Do you ever feel like you’ve outgrown the original focus of your blog? Maybe you were writing about the joys (and hiccups) of being a new parent, but now your child is older. Or, maybe you’ve simply lost the passion for writing in a specific niche and want something fresh and exciting to satisfy your creative palate.
It’s ok. This happens to a large majority of bloggers.
Rebranding your blog to fit where you’re currently at in life – and where you’re going – takes guts and serious commitment. You might be worried about the readership you’ve worked so hard to build and how they’ll feel about a new site. Will they stick with you? And, if your blog is your source of income, you may be worried about losing important things like sponsors and traffic.
That’s why we’ve put together the following tips and tricks to help you navigate the rebranding process. If you’re 100% sure you’re ready for a rebrand, there are four main areas you should focus on.
Name and Domain
When choosing a new name for your blog, try settle on one that can grow with you and your blog over the long term. This can save you the hassle of doing another rebrand down the road if you want to expand the topics you write about.
When testing out new names, consider the following:
- Check to see if the domain is available.
- Brainstorm 3-5 names that you love, are intriguing, and fit your blog’s direction.
- Send a quick survey to your current readers. Ask them how they feel about a name change and ask them to vote for their favorite. Engaging your readers early in the rebranding process makes them feel included–and more likely to stick around once your new site is up and running.
This is one of the most fun parts! It can also be one of the most overwhelming with all the choices out there from fonts and themes to customizations.
Just like with your name, you’ll want to choose a design and navigation that can grow with you. A few other things to consider:
- If you’re not already using it, we recommend WordPress. They offer affordable hosting, allow you to own your content, and have a variety of themes and plug-ins to help you create, customize, maintain, and update your new site.
- If your new design will be drastically different from your current one, try incorporating some of the new elements into your design now before making the official site move.
- For example, if you’re going to have a whole new color palette, start adding those colors into your current blog so readers can get familiar with it.
- More and more people are visiting blogs from mobile devices. Be sure the new design you choose is responsive so it looks great and is easy to use no matter what devices your readers are on.
- Choose a design that’s search engine friendly.
There are a lot of technical items that should be on everyone’s rebranding to-do list to ensure the site migration goes smoothly.
Here are some of the top priority items to think about:
- Traffic: It’s important to note that moving to a new domain will likely result in a temporary drop in site traffic as well as search engine rankings. This is normal; Google needs time to understand you moved your site and figure out what the new one is about. If you haven’t seen traffic and rankings bounce back after 2-3 months, you may need to do a little SEO work.
- 301 redirects: You want to make sure people can find your new site. Putting 301 redirects in place means users will automatically be taken to your new site when they visit your old URL. It also helps search engines know that your site has moved and can help retain much of the SEO value you’ve built over the years.
- If you’re using WordPress, this is a good plug-in to help you manage redirects if you have limited technical knowledge.
- Links: Are sponsors, affiliates, or other bloggers linking to your website? If so, let them know you’re rebranding and give them your new URL so they can update any links they have to your site.
Before you pull the plug on your old blog and launch the new one, make sure your audience knows what you’re up to! Being upfront and honest with them by explaining your decision to rebrand can go a long way toward retaining readership. Some people will be hesitant about the change while others will embrace it. In the end, as long as you’re happy with the new blog, that’s all that really matters.
Rebranding a blog also means rebranding your social media accounts. Some of these will be easier to update than others (*cough* Facebook *cough*). For a comprehensive guide on how to do this along with some best practices, our friends over at Moz put together this awesome piece.
First, make sure the new name you want is available on each platform. Then you’re ready to start the process of changing names:
Have you recently been through a blog rebrand? Tell us about your experience below!