A Beginner's Guide To Tumblr - Part 1

Thursday, 14 May 2015
a beginners guide to tumblr

Tumblr is the first blogging platform I started using back in 2010. It's always been one of my favourites to use as I'm a very visual person, and love putting images together of things which inspire me. Incase you don't know what tumblr is, as defined on their website -

"Tumblr lets you effortlessly share anything. Post text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos from your browser, phone, desktop, email or wherever you happen to be. You can customize everything, from colors to your theme's HTML."

Tumblr is a great platform to use if you're just starting out with blogging and what to give something a try, or if you wanted something to run along side your blog to gain a wider audience. As I am a Tumblr addict, I thought I would give you a very basic guide on Tumblr to give you an understanding of how it works, and hopefully inspire you to start your own page. Oh, and if you fancy having a little gander at mine, click here.

I'm learning how to use tumblr with @helloaycan #tumblr #lbloggers

DASHBOARD

a beginners guide to tumblr labelled dashboard

This is the very first page you see once you're logged in. Starting with the navigation on the top right:

HOME

This takes you back to your homepage, obviously. You can also click on the new raving 't' tumblr logo to take you home.

EXPLORE

If you're looking for some inspiration, this is where you need to be. Here you can see the trending searches, as well as ones recommended for you, and the Tumblr stuff picks.

INBOX

If you get sent any lovely messages from other bloggers, you can find this here, and also where you can send your fanmail. You can have anonymous messaging turned on to make things a little more interesting, but make sure you know which option you're using before you send your message!

ACTIVITY

Here you can keep track on how your blog is doing. You can check how many notes, new followers and total followers you've had in the last 24 hours, 3 days, 7 days and 1 month. You can also see your top post within those time frames and also your biggest fans.

ACCOUNT

Here you can find out all the important stuff about your blog, such as your settings and help, as well as your activity and editing your blogs appearance.

POST

I'll talk about this more below, but this is the first step to making a new post.

SEARCH

Here you can search for short tags (I'll talk more about tags below). Very similar to the explore page, except this shows you what you have searched for, as well as related searches and blogs that might be of interest. You can also find any tags you have saved from previous searches just by clicking on the search bar.

Your top navigation is with you no matter where you go. A few other things you can find on your dashboard is your 'feed' where you see the posts from everybody you follow, and also get updates on when your posts get liked and reblogged. 'Recommended Blogs' which uses the information from the blogs you already follow, and the tags you use to show other blogs you might like to follow, and 'Radar' where Tumblr promote posts that they find interesting or deem as very popular.

CHOOSING A THEME

little white socks page screenshot

Choosing the right theme is the best way to show your audience your aesthetic before they even start looking through your posts. You can find themes on Tumblr (both free or premium) or if you're feeling a little creative, you can build your own theme. They are very easy to install, many come with automatic installation, and if you see any layouts you do like, they sometimes have an install button on the top right, but that all depends on the theme itself. When thinking about choosing one there are a few things to look out for:

THE INITIAL LAYOUT

As my blog is very image based, I wanted a layout to fill the entire page, so I choice a blog that had columns and large images. For text and image based blogs, go for something smaller, so nor the text or image will overpower each other.

INFINITE SCROLL Scroll

I think this is the most important thing I look out for when choosing a layout. A huge pet peeve of mine is having to click through pages and page of posts. This is obviously a personal choice, but think about this when deciding how you want your page to be laid out.

CUSTOMISATION

Many themes allow you to customise your layout, from colour or font size, to columns or image size. There is usually a brief description on what you can customise on the installation page.

MOBILE LAYOUT

Even though many use the app to view your blog, with the new google mobile-friendly changes, it's best to have a layout that works well on desktop as well as mobile.

NAVIGATION

It's always good to have a navigation so you can promote your other mediums, as well as have a brief tagline about your blog.

REBLOGGING, SOURCING and LIKE

Now you've got your blog looking beautiful, you need some content. There are two ways you can put content on your blog, the first is to 'reblog'. If you're viewing it from your dashboard, you can reblog by clicking the two opposing arrows. If you've found it on their blog page, click on the image and in the top right corner you'll find the 'reblog' link. With some themes you are able to reblog straight from the blog without having to click on the image. If you want to add your own original content, or content you have sourced, click on the best suiting post labels from the top of your dashboard, and fill in the information. The 'like' is very similar to that of Instagram or Pinterest. If there is something you like and want to keep safe, click on the heart symbol (this is found next to the 'reblog' using both above methods). You can also look at what others have been liking by clicking on the little man symbol when you hover over their display picture.

TAGGING

Tagging is a great way to help others find your posts. It is exactly the same as tagging your blog posts or your Instagram. Choose keywords that best describe your image. Just think, if you was searching for this image what would you be typing in. It doesn't have to be too lengthy, up to 5 keywords. If your theme allows it (or you can add this in yourself), you can add 'tag shortcuts' on your homepage, where you can find all images tagged under that tagline. This is a good idea for popular tags, or if you want to have a page with just photographs you've taken yourself, or outfits ect.

SCHEDULING POSTS

Keeping your blog active and constantly updated is very important when it comes to Tumblr, and the best way to do this is to queue or schedule posts. I aim to post between 10-20 images a day from 12am to 6am. Why you ask at such a time when everybody is asleep. Well my main audience is from USA, and around that time is when Tumblr is most active, so it's the perfect time to post. You can read about when the best time to post is here, but you can post at different times to see what works best for you, or schedule it throughout the entire day. I don't exactly follow the guideline, but it is great information to understand how tumblr works.

A FEW OTHER TIPS...

  1. You can have as many blogs as you like under your log in, but you can only follow back on your main blog.
  2. If you love your blog as much as I love mine, you can turn on 'Two-factor authentication' which sends you a code by text everytime you want to log in from a new device. This helps keep your blog extra safe.
  3. You can only post or reblog no more than 250 posts a day, and only 75 of them can be photos.
  4. You can only queue 300 posts at one time.
  5. You can only follow no more than 300 blogs in a day.
beginners guide to tumblr

After writing this post, I realised that I could have gone into more detail, but I didn't want to overwhelm you with information, so I've decided to do a part two, woooo. If you have any questions, leave those in the comments below, and make sure you leave your links below too, I'm always looking for new blogs to follow.

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