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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). 

If you’re looking for something more intensive, try our Blogging 101 or 201 challenge, starting April 15.

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. If you simply leave a link to your blog, it’s likely to be overlooked.
  • 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. Hi everyone! I started the new month with a new blog theme. What do you think about it? Any tips on things that still need work (layout, widgets, whatever)? Feedback much appreciated! <3

    1. Hi Mara,

      I viewed your blog on my mobile, it appears very minimalist, but I like it. :)

      I’m not sure of how that tallys with the normal version though.

      1. Oh good, thank you so much for your feedback! It didn’t occur to me to check out the looks of the blog on mobile, so this really helps! Happy blogging, Philly! :-)

    2. I checked out your new blog theme, it looks really good, also feels professional. I like how everything is so easy to access and is well organised. The fact that you have an Instagram feed also makes your first impression very welcoming. Its the type of blog i’d like to visit more than once. :)

    3. I like the new look and feel. Very visual and the colors are great; kind of soothing. :) I personally prefer blogs to have content on the front page instead of going to look for them, but this is a nice theme for your content overall.

      1. Thank you so much for the feedback, Jenna! You’re right about the front page: I used to have recent posts on the front page too, but I received lots of negative feedback from first-time visitors, who complained that they had no clue where they were when they landed at the blog. So this made me change it to a static front page with a brief introduction as to what the blog is all about. Happy blogging to you! ;-)

    4. I like it. Very clean and easy to navigate. The only thing I think needs changed is the tagline. I personally would have “A life – in pictures & words”

      1. Thanks for the useful feedback, Steve! You’re right, I must rethink the punctuation and structure of the tagline! I’ve had it for so long now that I don’t even notice it… Happy blogging! :-D

    5. I love that you include your Twitter and Instagram right there on the front page so that someone who uses a different platform can still very easily connect with you!

      1. Ah, you’re making me blush :oops: Seriously, thank you so much for your compliment, it means a lot! Seeing that you’re a new blogger, I wish you all the best and lots of inspiration! :-)

    1. An intriguing story! I loved reading it, but I admit the text reads hard because of the colourful background (though I love the background!). Maybe you should think of a different background to make your text easier to read…?

    1. The blog is dynamic and looks fun! I admit I don’t like too much the amount of white space that you have there — but on the other hand, this is probably a good choice because of your visually striking content. So all’s fine :-)

    2. The blog look and feel itself is fine. The issue I have is the italics. I know what you’re trying to do with the quote, but you might want to try block quotes. Italics are extremely hard to read in large blogs, especially if you have poor eyesight. I actually had to skip around. Otherwise I think the theme looks great and your writing is good. The spoiler alert is a really good idea when you’re writing about something like that.

    1. While they’re just profiles, I think it would be worthwhile to unpack them a but more. Currently, I just feel like they’re being described and I don’t have much reason to connect to them. More detail! Keep it up :) .

      1. No problem.

        If you need inspiration, simply look at how some of the best villains and monsters have been created. Most of them are… how to put it.. menacing? Devious? Hell, some of them don’t even talk. Their background (like degrees etc) tends to matter less than what they actually do in the story. Then if their background is important, what they do later is linked to what’s happened to them in the past.

    2. Hi Lewis,
      Is the “Paradox” something you’re writing? I have to be honest, I didn’t read anything in depth because it seemed like so much to take in, and I was jumping from one page to another because I was trying to figure out if you’re writing about a book that someone else wrote, or one that you wrote…an “About” page would be most useful :)
      Aul
      Also, please check out my blog http://montairyus23.wordpress.com/
      I’m writing a novel and want to get the word out. If we’re both writing novels, I’d love to stay in touch!

