To move to Tumblr…

It seems like the whole world is blogging. But that’s hardly the case1. When blogs first started, only the technically equipped could blog. Blogger changed that. But the interface was limited and once Google bought it, innovation on that platform slowed down for a long time. WordPress2 offered people who were slightly technical flexibility. The fact that it is open source meant that user needs quickly drove feature development by the army of users. The power of WordPress and the open source platform is truly brilliant and is something I’ve noted before. But many (me included) are finding that maintenance is a fair amount of work. And the complexity ratchets up with every plugin that’s installed.

I blogged privately on Blogger for years before I decided to switch to WordPress and blog publicly. I chose WordPress because of the flexibility, the ability to host it on my own url and because it was completely free. But over time, it has become a pain to manage the various plugins and the upgrades. In addition, something as simple as a template change is real work because things break. So I’ve stuck with what I have even if I don’t love it.

Tumblr is the new face of simplicity and elegance and is a great platform for blogging. It is quick, it is easy, it is clean and the UI – both for the poster and for the reader – is a sheer joy to work with. It has no sidebar and no plugins (that I know of). The blogger can change templates and colors on a daily basis if she wants – it is a much better alternative to the population that would otherwise choose Blogger.

The lack of thousands of widgets – really, the lack of choice and therefore the lack of complexity – is what makes Tumblr great. It forces you to be simple and focus on the content.

Let’s say that I am sold. Let’s even say that I am willing to give up plugins I like (such as Subscribe To Comments) in order to make my life easier. Can I switch to Tumblr?

The answer is a resounding NO. For one big reason – I cannot migrate my content to Tumblr.

I want my blog to contain all my posts – the content and the comments. This would require the ability to “import” my WordPress blog into tumblr, something almost every other blogging platform allows. Should it be doable? Yes. Is it doable? No. Or not yet. I have no idea whether this is on the roadmap or not, but until it is, I, and others like me who desperately want to, can’t move to Tumblr even though we want to.

Tumblr is late to the game in terms of blogging software. And while they may get a large percentage of those who are just starting3,  a lot of people have blogs already. A few will be willing to cut over in order to avoid the hassle, but most, even those with little traffic, will want all their posts and comments moved over. Tumblr should bring their “easy, clean, and beautiful” approach to this problem and solve it. I am sure it will have a big impact on adoption. I’ll be the first in line.


  1. In fact, just this week, I told three very smart eBay colleagues that they should be blogging 

  2. I’m ignoring TypePad in this discussion since it won’t affect the discussion 

  3. I recommended that all three folks use Tumblr 

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  • Haven’t tried this myself but it is possible to import your existing WordPress stuff into Tumblr – http://dbavaria.tumblr.com/post/28193913 – Good luck.

  • Shripriya

    Hi Amit – thanks for the link! But “Install the script on a server that supports PHP 5”? Er… Hmm… will try, but that may be beyond me. 🙂

  • Eileen

    1. You didn’t tell me that- LOL

  • Another thought – Leave your blog at shripriya.com/blog untouched and use Tumblr with a new sub-domain like blog.shripriya.com.

    Since you are using Feedburner to syndicate feeds, you can change them to point to the new Tumblr feeds instead of WP feeds.

    Another advantage – you won’t take a hit on existing search traffic and there won’t be any drop in RSS subscribers.

  • Shripriya

    Eileen – LOL. Only because I haven’t “spoken” to you. I do think you should blog – you have such fabulous stories to tell 🙂

    Amit – Yes, I thought of that and Fred Wilson suggested that as well. Seems like the best alternative right now. Another idea is to post to the tumblr blog, but also have the post show up on the main blog, pulling it in. Fiddling around with things. Planning on moving the comment system to Disqus to help with that. Thanks for your thoughts!!

  • Better still, use a Tumblr-like theme on this blog. Check out Tumblejack or for a live demo, visit my urban planning blog.

  • I haven’t gotten to the comments, but I made a tool to import Blogger posts to Tumblr http://terrymhung.com/jtran/tumblr/import-blogger-to-tumblr.php

    I hope this helps.

  • Shripriya

    Jonathan – VERY cool. And a hosted solution too! What about a WordPress plugin? 🙂

    Every day I get search queries to this post looking to move to tumblr, so your plugin would get some traction!

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  • I too am interested in moving to Tumblr . I see the tool to move from blogger to tumblr….

    Has anyone tried importing their wordpress blog to blogger, then from blogger to tumblr?

  • I disagree that the lack of complex widgets is what makes tumblr great. WordPress has plenty of terrible widgets you can use, but most smart people don't, simply because there is no reason to install the junk and slow down your site. Intellegiance is key here.

