Back in January 2017 I announced my new blog name and explained the reasons for the rebrand in My Blog Rebrand Story – so I won’t bore you with all the details just now! Instead, I’m going to share with you The Ultimate Guide to Rebranding Your Blog. This will feature what to consider before rebranding, how to set yourself a realistic deadline, useful tips and everything else that comes with rebranding your blog.
There are many reasons you may think of rebranding and here are a few examples: you’re changing your niche, you’ve outgrown your current blog name, you want search engines to find you easily and therefore increase traffic, or perhaps there’s something else? Whatever your reason may be, when the time comes and you’re ready to start your rebrand journey, keep The Ultimate Guide to Rebranding Your Blog by your side (well, in your bookmarks at least!).
ps. this is a looong post. Make yourself a cuppa, and get comfy!
Things to consider before rebranding
Alert your readers
Don’t just plan your rebrand and then put it live with a little message saying, ‘Hey, here’s my new blog name!’. Many people don’t like change and you could risk losing a few regular readers down to lack of communication if you do it this way. Send an email to your mailing list, post in Facebook groups and publish posts on social media to let your readers know what you’re up to and what changes are on the horizon.
Don’t go overboard with the redesign
Rebranding your blog doesn’t necessarily mean redesigning the whole look. However, if you are doing some redesign work, try and keep the changes minimal. Readers are going to be familiar with your old layout/design and too much change at once is going to be off-putting. Make a list of the absolute essential design changes that need to be done asap, then have a secondary list for future design work once the dust settles. Better yet, get your reader’s opinions; run a survey or even a quick poll on Twitter.
Check all the social accounts
With a rebrand you are going to need to either create new social pages, or change the handles of your existing ones. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram allow you to change your existing handles, which helps to avoid starting from scratch with your content and your followers. Therefore, check your new name is available beforehand. You may find you need to compromise a little – some social pages of mine have ‘coffeeandblogging’, whilst some have ‘coffee_blogging’ due to either a restriction in character length or an annoying, inactive user owning the name! It happens, so get over it.
Create a blog post to explain the reason behind your rebrand
Once your rebrand goes live (you’ve switched the domain and uploaded your new graphics for all to see), it’s ideal to have a post ready to go live with it. However, it’s best to write this before. In terms of announcing your rebrand decision prior to it all going live, I announced mine initially in my Things I Wish I Knew Before Blogging post, then followed it up very briefly in my Blogging Goals 2017 post, alongside all my social posts throughout the last couple months/weeks.
Make a list of all your accounts
This is important to consider so it’s all ready for once your new domain and contact information (email) is live. The likes of social media accounts, affiliate marketing accounts, banks (if relevant), subscriptions, PayPal, MailChimp etc. may all be linked to your blog with your current blog email. Inevitably, with a new blog name comes a new email address (for some anyway) – so this is how these existing accounts are going to get in touch with you – make this a priority!
There will be a few technical issues
Prepare yourself for the fact that there may be a few bumps along the way once your rebrand goes live. My biggest issue was switching over the domain – all of that is not my field of expertise, so I did seek help from a fellow blogger who offers this as a paid service. Unfortunately a silly mistake was done on this bloggers behalf and she very nearly deleted all my content, but luckily I had a backup of everything before giving her my log in details – kind of made me think twice about paying someone who isn’t at an agency or working on this full-time. I highly recommend exporting all your content prior to any changes!
You’ll lose all your stats – briefly
Once you’ve changed your domain, you will see the likes of your Moz stats (DA, PA etc.) change to either 0 or N/A. If you’re doing a permanent 301 redirect from your old domain to the new one, then you should see your existing stats the following month, or simply the next time these metrics are updated. Don’t be scared, it’s all temporary. If you aren’t redirecting your old blog to your new rebranded blog however, you’ll be starting from scratch from the get-go.
Set yourself a realistic deadline
Initially I felt like I should have had a specific date in mind to announce to my readers to say, ‘This is the day the new name goes live!’, but no, it’s not ideal. Things can change unexpectedly; there’ll be delays with your graphics, the propagation for your domain change may take longer than you thought, plus there’ll be a few niggly bits here and there that you may want to address or have changed your mind on the moment it all goes live. So the last you thing you want to do is draw attention to your blog on that day, when everything isn’t perfected.
Instead, opt for a month. I always told myself January 2017 was the month it’d all finally happen, or at least I wanted it to happen. That way I had a realistic timescale for how long I had, then if it all happened within the first week, but didn’t get finalised until mid-month, it didn’t matter. I was still ‘on time’.
Changes you need to make
Some of these changes relate to things we discussed in the ‘What to consider before rebranding’ section of The Ultimate Guide to Rebranding Your Blog, but now it’s time to make it happen.
In my simple SEO tips for bloggers post, I mentioned the likes of meta descriptions and title tags. Now’s the time to check all these and edit where necessary. The only changes I needed to make were the blog name and then I decided to go from ‘UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog’ to just ‘UK Lifestyle Blog’, as this was more relevant for my rebrand. The sooner you do this, the better – do not delay!
Update social media
Once your domain has changed and is working fine, you need to update all your social pages with the new URL, email and new graphics (if relevant). Don’t forget to update your email on your bio if you make it readily available, but also change it in your settings so you get notifications sent to your new email to avoid missing anything important. Also, don’t forget that Bloglovin’ and Pinterest for example, have a few verification steps for new domains, so be sure to follow these through!
