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Community Pool: Design

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).

This week, we’ll try a focused Community Pool: bring questions about your theme, layout, or design. It’s all up for grabs — widget placement, custom backgrounds, font choices, you name it.

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, 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.

396 Comments

  1. I’d really just like some general feedback on my blog: http://liquidmatthew.wordpress.com/

    Firstly, I feel I need to improve my “About Me,” but I’m not sure what sort of information is most interesting to readers. Secondly, I have a question about my content itself. My blog is mostly a writing development blog, so my question is this: what sort of things do you find most interesting about the writing process? I’d like to know what topics I should mention more.

    Thank you for your feedback! (PS: Tasteful, implicit nude in the banner image. Nothing’s visible.)

    1. I personally really like your layout and organizations. And even some rather eye-catching bits of media–my attention was more concentrated on your writing.

    2. I very much like the layout of your blog. It is very streamlined (no distractions from your writing) with a tasteful, yet distinctive banner. Your about me page tells me just enough about your blog to make me want to read your posts and provides contact info should I need it. Awesome.

  2. I am interested in what I can do to make my blog (starvingactivist.wordpress.com) more…”mine.” I have considered the domain thing, but I am not sure if I should take the plunge to purchase customization options, and if I do, which ones to choose! I am also considering creating my own custom theme…any thoughts would be most welcomed! Thanks, all!

    1. If you want to do your blog custom, my suggestion is finding a different host that provides a 1-click install for wordpress and a free domain. Then you can change everything you could possibly want on your blog, whenever you want, however you want, until you are satisfied.

    2. First define what the purpose is for your blog, i.e. what do you want it to be…then define what you want it to look/feel like…then define what you want it to do. There are so many FREE WP templates that give you tons of capabilities if you know what you want to achieve.
      I bought a custom url a while back, but I use it for promoting my blog and it is just a redirect to my blog.

    3. I’m with Cheri– you can make it look like yours for free. Just pick a theme that lets you customize either the header, the background– or preferably both. A custom theme or font won’t necessarily make it look anymore like YOU, just more custom. Designing a site or blog is like decorating a house. Think about what you want it to feel like, and what things you want people to see– is it colors, images, sound, or all of the above. If someone walked into your living room and was drawn to what thing– what would it be? Then find a theme that lets you focus on that one thing, and customize the others. For your particular style, I’d go for something brighter– the colors of pride, activism, and enlightenment are vivid! :) Good luck with your awesome blog. :D

    4. You should play around with some different themes…hopefully you will find something that appeals to you before you actually have to make the leap into purchasing your own domain.

    1. I didn’t think your home page was busy at all! In fact, the activity on your home page made it seem more legitimate! Some constructive criticism would be to change the heading, as the words scrunched together and the general font detracts from the sophistication of the rest of your home page :) It’d be great if you took a look at my design as well! Thanks!
      neverstationary.wordpress.com

      1. Thanks for the feedback…I have changed the header and I agree, it does read better with the spaces. Tried to look at your neverstationary site but it is password protected and I was unable to look. Sorry.

      2. Oh, haha that was as a result of some awesome feedback I got! My site is undergoing a makeover and shall be up and running in a day or two :) if you have time, you should definitely check it out!

    2. I see what you mean about it seeming a little too busy. I like sites to be visually easy to navigate & simple. I’d remove the “who is..” section because you have that link at the top for “about me” already. I’d also add the spaces between the words. Maybe find a template (or create one) that would be more simple. (visually easy to scan & find what someone wants.) From what I read it was interesting so content is no problem. Makes me want to travel. :-)

      1. Thanks for the feedback…I shortened the who is section and shortened some of the lists. Still need to work on the long list of categories down the side. Not using all of them so am thinking I can rearrange to simplify. Glad to stimulate the travel bug in you….:)
        Still working on the page…sadly, I don’t know how to create a template but that will be something to look into.

      2. Yeah I haven’t tried to do any CSS setup/template/theme. I have too many other things going on to try to learn that right now. :-) Someday. Someday I’ll travel too. Happy blogging

    3. It does reflect a very ACTIVE person. Maybe you could reduce the number of featured posts or find a way to organize them either by destination or by type of activity, ecoturism, cultural, etc…you know what I mean :) it has so much good info that it’s hard to choose and can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for, unless the reader is open to any destination… Hope this helps!

      1. Thanks for the tip…I am slowly starting to streamline the number of featured posts down. Hard to choose as there is such diversity. Thanks for the feedback.

    4. I found the amount of information a bit overwhelming. My advice would be to perhaps limit the default number of posts that appear on your home page and maybe use drop down menus instead of long lists in the sidebar. Content-wise, I think you are doing great.

      1. Thank you! I made the switch to the magazine a while ago and like that I am able to have a number of posts featured on the home page. Sounds like I just need to remove a few so that it is less cluttered and busy, but maybe not too many. A work in progress. I really appreciate your feedback.

    5. It is a bit busy, but that’s because you have so much information. I think you need to have less on the home page, maybe you’re worried people will miss stuff if it’s not there to see at first glance. Lovely site though.

      1. You are right…I have so much stuff on the home page as I am not niched and I don’t want people to miss out on how much diversity I have! Have shortened up a few lists and am trying to streamline a little and find a balance between busy and diversity. Thanks for your comment.

    1. I switched, uploaded and used it for a while. I found there to be some great tools but I felt disconnected from the WP community. It was easy enough to migrate everything but make sure the server can handle a large amount for the migration. My blog was hosted with my site. I have since come back to WP.com and have a link that goes from my site http://strangetripstudios.com to http://strangetrippress.wordpress.com Nothing wrong with WP.org hosted on it’s own server. Was just, not for me.

    2. Just a word of caution…You really need to know what you’re getting into when you change.. A friend and fellow blogger is still trying to sort things out…as for eg. she thought her ‘follower’ list would go with the change and they didn’t…and other mix ups… Advice from someone at WP.com was to be careful…. My friend is likely going to change back… Not that everyone will have trouble likely but just to be careful…

      1. Thanks for posting that, Writerwannbe763. That was me! :-) I am working my way through the comments backwards and the list keeps growing!!

