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How to get started with Tumblr

David Daw | April 16, 2012
Tumblr is a unique blogging site that specializes in striking visual design. Besides providing great blog layouts that can help your personal or small-business Website look more impressive, Tumblr has posting tools that make it easy to share photos and videos quickly. However, the service has some idiosyncrasies that take some getting used to. With that in mind, let's look at what it takes to start your own Tumblr blog and take the first steps toward making it popular.

Tumblr is a unique blogging site that specializes in striking visual design. Besides providing great blog layouts that can help your personal or small-business Website look more impressive, Tumblr has posting tools that make it easy to share photos and videos quickly. However, the service has some idiosyncrasies that take some getting used to. With that in mind, let's look at what it takes to start your own Tumblr blog and take the first steps toward making it popular.

Starting Your Tumblr

Starting a Tumblr blog may be the easiest thing you do on the site. Just click Sign up in the upper right corner of the Tumblr.com homepage. Then enter your email address, a password, and the website URL you'd like to reserve. Most of the obvious names and jokes are taken, so it pays to be creative when thinking of a short, clever URL that will be easy for your readers to remember. Tumblr will send you an email to confirm your new account; when you receive it, you can head over to your Twitter dashboard, the nerve center of your new blog.

As you begin creating your profile, don't worry about being tied down to your custom URL--Tumblr allows you to start more than one blog on its service. To start a new Tumblr blog, click the icon that looks like three bars next to your blog's name on your dashboard and then select create new blog.

Choosing Your Theme

Once you've created a new blog, you'll going to want to make sure that it looks great. To get started customizing your Tumblr blog, choose Customize Theme on the right hand side of your dashboard. That link will take you to a selection screen that displays various premade Tumblr themes on the left, and a mock-up of how a selected theme would look like on your site on the rest of the screen.

Most of Tumblr's themes are free, but some paid themes are available as well (at amounts ranging from $9 to $49) to help your blog stand out from the crowd a bit more. You can also customize the color palette of your chosen theme, and tweak characteristics such as the color of links, backgrounds, and text. Tumblr's premade themes are excellent; but if you aren't a fan, you can't directly edit the code as you can with WordPress and other blogging platforms. This limitation can be frustrating for experienced programmers, but most users consider it a small price to pay for the convenience of Tumblr's design.

Posting Like a Pro

Once you've perfected the look of your blog, you need to start cranking out high-quality content to make it worth visiting. Near the top of your dashboard, you'll see a bar with options such as 'text', 'photo', and 'quote'. These are the different blog templates that Tumblr provides for different kinds of content.

 

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