WordPress vs. Blogger vs. Tumblr: Free Artist Websites

Free blog hosts are a great resource for artists who want to create their own portfolio or website online. Below I have provided a short summary of three of the most popular free blogging hosts: Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr.

Blogger / Blogspot

Blogger by Google hosts free blogs using the format www.(yourname).blogspot.com. Blogger is useful for setting up a working journal or studio blog about your practice, updated as you add new images or news to it. It is more suited to a journal or conventional blog format where you can post news, pictures of work, the progression of works in progress—rather than a formal portfolio.

The disadvantage of Blogger and the reason it is not good for a “formal” portfolio or artist’s website is that by default, you cannot have a static landing page. It is technically possible to alter the code to change your Blogger blog to a static page, but you need to edit the template in HTML. If you are up for the challenge, Blog Help gives a good explanation here.

Blogger allows you to “monetize” your blog, should you choose to put advertisements on it.

Here is an example of an artist’s blog on Blogger, works by Claudio Rodriguez Valdes, using a non-static landing page.

WordPress

WordPress hosts free blogs using the format http://(yourname).wordpress.com. Like Blogger, the templates to choose from are non-static, although the process involved in creating a static landing page is much simpler, the instructions provided by WordPress themselves here.

WordPress offers a wider range of aesthetic choices in its free templates. The dictionary of themes can be found here.

WordPress does not allow you to run advertisements on your site as Blogger does.

Alyson B Stanfield’s ArtBizBlog has a great guest post by Kim Bruce which explains steps (including making your landing page static) for how to use WordPress to manage your portfolio.

Here is an example of an artist’s blog on WordPress, Creativity + Connection by Mary Bennett.

Tumblr

Tumblr hosts free blogs using the format http://(yourname).tumblr.com. Unlike Blogger and WordPress, Tumblr is much less customizable unless you are familiar with HTML. Because of this, Tumblr is only good for most people if you like one of their existing templates and the features built into that template.

Generally, Tumblr’s templates are quite simplified in design and features, but this can be an advantage for you if you want a clean, simplified website.

Tumblr makes sharing content easy between bloggers, as you can “re-blog” other Tumblr posts with one click.

Here is an example of an artist’s blog on Tumblr, works by artist Julia Mai.

Have you used either Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr to set up your art website? What are the advantages and disadvantages you have found?

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94 comments

  1. I am a recent convert from Blogger to WordPress, and I am convinced that WordPress is vastly superior.

    Take a look and see for yourself.

    Old Blogger Blog: http://bmcelhaney.blogspot.com

    New WordPress Blog: http://brennenmcelhaney.com/journal/

    As a note for clarification: There is a distinction between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress.org provides free, open-source, downloadable software which you can install on your own site. WordPress.com offers free hosting of WordPress blogs, plus upgrades (for a fee).

    I recommend installing WordPress on your hosting server, and integrating it into your Art website.

  2. I’ve always appreciated the linear simplicity of the Blogger format. I’ve experimented with WordPress, but have found Blogger easier to organize, especially since I enjoy using the traditional blogging format for the majority of the content on the site. For my needs, it’s Blogger all the way.

    • karton

      tumblr is easy to use but it is limited in designs….but i like tumblr for my personal blogs …where i can upload my Pix

  3. I have a blogger and a wordpress. WordPress was a bit more intimidating to me than blogger but now that I have been using it regularly I’d say it’s the better of the two. It has better templates and you can add all kinds of different widgets/plugins that are really useful. WordPress has alot of options to explore.

    • Hi Rebecca,

      Thanks for your comments. I also am getting the hang of WordPress and find it to be more customizable in terms of visuals (which is always important for artists).

      Nice website(s)!

      T.P.A.W.

  4. Side note: I’m new to tumblr but finding the usability oddly clunky, choosing templates in tumblr is a mess.
    rebeccachaperon.tumblr.com

    (rebeccachaperon.blogspot.com
    iheartpainting.wordpress.com)

  5. Thank you for using my tumblr page as an example! Has lead to many visitors :)

  6. I am actually new here in WP and i think I made a right choice in doing so. I am still thinking on what to “press next”. I like this article! :)

  7. i must support wp, because it is easy to opperate from back end also front end. there are lots of plugs in and others tools for wp,
    so, i am giving vote to wp, go ahead wp

  8. Hi, what I like about tumblr is the minimalism of it : I post drawings of mine, and it’s perfect for that : http://monexpo.tumblr.com/
    But anyway I’ll try out wordpress and blogger too, maybe this will drive more visitors?
    Olivier

  9. I must put in my two cents here because of my recent experience with Blogger. I have had two sites with them since 2006 and 2009. 3 weeks ago one of my sites was randomly DELETED. No reason. My work is in no way offensive, nor was it spam of any kind. Simply an artist and designers blogs displaying my work and my writing relative to the work. After the unexplained deletion (and by the way I am far from unique, I found a very large number of people struggling with the same or similar issues) I contested it, they finally launched an investigation and it was ‘restored’ because they found there was nothing wrong with it and didn’t have a clue why it was deleted in the first place.

