Note: These assume at least a passing knowledge of how tumblr works, and some of them require a basic proficiency with HTML. Tumblrs who have never tweaked before should first check out my Beginner’s Guide to Customizing Tumblr (work in progress).
Here are some of the most useful tips, extensions, and links that I’ve come across in my experiences trying to tumbl. They range from extensions that make reblogging 50 times easier, to how to add a music player widget to a page or sidebar of your tumblr or how to enable comments on all parts of your tumblr. Let me know if you use any of these tips or find them helpful :) Enjoy!
- Missing e (Chrome/Firefox/Safari).
One click reblogs to any of your tumblrs. Automatically open dashboard entries in a new tab so you don’t lose your place checking out someone’s tumblr. Send asks to anyone on your dash without even opening their tumblr. Bookmark dash posts so you can find them a year after they were posted with one click. Need I say more? Note: see the next entry if you are getting warning popups after installing Missing E.
- Tumblr - Missing E Warning Remover (Chrome/Firefox)
You might find yourself seeing scary popups from tumblr warning you that they won’t give you any user support if you use Missing e. You can block these with the Missing e Warning Remover.
- Google Image Search Extension (Chrome/Firefox)
These tools can help you identify people or movies that you see in images on Tumblr. Simply install the extension, right click the image in question, then choose “Search Google with this image”. Google will find the same image on other blogs and websites, and will even attempt to give you the name of the person in the picture, or of the movie that the picture is from. Note: To search Google by image without installing an extension, see this tip.
- Pop-Up Ask Box
Personally, I don’t enjoy having to browse to a separate page to ask someone a question. This tumblr theme code tweak makes your ask box pop up over whatever page of your blog people are on when they click your ask link. Quite a cool trick. Note: This could be difficult for people who don’t have any experience with theme editing - it requires pasting code in several areas of your theme and could need some extra modification depending on the theme you are inserting the code into. Shoot me an ask if you’re stuck :)
- Scroll-to-Top Button (with fading and smooth scrolling)
Tumblr made a smart move when they introduced a button that could immediately scroll to the top of the dashboard. Here are the simplest instructions I’ve yet found on how to add similar functionality to every page on your blog. Many thanks to king-of-diamonds.
- Search Box
I use this to allow my visitors to take full advantage of the work I put in to tagging people on my blog. Now they can see all of my “Francisco Lachowski”, “cute”, or “kitten” posts on one page, and are more likely to explore my blog and find what they want quickly.
- Stationary Menu
This is a set of links that stays in the same place on your tumblr while you scroll. It allows you to provide instant access to any links you want, even if the visitor has scrolled 7 miles down on your page.
- Tumblrist Audio Parser
Ever scrolled through dozens or even hundreds of posts trying to find a song that someone posted on their blog, or just want to get a sense of your new friend’s music tastes? Enter their username on this site, and it creates a playable list of all of the audio they ever posted, including links to the original posts on their tumblr.
- Tumblr Mosaic Viewer
An alternative to tumblr’s built-in Archive view, Mosaic displays all the posts of any tumblr user in an attractive, infinitely-scrolling layout. Mosaic does a great job of letting you view photos easily and without the clutter of poorly-designed themes. The size and quality of the previews are both customizable, and hovering over a post brings up controls for liking, reblogging, or viewing directly on the host tumblr. Check out Perfectly Male’s Mosaic view here for a sample.
- Best of Tumblr Post Aggregator
Creates a shareable list of your most popular tumblr posts, complete with thumbnails of and links to every post. Good for an end-of-the-year close out providing an overview of your blog’s best content.
- Tumblring: All Things Tumblr
Website with useful tutorials on how to enhance or simplify your tumbling experience.
This site doesn’t host music but instead plays all of your tumblr music posts in chronological order. Appears as a bar on the bottom of your blog.
The best tumblr music widget in my opinion. Create an account, search for or upload your music, then export your playlist to a widget (literally two clicks), and boom. You have a player sitting on your page or in your sidebar with a scrollable list of songs that can be paused, skipped, or repeated with with nice buttons. For an example, check out my own music page here.
- Hypster Player Bar
Allows you to search their extensive database of music and add songs to playlists, which you can then have play whenever someone enters your tumblr. Appears as a themeable, skinable bar at the bottom of your blog.
Ever want to let followers comment on your posts without having to follow you for two weeks? Or want more control over what people can say on your posts? Then disqus is for you. Check out the bottom of this page for an example.
Ever wanted to see a famous, inspirational, or funny quote on your blog or sidebar? QuoteDaddy does just that in a slick-looking package. You can choose from pre-set categories of quotes, such as “life”, “friendship”, or “funny”, or, if you have an account with the site, you can display only quotes that you have seen and tagged. Displays a new quote every time the page is refreshed. To use, copy and past code into your Description box.
- ThinkExist Daily Quotation
If you want a simple, lightweight, customizable quote source that only changes once a day, then ThinkExist is for you. You have complete control over the dimensions of the widget, from the size to the text and background colors, to whether to enable scrolling in the quote box or not. To use, customize the widget on the site, then copy the text from the HTML box (not the MySpace/Blogs box) to your Description.