  • new idea

  • lol… serious things going on.. believe me its the blog that can give you a best shot of introduction in this world.. Anywayz nice work up here …

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • Hrm. Tumblr also intrigues me, but they're not making easy for us existing bloggers, are they? Any success trying the import to blogger, then import to Tumblr approach? I might give it a shot.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • How well do the blogs perform in SEO terms, do they rank well? I don't think some sites are worth using as they perform so badly.

  • oz

    Personally I do not think they are that bad. Find the files you are looking for at myrapida.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  • oz

    Personally I do not think they are that bad. Find the files you are looking for at myrapida.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  • oz

    Personally I do not think they are that bad. Find the files you are looking for at myrapida.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  • oz

    Personally I do not think they are that bad. Find the files you are looking for at myrapida.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  • oz

    Personally I do not think they are that bad. Find the files you are looking for at myrapida.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  • oz

    Personally I do not think they are that bad. Find the files you are looking for at myrapida.com the most comprehensive source for free-to-try files downloads on the Web

  • I've used TypePad for some time now but have used both WordPress and Blogger in the past. Both seemed somewhat difficult to manage and Blogger is definitely crude but that was a while ago before I switched to Six Apart stuff (Moveable Type specifically and, no, I don't work for them) when I started blogging professionally. I haven't tried Tumblr yet–just ran across it actually–but I probably will. I think the line between professional and personal blogging these days is becoming fairly blurry though and expect to see plenty of crossover as in the case of Aziz Ansari's Tumblr blog which I think you'd pretty much have to call a mix of the two.

  • I've used TypePad for some time now but have used both WordPress and Blogger in the past. Both seemed somewhat difficult to manage and Blogger is definitely crude but that was a while ago before I switched to Six Apart stuff (Moveable Type specifically and, no, I don't work for them) when I started blogging professionally. I haven't tried Tumblr yet–just ran across it actually–but I probably will. I think the line between professional and personal blogging these days is becoming fairly blurry though and expect to see plenty of crossover as in the case of Aziz Ansari's Tumblr blog which I think you'd pretty much have to call a mix of the two.

  • I've used TypePad for some time now but have used both WordPress and Blogger in the past. Both seemed somewhat difficult to manage and Blogger is definitely crude but that was a while ago before I switched to Six Apart stuff (Moveable Type specifically and, no, I don't work for them) when I started blogging professionally. I haven't tried Tumblr yet–just ran across it actually–but I probably will. I think the line between professional and personal blogging these days is becoming fairly blurry though and expect to see plenty of crossover as in the case of Aziz Ansari's Tumblr blog which I think you'd pretty much have to call a mix of the two.

  • I've used TypePad for some time now but have used both WordPress and Blogger in the past. Both seemed somewhat difficult to manage and Blogger is definitely crude but that was a while ago before I switched to Six Apart stuff (Moveable Type specifically and, no, I don't work for them) when I started blogging professionally. I haven't tried Tumblr yet–just ran across it actually–but I probably will. I think the line between professional and personal blogging these days is becoming fairly blurry though and expect to see plenty of crossover as in the case of Aziz Ansari's Tumblr blog which I think you'd pretty much have to call a mix of the two.

  • I've used TypePad for some time now but have used both WordPress and Blogger in the past. Both seemed somewhat difficult to manage and Blogger is definitely crude but that was a while ago before I switched to Six Apart stuff (Moveable Type specifically and, no, I don't work for them) when I started blogging professionally. I haven't tried Tumblr yet–just ran across it actually–but I probably will. I think the line between professional and personal blogging these days is becoming fairly blurry though and expect to see plenty of crossover as in the case of Aziz Ansari's Tumblr blog which I think you'd pretty much have to call a mix of the two.

  • Wow, thanks to @NathanBowers (Hi Nathan!) for linking here in a tweet — I thought tumblr was some sort of digg-like such & such (I'm too old to keep up with that nonsense) and see that my new knowledge is this post is already 17 months old — woo-hoo!
    Sigh.

    Nice post, gotta poke around more, I like your style.

  • max191

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  • What about posterous? Just saying… One can use Tumblr themes and import a blog from just about anywhere. Thoughts?

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  • I checked out Posterous when they first came out and haven't been back for while. It seemed like a very straightforward and clean solution even back then. It seems better suited for media and quick posts than real dedicated blogging, but with very few people having the fortitude to update real blogs, I can see the need for that…

  • Tumblr nice system, but wordperss better

  • Megan

    Jonathan – AMAZING! Thank-you so much for creating this tool! I imported my posts from blogger to tumblr no problem 🙂

  • Shaz

    I tried importing from WordPress to Tumblr and it worked perfectly.