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Tumblr from a WordPress Perspective

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Over the past four years, I’ve probably set up over a dozen WordPress sites including those for myself, my friends and my family. I use WordPress on every single site I guest blog on and have read several books on the application. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but WordPress is definitely what I know best and use the most when it comes to blogging.

However, as I talked about last week, when I went to create my new blog Copyright Fail, I realized that WordPress was not the ideal tool. Copyright Fail is mostly a linkblog with quotes and embeds. Though WordPress can definitely manage such a blog, it would be slower more complicated. I wanted to make this something fast and easy to maintain.

With that in mind, I chose Tumblr as the platform to build the blog on. I had dabbled with a Tumblelog before and already had an account, but this was my first serious attempt at creating a blog with Tumblr. I ended up getting a crash course in Tumblr and learned five things things every WordPress user should be aware of before using Tumblr.

5. Domains

If you’re used to using self-hosted WordPress installs, you’re probably comfortable with pointing your domain to another server, managing your nameservers, etc. However, while Tumblr does allow you to use a custom domain name, it handles it in a slightly different way.

Rather than changing your name servers to your new host, users set the A name record on the domain to point to Tumblr’s IP address. While this is fairly easy to do and only takes a few moments, it’s confusing to those of us who are more used to editing nameservers and it is made worse by domain registrars that don’t make it obvious where you change this information.

All in all, it works well and only takes a few minutes, but there is a learning curve, even for experienced bloggers on other platforms.

4. Design

WordPress has a well-known and understood template system that allows for a lot of complexity by breaking the template up into many different files. Tumblr takes a much more simple approach by using one single template page, more like Blogger.

This approach has its pluses and minuses. Though it means that there is only one file to edit, it can grow to be one very large file. The system is very flexible and can be used, with some skill, to make just about any kind of layout you want. But is going to seem alien to WordPress users adapted to a more structured system.

Also, Tumblr has a very different variable set and variable structure. Where WordPress uses fairly standard PHP, Tumblr has a different way of inserting variables into a template and the variables are also dependent on the kind of post that it is for.

3. Plugins

One of my favorite things about self-hosted WordPress blogs is the plugin system. However, Tumblr doesn’t provide anything comparable. However, there are many systems that will still integrate with Tumblr, including Disqus.

However, the integration usually takes place through the design editing function, requirting the copying and pasting of code into key parts of the template. It can be a bit of a pain for someone who is used to just activating a plugin, but works tolerably well if you don’t plan to add too many functions.

2. Posting

Though you can log into Tumblr and do a “Text” post, which has much of the same functionality of a regular WordPress post, most of the functionality of Tumblr is in its bookmarklet, which allows you to create a post from any page you are visiting.

Though WordPress has a “Press This!” bookmarklet, it is an out of the way feature few make serious use of. Meanwhile, Tumblr’s bookmarklet is front and center, allowing you to post entries without ever visiting the actual administration panel of your Tumblelog.

Since most Tumblr posts are very short, usually just a link, a quote or an embedded video, this makes sense as the time it would take to log in and create a new post by hand would be too much. However, it is also very limiting in terms of formatting. Where the WordPress editor is robust and powerful, Tumblr’s is slim and fast.

This can be very frustrating to detail-oriented WordPress admins that miss having the ability to easily edit every little aspect of a post, but it makes posting a new entry only a few seconds of your day.

1. The Post Types

With WordPress, a post is a post is a post. Every post is the same as every other one and it is up to you to edit and style them the way you want to make them look different. However, with Tumblr, not all posts are created equal.

Tumblr has six different post kinds, text, which functions like a regular blog post, photo, quote, link, chat and video. Each of these post types are fundamentally different not just in the type of content they display, but how they are formatted and presented. Quote posts, for example, look different and have a different style than a link post or a photo post.

This makes it important to plan what kind of post you are uploading before hitting the “Share on Tumblr” button. However, there is some overlap. For example, a quote and a link post are very similar (especially if you add a description to a link post), the difference is how it is presented.

Though some are self-explanatory, such as the video and photo posts, it is important to play with all of the types of posts to see how they look in your theme and determine which is right for the kind of entry you want to post.

Bottom Line

Tumblr isn’t easier or harder, but it is very different. For certain types of blogs, it is the right tool for the job though I still think most blogs will do better on WordPress.

