Tumblr is a free and easy way to create a website or portfolio to show off your work. It works not only as a “blogging” platform, much like WordPress (which many professional websites are hosted on) but as a social network as well. On Tumblr you can gain followers via the site’s users and exposure through tagging and Tumblr’s internal search. This gives you not only a basic website but also a place for you to follow and connect with fans and other artists if you so choose.
1. Create a “blog” on Tumblr
Create an account on Tumblr, or start a new “blog” if you already have an account. And just like that, you’re already 4/5 of the way through. Go you.
2. Choose a theme
There are tons of themes available to choose from, but not all themes make great websites for artists. Whether you’re an illustrator, photographer, or designer, the below themes all have a grid-style layout (making them great for displaying images) as well as the option to add custom links to your other social media pages on your website’s main menu. All these themes are fairly customizable, so what you see is only one example of all the possibilities of each theme. Don’t be afraid to try different themes and mess around with the display settings until you figure out what you like best. After all, if you mess up too much, you can always re-install the theme and start over again.
3. Upload art via posts & add tags
We’d recommend uploading images individually (in separate posts) unless there are multiple images of the same project that you’d like to be grouped together.
Keep in mind that posts are displayed/ordered in the same order they were uploaded in, it can be difficult to move them around later without editing the post of deleting and re-uploading them entirely.
If you’d like to make a section to filter images by (i.e. pieces of a specific medium or pieces from a specific year) Tumblr has a great tutorial on how to setup Categories here.
When uploading a post, there’s the option to enter in tags. Tags can be used for setting up categories as mentioned above or to help other’s to find your work in Tumblr’s search. While Tumblr allows you to add as many tags to your post as you like, keep in mind that only the first five tags are actually searchable. Some popular tags for artists to use on Tumblr are: #art of the day, #artists on Tumblr, #wip or #work in progress, and of course: #art, #artist, and #artwork.
4. Customize your site
To add links to your other social media pages (i.e. your Facebook fan page, Instagram, Etsy, etc.) go to your Tumblr site and click Edit theme in the top right-hand corner.
A sidebar to the left will appear giving you the available options for your particular theme. Though options vary from theme to theme, most have places for you to include links in the menu.
If your theme does not have this option, you may have to scroll to the bottom and click Add a page and then click the drop-down menu and select Redirect to add a link.
Where you see Edit theme on your website while logged in, others see buttons promoting Tumblr and prompting them to follow you on Tumblr. Though totally optionally, you can easily get rid of this not-so-lovely eyesore, making your site appear cleaner and professionally done. To get rid of it, click Edit theme again as seen in the first image of this section, a sidebar will appear: scroll to the bottom and click on Advanced options. From there you can deselect the option to promote Tumblr.
Tip: It’s also recommended that you get rid of the Ask me anything button and add an actual contact page instead. The ask button only allows for other Tumblr users to be able to message you. This can frustrate visitors on your site from elsewhere who may think they have to create a Tumblr account just to get in contact with you. To get rid of this feature go into your blog’s settings from Tumblr’s homepage (read: not the Edit theme options this time.)
5. Add your own domain name (optional)
Purchasing your own domain name, though typically very affordable, is entirely optional. You can always keep your Tumblr URL at no cost. If you don’t know what a domain name is, it’s the URL people type into an address bar to get to your site, for example, our’s is JungKatz.com. Domain names can be purchased on a renewable basis from such reputable sites as GoDaddy and NameCheap. Both even have help articles on the specific subject of how to configure your domain to direct to your Tumblr site.
For a live example of a website/portfolio created on Tumblr, check out our Editor, Joey Souza’s site here.
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