Home Articles How to Use Tumblr: 15+ Tips for Beginners

How to Use Tumblr: 15+ Tips for Beginners

by Sandra Iakovleva

Tumblr: Beginner's Guide

Dashboard? Reblogging? Likes? Tumblr is quite confusing to newbies. In our guide, we show you the most important steps and tips to become a successful blogger. If you’d like to include Tumblr in your marketing strategy, or simply want your own page for inspiration, this Tumblr guide is for you.

You’ve probably heard that Tumblr is more of an anti-blog. Maybe you’ve just heard about it and want to get started on something different. Is it a blogging platform or a social network? In short, it’s both just as it is both a blog and an anti-blog. When you sign up for the service it can be a little overwhelming.   Where do you start? What tricks do the pros use? We will answer all of these questions in this article. Here are 10 useful Tumblr tips all new users need to know.

What is Tumblr?

Best described as a micro-blogging site, Tumblr like a mix of Twitter, WordPress, and Facebook.  Users can post text, images, videos, audio, and links. If you follow other users’ blogs, the content they post will appear in your own feed.

The website was founded in 2007. The number of blogs rose from around 63 million in July 2012 to over 474 million in August 2019. By June 2019, over 172 billion posts had been published on Tumblr.

Most of the traffic on Tumblr.com comes from the United States. The United Kingdom and Brazil follow a long way behind with around 5.5 and 4.4 percent of total traffic, respectively.

How to Use Tumblr

Here’s how to get started on this blogging platform.

How to use Tumblr

Setting up an account

The registration is beyond simple – all you need is your email, username, and password. The only issue you might encounter is the availability of usernames. However, Tumblr does give you suggestions for similar usernames that you can choose from to create an account right away.

How to Use Tumblr

Tumblr of course wants to make sure you’re not a robot. You’ll need to confirm your age and do the standard ‘find the images with all the cars/storefronts/roads’.

Find your interests

Next, Tumblr will offer you accounts that you can follow to get started. You have to at least 5 topics, but of course, the more the merrier. You can also choose subcategories that are nested under the main topics.

How to Use Tumblr

When you click Next, Tumblr will build you a feed (your dashboard). Here is what it will look like and all the functions you need to get familiar with:

How to Use Tumblr

This is the home screen you will see once registration is complete. That’s how easy it is to get started! You might want to spend some time looking for the right accounts to follow so that your feed will be relevant.

Getting familiar with the dashboard

Your dashboard will appear on the home screen on Tumblr. The feed is similar to Facebook’s, where you will see the latest uploads from accounts you follow and popular posts that might be of interest to you.

A dashboard is a fascinating place because that’s how you discover new accounts. You can decide on what theme you prefer (more on that later), as well as how other successful Tumblr bloggers are adapting their pages and curating their content.

A great place to start exploring is the Explore option which looks like a compass at the top of your screen. You can search tumblr using the search bar, or see the Recommended For You option at the top of the screen.

How to Use Tumblr

Your first post

Now, you’ll want to make yourself known to the Tumblr community, and the best way to do that is to create your first post. If you look at the top bar, you will notice that you have your post types split up into the following categories:

How to Use Tumblr

  • Text post
  • Photo post (or multiple photo post)
  • Quote post
  • Link post
  • Chat/dialogue post
  • Audio post
  • Video post

Although it is advised to experiment with different post formats, keep in mind that tumblr is generally very visual. In this sense, it is very much like Pinterest. Determine what kind of a post you’d like to make, and pick the appropriate category. Everything about posting on tumblr is quite intuitive and you shouldn’t have any difficulties.

While we’re digging around the basics, take a look at the top of your brand new page. You will see a menu where you can navigate through the home feed, the Explore page, inbox, direct messages, personal activity, and account settings. Again, all of these options are self-explanatory but are the basics of Tumblr layout that you should get familiar with.

Be #careful #with #the #hashtags

Hashtags are everything on Tumblr – it’s how you get your content discoverable for other Tumblr users. They’re best used when there is a running theme throughout your page. Other users will be able to find you based on the tags they’re searching for, so use multiple tags.

On Tumblr, it’s advisable to use quite broad hashtags, unlike Pinterest. The broader your hashtag, the more likely your posts to be discovered. You have to spend some time on Tumblr looking through feeds to get an understanding of the perfect broad hashtags, and ones that are just way too broad. You don’t want to get lost in the feed.

