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Just looking for honest feedback on quality of my writing

  1. Hi everyone, I write a unique blog through the eyes of a 3-legged rescue dog. I need some help knowing how "obvious" it is that the dog is the writer. Also, any commentary or suggestions on how to make my blog better would be highly welcomed. I have had 17,000 visitors to my blog since I started it in about 6 months ago. Is that good?

    I am up for all critique, and for learning how to make the blog function/appear better/different. I had considered making another page, for example, but don't know if that would add much.

    Thanks, all.
    Ada

    The blog I need help with is adamaecompton.wordpress.com.

  2. Hi there,
    I have flagged this thread so it is moved to the Off-Topic Forum where you can get other members to weigh in on your blog writing style.

  3. thanks!

  4. Alright, folks, tell me what you think...

  5. A static page isn't always best to attract more readers. My advice is that you use your current home page as an "About Page". And leave the home page, as a standard blog posting theme.

  6. Whoa, I seriously don't know what you mean. :( Can you explain all that? What do you mean by "static page" and by home page vs about page? And I have no clue what a blog posting theme is?! So much to learn! Thank you!

  7. Whoa, I seriously don't know what you mean. :( Can you explain all that? What do you mean by "static page" and by home page vs about page? And I have no clue what a blog posting theme is?! So much to learn! Thank you!

  8. I will try my best.

    At the moment your home page is styled like a normal website. So your home page will always be the same.

    A blog, should normally be viewed with your latest posts at your home page.

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/front-page/

    An "about" page is a short bio about yourself and why you blog. It's just to let readers know a bit more about you. To create an about page:
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/pages/

    Ignore blog posting theme. I have no clue what I was talking about that time ;)

  9. I guess I really don't understand the difference between a home page and an about page and what you mean by "styled as a normal website." I think I need a diagram. Ugh. Thank you for trying to help me! Perhaps dogs shouldn't blog!

  10. @ adamaecompton

    First you need to know the difference between a blog and a website. A website is something that doesn't change. It usually exists to say to the world "this is what I do" and shows a business that the person runs, or a book that the person's written, or art that the person is selling, etc. It is static and what that means is that it is not automatically updated: in order to change what is on the front page (which is the first view one has of a website, it's the 'landing page') the person has to do it themselves manually. There can be other pages on the website, leading off from the front page, and they are usually in tabs along the top (in a 'menu') or along the side in a sidepanel. Sometimes there is also a footer, which is the space at the bottom of a webpage. A website that has more than one page can have a blog that has a link to it in the website's menu, so, when people click on the 'blog' link there, they go to the blog itself. The blog could be hosted on the same site or it could be hosted somewhere else, but people visiting don't see it when they first arrive on the site because that's not the intention of the website. A blog attached to a website is there as an extra, not as the main reason for the website's existence.

    A blog is different from a website in that the content - and more importantly the content that people see when they first visit it - is constantly changing as new posts are added. It might help you to understand that 'blog' is short for 'Web log' (usually just one word, not two, but I've separated them so that you can see it more easily). And a web log is an online journal or diary. Its author writes (types) posts and publishes them to the blog, one after another for as long as the blog exists. You have a blog. Unfortunately you've got it set up as a website, so people aren't able to view your posts as they arrive and, should you want to have publicity for your blog via SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you are doing yourself no favours by using a website structure.

    Have a look at this post by Timethief (a very experienced blogger and volunteer on these forums here) says in her blog about the difference between Pages and Posts:

    http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2010/05/12/better-blogging-at-wordpress-com-pages-and-posts/

    Should you want to change how your blog is viewed, you can do this via your Dashboard. Look on the side panel on the left, scroll down til you see 'Settings. Hover your cursor over the word 'Settings' and you'll see a flyout menu (they've just changed it to this structure, by the way, so if it looks different from when you were last on the Dashboard, that's why) from which you should choose 'Reading'. On the Reading Settngs page, the option you want is the top one: 'Front page displays' and you need to choose the top option 'your latest posts'. When you've selected it, scroll down and click the 'Save Changes' button. Wait a few moments for the change to take and then visit your blog to see how it looks.

    Then you should make sure that what you currently have set as a home page is on a page called 'About' instead. This might happen automatically when you choose the 'Your latest posts' in which case you'll see an 'About' page in your menu. If not, then go back to your dashboard, go to 'posts' (in the side panel there) go to 'all posts' and click on that. Find the page you've got your info on and if necessary change it's title to 'About', then save the page. (If you save all pages and all posts as a draft rather than clicking 'Publish' immediately, then you can check them before they go public. You can go into edit a post or page at any time and click Publish when you're ready).

    I hope that helps. I know WordPress can be very confusing when you're new or newish, but it'll all fit into place eventually.

    As for your original question here, how obvious is it that the writer is a dog... I've read a few of your posts and it isn't obvious at all. There are a lot of blogs 'written' from the point of view of a dog or cat (and other animals!) and what they all have in common is just that: they are written from the point of view of the animal, and are usually about that animals's day or life. So, by writing about human issues (which you are: for instance, frakking is not exactly something that is impacting on your dog's day to day life, he's more interested in his food, his excercise, his sleep, his toys if he has any, his poo and his owner/s. In the long term if the frakkers blow up your area it'll certainly impact on your dog - and you! - but it's not a dog's concern)... so you're probably turning away visitors to your blog who see from the title that it's 'written by a dog' and then expect to read about that dog's life. Instead they get the dog's owner's life!

