I’m absolutely hooked on Tumblr. I found my way back there recently, and in two days I managed to post 45 blogs – some reblogs, some quotes, a few long form essays, and lots of image posts. I don’t know what the appeal to Tumblr is over other similar blogging sites such as Posterous or WordPress, but I’ve caught the Tumblr bug and I have learned some things that might not be so obvious to those who are new to the fastest growing microblogging site.
1. Following & Followers
When you blog on a site like Tumblr, you’re typically not there to talk to yourself. Tumblr is as much a social chatting site as Twitter is. After you’ve set up your blog, you will want to follow other bloggers and be followed back. What’s the quickest way to do that? Easy, click on the Dashboard and then click Explore.
On the Explore page you’ll find lots of popular topics that members are blogging about – everything from tattoos to food to architecture.
Nothing in the list appeals to you? Then search for a topic and see if you don’t find a minimum of ten people who are tumblr blogging about what you’re interested in.
2. Tag Your Searches
Another way to follow your various interests on Tumblr is to save your search tags. When you search for a topic, you can easily revisit that search by clicking the “Track this tag” button. The tags you track will appear on the right side of your Dashboard.
3. Re-Post & Ask Questions
When you are new to Tumblr, you will want to quickly start filling up your homepage with content. People will start following you when they see you have content. So one way to get some content on your page is to reblog posts by other members, as well as create your own.
On Tumblr there’s nothing shameful about reblogging. When you see a blog you like in the search list and you want to reblog it on your page, put your cursor over the upper-right corner of the post and click. Once the page downloads, you will see a small menu bar of four items that show on every blog post of Tumblr (unless the poster chooses to disable it).
Click the familiar little “Reblog” button to repost it on your blog. Or you can give a little love and simply click the heart button to let the poster know you like the post.
4. Leaving Comments
Leaving comments on Tumblr is different than on most other blogging sites. First off, you need to click Account > Preferences settings > Customize your blog. Next, click onCommunity and select one or both of the Replies tick boxes.
In order to deal with trolls and spammers, Tumblr only allows replies from people you follow. You can also select to only allow people to comment on your page after they have been following you for more than two weeks.
5. Submissions & RSS Feeds
Another interesting Tumblr feature is one that allows other bloggers to post submissions to your blog. I discovered a few Tumblr blogs that are totally made up of submissions by different bloggers. To use this feature, you also set it up in the Preferences section of your account.
You can also set up your Tumblr to accept blog posts from RSS feeds.
6. Deselect Twitter & Facebook?
Another preference setting you will want to think carefully about is if you want to have your posted Tumblr blogs immediately shared on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. This feature might be turned on by default.
If you find yourself posting a lot on Tumblr, sharing numerous posts might be a turn off to your followers on your other sites. So it’s something to carefully consider.
7. Customizing Background Colors
There are lots of great and free Tumblr themes to choose from. You no doubt spent some time looking for just the right theme for your blog. But even if you don’t know any CSS coding, you can still change the background and font colors of your selected Tumblr theme. Again, this is found in the Preferences section under Appearance.
8. Queued Up
If you catch the Tumblr bug and start posting a lot on your page, you might consider spreading out your posts so your followers can get a little time to appreciate all the content you’re sharing. In Tumblr you can put your posts in a queue or set a specific date for them to post.
I use this feature for working on several blog posts at a time, like daily challenges, which means I can write several blogs but not have them all post at once. Notice you can also save posts as Drafts and come back on work on them later.
9. Chat Post
One of the seven types of posts you can make on your Tumblr is called Chat. When you click it, it appears that it might be a way to hold a public chat with your followers or the people you’re following. But that’s not the case. The purpose of this feature is to copy and repost a chat (e.g., Instant Messsage, iChat) that you had online.
But one way to initiate a little public dialogue on Tumblr is ask and answer questions of your followers. In Preferences you just need to turn that feature on for your blog. This is also where you can change the “Ask me anything” line to anything you want, like “No question is too personal, so ask.”
10. Publish Your Blogs
When you post enough blogs, you might want to publish your Tumblr entries in book or PDF format. Feed Fabrik is set up to do that for you. After setting up your account, the site will import all your blog entries and create a book.
If you need some how-tos about getting set up on Tumblr, you can also check out How to Easily Create a Blog with Tumblr. Let us know what you think about Tumblr, and if there are tips and tricks for using the site that I overlooked.