As you enter your hashtags, after each individual one, you have to put a comma to separate them.

How to Use Tumblr

Keep in mind that your content should speak for itself, and not require a million hashtags. Tags are just another extension of your content, and it’s key to getting reblogged. Reblogging is what it’s all about on Tumblr.

Hashtags are a good way to stay organized. If your page is quite thematic, users will be more likely to look through your whole feed and follow you based on common interests. Tagging posts is really easy. This is done by adding hashtags below your posts, in the post editor. You will also get suggestions of popular tags which makes your job that much easier.

Customizing your design

One of the differentiating features on Tumblr (unlike other social networks) is that you get to personalize your page by choosing either a custom theme or a premium one. The latter is a paid option but gives you more room for customization. There are lots of great and free themes to work with, so don’t get hung up on the premium option.

Under your username, you will see ‘Untitled’, if you move your cursor there you will see the ‘Edit Appearance’ option. Here is where you will be taken next, and you can see what your current page looks like to other users.

How to Use Tumblr

Here is what your page will look like when you change the header image, the avatar, and title:

CleanShot 2021 02 18 at 00.52.38@2x

To change your theme, you will have to look through the different themes available. Changing this will change the appearance of your page (not in the feed) but with your domain name. The Tumblr themes are made by Tumblr or fellow blogging enthusiasts.

You also have the option of fine tuning the little details such as your username, language, timezone, visibility and other little tweaks.

How to Use Tumblr

Click the Themes button at the bottom of the screen. You can choose from Categories either free or premium Tumblr layouts.

How to Use Tumblr

Once you’ve chosen your theme, click Preview to see what it will look like, and once you’re happy with the look of your blog, click Install.

How to Use Tumblr

Choose a theme that works best with your type of content. For a photos-only type of blog, install a minimalistic theme that supports a grid, but for a blog with a lot of writing, choose a more advanced one- or two-column theme.

How to Use Tumblr

You can come back and re-edit your theme as often as you’d like. You also have the option of editing each free and premium theme, but it requires some knowledge of HTML and CSS. It’s much easier to customize a theme on your own than it is to build one from scratch. If you like your working theme, go with it, and if not you can see Tumblr’s guide on editing themes.

Staying active on Tumblr

The obvious starting place to explore Tumblr is your own dashboard. On there, you can reblog content, post your own and find blogs to follow. The best strategy to follow if you’d like to make a dent in the Tumblr community is to post often, respond equally as often, and engage with others on a constant basis.

tumblr community

There is an unspoken rule on tumblr – once you follow people, it’s likely they will follow you as well if they are active.

One of the first things you should probably do is a little bit of research into similar blogs with your theme or your interests. You can also check the Recommended For You section to see if there are blogs that might be of interest. Once you decide you want to follow a blog, click Follow in the upper hand corner of the page.

How to Use Tumblr

Staying active means liking other posts as well. It’s not enough to just post, you have to become a member of the community. Be a good Tumblr citizen! Reblog other posts as well, especially if they are good memes;)

Reblogging can be done using two arrows in the bottom right corner of any post.

How to Use Tumblr

Content curation on Tumblr

We’ve loosely covered this point earlier, but Tumblr is very much about how you curate your content. You can reuse your content from your other social networks, or create your very own visuals to stay in line with the nature of Tumblr.

See our post, and start creating your own content. Tumblr is, after all, another way to express yourself and get artistic. You can start by customizing existing templates, or use Crello as a simplified version of more complex design tools.

Creating your own content should be fun! Original content might inspire more reblogs and get your name out there. It’s not necessary to have a completely coherent account, but it is important to have an up and running theme or a niche.

If you’re really organized and could use several blogs, there’s a convenient way to curate multiple pages. Simply go to Dashboard on your account page and click Create a New Blog.

How to Use Tumblr

Using Tumblr for business and marketing

Yes, you can also use Tumblr to promote your business. In fact, many businesses miss this opportunity which is why it’s good to get on board right away. For one, you get a great tool to expand your reach and work towards building yet another community while working at brand recognition.

