WordPress and Tumblr are two very popular platforms for sharing content, however, they vastly differ in a number of ways. If you’re looking to further understand the differences between the two when it comes to website creation and content management, check out the infographic below for a comparison (along with some explanatory text following).
WordPress Vs. Tumblr
Once upon a time I was an avid Tumblr user. Enticed by a sea of endless memes, mesmerizing photography, art, fashion, pop culture references, and more, I found Tumblr to be truly entertaining and original.
While I rarely indulge in Tumblr anymore, I still appreciate the social network for what it is. Yet, when it comes to designing a branded website, WordPress is the clear winner. Here’s why:
PURPOSE and use: Open source CMS VS MiCROBLOG
While WordPress has evolved from its blogging origins into a full-fledged content management system (CMS), Tumblr falls into the category of microblogging and social networking.
A quarter of the internet is powered by WordPress, so at random, you have a 25 percent chance of landing on a WordPress site. If you’re reading an article on Forbes.com, CNN, or The New York Times, you may not realize it but you’re on a WordPress powered site.
On the other hand, Tumblr sites are considered microblogs…that is…a social media site to which a user makes short, frequent posts. Think photos upon photos, memes upon memes, gifs upon gifts, and shorter content posts (like videos, songs, photos, etc.). Check out birdswitharms.tumblr.com, oldloves.tumblr.com, or whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com to get the gist of what I’m talking about.
Much internet virality has also been conceived on Tumblr. Remember that white and gold dress (err…I mean black and blue)? That sensation sprouted from Tumblr.
While brands use WordPress to power their websites, brands use Tumblr as a social media extension. Airbnb, for example, uses Tumblr to share photos and stories. Netflix users Tumblr to share gifs, memes, and other forms of media, showing snippets from its featured shows. Getty Images uses Tumblr as a news source for photojournalism.
Verdict: WordPress is geared more towards a branded, finished website. Tumblr is a way to share media and have fun indulging in fandom. Compared to Tumblr, WordPress is the better option for sophisticated content management.
If you’ve ever explored Tumblr, you likely to reach the conclusion that there’s a youthful audience lurking around. In fact, Tumblr’s average user age is 18-to-29-year-olds.
This article nonetheless gives a somewhat accurate explanation of the type of person you might find on Tumblr (Art Fanatic, Teenage Rebel, etc.). There’s obviously a more expansive audience on Tumblr than these generalizations, however, that article wouldn’t have been written if it wasn’t somewhat true.
On the other hand, WordPress’ audience is much more mature, with the average user age being between 26 and 35. In terms of the type of WordPress user, developers account for 81 percent, followed by site owners (7 percent) and business owners (6 percent).
Verdict: Tumblr draws in a younger audience whose focus is more concerned with fandom. The WordPress audience is more mature and focused on developing websites.
Design and functionality
Both WordPress and Tumblr present aesthetically beautiful templates for blogs and websites. The key difference here is how far you can go with customization.
The control you have with Tumblr blogs is very limited. Typically the design layout on Tumblr is either in a grid or column layout. This is great if you want to create a site like a photo blog but limited for sites like ecommerce and content management.
A Tumblr theme’s HTML can be adjusted, but the Tumblr software itself cannot be downloaded. That’s the beauty of WordPress’ open source nature; you can download a theme and adjust it to your exact preferences. With Tumblr, themes are typically locked and can only be altered up to a certain degree.
In addition, WordPress contains plugins that enable you to extend the functionality of your site. For instance, you can add a calendar, contact form, and built in Google Analytics to your WordPress site. Tumblr does not have any plugins and is highly limited in extending functionality.
Verdict: If you want complete control over the UI and UX of your site, choose WordPress. Its open source nature means you can download the software and alter it to suit your exact needs. Tumblr is not open source and therefore is limited in terms of design customization and going beyond what you’re given.
When it comes to functionality, purpose, and design, WordPress outshines Tumblr as a CMS. But if you’re looking to dive into a deep abyss of interesting short-form media, look no further than Tumblr.
While I’ve covered some of they key differences between Tumblr and WordPress, for more on the differences between the two, check out this insightful article by Torque.