in my last blogpost I talked about why I used Windows-Live as an internal communication-platform for two student-projects. This blogpost is about how to manage your external communication. I will show how to improve your external communication with Windows Live Writer and WordPress.com and how it works together with Windows SkyDrive.
Recently there have been a switch from the Microsoft blogging platform Spaces to WordPress.com. Microsoft found a strong partner in WordPress.com and since last year all requests through Windows Live have been referring to their platform. Still existing Spaces-Accounts can be transferred to WordPress.com till March 2011 and it’s absolutely worth it.
When I setup Windows Live for those student-projects as our internal communication-platform especially for document-sharing there was additionally a strong demand for a discussion-platform beyond emailing and chatting where even professors could participate easily. Therefore I came up with a WordPress-blog, because you have a well designed backend system where you can manage user-rights, content of articles and pages, navigation-menus or check the related statistics from your blog. You can also use the normal blogging structure for forum-like discussions through commenting on posts! It has an easy access - and if you remember easy accessibilty is the choise criteria number one for student projects - it has many possibilities provided for the non-average user. WordPress.com is a dynamic platform that can be modified to your personal-communication needs. You can setup a complex homepage targeting at interested parties with page-navigation and dynamic content or use it simply as a portfolio through the feature of photo albums or simply keep the world informed about your progress in University with a one page blog.
To register a blog on WordPress.com just click on this link. Click through the options and design menus and customize your blog for your personal needs. After you have setup the blog, you don’t need to login anymore for posting. …Huh, why I don’t need to login anymore?
Yeah, now it’s getting interesting. Just download Windows Live Writer here and you don’t need to log into your blog anymore to post or correct articles. Windows Live Writer is an incredible tool to synchronize your blog with an easy editor tool where you can write and stylize blogposts as simple as in Word. I've heard Mac-Users saying that's a reason why I would buy a PC 😀 It's incredible easy and therefore a perfect tool for just blogging.
Above: An excerpt from the Windows Live Writer toolbar.
For the setup you just need to provide the WordPress.com address of your blog and your login credentials and Windows Live will automatically connect to the service and downloads the current style of your blog theme into the editor mask. That’s a really awesome feature. Now you can start blogging, add categories or tags to your articles or upload a SkyDrive photo-gallery.
Look at the gallery, isn't that another really cool feature? It even provides you the beautiful Slideshow mask, that's stylish and useful the same time. But this feature is ev en more an intelligent strategy. WordPress.com gives you not more than 3Gig of webspace for free but SkyDrive provides you 25Gig for free! -you would pay 90bucks per year for that amount of webspace on WordPress.com. So you can manage your photo galleries still on your Windows-Live-Account and include it in your external blogposts like in the example shown below.
Last but not least: There’s an app for Windows Phone 7 to manage your WordPress Blogs with your mobile phone. I tested it and it works very good. You get the most important information right from your backend system and can post articles and manage comments as well. Check it out on the marketplace – it’s for free! Download.
To sum it up: As a student we need cheap (better no cost) but time-saving solutions especially if we are working in a team. Windows Live offers a lot of services for internal document-sharing and with WordPress.com as a partner and Windows-Live-Writer as an editor it also gets an awesome tool for your external communication that is getting more and more important nowadays.