Should you start your first blog on Tumblr or WordPress?

Martin Brinkmann
May 28, 2013

If you are thinking about creating a blog on the Internet then you have many choices to make. One important choice is the blogging platform that you want to use as you need to make sure that it gives you all the freedom you need.

Two popular choices are Tumblr and WordPress which do not really look that different on first glance. There are however differences that you do need to be aware of before you start to sign up for one of the services.

Both services let you create a free blog on their websites that is hosted on a subdomain by default. What this means is that you will access your blog using an address such as or by default.

You can use a custom domain name instead which looks more professional, but it is not a requirement at all.

WordPress, unlike Tumblr, offers paid packages that provide you with additional features for a yearly subscription fee. This includes email or live chat support, advanced customizations, premium themes and more storage for data.


While you can post textual and media contents of any length on Tumblr, it is often referred to by many as a micro-blogging site based on the average length of posts on the site. It is often used to post a single image or short amount of text.

Creating a new blog is really easy. You pick a title, select an url and decide whether you want it to be private or publicly available.

You are then taken to the dashboard where you can start to post right away.  The interface is simply and concentrates on posting and nothing else. You can however make modifications to the theme used and a couple of other features, including hacking the HTML and CSS code to customize the look and feel of your blog.

Tumblr is big when it comes to social interaction. You can follow blogs on the site and their latest posts are automatically displayed in your dashboard so that you can easily comment, like or re-blog from there. Re-blogging is very similar to re-tweeting a message on Twitter. You basically re-post a blog post on your own blog.

While this is not the best idea in terms of SEO, as it creates lots of duplicate content, it may not matter that much depending on what you want to achieve with the blog. If you are interested in social interaction then there is nothing wrong with it though.


  • Easy to set up and get started.
  • Clean interface and basic customization options.
  • Focus on social interaction between Tumblr users (re-blogging, following, liking).


  • Re-blogging may create duplicate contents.
  • No integration of a statistics service, you need to add code to your blog to do so manually.



WordPress is an established blogging platform that provides you with a lot of features even if you sign up for the free plan. Probably the first thing that you will notice is that it displays a lot of options in the dashboard that may overwhelm you right from the start.

It takes time to get to know the admin dashboard and the functionality it makes available. While you can hit the posts option right away to get started, you will notice that it too is not as easy to use as the Tumblr post page.

WordPress does not distinguish between different post types, e.g. text or video, but uses a single form for all different types of posts you make.

If you browse around, you will notice that some features become only available after you pay for them. The custom design option for instance costs $30 per year and enables the use of custom fonts, colors and CSS code on the blog once purchased. Without it, you are limited to a few basic customization changes that WordPress provides you with.


  • Powerful blogging platform.
  • Integration of external tools, including Google Webmaster Tools, Bing Webmaster Center and Analytics software.
  • Option to add other users to the site that are allowed to post and administrate.


  • Paid upgrades for a variety of features.
  • Displays many menus in the dashboard that take time getting used to.
  • Displays ads on free blogs.

Closing Words

Both blogging platforms have a lot to offer and while WordPress is more complicated if you have never blogged before, it should not take too long to get accustomed to it. The core difference between both platforms is Tumblr's concentration on social interaction between users of the service which WordPress does not offer in this form.

If you like Twitter, then Tumblr is the logical step to go forward as it resembles the service in many ways. It is also the service of choice if you do not want ads to be displayed on your site. Keep in mind though that there is no guarantee that the Yahoo acquisition won't change that in the future.

WordPress has the advantage that it is relatively easy to migrate your hosted blog to a self-hosted blog which makes available a wider range of options, including the use of plugins.


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  1. Tom said on May 29, 2013 at 1:13 am

    After Yahoo’s recent purchase of Tumblr, I would wait a while to see what changes Yahoo is going to impose. One big advantage at present on Tumblr is adult/NSFW content but it remains to be seen if Yahoo will kill that off and cause a good portion of the Tumblr user base to flee elsewhere.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 29, 2013 at 2:56 am

      I read that they want Tumblr to operate independent just like before, this is a good sign.

