Tumblr is known as a social platform designed for sharing, re-sharing, and general public display. However, there's a less-used feature that also makes it a wonderful platform to communicate in a much more personal way — its private blog feature. You can create a private blog full of love and inspiration especially for a specific person, be it a friend who's having a rough day, your mum on her birthday, or your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. It's super easy, it's free, it's fast and, according to the first person I made one for, it's the best gift ever.
In a nutshell, you create a private blog, upload a bunch of fun pictures, videos, quotes and so forth, and then give the lucky recipient the URL and password. As an example, I made a secret "Lifehacker Happiness" blog. The password is haveaniceday. All of the content is my own, mostly pictures I took with my phone.
Here's how you do it:
Create Your Tumblr Account
- The first blog you create on Tumblr will be public by default. Give it a random name, such as randomnotablog.tumblr.com. Any subsequent blogs can be private.
- Select the settings icon in the top navigation of your Tumblr dashboard and click on the blog name.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the "Allow search engines to index your blog" option, as well as any options that have to do with posting to Facebook or Twitter. Save. Now, even though you have a public blog, no one will find it.
- And from there on in, just don't post anything on it.
Create Your First Private Tumblr
- Select the drop down list in the upper right corner and click on "Create a new blog".
- Name your blog (you can change this later if you like) and create the URL (you can change this, too). Choose something cute and personal, like iheartyoudana.tumblr.com.
- Select the "Password protect this blog" option and create a password. Choose something cute for your password, too, such as unicorn or rainbow.
Hide It From Search Engines
- Select the settings icon in the top navigation of your Tumblr dashboard and click on the private blog name.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and uncheck the "Allow search engines to index your blog" option, as well as any options that have to do with posting to Facebook or Twitter. Save.
Customise Your Blog
- Upload your own avatar image. Save.
- Click "Customize".
- Select "Themes" at the top left and select "Free themes" from the drop down menu.
- Find a theme you like and click "Use". (You can change this anytime.)
- Take a look at the other customisation options and customise as you like.
- Save and close.
- Visit your Tumblr site to see if you like how it looks.
Now that you're all set up, start uploading fun posts from the main Tumblr dashboard. Important: Make sure you're uploading to the right blog by selecting your private blog from the dropdown list on the upper right. That blog should be selected whenever you are posting.
Use your own content. Images such as you and your friend hanging out will make the blog feel more personal and special.
Don't post anything sensitive. Such as naked pictures or anything mortifying. You don't want those images to suddenly show up on search engines if you somehow accidentally check the "Allow search engines to index your blog" at some future point.
Download the mobile app. It's fast, convenient and makes it super easy to post images that you keep on your phone.
Put up at least 20 posts before you share it. That will make for a gift blog that feels substantial. Don't stop at 20 if you want to add more! New content is what makes it so cool and truly special.
Experiment with different themes and customisation settings. Make it look at cool as possible.
Dana Zemack draws comics, creates jerkface typewriters, and is sometimes a narcissist. During the day, she works with wonderful and innovative technology companies at totally rad technology PR firm LaunchSquad. Follow her on Twitter @danamarcelle.