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Monday, March 11, 2013

Platforms 203 - Platform Showdown: Tumblr, Blogger and WordPress

This guest post is by Anny Solway of themefuse.

Blogging for marketing purposes—or just to build an online following for vanity’s sake—is one of the most popular things going. When you’re trying to reach out to an audience, however, it’s important that you’re using a platform that makes it possible to reach the broadest possible cross-section of users. Which platform should you use? Numbers always give the best insight where questions such as these are concerned.

Unique Visitors

According to numbers compiled by Compete.com, WordPress is still the place to be if you want the most unique visitors. In fact, compared to the competition, there’s really no question in this regard. From September 2009 through September 2011, WordPress hovered around a whopping 30,000,000 unique visitors per month.

Compare that to Blogger and Tumblr. During the same period, Tumblr did see some impressive growth, moving from less than 5,000,000 unique visitors per month to over 15,000,000 by the end of the period. Blogger did almost the opposite, plunging from more than 10,000,000 unique visitors per month to just over the 5,000,000 by the end of the measurement period.

What should you take from this? WordPress is still the dominant site for unique visitors and hasn’t slowed at all over the two-year measurement period. Tumblr seems to be displacing Blogger, but there’s really no comparison between Blogger and Tumblr and WordPress where unique visitors are concerned.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

There’s one other site that isn’t figured into the numbers given above. Compete.com did the same study, starting in January of 2010 and ending in January of 2012. When they included BlogSpot in the numbers, a very different picture is painted. During the time period measured, BlogSpot hovered around the 60,000,000 unique visitors per month mark, sometimes exceeding 70,000,000 unique visitors per month. The growth rate of BlogSpot is a nice, slow rise in numbers, while Tumblr has grown very quickly and WordPress has held its own, but stayed mostly horizontal in terms of movement.


Friends Who Hang Around for a While

So, you get your visitors in terms of unique hits but are they interested enough to stick around for a while. If you’re on Tumblr, the answer is yes. During the 2010-2012 measurement period, Tumblr lead the pack in terms of how long visitors stuck around at the sites that they visited, and they did it handily.

Know Your Audience

Right now, the biggest thing in connecting over the Internet is social networking. Tumblr has a lot going for it in this regard. The site allows people to cross-post and cross-tag content, allowing them to find it more easily, even if that content didn’t originate on a blog that they read regularly.

The numbers, in this regard, are telling. The same source pegs Tumblr's attention numbers over the course of 2009-2011 far surpassing those eon the other sites and, in fact, WordPress and Blogger are both falling in this regard.

At the same time, Tumblr is utterly destroying its competition in terms of the number of pages that people view on their site. People visiting Blogger and WordPress viewed around 200,000,000 pages on WordPress, which lead Blogger by approximately 50%. Compare that to Tumblr, where people were viewing as much as 1.5 billion pages at points during that same time period. In addition to this, Tumblr has seen almost completely vertical movement, while the other two competing sites have seen a very gradual, downward slope in this regard.

The Takeaway

Tumblr is taking off, the numbers demonstrate this clearly. If you want unique visitors, however, head over to WordPress. Just don’t expect them to hang around for nearly as long as they will on Tumblr.

BlogSpot has impressive visitor numbers, but hasn’t shown the same explosive growth the Tumblr has demonstrated. For that reason, you might want to stick with BlogSpot if you have it, but consider adding a Tumblr blog to the mix if you want to get in on the next big thing.

Blogger lags far behind in most categories. The site is well known and has impressive numbers, of course, but all things are relative with numbers and Bloggers numbers are relatively unimpressive where most of the measures discussed in this post are concerned.

Social networking may be dominant right now, but Tumblr’s format lends itself well to keeping the best of the newsfeed idea while making it more substantive, but not as long-winded and sometimes tedious as WordPress blogs can be. Many WordPress templates, even professional ones, are still based around the basic blogging model that this content management system started out with. Short, snappy blog posts that can be tailored to a niche and gain a great many followers characterize the Tumblr format at present, and that formula seems to be working very well.

Questions?  Comments?  Drop them in the comment box below!  Don't forget to share us with your friends.

Anny Solway is a dedicated writer at ThemeFuse – a web studio that creates original WordPress themes, that can be used out of the box. She loves to share blogging and technology  tips.

If you'd like to read more about starting a blog, check out our post Starting A Blog 101.


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