Is Tumblr the new WordPress?


Today’s editorial has been contributed by Joshua Strebel, co-founder of, the Managed WordPress Hosting company.

Yes, this post title is filled will juicy controversy. Intentionally so. However consider it from the following point of view.

In the rare cases someones cancels their service at we ask them to share with us a reason why. The following is real feedback from a recent corporate customer that is part of the Viacom media conglomerate.

…[We] just want a blog we can easily theme and post to, not [run] a site primary off it. WordPress is over-complicated over-kill for this, Tumblr works fine and is much easier to deal with…


…Tumblr seems to have captured a segment of the market that wants and desires simplicity.

Remember when WordPress was criticized for being “just a simple blogging platform”? Many smart and well intentioned people have worked tirelessly moving WordPress in the direction of a full fledged content management system. I was among those asking for it [more CMS features] years ago. However, was basic blogging ease and simplicity a sacrifice that had to be made? During Matt Mullenweg’s SXSW interview that I attended he mentioned how Tumblr did a great job at simplicity and also mentioned how WordPress is gaining more Tumblr like features (like post formats). StudioPress is following close behind with their recent theme release of Tapestry which is billed as a “Tumblr-like theme”.

Putting aside the flack Tumblr has gotten for their downtime issues of late, they seem to have captured a segment of the market that wants and desires simplicity. WordPress, for all it’s amazing innovation these past few years striving to become the top dawg in the CMS space, may have alienated the users that were happy with a simplified blogging experience.

Is it time for WordPress Lite? What do you think, can WordPress serve two masters: simple blogging and enterprise-level content management?

82 thoughts on “Is Tumblr the new WordPress?

  1. No mention of any of the pioneering work that Woo has done in terms of replicating the simplicity & ease-of-publishing of Tumblr on WP? 🙂

    • I was actually going to ping you for your thoughts on this, Adii. You’ve worked a good deal with Tumblr at Woo, and I believe you blogged with it for a bit too, right? Do you think WordPress should be taking more cues from Tumblr?

      • Nope, I don’t think WP core should change the direction at all. I do however believe that the work Woo has done in this space has been integral at offering WP users similar functionality & features. So IMO the responsibility is with the community to further this “movement” and I don’t ever see this going into core or becoming WP Lite.

    • I was thinking the same thing… “Tapestry? Dude, what about Woo? They’ve got boatloads…”

      fwiw, I agree with Adii’s take on this – WordPress should be WordPress, and if people want Tumblr-esque capabilities, either go with Tumblr, or better (imo), use a tumblr-esque WP theme.

      Why better to stick with WP? Because needs change. And if your approach changes, you can always swap out for another theme, and still have all your goodies right there. (I’m using a Woo ‘tumblr-esque’ theme on my personal blog, but I’m finding I prefer the simplicity of WordPress’ native post format, rather than try to shoehorn content into either images or text or quotes or etc., and will probably shift back to a standard Woo theme with my next redesign.)

  2. I think WPMUDEV did it best when they came out with their Easy Blogging Plugin, something like that should be included in the WordPress Core, a simple way for users to switch between a simple no nonsense blogging or whatever you want platform and a more advanced developer area for the rest of us. WordPress also needs to take control of the development side of of theming, no disrespect to Woo, but many of the theme developers have created complex and over arching administrative areas that are each so different that when clients want to switch to a new theme they end up having to learn a whole new theme section and for many of my customers the experience becomes too much for them. As someone who hosts a little over 100 WordPress sites on my servers, I see what probably also sees on a regular basis when you have users dumbfounded about how to change the look of their site. There should be standard logo sections like we did with the Menus and widgets as well as a standard SEO title and Descriptor that then all of these other SEO plugins could pull from to do their black magic.

    There should not be a WordPress Lite but instead should be one installation of WordPress and allow the user to switch between Easy and Advanced mode, this way the track of development for both would continue in the same direction and both would benefit from innovations specific to one and another. Having a two tiered plugin categorization would work out for users as well, some added plugins could be installed under Easy admin because they don’t require much if any configuration, while more advanced plugins that require serious amounts of updates and changes could be relegated to the Advanced area. That’s what I’ve had to start doing on my end to solve this problem but I hope will one day be adopted to the Core code. Just a thought.

  3. I use both WordPress and Tumblr. I do like the ease of Tumblr, but not the fact that you have to rely on their servers. If Tumblr offered a self-hosted version, I think they might have a chance of stealing more people away from WordPress.

    Rather than worrying about having a WordPress Lite, I have been working on ways to minimize the backend view for my clients so they don’t have to wade through more stuff than they need to. Most of them just want to post or update pages.

