[2018 edit: As of May 2018, WordPress has–unfortunately–shut down their Community Pool.]
I love Mondays.
Not only because I recently quit my job to focus on writing and had two recent journal publications. And it’s not only because I have exciting projects lined up, both with others and by myself. All of these rock, but there’s more to it than that.
The best thing about Monday is WordPress’s Community Pool.
You read that right: Community Pool. Every week, WordPress lets bloggers link to and ask questions about their recent work, a new (or updated) blog, etc. — how’s my new color scheme? Is this post interesting? How can I improve my blog?
And the best part? This service is totally free and a great way to test-drive new posts or blog features.
Maximize Your Feedback in Four Steps
In order to get good feedback, you have to give it. You can’t expect everyone and their mother to comment on your link without doing anything yourself. So step one? Check out other blogs. Actually read them, start to finish. Every word.
Step two: Leave a comment for the writer, and like the post if you agree with it. For example, if I read a short story or poem, I’ll tell the writer my favorite sentence, or pick out paragraphs/stanzas that elicited emotion from me. Writing is hard work, and there’s nothing more exciting than a comment from a careful reader 🙂
Step three: Now go back to Community Pool, where the user posted their link. Here, I’ll write something that they did well (good use of images, nice content, etc.) and ALSO something that could use improvement (add an image to break up the text; or, don’t forget to tag/categorize your posts).
Could I say this directly on their blog? Of course. But honestly, I don’t want to embarrass a blogger by pointing out their weaknesses in front of their readers. No thanks.
Step four: The last line of my feedback is always the following: Would you look at one of my posts? Click my name and choose whichever one you like. Often, people will thank me for my critique and then check out my blog — they’ll like or comment on a post, and then give me personalized, helpful feedback on Community Pool.
Everyone wins. Bloggers get individual critiques on their work and also get likes and comments to boost morale. I’ve already written about how critiquing others’ work improves your own writing. And another bonus — if a fellow swimmer likes your blog, they may follow you. What’s better than new comments, likes, followers, AND helpful feedback?
I started this blog in October 2015. In the ten months since, I’ve participated in Community Pool only recently, and I wish I started sooner: my visitors/views have jumped, page likes and comments have increased, the number of people following me has doubled, and my Reader is now full of interesting blogs that I wouldn’t have found without my Monday swim. Woohoo!
Community Pool is a fabulous resource. It’s a great way to connect with other writers, discover new blogs, and get input on how to improve your own work. If you’re a WordPress blogger, it’s well worth the time spent. Check it out — and if you see me, stop by and say hi! 😉
Not a blogger? No worries — I’ve got another post lined up for my non-blogging followers shortly. 🙂 Stay tuned!