Business Bullpen, a Charlottesville-based web design and development firm, was recently named one of 17 A-List partners for online giant Tumblr.
Founded in 2007, Tumblr is among the busiest sites in the United States. With office in Richmond and New York, Tumblr has more than 84 million blogs, an audience of 175 million, and 126 employees, according to the company's website.
According to Tumblr, the partnership highlights the site's top advertising, media and creative agencies and their top technology providers and theme developers.
In addition to the partnership, late last month, Business Bullpen reached a milestone: More than 100,000 Tumblr blogs installed one of the themes developed by the Charlottesville company.
Tumblr's digital power and social media functionality, along with nearly the unlimited capability to customize, are what keep users coming, according to Business Bullpen founder Todd Wickersty.
For business owners and casual users, Wickersty said Tumblr's functionality, which shifts the blogging focus away from strictly text, makes the platform more appealing and easier to update with fresh content.
"I think tools like Tumblr and other social media tools that have popped up over the last five years make it a lot easier for the local businessperson to provide that content," he said. "I think we're going to see that trend continue as more and more apps or tools come out there that make it even simpler."
Tumblr lauded Business Bullpen for creating a theme with features that were new to the service at the time, sticky posts and featured posts.
Wickersty moved to Charlottesville about a decade ago and previously worked for Music Today. He describes his professional expertise as "the person who understands what sales and operations need and translates that to designers and programmers." After realizing how much he enjoyed freelance consulting work in that field, Wickersty said he decided to do it full-time.
In early 2007, Graham Blevins, a longtime friend and coworker, joined him. Today the company employs about a half-dozen people. Blevins is the company's co-owner and technology director. He previously worked as a pro-grammer and analyst for a Richmond-based firm.
For most businesses, Wickersty said the biggest hurdles to a responsive, fresh web presence are keeping target communities engaged and active through social media sharing, and keeping content updated.
Marijean Jaggers, a local marketing and social media expert, agreed and said Tumblr makes staying ahead of the digital curve easier.
"Tumblr has less barrier to entry for most users," Jaggers said by email. "It's easy to understand and set up, and hosting is not required." In addition, Jaggers said, Tumblr has the added benefit of making social media integration simplified, which is helpful for companies that are trying to manage their social media accounts or presence on sev-eral social platforms.
"We see more companies and big brands feel compelled to have a Tumblr as [they] view the service as a platform for creating unique campaigns to reach consumers and less as a traditional blogging platform," Blevins said by email.
"Brands are increasingly experiencing Tumblr as the most unique and engaging way to participate in creative sto-rytelling with consumers," the online giant said on its website. "Tumblr's A-List partners are fully equipped with the right tools to provide their clients the ultimate Tumblr experience."
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