However, Tumblr isn’t trying to compete with WordPress but instead is trying to fill a different niche, something it does very well.

My only true gripe is that the template system feels very awkward to me. Though I am comfortable editing HTML, the one-page template and the lack of a live preview (you can only preview on a stock site) makes it more difficult than it feels like it has to be.

On the flip side, once the Tumblelog is set up, posting to it and maintaining it is unbelievably easy. The time it takes to go from interesting link to Tumblr post is less than 30 seconds, making it effortless to maintain another blog.

In short, if you’re interested in an easy to maintain blog that focuses on linking, quoting and embedding other content. Tumblr is a great choice. Just give yourself a little time to ease into it if you are used to another blogging platform.

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Are You Trying to Rank or Help People?

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Check the intent behind your blogging actions. What are your drivers? Some bloggers desperately want to rank, to place articles on page 1 of Google, to drive sweet, passive search engine traffic. Good luck with that. Nobody succeeds ranking until you give virtually all of your attention and energy to helping people with your blogging efforts. The rank comes after the generous help and that generous help often spans years of your life because developing page 1 Google skills is no joke. If it were easy, everybody would rank on page 1, right?

But you would be surprised by how many folks struggle blogging because the focus on rank over help dominates their minds. I never fell afflicted to this common limiting belief because I give scant attention to ranking on Google. Most of me could care less. I help people through my guest posts, blog posts, course and eBooks. My intent is to help people not to try to get traffic and money through manipulating things. Be honest about the big difference between the two because making this shift will improve your life tremendously, along with positioning you to experience increasing blogging success.

Focus heavily on people and little on things to discover the secret of blogging success. Bloggers succeed by generously helping human beings for sustained periods of time. Imagine some blogger who appears to be all over their blogging niche. Study this individual. Guaranteed, this bloggers generously helped people for years, hours daily, through multiple methods of helping people. Imagine guest posting, blogging, broadcasting live on Facebook and podcasting. See how the top bloggers always seem to be assisting people from a generous, genuine energy? Be that person. The tops never obsess over ranking because doing so attaches you to outcomes. Attach to outcomes. Feel fear. Attachment is fear. Any time you blog from a vibe of fear, you will struggle, fail and quit eventually. Top bloggers feel fears but release the energies versus panicking and bailing on generously helping readers. Everybody else panics, bails and tries to manipulate things to get traffic and money, failing horribly over the long haul.

Nobody gets ahead trying to manipulate things because money flows through humans mainly, then, through things which act as receiving channels. Imagine if I sell a copy of my blogging course. Generously helping human beings instills trust in the person who bought my course. Money flows from them to me through Selz, and my bank account, from their credit card or bank account. The things – Selz, bank accounts – are receiving channels, facilitating the sending and receiving of money, but generous service and trust put the financial transaction into action.

Stop trying to rank before all else because dealing with things solely – SEO and Google – moves you out of the realm of reality, into thing-ality. Bloggers who succeed keep helping folks generously and keep promoting themselves, realizing the things are just tools humans use to connect with each other, to help each other and to prosper each other. Focus on helping humans, not trying to rank on page 1 of Google, to uncover the secret to successful blogging….and to uncover the secret of ranking on page 1 of Google.

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Why Blogging Jealousy Is a Damaging Emotion

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I spent today enjoying lunch and a hike through the forest with my wife. But like the past goodness knows how many years, I will work 6-8 hours daily….or more. I put in an hour or so this morning. Now I get to work a bit before 5 PM. People love my travel photos. Folks often tell me how jealous they feel, envying our life. We are so lucky! We are blessed. We are aligned. All that jazz. But the same folks NEVER feel jealous or envious of the fact that I worked 6 hours daily for the past goodness known how many years of my life. I tell folks about my workload sometimes; most look at me like I have 3 heads, people proclaiming themselves lazy and definitely, believing I can have this workload because working long and persistently is not for them.

Before you envy my movie-worthy life, envy my movie-worthy workload. Before you jealously bust my chops about my photos in Fiji and Bali, be just as envious and flat out jealous of the 20,000 hours I have blogged over the past decade of my life. You cannot have the sweet fruit unless you patiently water the seed and allow for it to thrive, during growing season. Likewise, you cannot have blogging success unless you patiently, persistently and generously work, to succeed.

