WordPress vs Tumblr – Which Platform is the Right Choice for YOUR Blog?

March 28, 2015

wordpress vs tumblr

What platform should a new blogger choose?

That’s one of the earliest (and most crucial) decisions you will face. Because the platform is your foundation, where the blog begins and ends.

While shopping for a blog platform, you can easily get bogged down in too many choices–Drupal, Joomla, Wix–leading to information overload.

“I just want to blog,” you might be thinking…”which blog will suit my needs?”

In this blog post, I want to give you a comparison/contrast that is easy to digest, based on my own experience and observations. I’ll be covering two of the most popular blogging platforms available. These two platforms are popular for many reasons…

Let’s take a look at each one to help you decide:

WordPress vs Tumblr

I’ve been using WordPress, both the free version (dot com) and the self hosted version (dot org) for several years now.

A couple of years ago, I opened a Tumblr account to see how it works and test it out a bit. Nothing serious, just enough to get a feel for it.

If you have read a decent amount of my website, you know that I’m a big advocate for owning your online real estate instead of renting your digital space. That is the primary reason why I’m quick to declare WordPress (dot org) to be the winner in a head-to-head with Tumblr.

Even if I had to choose between the free WordPress (dot com) and Tumblr, I’d still declare WordPress the winner.

Now, if you feel like this WordPress vs Tumblr fight ended way too soon, below are some fast facts and my humble opinions about each platform that show how I scored this decision.

wordpress vs tumblr


Quick History: Tumblr opened shop in 2007, led by David Karp. The platform provides users with a simple experience that allows them to publish text, quotes, videos and images to what is called a Tumblelog, that’s a unique way to say “personal mini blog.”  Tumblr was “hot” with the younger crowd for several years. Although still used by many, Tumblr appears to have cooled off since Yahoo bought them out in 2013 for over one billion U.S. dollars.

Here’s what else you need to know about Tumblr…

•Known as a “blogging service” from its beginnings, Tumblr more closely resembles a social media platform (many agree with me here.) Check it out sometime if you haven’t and you’ll see what I mean. Most of what’s being shared on “blogs” over there are photos, quotes, short videos, memes, gifs….sound familiar? The more I look at Tumblr blogs, the more they look like Facebook. Another term Tumblr uses to describe itself is “micro-blogging”

•There’s a LOT more sharing going on over at Tumblr…as in, people sharing other people’s content. Again, like social media. I’m not talking about linking to another blog, you can literally reblog other people’s blogs easily, like sharing something on Facebook or G+, or like retweeting

•Nobody on Tumblr owns their blog. They’re all digital renters

•I have read a good amount from folks who are not happy with Tumblr since it was bought by Yahoo. Many have soured on it since, and I don’t see anyone praising the Yahoo takeover

•Tumblr offers a much more limited choice of design options when compared to WordPress, even if we’re only comparing it to the free WP themes. Including premium WordPress themes in this contest ends all debate. Also, the functionality to a Tumblr blog is extremely basic and limited. They do not offer plugins to enhance the blog, unlike WordPress

•Like every free blogging platform, you don’t get a custom domain. Your domain will have a “.tumblr.com” in it. For example, sarahspaintings.tumblr.com

•The SEO power of a Tumblr blog sucks. Rarely do you find a Tumblr blog in the upper echelons of your search results (ever notice that?) I don’t know if there’s a Google conspiracy or what the deal is, I just hear from others that bad ranking is often a negative result

Now before you think I’m completely biased, here are a few positives for Tumblr…

•Tumblr connects you to many people easily. So if you like the social aspect and the readily available (potential) audience that’s exposed to your posts, you get that here

•When you do meet people on Tumblr you like, you can “follow” them and keep in touch.

•It’s  free

Now let’s take a look at WordPress. My points apply to the self hosted version (WordPress.org) yet many of these traits apply to the free WordPress.com also.

 wordpress vs tumblr


Quick History: WordPress began as an “open source” blog software product back in 2003. It’s still “open source” today, and provides a CMS (Content Management System) that’s used by the Rolling Stones, the New York Times, and other corporations, along with freelancers, , small businesses, hobbyists and individuals of all ages.

