All posts in Blogging

How to Make Your Tumblr Look Like a Website

A lot of folks hit our site wanting to know how to make their Tumblr look more like WordPress or a traditional website. This is somewhat possible, in terms of navigation, but much harder to do if you want a “homepage” front door to your tumblr blog, as the way it is meant to function is as a chronological series of blog posts, the most recent on top. Here are the different methods you can use to make your Tumblr look more like a website.

Find a Theme That Already Looks Like a Website

Premium and free themes may exist that have the look and feel you want, but you just need to find them. Check out our recent list of theme sites and visit Tumblr’s Theme Garden, where you can preview each look on your blog before purchasing. Here is a good example of a Premium theme by one of our favorite Tumblr developers, Style Hatch. This is called Origin West.

You need to study the features offered by this theme, because these pre-coded bits of functionality are going to get you closer to the feeling of a website than many other themes provide. This is some of the stuff you need to look for in a pre-made theme:

  • built-in coding to display tweets and Instagram photos
  • built-in coding for post sharing
  • Disqus is set up to allow visitor comments (this is the only commenting method available for Tumblr sites, yet isn’t pre-installed so it has to be set up)
  • built-in Google Analytics and Clicky tracking (you will have to set up accounts on these sites and then enter your code, but the coding is here already to make it work)
  • uses Typekit for custom fonts
  • page links run across the top of the header, more like a website does
  • ends the site nicely with a footer area with content and search, like a website does

You will notice, though, there is no “homepage” – but if you want a sharp looking blog that is going to stand out, this theme is awesome.

If you’re a girly-girl like moi, check out Coco… this theme seriously could not be ANY more adorable! I think Style Hatch has my number. :-)

Continue Reading →

Is it Time for You to Tumble?

We’ve never been shy about pushing people to examine Tumblr – it’s our favorite micro-blogging platform! The themes can be so much richer and if you work at it, you can achieve just about anything you need to, despite not hosting the site yourself or having to work around code limitations.

To inspire you to take a fresh look at Tumblr and all it has to offer as an online repository of your random musings, here are some resources of the most gorgeous themes we’ve seen, as well as examples of themes we’ve modified to match our clients brands.

Gorgeous Tumblr Theme Sites

ThemeCloud has some lovely, photo-centric themes that are very clean and neat and not expensive at all – less than the cost of a latte in most cases!

Continue Reading →

5 of the Best WordPress Sites on the Web

I stumbled across a nice list from WPMU that is lists in their opinion, the best 40 sites on the internet. The full list of 40 sites may seem overwhelming, but there are some great sources of content and information among them. Here are my go-to resources for WordPress… what are yours?

1. Smashing Magazine’s category “features quality articles about developing clean, smart and fast websites with WordPress. The articles are intermediate level, with an emphasis on practical, hands-on discussions related to WordPress.” I love how the detail that for you so you know exactly what to expect.

Continue Reading →

WordPress vs. Tumblr – A Simple Overview

tumblr-vs-wordpress-post

This post, originally published a year ago, has been updated as of December 3, 2011 to reflect changes on both platforms and offer new ideas. This is the single most-read post on our site, and daily searches of WordPress vs. Tumblr and Tumblr vs. WordPress is how people find it – so apparently lots of folks are debating this question!

The ever evolving world of blog platforms can be confusing so we try to help our clients understand the basic differences between the options they are considering.  Much of the discussion regarding platform benefits is often slanted from a developers point of view, making it a bit frustrating and hard to understand for someone who isn’t living in the coding world. Therefore, we created this quick and easy overview to help our non-techy friends grasp the “so what” of both platforms.

Continue Reading →

How To Enhance Your Tumblr Site

post-enhancetumblr

Given the vast majority of our site traffic coming to us with Tumblr (vs WordPress) questions, I’ve decided to add some posts on these and other blogging platforms to help people get the most of our their chosen platform. I will update this post of Tumblr “How To’s” as I get specific questions from folks. So let’s get started with some basics!

How To… Choose a Theme

Tumblr has a theme set up by default that you will likely want to change, as it’s just generic. They make “trying on” different themes super-easy though, by using the Theme Garden.

