Since publishing my blog stats as a monthly report, some of you have noticed that Tumblr is, by far, the site that I get the most traffic from. And to all answer your questions thoroughly, I thought I better just write a post about it!
Before we get started, I feel like I have to point I’ve been on Tumblr for a long time – much longer than I’ve even had a blog. It’s where I started, and I spend a long time forging connections and building a following on there accidentally. I didn’t had any intention of growing it into something, I didn’t even know what blogging was, and so for a long time I just used it to talk to nice people.
What is Tumblr?
In some ways Tumblr is like the weird cousin nobody talks about. There’s a very special humour on that site. It’s where memes are created. There’s some awful of anon hate. But there’s even more love and support.
When you join the site, you’ll find some very different communities, like:
- Fandom: Get the latest Superwholock gossip
Studyblrs: You’ll never lack motivation to study again (okay you might, but these people are here to help!)
Fitblr/healthblrs: that’s my gang ❤️
NSWF: Let’s just say Tumblr’s rules about what you can post is a lot less strict than most sites. You will at some point get followed by some of these blog for no reason – it’s just a fact of life on Tumblr.
Foodies: Get ready for an endless amount of recipes and foodporn that will make you hungry.’
Social Justice: I’ve learned a lot about feminism, racism, ableism, LQBTQ and body positivity thanks to Tumblr.
And people just shitposting/creating memes/posting the funniest 💩 ever
Here’s just a few of the many gems that are created on this site
There’s so much more to say about the inside humour of Tumblr, but the best way to understand it is to experience it on your own.
If you don’t think you fit into any of those categories, don’t worry. Most tumblrs are a huge mess of everything and nothing. And there’s undoubtedly a community for everyone (even the creeps. But don’t be a creep. Please).
However, there’s also the more normal topics, and fashion, beauty and music, with fashion being the largest community on Tumblr measured by the number of posts
Tumblr is basically a blogging platform, not unlike WordPress and Blogger.
People follow your blog from their dashboard that’s constantly updated with posts from everyone they follow. So like Twitter, a single post quickly disappears into the void – unless it’s reblogged by another user, giving it a new life.
There’s room for long blog posts on Tumblr, but it’s mainly a microblogging platform for short updates with images or GIFs.
What this means is that you should use images and graphics to catch the reader’s attention and that it’s okay to promote the same post multiple time, as Tumblr users don’t see every post on their dash, not unlike Twitter. Tumblr has a handy queue that makes this super easy, and we’ll get to that.
Reblogs on Tumblr are essentially the same as Retweets on Twitter, but many Tumblrs are made entirely out of reblogs of content they like.
Don’t auto post from WordPress
Now, WordPress is so nice to offer to automatically send out updates to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr etc.
Don’t do this.
I know it’s the easiest way, but the post is not ready for Tumblr; the image is replaced by an ‘external image’ placeholder, the excerpt is cut off randomly and the formatting is wonky.
Luckily Tumblr has a built-in feature that lets you schedule posts, which I highly recommend you use to:
Post your posts the right way
Or ‘post your posts as the right kind of post’.
Tumblr has 7 different post formats: Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio & Video.
Each offers different ways to create content which is displayed differently on the dashboard and tumblr blogs. As always, pictures are much more engaging than a title and link alone. That’s why I recommend you use photo posts (or photo sets) to promote your posts, writing the title and a short description in the caption, along with a link to your blog post. This makes people more likely to click through and/or reblog the post.
If you’re looking for an automatic way to do this, you can use an IFTTT recipe – but I prefer to make the post manually, to take advantage of Tumblr’s formatting options and write a custom caption.
Here’s the Tumblr post I made in connection with my bedtime yoga blog post, which went on to be shared a lot.
Post multiple times
Don’t be afraid to post the same thing multiple times by reblogging your own content. Dashboards are a constant flow of new stuff, and it doesn’t take long before a post disappears among them. An easy way to keep your content on the dashboard is to queue posts – and Tumblr is so nice that you don’t need extra (paid for) tools to schedule and draft posts.
Share the love
Don’t just post your own content – share the love, and share other people’s great content. 80/20 is a good ratio, meaning you post 80% other people’s content and 20% of your own. It’s important to remember to reblog rather than repost/reupload content that you don’t own.
To find people to follow and reblog from, you can search the tags in your niche, look at the accounts tumblr recommend to you, check out the notes of posts in your niche and follow people who reblog that.
Again, I’m a big fan of the queue and use it to schedule a mix of my own and other content in batches. There’s a max of 300 posts in the queue, so depending on how many times you post in a day, you can plan your content a while into the future – which leaves you with more time to respond to messages and engage with other people in the community.
Xkit is browser extension that lets you add extra functions to Tumblr that make it so much better.
The features I use the most are
- One-click postage
I suggest you have a look through all the extensions to see which ones can be useful to you!
Personalise your Tumblr theme
Your personal blog page is a chance to get creative and create your personal space. Like on your “real” blog, looks are part of the overall impression readers get. Whether you want to make it look like you main blog, or something completely different is up to you! But making some elements the same can help people recognize that it’s you across platforms.
Compared to WordPress themes, Tumblr themes are very simple, and the coding is mainly HTML and CSS, there’s no php and other confusing stuff. Tweaking my tumblr theme is how I started learning code!
Here’s some good places to start looking for a theme for your blog
Be part of the community
The key to getting to most of any social media is to be, well, social.
Follow people, ask questions, reply to their posts, get involved!
The importance of this can’t be underestimated.
Are you on Tumblr? How do you use it? Let me know in the comments!