      1. Ah okay I see what you mean about an ‘about’ page! Very useful feedback thank you! And I’m writing a TV series called ‘The Paradox’ however I’m novelising them so I can share them on my blog! I’ll check out your blog in a moment but thank you for your feedback!
        Lewis

    1. I like the overall layout and the short, intriguing excerpt so of your posts. Your sidebar adds a lot of interest; it gives us a lot of stuff but isn’t overwhelming. I like your use of imagery in that sidebar. I might use more personal photos instead of stock photos (like your pencil/paper), but so far it’s looking really good.

    1. Interesting combination of subject matter! I love it. Some of your coding posts feel a bit long to me, but might not to your readers. Great job.

  2. I’d appreciate some feedback on my recent post about mindfulness being beautiful. If you want to give general feedback on my writing or anything else, that’d be great too.

    Thanks!

    1. I love your blog: it’s a perfect harmony of form and content. Your posts are very calming to read — if this makes any sense — it’s all very peaceful and pleasant :-)

    2. I liked your mindfulness post! I would actually be interested in a follow-up post describing your personal journey in becoming more mindful. I’m trying to become more mindful myself, but it is difficult sometimes! I think discussing what was effective for you, or even what challenges you faced, would be helpful. That is, if you haven’t already posted about that (in which case, I’d be interested in seeing it!).

      1. I don’t think I’ve posted about that. I could do that :) I’ll put it on my list of things to write (though I’m not sure when).

        If I’m to say anything now, I’ll say that it’s actually really challenging so it’s something I’m always working on. I don’t think anyone is always mindful all the time.

        Thanks for reading it :)

    3. I loved how you made it sound so zen. The part where your said you weren’t focused on anything else except the hot chocolate is something I can totally relate to.

    1. The background and layout are fine :)

      I can’t say I really understand the post sadly. Could you explain what you’re trying to get across? And I think you meant to say Plato instead of Pluto as an example of a great thinker.

      1. Ya that was the auto correct mistake , well i just wanted to tell that the best invention is discovering ourselves , the topic was given to me in a Blogathon contest and since there was a time limit there has been a lot of mistakes in the post , am sorry!

        All i wanted to convey was that we are our own best invention!

    2. I think the subject matter required more time. I don’t think thoughts are something that can be easily described/explained under pressure unless one has already had time to ponder and consider the subject at some other time previously. I think you did as best you could in the limited time.

    1. I actually think your blog is really pretty. I like the soft colors and your use of imagery is great. Even the picture of the albums is very intriguing. I think you should continue in the direction you’re heading.

    2. Hiiiiiiii

      Your photo challenges are fun to look at.

      On your review of Yours Truly, I think it would have been good to explain what made your favourite tracks your favourite tracks. It’d make it more personal :)

  3. I just implemented a premium theme on my blog. I am still working out the kinks and getting used to the new features, but I’d love some feedback on the new look and feel.

    1. I think it looks better than the last one! If you can, I’d made the mini slide show (whatever it’s called) smaller because it takes up a lot of space and takes away from the posts you’ve written.

      1. Thanks! I’m not sure what you mean…the main slideshow of the three posts or the little gallery of just images that’s in the sidebar?

    2. I love the theme! It’s actually a theme very similar to mine, so you can trust me on this ;-) I’ve said before that your content is not my cup of tea, but this does’t prevent me from appreciating a blog well done, like yours!

  4. Hello! I’m trying to become a bit more involved here so I thought it would be valuable to drop in for some feedback on my blog, which is focused on travel. I have two questions:

    1. It seems that I am using very few widgets compared to most blogs. I don’t have them on the main page because I’d prefer it to be full-width. However, I was wondering if people thought it would be useful to include more widgets on my pages, and if so, which ones might be most valuable?

    2. Despite getting good feedback from family and friends, I tend to feel quite apprehensive about my writing. Sometimes I feel as if it might be a bit too abstract, though at the same time I’m trying to avoid narratives of “I traveled here and did this” – I want to reach beyond that since most of my posts are reflections. If anyone has time and wants to give feedback on my last few posts and whether they think they’re not too difficult to relate to or grasp, I would appreciate it!