  2. Jess said on May 28, 2013 at 10:29 pm

    One to watch – Ghost: Just a Blogging Platform (
    Their Kickstarter funding goal was just reached. The funding round is now closed so those who didn’t back it will have to wait a bit longer to try it than those who did, but it looks like it will be good. (

  3. tPenguinLTG said on May 28, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    WordPress, all the way.
    Tumblr isn’t even a blogging platform: it’s for microblogging. That said, I don’t use Tumblr, but I have friends who do and I know what goes on there.
    WordPress generally has more intelligent content than Tumblr.

    The only quirks that I have with WordPress are the ads to the users and that one has to pay for custom CSS.

    I will give credit to Tumblr for their Terms of Service, though, especially the explanation about being at least 13.

    By the way, did you create a new WP account/blog just for the screenshot?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on May 29, 2013 at 2:53 am

      Yep I did.

  4. berttie said on May 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Having lost years of posts when a blogging host closed because it was too difficult to convert them from its proprietary format, IMHO WordPress is the better choice as it gives the option of hosting the blog elsewhere on the same platform should it become necessary.

  5. az said on May 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

    It depends on what sort of content you want to post.

    WordPress to me is more for long articles and content that stays relevant for months (so you use the archive to search for content).

    Tumblr, on the other side, is for quick updates and specially useful if you’re just going to post images.

    Personally (as a web developer that does a ton of work on wordpress) I love WordPress, specially self hosted version, as you can customize it so much, even make it look like a Tumblr blog. I also like to “own” my data. However, Tumblr makes it so easy to post and follow other sites, that it’s difficult not to love it.

  6. Karl J. Gephart said on May 28, 2013 at 7:13 am

    As a web designer in WordPress, I have to say SEO/content is perhaps the biggest factor. Look at what heppened to Posterous. Self-registered and self-hosted domain sites are the way to go. But many people (especially beginners) struggle with that understanding. I use Tumblr for small, “venting” personal updates and keep my important posts (“dont-want-to-lose”) on my WordPress, protected by (hopefully) a fortress of security plug-ins, and backed-up frequently. WordPress is unparalleled in its availability of free, quality, and time-saving plug-ins. Ultimately, most people should blog in WordPress and post small, valuable updates on social media networks (like Tumblr) to drive traffic to their WordPress blog.

  7. Nebulus said on May 28, 2013 at 6:56 am

    I started my blog on Blogspot, because it was easier to do so, and allowed me to use my own domain ( asks you money for this). Afterwards, I decided to switch to a hosted solution, based on WordPress, because it gives me a lot more flexibility. Now if only I would convince myself to write more often… :)

  8. ZoNi said on May 28, 2013 at 6:21 am

    What about Blogspot (Blogger)?

  9. Swapnil said on May 28, 2013 at 3:48 am

    First of all, thank you very much for posting the article. As Opera has chosen to go with V8 and Blink, I am no longer interested in Opera’s services and was migrating from My Opera to other services. For me replaces My Opera Mail and I use Skydrive for file storage. Now, only one thing remained, ad-free blogging for free. I first looked at WordPress but I found out one major barrier: ads on free blogs. I do not like Google, so I did not wish to use Blogger. I also thought of the same thing about Blogger: Google’s ad network on my blog.

    “It is also the service of choice if you do not want ads to be displayed on your site.”
    I was quite happy after I read this. But after you reminded me of the acquisition by Yahoo, I really want Yahoo! to get destroyed if they do any changes to this ad-free model for free accounts.

    1. Obat Bius said on February 9, 2014 at 9:16 am

      I love you for this article and in my opinion anyway, how can we take care of the website that we manage it that much good, if wordpres or tumbrl so the same if we are not able to take care of and maintain as possible, the same bullshit ya not boss??? regards

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on May 28, 2013 at 4:00 am

      Let me know what you think of Opera 15 when you have the time, will you ;)

      1. Swapnil said on May 28, 2013 at 5:56 am

        Yeah, sure. I will tell you within two days.

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