This is another post that I’ve been asked for quite a bit, especially recently. If you want the very short take-home how-to, skip to the end. But, there are some goodies and options discussed along the way that might help inform some of the choices you might make as part of moving your blog.
Posterous is a service that I started out using just as one of my routine explorations of new online services. I was impressed with how incredibly easy it was to use, and started recommending it to friends who wanted to blog but were not terribly comfortable with computers, as well as others who just wanted a truly EASY blogging platform. It was flexible, simple, powerful, robust, and all you needed to know how to do was write an email, maybe attach an image file. It didn’t provide a good backup or export function, which made me nervous, but it made up for it with the ease of use. And if you post by email, you always have your original emails, if you don’t delete them. That’s it, email was really all you needed to know. And then, all the beauty of Posterous went south.
The sadness started when Posterous was bought by Twitter. Twitter said:
Welcoming the Posterous team to the flock http://blog.twitter.com/2012/03/welcoming-posterous-team-to-flock.html
in which Twitter included the statement, “Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption,” immediately followed by this statement, “We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service.”
What people heard was:
Twitter has acquired shortform blogging company Posterous, Spaces will remain up and running FOR NOW (my emphasis) http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/03/12/twitter-has-acquired-shortform-blogging-company-posterous/
Let’s face it, Twitter, while much beloved for its functionality and the relationships and communities that have grown there, has also not built a lot of trust in the stability of platform, its management, or its relationships with 3rd party tools that support the Twitter ecosystem.
Many people reacted by taking their content out of Posterous as fast as they could. Basically, they didn’t trust Twitter to take good care of the Posterous service and communities. I was more moderate. I chose to get my content into new spaces, but to do that as duplicating the original content and then adding new content to both the original and new location in tandem. I did this for all the Posterous blogs for which I was the sole author, but did nothing with the shared blogs or those for which I had merely helped folk get started.
Here are some of the tools people were using a year ago to move Posterous content to new locations.
How to Back Up and Migrate Your Posterous Spaces to Tumblr, Blogger, or WordPress: http://lifehacker.com/5892776/how-to-back-up-and-migrate-your-posterous-spaces-to-tumblr-blogger-or-wordpress
Cheerio Posterous? http://interactivecultures.org/2012/03/cheerio-posterous/
WordPress: Posterous Importer: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/posterous-importer/
While many hoped it wouldn’t happen, it did. Twitter’s Valentine to the world this year was to take away Posterous. Very generous of them.
Posterous will turn off on April 30 (February 15, 2013): http://blog.posterous.com/thanks-from-posterous
Jolly. People were not happy, either.
“On April 30, all mobile applications and Posterous.com will become completely unavailable to users. Basically, Posterous Spaces will disappear from the Web. Businesses like Airbnb, Mailchimp and Tweetdeck will be forced to shift all blog content to a new platform since those Spaces pages will be closed down.”
Twitter will shut down Posterous at the end of April. http://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/twitter-shutting-down-posterous/
“What BS – why can’t Twitter keep Posterous sites open?” Jonathan Eisen
“Twitter Destroys Something Really Great” Dustin Stout
“Boooo! Twitter bought Posterous just to kill it. Antitrust! Antitrust! … And that is how you beat the competition. You buy them and kill them.” Mike Elgan
“Must #Twitter kill everything they acquire? #TweetDeck is being slowly drawn and quartered while #Posterous will be summarily executed on April 30.” Bill Perrin
And suddenly it struck me that I had never moved my daughter’s blog for her business. OOPS! Immediately I went to move her blog, and discovered that the old tools for importing to WordPress weren’t working the way they used to. As part of closing down, Posterous had AT LAST created a tool to export your content, and now WordPress wanted you to use that.
WordPress: Import from Posterous: http://en.support.wordpress.com/import/import-from-posterous/
Export from Posterous:
“Here are the steps:
Go to http://posterous.com/#backup.
Click to request a backup of your Space by clicking “Request Backup” next to your Space name.
When your backup is ready, you’ll receive an email.
Return to http://posterous.com/#backup to download a .zip file.”
OK, that doesn’t sound so hard. So I tried the export. Looked good. Said I’d get an email when the export was ready. I checked my email for the message from them every day for ten days. Other friends were trying the same thing. We started all checking with each other to see if anyone had gotten the email saying our export was ready to download. Nope. Nothing. Nada. AARGHH!
Then one of the crew found this.