    Here’s my blog: http://wentlooking.com/

    Thanks so much!

    1. Your blog is lovely. Your writing is personal and appealing, I don’t think it’s too hard or too abstract to read. I love the look of your blog, it showcases your writing and your images very well. You don’t need widgets, at least I didn’t miss them when browsing your blog. ;-)

    2. Regarding general appearance and writing: I would agree with Mara Eastern than your blog is visually appealing as it is, and that your writing seems rather personal, and is interesting as a result. I found a few things I would possibly change, but those are tonal and preferential to my way of putting things, so perhaps it isn’t even worth bringing them up? (Mainly thinking some of the paragraph structure in Break Your Shoes Rather Than Your Heart seem a little odd to me. The sentence And now, shaping myself, I could sense the future, both certain and unknown, seems as though it should be part of the paragraph before it rather than a paragraph of its own, but again, it may just be a matter of nit-picking based on personal preferences.)

      Regarding widgets: My initial reaction is to say you need a sidebar, but don’t go crazy with widgets; however, part of what makes your site so visually appealing is its simplicity. You have adequate navigation at the top, and adequate explanation in the posts and pages of your site. Despite my love of the sidebar, to add more to your site would potentially ruin the simplistic beauty that your site currently possesses.

      1. Thank you so much for the detailed comment! I really appreciate you taking the time to look through my blog a bit.

        With regard to the writing style, a lot of times I’m just judging by what feels right to me at the moment, but looking back at the example you mentioned I can now see it going either way. I’ll keep paragraph structure in mind moving forward, and try to be a bit more deliberate.

        I really do like having a simple layout, not to mention full width shows off my photos a bit better. I’m glad you find that there is adequate navigation – I was afraid I was missing something!

        Again, thanks for the comment!

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    1. I like how simple the layout is. Definitely don’t add widgets if you don’t feel like they don’t add real substance to your blog. I love travel blogs, so I’ll definitely be following. :)

  6. I am trying to delete one of My blog pages without harming the other. It says to wait for a Link but I never Get the link. I need help, I never received feedback from The wordpress help center.

      1. Yes, I have two and when I post to my current one it links to the older one. Then I get followers that see the older one first and follow the older page. Thanks

    1. if you enjoy writing, do not give you. It is seriously an outlet. Also write whats in your heart, on your mind or to vent your frustrations. Your blog does not need a certain theme, just write.

    2. Don’t give up! I think every writer thinks they’re not good enough. But others (like us) see your writing very differently. I just sent out a short story for submission that I thought was lame. But the publishers loved it and bought it. So, just keep writing for yourself and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. Just write.

    1. It’s an interesting idea. I’d love to see how it pans out. I understood the concept perfectly so it’s just a matter of reaching your readers I think….

    2. Steve I think people who like photo sharing and editing would enjoy your blog event. I think the trick is how many like that will see your blog.

  7. Hello! I’m really trying to work on my page and not getting the results that I want. I’d like to put others blogs on my side bar with no luck. Really looking for a better flow than what I have. Any help/feedback is appreciated.

    1. I actually think you have too much in your sidebar. Things like meta, stats, even the widgets with just one or two things in them (the blog gravatar and the categories) can go … at least for now. Concentrate on four to five widgets that you think both give the user important information and add visual interest. Also, consider renaming some of your titles to be more descriptive. That might help.

    1. I am not a big fan of the “website style” of blog, where you drop into a home page that never changes, and then have to search for your content. When I go to a blog, I expect to see content – at least recent posts or excerpts. Because I don’t really know what your content is about, I’m more likely to get involved if I can see some of it. I’m more likely to get pulled into something I want to read, then find something else, and something else, etc. That may help your traffic, too.

      1. Thank you very much, I try to include excerpts on the home page. I’m trying to figure out how to do it with an eye pleasing layout that works with my current theme.

