Over the past few months I hosted this blog on Tumblr.
I had thought I could save money by doing that and it might motivate me more to write.
My WordPress blog had disappeared forever or so I thought and I embraced Tumblr with open arms.
But it didn’t turn out quite like I’d expected it to.
Why I Couldn’t Live With Tumblr
I had known that you couldn’t customise Tumblr as much as WordPress.
I managed to find a decent Tumblr theme and I was happy with how my blog looked.
That theme did let me include many of the things I missed from my WordPress blog.
But there were certain things I struggled with and it made blogging a chore.
The Tumblr dashboard is easy enough to understand and get around.
I still grew to hate it though.
I wanted to sit down and write a blog post and find the experience enjoyable, maybe even fulfilling.
I found the text editor disappointing and quite irritating to use.
Hey I know it’s just text and I can’t put my finger on just why it didn’t gel with me but it didn’t.
Maybe Tumblr just isn’t a written blog post kind of place.
At least that’s the conclusion I eventually came to.
Why I Ditched Tumblr for WordPress
Malan Darras’ post on why he also ditched Tumblr for WordPress.
OMG I Missed WordPress Plugins
I told myself I wouldn’t miss the plugins I used to have on my WordPress blog.
I compensated for not having them by using script wherever I could.
But that didn’t quite give me the customisation options I wanted.
I tried to get a related posts widget to work.
There are quite a few out there which should work with Tumblr.
Whatever I tried though, it couldn’t read my Tumblr RSS feed.
Animated GIFs – No thanks!
I seemed to be surrounded by tonnes of animated GIFs on Tumblr.
Yes, I know it’s more of a social network than a blogging platform.
But it felt like no-one was taking anything seriously.
There’s even the ability to search for those pesky GIFs as you’re writing a post.
They’re okay in small doses but they don’t leave a great impression if that’s all you use.
SEO – What’s That?
I soon discovered that it was really hard to get posts ranked using Tumblr.
That was even though I was using my own domain name.
In fact, in the time that I used Tumblr only my home page was ranking.
I guess the point of Tumblr is you want to gain lots of followers and for them to reblog your posts.
That’s not really going to happen with long form blog posts.
Maybe if I’d stuck a load of animated GIFs in every post that would have been a different story.
One WordPress Plugin I Really Missed…
Squirrly SEO was one of the plugins I missed when I moved to Tumblr. It makes SEO much easier!
Heading Back To My WordPress Blog
And then it happened. Was it fate?
I received an email from a hosting company about their latest offers.
My interest in getting back to using WordPress was sparked.
I got my debit card out, paid some money and there it was done and dusted.
I had a brand new and shiny hosting account just waiting for me to upload WordPress.
It felt good to be back on familiar ground.
So which hosting company did I go with for my WordPress blog?
SiteGround was the choice.
I’d previously been with HostGator and then Traffic Planet.
I looked at Blue Host as well this time around but I came to the conclusion that SiteGround offered me the best option and value for money.
I loved the speed and ease of use of Traffic Planet but decided it’s currently out of my price range.
HostGator and Blue Host are stalwarts of the web hosting community.
But SiteGround’s sales pitch on website speed, their caching plugin and access to CloudFlare’s Railgun swayed me in their direction.
It’s early days but things are going very smoothly, even though I’m on shared hosting.
Now I’ve returned to the WordPress platform, I also decided to return to using the Genesis Framework.
I used it in the past, previously with the Dynamik Website Builder but this time I’ve decided to stick with a child theme from StudioPress.
I’m currently using the Altitude Pro child theme and I’m going to let that settle in for a while.
To make life easier, I’m also using a bunch of Genesis specific plugins which are pretty lightweight so shouldn’t cause too much slow down (hopefully).
A Genesis only WordPress plugin that makes it easy to set up your pages for edge to edge content. Ideal for full width Beaver Builder templates.
This plugin lets you edit the three most commonly modified areas in any Genesis theme: the post-info (byline), the post-meta, and the footer area.
This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to insert code (HTML, Shortcodes, and PHP), and attach it to any of the 50+ action hooks.
Genesis Simple Share allows you to easily add beautiful share buttons to your site using a Genesis child theme.
This plugin allows you to insert social icons in any widget area.
I’ve tried out a couple of Page Builders before but wasn’t completely satisfied with them.
I don’t like the way Visual Builder leaves short codes behind if you decide to uninstall the plugin.
Similarly with Thrive Content Builder if you uninstall it after creating content with the plugin then that content disappears. I don’t want to be that dependent on a plugin.
So over the past few days I’ve been testing out Beaver Builder on my WordPress blog.
One thing it does that others don’t is that if you uninstall it, your blog post is still there and without a whole load of shortcodes.
I’m using it to spice up my blog posts by adding relevant quotes amongst other things to try and make them visually appealing.
Because I’m using Cloudflare’s Rocket Loader, the only annoying thing is that I have to keep turning that on and off in order for Beaver Builder to work.
Rocket Loader can be temperamental with other plugins and services too though so I can’t really complain.
Onwards And Upwards
Since rekindling my WordPress blog, I’ve started to write more often and I actually feel like writing again.
Whatever Tumblr did to my writing process, I seem to have gotten through that.
Or perhaps blaming the tool isn’t the answer?
Maybe I just missed WordPress too much and jumped into Tumblr not really knowing what it was all about.
In any case my WordPress blog is back to life and here to stay.
Have you ever used Tumblr? What did you think?
Did you come back to WordPress or to another blogging platform?