LifeHacker: JustMigrate Moves Your Posterous Spaces to Tumblr in a Few Clicks: http://lifehacker.com/5985265/justmigrate-moves-your-posterous-spaces-to-tumblr-in-a-few-clicks
Awesome! Except, well, I really wanted the blog to go to WordPress. It looked like I would have to first export my daughter’s Posterous blog to Tumblr, and then import the Tumblog into WordPress.
WordPress: Import from Tumblr in 3 Easy Steps: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/import-from-tumblr-in-3-easy-steps/
Definitely not something I’d ask my daughter to manage, but I could handle it. I didn’t like it, didn’t want to, but … I could do it. If I had to.
So what happened? I got lucky. My computer crashed. It doesn’t sound lucky, but, hey, it worked out that way. After the crash I was busily checking all the tabs and windows I’d had open beforehand, to see which ones might have created a problem or if I was done needing them. As part of that process, the Posterous Backup page changed status on all the blogs for which I’d requested export. I still never received the promised email announcing they were ready to download, BUT, upon reloading that page, I discovered that the download option was now available. Lovely! This is what it looks like when it’s ready.
They all downloaded as zip files that contained a complete XML import, with files, directories, images, etc. The least active blog had a ZIP filesize of 9K; the longest standing blog was almost half a gig and took an hour to download on a wired connection. The file names looked like this: space-3229880-blogname-5ddaff750f55b309c01139f6add04d45.zip assuming that the numbers are different for each blog. You have to remember that Posterous called their editing and blog management area “Spaces”, then the names sort of make sense.
The bad part was that ONE of the blogs had a zip file sized in bytes. Bytes, not kilobytes, not megabytes, not gigabytes, just bytes. That download file was defective, and I had to request a new backup for that blog. It was one of my oldest blogs, and I knew it had more content than that! When I finally got the new export file it was not a half-gig in size but almost a full gigabyte. Wow! Talking almost two hours download time. Given how long it takes to get the export files, you might want to do this sooner rather than later. Hint, hint. Really.
So I was able to eventually get my daughter’s blog moved. I had to do a lot of tweaking, and finessing, but I think it’s actually better than before. But she hasn’t seen it yet, and I haven’t been able to get a hold of her recently, so I am hoping this is ok. Just to give you the idea (and to PROVE that it worked), here are the before and after pictures.
PHASE FOUR: OTHER PLATFORMS, OTHER TOOLS
Remember all the problems I had getting my Posterous export? And that I was nervous about there being no export option to begin with? Turns out “there’s an app for that.”
Posterous Backup (Macintosh app): http://pfapps.com/apps/PosterousBackup.html
While some people are talking about some creative options, the names I’ve heard most are WordPress and Tumblr. Here’s a post from earlier today about why.
RIP Posterous. Here’s 3 Alternatives + Backup Options: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/03/07/rip-posterous-heres-3-alternatives-backup-options/
Last but not least, the folks who originally built Posterous are, shall we say, less than thrilled that it is going POOF. That wasn’t exactly the idea. So they have come up with their own solution. Since they actually are the ones who built Posterous in the first place, they know how to make it super easy to get content in and out.
In their words:
“Websites come and go.
This one is made to last forever.
Our pledge to you…
We’ll never be acquired.
We’ll always keep your URLs online.
We’ll always keep it the best place to post.”
What is stopping me from going there? It costs money. Only $5 a month, but that still adds up to $60 bucks a year, and I’m having enough trouble paying the bills I already have. If it was a payment plan like Flickr’s, I’d be there in a hop, but it’s just a little pricey for my blood. Also, even though they say your content will persist forever, I’m still worried about what happens if I miss a payment, and I don’t see an explanation of that up front and obvious. I want that crystal clear before I start paying money.
CONCLUSIONS: HOW TO
MOVE FROM POSTEROUS TO WORDPRESS
1. Go to http://posterous.com/#backup.
2. Click to request a backup of your Space by clicking “Request Backup” next to your Space name.
3. Return to http://posterous.com/#backup to download a .zip file. Check daily until the file is available.
4. Create your new blog name and URL in WordPress.
5. Go to your Dashboard.
6. Along the left side, almost at the bottom, choose TOOLS.
7. Under TOOLS, choose IMPORT.
8. Follow the instructions provided by WordPress.
9. Please note, you will almost certainly need to play with the style, appearance, theme, and so forth. You’ll need to set things up and play with it to get it right. It isn’t as easy as Posterous. But you’ve been blogging for a while now, right? Who knows, you might like WordPress!
Credits: Many of the tools and ideas expressed in this post came through conversations with my colleagues and friends Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew), Chase Masters (@billchaseedu), Matthew Adams (@mtthw_j_dms), and Shawn Sieg (@ssieg).