  4. I think one of the biggest issues with WordPress is that, even for those of us who are reasonably comfortable going in and editing theme files, tinkering with CSS or hacking together some PHP, it is still too difficult and too much of a time investment to turn out anything that is “personal”.

    The plugins directory is littered with plugins that haven’t been updated since 2005 – there are 20 versions of every plugin, half of which don’t work, most are unsupported and the rest are badly categorized and difficulty to find. Quality free themes (part of the key to getting new bloggers hooked) are hard to find and the WordPress theme directory suffers from many of the same problems as the plugins.

    People want simple and the want the freedom to do “more” if they want to. WordPress does “more” very well – it just doesn’t do “simple”.

    • I agree, I think there has been such a focus on monetizing theme and plugin development that anyone worth coding anything for WordPress ends up selling it on one of Envato’s websites or on their own. I’m totally for businesses making money but what makes Open Source Projects work well are people’s desire to make the overall product quality better for the masses. Some of the more successful open source projects I’ve seen over the years have taken the model of develop it, release it and then charge for consultation and support. The fact that Automatic is such a success overshadows the WordPress Foundation as the sort of overseeing governing body in all of this. I admire Matt for turning everything over to the foundation but feel that if the platform is going to grow and innovate they need to drop the Oracle Model for OSS (Overall control of development and marketing) .

    • Paul, I agree with everything you said.
      I love my WordPress blogs, but as a non-developer, I’ve chosen to stretch my learning curve enough to handle basics of HTML/XHTML, CSS, and PHP to deal with tweaking themes and issues. I may have given in the towel had it not been for premium themes, such as Thesis and ones from The Theme Foundry, both of which I paid for. There are other good premium ones, too, such as Studio Press, but doesn’t make financial sense to buy into another system.

      Every so often I’ll do some theme surfing (free and paid) to see what others are doing. But I don’t recommend anyone go with a free theme anymore due to the headaches of losing customized code with the many frequent updates WordPress does.

      For now, I’m sticking with WordPress.

      • Agreed – unfortunately the vast majority of people who are just starting out will not shell out on a custom them until they have “tried things out” and that initial experience with the free stuff may be enough to make them move on to other things.

  5. Thought-provoking, so I thank you for that.

    I’ll take a different tack: WordPress as CMS for the newbie, who wants a site but doesn’t want a blog, enables WP to be the “Microsoft Front Page” for this breed of boomers, startup people, solo practitioners, consultants, etc.

    We just finished an install for a client and that’s exactly why. He’ll blog eventually, but not immediately. But he wants a site NOW and wants the flexibility. Done and done.

  6. There’s enough room for everybody. If WP wanted to go lite, I’m sure they’d take that market segment quickly but are those the users they would want? WP entices the developer, designer, and blogger nicely. Those are the people who recommend and introduce WP to the masses.

  7. One of the big changes in 3.1 that a lot of people didn’t notice was the adjustment of the default post editor screen to hide all the different metaboxes. Of course, you’d probably only see this if you’ve never used the Screen Options dropdown or were installing a new blog from scratch, but simplicity is definitely on the minds of the core dev team.

  8. I certainly agree that things need to be simplified further and post formats is a great example. Sure we’ve got data portability now but if for the link post format the user has to add a custom field to their post and as Otto mentions to do that they’ve got to know where the screen options are to add it.

    The UI should just show a new meta box that includes the link with minor instructions below it. The same could be said for the video, and audio formats. The UI should be obvious to the user.

    Ultimately finding WordPress too complex is also most likely a failure on the part of the developer that helped with the site. On a number of sites I run I am the only Admin my client is an Editor or author. It started because they can break less but really it strips out some UI for them and makes the interface simpler. I think more steps can be taken in this direction as well.

    • And your comment is, unintentionally, indicative of what is wrong with the mindset when it comes to achieving simplicity and why a “WordPress lite” was suggested.

      It shouldn’t take a developer to dumb down WordPress for a client.

      The average person should be able to pick up a version of WordPress that they are capable of using without needing to be a developer. If open source projects like WordPress want to really appeal to the masses, they can’t require a developer to make it accessible to the masses.

      And to preempt, is not a viable solution for all of those people. People still want control and the freedom to run things and learn on their own hosts/domains even if they are not developers.