    1. I appreciate variety! If a variety of things inspire you- why would you want to reel that in? I admit though, I have had my own wavering about being niche or varietal, but I think an inspired post makes the discussion moot.

    2. I found your blog interesting, content doesn’t seem an issue. You have a wide range of interests as does everyone. All of the links at the top are kind of distracting and could probably be done as a drop down menu. I’d move your links under “follow me” up a little in the widget sidebar. As well as you “my blog list” so they both get more clicks. I’m trying to figure out if your “index” is the tags or the categories, if it’s categories there’s a lot. Making it a drop-down would save space. (i limited my blog to 17 categories-personal preference.) happy blogging

      1. Hi mainerchick…thank you for you comment :)

        “index” is the tags or the categories, if it’s categories there’s a lot.
        Good point I have 35 plus! I like the idea of the drop down menu for categories – I will have a look at this. Excellent point

        When you refer to links are you talking about pages? If so I get a lot of views on these as they are more about tourist info and moving to Portugal etc…and are aside from my blog witterings…so really they are information based.

        Thank you :)

        It’s easy when you have been blogging for a while to become too comfortable with appearance of your blog :)

      2. Oh Ok I understand the links at the top now.
        That’s a lot of categories. Not that that’s wrong, it’s taking up a lot of space you could use for something else.
        Yeah I know the feeling about being comfy in your blog style (theme/appearance)
        Happy blogging!

    3. Your blog is very interesting because you cover a wide range of topics. I don’t think you need to worry about identity or content.

      1. I think the Index widget layed out as categories is def one thing I need to address. I am toying with the idea of a drop down menu, or would it be better to leave as is so they are clearly visible and just drastically reduce the list?

      2. the page tabs at the top of the blog is def one thing I am looking at. Category index I’ve changed widget to drop down menu. Otherwise I’d have to go back and check about 300 blog posts and edit with new categories

    4. I like your blog, topics are really interesting and easy to navigate. I’m not a blogger expert but I’ve seen blog with drop down menus and yes it’ll make your blog look less crowdy.

      1. Hi artist, thanks for dropping by. I’ve now changed to the drop down menu and I’ve saved a lot of space in my side bar. I’ve been blogging for awhile now so it’s easy to get stuck in a groove :)

    5. I see what others mean about the number of links at the top. Does your theme allow for drop down menus? It might look a little tidier if you grouped similar links together. For example, Activities, Markets, Shopping & Tourist Info could all be placed under a rop down link entitled Things to Do, while Birds, Beaches, Insects and Wildflowers could all be grouped under Natural Wonders. This way, the links would still be at the top, but would take up less room and seem less overwhelming.

      1. Hi seldombites,
        I know what I’ve done. Because your header fills my screen when I clicked on the about the page nothing changed where I was actuatually viewing. You have to scroll down. Now I missed this. Most website the pages change in the same viewpoint- Not sure this is the best wordpress blog template.

      2. Email has been sent. I have also included a screenshot from my computer. For those of you with more experience, can you please help me? How do I ensure that everybody else sees what I see?

      1. Hi, checked out surbia and it’s more of a magazine style template and not as many options as my current one. I like the template I have really if I’m honest because I like the header etc. I am going to reduce the number of page tabs at the top though.
        Thanks :)

    6. It’s interesting several people suggested removing or reviewing the pages along the top of my blog. I took this suggestion on board, but before I made any changes I referred to my stats…guess what they are some of the top views! Apart from Insects and wild flowers. I’m a amazed by this…so instead of deleting them I’m going to improve the quality.

    7. I have to admit, I came over to check out your blog to try and offer insight, but I got distracted by your recipes! Clearly, content is good! Keep up the good work!

  3. I’m such a neubie! I have the urge to write, write, write! But I am not wise in the ways of technology. I’d like to be able to create a document in Word and then place it on the blog. Is that too challenging? I can’t get text to wrap around a photo and wonder how to do that well.

    1. Here is how my work IT department told me to paste from Word to the web. They gave me a long explanation as to why you want to do this through Notebook, I won’t go into that as it would bore you to tears :) But here is the how.

      Write the word doc. Don’t spend a lot of time formatting, because this process will wipe it all out (the bold, etc). When you are done, type Ctrl + A (to select the whole thing), type Ctrl+C (so you can copy it).

      Then go to the start menu on your computer. Open up the Note Pad. When it pops up, type Ctrl +V (to paste it in.) Now repeat with the Notebook. Ctrl + A, then Ctrl +C.

      Go back to your blog. Type Ctrl +V. It will appear – unformatted. You will need to format it in WordPress to make it prettier.

    2. Hi eronel44!
      To wrap text around a picture, double click it after you insert it in the document, and two icons show up on the top left hand corner. The red one deletes it, the picture icon allows you to: place the photo where you want it; give it a caption; give it an internet address, etc..
      You can also pick it up and drag it to where you want it, using the ‘preview’ option to pinpoint exactly where, in case you want the picture placed at a specific line of the text.

      There’s also a feature to import text from Word. On your ‘add new post’ page, you have to set your visual text editor tool bar to show all the icons over two lines (click on the first icon from your right). Then just highlight the text and copy it as you normally do on Word, and click on the paste icon on your wordpress (it’ll read “paste from word”, 6th from left and 8th from right, bottom line) and paste the text into the box. It is supposed to keep the formatting.

      Alternatively, if your problem is with specific format requirements, you need to get into the workings of the pure text editor (the right hand side tab at the top of the editor tool bar, marked “text”). I’m still stumbling through, but I don’t like the way it sets the text onto a blue-ish background similar to that of a quote.

