How To Search Tumblr Effectively
Tumblr is a great platform—a blogging platform, microsite hub, and social network all rolled into one. Despite many changes since its launch, it remains incredibly popular, with hundreds of thousands of unique sites hosted within. With all that volume to sort through, how can you search Tumblr effectively? In this article, we’ll walk you through it.
What is Tumblr anyway?
Tumblr was launched in 2007 as a free way for anyone to publish a blog or minisite quickly and easily. There are the obvious restrictions: nothing illegal and nothing to do with terror, but other than that, any subject matter is fair game. And that’s why, not surprisingly, quite a lot of adult content on the platform has popped up over the years—but that’s not what Tumblr is about.
According to Tumblr, there are over 441 million Tumblogs (2018 figures), and with that comes a lot of diverse content. It includes millions of people posting about their lives in the normal way. There are lifestyle blogs, niche blogs, alternative blogs, and gaming blogs. And of course, just like Twitter, there are commercial users shamelessly plugging companies and products too.
How to search Tumblr
So with sheer volume working against you, how to you search Tumblr effectively? There are a few ways. Hashtags are the primary way to search Tumblr, and the best way to find blogs and posts you haven’t yet seen. Keywords do much the same thing, but can produce a wider range of results. Keywords are more useful if you have time to burn browsing and exploring.
Search by hashtag
Hashtags are a big thing on Tumblr. You can add them to posts or images to make the visible to the world. The world can then use the search bar at the top of the page to find what they are looking for.
For example, add ‘#cutekittens’ to the search bar in Tumblr and you’ll see thousands of kitten pics and blogs. You can also add multiple hashtags to a single search. So you could use ‘#cutekittens #blackcats #realkittensofla’ in a single search to filter all three terms at once.
Search by keyword
As with any search engine, you can also search Tumblr by using keywords. They work much the same way as a hash, but offer a wider scope for results. So rather than returning exact or almost exact results, keywords will return fairly similar results too.
For example, type ‘cute kittens’ into the search box, and you will get a much wider pool of results than if you used the hashtag. The upside is the breadth, the downside is filtering all the results for what you’re looking for.
Filtering for results
Tumblr also has some useful filters to help you narrow down your search. If you select the little compass icon in the top menu, you gain access to Explore. Underneath the search box, you have a series of filters. You can click one of these to browse a narrower range, or use the search box as usual.
You can also use Trending Searches on the right if you are looking for inspiration, or you can use Recommended blogs on the Tumblr dashboard for a less precise way of searching. Unlike most sites that promote funded content, Tumblr’s Trending Searches are more democratic.
Search Tumblr using URLs
If you really want to drill down in Tumblr, you’ll need the URL of the microsite or blog you want to explore, but the rest is easy.
- http://www.example.com/archive – will search archived posts from a particular blog.
- http://www.example.com/tagged/tag – will search a site for a particular tag. Change the final ‘/tag’ with the hashtag you’re looking for.
- http://www.example.com/search/keyword – will search that particular URL for a keyword of your choosing. Just change the final ‘/keyword’ to the actual word you’re looking for.
This final way to search Tumblr is most useful if you know what you’re looking for. I tend to use it if I saw a post I liked and meant to read it again and forgot. Rather than trawling through my internet history, I can just go back to the site and perform the search.
Tumblr is a great resource for learning, exploring, wasting time, or seeing more of the world. At least now you stand a chance of actually finding what you’re looking for!