Tumblr vs. Wordpress?
October 18, 2011 10:36 AM   Subscribe

I have a tumblr that is getting decently popular. If I want to become more of an established blogger, do I need to use a different platform?

I mostly post quotes, short thoughts, pictures, etc. This is one of Tumblr's strengths, and I really like how simple it is to set up and customize things. I have a Wordpress blog, but I find all the behind the scenes stuff confusing. The lack of built-in community like I have with Tumblr is also frustrating.

However, I'm starting to write more original content on my Tumblr now, and if I want people to read my writing, they kind of have to dig around to find it amidst all the other stuff I post. I could easily start a new tumblr that's only for writing, but would I be better off just putting all my writing on my Wordpress blog and leaving the other stuff on Tumblr?
posted by kingfishers catch fire to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If navigation is the main issue here, you can fairly easily hack your theme so that you have a dedicated navigation space, maybe with links to specific posts or links to popular tags.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:45 AM on October 18, 2011

I think your instinct to split up your content is a good one, but why not just put your writing on a new Tumblr instance? I don't think WP is going to particularly benefit you here.
posted by mkultra at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2011

Response by poster: Well, I put links to all my writing on a page, so it's decently well organized, if you can navigate websites ok. But I guess I'm mostly worried that the people who I would want reading my blog wouldn't take me seriously (I know, it's blogging so not serious anyway, just bear with me here) because it's on tumblr. Maybe I should buy my own domain name?
posted by kingfishers catch fire at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2011

I doubt that people would take you less seriously simply because you're on Tumblr. I read lots of startup/business blogs that use Tumblr and they are some of the most well respected voices in the business. Using your own domain could be a good idea because it decouples your branding from Tumblr's. Jazzing up your theme is another good branding idea.

Personally, I used Tumblr (with my own domain) for a recent project but switched after two weeks because Tumbl'r limited functionality and that I like being in control of my own wordpress installation, theme, plugins and, of course, blogging data. But the thing is, you will have to spend time on maintenance and development. Even when you've installed all plugins and cobbled together a decent enough theme, you need to keep an eye on security updates and such.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:19 AM on October 18, 2011

If you feel like it, mefi mail me the link to your blog and I can give you some fresh eyes feedback.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 11:20 AM on October 18, 2011

I keep a Wordpress site for longer content and use a plugin to import my Tumblr into the sidebar (my Tumblr is mostly short, reblogged stuff, not original). I think it's a handy way to organize your output but to keep the two linked.
posted by quarterframer at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

Not at all. In my neck of the Internet woods, most of the major players use Tumblr regularly. Have you considered setting up an About page with permalinks? You can do that by making a page when you're in the customize screen.
posted by dekathelon at 4:24 PM on October 18, 2011

Content is king.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:44 PM on October 18, 2011

You can have your own domain name for your blog and still use Tumblr to host it. Check out Tumblr's help page for this: Using a Custom Domain Name. I think that's a reasonable way to have a little more of a professional-looking "front" and still use the convenience of Tumblr for the backend, and if someday you want to fully transition to Wordpress, your URLs wouldn't have to become dead links (since with a bit of technical fussing, you could set up redirects from your old Tumblr-style post URLs to Wordpress-style post URLs).

(I help write a long-form blog which we chose to host on Tumblr, mostly because of its ease of use, but also because it's handy to be able to find out more about our subscribers, to get nearly-instant feedback in the form of likes/reblogs, and for the potential of discovery through Tumblr's tag feature [and via our name showing up when we like and subscribe to other people's blogs] — all that community stuff. I also recently made a "table of contents" page and linked it from the header of our blog to help new readers navigate the growing number of lengthy posts.)
posted by dreamyshade at 7:18 AM on October 19, 2011

I don't think you'll ever have any issue getting people to read your content on your Tumblr blog. The problem you run into with Tumblr is if/when you want to monetize it, because you don't have the same level of control to offer services, special features, ads, etc. that you would with a site of your own. Nor do you have custom scripting options. Tumblr lets you do a lot in terms of its themes, and you really can't beat the built-in community, but I think you'll struggle with the financial end of it if you're hoping to make money. Just food for thought.
posted by iamfantastikate at 1:36 PM on October 19, 2011

I have a Tumblr which has been pretty well-trafficked, but what I've noticed is that most of my readers are accessing me through the Dashboard - which is good in the sense that it makes it easy for them to share & heart the posts, but also bad in that they tend to lose patience with my longer writing pieces. Also, while there are Disqus comments enabled on my posts, you can't access them directly from the Dashboard - and Tumblr's inbuilt Reply system is VERY limited. I have linked stuff on my sidebar, but again since people are accessing me via the Dashboard rather than going to the site directly it's all being bypassed.

I'm getting frustrated with Tumblr anyway (internal politics) so I'm thinking of putting stuff on a separate domain, especially since like you I want to do more longer writing pieces. I hate Wordpress with a passion though, so I'm likely going for Textpattern.
posted by divabat at 5:16 AM on October 20, 2011

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