The other day, I was thinking about how easy it is to make a mess on the web. For example, purchasing a domain that you attach an email address to that is used for a year only to end up wanting to use a different domain. This means you have to go to every site you registered an account with and change the email address if you plan on letting the old domain retire. There are also a host of other issues as well which in the end, just seems like a giant mess. For this reason alone, I believe hosted blogging solutions will always have a market because you don’t have to worry about moving around or managing a domain. Typically, all you have to do is register an account and blog.
However, users of WordPress.com have an awesome benefit that not many other blog hosting providers can match and that is, a free, open-source project based on much of the same code that powers the hosted service. It’s very unlikely but if WordPress.com were to ever go out of business, using WXR or WordPress Extended RSS you could export your content from your hosted account and move it to a self-hosted install of WordPress without missing a beat. If we look into the past, Matt has made it clear that WordPress will exist as an open-source project for as long as he is alive and hopefully, long after he is gone. Talk about peace of mind.
There are a couple of blog host providers which are making some noise in the market right now and even though some of them provide a fancy way of doing things, I prefer having the control over the fate of my content rather than a fancy interface for blogging.
How important is the export/import of data when it comes to choosing a blog host or blogging software?