I started blogging back in 2005, and my blogging platform of choice was WordPress. Now back then, WordPress was still relatively new, with the majority of people still using Blogger. But I wanted to make money from my blog, and my concern (rightfully so) was that Blogger severely limited the way you could monetize your site..
So I went the hard route, which meant registering a domain, finding a web host, installing WordPress, working with databases, customizing themes, worrying about traffic/load exceeding my modest host’s limitations, etc. If you’re a WordPress self-hosted user, you know what I mean. As someone with a background in IT, this wasn’t too difficult for me, but for the Average Joe, it can be a daunting task.
For the next 10 years, I upgraded WordPress from version to version (all the way from 1.5.1 to 4.2.1), dealt with security breaches, plugin conflicts, and other headaches that often had me muttering, “There has to be a better way!”
Fast forward to 2014. I’m managing a popular men’s lifestyle blog called Guys Gab, and I saw something in Google Analytics that made me do a double-take. There was a HUGE amount of traffic coming from an unfamiliar source, a random Tumblr page. It turns out that this guy shared a story we had written (Domino’s Pizza Tracker Saved A Person’s Life!), and it went crazy viral on Tumblr, getting over 175K likes!
Needless to say, I started playing with Tumblr almost immediately. In some respects, Tumblr is similar to Blogger and WordPress.com in the fact that they’re hosted on a centralized server, and you simply login and post your content. But Tumblr is a much more social platform, one that thrives on images and video. Within a few hours of playing with it, I could already see the appeal of it, and why it’s so popular with millenials.
If you’ve got a site (or a site in mind) that’s very visually oriented, Tumblr is a no-brainer. People will openly like and share your photos and videos, opening you up to be discovered by countless others. It happens very organically, and it’s pretty exciting when you see new followers and activity. Unlike blogs which rely heavily on SEO (a tough road, for sure), most people will discover your content inside the Tumblr ecosystem, where real people control how popular something is or isn’t.
Overall, I’m very impressed with Tumblr. While we can’t exactly abandoned 5+ years of content that we’ve developed on WordPress thus far, we now actively use Tumblr as a secondary tool to help expose our content to a whole other audience. But if I were to start a new blog tomorrow, I might seriously consider ditching WP completely and making a go of it with Tumblr.
Food for thought..