I just posted news on WordCast about the WordPress.com and Microsoft Windows Live Spaces migration which brings Windows Live Spaces bloggers to WordPress.com.
I’m thrilled about this huge endeavor, and offer up my blog tips to Windows Live Spaces bloggers. I’m also excited about what this means for the WordPress Community. The number tossed about is over 30 million blogs converting to WordPress.com, which means a lot of customer support as well as input to the service.
The announcement also came with some interesting news tidbits. According to Inside Windows Live, WordPress powers over 8.5% of the web and is used on over 26 million sites. WordPress.com is seen by over 250 million people every month. These are huge and impressive numbers.
For those of you with Windows Live Spaces blogs, you will have as of today through March 2011 to migrate to a WordPress.com blog, so I thought I’d offer some quick tips.
- Your blog domain name might have to change. If your blog’s domain name is something very common, it’s usage as a subdomain might be already taken on WordPress.com, so you have a couple choices. You can either get your domain name registered and use the (currently) USD $15 option to redirect the registered domain to your WordPress.com subdomain and people won’t know the difference, or you can get really creative and find a new free domain name for your blog.
- Don’t Worry About Your Images and Media: With the WordPress.com importer for Windows Live Spaces, all your images and hosted media will import right into WordPress.com. You might have to play around with a few links, but most will stay true.
- Themes and Designs: WordPress.com offers a wide variety of WordPress Themes and designs to choose from, many with customizable features to help you pick a great look. If you are in love with your previous design, you can easily port it over to WordPress.com with the Custom CSS extra – if you know a little CSS. If not, get a friend or web designer to do it for you.
- WordPress.com support is everywhere: I offer a ton of helpful articles here, but check out the WordPress.com Forums, WordPress.tv, WordPress.com Features, WordPress.com Support, and Learn WordPress.com services.
- WordPress.com Galleries: WordPress.com does not feature albums, and Windows Live Spaces albums might import or continue to be linked to and accessed, but flickr and other image services can easily be included in WordPress, and WordPress has a lovely gallery system for you to add images and share with your readers.
- WordPress.com Shortcodes makes adding content easy: WordPress.com features shortcodes to post in your blog posts to make adding video, images, third-party content, and other goodies very simple and easy.
- Sharing and Social May Change: A lot of information out is filled with assumptions and more news will be coming over time, but the core services of Windows Live Spaces as Windows Live Essentials may continue such as Messengers’ WordPress.com post announcements, custom email addresses, albums, Windows Live Profiles, Office docs, and other online social services, but whether or not they are intricately linked to WordPress.com is still news we’re waiting to hear.
- Modules Verses Widgets: WordPress.com is not modularized, but widgetized. This means that currently the only parts of the blog design you can change are within the header area with the header art, custom menus (within header and sidebar areas), and sidebar “widgets” which permit you to add all sorts of content and features to your blog’s sidebar(s). WordPress Themes are changing and improving dramatically, so expect to see some new Themes coming to WordPress.com which permit more modular rearranging of design elements.
- Statistics and Numbers: Current stats with Windows Live Spaces will probably not migrate over to WordPress.com, but WordPress.com has an excellent, simplified stats feature built right in that will help you keep track of the activity on your site.
- Ads are a no-no: Microsoft Service Agreement is a little different from WordPress.com Terms of Service. Copyright and spam rules are basically the same, but advertising and Bing cash back services will end, I presume. WordPress.com has it’s own Advertising Policy and options for running ads on your blogs. Paid-to-blog, affiliate links, and other paid or sponsored post content is prohibited. If your blog is for business and advertising, I recommend you get a self-hosted WordPress version.
- Remember, it’s about blogging: One of the greatest joys of blogging on WordPress.com is that it’s about blogging. You don’t have to worry about security, server downtimes, tweaking code, futzing with designs, or playing around with time-waster stuff – unless you are into that and for which I recommend choosing the self-hosted WordPress version – so you can just focus on content, on writing, on video, on audio, on telling your story and sharing your thoughts.
- Not sure WordPress.com is right for you? Check out the comparison between WordPress and WordPress.com to help you decide which course to take as you move your Windows Live Spaces blog to WordPress. The next update to the full version of WordPress should include the new Windows Live Spaces import.
Again, welcome to WordPress.com and to the joy that is the WordPress Community. We’ve been breaking rules in blogging here since 2005, and many of us long before that. You’re in good company and we’re eager to learn from you, too!
The “30 million Windows Live Spaces bloggers” coming to WordPress.com are now estimated to be closer to 7 million, as experts say that Microsoft might have counted those who have signed up, not necessarily the “active” blogs. That’s still a huge number and WordPress.com can handle it, especially as WordPress.com now handles a lot of the CNN, Fox, People, and other high traffic blogs, including the king of traffic, the popular I Can Has Cheezburger.
In one of the many announcements about the move by Microsoft to close Windows Live Spaces and the offer to transfering their members’ sites to WordPress.com, WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg, talks about how the WordPress team and community is eager to help make the transition as easy as possible:
Now that [import] process will be much easier, we’ve worked closely with their team to make it as smooth as possible.
…Like I said in the post, I think it speaks to their respect for their users. It was probably a good business decision to discontinue investment in the service, so they looked for the best alternative to their users. They know that on WordPress.com there’ll be a team living and breathing making blogging easier every day.
…Sure, basically Microsoft gets to focus more resources on what they consider their core businesses, and we take the burden of hosting all the blogs but in exchange we get to introduce a whole new audience to the wonders of WordPress.
…I would love to meet Bill Gates someday! No check though, there was no financial component to this particular deal.
His comments to his post answer some of the leading questions many Windows Live Spaces users are having with the deal and the transition. First, the WordPress team is working overtime to improve the transition as more people make the move, and second, this was not a financial deal, as many claim. In the typical style of the WordPress Community, the need was there and they offered to help. Now it’s up to the team and the community to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
Updated as of October 5, 2010
According to the WordPress.com development team working with Windows Live Spaces, all images on Live Spaces were stored on Skydrive. Microsoft will continue to support Skydrive after Live Spaces discontinues. You may leave them on Skydrive and link to them from there, or import them into WordPress at your leisure. For more information and details, see “Help and Tips for Windows Live Spaces Bloggers with Modules, Albums, Widgets, and Lists.