Jealousy and Damage

Most bloggers never realize the intense jealousy that damages their blogging campaign. Why does jealousy hurt you and your blog? Delusion, that’s why. Take my Fiji or New Zealand or Costa Rica pictures. Most people who see the pictures envy my life because most folks CHOOSE to work a 9-5 job and CHOOSE not to travel. In the same breath, after expressing intense jealousy at me living a cool life of travel, I advise the person to begin blogging, to engineer a similar life for self and family. In an instant, most bloggers complain about having no time, no time, and no drive to design such a life of fun and freedom. Why? Being jealous of bloggers immediately places you in a “they have it, but I cannot have it,” type victim, non-empowered, weakling energy. If you believe only I can live this life, and envy me, and you foolishly believe you cannot life this life, you make endless excuses to cling to your belief system. Said excuses guarantee your unhappiness and comfort.

If you envy my life of travel, envy the 6 to 10 hours or more I have worked every single day of my life over the years. Do you envy working 8 hours every Saturday and Sunday? Are you SOOOO jealous that I will work 6-7 or more hours today, after being out of the house for about 6 hours, hustling into the evening? Nope. I did not think so. Few human beings envy someone who works generously, diligently and persistently because most people hate doing the very thing that sets them free. Why? Doing the thing that sets you free forces you outside of your comfort zone, to face deep, pulsating fears. Facing these fears seems highly unpleasant. Nobody enjoys facing fears, but you need to face fears in order to grow, to succeed, and to live a life of movie-worthy levels, you being the object of blogger envy.

Stop being jealous. Get to work, admire industrious bloggers who live their dreams, and you too will live your dreams.

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How to Ride out Traffic Swings

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Traffic swings occur for every single blogger who ever blogged.

Literally, nobody is immune from seeing traffic stats swing high, low, back, medium and all over, in between. How do you ride out these swings? Blog for the love of blogging and see traffic as an extra, a bonus, or some add on to your blogging campaign. Make the blogging work, the reward. See all else as extra, or a bonus, and you become totally chill in response to inevitable traffic swings. Way too many bloggers become obsessed with traffic stats. Even more make the foolish mistake of obsessing over traffic stats on a daily basis. Guys; this is nuts. How can you focus on daily traffic swings when you know all good, lasting things take time, energy and a willingness to have a vision? Relax. Slow down. Calm down. Trust in yourself. Trust in the blogging process. Good things take time and generous service.

Imagine if Jeff Bezos panicked over day to day traffic and sales numbers on founding Amazon over 2 decades ago? Imagine how doing so would have crippled his campaign? Everybody experiences swings – usually, wild swings – as a newbie entrepreneur and blogger because no growth is perfectly linear. Over time, with generous effort and a blanket trusting in the blogging process, you traffic increases month over month. But day to day analysis is a silly way to assess how you are doing. How in the heck can you honestly make a blanket assessment of your blog over a 24 hour period? It’s only 24 hours! We measure success in thousands and tens of thousands of hours…..not 24 hours. Come back down to earth. Get your head out of the clouds. Nothing of meaning, of lasting value, unfolds in 24 hours. Please be gentle with yourself and be even more gentle with your silly mind because the mind wants fast results but your heart knows; successful blogging is a long term gig.

Check Stats Infrequently

Do you have an absolute blast checking stats? If so, check stats monthly. Allow momentum to gain by generously helping people daily, over a monthly period. Observe your traffic stats to iron out any kinks and to not be swayed by the day to day fluctuations leveling most bloggers, creating a roller coaster wave of emotions in mind. I barely check metrics because if I love what I do, trust in the process and trust myself, the more generous service I put into blogging, the more blogging generously serves me. Simple equation here. Why in the heck would I assess my success based on 24 hour increments? Blogging success hinges on thousands of hours of generous service, not 24 hour blogs of work, right?

Pump your breaks guys. Get uber busy helping your readers by creating as much quality content as humanly possible. Be generous. Focus heavily on giving, not getting, to allow your daily stat checking obsession to dissolve just a wee bit. Blogging become uncomfortable here and there but does get easier and easier the more often you give freely of your time and talents. The challenge is not to panic when you resist checking stats for a few weeks as most folks go bonkers mad, ready to explode, once they try to detach from frequent stat checking.

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