Don’t get too far ahead of yourself because, yes, I still love WordPress (WP) and would call it my CMS of choice, but at the end of the day, Tumblr beats WordPress for microblogging and here are a few reasons why…
Quick & Easy Setup + No Updates
Wordpress may claim their “famous 5-minute installation" only takes 5 minutes to get it up and running, but the real side of that is that it typically takes much longer. You have to setup the server side database, domain, and FTP all of the files before you can even get to the "famous 5-minute installation" part. However, nothing beats a simple sign-up like tumblr.com. Within 5 clicks, I can already be setup with a Tumblr account and ready to blog. Granted, yes, it takes a few extra steps to setup a domain alias like I did for http://blog.iamzachreed.com, but I still think this is a much quicker (and easier) than WP’s install process. Another great thing about Tumblr is that they do all of their backend updates themselves, unlike WordPress. With WordPress where you have to manually update to new WP versions and always run the risk of updating to a new version of WP and having to update your WP theme to the most up-to-date code. Tumblr keeps a uniform approach to their template system so you can pretty much guarantee once your Tumblr blog/theme is setup, you will never have to touch it again (as far as update maintenance goes).
Built-in Social Network
A huge aspect Tumblr has over WordPress is every Tumblr blog is apart of the major Tumblr network of other (millions and millions) blogs that many “average” users hold. With WordPress, you are not connected to a major network of any sort so it’s hard to leverage some of these benefits through your own WP install/network. Since a lot of users are already using Tumblr for their personal accounts and blogs, this gives you the ability to leverage Tumblr’s built in “Follow” feature. This feature allows someone with a Tumblr account to follow another blog. Once you are following another blog, you can check your main Tumblr “dashboard” to see all of the posts from all of the blogs you follow (similar to how Twitter or Facebook works). This is very great for post exposure because then people don’t always have to go to “http://blog.iamzachreed.com/" to see the latest posts, they will be shown right where they are looking in their main dashboard feed (if they are following you). Also, just like WordPress, Tumblr does have built in RSS so we aren’t necessarily loosing that aspect if some users decide to subscribe via RSS.
WordPress themes are pretty simple, if you know what you are doing, but I can’t deny that I love how Tumblr sets up their theme framework with just one page of code. Once you understand how the loops of Tumblr’s theme framework work, it’s a quick breeze to spit out a Tumblr theme to match your website’s theme/design. WP themes can typically end up taking a bit more time just because you have to setup a few core things that Tumblr already defaults on their end.
In the big picture, I don’t think that the WordPress’s back-end has the right UX for a microblogging style site (like mine). WordPress is amazing for complex sites, but if all you want to do is write simple blog posts, it’s like buying a plane ticket to fly to the next town over when you could drive there in 15 minutes. There is just too much meat in WP that you will never use. The UX of Tumblr is 100% made for microblogging so they obviously have taken the time to hit the spot.
API & 3rd Party Apps
Not many people know about the Tumblr API (http://www.tumblr.com/docs/en/api/v2) and the power it holds. Yes, WordPress has an extensive API also, but it doesn’t get much simpler than Tumblr’s API. I found this to be a plus of using Tumblr over WP because I can easily JSON call blog posts from my Tumblr blog if I want to display the data somewhere else. I also like that more 3rd party apps (like Instagram) integrate directly into Tumblr, but not WordPress. This makes posting things like images or other 3rd party content a lot easier and connected to Tumblr over WordPress.
Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE WordPress more than any CMS out there, but sometimes you have to pick the platform that works for the project and not have bias opinion about which platform to choose. All in all, for a microblog like mine, I think Tumblr is a better fit and gets the job done smoother than WordPress could, at WP’s current state. Also, it’s apparent that I’m not alone in this opinion because quite a few larger sites utilize Tumblr for their blog over a CMS like WordPress. Storenvy, Forrst, Dribbble, and Foursquare are just a few of the “big dogs” that use Tumblr for their blogging sites. You can also find many more here, “60 Brands Using Tumblr.”
What do you think? Do you use Tumblr? WordPress? Disagree with me? What do you prefer and why?