      As with everything, I found that trial and error is the best route to mastering the tools – just trash the trial posts, and don’t forget to empty the trash can, so that your final post’s URL does not reflect how many same-name posts you trashed before…

      You also find that if you go to help and generally type the name of the icon (which you can get by hovering the cursor over it) the instructions on how to use the features are pretty straight forward.

      I loved your two posts, and your writing, and am subscribing to you. All texts in English in my blog get published under the heading ‘primrose days’.

    3. To get text to wrap around a photo, when you add the photo to a post, look for Alignment. If ‘none’ or ‘center’ is selected, the text won’t wrap. Choose ‘right’ or ‘left’ to get the text to do that.

    4. You can easily copy/past from word into the WP platform, but if you are wanting to “upload” a word file I know of no way to do so. You can however upload a PDF file so if you convert the word doc to pdf you’re in. BUT, it shows up as a link that a reader has to click on to open.

  4. I know my blog has a more than a few kinks to iron out. This is my personal blog– started in 2009 as an online journal. However, it is only these past two months that I have been truly trying to develop my blog. However, instead of being just a general journal, it would like to be able to include my poetry and more content specific sections in the blog. I am still figuring out how to best utilize the categories and page functions, in addition to choosing relevant widgets.

    Basically, I want my readers to be able to navigate to other sections of my blog easily from what ever post originally brought them there.

    On my page Navigation Narrations– I plan on adding a series of entries that I also want to be used a new post. I considering just deleting the excess page and using the categories sidebar widget. If you have any other suggestions to a WordPress novice like myself to improve my blog’s readability I would greatly appreciate it:
    http://amandapoet.wordpress.com/

    1. Hi Amanda! I noticed that your blog does not have a home page like many other blogs that I’ve seen, and I think that you could change that by changing your theme. I think it will make your blog more navigable because then readers could click on “Home” to return to a list of your posts!
      I hope this helps!

      1. I totally agree… it’s the theme that’s the issue…eventually I’ll have to give in and go premium to get what I really want…but I want to tighten up my content etc, before I pay to publish :) Thank you for the suggestion.

      2. What I mean is that on most blogs that I’ve seen there is a “home” button near the top. Once you click on it it shows a list of posts starting with the most recent, but I think it just depends on the theme that you have.

    2. Amanda I also write on a variety of topics. I use the free suburbia template. Most non-wordpress people think I have paid for a “website”. Take a peek so you can see a layout that accommodates everything including menus and pages. :)

    3. Amanda, I think you picked quite a ‘clean’ layout. From a navigational point of view, I have two questions / comments:
      First, I notice that the “Navigation Narrations” link appears twice. One takes you to a page, the other one to a collection of posts that fall into the same category. I wonder if I would name these two different things differently. (I am currently reviewing my use of categories, too. True, they allow you to cluster and combine things that would otherwise be spread over different posts in the course of time. But how do they relate to whatever you collect on your pages? I think there can be a risk of redundance.)
      Second, I wonder if it would be a good idea to alter the sequence of the widgets in the right menu. What is most important for you? What do you think is most interesting for your readers? Whatever is most important should be in the top position. (I, for my part, would not put the “follow” option that high on the list. But that’s me.)
      These are merely two details that caught my eye – which is to say you did a very nice job.
      Ah, just one more question as I scroll through you blog again: How about pictures? Would they distract or enhance? (In case you don’t have any you can post, ask around among fellow bloggers – many people are nice about letting you use their pictures provided that the copyright owner is mentioned.)
      I hope this helped a bit.

      1. Thank you very much…that helped tremendously. There is definitely a learning curve when figuring out how to effectively use the tools at a blogger’s disposal–starting to get a better grasp of it all :)

    1. Hello Liamodell1! First of all I checked out your blog and the font looks great to me, but if you want to change it, then I hope this helps! All I’ve been able to do is change it from paragraph to a number of other options they have and change the color of it.
      But to change it from “paragraph” you need to find the “kitchen sink” button, it is in the list of buttons below your title and above your main writing space. Once you’ve clicked on the “kitchen sink” you should see another list of buttons appear. One has a word that says “paragraph” on it, if you click on the down arrow you should see more options appear.

      To change the color you just need to go to the right of the paragraph button until you see “select text color”, then you can either highlight some words and change that or change what your about to write.

      I hope this helped!

  5. Hi All,

    I recently switched my blog theme to Modularity Lite because I wanted my photos to show up with a carousel as I have seen on some of my other favorite photography blogs. I cannot find an option of this. Is it a upgrade ad on?

    Thanks a lot and Blog On!

    1. Looks like you have a good start! My only suggestion would be with your photographs of food. You don’t necessarily have to show the whole plate. For instance you can shoot one stuffed pear, rather than four. Also try putting the bowl or plate in a sunny spot to try to make it look even more scrumptious.

    2. I’m not a fan of the theme you have but that’s just my personal preference. I changed my theme about 8 times before I landed on the one I’m using. And now I still tweak it occasionally. I’d add your twitter & FB badge to the side bar instead of the bottom. It would mean more scrolling though. Although there are themes with double sidebars (2) that might work, depending on your style. Welcome to the blogosphere. :-) You seem like you’re off to a great start. Keep on doing what you’re doing.

      1. Hi Michelle (I guess). I am not a fan of your theme either and am not sure that it suits your content. Your blog has recipes on it, but also some more serious stuff which confused me a little bit about what your target audience was. The blueberries didn’t really go with the serious content. Perhaps you might consider two blogs; one for food things and the other for deeper, more personal musings with a plainer theme? I’m sure you will figure it out. Good luck!

    3. I think this is a good ‘starter’ theme, maybe if the background and post box color coordinated a bit more with your header it would be nice… Consider some categories and giving days to each type of content so that it doesn’t seem so haphazard… The important aspectvis to keep writing, I’ve noticed there’s audience for every topic so don’t worry about that… Work with the visual part though! Good luck!

