Tumblr the free blogging service, started in 2007, overtook its counterpart and four-year older WordPress.com in 2011. Few years back, the service was acquired by Yahoo! Inc. But the blogging platforms thrives under the CEO David Karp. Tumblr is for the people who like short-form blogging, GIFs, and media in particular.
However, for people who want to post long texts, Tumblr has a few hacks you can try for giving your blog a more professional look. You can optimize Tumblr blog easily for building more audience (even outside Tumblr service).
Mapping Custom Domain
Unlike WordPress.com, that charge you $13 for domain mapping, Tumblr allows you to point your domain or subdomain to the service for free. If you are looking for a professional blog on this service, it’s very simple to add a CNAME record to your domain registrar’s DNS settings. Read Official Docs.
Go to Settings and select the blog you would like to add SSL to. Scroll down and toggle the Encryption option to ON. SSL will add
https:// to your blog URL instead of
http:// and will protect your readers from hackers and snoopers.
Note that unlike WordPress or Blogger’s different site setting, Tumblr has an integrated Customization page, where you can edit your theme, change site name, description, add pages, add DISQUS, and even edit your theme’s HTML code.
So, start by changing your theme, if you don’t like the default one. A lot of free and premium themes are available on Tumblr’s theme directory. Some of the best one’s include: Effector, Pliancy for a complete professional blog. Yet you should browse the theme gallery choosing a perfect one for your site.
Go White Brand
This is a personal choice. By default Tumblr shows a small ‘Follow Blog’ and ‘Join Tumblr’ links on every blog. But, it gives you the choice whether or not to show it.
If you are on your own domain, and don’t want to let your readers know that you are using Tumblr, uncheck the ‘Promote Tumblr’ option in the ‘Advanced’ section of customization page. Here you can select whether to add a post slug to permalinks by default.
Tumblr allows you to add pages in 3 types:
- Regular Page
- Redirect to URL
- Custom HTML
Since there is no other ‘menu’ option in Tumblr, like WordPress, so you can set for individual page whether or not to show the page, where you theme allows the pages/menu items. Regular pages are the one that uses same CSS and loads within your site, where you need to write complete HTML code for a Custom HTML page.
Add Comment System
Adding a comment system is one of the basic necessities for a professional blog. Discussions are the backbone of any blog, and it’s good to know that most of the Tumblr themes just need your DISQUS short-name to add the powerful discussion system on your tumblog.
Add Search Box
Tumblr default search doesn’t work. It only produces results if you search for some exact tag that one or more of your posts are using. But you can add a third-party search box on your site. You can use services like Google Custom Search, Swiftype or Free Find.
The former is Google’s service, but free-find also works very well. However, you need to know at least basic HTML for adding their search box, and obviously removing the default one.
Get Site Stats
No inbuilt system has been developed by Tumblr people for blog statistics. But it’s easy to install via Google Analytics services for a detailed info.
Set Language and Time
Go to Settings and select the blog to edit. Set the site language and site time according to the visitors you’re targeting. Tumblr supports multiple languages besides English including French and German.
Open Your Blog to Search Engines
Go to Settings and select the blog you want to make professional. Go to Privacy Settings and turn on “Allow logged-out users to see this blog” and “Allow this blog to appear in search results” so that more people can see your blog and can visit it via search engines and without a Tumblr account. Also, submit your website to Google Search Console, Bing Webmaster Tools and Yandex Webmaster Tools.
Recent Posts Widget
Tumblr does not provide you with any default or inbuilt set of widgets or gadgets as in other services, but many hacks have been developed by the programmers. You can add a widget to your sidebar (assuming you are using a 2 column theme) to display your blog’s most recent posts making use of your blog’s feed.
Related Posts Widget
For related posts, many options are available like LinkWithIn, InLink. I haven’t tried linkwithin, and InLink is nice, but on my old blog I used to get questions how to remove the promotion links from such widgets. Well, for those people, another widget I found recently has been developed by Dominic Claxton. Read complete tutorial.
Add Sharing Icons
Have Presence on Social Media
Create a Facebook page for your blog so that people can subscribe to you. Moreover, have a twitter handle and share your blog posts. This will allow you to have more visitors and also to follow others and get new ideas to publish. You can also create a Google+ Page.