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Setup a Tumblr Blog: The Basics pt. 1

Do you want to create your own blog but have little knowledge of web designing and web development? Do you want to create your own online space where you can write about things you care about, without having to maintain the software and learn the technical aspects of blogging?

If your answer is a yes, Tumblr [1] is for you.

Tumblr is a dead simple blogging platform which is free, easy to setup and you can start posting in minutes. Unlike other blogging platforms, like WordPress.com or self hosted WordPress.org, Tumblr lets you blog without having to manage any file, database, scripts or images. Tumblr takes care of all the hassles for you and gives you an intuitive way to write and share content with the world.

In this tutorial, we will learn the basics of blogging with Tumblr and how you can setup your free Tumblr blog; which is also called “A Tumblelog”

Setting Up Your Free Tumblr Blog

Before you carry on the following steps, please note that there are two ways to setup a Tumblr blog:

– Case A: Use your own domain name with your Tumblr blog (e.g  johnsmith.com).

– Case B: Get your free Tumblr blog on a subdomain of Tumblr (e.g johnsmith.tumblr.com).

Both methods are free and there are no special advantages of using a custom domain name over using a free one. However, many people prefer buying their own domain name for branding reasons.

Note: Setting up a Tumblr blog with your own domain name is slightly complicated – we will cover it in an upcoming post. The following methods apply for the subdomain version of Tumblr (Case B to be more precise).

1. Go to Tumblr.com [1], enter your email address in the username field and choose a password for your account. Next, enter a preferred web address of your blog and click the “Start Posting” button. Don’t worry, you an always change the address of your blog at a later point of time.

Create Tumblr account

2. After you click “Start posting”, you will be prompted to enter a captcha and verify that you are a human. Fill it out and hit “I am human”.

3. You will immediately receive a verification email at your email address which you have used to sign up for Tumblr. Open your email inbox and verify your account by clicking the verification link, as shown below:

Verify Tumblr Email Address

4. All done! You are ready to take Tumblr for a spin. Your blog is live on the web and you will see this welcome screen within your Tumblr dashboard:

Tumblr Welcome Screen

Customizing Your Tumblr Blog

5. The next logical step is to enter a name of your blog, upload a profile image and choose a theme for your blog in the “Appearance options” page of Tumblr’s dashboard. Click the small cross icon on the welcome page and you will be able to choose a custom name of your blog and upload a profile image to be used as your Tumblr avatar.

Customize Your Tumblr Blog

When you are done, click the “Show all appearance options” button.

6. This will take you to the “Appearance options” page where you can choose an HTML layout for your blog. There are thousands of free as well as premium Tumblr themes available, choose a theme which you would like to use and click the “Save and close” button.

Choose A Theme And Layout

Don’t worry too much about the design of your blog right now. You can always use a different theme or customize the layout later.

7. Now Tumblr will prompt you to follow some people from Tumblr directory. You can skip this step – it’s not mandatory.

8. Next, you will land in to your Tumblr dashboard where you can create text, image or video posts by choosing the appropriate icons, as shown below:

Create Posts In Tumblr Dashboard

9. Creating your first post is easy. Once you have chosen the post type, a WYSIWYG text editor will open where you can write your post, add photos, videos and then preview the article you have just written.

Tumblr WYSIWYG Editor

10. Click the “create post” button and your blog post will be published.

There are a lot of other features, tools and options available at Tumblr, which I could not rattle off in this article. You can save drafts, re-blog content from another Tumblr blog, read and share photos directly from your Tumblr dashboard or follow another Tumblr user. If you have always procrastinated  about creating your own blog, it’s high time you give Tumblr a try.

Note: In our next tip, we will learn how to setup a Tumblr blog using your own domain name. Stay tuned!

~Amit Banerjee