Tumblr vs. Wordpress vs. Blogger: Fight!

Image from: Digital Genetics/Shutterstock

Tumblr has been in the news a lot recently because of their huge user numbers (there’s also been some question of whether or not they are a “bot fest” – but I’ll leave that for others to analyze.) Back in 2009, I compared Tumblr to Posterous – but since that time Tumblr has just pulled away. So much so that Posterous seems to have seen the writing on the wall and is now pivoting in a new direction. But I thought it would be good to take a look at how Tumblr fairs against the larger, more established blogging networks – namely Wordpress.com and Blogger.com (now part of Google).

In terms of unique visitors, there isn’t any comparison – WordPress continues to dominate. Blogger has seen attrition in their numbers and has now fallen to third place (maybe the recent move to integrate Blogger into Google+ will help here).

In terms of visits, while Tumblr passed Blogger more than a year ago, it has now moved into a tie with WordPress.

But while Tumblr has many fewer unique visitors, those visitors are viewing a lot of pages. In fact, Tumblr is now completely dominating WordPress and Blogger in this area.

And in terms of attention, Tumblr is once again dominant.

I think the reason for the higher level of engagement on Tumblr (as measured in Page Views and Attention) probably comes down to a couple of key properties of Tumblr:

1. Tumblr functions more like a social network – thus people that use Tumblr tend to also subscribe/follow other Tumblrs – creating a strong network effect.
2. Cross-blog tagging – this brings a bit of Twitter to the blog network – allowing people to easily aggregate content, by tag, across blogs. This also, no doubt, aids in content discovery.
3. Tumblr reduces barriers to publishing content – unlike a traditional blog, where people feel the need to provide richer content, Tumblr tends to encourage simple posts.

What do you think? Are you using Tumblr now in place of other blogging networks? How do you decide which one to use, and for what purpose?

About Damian Roskill:
Damian Roskill is the Managing Director of Marketing at Compete. Before Compete Damian was head of products for a video start-up and has worked in start-ups for most of his career. Damian's career aspiration is to be at one with the advertising universe. Damian can be found on Twitter as Droskill, or connect with him on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/droskill

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  1. Ron Graves

    Item three – are you saying that people prefer Tumblr because they don’t have to work so hard to read simple/short blog posts? Pretty sad if so.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with quality content, even if posts run to several thousand words, which is often what people get on my blog – it’s never been a problem. I’m also quite happy to stick to a couple of hundred words if that’s what the subject matter warrants.

    Essentially, blog posts, anybody’s, not just mine, find their own natural length if allowed to, and I’d never even consider artificially constraining them in the hope of pulling in more readers with shorter posts.

    Anyway, it’s my experience, over 7 years, that the length of a post has absolutely no bearing on how many times it’s read, and I suspect that it really has little to do with what we’re seeing at Tumblr either.


    • Lindsey Mark

      Tumblr’s audience is more into mirco-blogging than other blogging platforms. View http://notch.tumblr.com/ one of the most highly trafficked tumblr accounts (from the creator of minecraft) to get a better idea of the social context around this.

      It’s great that people with a lot to say like yourself have wordpress as a medium, though it seems this post centers around the behaviors we’re seeing in terms of the platforms people are gravitating to. Albeit annoying to many content creators, most people are consumers of content and are more apt to sharing than create.

      Additionally, if you have your own blog, a tumblr account could be a great way to tease content to your following if your thoughts are fully developed it’s a great test bed for creating a discussion you can build on.


  2. Craig

    Tumblr just feels like “low brow” maybe because of the long list of so and so reblogged this. Reminds me to much of those listerserve I’ld like a copy of that also emails.

    But it’s perception and presentation I guess.


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  4. Pingback: Tumblr vs. Wordpress vs. Blogger: Fight!

  5. Art of Inspiration

    I preferred wordpress


  6. Arturo Robertazzi

    I think the comparison between Tumblr and the other two, Blogger and WordPress, is unfair. Tumblr is like a Social Network and very often Tumblr content is not original, but it’s “reblogged”.


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  8. Damian

    Ron, no – I’m saying the publishing “metaphor” of Tumblr is more oriented towards short-form publishing vs. longer form publishing. Long-form publishing can have just as many page views, but because Tumblr users tend to publish more, there tend to also be more page views. So the page view number is, in my view, a side effect of having more, shorter posts. Thanks for the comment!


  9. Abe

    Interesting stats especially from a tumblr perspective, but I’m not sure it says much about blogs. Tumblr as its evolved to today is hardly a blog system, it’s a *photo* blog system. It’s as close or closer to Flickr as it is to Wordpress. Perhaps I’m missing a side of it but I see almost no tumblrs now where text posts are the norm not the exception. It’s a dynamic and compelling visual space, but hardly a threat to the text centric blog companies.


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  11. Manki

    Nice looking graph, but where does the data come from?


  12. Tantie

    I prefer Tumblr 🙂


  13. Dani

    I’m not really a fan of Tumblr. I’m with ArtInspiration, I’m a WordPress fan.


  14. Dustin

    WordPress provides much more flexibility than blogger and is much more scalable. Blogger’s Interface has improved over the years, but is not worked on and updated nearly as much as WordPress. WordPress has a large community of people looking to constantly improve it, while Blogger is pretty far down on Google’s list of products to focus on.

    The many great themes and plugins available for WordPress is tough to beat, and is what really gives it a big edge over Blogger and other software.

    Even for casual bloggers, the appearance of your website is still important. Wordpress also has a nicer interface and is easier to learn.



  15. CS Hsia

    As someone who manages 7 wordpress sites, I’ve repeatedly looked at Tumblr as more and more of my Twitter buddies are publishing links from their tumblr pages. Somehow the simplistic nature of tumblr pages just doesn’t appeal to me.

    With that said, I’m no fan of Wordpress.com hosted blogs either. Not only are there less customizations, I also worry about access from behind the GFW of China. Though currently unblocked, I do not want trigger happy censors blocking my simply because I hosted it with the wrong folks. Self hosting (with a reliable web host) is still best IMO, which only leaves the Wordpress platform as a viable option.


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  17. Nami

    I used both and find blogger worst. You didn’t know what content their robot and staff consider as spam and delete your blog. WordPress nice but it get hacked easily mostly through there plugins. It would be nice if wordpress release plugin and good templates officially too.


  18. Nan Ross

    As far as a home-based website, I would go with Wordpress. It’s quite simple to transition a Wordpress.com blog to a self-hosted Wordpress platform. Plus, the additional plugins enhance the functionality of the platform. But, I do use Tumblr for small quick posts and for connecting with music artists.