Login to your Tumblr site, and then go to http://www.tumblr.com/themes and look at the available themes. They are organized by Featured, Premium (which cost money), Recent and Popular themes, and they show you how many people are using each theme. You can click the “Preview” button at the bottom of each design to get an idea of what your site would look like using this theme.

There are a few additional places where you can find paid themes. These themes look good as-is, but can also be customized by professional design agencies (like ours) to coordinate with your brand. For an example of this, see the original Style Hatch theme “Savory” and then look at our client’s site, Cowgirl Cravings. Using the same brand identity elements that we use on her other sites, we adjusted the Savory theme to make it unique for her brand.

Continue Reading →

Using Custom WordPress Design to Complement an Existing Site: Red House Media Case Study

RedHouse Media is an advertising agency of long-standing in Brainerd, Minnesota, where they specialize in traditional marketing, creative work and photography for clients of all types. They have a well-defined brand and had a company blog that was not serving their needs as they began to grow and get more involved on social networks.

Creative Collaboration

Because RedHouse does design, they had a good idea of what they wanted their blog to do, but didn’t have the developers or experienced blog designers to bring it to life. When Aaron met Kristi on Twitter in 2009, it seemed like a great complement of skills, so they hired us to design and develop what they envisioned. Since we are both design agencies, it was easy to stay on the same page regarding the creative approach!
Continue Reading →

Legalities for Bloggers

Lisa Barone at Outspoken Media has written a post a lot of our friends and clients who blog might want to read, called A Quick & Dirty Legal Guide for Bloggers. While we haven’t had our lawyer vet it, Lisa makes some good points about general things you should remember while blogging and stating your opinions, your case, your experiences, or perhaps how you stack up against competitors.

Continue Reading →

Does Size Matter? The Age Old Battle…Length vs. Quality

One of the oldest questions around…does size matter? Or is it quality that’s more important? You know you have fought for one side of the debate or the other or possibly both at one time or another in your life. We had the question posed to us today and have heard the experts debate the question quite a bit lately so as we always do when we don’t have an answer we turned to our friends online. Let us just say before we share our findings that people can be equally passionate for both length and quality…finding a clear answer is most challenging.

Now, I know what some of you may be thinking but we are talking blog post size here people… you naughty types may be disappointed but we hope you’ll still love us (we do love you after all! LOL!) Two of our favorite bloggers are quite different in style: Chris Brogan writes shorter posts, more often – sometimes daily, and Olivier Blanchard writes longer posts less often. Both work and both pose problems: sometimes we are left wanting more with a post that feels too short, or we feel rushed and don’t have time to read and absorb a longer post.

We did some quick research to see if we could get any fact-based data to determine if post length really makes a difference with organic SEO…and wouldn’t you know it? The facts are prey to the argument as well. What we found from blogbuildingu.com is there is a keyword density issue that may factor into post length and seo – there also might be a cap that search engines limit in terms of words on the page they search. The post says “it seems to be the best practice that you should create content with at least 250-300 words and avoid exceeding the 1000 words limit.”

On the other hand, smallbusinesssem.com asserts that there is no perfect length and that variety is optimal.  At the end of the day, what we found is there are a variety of ways to help improve your SEO results and size is actually of minimal impact. If you are desperate for SEO improvement and willing to try and manipulate the search engines (remember, if they find out they may boot you all together) you can get some good tips and tricks from the seoblackhat.com masters directly. This whole site is dedicated to exploiting search so enter at your own risk.

We decided to take a look at one of our more popular posts to see if we could come up with any possible reasons to persuade us one way or the other. Our WordPress vs. Tumblr post is one the search engines seem to love based on our google analytics report. After reviewing the post we came up with three possible reasons it has had long-term search success….

  1. We believe the post title can make a real impact if it includes solid keywords and popular phrases. WordPress vs. Tumblr is a phrase that people seem to search pretty often…at least per Google Adwords analysis tool.
  2. We use the words WordPress and Tumblr throughout the post multiple times feeding the search engines the keywords they love.
  3. We populated the ‘all in one seo pack’ plug-in for the post with all the information fields appropriately filled in.

Our final analysis… we should focus on WHAT words to use vs. how many. We shouldn’t get hung up with the number of words we write and instead just focus on writing…often.  At the end of the day, don’t let quantity hinder your quality. A short meaningful post is always going to be better than no post at all. We would love for you to share your preference in our comment section!