  6. I have often wondered if it is possible to change the font, colour and style of a post, ie, when I post a poem or ditty I usually do it in blue but can’t change the title…
    Also for my welcome intro in the widget’s on the RHS scroll down menu… that can do with a bit of enhancing…

  7. Hi everyone! I’d love some feedback about my blog layout. I know it seems very boring since there’s not much, so what kinds of other widgets do you guys think I should add? Music? Pictures? Videos? Thanks for your feedback!!
    neverstationary.wordpress.com

    1. I’m diggin’ it the way it is. This theme is another one of my favorites. I use it on my art blog. :-) I’m still always updating & tweaking my blogs so you never know what mood you’ll be in.

    2. Hi there

      I think your content is cool and appealing. Personally I find the purple actually makes me feel a little ill (really!). Keep up the good work
      Helene
      australiancultureandcustoms.com

    3. Take a good long objective look at the template you are using. Many people use standard Blog templates where a reader has to endlessly scroll to find the next post or anything at all. Templates like that rely on whatever the reader has read and whether they want to take the time to wade through the rest looking for something else they may like. Why not give them a great visual presentation where they can see a snapshot of a variety of posts on varying topics instead? If you do, chances are there will be something more that catches their eye or attention and gets them to read more posts and pages. When a “Visitor” is reading deeper into your Blog your “Views” increase and like I said, when an individual is reading more of what you write you are building a relationship – an important one to any writer. MORE here–> http://cherispeak.wordpress.com/2013/01/01/the-state-of-your-wordpress-stats/

  8. I keep messing around with my setup and may just change themes altogether, I just don’t have the patience to search again right now.

    There are a lot of elements from different blogs that I like that I think I need to start writing down to see if I can incorporate/personalize for my space. Eventually.

    JC at http://sortaginger.com

  9. Hello everyone! I have a question about getting pictures to line up a certain way. I want them to join together and form one whole square, but all I can do is post them from the bottom to the top! I think it would be great if I could get them to go in together, but I just don’t know how to do it. To think… I’ve been blogging for 3 years and I haven’t figure it out :), oh well.

    Thanks a ton!

  10. I would appreciate feedback on my blog layout at http://thinspiralnotebook.wordpress.com, particularly widget placement and number of blog posts I have showing. Some of my posts run long, but I’m not sure about using the –>Read more option, instead of limiting posts showing to perhaps as few as 3 or even 1.

    Thanks for your input.

    1. Hi Tara! I don’t think your blog really needs much of a change, I really like the theme you’ve chosen and I don’t mind the blog posts that you have showing; especially the pictures!
      I also don’t think that your widget placement needs much change, although you might want to put the “follow me” widget above the “Coterie” widget.
      Overall I think it’s great!

  11. Hi I’ve been blogging since the end of 2010 but seriously for a year. My blog is about books and EFL teaching in France. I’d just like an overall opinion on my blog. Are there any things I should add or change. Thanks for your help!

    1. I think you blog is well orgamized and interesting. I like that you have the line on top that tells what your blog is all about. I think you are doing a good job.

    2. I really like your blog. Definitely well organized with a very clear intent. Just started teaching English part-time in Switzerland (we’re neighbors!), so I’m particularly interested in your blog. My overall opinion: I think you’re doing a great job. Really. Keep at it!

      1. Thanks so much for the encouragement and the compliments. Would you like to be featured in my Teacher Feature rubric one of these months? It will give your blog traffic and help my readers understand all the different facets to teaching.

      2. Teacher Feature! That sounds cool! I don’t really talk about teaching on my blog–haven’t really found the appropriate time or way to do so on my blog, but I think participating in something like this could be a lot of fun! I know some other EFL teachers in Switzerland (who are also published authors, btw) that might be interested. Will connect with you through your blog!

  12. Yay! It is like the lifeguards read my mind and my blogging needs. So, I have this dream; this dream of a page where all of my action verbs live. Where people can click on a word that then takes them to the blog about that word. I have started this page, but I don’t love the way it looks at all (like my 5 year old designed it!). I think I may want an index? But I’m not sure. I’d love for it to look like a giant word cloud with each word linked to the blog and the bigger the word the more likes or comments it has gotten. I know there is a tag cloud widget but I don’t think that is quite the same. Maybe the dream will always be a dream…any other ideas from you, my fellow wordpress swimmers? Here’s the page I’m talkin’ about: http://mommyverbs.wordpress.com/greet-about-the-verbs/

    1. Hello! Well, firstly– I think the page looks fine, it gets the point across. But I also know what you’re trying to achieve. I would suggest using the “CATEGORY CLOUD” widget. I don’t know if it’s available for all themes, but here’s what you would need to do– go back, and use the mass update posts feature to give each post a category name using the appropriate word. You don’t have to delete your old categories– just add the new ones. Then, use the category cloud widget, and you’ll see there’s an area to exclude certain categories, so you can remove things like “Family”, so that it doesn’t affect your cloud. Then, you won’t need an index page because that cloud can be on every page, and it’ll look the way you want, and it’ll emphasize the ones with the most words. It might mess up your tabbed list of Categories on your side– but you can manually re-create that, and I can show you how if you decide to go there. :) Good luck, I’ve always enjoyed your blogs!

  13. Hello. I started this blog about a year and a half ago after retiring a more journal-style blog that I had for quite some time. I wanted to focus more on who/what inspires me and less on my personal complaints of the day. So I started http://waldina.com/ named after my great-grandmother: an inspiration to my whole family even 20+ years after her death. I like the blog, I chronicle what inspires me and hopefully, it inspires other along the way. Since I am not making money from the blog, popularity is secondary.

    My question already! Why can I not figure out how to add a graphic to the top left and top right corner of the blog page/header. I have looked at other blogs and they seemed to have managed to sort it out, why for not me? Any help/feedback is great.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. Had a look-see on your blog. I know exactly what you’re talking about regarding the images next to your header. Unfortunately, I can’t suggest any solutions!! (Maybe be helpful to do a search with the theme name?) Even though you didn’t ask my opinion, I didn’t find the “missing photos” distracting from the content of your blog and ended up reading up on Hedy and clicking around to other posts… My two cents. :-) Keep the blog going!