      It shouldn’t have to be an either / OR situation, if you know what I mean 🙂

  9. I love wordpress, I really do. I like the fact they added post-format and that WooThemes made a plugin to help making tumblr-like blog.
    Thing is : most people aren’t dev nor webdesign. I’m not. Consequently, I can’t ( ’cause I merely use photoshop and couldn’t figure to use php properly ) do my own theme all by myself.
    I can’t tweak the woo plugins so it looks the way I want ( it is a really handy plugins but just let you have badge and post title as link for link post )
    And I can’t look at tapestry theme since it isn’t free : go look for a free tumblr-like theme …
    So, me, that can’t “invent” something with php, how am I suppose to use post format exactly ?

    yes, maybe a light wordpress would gather more people : but is it really a solution ?
    it would for small ( almost free ) hosting, less heavy to load each time.
    now, making it light so people knows how it works : ah no, people can also learn …
    And just as Paul OFlaherty pointed it : free themes aren’t good at all. So for simple user, it’s worthless. It’s cool businesses are making money from paid themes but just to blog about funny family stuff and thought that come to my mind, I will never pay a theme … now, what’s left ? Tumblr ? Chyrp ? Gelato ? Hm, solutions I don’t have full control like wordpress ( or can’t figure out at all … )

  10. Paul nailed it on the head about the plugin issue. There are way too many in the repository, and most haven’t been updated or supported since 2.7 or before. The WP team really needs to clean it out so it’s easier to find the best, most supported and updated plugins.

    The thing I love about WordPress is that anyone can get a full-featured site up and running in a relatively short period of time. I personally like the fact WP is moving more towards a CMS type platform, as that’s what my clients need. Carving out a niche between the micro-blogging platforms and advanced CMS systems seems a good space to be in.

  11. I have never thought of WordPress as being overly complicated due to the fact so many talented people have given up a great deal of time to make things do what they’re supposed to do, when you want it to do it. The backend is mostly taken care of, all you have to do is write a post and go click. Couldn’t be simpler, there is, however, the options to get more involved for those who want it. Which is great too. I love that WP is becoming a fully-fledge CMS, as it was born to be.

    What a lot of people seem to have problems with are, I think, overly complicated themes and templates. Some have become so laden it takes a technical degree or a certain level of geekiness to be able to know how to use, implement, and make the best of them. Themes that usually come with nerd-written instruction that then have to be translated into un-nerd-like plain English (and, as someone who has had to do this several times for friends, family and clients I can tell you, it doesn’t get any easier).

    So yes, a lot of people want plain and simple and straightforward, which is where Tumblr comes in – like the old days of blogger. They don’t want to have to think beyond a certain level. They want a pretty template that does this or that, and a back-end that doesn’t need four hours to guess at.

    But isn’t there room for both? I hope so, otherwise it’s going to be pretty dull out there.

    • Alex, I think you sum it up my point nicely. It’s a good thing WordPress has become so powerful, but there is still that massive block of users still using @aol email, and that google for “google” to get to, I mean non-nerds that may be intimidated by the awesome that is the WP interface. 😉

  12. This notion seems idiotic to me. I set up a self hosted WordPress blog in about three hours for my sketchblog. Nothing could be easier to post to. I used the Twenty-Ten theme, changing the background and uploading my own header image. The header image took a couple of hours so getting WordPress installed and set up was about an hours worth of study. A simple basic blog as you describe.
    As a non-techie artist type, it seems WordPress does a great job as a content manager (if that is desired) or a simple blog. Dunno why there is a need for anything else frankly.

    • I’m with you. I’m no coder or developer, but I can set up a self-hosted, custom WP site pretty quickly. Do people really not want to own their content?

      • From Tumblr’s own TOS: Subscriber shall own all Subscriber Content that Subscriber contributes to the Site, but hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sublicense), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services. On termination of Subscriber’s membership to the Site and use of the Services, Tumblr shall make all reasonable efforts to promptly remove from the Site and cease use of the Subscriber Content; however, Subscriber recognizes and agrees that caching of or references to the Subscriber Content may not be immediately removed.

        Seems like users own their content on Tumblr.

        Look, WordPress has a lot of benefits (I use it as a backend of sorts for my Tumblr), but as someone who posts 20 pieces of content a day, I’ll emphasize there’s a high degree of simplicity in Tumblr’s format. There’s less friction between you and a post, and that’s kind of what the article’s getting at.

  13. WordPress Lite? Hmm … I guess it’s an interesting idea, but really, what “fat” needs trimming? I really don’t understand how WordPress is so complicated … especially for people who just need a “just a simple blogging platform”. I mean think about it, you log in, click “Add new” under posts. Type in the first box, type more in the second larger box and then press the big blue button. I really don’t see how this process is very complicated especially because it can all be done from the dashboard with QuickPress. At this point in time, I can’t see anything that should really be pulled from core. I mean really, if you’re looking for WordPress Lite install version 1.5 on your dev machine and play around … regression is not a good thing IMHO.

    • When people say simplicity, perhaps they really mean something else, like “we want all the pretty features, and none of the ugly clutter.”

