Published on January 25th, 2012 | by Mustafa Unal0
A few weeks ago I got one of those unexpected live chat messages on Facebook when I logged in to check if I had any new notifications. It was from a bored friend of mine who’s also into blogging and we started discussing the advantages of social blogging platforms compared to the self-hosted WordPress blogs the two of us currently use.
I’m trying to teach myself how to code and design websites and so my blog is currently just a space for me to experiment and practice these things whilst also giving me an excuse to keep writing like I’m doing right now. I find it difficult to have the motivation to write posts on this blog because I know my audience is currently tiny. Why write something which costs me time and effort when only a couple of people will end up skimming through it at best?
This is where social blogging platforms like Tumblr come into play. I recently created a Tumblr blog where I post image sets of Mobile Suit Gundam model kits built and painted by talented hobbyists and through the wise use of post tags I got people to notice each entry. When someone bumped into one of these image sets and found them to be cool, they’d either Like or Reblog it which would in turn expose my content to their friends, if their friends also Like/Reblog then the chain reaction continues.
This is exactly what happened and the post which gained most of the attention was shared 224 times and I didn’t do anything to give that image set exposure, the social features of Tumblr did the advertising for me. If I had posted that image set on my self hosted WordPress blog, it might have received a couple of comments from friends of mine, not from strangers like it does on Tumblr, and that’d probably be it.
This makes me wonder if I’m handicapping myself by being a nobody in the blogosphere with a self hosted blog when I could create a free social blog on Tumblr, increasing the exposure on my content plus the rate at which I gain returning visitors.
If the content on your blog is good then it will get shared as long as people discover it, websites like Tumblr and Facebook are places where people love to share the cool things they find on the Internet. It’s not like people wouldn’t share your content if they found it on your self hosted blog, it’s just that they probably wouldn’t find your blog to begin with unless you put some effort into getting people to notice it.
The vast majority of the traffic to my blog is via Google search for a simple video game guide I wrote. This guide is the first post on my blog which has attracted multiple comments from people I’ve never met, as opposed to friends of mine who saw me post it on Facebook and decided to skim through my text and leave a friendly comment at the end.
The exposure this guide was getting through Google gave me motivation, and I feel that it would not have received this kind of exposure on Tumblr as people favour posts which are exclusively images or short pieces of text, most of them just don’t want to see your wall of text.
This entry is me kind of debating with myself whether or not I should move my blog over to Tumblr, but after saying what I’ve just said, I think the kind of content I create is not suitable for the majority of Tumblr’s audience. What I will say is that if you’re starting a blog and want to grow your readership, Tumblr may be the better choice if your content is quickly digestible like images or quotes. If on the other hand you enjoy writing posts with more than 300 words, you might be better off on a platform like WordPress or Blogger, but I guess that’s why they call Tumblr a micro-blogging platform.
As this is just me thinking out loud and there is no real purpose to this post, I’ll probably delete this in a few weeks when I look back at my archive and ask myself what I was thinking when I published this.