  8. I’ve been writing on the WordPress platform since 2007. The blog has been through a lot of changes but I think I’ve settled on a set of topics — tech tutorials and photography — and a minimalist design. I’d like feedback on whether the blog reflects that, on the quality of the content, and the site layout.

    http://islandinthenet.com/

    Thanks in advance.

    1. overall I like the design of the site, but … It’s a little too minimalist on the photography side. You have a blog about photography, I want to be overwhelmed with photos. Single shots are nice, but I found on my blog that you can get more retention on your site by giving them more photos in a gallery format.
      I like the level of detail you offer in your technical posts, I think you need to do the same with the photography side.

      1. Thanks for the feedback. I understand what you mean about the photos. Sadly I haven’t found any gallery plugins that work well with the minimalist layout.

        I started playing with another publishing platform called [Koken](http://koken.me), designed for photographers and other creatives. I created a small site to test it out. I would love to find a way to [recreate this](http://islandinthenet.com/koken/) in WordPress.

        http://islandinthenet.com/koken/

    2. I like the overall look and feel of the blog. I think your content and photography work together. I do agree I’d like to see a few more photos, but I get where you’re going with your design. One thing: If I hadn’t known your topic, I wouldn’t have been able to tell from your title…

      1. Jenna, thanks for the feedback.

        “If I hadn’t known your topic, I wouldn’t have been able to tell from your title”

        Do you mean the title of the blog or the title of the posts?

  9. Steve I think people who like photo sharing and editing would enjoy your blog event. I think the trick is how many like that will see your blog.

    1. This looks like a wonderful idea! Not sure if I’ll have the time to take part, but I’ll love to come back and see the responses to your challenge ;-)

  10. My blog, The Chocolates of My Mind, over the past year, has dealt mainly with a story about my late wife’s 12 year battle with cancer. The story is titled, Where The Popsicles Are, and while I know it still needs some work, and I have had an editor give it a first look. Basically, in this narrative, I’m attempting to show how Joanie dealt with the medical issues, and what I learned about being a caregiver over those years. I’m hoping that anyone who reads it might get an idea of who she was, and how she dealt with the disease over those years, and in the telling of her story and what I learned, I might learn something about myself as well. The first post in the series was on February 15, 2013.

      1. Thank you for your kind comment. I’m just hoping it turns out to be a story that is worth telling, and finds a wider audience. She was something.

    1. Your blog is a powerful and wonderful way to share such things about life. Your writings are a great honor and an interesting way to discover yourself again. Congrats.

    2. It’s a lovely, bittersweet story, and I’m so sorry for your lost. I’m glad you were able to use writing to work through it. I would consider a different format to make the story come in order. I know that’s antithetical to blogs, but coming in at the end I’d like to easily start at the front. Just an idea. Thank you for sharing this.

      1. I appreciate you thoughtful comments. I am working with someone right now to examine the proper format, one that would lend itself to publishing better. I used the blog as a way to get it all down first, and then to work on getting it right. Thanks again.

      2. Bob, there’s hope, I did the same thing. I lost two parents, three months apart – dealing with the medical issues, doctors, hospitals, feelings, dying. It’s overwhelming and yet so tender and worth sharing. The experience changed me and I am planning on publishing the story (as soon as I can find a self-publisher). The blog was a wonderful format and I found myself writing about many aspects of my life. Wishing you luck and peace,
        Wendy

    1. Awesome. Nothing more to say. :) You nailed your subject matter with a design that complete supports both your content and your audience. Well done.

    1. Your content is actually quite good. Your writing is not only excellent, but your ideas are really unique and thought-provoking. I think you should consider tying your posts together into an eventual book. You have that kind of writing skill and style.

    1. I really like the simplicity of your layout! The only thing I notice is that I dont really see any way to navigate your site other than scrolling through your posts. Maybe add an archives or calendar of posts in case someone is looking for a particular post you have made.