Cheers,

Lisa

How Blogs Work for Business

This is a pretty good overview in cartoon-like format, for the uninitiated business considering adding a blog, created by @killer_bunnie. When it comes to blogging, approach and content is not one-size fits all… there are so many methods a company can use when considering a blog, so if you have questions about your particular situation, please let us know.

In the coming months we will be covering a lot more about the art of blogging from the technological to company processes and cultural aspects to design and content approaches, so let us know if you have any burning questions and we will try to cover those first – we’re fortunate to be friends with many prominent bloggers/consultants and if we don’t have the answer, will tap into our network of friends to find it.

But this overview covers a lot of great reasons “why” you should have a blog… and we strongly believe most companies should. Check it out…

Not Writing This Blog Post Will Cost Me $100

So, last night i received an interesting challenge. A friend and client of ours was talking to me on Twitter about how he knows he needs to blog more, but just hasn’t made the time to do it recently. He has a mildly good excuse… as owner of RedHouse Media Aaron Hautala was creating a wonderful time capsule video retrospective of the last five years. Check it out. And if you want one of these for your business, give Aaron a call.

This lamenting over the lack of consistent blogging is not new for me… I was just talking about it with Mack Collier and the #blogchat gang Sunday night. I just cannot seem to develop the consistency to blog my thoughts. Yet time and again, other people verify what I have witnessed with my own eyes:

Blogging Brings More Business.

I don’t know how it works, exactly. I mean, I could break it down into theories of psychology and math, if I weren’t too tired from a long day of non-stop meetings… I just know that sharing my opinions and putting my unique take on things, out there for the world to see, causes opportunities to come my way, or in some cases, enables people to learn what it is I can do, that would help them. So blogging is beneficial from a strict bottom-line perspective, and since I so rarely do it (I’m ashamed to say, sometimes I have struggled to eek out one post a month), I can hardly claim it’s taking a lot of my time.

As a perfectionist, blogging probably does take me a longer time than it does some other folks. I often want to do research, and link a bunch of stuff, or create a diagram or find just the right picture to go with my post… so those self-imposed goals leave me with the feeling of it taking half a day to a day or more, for a post of any substantial help to people. Perhaps, though, if I exercised this muscle more, I would become faster.

Aaron obviously shares the same thoughts and feelings about the benefits of blogging, and the lack of consistent will to make it so, because the turkey actually challenged me to a duel of sorts (for our own good). Here’s how the conversation went (you have to start from the bottom and read up):

Tweet Convo - Thread your Twitter Conversations

As you can see, it only takes a few tweets to change your life! I suddenly find myself having committed to writing a blog post a week for the rest of this year! No sick weeks, no vacation weeks, no lame hairdays, can interfere!

Hmmph. I hardly even know how this happened. But… as much as I protest, I am glad. I have always wanted to write more – I grew up wanting to be a writer. We live in a time and an age and a country where we are free to share our thoughts with others and hopefully discuss them respectfully and gain knowledge and appreciation for other viewpoints in the process. (On a good blog, at least, I feel that happens.) I have never really built a “readership” like I have a following on Twitter, and that is one of the things about this type of outlet… you have to work on it to develop that. If I never tweeted, I wouldn’t have the relationships there that I do – I asked one simple question today and received dozens of answers. Maybe someday I can do the same thing on this blog.

Well… or at least have a few fun conversations. I have only committed to once a week. It’s a start. I have had things twirling around in my head I’d love to have already written, but didn’t make the time.

The question I want to leave you with is this: where do you need a challenge to motivate you out of doing something halfway?

Do you have blogging dreams falling by the wayside also? Maybe it’s in your money management, or your business marketing, or your diet or exercise or spending more time with your kids. The beautiful thing about Aaron’s challenge is, we hope the other doesn’t fail, but if one of us does, there will be a penalty that is at least stiff enough to cause a slight sting. I mean, $100 still buys a reasonable amount of stuff, but is not enough that we can’t pay the price if we fall down.

They say anything worth having is worth working for. I’m glad Aaron gave me this tangible prompt – it’s going to be interesting to have to keep this top-of-mind every week so as not to lose this challenge.

Okay, Aaron, your turn. Your last post was December 14th! :-)