      I haven’t tried WPMU DEV’s Easy Blogging Plugin that Michael mentioned, but a plugin that makes WordPress more Tumblr-like is the way to go. “WordPress Lite” would be a cool name for it!

      • What I fail to see defined is “ugly clutter”. I have a hard time placing any existing functionality into this category. What’s clutter to one person is actually quite useful to others. Some may consider “tags” to be clutter. Honestly, I am one of them. I would never think to suggest that they be removed from core. I am but a single user and am probably in the 0.001st percentile of people who don’t use this feature. Yes, it is clutter to me but critical to many, many other people. What exactly do you see as clutter?

        • What exactly do you see as clutter?

          Me? Nothing — I’m a power-user. I customize everything.

          But WordPress admin interface, with its communistic color scheme, is ugly. It’s also full of boxes and buttons and it’s sluggish.

          All I’m saying is: whoever develops the WordPress Lite plugin should let Tumblr figure out what noobs like and don’t like and just copy them.

          • … communistic color scheme …

            Seriously? Really? Never once made that association!

            … is ugly …

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and mine eyes behold beauty when gazing upon the administration panels!

            It’s also full of boxes and buttons

            I think these are necessary to provide the functionality that neither one of use seems to consider clutter. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

            it’s sluggish

            In a default installation I’ll agree that two areas are sluggish: The Dashboard (due to connecting to multiple feeds) and the media upload modal (I used WordPress on an older machine with minimal ram … and this was mighty slow).

            All I’m saying is: whoever develops the WordPress Lite plugin should let Tumblr figure out what noobs like and don’t like and just copy them.

            I don’t understand how Tumblr would know what new WordPress users like and don’t like.

        • You pretty much answer yourself. No matter what your opinion is, or how great you think WP is, people are are switching from WP to Tumblr.

          You might be absolutely completely right. But that doesn’t stop the irrefutable fact that Tumblr is gaining popularity, and now that WP is a thick slice of the cheese (mmm cheese), that’s where the mice are going.

  14. I have a WordPress Blog and a Tumblr Blog. WordPress, with it’s many options, sucks you in, kind of like owning a PC. Looking, trying things out and tinkering for hours on end. Tumblr has less options with many things built in, kind of like a Mac. Personally, I own a Mac.

    In business time is money. Ease of use and less options are being chosen over the other.

    Don’t know where it is all headed, but I am enjoying the journey.

  15. The problem is not “adding a new blogpost”.
    Of course wordpress in simple enough to do that ! Nobody argues that. Even slow clients get that …
    The point is : having look the way you want, on the front end ! Stop thinking backend !
    And just like Alex say : yes, today most template and themes are way too bloated.
    Looks like most people here think for clients : don’t you just use it for your pleasure ?
    I do ! And I want to be able to control my space and find a nice way to put up that fun conversation I overheard on my blog, I don’t want it on tumblr. Yes, I do blog stupid things and I’m nobodies client. Normal people exists …
    Now, the question is : do wordpress really want to be a big full cms doing everything and nothing at the same time ?
    Indeed, maybe it is more time for another script filling that niche and it’s maybe not wordpress role to be that script.

  16. Tumblr’s core advantage, aside from pure simplicity and ease of use (and that’s something that cannot and should not be easily dismissed, remember, you’re talking about having to train people on how to use a system and how to enter in and edit content), is its community. The inter-connected nature of Tumblr, the dashboard, the like/reblog features are things that self-hosted WordPress just can’t compete with.

    That’s why so many big brands are starting their own Tumblr sites — not only is it the most hassle-free way to post or share content, you get to engage with a growing community of Tumblr users too. That’s powerful. When you have companies and brands like the New York Times embracing Tumblr, when they clearly have their own publishing platforms, it’s more than just ease of use — it’s also being able to reach certain audiences. The markets that are investing a lot into Tumblr — like fashion and music — are also reaching out to some of key influencers in their target market segment. I can understand why a Viacom group would want access to that audience.

    Tumblr also integrates well with third-party services out of the box much better than WordPress. There is a an official app that lets you publish content to Facebook — you can also choose to auto-tweet stories or posts in the settings. JetPack might help with some of that and hosting providers can certainly customize setups, but it helps make Tumblr more attractive to companies (or more to the point, agencies) who are managing tons of different clients and can’t be bothered with WordPress settings panels.

    And I’ll sound like a broken record here but I maintain that the bookmarklet is a huge advantage to Tumblr and until/unless WordPress core or third-parties can implement their own Post-formats compatible version of QuickPress or something else, WordPress won’t ever approach Tumblr’s speed in posting. If I want to share a video on Tumblr, I literally click my bookmarklet, select video and then enter in a caption and hit enter. Done. Until I can do the same for WordPress or a custom setup I build myself, I will be destined to a life of dual blogging.