      1. Help! I am trying to fix some navigation issues on my blog. How do I minimize all the posts on my blog so that you have to click on them in order to read them rather than having them all just displayed at once.

    2. Hi Amy,
      I read a few of your blog posts and I think your blog is really cute! Great idea to make Sundays Daddy’s diaper day, haha. I must remember that if I ever have children ;)
      I actually just posted the same type of comment below yours, if you’d like to check out my fashion blog it’s:
      blondewithablog6.wordpress.com
      Thanks and have a great lazy sunday !

    3. I think the content is great but the theme makes me a little bit confused. You could try something softer which would give an over-all impression of all of your posts. :)

      1. Hi Giulia! Thank you for the feedback. If by theme you are referring to the title of the blog I totally agree with you. I struggled for a couple of weeks with naming the blog but everything that felt the most relevant was taken already. I didn’t want to put off creating the blog anymore just because I was having trouble naming it. Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Oh, I just love it. I love the background and the use of images of both yourself and the landscape shots. I love the mix of your posts. I love the way you named your widgets something personal. (“Looking for something?” … perfect way to establish your voice.) I think it’s great.

    2. Hey! My first thoughts upon clicking your blog were something along the lines of “wow!!”. It has a really striking and professional looking layout. Meanwhile, your posts are fun and bubbly, and a nice snappy length with just enough detail. Sorry, I’m not sure about criticism, but I also liked your use of widgets. I think I should take a few pointers!

    3. Wow! I love the layout of your blog! So clean, neat and professional looking…that alone made me stay around a bit and read.

  11. Hi!! I was wondering if you guys could take a few minutes to read my blog and give me any tips on writing etc? Any comments are very welcome :) cheers!

    1. I think you have a great writing style and distinctive voice. Your posts do feel a little on the long side, so you might want to consider tightening those up a bit. Also, using line breaks a little more frequently to break up long paragraphs will make the post more scannable, and will make it feel easier to read, even if it’s long. Hope this helps.

    1. Hahaha, I loved your post, it genuinely made me laugh! Definitely qualifies for the humour niche, I would say! I liked your use of images and dialogue!

    2. Oh, my God, that was awesome. And I’m serious, not just being nicey-nice supportive blogfriend. That. Was. Awesome. Yes, it’s humorous and I read the whole thing, entranced, even though it’s not really my thing. You have the gift. I would say you could work toward a book.

    1. More photos! A blog like this (makeup and fashion) really needs big, bright photos on every posts. Lots of visual interest…

    1. Your blog is looking pretty good. One piece of advice i might offer you is to add some pictures to go along with some of your poems. I dont add pictures to all my poems mainly because I don’t like to have a lot of pictures I didnt take on my blog. I have added a few pictures here and there though of pictures I have taken in the past and a few royalty-free images. I dont do this for ALL of my poems because a lot of the time i want my writing to speak for itself but i find a few here and there will make it more visually appealing to readers :)
      I read a few of your poems. They are good, keep up the good work! :)

  12. Hi everyone! If you have the time, I would really appreciate you reading my blog and providing me with some feedback on my writing or anything else! Any and all comments are very welcome :) thanks!

    1. Hi, I love your theme, the picture, the writing and the look of it as I scroll is gorgeous! I also, really liked your post and a lot of it was very close to home, so I have followed your blog :) Good luck with the rest of your blogging!

  13. Hi, as a non-native English speaker I wondered if my writing was good enough? Plus, I recently changed the design to make it easier to navigate, is it? Any other opinion on my blog is welcome :) thehighheeledpapergirl.wordpress.com

    1. Hi, your English is fab, and better than a lot of native speakers I expect! As far as your layout is concerned, I personally like to see a full post once I get onto a page, so that I can get a feel of the writing style, and see if the blog something I would like, by getting stuck in! However, it does give a good summary of what you post, quickly. A menu of categories might be handy too!

