In 2007, David Karp launched Tumblr, the little blog platform that could. Five years and 75 million blogs later, Karp found himself on the Forbes “30 Under 30” list and sitting atop a top-10 Internet destination valued at $800 million. If you spend just a few minutes on Tumblr, it’s easy to see why. Karp has created what may be the greatest time-suck in the history of the Internet—and that’s a good thing.
Perhaps the best part of Tumblr is that the company makes all of the above available to you free. There’s no hierarchy of users on Tumblr. Everyone who wants to create a Tumblr account has the same tools at their disposal, and all tumblelogs are hosted by Tumblr. All blogs are automatically indexed using the tagging function and provided with a full archive. While not a fully functional messaging system, Tumblr’s “Ask” feature provides a way for your visitors to engage and interact with you on an individual basis. Questions can be answered privately or posted publicly, where both the question and answer will appear on your blog and your followers’ dashboards.
Cutting-edge creators flock to Tumblr to share their work, in part because of Tumblr’s ease of use but also for the sense of community that Tumblr actively encourages between a creator and the audience for her work. Tumblr’s curators are young bloggers eager to discover and share the next big thing—and many of them have hundreds, if not thousands of followers. Whether you’re a creator or a curator, you’ll understand the advantage of this coolness factor the first time someone who isn’t on Tumblr tries to share something with you, and you’re able to nonchalantly explain that you saw that on Tumblr two weeks ago.
You don’t need to hire a web designer to create a clean, efficient tumblelog. Your Tumblr account comes with complete access to a theme library containing hundreds of free plug-and-play themes you can configure to meet your needs and make your content pop. All of these beautiful themes are contributed by Tumblr community members. Navigational links, statistical counters, and even ads can be dropped into your blog’s design with little to no coding experience or knowledge. You can also add social media buttons to each post, enabling your site’s visitors to easily share your posts around the ‘net with one click.
Tumblr’s dashboard provides all-in-one control of your blog’s content and a real-time stream of posts published on the blogs you follow. Buttons at the top of the dashboard enable direct posting of text, photo, audio and video content. Tumblr also has a queue function, which allows you to compose your posts when it’s convenient for you and then stagger those posts over a period of time you set. Using the queue enables you to post content at high-traffic times to maximize its exposure. And mobile apps for iPhone and Android users make it easy to check your Tumblr while on the go.
Tumblr revolves around sharing. No matter your niche, using Tumblr’s built-in “Explore” function or searching its millions of tags, you’re sure to find a community of like-minded Tumblr users who will welcome you with open arms. Karp launched Tumblr with the slogan “everything you find, love, hate or create,” and though the slogan has changed the focus remains. Tumblr’s unique reblog function allows any blog post to be shared by another user on his own blog, in turn exposing that content to his followers. Karp notes the average Tumblr post is reblogged nine times. Every Tumblr post includes notes listing the users who either “liked” or reblogged that particular post. These rebloggers form networks that grow into close-knit communities of individuals who share common interests.