      • Ernie: Your post in particular shows exactly why I dislike Tumblr and hate it’s “community”. Where can I leave a comment for you to see about your post? Answer: nowhere. A f-ton of like buttons, and a big list of people who “reblogged” or liked it. That doesn’t strike me as “community”.

        Community is a bunch of people having a conversation. Your Tumblr blog has no conversation on it. There is no way for me to join in the conversation about it.

        • Simply put: If you had a Tumblr account you could follow the site, and then leave a reply or reblog. The whole idea of Tumblr is that you don’t comment on my blog — you reblog it on your own, and that’s how you comment. If I think it’s worth responding to, I’ll reblog it back. I still see it and people can still respond. And the other thing is that, in the wake of Twitter, much of that conversation on many blogs is happening OFF the blog directly — essentially, it’s comments de-centralized.

          It’s not hard. I have 6,000 followers who haven’t had much of a problem with the concept of following me or reblogging my content.

          The other thing about Tumblr is that if you look at an individual site, you’re missing the point — much of the action happens on the Dashboard. A lot of people who criticize Tumblr tend not to put all the pieces together and instead judge it for what they see on an individual person’s page.

          Comments suck in some contexts. I think they’re a totally unintuitive format for certain sites — especially for a site like mine where the posts are so short that they have a quick expiration date — so i ditched them when I moved from WordPress to Tumblr. I’ve considered bringing them back at various points, but when I see popular Tumblrs like SoupSoup, which have comments, they’re almost never used. I don’t see the point of putting them in.

          Yesterday, I had a post that got 600 likes and reblogs, many of which were comments to the subject matter and few of which had that sniping tone we know so well from commenters. People actually thinking things through. People sharing information and adding their own two cents about what they see. The secret? The comments were happening around the original piece of content — the one I created. It didn’t stay on my Tumblr, no, but it happened, and as a result, it blossomed into something more interesting.

          You wanna join the conversation? Reblog. If you don’t think that’s conversation, I think Tumblr’s 11+ million visitors a month would disagree with you.

        • Tumblr is a different kind of blogging platform. It’s true, you can’t comment on an individual blog post in the way that you would on LiveJournal or Blogger or WordPress.

          But where Tumblr stands out as unique is its ability to create a community around content redistribution (or “content sharing”). When you reblog a post on Tumblr, you’re essentially “re-broadcasting” it to your audience, claiming a small ownership in the content and adding your own voice or opinion to it along the way.

          Tumblr has made a small concession recently to people who do want to throw their voice into the mix without rebroadcasting content to their audience of followers — users have the option to allow “replies” on their posts, which allows you to add a small 250 character note to a piece of content without the need of reblogging it.

    • The Reblog feature in particular is why I won’t read any Tumblr blogs of any sort. They never have any original content, it’s just people reposting the same old tired s**t over and over again.

      Tumblr facilitates content theft, and is proud of that fact. I’m not interested in seeing reblogged nonsense, and if there was some way to filter all of that out, then maybe I’d be interested in seeing Tumblr blogs.

  17. I think there should be a WP Lite… it’s getting really bulky and complicated and meant more for the people who understand all this code crap and stuff.

  18. I don’t understand a damn bit of code besides the occasional linked image html that I copy and paste into widgets.

    Tumblr looks and feels cheap. It’s always been my third option (WP, Posterous, Tumblr) and the only reason I use it is because I can set it to publish directly from an RSS feed, allowing me to create a portfolio of everything I write.

    And I’m getting really tired of people refusing to learn even basic web terms under some guise that “it’s too hard.” So are your damn cell phones. So are your jobs. Wouldn’t kill ya to learn a little more about the world we all live in.

    And the Tumblr community? Please. A community that reblogs or tumblrizes or repeats or reposts or retweets everyone else’s posts isn’t a community, it’s just a really big echo chamber.

    • And I’m getting really tired of people refusing to learn even basic web terms under some guise that “it’s too hard.” So are your damn cell phones. So are your jobs. Wouldn’t kill ya to learn a little more about the world we all live in.

      It’s a symptom of the larger problem of dumbing down everything

      • I completely agree here – but learning to get real value from WordPress and real sense of ownership requires more than just learning a few basic web terms.

        There is a place for all levels of difficult and the question is has the core of WordPress moved into a realm that is beyond what 99% of people have the inclination/ability/time to invest.

        It may be perfectly suitable for the likes of us commenting here – but WE are not the masses. Simplicity has it’s place.

