Two of the popular blogging platform choices are Tumblr and WordPress. If you’re wondering about the differences between the two here is a comparison that will help you decide which one to use when starting your blog.
Why I recommend WordPress over Tumblr
I have heard, seen and experienced many wonderful benefits achieved by running a blog. My projects have made an amazing difference for me in my life and career.
That’s why I prefer to use the platform that gives me the full control and freedom, which is the reason I recommend you go with WordPress on your own domain name and hosting too. I run all my projects on WordPress and more than 75 million other bloggers and brands do so too.
Tumblr is more of a social media network rather than a blog publishing platform and it can be used to find visitors and build an audience for your main blog.
You need to have a web host in order to install WordPress and host your content on the internet.
I recommend Bluehost as the best WordPress specialized host.
They offer a free domain name, 24/7 live support and WordPress recommends them.
More than 2 million WordPress blogs are hosted there. And you can get started at $2.95 per month with no tech knowledge needed.
It will take you 5 minutes to get your blog online with the 1-click installation feature.
Disclosure: I do earn a commission if you sign-up using my link at no additional cost to you. Please know that I only recommend products that I find helpful and useful. If you do choose to buy through my link, thank you for your support.
5 steps to using Tumblr to complement your main blog
As mentioned in the infographic above, instead of choosing between Tumblr and WordPress you should get both of them to work together. This combination could be more powerful for you than using either of them on its own.
Tumblr might not be up to WordPress standards in terms of content control, ownership and freedom but its positives can still be used to complement your main WordPress blog. People rightly consider Tumblr not as a publishing platform but more of a social network.
You should see Tumblr as another distribution platform and get the most out of its social properties to help you drive attention and traffic to your content. This is especially important if you’re targeting a younger audience.
And even more important if you’re targeting females. According to Pew Research Center only 10% of Internet users are on Tumblr, but 23% of teenage girls are, compared with 5 % of teenage boys. This is how you get the powerful combination of Tumblr and WordPress:
1. Setup your Tumblr profile
- Create your Tumblr profile.
- Fill in your full details.
- Find a nice looking design.
- Make sure to include a link back to your main WordPress blog and your other social media profiles from your Tumblr sidebar and biography section.
2. Follow and interact with other curators
First part of getting an audience on Tumblr is following other sites.
- Find people who curate content about things relevant to what you are doing, explore their content and follow them.
- Don’t just follow but interact as well.
- “Like” the content that you love, “reblog” posts that you find interesting. This way you will be getting attention from Tumblr users that you have shared content from.
3. Publish visual post excerpts with links to your main site
Publish your post excerpts, interesting facts and quotes, and pictures on Tumblr and link back to the full article on your main WordPress blog. Tumblr content is generally very visually appealing, it has to look good and be eye-catching to grab the attention. Use images, GIF’s, quotes on images, infographics and videos.
See my guide: How To Find Awesome And Free Images For Your Content.
4. Tag your content properly
Tags are key getting your content to be discovered by a wider audience on Tumblr. Tag everything you do and do not be afraid to tag each post with a large number of relevant keywords.
Collect popular keywords by visiting the “Explore” section, seeing what tags other people are using and searching for different keywords. There you can discover trending searches, trending blogs, content that’s trending, staff picks and so much more.
Aim to publish content that’s tagged with the relevant and trending tags that you have discovered.
5. Use a WordPress plugin to automate this process
If you prefer to save some time steps 3 and 4 can actually be automated thanks to one of the great WordPress plugins. The plugin you should activate is Tumblr Crosspostr. It allows you to automatically cross-post your WordPress blog posts to your Tumblr blog.
The plugin fits perfectly for this strategy as it also optimizes your posts for Tumblr by either importing your existing WordPress tags or by allowing you to choose which tags to add to your post on Tumblr. Easy option that will make your more productive.
Moving from Tumblr to WordPress: A Step-By-Step Guide
For people who are ready to switch their main blog from Tumblr to WordPress, there is a free Importer plugin that migrates all your posts and content. The process is all done in the browser, takes only few minutes of your time and you do not need any tech know-how. This is the step-by-step process:
- In your WordPress admin go into Tools – Import
- Click “Tumblr” to install Importer plugin that imports the content from your Tumblr
- In the “Install Importer” pop-up click “Install Now”
- Importer is now being installed. When done click “Activate Plugin & Run Importer”
- Type in your Tumblr login details and click “Connect To Tumblr”
- Select which WordPress user should be listed as the author of imported posts and click “Import This Blog”
The process of importing your Tumblr content to your WordPress has now started. It will take few minutes depending on how much content you have, so do wait a bit and click on “Refresh View” to see the status of how many posts, drafts and pages have been imported from Tumblr.
When the import has finished you can see all your Tumblr posts on your new WordPress blog. Note that your old likes and reblogs won’t be imported as that is part of the Tumblr network and cannot be replicated on your new home.
Tumblr – summary
Tumblr looks and functions more like a social media network than a content publishing platform. It makes it easy for people to follow other people and post their own short updates, pictures, videos and quotes in a very simple interface.
- Tumblr is all about curation of content – you go to explore, like, repost and share content other people have created
- Posts are normally short, don’t have too many words but include a lot of visual and multimedia aspects such as images and videos
- It allows you to follow and connect with like-minded people
- Your domain name is something like yoursite.tumblr.com
- The process of buying and setting up your own domain name cannot be done directly from Tumblr interface but can be done via a domain registrar
- There is a decent range of different design themes – some free, some premium
- There are no plugins for you to add additional features and functionality
- In case you’re into HTML or CSS you have the option for limited customisation of the themes
- There are very limited options for monetizing your blog. You can use Google Adsense.
- Including affiliate links in your content will get you banned as Tumblr terminates blogs with “spam or affiliate marketing”
WordPress – summary
WordPress is a very flexible platform that gives you full control and ownership in terms of the way you run your blog, everything from the look and feel, the way you publish and present your content and to the way you monetize it.
The brilliant thing about WordPress is the large community of people modifying it and adding to it. Open source thrives on ideas from the community and WordPress benefits from that.
There is a hosted and a self-hosted version of WordPress. WordPress.org (self-hosted) is the home of the platform, while WordPress.com is the hosted version. The difference between the two is like owning or renting a house. I use and recommend the self-hosted WordPress.org where you actually own and control your blog.
- WordPress is all about creation of content – it is mostly used for the creation of new and original content.
- You have the complete control and own your blog
- You need to get your own domain name and a hosting server
- You can monetize any way that you wish
- You can edit the database and modify different CSS and PHP files and codes
- Access to thousands of free designs that can help you create a unique looking blog
- Access to thousands of plugins that help you add any feature and functionality
- Several Tumblr styled designs and plugins to turn your WordPress into Tumblr-like blog