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Community Pool: 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, 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.

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  1. Just a question… I decided to change my header picture and background color and my husband took a look at it on his pc and it did not show the background color or the tabs at the top…only the words on the tabs. Is this because he is not a wordpress user? I checked with a blogger friend because I thought perhaps no one saw the color etc. but she did. Just curious. My site is hometogo232.wordpress.com Thanks Diane

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      1. I think your blog looks lovely. I especially like the green background – it really makes everything stand out and the theme you have chosen seems to suit your style of blogging. Also you make good use of photos in my opinion.

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    1. Hi Steve, I thought your blog looked pretty good and you have lots of interesting content. However, I do think it might be more effective if you broke it down into shorter, less meandering posts – I tend not to stick around when I see large blocks of writing.

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      1. Thanks for dammning me with faint praise, but you obviously have a short attention span. It’s a short story, with multimedia. It’s literature with links and pictures – not a commercial.

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    2. I find it odd you asked for input, then you get upset with her opinion? She has a point, your posts are more like essays then a short story. I didn’t read your latest post, I did look at the photos but I have no clue what your post is about based on the title or the photos. If you’re wondering why you don’t get comments it may be because noone has read your entire post, maybe they are getting lost in the middle of it or are confused by the amount of photos and different subjects.

      Most people who read blogs aren’t looking for a few chapters, if you want to write about your life, I suggest you break it down to maybe 4-5 paragraphs per post. This will help hold people’s attention and then there would be a limited number of points for people to comment on.

      Just a suggestion because you asked for feedback!

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      1. Thank you for your feedback, but how do you form the opinion that my posts are ‘more like an essay than a short story’ (surely, you meant to use plurals?) if you haven’t actually read ‘it’, or indeed, them? Are blogs homogenous? Are there ‘rules’ that one must ‘obey’? You also seem to suffer from ‘short-attention-span-itis’.

        I’m producing multimedia short stories with links to my music (featuring some very well-known musicians) and other interesting stuff – not nursery rhymes. A short story doesn’t have chapters, as such, so the genre doesn’t lend itself to being presented in bite-sized chunks.

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    1. I like the layout. The only thing for me is — I’m assuming there is supposed to be a picture above your title and I’m getting a box with a question mark. Overall it’s nicely organized.

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      1. Unfortunately, I don’t. I just checked on a PC and everything loaded, so maybe it has something to do with that I looked at it on a MAC. The other photos did come up.

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  2. I recently started a new blog about general topics. I do have a question about the featured widget. I noticed some of my featured widgets are ‘off-set’ on my main page. (look at the Urban Myth post and the Heading off to un-college featured widgets). I’ve tried reformating the pictures and shrinking them, etc. But they still come out off-set. Any help would be appreciated. My blog is at http://writeonce.wordpress.com/.

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    1. All your photos look perfectly fine to me and within their frames. I would guess your screen resolution might be the problem. If you are “zoomed-in” sometimes the pictures move outside the frames. Or if you just have a lower screen resolution than what your blog is set to. My resolution is fairly high, as I have a wide screen and I like the images to be smaller. Hope that helps and is what you were asking!

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  3. Hi there…we’re new to this blog, just started up bout pass 2 weeks ago… here is our blog page, Four Seasons Bridal, http://fourseasonbridal.wordpress.com/ . We are in the field of photography, concentrating mostly is wedding. We would like some feedback from you, especially from the gallery page of our page, does it confuse viewers? As well, we do write some about ourselves, do you find it interesting and helpful? Any feedback is welcome and appreciated as it helps us improve and not heading to the wrong way, misleading viewers. Thanks a lot.. Best regards, Four Seasons Bridal

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  4. Hi there!
    Recently I started blog in Russian. Is anyone here Do read Russian? If you could visit my blog and tell me what do you think- I would really appreciate it! Another question- I find it very frustrated to translate each post in English. TakesTime!!! (I live I Australia and my friends here want to read it too). Is anyone knows good translator to use? (Google is funny!)
    Thank you!
    Marina

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    1. I really like your style of writing – very funny! I thought the layout was good and clear. I don’t know if its just me but I found the background colour and header a bit soft and dreamy looking for your slightly zany style. Great blog though.

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  5. I’d love some input about my new header, background choice, and my buttons in the sidebar as well as the homepage. I also updated my About page, how does that look? I’ve heard some feedback that the blue might be too hard to read. But it is an image, so maybe thats why? The plan is to add similar buttons as the home page buttons, on the other pages, Artwork and Graphic Design, so people have more options than just the drop down menus- which I think some people might be missing if they don’t hover. Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

    http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

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    1. Header and buttons are great! They’re so great that I totally missed the text at the top which helps to navigate pages and such. Background is okay. Regarding the About page, I found the blue somewhat hard to read and my eyes immediately took to the purple color font. I also found the “Blogs I Read” list too long and lost interest. Hopefully some constructive criticism.

