It’s both harder and easier than it sounds, if that’s possible.
All of the existing WordPress plugins and direct methods to accomplish this task no longer work thanks to the newest Tumblr API restrictions (which, while frustrating, are understandable from a product quality perspective).
So, you have two options. But in my opinion, only one.
First option (but there’s a catch)
The first option is to export your posts to Blogger, and from there to Tumblr. There are tools available for both steps, but in my experience they were buggy and inconsistent. The hosted versions of these tools (WordPress to Blogger, and Blogger to Tumblr) are often down due to over-use, and they are limited to blogs with a small number of posts. Seemingly the best way to run these converters is directly from your computer, by way of their original Python scripts, available for download from Google Code. But first you have to install Python and various tools involved in interfacing with Google’s App Engine, and even then the output wasn’t without errors.
If you’re comfortable with Python, or are an experienced developer, and you’re confident you can get all this to work successfully in an hour or less, then by all means give it a shot. There are further instructions on how to do this on Philipp Keller’s blog.
However, if you’re like me, and want a solution that is both easy and error-proof, and you’d rather pay a small one-time fee than waste hours of your time, then follow me to option number two.
Second, best option: importing your content with Import2
Import2’s Simple Tumblr Import connects with your WordPress (.com or .org) account, and imports directly to your new Tumblr blog. They charge a small fee (from $12-49, depending on how many posts you have to import), and they supervise the import process to make sure everything makes it over safely.
Setup your account, pay your fee, and wait a day or so as they migrate your content while staying under Tumblr’s daily import limit. That’s the easy part.
Now all your content is safely migrated to your new Tumblr, but you have two separate blogs with identical content. Google will penalize you for duplicate content if this remains as-is for too long, so you want to start redirecting people from your old blog to your new Tumblr.
Redirecting your old blog
If you’re like me, your old blog had a fair amount of traffic, mostly by way of Google referrals, and you don’t want to see that all disappear.
If you want to save all your comments, you’ll want to import them all into Disqus from your old blog, then connect your Disqus account with your new Tumblr account, and let Disqus crawl the redirects you’re about to set up to reassign the old comments to your new posts. Philipp Keller’s post, referenced above, has some advice on this.
But for me, I don’t really care. I’m not using comments on my new Tumblr blog, preferring people just discuss things via social media or their own blog posts. And my old comments, while numerous on some of the more popular posts, didn’t add an incredible amount to what was being shared, minus a handful of exceptions. So I skipped this step.
As for redirecting your old blog, you’ll need to do the following:
- Set aside your old hosted images and media
Isolate the directories from your old blog that contain post images and media. For me, it was my wp-content/uploads folder, and a few misc folders I’d created over the years for manual FTP uploads. Your new Tumblr blog still references those old media attachments, so you’ll probably want to keep hosting them if your content was image-heavy. Move those folders, with their internal directory structures intact, to another domain (or subdomain, or subfolder) of your choosing. I moved all of mine to old.PREVIOUSDOMAIN.com.
- Identify the old posts you want to make sure redirect properly
Since Tumblr uses a URL structure that incorporates sequential site-wide numbers, it’s impossible to set up a single generic htaccess rule the forwards all your old posts to their new counterparts on Tumblr. For some of you, this might be a deal-breaker. You can either create a new htaccess rule for every single post, or, you can do like I did, which has resulted only in a marginal dip in traffic which is steadily recovering.
Here’s my advice: just identify the top performing posts and redirect those. For everything else, you can just redirect them to your new homepage.
Either way, go ahead and collect a list of the post URLs you want to save, and get ready to redirect them.
- Setup redirect pages on Tumblr, or an .htaccess file at your old domain
If you’re keeping your same domain across migrations, you’ll need to rely on creating redirection pages via Tumblr’s Customize dashboard.
You’ll have slightly fewer options here compared to traditional htaccess rules, but you can still get most of the dirty work done. If you’re like me though, you took the opportunity to migrate to a better/shorter/newer/etc domain name, so you can just create an htaccess file at your old domain and manage redirections from there. You can use this template .htaccess file with sample redirects I’ve setup on Github.
Enjoy! or: How I learned to stop worrying and love Tumblr
If you’re like me, your new blog will begin to see the traffic of your old blog almost immediately. Over the course of a week or so, it continued to increase, despite me only redirecting my top 40 performing posts (out of over 600), and having duplicate content on both domains for about a week during the migration process.
Why did I leave WordPress for Tumblr? I’m still a huge fan of WordPress and Automattic, and use the CMS for most of my other content-heavy sites. It’s an extremely flexible platform for a wide variety of content types.
But Tumblr is just easy.
- I don’t have to worry about updating the software.
- I don’t have to hassle with malware attacks.
- Tumblr has kickass mobile and tablet apps for both following and reading other Tumblr blogs, and submitting my own content on the fly from wherever I am.
- Tumblr ties in seamlessly with a ton of other services (Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, etc), and is extensively scriptable via IFTTT, so it serves as a great hub for sharing content.
- The simplicity of Tumblr has empowered me to actually blog again, now that I’m just a click or touch away from reblogging something cool, or zapping off something original, like this post, which has taken me less than an hour to draft, curate links for, create a template .htaccess file, upload screenshots, and publish, which I’m doing riiiiiiiiiiiiight … now.
Update: I shared this post with the folks at Import2 and they refunded my fee as a way of saying thanks. Pretty cool!