      1. Hey there — I might have misunderstood your query. You said: “Why can I not figure out how to add a graphic to the top left and top right corner of the blog page/header. ” Instead of “missing photos” I should have said “missing graphics”. Sorry for being unclear! Like I said, I didn’t feel like anything was missing. I enjoyed reading your blog. :-)

    2. Hey Scott, I didn’t even notice it till you mentioned it! I don’t know that theme well, but there’s a web designer trick for when you’re in a situation like that– just fade out your header image so that it looks like it ends there on purpose. You can use any photoeditor to achieve that affect, even a free download one like Picasa. :)

    1. I like the picture you have at the top of your sidebar (I’ve always been a fan of sidebar pics). I do find your multi-coloured background a bit distracting. I get that you are matching it to your sidebar pic, but perhaps a solid colour would be better? Finally, I like that youhaven’t stuck with the generic widget titles. Personalization is always best, and you have some awesome labels. Hope that helps.

  14. Hi, I have sat back and read comments on the Pool and I enjoy reading them and I have popped on to blogs I like the sound of. I have noticed that lots of people wish to be given a ‘mark’ on their work, their stories or content. This is a natural thing as humans we all strive to be approved of, we want praise its feed to us at school, but what about when someone feels that your blog or your layout is rubbish, do they say? or do they just keep quiet, you have spent weeks or month getting it how you like it, colours, pictures, fonts. In the primary school I work in, no more red pens, no more crosses for maths questions they get wrong, children no longer lose in a running race, they came in number 10 out of 11 or what ever. How will these children on the future do in the work place or even writing a blog cope when told ‘Its not very good, do it again’

    You have worked on your blog but not getting visitors, does that then put doubt in your mind that people are visiting but they don’t like your stories or your ideas, yet you have read others with the same writing style as yours and they get 50 comments a week………..

    Do you want to know what to do about it? Nothing, nothing at all its your blog, its how you want it, its your style, why change it to something your not sure of but are getting the comments. What would you like a lovely designed branded blog with 100 comments a day or a blog that you like, that you love writing in and YOU are happy with. I lost my last blog of over a year because I was stupid and deleted the wrong database, I had pages of stuff, pages of photographs, poems and muses, I loved it, I know I should have been more careful, but Hey that’s me, how many comments? 3, three comments for about 14 months of work, but it wasn’t just for others, it was for me to help me live. So I am building up a new one, again I write what’s in my head, it helps me clear the cobwebs but I welcome people to come by take a look and if they feel like it comment but its not going to put me down if no one comments or I get what I think are bad comments but the author thinks its helping. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or critic.
    So what I am trying to say please don’t get hung up on the fact that no one is commenting on your writings, just be happy that you have a place that you can let out what is inside you, what ever your subject is. If you would like to have a look at my writings http://www.mysoresoul.co.uk

    “My grammar is not 100% but neither is my maths, but I still count” :-)

    1. Exactly. What. He. Said.

      Anyone can make a popular blog: post photos of very attractive people in very little clothing, post videos of people falling down and hurting themselves, and write articles about how horrible reality tv show people are [think perezhilton.com v1.0]. Only YOU can write in your voice about what YOU want to write about. Almost completely gone are the days that film companies buy your blog content and turn it into a movie, so your blog should not be looked at like a job (plus those blogs that were turned into movies had a unique voice to begin with).

      1. You know, that’s what frustrated me. Some garbages that don’t add anything positive to the society got so much attention some come with 6 figure paycheck. Some blog or videos with good contents or at least something meaningful to say got no exposures at all. It has to be a temptation, but I don’t think I can get down to that level.

    2. Am in total agreement. It is nice if someone has something to say about a post but if not then no big deal. I write for me – things I am feeling, events I want to write down to help remember or just as a way to unwind. I have read so many blogs where there is no individual voice coming through and they start to merge with all the others. I dont think my writing will win me any prizes but I am having fun and that is what should matter.

    3. A big thank you to Pete, ScottParkerAnderson and Allnuttadventures! I write on the blog because it helps me concentrate on my “day job” by giving me a place to put to rest the thoughts that come to mind. It’s also a way for me to be in touch with some of the people I know who live very far away from me. They are buddies. They like to hear my updates — mundane and sometimes a little deeper.

      But I love the way you say, “I don’t think my writing will win me any prizes,” because it doesn’t always have to be about reward or recognition. Sometimes, just the pleasure is lovely. It’s my version of playing the piano at home. It just makes me happy!

      1. So many people have asked me if I am writing in the hope of huge followers and/or to make money, it is funny to see their faces when I say it is for fun. Someone asked me if I hoped to get a blog award, I actually had no idea there were blog awards until recently and no I have no such ambitions. It is like the reactions to my love of photography – ‘dont you want to make money from them?’ ‘You should get a website’ etc. All the fun of my hobbies would go if I tried to turn them into work. Nice there are others out there who write for fun/relaxion etc, its normally these blogs I enjoy reading most.

      2. So comforting to hear, really! Also, I feel like your content is relaxing to read, because you’re relaxed about it. It’s enjoyable to me. And, no, I didn’t feel like your banner pic was particularly grainy. I thought it was quite lovely!

    4. SoundEagle admires and commends your resolves and stoic determination!

      Thank you very much for putting certain things about blogging and online interactions into perspective.