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      1. Thanks for the feedback. I really don’t like the navigation menu at the top, unfortunately that is the only option, otherwise I could just delete it completely, which I am tempted to do. I’ll play around with a different color than the blue for the About page. The Blog List…I don’t know if I should just pick my faves and maybe swap them out every month or something? What do you think?

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      2. Okay, understandable about the top menu.
        Hmm…good thought. I like the swapping idea – if you feel like you would want to invest the time to do that. If not, then I say just pick your faves like you mentioned, or perhaps the blogs that are most similar to yours.

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    1. Love your blog design, very simple and easy to navigate. I really like that theme and from what I can see, it is working well for your blogging. I like the large photo slideshow at the top, except it wasn’t sliding. Is it supposed to? Also love your header, really sets the stage for your blog. Very nice.

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      1. Oh I forgot to mention that the slider actually does not automatically slide. Bummer. I wish WordPress would make all the themes with sliders slide on their own.

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  6. Hi all! my friend and I have started an urban blog about things we see and experience in different cities, some funny, some bizarre, some in english, some not… the idea is that anyone can share their urban experience from anywhere in the world… any feed back is appreciated! tx

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      1. I like your About page (the way its written there)…I started off looking at your blog in a very confused and lost way. But I chose a topic, Creating, and read the parable Jazz and Tragedy, of which I am not sure I fully understand. But at the same time, it was written so lovely. I’m going to have to bookmark this story because I am sure I will need to read it again when I need that extra push, so that I don’t leave my dreams in tragedy.

        Overall there might need to be some clarification somewhere so the reader doesn’t get too confused before choosing a topic. I know everyone really should read the About pages, but often I don’t. I would hate for someone to land on your blog and feel too lost to seek out the answers! good luck!

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  7. I am new to blogging, particularly travel writing. I am exploring London with Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London and would love feedback on layout and text – do people find it interesting? is there too much text? Would more photographs entice people to do the same, or follow more blogs? Essentially how can I make it more attractive to more viewers? The site is http://londondiaryblog.wordpress.com

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    1. This is of course only my opinion, and I have never been to London, only seen modern day photos. I wish the tab/page, Bradshaw’s Hand Book, wasn’t blank because I’m not sure I know what is it. To me I think your layout is a little rigid and not very…open. Like it doesn’t feel like we (you) are traveling but maybe just looking through an old book. I do also think that your blog posts are a little too long. All that text lost me very quickly, and I just looked at the photos. I know you said you are only doing the traveling one day a week, but why can’t you split up the posts for a full week of what you did that one day?

      I’ve been told people like consistency, so perhaps you could post a similar theme on each weekday? Again, I know very little about London and nothing of this book, but would it be possible to showcase on Monday’s, what the book says of the area you will visit that week? Then Tuesday open it up with maybe a shortened version of history with some historic to modern photos? Like before/after photos? Wednesday maybe you talk about food, Thursday the people, Friday the activities, etc? I have no idea if that is doable for you. But I thought perhaps it could help limit the longer posts.

      Your photography is beautiful, the photo of The chancel literally made me stop scrolling through. I love the inclusion of a map to show us where you are going. I’m very happy that you include links for references to the different places you write about, that is so helpful for someone like me! I hope I was helpful and not confusing!

      http://christinadesignsart.wordpress.com/

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      1. It is very helpful to have this feedback. How could I make the layout more open? Perhaps this is related to trying to include too much information as text? You are quite right about feeling as though we are going through an old book – Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London was written in 1857 and revised in 1861. His intention was to show a visitor to London the most significant ‘sights’, in his view, at that point in time. I have followed his timetable – he crammed his days, moving rapidly, it seems, from one sight to another. I have tried to fit into his shoes – however, this is not necessarily the best way of showing off his book, or understanding London through his eyes. I will think about your other comments, all of which are helpful, thank you

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      2. Sorry for taking so long to respond! I think you are including a lot of history text, maybe more than is needed per post? You could always break it up like I suggested with each day having a different topic focus.

        Good luck! I hope to visit in the future!

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  8. Hey everyone, I’m wondering if I should switch to a theme with featured posts, or a magazine layout. However I’d like the focus to be on the writing. Do you think I would lose that if the posts said ‘read more’…? How likely would you be to click ‘read more’?