        • I agree with Tyler in that we can only dumb things down so much. Seriously, I am seeing more and more people online who truly do figure they should only have to point and click a few optional and BOOM, have a website that looks like a professional did it for thousands.

          That takes work.

          And WordPress is easy to learn. If the user *wants* to. I’m seeing more who don’t want to learn. They just want easy things they don’t want to even think about.

          • And WordPress is easy to learn. If the user *wants* to. I’m seeing more who don’t want to learn. They just want easy things they don’t want to even think about.

            That’s where Tumblr has it’s place, in my opinion.
            On the other hand does it really worth it l
            to learn full php just to figure out how to format post ? I would love to, I suppose I’m just too dumb 😉

    • Couldn’t agree more with Tyler’s comment. I hate Tumblr — it is the antithesis of real communication and substantial blogging. I knew nothing more than a little bit of HTML when I started using WP in 2006, and I think being led to learn CSS and enough PHP to get by is a benefit of the platform, not a drawback. It’s not only fun, it’s empowering. WordPress shouldn’t try to be all things to all people. Personal empowerment is key to the whole open-source concept, I think.

  19. From my perspective, the idea is that there is no need for “WPLite”… this is more a GUI issue and so the idea is that WP development should think about Dashboard themes where authors can introduce simplified Dashboards. Some authors might like a Facebook style, Twitter style, or Tumblr style Dashboard. Plugins and themes functions can do this and i know WP has two color styles for the dashboard but the user has been conditioned to have all posting and linking elements up front and center with account stuff in the background. i think we have all, in one way or another, have had this in the back of our heads so this is a start.

  20. As someone who is deep into writing custom code in WordPress, I think Tumblr shows the age of the WordPress codebase. The awkwardness of widgets, widget areas, wpautop, shortcodes, galleries, unattached vs. attached media library items, and the lack of clear code separation between the admin views and behavior all make WordPress feel dated. And now that most everyone has at least a caching plugin activated, backwards compatibility with existing plugins (and themes) makes it hard for core developers to make drastic changes.

    That said, the WordPress community is amazing, and there is so much brilliant work that can be done with the platform due in large measure to the power of open source. Until there is a competing open source application that is as easy to install as WordPress, I think the future of WordPress remains bright.

    • I wholeheartedly agree with this comment. And honestly, it shouldn’t take a comparison to Tumblr to even see these issues; it only serves as a magnifier. Awkward… dated… sluggish. Agreed.

  21. As a user of both, I think Tumblr should scare the beejeezus out of Blogger. I think that WP is still years ahead as a blogging and CMS platform–provided someone doesn’t give Tumblr a lot of money to quickly blow out it’s capabilities.

  22. I just want to say, I really appreciate it that all the commenters here took the time to read the op-ed piece (incendiary title and all) and understood the larger point I was making; that being that tumblr is successful for the things WordPress used to be derided for, and can/should WordPress try to serve all types of users.

    The constructive dialog that has followed IMHO is how a healthy community functions. +1 for the caliber of readership here at WPcandy and +1 for the WP community at large.

  23. If I rules the WP world, there would of been a WP lite / freeze several versions ago. I have posted in several places around the web about the need for a WP freeze, but we can have that and some lightness and call it whatever you want. What I want is a WP lite/freeze – that requires no updates for at least a year. I love WP, and have convinced dozens of other people to use it. Biggest mistake of my life.

    Now I am the guy that helps people customize themes and find plugins to make it do things that tumblr and others do out of the box – that’s not a big deal, but being the guy that has to help everyone upgrade, really sucks. Sure for those of you with the one-click install it’s not a big deal, but I have to be the tech guy for people who have WP blogs on 4 different servers where the auto-upgrade fails, and updating plugins also fails. Teaching a 100 non-techies how to use WP is one thing, it’s simple enough when you throw out 50% of what appears on the post screen, but being the guy that has to login, backup files and ftp new files, while checking for theme issues and plugin issues really sucks. Getting people to learn how to FTP safely is not conducive to those people telling other non techies about how great WP is, actually it’s the opposite.
    Please give us a WP freeze, heck if someone could show me a stable secure version that would never need an update, none of my bloggers need any of the new features, and if they wanted them that bad they could add new features as a plugin. +100 votes for WP lite Freeze, only if it can go a year without updates. Three of the servers I manage do auto-updates fine, logging in there and updating for friends there is fine. The other 4 servers do not work that way. Waiting for fantistico to have an update is virtual suicide, so ftp has become the most dreadful wp experience of my life. I have started changing friends’ WP sites into static html to avoid the updates and security issues. I have also started pushing for people to go to joomla for the same reason if they need to add content.
    WP is too much work just to keep it secure. A freeze / lite version might help with that issue – it will probably never happen, but it’s a nice thought. I could start to rant about all the non-updated WP sites I come across, maybe that’s for another rant.

