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.
Sites who have Tumblr themes we admire and use, that are loaded with great features:
For a totally custom theme, contact us. We’ve done quite a few, our most popular being my personal blogging Tumblr theme, which has been featured in hundreds of sites online: http://freshid.com/portfolio/kris-colvin Prices for a custom Tumblr theme range from $950-3000 depending on required features and desired design style.
For some design inspiration, check out these Tumblr theme collections:
- 30 Beautifully Designed Tumblr Themes
- 60 Handpicked Beautiful Tumblr Themes
- 34 Amazing Tumblr Themes
How To… Add Comments
Tumblr does not come with Commenting enabled automatically, like WordPress does. So you will need to add Disqus in order to allow people to comment on your posts.
Go to: http://disqus.com/admin/tumblr after setting up your Tumblr site and these instructions will guide you through the process of adding comments. You will only have to do this once, and then you will only need to visit the Disqus site to moderate comments if something inappropriate needs to be deleted.
How To… Add a Contact Form
Tumblr does not have a built-in contact form, but you can add one to a Tumblr page that you create for this purpose using a Wufoo form, which is free for a basic account. After creating a Tumblr page on your site, create a Wufoo account and set up your form on their site. Then follow the directions in the Code Manager for integrating a Wufoo form onto the page (you will need to be using the “HTML” method of entry in your Tumblr page. See an example of how this will look afterward at an old site we are no longer using.
How To… Sell Things on Tumblr
Right now, there is no plugin or add-on or even a specific theme I have found to use Tumblr as an ecommerce site, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible with a simple solution or downright ingenuity. Let’s talk about both.
Easiest Ecommerce on Tumblr
The easiest way to sell something on ANY blog is to use a Paypal or Google checkout button. Both services have reasonable fees (compared to the overhead of taking credit cards and bank drafts on your own) and both are fairly easy to use as a novice seller, once you know the process of adding a button to a post or page. Learn about PayPal’s “Buy Now” button or Google’s Checkout method and select the one that makes the most sense to you. In both of these cases you should be able to redirect buyers back to your site somehow at the end of the transaction.
Another easy way to do ecommerce is not to let people pay directly, but send them an invoice using an already established process. See the above information on how to setup a Contact Form, and set up a form that includes basic invoicing information, then send the customer an invoice to pay.
Intermediate Ecommerce on Tumblr
Another way to sell things on Tumblr is to embed a store using a widget or iFrame. I know nothing about Wazala, but they are worth investigation as they have direction for adding a shopping cart to Tumblr and they have built their software specifically to be integrated into your website. Their features are pretty stout – and they say this works in Facebook business pages plus has a mobile browser optimized store, so I recommend digging further into this tool.
An Etsy store widget can be embedded on Tumblr and when listings are clicked on, will take the customer over to Etsy. The downside is, now they are on Etsy and have left your Tumblr site so you don’t necessarily have a way to cleanly bring them back to your site. But you might be able to add your site link to the Thank You message delivered by Etsy upon purchase and at least encourage coming back. You can use the Etsy Mini widget, or check out the cute widgets at Craft Cult and how they look in a sidebar. This is the widget we have used on the kriscolvin.com Tumblr to show people our latest brand designs available at Etsy.
Advanced Ecommerce on Tumblr
So far, the only store I have seen was developed by Tumblr themselves and it uses Shopify for the cart, so it is not a custom cart, but rather a series of workaround and redirects to make this store experience work. It is called “Of a Kind” as in, ” a few of a kind only” and it’s an awesome example of highly custom Tumblr coding. There are some fancy things going on with listings, display and categorization that we will be reverse engineering to see how they did this – we believe we could do this for clients if needed and in fact, we’d love to, having toyed with ecommerce for Tumblr in the past but not going deep enough. This would cost more than the typical Tumblr project, but if you want to sell and use Tumblr as your preferred platform it can certainly be done and given the excellent searchability and ability to have followers who reblog your items, it’s a valid platform for ecommerce. If you need more help with ecommerce sites in general, check out this list of 22 ecommerce platforms to sell your products online.
I’ll add some more “how-to’s” later, but in the meantime if you have specific questions please leave them in the comments. You might also want to read other articles we’ve written on Tumblr or check out our Tumblr themes for sale on Etsy also.
- WordPress vs. Tumblr – A Simple Overview
- The Etsy-Twitter-Tumblr Triumvirate
- Why Tumblr?
- Tumblr Themes by Fresh ID