Casey Leaver has raised an interesting issue on her blog on the University of Warwick blog service:
In the middle of August I will be leaving Warwick (to be the new Corporate Communications Manager at the Open University). … But, given that I will have to migrate my blog, where is the best place to go?
Blog migration is likely to be important not just for departing staff and students who make use of a blog service hosted at their institution, but also potentially users, such as myself, who use an externally hosted blog. What will I do if, for example, WordPress change the licence conditions for their hosted blog service?
John Dale suggested the Vox service – especially as it provides control over access to blog posts which appears to be a valuable aspect of the Warwick blog service. And as John is someone whose opinions I value I thought it would be worth trying out Vox.
So I signed up for the (free) service, selected a look-and-feel and (after first temporarily changing the number of RSS feeds served from the default of 10 to 200 so that all of my postings could be accessed) used Vox’s import option to import all of the posts. And, within 10 minutes, I had a functioning backup copy of this blog, as illustrated
As a backup of my main blog I could have restricted access to the Vox blog. However it occurs to me that the copy could provide a testbed for various blog experiments. So the blog is available at the address http://ukwebfocus.vox.com/ (although I reserve the right to change the access conditions).
An initial experiment is to revisit the experiments with Technorati I carried out shortly after I launched this blog. And, as can be seen when the blog was created it was ranked as number 3,485,803. This was interesting in itself, as Technorati claims that there are over 70 million blogs. Why did my new blog appear in the top 4 million blogs, I wonder? And even more perplexing was that two days later it was rated at number 7,702,784.
I also noticed that when I claimed the Vox blog in Technorati that I now have to be able to demonstrate that I do actually own the blog (either my signing in to the blog or my adding code to the blog). This addresses a limitation that Paul Walk mentioned to me recently when he discovered that his original blog had been claimed by someone else, and Paul need to track down and contact the person in order to be able to access statistics about his own blog.
I have also registered the Vox blog with the Blotter service. This should provide a graph showing how the Technorati ratings for the blog change over time. As the blog is intended as a backup copy I would expect (hope) that links are made to the master WordPress copy, so there should be no reasons for the Technorati rating to fluctuate greatly. It will be interesting to see if this is the case. (Also note that currently the Blotter service does not display any image; instead it gives the message “Exception: Exception Message: Technorati returned no results for this blog”; it is rather unfortunate that a display of a broken image is given.)
I have noticed that comments made on the blog have not been imported to the Vox service. In addition I have also noticed that internal links in the blog (i.e. links I have made in my posts to other posts) link to the original WordPress blog. And images are also hosted on the WordPress blog.
So the 10 minutes I spent importing the blog (less time than it took to write this post!) did not provide a service which will be fully functional if the WordPress blog is deleted. However the process has been useful in making me aware of various issues which I hadn’t considered previously. And, of course, there are lots of other issues which I’ll still need to explore – such as how to keep the backup Vox blog up-to-date as I continue to wrote new postings on the UKWebFocus.wordpress.com blog (if, indeed, I choose to do this).
The Vox blog service also allows greater freedom in adding widgets to the sidebar than the WordPress.com service – so this will enable me to carry out various blog experiments that I can’t do on the master copy of my blog.
And while I experiment with using Vox as a backup for my WordPress blog I notice that Casey Leaver has moved her blog from the Warwick service to http://caseyleaver.wordpress.com/ (and she has successfully migrated her blog comments too).