (don’t say “look at my site”) but that contribute. People might then look you up. But if they do, they need to get to the blog. Anyway, just a few ideas.

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    1. I actually love your blog and mostly that comes from the breadth of content. You have a good balance between serious posts, fun posts and useful posts. I think you’ve struck a good balance for you and I like seeing what you’ll come up with next.

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    2. I think it looks really elegant and appealing. It immediately struck me pleasantly at first glance when I first clicked the link. I love the effect with the picture in the background and the content that scrolls over it, too. The cleanness of it all puts forth your content really well.

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      1. Bah, I got two different blogs mixed up, ignore the last post (hehe silly me, sorry!)

        Anyway, like my drake is jake said, it’s very colorful and inviting. Looks like a really “fun” blog! I’m loving the content so definitely going to follow!

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      2. Hi Jon!
        Thank you so much for truly taking the time to look at my blog and give such wonderful feedback! =)
        This makes me feel better as I like to change my blog’s colors a lot. I needed to make sure it looks good to everyone else! Thanks again!

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    3. When I first opened your site I thought the background was a little too bright. After reading a few posts and looking around I think it fits. No, I don’t mean I think your blog is too bright ; ) I mean I really like your blog and after reading and getting the feel of it I realized the background seemed right. As Mara Eastern says, it’s perfect for a “girly” blog like you have.

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      1. Thanks, Trent for the feedback! I wanted to create a girly blog but not too overpowering and obnoxious! I’m glad you were able to get pass the background and read some of my posts =) Thank you for taking the time to help me out!

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  7. Would love feedback, from non-sports fans especially, about my blog (playtheadvantage.com) on whether it’s readable and intriguing.

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    1. I like how despite the fact that you are covering sports events (which is something we usually see from journalists attempting to maintain objectivity), you still breathe life and your own personality into your commentary.
      That being said, I have zero interest in sports, so I don’t find it particularly intriguing. I have no frame of reference for the people you’re talking about. But your passion is clear and the layout especially makes it readable. Nice job!

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      1. I hear you. My mom always says it might as well be in Russian, for all she knows about these guys. ;) Glad to see my voice and passion is coming through. Thanks so much!

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    2. I’m not a huge sports fan and know little about football (or soccer, since “football” means something else to me). That being said, I really like your blog. The layout is good and fits the content. I like the larger pictures in the actual posts. I also find it well written. To answer your question, it is readable and intriguing.

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    1. I like the balance of posts. They’re not all about the same thing, but they feel more connected than your average. I also like the way you handled the poetry; too much poetry gets a little overwhelming if you’re not really into it. This was sprinkled throughout at just the right pace. Nicely done.

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      1. Wow Jenna, how do you find the time? You’ve been giving insightful comments on everyone of these posts and have stayed way ahead. I enjoy exploring new blogs but it has to be tiring. So, kudos to you for being so helpful!

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  8. sure love to know more about many processes of WP and especially : What is gravatar, how to post video, what are the amenities of premium upgrade…via Q & A
    Thanks good way to help us move forward,,,I basically needed to develop the blogg habit first and learn more processing techniques once i was aclimated to the WP site…regards gregorydyczkowski a.k.a. primordial passages@WordPress.com

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    1. I would start with your subhead. Right now you have WP’s default, which doesn’t tell us about your site. Its an easy way to get us acclimated to what you have to say

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    2. I agree with Jenna that changing the header would help. The help pages here are pretty good. I’ve found a huge amount of information on them. In January they had a “Zero to Hero” challenge that covered basic blogging with WordPress. It was very good, but i think they took the pages down – keep your eye out in case they bring it back. The help pages, though, are your best bet for now. I do like some of the mono-types you posted. I explored the media years ago in an art class.

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      1. Great Trent, will follow up on this asap,,,Thanks for the kind words and the friendly critique, this is sorely needed I am so busy “doing” that often I miss the obivious. I’ll see if I can find the “Zero to Hero” article too. I have also been reminded my: ‘About’ page is also incomplete, it is new this blogging media, I so do enjoy much of it. Hope to hear from you again. I truely appreciate your honesty and the time it took you to comment. I do need to study help pages and do tutorials. Take care, Best to Ya and to Yours, Godspeed in all that you do regards greg d

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    1. The logo itself seems very fitting to the blog. I think between the font and the style it really works.

      Only thing is, the resolution of the image is lower than the size of the header area. So since it was blown up to fit the space it looks really blurry and pixelated.

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      1. I did kind of think that too. However now that I’ve had some good feedback about it I will look into getting a better quality image. Thank you.

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    1. I’m not a huge fan of such simple, technical-looking themes for content like yours. I can see not wanting to go too “fluffy”, but I’d love to see some color or something a little more creative. It’s a little grey now…

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      1. Yes, I can see that the design is changing before my very eyes now…! But I love your header and when I visited, the background colour was grey, which I loved a lot – much better than the white colour that I saw previously. Good luck!

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    2. For the most part the layout works for me. One little thing: on the actual posts you give the reader a chance to look at different categories, archives etc. I miss having that choice on the home page. Other than that, it works well for me.

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    1. I’m actually not sure what your blog or survey is about, and I’m usually not inclined to spend my time without knowing what the subject matter is up front. Maybe add a little information?

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    2. Hi Rachel; I wish I knew why you wanted us to take a survey. Beyond doubt, it is important to you, because you label it urgent. Maybe, if you wrote a post explaining why you are collecting data, and what you want to do with it. If you are asking people to take five minutes, you need to hook us into caring. Thank you, Silent

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      1. I’m sorry I guess I missed the most important part Rachel. I left once I made the comment on the doodle when I got the moderation que. I don’t spend time on blogs that have this.

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    1. I don’t think it’s drab. However, having your art mostly be one color does present a challenge. And I do think you have a lot of white space, with posts that don’t have much visual interest in them. and the theme really isn’t supporting both your art and writing. I’d loo around to see if you could find one that made them pop.

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    2. Hi – I admire people who can draw and paint. Maybe it is because I cannot, so I write. Have you looked at all the themes? Some are made to show off pictures. I wonder if one of them would work better for you. I love the pictures you have posted, but I think there are better ways to show them off than in the mosaic. Could you try slide shows or something? Keep posting. You will find where your heart is. Silent

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      1. Hi Thank you so much for your encouragement, But honestly I find the selecting the theme and figuring out how I can make a slideshow work quite confusing. But will work it out and then come back for further comments.. :)

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I tend to agree with Jenna, there seems to be too much white and black space. A new theme could improve the looks of your blog a lot. Good luck with finding the one that best suits you!

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    4. I agree with the others that you might want to do something with your theme. You can test out a few or you can try customizing the one you have. I actually use that one but changed it slightly. Might not work for you, but you might want to experiment before trying a new one (I played with a dozen themes before i ended up with what I have).

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