Mumblr: So Much More Than A Blogging Widget
After several years of surveys, thousands of forum posts, and loads of social channel interactions, one thing is clear: Muse users need a blogging solution. We've received more requests for a "blogging widget" than any other widget – and it wasn't even close.
Building a proper blogging widget isn’t as straightforward as users may think though. Many of the current blog widgets on the market have serious limitations, such as content pulled in through iframes that are not search engine-friendly, or complex server requirements such as PHP and SQL which aren’t even available on Adobe’s own Business Catalyst hosting. All of these drawbacks are the result of the fact that Muse doesn't utilize a Content Management System (CMS).
What's a CMS?
A CMS allows for the creation, modification, and management of website content from a backend or central interface – all without the need to mess with HTML. Without a CMS, many Muse users have found themselves unable to do things like maintain databases, set up ecommerce sites, and create blogs.
Turning to Tumblr
With a lot of research, and a little out-of-the-box thinking, we did what seemed impossible: built a content feed widget that doesn't use an iframe, is indexed by Google, and has a simple setup. All that was missing was a central interface for management of content. For this we turned to Tumblr. It's widely used, easy to manage, has a handy mobile app for on-the-fly updates, and it's totally free.
Our widget grabs just the relevant content from Tumblr: text, photos, videos, and audio, while leaving the Tumblr branding and social elements behind. Why is this a great thing? When all the pieces that look like a blog are stripped away from a content feed, this opens the door to do just about anything!
Don't get us wrong; if a standard blog is what you're after, Mumblr's got you covered. Though with a desire to accomplish so much more, we designed Mumblr to be the most powerful and diverse content feed tool in existence for Adobe Muse.
A Few Scenarios...
Each of the scenarios below demonstrates how Mumblr can be used to achieve CMS functionality in Muse. We’ve included all of these demonstration files in the Mumblr product download, available here.
Fresh Menus Daily | DEMO
You've built a website for a client who is a restaurant owner that changes up their menu daily, based on available fresh local ingredients. By placing Mumblr on the menu page, the chef can update the menu each morning – from his phone at the farmer's market! Posts made from the restaurant's Tumblr account update on the published site via Mumblr in realtime – all without any work from you, the webmaster.
Multiple Portfolio Categories Fed From One Tumblr Feed | DEMO
You're a graphic designer who caters to a number of musicians and businesses. You've built a great static website in Muse that features a portfolio page. You want to keep your content fresh, but don't want to have to update and republish your website every time you want to share a new design. Using our Filter By Tags feature in Mumblr, you can use a separate instance of Mumblr in each category area of your portfolio. With each instance of Mumblr displaying specific tags, you can easily update separate categories of your portfolio by simply adding hashtags to your Tumblr posts – all from a single Tumblr blog!
An Ecommerce Standard: "Deal of the Day" | DEMO
Your client – the owner of a beloved guitar shop who sells rare vintage guitars via the small ecom website you've built, wants to add a "Deal of the Day" to the home page. They want it updated daily, and they want to update it on their own. What was nearly impossible is now effortless using Mumblr.
Built For Versatility
Knowing our users would want to use Mumblr for a broad range of functions, we loaded Mumblr with a feature set that put the spotlight on versatility. Here are some features that enable you to make Mumblr work exactly how you want it to:
Gallery Display | DEMO
In addition to a "Standard" display style that's great for a classic single column blog layout, we added a Gallery display style that uses multiple columns to create a masonry layout for content. For a striking mosaic-style photo gallery, try enabling only photo posts, and hide everything else. Even odd-sized photos are arranged perfectly. Running Mumblr 100% width works great for fullscreen galleries due to smart image re-sizing functionality.
Enabling/Disabling Post Types
Jumping from a photo gallery to a text-based blog to a video journal is simple as can be. New posts are created in Tumblr by clicking on a number of post types: text, photo, quote, link, chat, audio, and video. So every post is automatically categorized. By simply enabling and disabling categories, the look and feel of a blog is instantly defined. For even deeper level filtering, try using tags (explained below).
Filter By Tag
Tags are a smart way to use a single Tumblr blog for a number of purposes. One of our members, Norman Durkee, uses 12 separate Mumblr widgets placed within an Accordion Panel widget to show month-specific content on his client's art site. By setting up each instance of Mumblr to filter tags by just one month, any tagged post made in Tumblr will populate the correct month's area in the accordion. So by simply tagging "#march" on a new post made from Tumblr, Norman's client's post shows up exactly where it's supposed to.
Items Per Page + Load More Text
A great suggestion made by a few users after our initial launch was to provide an option to disable the "Load More" button. By disabling the button and setting the Items Per Page parameter to just 1, it's easy to create a "featured item" or "deal of the day" type feature – which can be maintained completely via Tumblr without updating and re-publishing the site.
Here are a few Mumblr usage ideas to get your creative wheels turning:
- News feed
- Photo/Video journal
- Inspirational quote of the day
- Dynamically updated image gallery
- Weekly staff schedules
- Sports league team lineups
- Concert house show schedule
- Promos: prizes, giveaways, sales
- Ecommerce: Deal of the day
Never forget that a major benefit of using Mumblr to manage your Muse site content is that your clients can simply login to Tumblr and update everything themselves.
Hopefully this article has helped to illustrate exactly what Mumblr is and what it's capable of. As always, we'd love to see what you've built with it, or ideas of new clever ways to use it! Visit our forums at http://forum.musethemes.com/
If only I understood this I would be rich!!!
A fantastic Blogging Solution, which I always was looking for. It’s very simple to design as well. Thanks alot
And the problem with using a big public high authority platform like this is duplicate content which will do the Muse site no good at all in the search engines. Surely there has to be a better solution for blogging on Muse (flat files maybe?).
I’ve got it set on gallery and I have multiple columns set, but it will only make one column when I preview it.. Any suggestions?
I suppose I fall into the category of having no idea this widget wasn’t just regular blog widget. Thanks for these explanation!! I’m now using this Mumblr as a Deal of Day special for a client who has a popular food truck in our city!
I’m giving this a try for a magazine client who wants to incorporate articles and photos without knowing muse. Will see how this works out.
I can’t find the part of the widget to turn comments on and off, I’d quite like to invite comments in the blog section of the site but I can’t for the life of me find it!
Please can you explain why this is SEO compliant. My client is asking before I implement one for him this week.
I am using this just fine, but I would love the ability to re-order the posts or do a search within the Tumblr data that is pulled in. Is that possible?
Sounds the perfect solution for my many clients who require a blog option on their Muse site. One question, does it work in a reponsive site built with breakpoints? I know some of these widgets don’t, so really need to know if this one does. I’m starting to use the breakpoints option for most of my new sites (and tediously re-doing some of the old ones), so really need to know if this will work. Cheers!