Tumblr Guide 101: Tips And Tricks For Building Your Site, Posting And More
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Back in January, Tumblr made headlines when it announced that it was growing at nearly a quarter billion impressions every week. The popular blogging platform mixes the traditional blog with the simplicity of Twitter and ties it all together with barebones social networking features.
With just 7 simple ways to post (text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio and video) and a love for animated GIFs, it's proven even easier than Blogger or WordPress as a way to publish all sorts of media on the Web. Like a more visual Twitter, Tumblr and its community's love for cats, animated GIFs, Carl Sagan and the Web's ephemera have spawned delightful sites like Hovering Art Directors, Scanwiches, Awesome Parents and Hungover Owls as well as more "official" accounts from the likes of NPR's Fresh Air, New Yorker, Newsweek, and The Atlantic. And, HuffPost Tech, of course!
Once you're up to speed, check out our list of 33 Tumblr blogs you need to know.
It's a fun, casual community without Facebook's inanity or Twitter's churn, and we've got 16 must-know tips and tricks for everyone from beginners to pros. Read on!
Basics: The Dashboard
Once you've got an account, the Dashboard is the main interface you'll use to track your posts, see the posts of those you follow, monitor who is interacting with your blog, and customize your design.
Basics: Reading And Posting
When displayed in the Dashboard, each post has several options for interacting. You can reblog (i.e. republish the post on your Tumblr blog), like a post, and click through to the user's blog. For users that have enabled replies, you'll also be able to add a 250 character response.
Basics: Find A Post's Address
This may seem incredibly obvious to some, but we'll admit it took months for us to notice. Hover your mouse over any post on your Dashboard, and the corner subtly bends down. Click on the fold, and you'll be taken to the original entry on the poster's blog.
Basics: Browse Your Posts
Your dashboard will fill up with posts once you start following people, but there's still a way to quickly find your posts and blog activity. Click the post button on the right column, and you'll get a clean list of your entries and any activity from your readers.
Basics: Install The Bookmarklet For Easy Posting
First things first: install the Tumblr bookmarklet in your browser's bookmarks bar. Click Goodies at the top of the page, and drag the 'Share on Tumblr' link to the bar. Once installed, a quick tap while you're reading an article will pop up a small window offering Tumblr's 6 standard post types. Now, if you find a great quote in the article you're reading or a stunning photo, click the appropriate tab to share. The photo tab is reasonably smart, and will usually let you choose from all of the images on the page you're currently browsing.
Customize: Portrait And Domain
Add your portrait and personal information under the Info tab. Tumblr fortunately supports custom domains, so if you already own a Web address, you can redirect it to your Tumblr blog.
While Tumblr doesn't have a standard commenting system that lets anyone comment, it does allow replies from people you follow or users that have been following you for over two weeks. It's opt-in, so you'll need to click the Community tab and select both options to add a bit more discussion to your site.
Fortunately, Tumblr offers Pages if you're feeling constrained by the service and basic news feed. Click Pages, and add a Page; it's great for making a customized About page, contact information, or a roundup of your all-time favorite cat videos.
Customize: Share With Twitter And Facebook
Tumblr integrates seamlessly with Facebook and Twitter, and you can set up your site to send any of your Tumblr posts directly to the two services. Just click the Services tab and adjust your settings.
To customize your site's design, make sure you're logged into your Tumblr account and visit insertyoursite.tumblr.com. At the top right, clicking the Customize button brings up a menu to adjust your blog's backend and visual display. To install a new theme, simply click Themes and scroll down to the free themes. On initial selection, Tumblr shows a fully browsable preview, and just follow the instructions to install. If you're looking for something a little fancier, check out the premium themes.
Tumblr 201: Advanced Bookmarklet
Now that you've installed the bookmarklet, click the Advanced tab on the bottom right of the pop-up, and you'll find a few extra options. You can save a post as a draft, drop posts in your queue to be published automatically, and tag posts without having to jump back to the main Tumblr dashboard.
Tumblr 201: Tags
Tumblr's recently introduced tag pages make the site easier to navigate and break it into easily digestible categories. If you're looking for the best in <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/tech"target="_blank">tech</a>, <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/film"target="_blank">film</a>, <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/animals"target="_blank">animals</a>, <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/long-reads"target="_blank">long reads</a> or any other <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/explore"target="_blank">topic</a>, click 'Follow' on any of the tag pages. Plus, tagging your own posts in the bookmarklet or post entry tool automatically sends them to the appropriate global tag page, improving your chances at viral stardom.
Tumblr 201: Keyboard Shortcuts
Simple enough: 'J' and 'K' move to the next or previous post, respectively, and the right arrow and left arrows jump between pages.
Tumblr 201: The Queue
The Tumblr Queue lets you publish posts at an interval without overwhelming all your followers at once. The Queue page -- click Queue in the right rail of the Dashboard -- controls how many times a day queued posts are published (up to 50) as well as when posts will begin and end automatically posting. So, if you read all of your news in the morning and can't take time at work to hop over to Tumblr, set your queue to publish 10-15 times (or more) a day from 9AM to 6PM.
Extras: Take Tumblr Mobile
If you prefer browsing, posting and reading on your phone, Tumblr's apps for <a href="http://www.tumblr.com/goodies"target="_blank">iPhone, BlackBerry and Android</a> give you access on the go.
Extras: RSS Trick
As you add more followers, the Dashboard will start to move faster than you can handle unless you're checking it every hour. Fortunately, you can still subscribe via RSS to any Tumblr site by pasting the URL into your favorite feed reader, or dropping /rss.xml onto the end of the Tumblr URL.