Tumblr For Dummies: A ‘How To’ Guide

Upon request from a few indie author friends, I have put together a quick intro into how to find your way around Tumblr and how much energy it requires for an author to gain a fan base.

Tumblr Basics:

Tumblr is very simple to navigate. It essentially works like Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, where you have a ‘dashboard’ of posts that’s made up of people you follow. You only need to see what you want on your dash so you can easily unfollow people that post content you aren’t interested in.

When you log on to Tumblr, the top of the screen will look like this.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.00.58 PM

The search bar searches all of Tumblr, not just people you follow. So if you are new to the site and are interested in following people in the ‘Booklr’ community (a subsection of Tumblr that avidly discusses and blogs about books) you can search booklr and you will get something like this…

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.04.36 PM

Under the title ‘BOOKLR’ you will see ‘RELATED’, and then a few categories. You can use this for an idea of other search terms to look for. Under that you will see a glimpse of a few blogs that primarily discuss the topic you searched. Here is where you will find people to follow. Under that you will see posts made by other Tumblr users (again not just people that you follow but everyone) that used the hashtag #booklr (or whatever term you searched) in their post. You can filter these posts to only show videos, pictures, text, etc.

Another way to find people to follow, is to scroll along on your dash and take a look at who your friends are re-blogging and follow them.

Now, back to your dash. Up at the top you will see a set of icons…

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.00.58 PM

House: will bring you back to your dash

Compass: will take you to your ‘recommended for you’ page, in case you need some guidance on who to follow.

Letter: will take you to any mail you have

Face: will take you to your chat conversations

Lightning bolt: will take you to your notes (any time someone likes something you post, reblogs something you post or mentiones you in something you get a note)

Person: will give you a drop down menu of your account


Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 5.17.07 PM


The ‘Likes‘ and the ‘Following‘ are what you like and who you follow. If you want to look at something later but don’t want to reblog it, you can ‘Like‘ it and find it later.








One really important thing is your ‘Queue‘. You can set up your queue to automatically post for you. I have mine to auto post four times while I’m sleeping (at midnight, 2am, 4am, and 6 am). That way any followers that are on different time zones can still find my stuff on their dash.


Now back to your dash! Lets say that you decide you really like a post…

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 6.53.22 PM

down at the bottom of the post you will see some icons.

Arrow: allows you to send the post in a personal message to someone

Speech bubble: allows you to comment on the post without re-blogging it

Arrows: allows you to reblog the post and gives you the options of commenting on it and adding your own tags to it

Heart: allows you to like the post so that you can find it later


The key to Tumblr:

  1. Post as often as you have the time, just like you would on any other social media site
  2. Keep your Queue up so that you can auto post when you don’t have time
  3. Comment on other posts and engage with people. After all thats what you’re there to do
  4. Keep at it! As with all social media sites, it takes time to build a fan base, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get many notes at first.
  5. Link your social media sites. I have Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook linked with my website so that my posts get coverage on all of my social media sites.

I hope that I have hit all of the important things…but please feel free to ask questions!




3 thoughts on “Tumblr For Dummies: A ‘How To’ Guide

  1. Thanks for this, Zach! The navigational stuff is pretty intuitive I’ve found, but the posting tips are helpful. I definitely need to start utilizing my queue once I get myself adjusted to the platform.

    One question: When you link from other social media accounts, does Tumblr automatically put the hashtags in the proper field, or do you have to go into the post and fix it manually?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe so, but It may depend on the social media site. It gives you the option to add something when sharing with Twitter, you’ll see the little bird symbol when you go to reblog manually. Facebook is fine and Instagram works well too. WordPress is a little strange. It doesn’t transfer the pictures well in auto share. But if you go to your blog on WordPress and share to Tumblr manually up at the top it will give you the option to change the share from an image to a link. That seems to work much better! The down side is you have to do it for each post manually…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry, let me clairify because that sounds confusing even to me. Insta shares well with tumblr, I’m not sure about Facebook because I don’t have it linked to Tumblr, just my website. Tumblr shares well with Twitter. Worpress doesn’t share so well with tumblr unless you are it manually for each post and change it from an image (which for some reason is the default) to a link. If you do that all the hashtags and images transfer well.


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