Yesterday, Microsoft announced a partnership with blog specialist Automattic that will see 30 million Windows Live Spaces users upgraded and transitioned over to Wordpress.com accounts. The move doubles the size of the Wordpress.com user base which is now one of the largest free blogging platforms available.
If you’re an existing Windows Live Spaces user, there’s no need to panic! You have six months to make the move over to your new home, and you’ll find tons of support available to help you get there as well as migration tools which will make the move as easy as possible.
I’m sure you’re keen to check out what your new site will look like at Wordpress, but with six months to make the move, why not take some time out to revamp your blog?
One of the great things about Wordpress.com is that there’s a huge population of developers out there creating beautiful themes, and awesome widgets and plugins which extend the features of the core platform – many of which can be used with free Wordpress.com accounts as well as self hosted blogs.
Before pushing the button to migrate, check out some of my favourite features:
- Wordpress Themes & CSS Editing
You’ll find over 75 free themes available to radically change the design of your blog. You can change colour palettes, switch between single and multi-column layouts and insert custom header images to truly personalise your blog. If you’re a dab hand with CSS (or want to learn through experimentation), then you can tweak your design to your heart’s content (via an upgrade).
- Sidebar Widgets
Developers have been busy creating hundreds of sidebar widgets for Wordpress, which can be dragged and dropped into your blog’s sidebar to add new features. Photo sideshows, video players, Twitter feeds and a whole lot more are available to add content into your blog.
- Works Well With Windows Live Writer
If you’re yet to discover Windows Live Writer, then this is your opportunity to check it out. WLW is a fantastic post creation and editing tool that allows you to write your posts offline, add images, embed videos, tags and set categories before uploading and publishing live to your blog when you’re ready. Check out Windows Live Writer’s Plugin Gallery too for hundreds of additional features from the developer community. Windows Live Writer is freely available as part of the Windows Live Essentials Suite, and once configured with your Wordpress.com account details will quickly become your best friend. Find out more about plans to integrate Wordpress.com into Windows Live Writer.
- Spam Canned
Blog spam can very quickly turn the fun of writing a blog into an administrative nightmare. Fortunately, Wordpress.com’s Akismet feature blocks spammers from leaving comments and trackback spam on your blog.
- A Fresh Start
Having moved my own blog a few times, I’ve found it gives you the opportunity to step back, have a good think about your writing, and make a few changes and improvements. Migrating to Wordpress may provide the impetus to take your blog in a whole new direction, or simply make a few tweaks here and there.
Once you’ve found your feet with Wordpress.com, you may want to go the extra step and host your blog on your own server. Wordpress runs on Windows, courtesy of the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, which will install key components such as Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, .NET Framework and Visual Web Developer. If you’re running IIS with SQL Server or SQL Azure, there’s a patch available to get Wordpress working with your setup too.
Have fun creating your new blog at Wordpress.com.