Definition: Tumblr is a fusion of social network and blogging platform. The name derives from the term "tumblelog," which refers to the short blog posts - themselves called microblogs - the site is optimized for. Tumblr's major differentiator is the free-form nature of the site and the ability of users to heavily customize their own pages. This is the exception to the rule, as nearly all other social networks have standardized profile pages with limited design flexibility.

A multi-purpose network

Tumblr's lack of limiters or rules on the forms and types of content that are created, as well as the design of the page where such content is posted, defies a singular definition. The company itself says Tumblr is both easy to use and hard to explain, due to content ranging from text and .gif files to music and videos that address specific fan groups, subcultures, businesses, social issues and other concerns. Ecommerce stores are certainly included in this wide-ranging list.

Tumblr's overall flexibility is an attractive feature for ecommerce store owners who want to create a specific look, focus on details of design or strongly emphasize their brand. The social media aspects of Tumblr mean that content is liked and shared, and a business page is easily followed by interested Tumblr users.

How is Tumblr used?

Getting a page set up on Tumblr is similar to other social media networks. Users sign up for an account by providing an email address as well as creating a password, username and a URL for the page. URLs can be changed in perpetuity, but this can lead to a negative impact on SEO - it's best to take the time and find a URL that will work for a store at first.

The design of a page can either be custom built or chosen from a list of pre-existing themes that can be found both on Tumblr and through outside websites. Furthermore, the majority of these premade themes can be adjusted in terms of frame size, color and many other variables. An assortment of images, including an ecommerce store owner's product photos and logo, can be incorporated into the page. A store page should take advantage of available opportunities to present these related images and to link to the actual ecommerce site.

The dashboard is the main method for adding content to a Tumblr page. This functions as a content posting tool for nearly all types of text as well as graphic and video files. Users can view their own posts in both the theme chosen for their page as well as in an editable format. Posts from Tumblr pages a user follows are also seen on the dashboard, where they can be liked or reblogged. The number of other pages followed will directly correlate to the amount of content flowing through the dashboard.

Just like any other social media site, a Tumblr page should be linked on a merchant's main ecommerce site and on other social media accounts as appropriate. The opposite is also true: The about section of a Tumblr page should link to the main ecommerce site, as well as to other profiles on social networks.


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