Here are other factors about WordPress that you should know…

•Total freedom!!! With the self hosted WordPress.org, you OWN your website and can do whatever you want to do. Literally thousands of design themes and plugins at your fingertips to make your blog a thousand times more fetching and functional than a free platform like Tumblr. Even the free WordPress.com offers more design options that are higher quality than other free blogs like Tumblr

•You get a custom domain. With a self hosted WP blog, you don’t need “dot wordpress” or “dot tumblr” in your domain name. For example, I get “buildyourownblog.net”, not “buildyourownblog.tumblr.com” Which one looks more attractive and professional? Which domain is easier to promote?

•WordPress is a “real” CMS (Content Management System) for people who need a solid platform where they can publish in-depth content. WordPress is NOT like social media. WP is more conducive for building a business or growing an audience over time. I’m sure some could argue that Tumblr provides a long form content platform as well, but considering the other factors, from your lack of control (renting a digital space) to the horrible search rankings, WordPress is the best choice for the blogger who has something with substance to share, or those who want to generate income through their blog

WordPress Knocks Out Tumblr in First Round

What do you think?

If you have any questions on this, be sure to leave them in the comments so our conversation provides more help to the readers. Also, if you’re a big Tumblr fan, we want to hear why.

Whatever your thoughts, weigh in and throw some punches. Your feedback will also help me decide on the direction of future WordPress vs (Insert Other Blog Platform) articles.

Any others you want to see go head-to-head with WordPress?

Author Bio:

Matthew Kaboomis Loomis is the owner of Build Your Own Blog. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Mary Jane Lang says:    •   5 years

    Dear Mathew,

    I am interested in sharing music and videos as well as the written word. I haven’t done much because I am busy with other projects but plan to serious pursue this medium.

    I know you’re busy but if you address this question in a future blog it would be of great benefit to me and others who want to share pictures, videos, musical recordings, etc. I wonder about Tumblr. One source said Tumblr had complete freedom of media and various ways of communicating besides words.

    What do you think?

    With Best Regards, Mary Jane Lang

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Mary Jane,

      Yes, Tumblr makes it easy to share photos and videos, etc. Not sure if you read my entire article? I give my reasons all together, which you may have gathered lean to favor WordPress (self hosted), primarily because you don’t own a tumblr blog. If you’re wanting to monetize your blog somehow, you would want to go with WordPress…if you’re just having some fun posting music and stuff, maybe Tumblr would work for you? Can you give some more details on what the purpose of the blog would be?

  2. Jill says:    •   5 years

    I thought that you can not sell anything on .org I am just getting started and need to grow a list
    and money had been tight. To start my affiliate marketing would I be able to recommend my product and give the client my link that sends the client to the site that pays me commission?

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Jill, this is off topic. Please email this question to me. Thanks

  3. maggid says:    •   5 years

    Thank You for all your help!

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      My pleasure, Maggid.

  4. Justin Temple says:    •   5 years

    I think wordpress is definitely the better option of the two. No matter what you are blogging about or for what purpose, a free blog is never the right option. You need to be in control of your advertisements, content and promotion without the chance of getting shut down just for promoting something. WordPress win in this battle. Awesome post Matthew.

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Justin, glad you found this helpful! You’ll definitely be “winning” in the long run with a self hosted blog.

  5. Murray Webb says:    •   5 years

    Hi Matthew, I have 2 chronic medical conditions, and just like to share my journey, thoughts
    and experiences, and information with others. Rather than just putting a post on social media.
    I thought that having a blog page might be ideal, hence, receiving more responses.
    signed: M.W

    1. Matthew Loomis says:    •   5 years Author

      Hi Murray,
      I think your blog concept would be well-suited for WordPress, more than Tumblr or social media posts. You’re talking about some serious topics, and you need a platform that reflects your purpose.
      I wish you well. Take care.