Update your blog
Your About Me, Work With Me and Contact pages are all likely to contain your blog name, social links and your contact information – the same goes for your footer and sidebar. Therefore, these need to be updated to avoid any broken links or missed emails.
Update all blog accounts
As I mentioned, you’ll most likely have a new email now which involves quite a lot of account updates, but also because you have a new domain that needs submitting too. For example, I had to login in to the likes of GoDaddy, AWIN, all social accounts, Google Analytics, AdSense, the bank (for blog payments) and so on. Everyone has different accounts set up to their blog for different reasons, so be sure to update anything that is linked.
Contact your mailing list
Send an email out to your mailing list to make them aware the rebrand is live, plus even show off your new fancy logo and invite them to take a look! Better yet, inform them of your new contact information so they have this to hand to avoid miscommunication in the future.
Guest Posts & Advertisements
If you did any Guest Posts or have any blog buttons in someone else’s sidebar as a form of advertising, it’s best to contact them to update your links and provide them with your new blog button/advertisement graphics (if relevant). This may be completely irrelevant if your whole niche etc. has changed, as you may no longer want that content pointing to you. However, if there’s going to be a broken link, it’s nice to let other people know. I’m sure they’d appreciate the heads up!
Email your PR contacts
Many bloggers these days have a few working relationships with brands and PR agencies, so now is the time to get in touch with them and let them know what’s going on. This one was a funny one for me, as I really didn’t know the best way to tackle this step and there wasn’t any advice online that I could find.
I didn’t send any of my PR contacts an email before rebranding to let them know what I was planning, as they wouldn’t have a choice in the matter anyway. The existing work I’d done for them previously would still remain live, but just with a new blog name floating above the post.
However, any new brands/agencies that came along a month or two before the rebrand went live, were informed of what was going on and I gave them the choice to continue working with me (letting them know there may be a delay) or not to. Simple really. In fact, it didn’t seem to be as big a deal for brands/agencies as I thought, as all of them said it was no issue and were happy to wait until the rebrand was complete and were excited to see it. Happy days!
As for your existing contacts however, I drafted an email ready to send out the day after the dust settled. I sent this from my old email (the email I previously used for ongoing communication), but cc’d in my new blog email, and statied the following: an update about the rebrand, the new blog name and URL, making it clear that the content is the same and existing work is still live (with working links to reassure them), plus my new email address and a note asking them to pass all future communications via the new email.
Again, as I stated above, I had no clue initially as to which steps were best to follow at this stage of the rebrand. But it seemed to work fine for me. Some brands I no longer work with, but they appreciated the new information to be able to update their database with for future needs. Albeit, I do still get the odd email come through to my old blog email which was only expected really. The best way to get around that is to ask where they found that email and delete/update where necessary.
Top tip: do not delete your old email! Some time down the line you will be able to forget about it for good, but for the first couple months it is ideal to keep it accessible. It’s been 4 months since my rebrand, and I’m still getting to odd email through the old one.
Update your blog posts
Don’t worry, not every single blog post needs to be checked for this task. Instead, I’m referring to posts where you’ve potentially manually linked to old social accounts that now need updating, placed your old email address into, or even have previous affiliate links in there too. I had a few blog posts (especially my Black Friday Guide) where I listed a number of affiliate links that are related to my old blog name – meaning different tracking info etc. I had to go in and update all these links with new ones to ensure they were being tracked and I didn’t miss out on any potential commission.
What can you do next?
So now your blog rebrand is in full swing and is live for all to see. H O L Y C R A P! Other than the steps mentioned above, what else can you do to really kick-start your rebranded blog? Below I’m going to talk you through things to consider now you essentially have a new blog. These can relate to improving your presence online, getting your new and improved name out there, improving your content, how to increase domain authority and also potentially monetising your new name to get some pennies rolling in – if this is what you’d like as a little side income.
You may have already done guest posts on other blogs in the past and simply got them to change the link in said post, but nothing is stopping you from submitting more posts to relevant blogs under your new blog identity. So long as these sites you’re posting to are relevant to your own and also valuable/have a strong presence, then you’ll see the likes of your DA improve and get yourself in front of a whole new audience and gain new readers.
Work on your DA
For those of you who are unfamiliar with DA, this simply means Domain Authority and is a valuable metric which Moz has created to score our sites and show us and others its value. I mentioned earlier on that my DA took a hit once I rebranded – it was 25, but once the domain switch-over took place, it plummeted to N/A and then 0 the following month. Now, 4 months on, we’re at 13! I was honestly surprised that it shot up to this fairly quickly, but I will say that redirecting my old domain to the new one definitely helped assist with this. So bear that in mind. I’ve still got a bit of work to do with my DA score, but it’s not something to be rushed!
Although I picked quite an awkward time of year to do my rebrand (the New Year, but with payments being paid shortly before Christmas) I did make sure I had a small budget set aside to go ahead with everything I wanted in an instance; new domain and graphics, but also setting some money aside to invest – if you can call it that – in advertising my new rebrand. This included the likes of placing banners on valuable blogs relevant to my own, plus setting up a small yet rewarding Facebook ad to help improve my presence on social media. You may find some will turn their noses up at advertising your blog via paid ads on social media, but I honestly think it’s beneficial.
There you have it; my ultimate guide to rebranding your blog!
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve rebranded before, plus share your posts if so! If you have any other questions, just ask away down below and I’ll get back to you asap!