A quick and easy alternative to Google Analytics, whos.amung.us puts a small tab the side of your tumblr pages with the number of people currently browsing your blog. Click on the tab and it shows you where all the visitors are coming from and a history of visits. While not as powerful or unobtrusive as GA, it is much more user-friendly and requires no registration. Note: results are publicly available.
Bit.ly is a URL shortener, but its real benefit for professional tumblrs is click counting. Create a bit.ly account, shorten links, then check back later to see how many people clicked on them. I use them a lot on my cute/hot guys blog, Perfectly Male, to track which of my tags visitors click on the most, how many people read my FAQ, etc.
- Google Analytics
Ever wonder where most of your followers are coming from? Who really visits your blog, what posts they like the most, if they actually read your “About” section? Google Analytics lets you see all of this and much more, even packaging it in a nice-looking graph and timeframe that lets you see if people have started to stay on your blog for longer periods of time, what areas of the world they came from, even down to the city. An incredibly powerful free tool, GA is best used by the tech-savvy, but once set up, is incredibly simple to use.
Identifying Someone Whose Pic You See on Tumblr:
I’m sure that in one point in your tumbling career, you’ve seen a guy’s or girl’s picture on tumblr and wondered, “Damn. Who is THAT?” Normally, captions or tags help identify the cutie, but what if the original poster unhelpfully left off these identifiers? One word: Google.
- Copy the URL of the picture you want to search for.
- Browse to images.google.com.
- Click the in the right corner of the search box
- Paste the URL into the new search box, and click search.
Voila! Google searches for copies of your pic on other websites, which can usually provide all the info you need to identify the person in it. If your subject is famous enough, Google even attempts to spit out their name for you! You are now the ultimate internet stalker ;) Note: Does not work if the picture you are working with is very new or is private, like from some random person’s Facebook album.
Note 2: For a much faster search-by-image, install the Google Image Search extension for Chrome or Firefox (see Extensions, number three).
Now, this should NOT be a top goal of yours. Your blog is your blog, and you should take pleasure in the fact that you are expressing yourself in ways not possible with sites like Facebook or Twitter. But we all know that there is a small satisfaction in knowing that a decent number of people are seeing your blog on a daily basis. Here are a few ways you can see small increases in your follower count (or large increases if you keep at them).
- Post original content
Two tumblrs in a reblogging chain get noticed most: The person you reblogged it from, and the source. The posting tumblr is listed in a link at the bottom of every post on most themes, and by posting original content, you can ensure that your name is both spread across tumblr and associated with whatever you posted. It’s a great way to get noticed, and people will often click on the source tumblr to look for similar posts.
- Tag photos
This is one of the things that separates the professional tumblrs out to provide a service and quality from the people just interested in having fun reblogging pics. Tagging things you post or reblog allows people who never would have known about your tumblr otherwise to find it with a simple search. For example, people interested in kittens, clouds, or Zac Efron can search tumblr tags for those phrases, and it’s likely they will check out your tumblr if it comes up as posting something they searched for. But that only happens if your Zac Efron post is tagged as such. Tagging also allows visitors to your tumblr to find photos that specifically interest them (usually via a list of tags that you provide on your sidebar or about section), and makes your site clean and easy to navigate. Tagging isn’t for everyone, but if you have the time, energy, and inclination to do it, it can be very rewarding.
- Caption photos
This is really only helpful for tumblrs that post a lot of people. If you reblog a picture of someone you recognize, caption it with their name, even if it’s already been tagged. Now everyone who reblogs it from you inadvertently carries your URL with the post, and they are unlikely to delete it because it’s relevant and useful. People are also likely to click your URL while looking for more pics of that person. Finally, it makes your blog look quality if a lot of your pics have names associated with them that people can search for. Note: for help identifying people on tumblr, see Extensions, number three)
- Submit a pic to a famous tumblr
Let’s face it. You have a quality blog. But no one knows it because it’s hard to get noticed without followers. Getting something of yours posted on a blog with a lot of followers is a great way to draw attention and gain followers without much effort. Just make sure to follow their submission guides to the letter to ensure you get posted, and be sure to credit your blog with a link somewhere in the submission. On average when I do this I get between 3-5 new followers and even more people staying long enough to reblog some pics.
Filtering Yourself from Google Analytics Traffic Reports:
Stark reality: GA reports are essentially useless if your own traffic is included. Everything you do on your own tumblr, from theme edits and page customization to reblogging your own posts adds meaningless data to your reports. Preventing GA from tracking your computer requires the following three steps.
- Open your GA account, then click the Settings cog icon in the upper left corner (not the word “Settings”).
- Click the “Filters” tab, then click “New Filter”.
- Select the “Custom Filter”, leave “Exclude” selected, then select “User City” for the Filter Field.
- In the Filter Pattern field, type the name of your city, then save.
GA will now ignore traffic from any computer that has visited from your city. Meaningful GA results at last :)
Any ideas, suggestions, or friendly critiques? Submit here.