Posterous to WordPress Migration Learnings

Have you completed your forced migration from Posterous yet? If not, this post may be of help.
If you have not yet downloaded your Posterous backup from the Posterous site, you can still do so until May 31.

As you may know, in February Posterous announced they are shutting down all member sites on April 30th. Although you can no longer refer to your live site, as long as you back up by May 31st, you will be able to complete your migration.

If you are migrating to self-hosted WordPress here are some important things to know:

- You should import to WordPress.com before importing to WordPress.org
- After moving to WordPress.org, add Google Analytics. The tracking code you had from Posterous no longer works.
- You will need to create a featured photo for every post on WordPress.org in order to display images with your category archives.
- Your imported images have been altered from the originals, however, the originals are still in the image folders, archived by month, in your download from Posterous. If you loaded 1 MB photos directly to Posterous, they are still 1 MB. In most cases my photos have come over 500 pixels wide into my posts. These are usuable in your WordPress site as is. If you are using a wider theme, you may wish to adjust them. If you adjust in code, from 500 pixels wide to 700 wide, you make this calculation for the height: 700/500 = 1.4 X height = new height.
- The “featured photo” used for widgets and archive pages is not chosen. If your first photo is vertical, it won’t look great. You may wish to access a replacement photo.
- If you uploaded to Posterous via Instagram, do not expect large photos. I have found these photos to be small and named like this: 45059655-media_httpdistilleryi_vwqrF.jpg. If you really want them, they should be in the camera roll of your mobile phone. You may have these backed up on your computer, in the case of iPhone to your iPhoto where you can match up photos by date. You may also have them backed up to the cloud – in the case of iPhone, to your iCloud Photo Stream.
- If you have posts with videos, you will need to reload them
- If you were using the Posterous Flickr album slideshow feature, you have lost the album from your post. However, you should know which Flickr album it is, and you can use WordPress to create a new display of multiple photos. You can choose from a variety of formats WordPress and WordPress plug-ins make available.
- Your permalinks are the same. Posterous was probably cutting off the ends of your headlines. You can adjust these now. If you do, make sure to save the original permalink so that you can add redirects from each one. (I am just keeping my original permalinks).
- The permalinks on your internal links are still to the Posterous site. Just change the domain, the rest is fine – unless you have changed your headline. Your internal links are the headlines, not the permalink. So if you have changed your headline, then simply redo the link.
- For photo caption posts, you may have some very long headlines. These will need to be shortened.
- Your “tags” will come over from Posterous to WordPress.com and then to WordPress.org but because you have now created categories, you may want to tweak the existing tags.
- All your posts will be uncategorized. Choose less than 10 categories to categorize your posts into. This will help your theme lay-out.
- If you have the patience, add your SEO title tag and description tags to every post. If you are using StudioPress Genesis framework WordPress themes, you will have built in access to add SEO meta tags on each post. Or you can install the best WordPress SEO plug-in: Yoast SEO and add your tags there.
- The “tags” that Posterous created come over with a ? that is not easily redirected if they are showing up as a 404.
- Your photo alt tags will have been automatically generated from the title of your photos. You will probably want to tweak these.
- My user nickname had a space in it instead of a hypen. This was reflected by clicking on my name in author and having it go to a 404. This can be repaired in phpMyAdmin.
- Watch out for special formatting. I had pasted in an email to this post which brought with it a margin formatting that Posterous absorbed without difficulty but WordPress rearranged the entire post. If you see something that doesn’t look right as you go through your posts, be sure to remove formatting.
- If you put in links and let Posterous auto convert them, they do not open in a new tab or browser window. If you want your links to do so, you will need add target=”_blank”>name of link to each link.
- Your photos are only 500 pixels wide, your new theme probably allows wider photos, you can adjust the width slightly while proportionally increasing the height.
- Since my blog goes back to January 2009, I couldn’t resist adding “Update” to the bottom of some of them.
- You probably lost some links. If you actually work through your blog post by post, you will find them. You can also use a WordPress plug-in to find broken links.
- Posterous only links to WordPress, SquareSpace and Tumblr migration paths in their departure post. I do know of one successful import to Overblog while Posterous was still live. It appears from Overblog’s blog post that they should still be able to import even though based on their instructions which tell you to import from your backup but the cautionary notes on their post cause me concern. I will look into it and put an update note here – or there will be follow-up in the comments. Be aware that once you import to your Overblog, it is not a simple task to remove imported posts, particularly the comments, so I would suggest that you use a new Overblog rather than an established one that you are already using as you may need to delete that Overblog if you are not happy with the results.

In August 2008, Posterous offered custom domain names. If you did not already have a domain name, Posterous let you set one up. It was not terribly clear at the time, but that service was offered through eNom. The renewal prices are rather high, so you may wish to move your Posterous domain to another domain registrar. If you had attempted to move the registration to another domain registrar before April 30th, you may have had the surprising experience of sending your domain to a parked page on eNom. Although eNom had a large role with Posterous, repeated inquiries to their tech support finally resulted in their conceding that ‘the name servers may be pointing to us, but we are not hosting Posterous blogs.’

On self-hosted WordPress alone, I own ItsDifferent4Girls.com, LindaSherman.me, KauaiMarketing.com, BoomerTechTalk.com and OurBestofKauai.com – yet Posterous still had a special place in my heart. I first learned about Posterous at BlogWorld (now New Media Expo) in September 2008 from investor Guy Kawasaki. At first I used it just for “Twitter extensions.” When my first WordPress blog was caught in a major security breach on a then-popular server host, I used Posterous as my main blog while that hosting company fought to protect my sector of their server. Posterous was not full-featured like WordPress, but it had nice easy-to-use capabilities, such as providing the capability to drop a Flickr album link into a post and having it automagically became a slide show.

Posterous Executives with Linda Sherman

Posterous Executives with Linda Sherman

In September 2011, Posterous apparently felt they needed to add community features (just as LinkedIn has recently done), and they introduced “Spaces.” Forbes and various tech publications announced the change. The move was controversial with their users. However, for me it was already a community because I had subscribers, and I subscribed to others on Posterous.

I am sorry to see Posterous go. I wish the owners well in their new careers with their purchaser, Twitter.

Sad to see that they took down their blog, our archive of the history of Posterous. If you want any articles, go get them from Google caches while you can.

Useful articles:
On Techcrunch – WordPress.com saw 2 million posts uploaded from Posterous after the February announcement and through the article date of March 26

As with many people who build websites, my own sites always get my attention last. So you can have the pleasure of watching my Posterous get completed in real time. Here is my Posterous site, AskLindaSherman.com in progress.

How is your Posterous migration going? Please let us all learn from what you have discovered.

Update: My migration for AskLindaSherman.com is complete and it is reopened to search.

About Linda Sherman

International, multicultural marketing pro, Linda brings a distinguished background of international subsidiary CEO/CMO to her Social Marketing expertise. These include CEO Club Med Japan, Barilla Japan and CMO Wal-Mart Japan. Linda Sherman has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The New York Times, Christian Monitor and other leading publications. She devised and implemented an innovative guerrilla-marketing plan for ZIMA in Japan that produced a lasting, profitable success. Linda has hands-on technical skills in building and search optimizing WordPress websites and an influential on-line presence. Linda teaches social marketing for business at the University of Hawaii. Her company, The Courage Group, provides websites, digital film, branding and social marketing strategy and training.

Connect with Linda Sherman on Google+

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