I decided to learn how to import Tumblr to WordPress. The reason is a friend of mine is thinking of moving his Tumblr to a WordPress installation because he feels that the limitations of Tumblr are holding him back so I was wondering how easy it would be do make the move. In the WordPress 3.3 update I had noticed that a Tumblr Importer had been included so my guess is that it would be easy.
Important: If you are using a custom domain at Tumblr disable it before you try to import Tumblr to WordPress as it won’t work and you will get an error message: Problem communicating with Tumblr, retrying later
How to import Tumblr to WordPress Stage 1
- In the sidebar roll your cursor over Tools and click Import in the flyout menu.
- Click and install Tumblr from the list of importers (assuming it is not already installed).
- Click Activate and Run Installer.
- On the next page enter your Tumblr email and password and click Connect to Tumblr.
- If you have more than one Tumblr look at the one you wish to import. (It can only import one Tumblr at a time.)
- If you have more than one author on your WordPress blog select the one you want associated with the Tumblr.
- Click Import this blog.
- Be patient. (You can click Refresh view to see if anything has been imported or you can check your website to see if any posts have been added.) The more posts you have on Tumblr the longer it’s going to take. The speed may also depend on how busy Tumblr’s servers are.
If you are getting the Problem communicating with Tumblr, retrying later message and you don’t have a custom domain enabled you might just need to be patient. There could be other problems though such as your web host might have a firewall to prevent sites connecting to Tumblr. Just ask your host. I occasionally saw the message with DreamHost but it transferred the Tumblr regardless.
You can easily check your Tumblr dashboard to see how many posts you have and then compare them to the number that have been imported in your WordPress panel. I waited but didn’t see any notification that all the posts had been transferred. When the numbers matched I clicked Clear account information in WordPress.
If you want to continue using the custom domain for your Tumblr don’t forget to set that up again.
How to import Tumblr to WordPress Stage 2
You might be asking yourself “you mean it’s not finished”. You have imported the posts and hopefully they look alright but in reality you should manually check each post.
First of all I’ll tell you what should have worked well.
- Post date and time transferred.
- The text and standard formatting such as lists, bold, italics and strikethrough transferred. So did the blockquote.
- The tags were transferred.
- The images re-posted but without the alt tag. The original didn’t have a title tag. The caption was also intact.
What didn’t work so well.
- Page Titles
- Photosets (Tumbler gallery) – Photosets without a post title didn’t transfer for me.
- Imports to default category – You may have to re-categorize your posts.
Tumblr Page Title Problem
From an SEO perspective the page title is extremely important and it is one reason that people move their blogs from Tumblr to the WordPress platform.
With Tumblr there is no need for page titles as it is more like a long-form Twitter than a blog. So when the blogs are being transferred WordPress has to figure out what title to give the page from the information given. It seems to use different criteria depending on the type of post you have created and the information you have input.
In Tumblr you select the type of post you want to make:
(In my test I just looked at the text, photo, quote, link and video post types.)
Here are some possible outcomes:
Text: If you have used a title, it will be the page title. If you haven’t used a title, it will use the first sentence or a truncated version if it is too long.
Photo: If you have a caption, it will use that as the page title. If you don’t, it will use the custom url. If you don’t have a custom url, the post will have no title or be called “Untitled”. (Photosets don’t transfer.)
Quote: Uses the source as the title if you have one, the quote itself if you don’t.
Link: Uses the description if you have one. If you don’t an empty untitled post will be created. No link.
Video: This is the strangest one. When you embed a YouTube video the YouTube url is used as the page title and if you have a description it will be appended to the title. I haven’t tried other videos.
What should you take away from this?
The page title is very important regarding SEO but posts that are untitled or contain a url will make your site look unprofessional so you need to go through every post manually to check the titles and fix them if necessary.
While you are fixing your post titles you might categorize your posts but I will talk more about that in the next post.
Make sure all your photosets posts have a title as they may not transfer.
While it may seem like a lot of trouble to import your Tumblr to WordPress, if you are serious about your blog, I’m sure it is worth the trouble. I hope this guide on how to import Tumblr to WordPress helps you out. If you had a different experience than me I’d love to hear about it. That’s what the comment area is for.