This will likely be the last post I write about Tumblr during Blaugust, but I did want to capture some things that are important to think about when you make a move away from Tumblr.
In this case, I moved a 2 and a half year Tumblr to a WordPress.com install. This was a HUGE amount of content and work. This wasn’t the first time I’ve done this sort of export-import, but it was the first time I’ve done one with years worth of content.
Exporting a Backup from Tumblr
The first thing to know is that you can export your Tumblr blog at any time. You don’t even need to be moving it. This is a good way to back up your Tumblr, which is something you should do from time to time, just in case.
To locate Tumblr backup, click Settings from the account icon menu.
Then, on the right hand side of the Settings page, click the blog you want to back up from your list of Tumblr blogs.
Scroll down all the way to the bottom of this page to click the Export.
You’ll see a message that indicates the export is processing. Depending on the size of the blog, this could take some time.
When it’s done, this will change to a Download backup button – you may have to refresh the page to see this. You’ll also get an email from Tumblr to let you know it’s done.
Click the button to download the zip file and you’ve successfully exported! You’ll notice in the Zip file that you have an additional Zip file for posts, but more importantly, you have a Media folder that contains all your images – you’re going to need them!
Importing to WordPress
You can import from Tumblr to both a WordPress.com blog and a self-hosted WordPress, too. It’s just a bit more tricky to do it on a self-hosted blog.
On your WordPress admin dashboard, click Tools and then Import.
For WordPress.com, you’ll have to click Choose from a full list to see the Tumblr option. On a self-hosted WordPress, you will have to first install the importer if you don’t already have it and then Run Importer.
If you haven’t already connected to a Tumblr account, click Connect to Tumblr to begin. It will automatically detect whatever Tumblr account you’re logged into on that browser. Just give it read and write access.
For a self-hosted WordPress, you’ll have to go through an extra couple steps to connect to Tumblr. Follow the on screen instructions on how to register with Tumblr APIs and get the keys you need to make the connection.
Once the connection is made, you’ll see a list of Tumblrs hosted on your Tumblr account. Now all you have to do is click the Import this Blog button next to the Tumblr you want to import.
Let the import run its course and you’ll find all of your Tumblr posts moved to your WordPress!
Things To Know
Here are some things to know about this Tumblr import. I’m not going into the how-to in this section because that would make this post hugely long.
This imports ALL Tumblr posts. That means everything you’ve ever reblogged. Anytime you answered an ask. Photo posts. Media posts. It imports it all.
That means you’re going to have to sort through and clean up posts you don’t want on your WordPress. WordPress does its best to recreate your Tumblr posts the way you made them. However, WordPress and Tumblr layouts and templates are very different, and WordPress cannot always match Tumblr’s formatting.
Spend some time looking through the posts you’ve imported to see if anything turned out wonky. Chances are, it will, especially if you have posts that included lots of in-line quoting from multiple Tumblr users. You probably can’t fix these posts and will need to be ready to delete anything that is beyond help.
You’ll also probably want to go through and delete Tumblr reblog posts and content that originated from other Tumblr users. If you really want to keep posts that are reblogs, it’s better to embed the original content in the WordPress post. I also deleted any posts with asks I answered or anytime I directly wrote to another Tumblr user because in the context of a WordPress blog, it doesn’t make sense to the reader to see this.
Your media doesn’t always transfer. Every time I’ve imported from Tumblr my pictures didn’t move into the WordPress media section with the transfer.
While the pictures still show in your posts, these pictures are directly hotlinked to the original images hosted by Tumblr. This means that if you intend to delete your Tumblr, or if you remove that content from Tumblr, it will break all of the images on your WordPress.
This requires further clean up and is why I suggested that you exported from Tumblr first. The Media folder you got from your export should contain all of your images. And yes, what I’m heavily suggesting is that you take the time to go through all the posts one at a time and Replace the images with files you upload directly to your WordPress.
Yes, this is a lot of work. But if you’re making a complete move away from Tumblr, you should make sure all of your media is hosted on WordPress and not linking back to Tumblr.
I also suggest you hold off on deleting your Tumblr (if that’s your intention) until after you’ve moved all your media over. Otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of broken pictures and you may not remember what picture belongs to what post!
So the bottom line is: If you intend on moving from Tumblr to WordPress, the import is the easiest part. Know that it’s going to take time to clean out posts you don’t want on your WordPress and time to upload and replace media that didn’t move over with the import.
However, the peace of mind of having all your content hosted in the place you want it is worth it. Good luck!