    5. Thanks Pete. what you are saying is so true. Give you credit. It’s hard for me not to get affected if nobody’s visiting though. hehehe. esp. if you work so hard on it. I think it’s something all the bloggers have to deal with. After my Valentine project’s done, my youtube videos got published. I am thinking doing some research on traffic and share it. hmm, will see

  15. Hi…I feel like my words on the typed page are slanted. I don’t know if I hit something along the way but my type set doesn’t feel right. Can someone help me? Thanks. Gardenlilie.com

    1. Hiya, I love the freshness of your site, I cannot see anything wrong with your text, they look ok to me. Are you sure you haven’t got the italics switched on? When you go to write a post or page you will have text controls and italics are turned off or on by clicking I which is normally next to the B for bold. If you haven’t noticed you also have a button on the same level as the B & I when you move your mouse over it, its called ‘The kitchen sink’ if you click on that it opens more options. Are you writing in Word first before copy pasting into the text box on the post you are writing about? If so make sure that italics are turned off as it may transfer to your blog. If you are using Windows you could check to see if you have ‘Clear Type’ that can make your text look clearer you can find out more
      http://www.microsoft.com/typography/cleartype/tuner/step1.aspx
      Also your browser maybe slightly to small, try zooming in slightly, with your browser open hold down the Ctrl and press + or – and that will zoom in or out.

      Hope that helps :-)

    1. Hi Chartreuse, Did a little snooping around your blog. I like your sense of humor and your appreciation for photography. Am I to understand that you would like to use your blog as a way of finding work? (Of the art director variety, perhaps?) If so, this might be what your about page is like — which I couldn’t find. You might find that alone helps to create a structure for your blog. Still, I kind of enjoy how it’s undefined, the photos are unique and fun! Just keep working it!

    1. I cannot speak arabic, so I can only comment on the appearance of your blog. At first glance it stands out as easy to read. It is neat and clean and I like that your header and menu are uncluttered and pleasing to the eye. Well done.

    1. Hi! Fun blog post. Don’t have kids myself, but I like your discussion on time. Aaaaanyway, I think to embed a video, you have to click over to the HTML tab (at the top right of your post message area) and place the embed code there. If I remember correctly, it will look a lot like the link, but when you put it there, save, and click the “Visual” tab at the top right of your post, you should see a yellow box where the embedded YouTube video should appear. Good luck!

    2. At the bottom of videos on YouTube there i usually a “share” button. Click that button to get the short code link that you can use in your post.

  16. I started my blog (livingincyn.com) just over a year ago as a repository of random thoughts. I actually made the move to wordpress.org and there are positives and negatives. One thing decidedly lacking is the inability for the wordpress.com community to follow me or simply to “like” a blog post or the site. (Maybe you know of a good widget for that sort of thing?) Still, I like having a small corner carved out for myself.

    1. I have .org site too, and another blogger told me about a plugin that can add the ‘Like’ button function to your blog. It’s called “Gravatar Like”. People do have to enter in their email address in order for the plugin to find their gravatar, but other than that it does provide a good substitute for the wp.com Like button.

  17. Hi all, not too sure about my theme. I want a header image so am limited as to options. Rather hesistant to get a premium theme as its very early days. I know the image I have used is a bit grainy but figure it is not a big issue? Basically I want to know if there is anything off-putting about the look of the blog. Many thanks.

    1. Nothing “off-putting” – on the contrary: All is nice, simple, and clear (the way I like it). If I were going for a brighter theme myself, I would consider the one you picked.
      As for the header image, there is one thing I would try to do something if this was my blog: The picture fades out to the left and is not too well-defined against the background there. The simple solution would be an ever-so-slender dark frame around the wole picture or a bit more colour in the sky (if there is some in the negative / jpg / raw).
      But that is a very minor “complaint” and I am a perfectionist. Btw, in my eyes “grainy” is not an issue here.
      Way to go!

  18. After giving my thoughts on other people’s blogs I thought it fair to offer mine up for critique. http://livinginmaine.wordpress.com/
    I’m currently in the process of looking for a .com for mine but someone already bought livinginmaine.com :-(
    I like my layout for the fact that my past posts aren’t clogging up things & there’s less scrolling. I also love the dark color instead of the white. I’ve been moving things around lately so my widgets are askew. I always look forward to creative critique to help improve my content and design. (it’s the artist in me) FYI this is basically about my life in Maine.

    1. Great content, but too dark visually for my tastes. I too used to have a dark blog but complaints came that it was too hard to read…they were right, at least for my eyes.

      1. I know what you mean, I have that problem with pages that are stark white w/ black lettering, if the font is small it’s worse. It’s one of those personal preference things. Thanks for stopping by.

    1. Your blog has a nice clean look to it. The onloy point for improvement I can think of is that you have a very long list of categories and your archives list will also get longer as time goes on. Perhaps it would better to opt for drop down menus for these two things? Otherwise, I very much like your content and found your blog to be quite interesting.

  19. I would definitely like some feedback on my blog. I would like for it to be more engaging. In that I would like feedback on the stories I post. I would also like some feedback on my Pages. Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    1. I’m no expert but I visited your blog and I like the topics you write about, their interesting. I think if you try to visit other people’s blog they would discover your blog and you’ll surely get more comments :)

    2. Yes, that is what I was going to say. I rarely had comments until I started visiting and commenting on other Blogs. I would also add more “share” buttons.

  20. Hi everyone! I’m trying to teach myself some coding and design; I’d like to (eventually) be able to create my own space from scratch. In the meantime, I’m actually having a harder time with the design than the code. Any suggestions for design resources or moving from a concept/feel into a visual design? Also, any suggestions for solidifying a concept/feel? Finally, those of you who have upgraded and designed your own sites – what was your process? Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    1. I have paid for nothing and i have done all of the work using what was available here. I LOVE my end result and get many compliments on the look/feel/design/style/layout. It doesn’t look like a “blog” and you can see many articles of varying topics at one glance.

    1. You have quite an attractive blog with a colourful banner. You say the tabs at the top are unfinished, but they seem fine so far. You have asked for advice on your sidebar, but you don’t seem to have one. You do seem to have some content at the bottom but I cannot stay there long enough to see it. My advice to you would be that, if you do wish to have content at the bottom of the page, you need to switch off endless scrolling. Overall, however, I like your blog.

      1. I don’t believe I have any content at the bottom of my blog, so I’m not sure if you’re referring to anything specifically. Although, thank you for the advice and kind words!

