A Makeover Story: Moving from Tumblr to WordPress


If you’re visiting this blog you may have followed me when I was over at tumblr.  Last month I took on the task of migrating my blog from tumblr to a self-hosted site with WordPress.  There were many reasons for my switch and some helpful resources I found in the process that you might enjoy if you, too, are considering a big move.

For all of my migrating tips and resources, continue on to read the full post.

Moving your blog can be exceptionally stressful.  I hope some of my tips and resources make it just even the tiniest bit easier…

Some Basic Tips on Migrating from Tumblr to WordPress

1.  Do your research. Before getting too heavy into moving the site I read the following sites closely.

2. Decide whether you want to go to a wordpress.com site or a self-hosted wordpress.org site. There are a lot of differences and I did quite a bit of research before deciding a self-hosted wordpress.org site.  Regular wordpress.com sites are great because of all of the built-in features like commenting, stats and editing tools, but the design limitations were enough to convince me to self-host.

Ultimately I opted for a self-hosted site because I had greater design freedom and have the option of posting sponsor ads should I be so lucky in the future.  Plus I found the list of built in themes rather limiting and loved the design options of the Thesis Theme from DIY Themes.  I would highly recommend it.  Although it was an added expense, it was totally worth the investment.

3. Select a web host. If, like me, you’ve decided that a wordpress.org site is for you, decide on a web host. You can’t get started on WordPress software until you have found a domain and a home for your blog.  WordPress has several web hosts that they recommend.  I went with Blue Host and have been really impressed not only with their low rates, but their available services, ease of use and telephone support.

4.  Register a custom domain name. Once you’ve selected your web host, within their site you can register a domain name through your web host and set up the WordPress software on an admin page from your home site.  For example my domain is www.lindsayliving.com, and my admin page might be www.lindsayliving.com/admin or something like that.  Your admin page will be how you login to your site and access the behind the scenes WordPress software for customizing and posting to your site.

4. Set up the new blog.

  • Install WordPress software. Once you’ve selected and signed up with a web host, and they have your site up and running, they may be able to set up WordPress for you.  Blue Host has a thing called “Simple Script” that installs WordPress for you.  This is a step that I had a little trouble with, but Blue Host was wonderful on the telephone and a support guy spent lots of time on the phone with me making sure that WordPress was set up successfully.  Beautifully Invisible’s tutorial (Part One) has a great tutorial on installing WordPress using Simple Scripts from Blue Host.
  • Select a theme and customize! Now for the fun part.  I tested out a few of the preloaded WordPress themes which were available free from the WordPress software, but I ended up wanting more freedom to customize the look and feel of my site.  I ended up going with the Thesis theme by DIY Themes.  This is a premium theme that came for a fee, but it was the best money I spent in this whole process and I am so happy I went with Thesis.

5. Migrate your old posts from tumblr. Once your new blog is set up at your new, custom domain name and you know that the WordPress software has been installed correctly, it’s time to migrate your old posts from your tumblr blog. This post from techinch was extremely helpful, as was this tool for migrating posts from my tumblog to my new WordPress site.  If you’re using Disqus to host comments on your tumblr blog, be aware that your new WordPress blog will not be able to import those comments. Disqus is available as a Plugin for WordPress, but I haven’t heard from anyone that they have successfully been able to upload old comments from tumblr.  This may seem annoying when you’re first migrating, like you’re starting from scratch, but not to worry.  Focus more on transferring readers to your new site and you’ll have new comment love before you know it!

6.  Direct your followers to your new blog. There are lots of redirect Plugins available to auto-redirect readers from old Blogger or WordPress.com sites to your new site.  Unfortunately, if you’re like me and switched from tumblr, there is not yet a reliable redirect plugin between tumblr and WordPress.  The best thing to do is put one final post on your tumblr blog letting everyone know where to find you.  I took a screen shot of the new blog and posted it on my tumblr site with a link enticing readers to check out the new site.


I am definitely not a CSS wizard, and this is not an exhaustive tutorial by any means. Please refer to the resources I’ve included via the links in this post for more detailed information about switching. I have learned a lot since I jumped into fashion blogging in November 2010.  My little blog has grown so much an now it truly reflects who I am and what my blog is about. The bottom line is I’m so thrilled with my move to WordPress. Although it was a very time consuming process, migrating was so worth it.

  • http://theauspiciouslife.com Linda W

    Holy macaroni. I don’t know how you learned to do all that, but color me impressed!

    The Auspicious Life

    • http://lindsayliving.com Lindsay

      It was definitely a learning process for sure. Feeling more computer saavy everyday thanks to this little blog :)

  • http://skrush.blogspot.com Sara K.S. Hanks

    It’s VERY generous of you to share these tips. During such a stressful process, it must be difficult to keep track of all the helpful ideas you might share. Thank you!

    • http://lindsayliving.com Lindsay

      I started and stopped the post several times, but when a friend recently migrated I thought it was about time I finish it up. So glad I did. Thank you, Sara!

  • http://cuteandlittle.com kileen

    great tips and i hope you’re enjoying wordpress!

    • http://lindsayliving.com Lindsay

      I am LOVING WordPress. It was a crazy busy process to move, but I’m so happy I did. Thanks, Kileen!

  • http://spinachandskittles.tumblr.com/ Leila

    I’m still scratching my head with my move, but I already love wordpress so.much.more than tumblr!

    • http://lindsayliving.com Lindsay

      I know what you mean. WordPress allows you to do SO MUCH MORE than tumblr. I still have my tumblr sites, but I’m not sure what I’ll do with the old lindsayliving. Maybe I’ll deal with it over the summer.

  • http://www.peachykeen-cassie.blogspot.com Cassandra Igo

    I’m seriously considering switching from Blogger to a self-hosted WordPress.org site. I will be sure to check out Blue Host and the other links you post! Thanks!

  • http://www.colouringacorner.com Alison

    Hi Lindsay,

    Your post is brilliant, just what I’m looking for as I want to move from tumblr to word press as well. Just one thing that confuses me- isn’t what we want from a provider “shared hosting” rather than “self hosting?”

    I think with self hosting you need your own bandwidth, power, hardware and with shared hosting you are given a host for your blog and you can manage it from there?

    Still a bit confused though, any advice very appreciated!

    Alison (www.colouringacorner.com)

    • http://lindsayliving.com Lindsay

      It really depends on what you’re looking for in a blogging platform. I knew that blogging was my love and I wanted to completely own and publish my own site. With self-hosted WP I can post anything I want, including advertisements, which was something I was interested in pursuing. WP hosted sites are wonderful if you are not interested in making the full leap yet. And the good news is that if you’re not ready for self-hosted you can switch at any time. WP had a great program to move your WP site to a self-hosted WP site. I would recommend getting your own domain because then if you move to self-hosted later you won’t have any reader confusion over your move since it will still be at the same URL.

      Hope this helps!

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  • Mira Steward

    I started to blog with Tumblr, but soon felt limited with its possibilities. I made the switch (automatedly with cms2cms converter http://goo.gl/3xi1Ir) and have zero regrets. WP allows me to more freedom in terms of layout and design, and increased my pageviews significantly. I wish I would have it sooner, but I was afraid.