    Thanks,

    Lorna

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    1. I think if the introduction of the text is catchy enough, people will click ‘read more’. I guess if they don’t like the first part of the text the wouldn’t have read the entire thing anyways. The ‘read more’ tag is nice because it gives the blog a clearer layout and especially with long texts it’s good. =)

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  9. Hi I have just returned to blogging after a two year absence and I’m struggling. I thought the safe thing would be to use Suburbia,w hich is the template I used before but I find it impossible to customise at all – unless I pay for the custom option. Is this right? I used Suburbia on my first blog, but I paid someone, who is no longer around, to help me with the setup and I’m wondering if he maybe paid for the custom option, or is this a new thing? I just want to change pretty basic things, like the colour of the hyperlinked text, but I can’t seem to access CSS at all. Any advice?
    tks
    🙂

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    1. Hi, I am using a different theme – and not paying for it – and I can change the link colour under “Appearance” > “Theme Options”. If you do not succeed, there might be no such option for your theme. CSS cannot be changed without ‘buying’ the theme as far as I know. I hope this is any help.

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      1. OK, thanks. Yes I used to have access to the CSS through theme options, and now it will let me play with them but the changes won’t take place unless I pay for the custom upgrade. I might need to just find another theme, which is a pity, I like Suburbia. thansk again

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    1. Hi Brigitte

      I think I know what you are tyring to do. To show likes on your homepage, go to your Dashboard, and then Settings -> Sharing. Scroll down until you see the ‘Show buttons on’ setting, and click on the checkbox next to ‘Front page, Archive Pages and Search Results’. Click save and you should be good 🙂

      Only thing to be aware of is that this will also show the ‘Share’ buttons as well on your homepage – I don’t know of any way to have one without the other.

      Hope this helps!

      JP

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  10. I’d like some help understanding menus better. I kinda figured out how to make it show up on my blog (I really just clicked on a few things and magically it appeared), but I’m not sure how to do a proper drop-down menu.

    Here’s my dilemma: I made a title page for “in the kitchen” and “life” so that I could I list 2 sub-categories under those parent categories, but when you click on either “in the kitchen” or “life” all you will see is a blank page. I don’t really want the parent categories to be click-able; they’re just supposed to be headers for the sub-categories underneath them. Does that make sense?

    I am also curious if my “about” page is too long/contains too much info.

    Any other helpful thoughts about my blog are appreciated, as well. (Oh, and leave comments here in the pool, please.)

    You can find my blog here: http://talesofkaty.wordpress.com

    Thanks!

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    1. Hi Katy,

      I looked at your about page and I love it. The photos add a special touch. Best wishes with your married life journey! The dinners will get easier as time goes by. I am a new blogger too and am hoping to learn from other bloggers and this community forum. I don’t particularly like the font in my blog- I like the helvetica neue you are using. I have to try to figure out the download process. I will be following your blog!

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  11. I am sure this is an embarrassingly easy problem to solve, but even though I, myself, can be embarrassingly easy, I cannot figure out how to do this. I want to excavate two or three posts from my archives so that they can be easily accessed from my homepage. I see a lot of people have certain “favorite posts” highlighted so I know this is possible. But all I have managed to do is set up “top posts” which are determined by numbers of views. Can anyone help? http://www.motherjam.com

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  12. Hi guys! I have recently started blogging in wordpress again, after being on tumblr for quite a few years so I’m pretty conscious about what I’m writing! The switch from “photo-blog” to “text-blog” thing.. I have only 3 posts for now but appreciate some comments on them and also any improvements that can be made on it?:) thanks!!

    Mellifluousvoice.wordpress.com

    🙂

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    1. Hi, I loved the look of your blog with the lined paper, especially as poetry is a shared interest of mine. I look forward to reading more of your work.

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  13. I’d love some criticism about my layout. Its changed a lot and trying to keep it simple. Thinking about dumping the blogroll, not a fan. Spent alot of time on this several weeks ago and I think I almost have it nailed down. Just need some critiques on the 80% solution. A previous critique some weeks back made me think about my layout. They stated they couldn’t focus their eyes were wondering all over. I hope I have resolved that issue. Thanks for visiting and looking forward to the discussion.

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    1. The background takes my eyes away from your post. With the content being spiritual you have a dark blog. I’d prefer a white background, like the shroud and the lamb, seems to fit the color scheme of your topic better. White also signifies pure. A lot of professional blog sites about blogging recommend a white, simple, layout. I’m no professional but that was my first impression.

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