If you’re after a quick and simple way to start a blog, you can’t go wrong with Tumblr. It’s a breeze to post all sorts of content for the world to see and it’s entirely free.
We’re going to walk you through the easy steps to create a blog with Tumblr and give you some tips to nudge you on the way to blogging stardom.
What Is Tumblr?
Tumblr takes its name from tumblelog: a stream of consciousness type of blog that focuses on short posts, often created from media like audio, images, and quotes.
Two young Americans called David Karp and Marco Arment saw that tumblelogs were growing in popularity and decided to capitalize on it by launching Tumblr in 2007, a platform that allowed users to make their own for free. The site had 75000 users within two weeks.
The tumblelog term has all but vanished now. Today, Tumblr brands itself as a blog service and boasts over 465 million blogs and half a billion monthly visitors.
Users can create their own blogs to share whatever they want with the world. They can also follow people and view those posts in a feed.
Chances are you’ve viewed a Tumblr blog before without realizing it. Even Taylor Swift has one!
How to Create a Tumblr Account
One of the beautiful things about Tumblr is that anyone can sign up and create a blog. A Tumblr sign up is easy and you don’t need any technical knowledge and you can be up and running within minutes. Want proof? Let’s make one now!
First, head over to Tumblr’s homepage. Click Get Started and enter an email, password, and username. Your username informs the URL of your blog (username.tumblr.com), but don’t worry, you can change your username (and URL) later if needs be. Click Sign up.
Next, give your age—you need to be 16 or above if in an EU country, if not then 13 or above—and agree to the Terms of Service. Click Next. You might also have to prove you’re not a robot. Then click Almost Done!
Now, choose five or more topics that you’re interested in. Some of them will expand out for further refinement. For example, gaming splits into Nintendo, Xbox, PS4, and PC. You can select all of these if you want. Don’t worry too much about this stage. When done, click Next.
You’ll be taken to your Tumblr dashboard. You can return to this page at any time by clicking the Tumblr icon in the top-left. At the top of the dashboard page, you can search Tumblr and access areas like your inbox and settings. Feel free to explore.
You’ll see that your feed has been prepopulated with posts, based upon your interests. Click Follow next to someone’s username if you want to add that blog to your feed permanently. Alternatively, search a specific person and click the Follow button on their blog.
Tumblr will occasionally pop up with helpful hints on this dashboard page to orient you, so look out for them.
How to Customize Your Tumblr Blog
Before you make your first post, it’s important that your Tumblr blog is more personal and reflects your style. It’s customization time!
Click the account icon on the top right (it’s a person’s silhouette) and click Edit appearance. Note that here you can click the pencil icon to change your username. For now, click Edit theme.
Beneath Appearance options, you’ll find all sorts of things to customize. Give your blog a title, choose an avatar, adjust the background color, and more. Remember to click Save once you’re happy with your changes.
If you want to go the extra mile, you can change the theme entirely. Click Browse themes and you can browse all sorts of different layouts which you can click to preview instantly. Note that some of these come attached with a price tag—you can avoid that by clicking the All themes dropdown and selecting Free Themes. When you find a theme you like, select it and click Use.
How to Make a Tumblr Post
Now it’s time for the good stuff. Strap yourself in, you’re going to make make your first post on Tumblr.
To begin, navigate back to the dashboard. At the top there’s a pane that lists all the different content types: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video. Click the one you want.
Whichever you choose, you’ll be given contextualized fields. For example, select Video and you can either upload your own or link one from somewhere like YouTube. Or click Quote and you can enter the fabled words and attribute a source.
At the bottom of every post you can add tags. Start typing in this area and it’ll offer up those commonly used. These help people find your post and therefore may increase your blog followers, so think about what people might be searching for if that matters to you.
When ready, click Post. It’ll go live immediately and you’ll see it appear on the dashboard. If you made an error, click the cog icon and click either Edit or Delete.
How to Reblog, Like, and Comment on Tumblr
A popular feature of Tumblr is reblogging. If you’re familiar with retweets on Twitter, this works in the same way. You can reblog someone’s post to put it on your own blog to highlight it to your own followers.
To do this, navigate to the post and click the reblog icon (it’s two opposing arrows.) You can add your own content to appear alongside the original post and some tags. When ready, click Reblog.
If you want to comment on the post itself, rather than reblogging it, simply click the comment icon (it’s a speech bubble), say your thing, and click Reply.
Alternatively, if you have nothing to say, but still want to show your appreciation, click the like icon (it’s a heart.) That user will get a notification that you liked their post.
More Excellent Tumblr Tips
Hopefully, now you’re up and running on Tumblr, following your friends and celebrity idols, with a stylish blog of your own containing exciting posts.
If Tumblr is too limited, we highly recommend using WP Engine to set up a personal WordPress blog. It eliminates all the stress of running a website, and includes daily backups, fast performance, and dozens of professional themes. Sign up using this link for your first 4 months free!
Need more excellent Tumblr advice? Check out our useful tips for Tumblr beginners.