    So.... 17000 visitors to your blog in 6 months isn't bad at all, but it's very difficult to navigate your blog because you've not got it set up as one, people don't know where to go to find your other posts, they can't see them at a glance. Your side panel widget only shows a few recent posts - and that's really only meant to be a reminder to people about what you've posted, not a menu - and people can't see the usual home page of posts. If you don't want all posts in view, you can still use a blog format and have other posts more accessible by choosing a blog theme that uses excerpts, or you can limit the number of posts that show and then people will have to use an 'older posts' link at the bottom of the page.

    Personally, if I were writing a blog 'as' a three legged dog, I'd write about the dog's day to day life from the dog's point of view and I'd do without anything to do with its owner's point of view. OR I'd change it to a blog written by me, the owner, about my own life. I think that's what you need to think about.

    Sorry this is so long, but I hope some of it has helped. Criticism, even when asked for, can seem harsh and judgemental and that's not my intention.

    I've a page in my own blog that might be of some use on how to find new readers for your blog:

    https://absurdoldbird.wordpress.com/free-stuff-from-me-to-you/for-newbie-bloggers-how-to-find-readers-for-your-blog/

  11. Thank you Val!

  12. Oh WOW. Awesome feedback!!!

    This is going to require another college degree, methinks. At least I am doing well with visitors despite my poor set-up! I wonder if I will get a lot more traffic when I change things around as per your suggestions.

    I will give it all a try and post back here to let you know when I think I have it improved.

    As for the voice/perspective, I seriously appreciate your feedback. I do like the irony of expecting to see a blog about a dog's life-- but when you get there, it's a dog's view on humanity, really. So, your feedback provides insight on that and how to use that toward a better end rather than a confusing end.

    Exactly why I need criticism. Woof!

  13. @noirciplume and adamaecompton: you're welcome!

  14. Okay, I did some fiddling around. Please let me know how I did! The thing I don't like is that it says "Home" on the tab and I want to change that. Also, even though I told it to only display a summary and not to display the tags, it is doing it anyway.

    I hope it is better.

  15. The 'Summary' view via Dashboard - Settings - Reading does not refer to what you see on your blog, it refers to what your subscribers see in their emails or their feeds. (Feeds are a way for people to read blog posts all in one place totally away from the blog, via syndication). Enabling 'Summary' on the Reading settings page makes no difference on the blog itself.

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/settings/reading-settings/

    Instead, what you want is a theme that shows excerpts which your current theme might not. (I use excerpts on my blog, but I do them manually so that I can put images in them.) You can find out if your theme does excerpts by going to Dashboard - Appearance - Themes - and looking at your own, current, theme's options. If yours does offer excerpts then there will be a further option somewhere there to set for them. If your theme doesn't offer excerpts and you'd like to change to a theme that does, then go to the Theme Showcase and find one that does. http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/

    or get to it via Dashboard - Appearance - Themes in the side panel.

    To understand a bit more about excerpts:
    http://en.support.wordpress.com/?s=excerpts

    What I'd suggest in the meantime is that you learn how to use the 'more tag' option in your posts (I'll give a link below) so that they appear shorter. You can easily go into your existing posts and edit them to show the More Tag or use them for your future posts. Also have fewer posts showing on the home page by going to Dashboard - Settings - Reading and where it says 'Blog pages show at most' choose a smaller number for how many posts you want to see there. I'd suggest that you put more than one post at a time as having to click the 'older entries' each time someone wants to look at an earlier one can lose you readers as people online don't tend to have a lot of patience and they move on to another site quickly. (Though of course, it's your blog and it's entirely up to you what you choose to do with it. I'm just one person and this is just my opinion, it might not be right for you or someone else.)

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/splitting-content/more-tag/

    As for the rest, the most useful thing you can do for yourself at the moment is to click on the following link and read what's there:

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/7-things-to-know-before-posting-in-wordpresscom-forums?replies=1

  16. wow. just awesome. i like your page, so i think i will try to go to your theme. i am just hoping it doesn't screw anything up! i like the idea of choosing the pics i put there.

  17. And if it does screws anything up? No harm done, you can always go back to how it was later. Or try a different theme. Bear in mind that whenever you change theme, you'll need to replace the widgets you had, so it's a good idea to copy their contents to notepad or whatever you have on your computer into which you can put plain text. Then if you can't find the widgets you'd used before, you won't have lost anything.

    Apropos putting images in excerpts:

    http://absurdoldbird.wordpress.com/free-stuff-from-me-to-you/how-to-put-images-in-excerpts/

    Good luck.

  18. Oh, Thank you! I have begun to use the "more" tag, and I think my blog looks much more like a blog than a website, now with help from you both!!!

    I really appreciate all the feedback. You're both wonderful!

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