    • Hi Steve,

      that’s not a big deal, but being the guy that has to help everyone upgrade, really sucks.

      It sounds like you’re dealing with a lot of upgrades and often. You may consider charging for your services (if you’re not already), it sounds like you have a solid client base.

      If this is a core business, you may consider automating some of your upgrade processes so you can reduce the overhead. It is a good investment, and sounds like it would fit the needs of most of your clients, without needing a lite version.

      WP is too much work just to keep it secure. A freeze / lite version might help with that issue – it will probably never happen, but it’s a nice thought.

      The other perspective is this could create more work to keep secure. In my opinion, freezing a version for 1yr would raise the risk floor, not lower it. The longer a system sits at rest, the higher the risk of an attack.

  24. Interesting discussion. I thought WP was simple enough to build relatively nice looking sites with some awesome themes!

    Now we all have good experience of WP. But recollect the days when we were still newbies, and in my case using I was terrified at and self hosting back then – It took me three-four months to know how to link to another post/ blog, and even more time to understand where the justify button was, to justify my text. Two of the basic things that are needed even for a person concerned only with content, and not much with designs! I have not touched the html code, and freak out every time I have to! Especially when the theme developer tells me – Just add this code to change the background colour. Where? How? No answers. Even if he answers, we don’t understand.

    If I didn’t have the experience, I would never have come to self hosting. So, imagine the situation of people who want to start a small site and monetize it using ads. They can neither go to for its simplicity, nor go to because of its complexity!

    I think not allowing individual users to put ads is the place where WP is losing out to Blogger. Especially the new professional bloggers who want to monetize their site using ads/ affiliate marketing. If I were starting now, I would choose Blogger – Not

    I don’t know about Tumbler and don’t want to know about it. But new users might want to. has increasingly been targeting the social networking kind of ‘personal’ Bloggers. I guess there is enough competition in this space – including Facebook. And I am not sure what value these people add. It might be better (business wise) to target the professional bloggers and make Hosting simpler.

    Destination Infinity

  25. Another case of somebody not knowing anything about WordPress and how to use the features and crying about how it doesn’t work.
    This is going to be the same person that will cry about not ranking in search… have fun with that in tumblr lol

  26. Pingback: Why Is Tumblr Winning The Blog Wars? | Follia Digitale

  27. I just went to train some newbie bloggers on how to manage a WordPress blog. I was really nervous because I only had an hour to get them up and running. Within 20 minutes of the session, they all knew how to publish a new post or page. We managed to get through 95% of the WP admin by the time the hour was up. That’s how simple the WP admin is, and the fancier features are for site owners who are more experienced and want more flexibility and functionality. It’s win-win!

  28. *shrug* For those who want simplicity there is WordPress.COM and for those who want the full, unadulterated, control-freakin’ experience they can install their own WordPress. The first is super easy and simple yet still powerful. The second is awesome, perhaps unimaginable power in an itty-bitty package you can hack to you’re core’s delight. Either way has everything for everyone. Best of all, it is easy to transition from one to the other. No Tumblr stumbling required.

  29. I enjoy the simplicity and flexibility WordPress provides. I have many client websites I have built on WordPress and am pleased with the direction toward CMS the devs are taking it. Granted, WordPress themes are obscure for non-coders ( but far superior than Joomla’s tangled mess). Perhaps WP would be better served creating a WYSIWYG editor that allows non-coders to drag, drop and design all aspects of their theme than a WordPress Lite. Have the system just generate the template files behind the scenes.

  30. Pingback: Sunday « Protoblogger

  31. As a long time WordPress user that has converted some of my blogs to Tumblr for ease of posting and mobile features, I can say that unless Tumblr can address the obvious SEO issues with their platform, it will never be the “new WordPress”.

    Google doesn’t give Tumblr blogs very much clout. If they could get around this HUGE hurdle, I wouldn’t be working on converting some blogs back to WordPress.

  32. Pingback: Tumblr over WordPress? – Rob Fahrni

  33. I really love word press. I’m glad I read this artical. I’m going to check out tumbler now I’ve never heared of it tell reading this. Thanks so much. Cody

  34. I use both. Tumblr has social and sharing features that WordPress doesn’t have, because has never been a social platform. Tumblr also has better, easier to install themes.

    I think Tumblr serves a different market than WordPress. It’s like a hybrid of MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, for people who only want to do social sharing but want the ability to customize their page. I’ve also seen a lot of people use Tumblr for simple posts with just pictures or videos, something you can’t do as well on on any of the popular social networking sites.