    2. I love your header image :) as for the menu tabs, they maybe should mimic your slogan ‘eating” “writing” “traveling” and so on.

  21. Do you guys know about feedjit? I’d like that on my blog, when i went to the feedjit site and copied the code and placed it on the text widget it did not work. Why? Also since I’m not an expert in blogging and english is not my first language, I would like some feedback on basically about the topics i choose and my english. Thanx in advance! :)

    1. I think your blog is fine s it is. I see no clash between your content and design and I don’t believe visual interest is an issue because you have pictures in your posts, which show up on your home page and provide plenty to look at. Well done.

    1. LOL yes you have enough widgets BUT it depends on what you want them for…I would also suggest switching to a different template where you can see more of your posts at first glance or organizing them in menu tabs.

      1. I suggest looking at a few other blogs and see what Widgets you look at. Incorporate those into your blog. Many widgets show photos or icons. I think using those options makes them more visually appealing. I tend to focus away from indexes by calendar months. While we as bloggers like our historical archive, I wonder if readers use them. You do appear to be generating comments which is great!

  22. Hi there,

    I’d appreciate some feedback on my blog australiancultureandcustoms.com (which I included in a comment before reading the rules – sorry!). It’s only been up and running for about a month. The look? the layout? things to add/remove? Also, someone above mentioned removing revisions but I can’t figure out how. Any advice?

    Thanks everyone in advance, what a great initiative!

    Helene

    1. I like your lists of all things Australian; ’10 Australian Movies to See…”. I also like your use of color in the background , and that abstract artwork in the upper left side. Lots of subjects to choose from in your layout, but I think that’s good. Just one minor thing, you might want to remove the ‘meta’ functions from appearing on the site since those are things that you might want to only access yourself.

      1. Thanks very much for your feedback, Peter. I though you had to log in to access the meta function?

        Best wishes,

        Helene
        PS my 13 year old artist son did the background and other artwork (proud mum)

    2. I agree, the design fits your blog focus. For the layout, it may be a good idea if you add some widgets at the bottom to balance out the tag cloud.

      As for the content, it’s great that you were able to post quite consistently for almost a week. Keep it up!

      1. Thanks very much for taking the time to look, Arianne. Yes, I agree about balancing out the bottom.

        I am currently between jobs so I’m making hay while the sun shines regarding content.

        All the best,

        Helene

    3. I like the visual aspect of your blog, though I find it to be quite busy. I am not a big fan of tag clouds, but that is just a matter of personal preference. I love your son’s artwork and your lists of Aussie stuff. Overall, a great blog.

    4. Your blog is very attractive. Just one thought about the tag cloud: “etiquette and customs” is becoming large which means you post a lot of content “into” this tag. Could it be an improvement to find more specific tag “within” this tag? I sort of have the same problem because when I categorized my pictures geographically, “Germany” suddenly became a large entry … I am rethinking the categories / tags business now. I hope my “2 cents” may help you.

      1. Thanks tms. Thanks for your comments. Yes, I have been wondering about this issue of tags and categories and trying to figure out how many of each, etc. I’ll have to do a little more climbing that learning curve to figure it out.

        All the best.

  23. Hello everyone!

    SoundEagle welcomes any feedback on http://soundeagle.wordpress.com and appreciates astute comments, critiques and suggestions from you, apart from immediately obvious aspects such as
    (1) A very “busy” look (or perhaps not quite “busy” enough).
    (2) The use of some long sentences.
    (3) The multiple uses of the word or the image “SoundEagle”.

    The blog is more or less just about six months old and was quite neglected before that.

    Thank you in anticipation!

    1. Wow, it’s pretty mind blowing! Personally, I find it a bit too busy, but I am impressed by your many, diverse interests. You are definitely an interesting person. I would focus on just a few issues, and maybe open another blog for the others. But that’s just me, others might really like the diversity.

      1. Thank you very much for your kind feedback. SoundEagle looks forward to us interacting at the blog and to whatever you wish to express there, given what you just found and your impression of SoundEagle as “an interesting person” or bird. Much appreciated! :)

    2. I love the little rose writing a message at the top of the page – I’m a sucker for cuteness. I know it’s one of those ovious things you already know about but your sidebar is a little busy for my taste. Having said that, I do love some of the graphics on your about page, and I think it is good that you remind readers to leave a comment by having a link in the top menu. Plus I love when people can refer to themselves in the third person without sounding pathetic. Well done.

      1. SoundEagle is delighted with your comments and sighing a (minor) relief on having passed your “blog inspection” respectably with most feathers unruffled, if not perfectly with flying colours . . . . . Indeed, your assessment here is another indication that you seldom bite down with too great a force for others to recover. Thank you very much!

  24. Hi -
    I would love some feedback on my home page, http://elkemurphy.wordpress.com
    is it too busy, confusing? I love the category cloud, have just recently created it – but does it work?
    How about navigation – can I improve this? Just heard from a friend who is checking my blog on her mobile phone that she finds it difficult to navigate, esp. to history, archives. Is there a way to make it more user friendly for smart phones?

    Thank you! Love all the inspiring comments.

  25. Add on -
    Love reading all your questions and comments, I have learned a lot already. Love looking at your sites!

    I have one more question: How do I get the “Search” function? Maybe my theme TwentyTen does not support it??

  26. This is great! I’ve been really looking for a place to get some feedback for my blog. I can’t seem to practice that whole “branding” thing on my post. I change my theme too often (as one of my friend/ fellow blogger noticed).

    I went back to my favorite theme Quintus, but it gets boring sometimes so I tend to “theme-hop” almost every other day.

    I have been planning to add menus and post but I still struggle to create a focused design/ content on my blog.

    I hope you guys can give me some advise on this. Thanks in advance. :)

    http://flyforicarus.wordpress.com/

    1. Theme-hopping. I’ve been guilty of that myself. As I’ve mentioned a million times, I love written content. The photos are also attractive, but I like the content. Yours is fun, easy on the eyes, so it’s easy to read, but it’s not super bright (like a white-background blog can be sometimes). I also love the vintage header with the slogan. Really nice. Did you design it yourself?

