One thing with composting: it takes TIME. Lots of time. This pile is probably about 10 years old and it has been worth the wait. We put a small wall behind the pile with large branches so the rain would not wash it all away, then we started putting kitchen scraps (anything but bread, meat, or anything involving fats like butter), grass clippings, and cold ashes into the compost space.
At first, the only thing to do is add more material and occasionally turn (mix) the pile when a whole lot of new material is added. And in winter, we placed a blue tarp over the pile to protect it. But once we added enough to the pile, layers started forming - the top layer was all of the fresh material, the middle layer was slightly broken down materials, and the bottom layer was the dirt gold!
When there is a greater amount of the dark compost, I shovel it out into a bucket and run it through a sifter to get out any roots, twigs or rocks that have managed to sneak into the pile. After the sifting, the new soil is ready to be used! I lug a few buckets over to my mother in-law's house every year and we mix it with some garden soil, a little perlite, and fertilizer. All of the plants benefit from the added nutrients of the compost, and we rarely have a disappointing crop!