    WordPress, on the other hand, is used by people who regularly post news article-length blog posts, and Automattic makes most of its money these days by hosting the kinds of blogs that are part of “the press”, like TechCrunch and GigaOM. College newspapers and more recently actual print newspapers are now running on WordPress.

    Anyway, competition is good! And Tumblr should be open source! And I should also say take everythign I wrote with a grain of salt because I make most of my money on WordPress-related work.

  35. I ditched creating new content on my self-hosted WordPress site in favor of (custom domain) Posterous last summer, and I have been very pleased with the move. The continuum of hassles with the platform, like terrible photo and file handling, memory problems, lousy ill-maintained plugins, and themes so awful I decided to make my own after a while, just became more than I wanted to deal with–unless I’m getting paid.
    Difficulties in using WP are often caused, in my experience, by inexperienced users trying to build their site on top of some utterly worthless “premium” theme. It is a great injustice to these users that they are induced to try to use that garbage (and I’m talking about the overwhelming preponderance of the pay themes out there) instead of doing what WordPress makes so easy–creating an original design using HTML and CSS–a process both easier and more edifying than trying to work some shoddy framework into respectability.
    But despite the groupthink that often breaks out among the core developers, WordPress has gotten easier to use over the last few years, not harder–I just think maybe people in general are getting dumber. And that’s where Tumblr comes in.

  36. Why would WordPress ever worry about pandering to Tumblr customers?

    The mark of a great product is when it’s constantly making itself better, not when it’s focused on incorporating competitors best practices.

  37. Pingback: Waiting for WordPress Post Formats to fully mature

  38. I have been using tumblr for a few days on 2009 and below are the reasons why I don’t think tumblr will become the next wordpress
    1) wordpress has so many APIs, how many do tumblr has?
    2) yes we can redesign our tumblr theme (blogger allows us to do that as well) but we just can’t do much with our theme except just changing the css styling (I might be wrong because it has been nearly 2 years I am not there, maybe they allow us to insert PHP too? I don’t think so).
    3) As for developer who want to make money online by selling their works, ok, it seems like there are demand for tumblr theme but the earning of a tumblr theme developer is still very far (in term of money) away from what a wordpress developer can make.

    so overall speaking, no, I don’t think so. 🙂 <—yes I am smiling

  39. it seems like tumblr has improved a lot, maybe is the time to try something out, I was thinking about posting
    wordpress content to it using its API, I will work on that and then see how much traffic I can get back to my own wordpress blog. 🙂 <—yes I am smiling

  40. Pingback: I ditched creating new content on my self… «

  41. Pingback: Two Reasons Tumblr is Upstaging | I Blog

  42. I have to admit, I like the idea about a WordPress Lite version. I’ve been trying to teach a few people WordPress in the past couple of days, and they find it very, very complicated. A sad fact, but a fact nonetheless, a lot of people really feel alienated by it. Of course, avid WordPress users won’t really come to notice, but if you look around and question people who just want to blog on, WordPress isn’t that simple anymore.

  43. Actually, imho, Posterous is a much better technology than Tumblr, but the people behind Posterous are screwing it up. Mullenweg would do well to buy Posterous, implement the content curation and autoposting technologies in the entire product line, but use Posterous as the WordPress Lite option you posit…

  44. i have signed to word press, the problem is its confussion and needlsly complex, wordpress really does seem to be missing the whole point of blogging or web site creation. i have no idea what im doing on wordpress im constantly confussed and misslead buy the tutorials out there, ive ported my blogger blog over the the word press account and no wordpress template even works they way it does on my blogger. it fails with technical jargon that im not up with and seems to assume the user knows what terms are especially with the tutorials out there, i want to create and cousomise and post articles. but i dont want a bloody sicence lesson in tecnical stuff before i even start!

    im very frustrated with word press , pullinh my hair our, all i want to do is have same look and feel of my blogger blog with the extra pages and feaurutres of wordpress. but thats not even begining to happen

    look at this site

    then look at this mess

    as you can see the menus are the labels and it look awful! no matter what template ive used its crap! , should have a nice easy way to conver a templte file from blogger to word press, that would sky rocket wordpess and make things easyer to manipulate,

    and i mean a easy conversion , as in point and click options to included or exclue. then click port and convert !

    not a edit this goto this ext, when i dont actually have this ir that ect!

    im anoyed ass hell!

  45. Anyway, competition is good! And Tumblr should be open source! And I should also say take everythign I wrote with a grain perde of salt because I make most of my money on WordPress-related work.

  46. Pingback: The Road to a Simpler WordPress Dashboard - WP Realm

Comments are closed.