    The only ‘restoration’ that occurred though is that the original blogs are visible publicly, but I cannot make any changes (such as a new post, or editing, etc, to either blog now because they have been somehow combined, with parts mixed with parts and they are no longer functional. I have been working with one of their “tech support” people for many days now. I’m afraid he is terribly incompetent, does not read what I write, never answers my questions pertaining to the investigation and recovery. In fact so bad that I actually feel sorry for his inability to communicate, and he is not of foreign derivation, as far I can tell he’s a white guy from the US. It has cost me a lot of time and money trying to rectify something Blogger created, and I am left completely frustrated, with no resolution.

    So I am here considering starting all over again with WordPress. It is daunting because I had a LOT of work involved in my two blogs over the years.

  10. I have been on Blogger, since the dark days of the internet when most artists didn’t even know what a blog was. (8+ years ago!) I love it. I’ve had friends who use either WordPress or Typepad and they are often frustrated because they can’t easily alter the HTML. I’ve tried to help them, but it’s really hard accessing the guts of their blogs. Also, a HUGE downside to Typepad is that if you ever stop paying for it, they will up and sell your blog name right out from under you. A friend of mine had one which was hername.typepad.com . When she gave it up, someone was able to purchase HER NAME and use it, stealing all the traffic that normally came to her blog to view her art. They were selling spammy stuff, using her name! There was NOTHING she could do about it.

    The good thing about Blogger is that if you set one up, it’s yours FREE until the end of time or until you delete it, whichever comes first! Also, I find it really easy to customize my blog. It does everything I need it to do. I have nothing bad to say about the platform, really.

  11. Brigette Garder

    I really love to blog on WordPress because it is a user friendly interface. ..

    <a href="Freshest blog post on our personal blog site

    http://www.prettygoddess.com/index.php?board=9.0

  12. I currently have a blog on tumblr. It works well when just posting pictures. Users tend to dislike it if you have very wordy posts because tumblr is made of mostly pictures. I’ve been considering using wordpress for wordier, more personal blog posts.

    http://www.lydiahaff.tumblr.com

    • This is good to know since sometimes that’s about all I want to get on there, mostly pictures. Maybe I’ll try tumblr for that and save blogger for when I have more to say!

  13. MB Wendt

    Hello..I am getting ready to start my first art blog…my internet connection is quite slow & clunky…wonder if anyone has advice as to which format…blogger or world press…would be more usable for me, i.e. easier to upload photos, etc. Thanks, MB

  14. MB Wendt

    Sorry…Wrod Press, not World press…typing is not my forte! MB

  15. I’m just wondering about the safety of posting my artwork on any of these sites, specifically Tumblr. I want to post more of my work online, but I’m also afraid it will be stolen and used to make money in adds, or something, for other people. This is why I am weary to post anything of my own on my facebook. However, if I don’t post anything, no one will ever see it! I want to have an online presence, somehow, but I want to be smart about it. If anyone has any tips or knowledge about this I would love to pick your brain! Thanks!

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  79. I think blogging is the best way for artists to connect with audiences when an in-person visit isn’t possible. The free alternatives you mentioned are great choices.

    It’s especially nice that Blogger allows you to monetize through advertising so you can make money, even when your art isn’t. I haven’t used Tumblr personally, but it seems easier than building a blog from scratch. WordPress is great because you can make a website quickly, but once you want to customize it, you’ve got to start learning a thing or two.

    The only issue with these blogging platforms is that they are broad and don’t bring a solid audience together because each person’s blog is singular. Unlike your site (thepraticalartworld.com) that ranks near the top of a search for “free blog for artists”, unless someone is looking for an artist’s site specifically, they probably won’t find their site. The kradl blogging platform is a hub for creative passion; by having artists and creatives blog for free in one place they benefit in their cumulative admirers.

    I’d love to get in contact with you, but can’t seem to find an email. Either way, keep up the great work. Your posts are really informative and helpful for artists!

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