Tumblogging is gaining popularity nowadays and services such as Tumblr have provided users with an easy to use platform for sharing content in a simple and speedy manner. However, when it comes to tumblogs, even WordPress can be a great choice. In this article, we will take a look at the effectiveness of WP as a tumblogging platform.
Simply put, tumblogging refers to sharing short and precise posts on one’s blog, generally in the form of multimedia content such as photos and videos. If you wish to blog, but do not have the time or energy to write long posts, tumblogging might be right for you! Furthermore, if you are looking to create a personal blog to share random content that you come across, a tumblog is a good choice. After all, you wouldn’t want to share the odd quote that you read in today’s newspaper on your company’s website, would you?
Beyond that, there is not much of a rigid rule to define tumblogs. Most tumblogs at Tumblr do not have a sidebar, though tumblogs created using WordPress generally have a sidebar nowadays. The only “visible” feature is that all tumblogs distinguish between different “types” or formats of posts: audio, video, chat, quote, image, and so on.
Is WordPress A Good Choice For Tumblogs?
We know that the 3.x family of WordPress offers support for custom post formats and types. Naturally, with post formats such as audio, video, gallery and quote, it becomes very easy to create a tumblog using WordPress.
When the first draft of the Twenty Thirteen theme came out, it became clear that the new flagship theme (likely to come bundled with WordPress 3.6 next month) is yet another step towards making WordPress better suited for tumblogs. While it is true that most default WP themes have had support for post formats, Twenty Thirteen is the first in its family that eliminates the default homepage sidebar and relies primarily on post formats for displaying the content. Thus, the WordPress development team is not oblivious to the rising popularity of tumblogging.
Using Post Formats in WP For A Tumblog
Here is how the WordPress Codex describes a post format:
A Post Format is a piece of meta information that can be used by a theme to customize its presentation of a post.
Basically, a post format is what makes your WordPress blog look like a tumblog. WordPress supports various formats, namely, Aside, Gallery, Link, Image, Quote, Status, Video, Audio and Chat.
Adding a post format for a post is fairly easy: just select one from the Editor itself, and you’re done!
Furthermore, WordPress 3.6 will come with even better support for post formats. You can discover the details here.
How About Themes?
A discussion about WordPress is rarely complete without a mention of themes, is it? WPMU has a handy roundup of some of the best tumblogging themes for WP users (oh yes, all free ones!).
That said, just in case you need some more, how about ten more free themes that were not included in the previous roundup?
Released by WP Explorer, Tetris is a tumblogging WP theme featuring a masonry style homepage. You will need a couple of additional plugins to use this theme, though: Options Framework and Soliloquy. The theme supports seven post formats, has a homepage slider, offers social media icons and is responsive. You will need a free account at WP Explorer in order to download the theme.
Hum is a child theme of Twenty Eleven. Naturally, it inherits features such as support for post formats, custom background, custom logo, etc. from its parent theme.
Satu is a single column tumblogging WordPress theme with support for eight post formats. It is responsive, localization ready and offers support for breadcrumbs. Oh, and it is also based on the Hybrid Core framework.
Stitch is a colorful WordPress theme. It is responsive and supports multiple post formats. While I will surely not call Stitch minimal, its colorful appearance might indeed appeal to many users. Furthermore, Stitch does not present itself as a tumbloggers’ theme. However, a fixed sidebar and main focus on content, amplified by support for post types and formats clearly makes Stitch a worthy tumblogging theme.
Shortnotes is a responsive tumblogging theme released by Site5. It is localization ready, offers built-in pagination and also supports Google Fonts. The theme is indeed gorgeous, and I would’ve used it for my own tumblog as well, but when it comes to working out of the box, Shortnotes does not perform really well. In fact, in order to “properly” display a video, you will need to use the custom fields box provided by the theme (if you opt for the standard “drop-link-and-watch-it-work” procedure, your videos will appear out of place).
Publish is a clean and minimal theme that works entirely out of the box. It supports post formats and can, thus, be used for tumblogging as well.
TumblePress is a responsive theme with support for multiple post formats. It comes with many custom widgets, custom author box as well as custom shortcodes. The theme is localization ready and also offers custom page templates for contact form and sitemap.
Ubert supports multiple post formats, and also comes with its own audio player to help you share your favorite tracks on your tumblog.
Just like Ubert, Quade also supports multiple post formats. In fact, both Quade and Ubert have almost the same amount of functionality (both come from the same stable too).
10. Garuda Di Dadaku
Garuda Di Dadaku (yeah, unique name, isn’t it?) is a child theme of Twenty Ten. It is not much of a tumblogging theme, though — it has widget areas in the footer, and features too huge a header. However, Garuda Di Dadaku inherits support for post formats from Twenty Ten and as a result, you can use it for your tumblog as well.
Special Case: WooTumblog Plugin
For quite some time, WooTumblog plugin has served as a popular solution to help you create a tumblog using WordPress. Even to this day, there are certain themes that rely on WooTumblog plugin, such as Casual by Obox Design.
Once activated, you get a separate menu under Posts–>Tumblog Options. You can specify width for image and video previews as well as employ custom RSS feeds. Beyond that, you can easily decide whether to rely on taxonomy for creating a tumblog or post formats.
However, as far as I can tell, the latest versions of WordPress come with native support for post formats and WooTumblog, as a plugin, has lost its utility. While the update frequency is still decent and comparatively better than many other plugins out there, and the functionality of WooTumblog too cannot be doubted, its requirement level has decreased significantly.
Once you have a theme and layout ready for your website, you can easily make use of post formats in WordPress to create a tumblog, without having the need to install WooTumblog plugin. However, WooTumblog plugin can come in handy if you are using a theme that does not offer native support for post formats.
Apart from WooTumblog, there are many other plugins that can help you link your WordPress blog with Tumblr, or model your WP site along the lines of a tumblog. Sarah Gooding has a collection of such plugins here.
Creating a tumblog using WordPress is fairly easy, as all you need is a proper theme that supports post formats (almost every theme released by Automattic or core devs behind WordPress supports post formats).
Are you using WordPress to power your tumblog? Share your experiences with us in the comments below!