Why Move from Tumblr to WordPress? Ownership and Creative Control

Why Move from Tumblr to WordPress

In a bold attempt at an image makeover this week, Yahoo acquired Tumblr for a cool billion dollars. The acquisition of the CMS slash social network has shaken up the world of blogging and created some uncertainty for folks who have build an audience on the Tumblr platform. Despite Yahoo!’s promise “to not screw it up,” folks are worried that they may lose their content if Yahoo decides to shut Tumblr down altogether. Yahoo’s track record with companies they acquire is spotty.

The outcome of Yahoo’s goal to acquire relevancy with the younger set remains to be seen. So what’s happening to all of the clever content creators and zeitgeist influencers of Tumblr as we know/knew it? Well, many of them are holding out and staying loyal to the platform where they built their audience, and many signs point to that being a good move. Dance with the one that brung ya, and all.

But there’s also been a huge spike in pages imported from Tumblr to WordPress over the last weekend. Tens of thousands have already made the migration. Tumblr bloggers are now flocking to WordPress.

Whirlwind of Importing

WordPress’ co-founder Matt Mullenweg posted some the numbers on his blog. Within a single hour last night, 72,000 new blog posts were imported into WordPress. Though it’s a small percentage of Tumblr’s 50.9 billion posts, it’s still way, way more than WordPress’ Sunday evening average of 500 posts total.

Let’s think about why this might be a smart move for certain bloggers. Is WordPress a viable option for your blog?

Yes, the acquisition is nudging independent Tumblr bloggers to consider their options, but even without Yahoo’s interference, there’s a valid argument that the migration to WordPress is a natural progression for anyone serious about blogging. After getting their audience and their content started on Tumblr, some users will be looking for more control over their site, as well as their content.

Own Your Content

WordPress means ultimate freedom and ownership. Everything you publish on WordPress you own. And, since WordPress is open source, you can manage, tweak, control, and design virtually every aspect of your blog, front-end to back-end. As well, since WordPress is open-source software, and not “owned” by a company, WordPress can never be acquired and no one is ever going to serve you ads.

The knock-out combo of freedom and ownership is a big reason why WordPress makes up 17% of the Internet and 48% of the top 100 blogs are WordPress. It’s free, it’s open-source, and it’s all yours.

WordPress Ease of Use

WordPress gives you dramatically more control of your site. But, if you can navigate Tumblr, basic WordPress is not much of a stretch as far as learning curve goes. But it’s a huge leap as far as capabilities go.

WordPress’s richer functionality adds much more creative freedom and variety. Customizable themes and tons of plugins from places like WooThemes and Themeforest (to name two) make it possible for your blog to be literally one of a kind. Add WordPress meetups in cities all over the globe, WordPress has an amazing community to follow, interact with, and become part of!

Friends Forever

It also helps that WordPress and Tumblr have always been friendly with each other—complimentary even. They are not mutually exclusive in the least. In fact, Tumblr’s own blog used to be on WordPress. Migrating only takes a few clicks and you’ve imported your entire Tumblr site to a fresh WordPress install. Also, with Publicize, WordPress users can share their posts instantly to a number of social networks, including Tumblr – with a single click.

That really just scratches the surface of how WordPress and Tumblr are complementary, and why WordPress would be a solid option for your blog to graduate to.

With the mission to contribute to the democratization of publishing, Matt Mullenweg is pretty much the opposite of a corporate sellout. So however you decide to handle the news about Tumblr’s acquisition, bringing your Tumblr content into WordPress is a surefire way to ensure ownership of your content and creative freedom for your blog.

More WordPress news from WP Engine


  1. Great post! The only thing I would add is that there are *tons* of Tumblr style WordPress themes, that allow you to post in the same style as Tumblr: Quotes, Images, Video, Blog.

    If you serach “tumblr wordpress theme” you’ll find tons of great options.

  2. Even if Mayer doesn’t screw it up, Tumblr will always live with the threat of being monetized. I trust that Matt will stay true to his vision for WordPress. I can’t imagine using anything other that WP–and WPEngine, for that matter.

  3. The truth of the matter is that the WordPress ecosystem, at this point, is much MUCH larger than what Matt says or does. As you wrote, WordPress coders and contributors are at the heart of the software.

    While Matt is figuratively the “CEO” of “WordPress” , the community at large would not stand for what this article implies (that Tumblr literally “sold out”). It just won’t happen. And if it does, the community would fork it and create a new open source version.

    But that won’t happen. Many of the top WP devs are big proponents of the GPL license. So while there are MANY commercial projects and services around WordPress (like WP Engine), the threat of it being “acquires” just doesn’t fit the model.

    Thanks for posting this!

  4. Actually, the comparison of wordpress and tumblr is rather disputed, both of them are created for different purposes. Tumblr looks like a gallery while wp offers more advanced functions to perform. I started running my blog with Tumblr but then I converted it to wp with cms2cms tool. THe difference is obvious! I like wp!

  5. I use both blog sites. Each for a seperate purpose, which are aligned with the business model of each: Commercial or Non-Profit.

    I find the option to use both Tumblr and WordPress to be most benefical.

    However, in the effort to build a blog format similar to the developer IT type blogs found on Tumblr, which are written as a continuous scroll blogs, I found that significant coding in the HTML edit mode is required.

    Additionaly, I’ve reached the limit to the Tumblr blog’s continuous scroll posting space and capability – as the blog can not be formatted for Mobile View in the continuous scroll format.

    So, I’ve opted for the posting utilizing the individual post method on WordPress, which has a superior editorial format.

  6. Great article,
    I use WordPress for my websites because I want the ability to customize things there. But My personal blog, which is just about random thoughts, I think Tumblr works well for it.
    I have observed (and also have read) that Tumblr works well for Visuals and short form posts. And if you are posting about a particular topic, you have high chances of getting more exposure than on WordPress.

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