Have you ever thought about changing the name of your blog? It's inevitable that the online persona you begin with might not be what you identify with for the life of your blog. This is especially true for those of us that start blogging at one stage in our lives…and then ten years later, are at a totally different stage! Anyone start their blog in college? Yeah, you feel us.
But the truth is, undergoing a revamp of your blog can feel super scary. Will readers get it? What happens to your traffic? Should you invest in a large redesign of the site at the same time? How does rebranding impact your blog?
We interviewed five bloggers who've undergone renaming, rebranding or redesigns (or sometimes all three!), to share what they learned throughout the process. The good news: not a single one of them regrets it, and we're betting you won't either if you decide to pull the trigger. Read on to learn more about the rebranding experience through some of our fave bloggers eyes!
follow her blog at lemonstripes.com, and on instagram @juliadzafic
“Rebranding can be intimidating, but if you take the time to actually think through what you want for your business in the long run, it's so worth it. I found that after I finished my rebrand, I was more excited about creating content for my site, because the site itself made me so happy to look at! Rebranding made my blog feel like an extension of me, which has always been my goal. My top three tips for your own rebranding project are:
1. Think about what you want in the long term. Make sure the colors and styles you choose aren't too trendy.
2. Speak up! Don't settle for a design that doesn't feel right.
3. Be authentic. Make it your own style, and don't try to copy anyone else.”
follow her blog at thestripe.com, and on instagram @graceatwood
“I would say, from a [brand] image perspective, rebranding has helped a lot. It just feels so much more “me.” And the new, elevated blog aesthetic and branding has helped me to secure a lot more partnerships. The new name of “The Stripe” sounds more mature and sleek and I'm no longer embarrassed when I attend editor meetings and say my blog name. I had gotten to the point where I really disliked my blog name [previously Stripes & Sequins], so changing it was a good thing.
After rebranding, the biggest surprise was the (almost instant!) drop in traffic caused by Google. BUT at the same time, my engagement really increased — it was great to see such a positive response from my readers.
My best piece of advice around a rebrand? Just do it, but do it sooner rather than later as until you rebrand you are just building up more and more SEO value for the old name. Think long and hard before you do it, but once you make the decision, rip the band off and do it ASAP!”
[Editor's note: when you change your domain name, it can take Google a while to realize that your new site is the “old you,” even when your links are redirecting properly. Given several weeks, enough users will arrive at your site and tell Google's crawling bots that the content you're offering is still valuable, and aligned with where previous links directed. In our experience, within 4-6 weeks, SEO rankings match pre-name change statistics, but it might be variable depending on your blog and content.]
image via Jess Ann Kirby
follow her blog at jessannkirby.com, and on instagram @jessannkirby
“It wasn’t long after I created the name Prosecco & Plaid that I was sick of it. It wasn’t very original and it wasn’t very me. But at the time I started my blog, it was a quick and easy decision, and I wasn’t thinking long term. It took me several years to develop a clear vision of my brand and how I wanted it to look and feel. It was truly the best decision I ever made. My blog name change and rebranding completely transformed not only how I felt about my business but how others responded to it. Re-designing my blog and creating a look that was unique to my branding helped tell the story of who I am and what my brand represents.
I get asked all the time about re-branding, particularly changing your blog name. It’s different for everyone and I don’t think it’s something you can do without a pretty good vision of your brand, but it’s something I wouldn’t wait to do any longer than you have to. It was hands down the best decision I’ve made for my business to this day.”
follow her blog at monicadutia.com, and on instagram at @monicadutia
“Going from wordpress.com to wordpress.org was the best thing I ever did for my site. It gives you so much more control as a website owner and wordpress.org is the platform that lets you completely customize your site. I kept having a vision of changes I wanted to make, but was hitting road blocks until I made the transition. While the switch typically does require a financial investment, I think it (plus the brand new site design you'll get to unveil) is undoubtably the best investment you can make for your blog!
As far as a rebrand process goes, be patient and be thoughtful. Don't expect to come up with a comprehensive vision for your new brand overnight. Rebranding and redesigning takes a lot of time and a lot of work. One of my favorite parts about the <em>press themes is that they're so easily customizable. You can go in and make little tweaks to your site as your vision evolves (without needing a developer!). Obviously it's ideal to launch a site in close to final form, but having the peace of mind that you're in control to make changes based on reader feedback or your own evolving preferences is incredibly comforting and empowering!”
image via victoria mcginley studio
follow her blog at victoriamcginley.com/blog, and on instagram at @victoriamstudio
“Many of you know me as the co-founder of <em>press, or from my own design studio, Victoria McGinley Studio. What some people don't realize though is that I've blogged for almost 10 years. In fact, blogging is how I got into the business of designing websites! For many, many years, I blogged under the name vmac+cheese. My blog originally started out as a food blog, and given my first and last name, it was a perfect fit for a long time.
But then in 2010, I started talking about general lifestyle topics, and it started to make slightly less sense. And still, I kept the name for another 4 years. Honestly? It was such a unique blog name, even in the land of so many noun + noun blog names. I swear people would see it on other bloggers' blog rolls and click just because they wondered what that name was about. However, the “it's time” moment happened for me when I transitioned away from being a full-time blogger and decided to focus primarily on the work in my design studio. I'd hit a point where I felt the blog name was no longer communicating what I needed it to — that instead of being a professional blogger, I was a professional designer.
I'll be honest: people still tell me they miss my old blog name. But it actually doesn't bother me! When I changed my blog name, I changed it to the super simple “Victoria McGinley Blog” to match my studio name of Victoria McGinley Studio. It made me feel like I could easily communicate who I was, what I did, and what I was focused on. Essentially, changing my name allowed me to better build my own brand, versus continuing to build a brand for vmac when it had nothing to do with my real work. I don't regret making the change for a single second.
Over the years I've gone through many redesigns of my various sites. I think understanding who you are as a brand and what you offer to people is really important before you embark on any custom design process, simply because of the time and investment required. But, on the flip side, the great thing about a pre-made theme is that it can give you flexibility to experiment and explore your brand vision at a low cost, especially if you are a new blogger!”
What about you? Have you ever renamed your blog? Redesigned it? Totally changed everything about it? Share your experiences below! And, stay tuned: later this week, we'll be some key questions that will help you understand your own blog brand better!