The main difference between Tumblr for business is that you have to do a lot more research. Look into your competitors. If they have Tumblr accounts, what are they doing well and what can you build on and improve? You also need to get an understanding of the types of posts that are relevant and popular in the industry you’re working in.

tumblr for businesstumblr for business

Tumblr for business works if you have a young demographic (remember, it’s mostly under 25). For this reason, your content should be a little bold, sometimes even funny and not all about blatant advertising. You can advertise on tumblr, but do be subtle about promoting your branded posts.

Never post brand-specific posts, as it’s likely no one will bother reposting. You can still brand your content, you just have to do it subtly. Mostly, the things you post should be inspirational and appeal to Tumblr’s target audience.

The secret to a successful Tumblr business account is visuals. If you can add humor to it, all the better. You will quickly learn that you have to apply a different strategy if you’d like to integrate your brand into it. Other than that, you follow all the same steps mentioned in this article:

Quick tips to growing your Tumblr presence

Find blogs that you want to follow

If you don’t follow other people’s blogs, you will find that Tumblr is a boring and lonely place. The trick is to follow people who post content that you’re interested in.  To find blogs, click the Explore icon in the top right corner of the site. Tumblr offers suggestions based on what you’re already following and lists the blogs that are currently trending. You can use the search bar to find specific content.

Follow the Tumblr search terms

It is possible to follow general search terms as well as specific blogs. This is useful for categories like sports teams or current affairs. This means that you will see everything that is posted on a topic in your own feed.

To follow a search term, go to Explore and enter your search terms. When you see the results of your search, click Follow in the search bar.

Repost other people’s content

Reposting is good practice to pay tribute to the original Tumblr poster. This is a common courtesy. The platform offers a reblog button; it is similar to the retweet function on Twitter. If you comment on a post, it will appear in your own feed.  Having content in your feed increases the chances of following you. Hence, firing is an excellent way to get followers quickly. Whether you’re a writer or an artist, a fan or a creator, Tumblr’s recipe for success stays the same.

Make use of keyboard shortcuts on Tumblr

Would you like to use Tumblr like the pros? Learn some keyboard shortcuts. It doesn’t matter which app you use. Keyboard shortcuts are always a surefire way to speed up your workflow and increase your productivity.

Here are some of the most useful:

J: Scroll forward
K: Scroll backward
L: Like the current post
N: See the number of notes
Shift + E: Add a post to your queue
Shift + R: Rewrite a post
Z + C: Create a new post

Create a custom domain

By default, your blog’s URL is HTTP: // [username] .tumblr.com. If you want to make your content shine, you should create your own custom URL. It’s easy to do. Click the profile icon in the top right corner of the website and go to Edit Appearance > Username. Then click the pencil icon, move the slider next to Use a custom domain, and enter your preferred web address. Save when you’re ready.

Plan your content

Similar to Facebook and TweetDeck, Tumblr gives you the ability to schedule posts for the future. This is a great way to keep your blog active even if you won’t be bothered about it for a long time.

The schedule function is divided into two parts: queue and schedule. When creating a new post, Schedule allows you to specify the exact time and date that the post should be published.

A queue is a list of posts that go live on a pre-defined schedule. To change your queue settings, go to Profile. > Edit Appearance > Queue. You can change the number of posts queued in a day and limit the posts to specific hours.

Wind the clock backward

As you become more familiar with the Tumblr platform, you may regret some of your previous posts. Not necessarily because the content is awful, but because you made content management mistakes. You may not have tagged your posts properly or posted a picture with a poor title. You can use the mega editor to solve the problems without having to delete anything. You can select posts and edit a lot of data simultaneously.

Should you use Tumblr for your content marketing?

There’s a word of caution: Since most followers will only read your posts on their own page, they will never see your profile page. Therefore, you should not overestimate this advantage. More interesting for companies is the opportunity to place sponsored ads. In fact, you can expect little competition from competitors on Tumblr, and you can gain advantages over competitors who have not yet discovered all benefits of the platform.

If you manage to use popular Tumblr topics and establish yourself as a player on the platform, you can generate viral posts on Tumblr faster and more effectively than on any other platform. Posts with hundreds and thousands of reblogs are not uncommon, because the visitor does nothing but scans dozens of posts at breakneck speed.

Also, don’t underestimate Tumblr’s social media boost: Tumblr users regularly pick up interesting, outrageous, or bizarre posts from Twitter or Facebook comments and distribute them on Tumblr in a screenshot format. This way, your Tumblr activity can therefore boost your overall social media activity.

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