  14. I’m in day 6th of a 31 day Devotional Reclaim your Joy in 30 Days
    It’s Simple. It’s Fun. It’s Transformational

    Introduction
    Welcome to Reclaim Your Joy in 30 days. If you follow the daily ideas and inspirations I have outlined for you, within 30 days you will begin experiencing a renewed joy that will bring the WOW back into your life everyday.
    Any Ideas to build readership?

  15. Hello, I have only just started up a blog this week, and am finding it all a bit overwhelming but I think I am starting to get the hang of it! If i could get any feedback on better tagging, and making my blog posts look more inviting to people to read that would be fab! Thank youu, I can try and give feedback in return too, although I’m not sure if I will have much experience to offer! http://emilymiscellaneousme.wordpress.com

    1. I think you’re going in the direction; you just need to build content now. Your writing is good and the tagging looks good to me. Maybe watch the headlines; they need to be short but also make it clear what you’re writing about. But that’s the only thing I can thing of it; it looks great.

    1. Your wife blog is AWESOME. I’d love to know more about that relationship. I love the style of the post and I also resonate with it (I totally understand about picking up where you left off after months). I love it.

    1. I love it! I love the header with the circular photos of food; very inviting. You have a very good balance of photos and text, and you copy is very scannable. You use bullets and line breaks really well to make your pages readable. Great job.

  16. Hey guys, I just have one question today. I looked through my blog and noticed that on previous posts some pictures are missing and instead it’s a camera with an X through it. Any idea why this happened? Just not sure what happened.

    1. Check your Add Media tab and find that photo. There’s something wrong with it that means WP can’t access it anymore. If you linked to a photo from another site, it may have been moved.

  17. I started a blog as a school assignment, but i dont know if i will continue to write on it when the semester is over. I enjoy on it, but i think i might create a new blog, specifically for creative writing. What do you think?
    Raigenosophy.wordpress.com

    1. I think that to keep writing blog content at a consistent enough pace to get traffic, you really need to be in love with your subject. So, if this isn’t really your passion, definitely start another blog that is.

    1. My goodness, this is great. You’re one of the only writers that really is able to use that template to great effect. Your titles are perfect: I know what I’m going to get when I click, but they’re also short and creative. And they lead to posts that are engaging and well-written. Well done.

  18. I resurrected my blog from the dead.
    Do you guys also struggle to keep it going on a regular basis?
    gI mean, i don’t have that much free time, so i try to blog about the things i’m doind at the moment.

    If you can give me some input about my blog, i’d be very pleased: thiagoponte.wordpress.com
    I mean anything is valid, even about my English. It’s not my native language.

    1. I wouldn’t have known English isn’t your native language. I’m not really familiar with your content, but I can tell that people who are would be intrigued. You’ve got a nice balance going; now, you just need to keep building your content!

      1. Many thanks Jenna. You just gave me an idea for a new post: I’ll try to explain a little what i’m writing about.

        And your blog is about football’s referees?
        Amazing, i knew a referee once, he was my history teacher.

      2. Really?! That’s pretty cool. Yes, I find referees fascinating. They have such an impact on the game, and they all come from such varied backgrounds. (Mark Geiger, the US representative in the World Cup, is a math teacher…)

    1. Great post about an interesting twist on the movie. I too felt like the parents could have used guidance on how to help Elsa. They were well-meaning, but ended up doing more harm than good. It was eye opening for sure.

      1. Hi, Jenna!
        Thank you so much for giving me great feedback! =) I really appreciate it. I couldn’t help but think the parents could have helped her more, but then again, it wouldn’t be Frozen if they did! I just thought since it is a very popular movie, it can be easily used as a tool to teach people, especially young ones about Mental Health issues. <3

  19. Hi. When I click on my archives posts many of the pictures I have on the posts do not show up. Is this normal? Thank you.

    1. That means the picture isn’t available for some reason. Check your Media file to make sure they’re not there. (If there’s just a question mark there, the photo is unavailable for some reason.