      Categorizing your work may make it a little easier to choose the content. Is this what you meant by menus? You probably have enough of a history blogging to know what you come back to report on with a certain amount of regularlity. I feel that I tried to categorize too early in the blog development process and either couldn’t live up to my own blogging desires or didn’t end up writing about certain categories that I originally thought I wanted to focus on.

      Keep blogging!

      1. Hi CYN,

        Thanks for the feedback, On the header, I didn’t design, unfortunately. I do have a thing for parchment, hence the header and the background. Having a bit of a visual problem, I am quite particular with the readability of my post. Glad you noticed that bit about the background of the text, sadly, not a lot of themes offer this feature.

        You are spot on when you spoke about the categories. I planned on a set of categories before but decided against it due to lack of materials. This was many months ago so I guess it’s time I go back to all my post and see what fits.

        Again, thanks for your comments. Much appreciated!

        Cheers,
        Arianne

    1. Your site has a nice look about it. The colours are pleasant, and the titles are cute and suit the style of the blog.

      The only thing I found a bit confusing was the left hand sidebar – some things were links, but there were also some random pictures which had me guessing what they were of, or what they were there for.

      But other than that, very nice indeed …

      1. Maybe some captions to understand their significance???

        Of course, it depends on who your blog is for. If the pictures are intended to be mainly meaningful to you or close friends, then no captions are fine.

        But for strangers, then you probably need either some explanation, or to ensure that they are more clearly just part of the overall design look & feel, rather than specific pictures …

    1. I really like the way each posting encourages comments by the simple, yet clear, tabs on the side.

      The overall look and feel is nice, without being distracting.

    2. I think your blog is great…the only issue I have is the “blog” template…but that is a personally thing with me. I cannot stand the never ending scrolling…I like menus etc.

    3. I didn’t notice the simple/clear comment tabs on the side… :-( To leave my comment, I had to click on the header and then scroll to the bottom to leave a comment under “out loud”. I was committed to leaving a comment, because I enjoyed the content, but I wonder if other readers would be as “patient”. :-)

      I wonder if the dark grey with contrasting orange (which is nice and “out loud”) prevented me from seeing the tabs Arteis is talking about. Visually, I also think your content area appears narrow — maybe it’s the grey background?

      The variety of your posts and the theme of your blog are enjoyable. Very positive!

      1. That’s really odd, Cyn – I just went back to Vernette’s site, and it definitely does have a simple comments button/tab to the left of every single posting.

      2. Don’t mind the gap, Arteis. Yes — I see it now, the darker charcoal grey thingy with the arrow pointing to the headline. It’s there and has been there. I just didn’t notice that that’s where the comments go. So, I guess the layout was unexpected to me. :-/

    1. I don’t think there are specific requirements for a “good” post. I am currently following a blog who posts amazing one liners on her blog. I also read long posts especially if the topic is interesting. Adding pictures is a good way to break the monotony.
      Links can be a great way to provide further information especially if you are referring to a topic outside your expertise.

      For your last question though, I am as clueless as you are. But I have narrowed down my search by setting up a criteria for my preferred theme.

      I hope this helps. :D

    2. Typically 500-750 words is the going count on blog posts, but I do not follow that line of thinking. It depends on what i am writing. Long text can be broken up with images and sub headings. I use Suburbia theme for Cheri Speak and love it!

  27. Mine is a very specific hobby blog (model soldiers), so content-wise is probably of little interest to most people. http://arteis.wordpress.com/

    But from a design point-of-view, my aim has been to make it look eye-catching, yet clean and simple at the same time. But has the outcome turned out rather … um … boring? Or is that just because I am now so used to this design?

      1. Thanks, C.R.

        Do you mean the length of the individual posts? Or that WordPress continuing scroll of consecutive postings? If the latter, I must see if there is a way of turning it off, because I can see how it might be off-putting.

      2. Oh, I see now.

        This is where our opinions differ, though – I don’t like articles you have to click and download to see the whole thing. So I guess it is horses for courses!!!

        But thank you for the feedback – it is something I’ll still consider. It would require quite a big makeover for my blog, though ….

      3. LOL it is a personal choice for each of us and the decisions should always be based on what each wants to accomplish with their blog. :)

      4. I can see what C.R. has to say. But on the other hand, you do have some great photography and you include several photos in all your works. There are themes that draw (sometimes randomly, sometimes sequentially) from the photos in your posts and display them on a banner on your homepage: like Mixfolio or Graph Paper Press has some freebies too that do this too.

        As I mentioned to C.R. I personally like posts for the content — and scrolling to read them is something I prefer to do rather than click to continue and have to click back to home to find more.

        Your content seems pretty streamlined to your hobby, which I find good. I don’t think you’d have to to worry too much about creating multiple categories for content, etc.

        But — no — your blog is not boring. I was a lot more interested than I thought I would be. :-)

      5. People are different: As for me, I’d rather scroll than hit the “more” button … And scrolling through your blog was everything but boring. Keep doing what you do; you do it well!

    1. It’s very clean and simple! :) It’s also surprisingly interesting, haha! :D I had no idea there was so much to learn about this! My suggestion would be to replace the current header image with one of the really full, colorful images that are found in your posts. A category page on top explaining your hobbies would also be great– like “Home | About me | History | Figurines”— so that at a glance, someone could learn what it’s all about? You have a great blog– it’s very passionate! :D

  28. Would WordPress consider giving bloggers more flexibility in choosing the font type and size? I am using the Enterprise theme, which I like except for the small font size and font type.

    1. I don’t use that theme, but I do have fairly flexible text sizing on my free theme (SIGHT). The font size can be adjusted with your menu from the VISUAL compose tab, and then even more specifically with some HTML in the TEXT compose tab. Maybe consider a switch?

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