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Thinking of Rebranding Your Blog? Read This.

Posted By Stacey Roberts 1st of October 2014 General 23

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Rebranding an established and successful business? Why would you do that?

For some, the risk of changing the name of something people have grown to know and love is too big. For others, the risk of being boxed into something they no longer feel much affinity for is even bigger.

No doubt it’s a scary leap to rebrand a blog – would people still read? Would a slight shift in direction upset the established audience? Would the to-do list of technical issues be too overwhelming? Would you lose all that Google love you’ve built up over the years?

At some point, if you’ve felt the rumbling undercurrent of wanting to make a change, you’ll decide those reasons are no longer enough to hold you back. And so you research new domain names, you design new logos, you test the waters. And you make the switch – your blog (and your online identity) is something new. Something more you.

Jodi Wilson did that on New Year’s Eve 2013. She took a blog she had lovingly nurtured for six years from online journal to a much larger online place of community and inspiration, and gave it a complete overhaul. Once a place to share the milestones and sleepless nights as a new parent, the blog had evolved into a new space of a woman finding joy in a simple, humble life. And Jodi felt it required a new look and name to reflect that.

One of the biggest factors in the name change was the fact that my blog was originally named after my son and his teddy – Che & Fidel,” she says.

“Che had started school in 2013 and all of a sudden his world was much bigger and I had less control. I didn’t feel like his stories were mine to share anymore and it only felt right to stop blogging about him, hence the blog name just didn’t resonate. As I wrote in my first post as PS: ‘Che & Fidel no longer resonated with me, I didn’t feel like it represented my blog or my intention. My days of sharing notable milestones and tales of sleepless nights were over. Instead I was using my blog as a means of exploring ideas and seeking inspiration. It was more about my experience as a woman than just my experience as a mother’.

“It wasn’t a decision I made lightly, either. To tell you the truth, my energy and enthusiasm for blogging was waning and I needed a boost, as a creative and a writer. I wanted to keep doing it, to keep enjoying it, but there were times when it was a hard slog – it was work.”

The hardest part, she says, was finding a new name that would encompass all the blog had come to be about. A name that would resonate with people, but most importantly, herself.

“I spent months exploring different names and, of course, checking whether the domain was available (it was really important for me to move to a .com). Funnily enough, the name was quite literally staring me in the face the entire time,” she says.

“In June 2013 I started a series called Practising Simplicity where I explored simple living. The series was as much about me exploring new ways of being as it was about sharing information with my readers. I loved writing it because it inspired me; it made me more mindful of my creative process, my parenting, my wellbeing. It wasn’t until mid-November, when I was reading through past posts in the hope of “finding” a name, that the idea came to me. Of course, it was perfect (and yes, the .com was available).”

Often a change in name can mean a change in blog direction, but mostly always means a change in logo and branding. Jodi says a new design for Practising Simplicity was “essential”, launching her blog in the new year with not only a new name, but a new web address, and a clean, simple, refined design that reflected her aesthetic and intention.

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It also comes with a not-so-small checklist of to-dos to ensure your readers are redirected with a minimum of fuss, your social media accounts are changed, and all the boxes are ticked (you can check out the one Tsh Oxenreider used when she made a similar change from her hugely successful blog Simple Mom into The Art of Simple).

Jodi saved a lot of time and heartache by getting it right the first time around: “I handed much of the technical work over to my tech guy Graeme – I knew it was beyond me and it felt only right to employ someone who knew exactly what they were doing,” she says.

“Graeme managed to redirect my Che & Fidel address to PS with ease – basically, if you go to my old address you automatically end up at practisingsimplicity.com – don’t ask me how he did it, I’m just glad he managed to work it out!  When it came to changing my IG profile – that was done with a simple name change in my profile. I contacted Facebook and requested they change the name of my page; which they did within 48 hours. I did the same for bloglovin’.”

But while the technical side of things can easily be taken care of, and you’re excited about a new change, new branding, and new direction – that doesn’t mean everything will go smoothly. Jodi said there was certainly some small fears on her part, but received wonderful support from her readers.

“I was realistic about the fact that there may be readers that wouldn’t appreciate the change. But at the end of the day I was making the change for me more than anyone else,” she says.

“I knew that I couldn’t keep blogging with heart unless I was proud of the space I was creating – it needed to be authentic, no ifs or buts.

“When I pressed “publish” on that first post I remember sitting back and marvelling at the fact that my humble online journal had become a website – one that earned me an income. It was a bit overwhelming to tell you the truth. Who would have thought? After I got over that I received a few very encouraging comments from long time readers. I exhaled.”

And the biggest fear of all for some – how will the readers react?

“With an incredible amount of positivity!,” Jodi says of her experience.

“They felt like the change was a perfect fit for my current content – the ultimate feedback. There was, of course, a few comments regarding readers’ dislike of sidebar sponsors but every comment was expressed with kindness which I’m incredibly grateful for. Each to their own!”

If you’re thinking of making the switch, Jodi has some words of advice for you:

“When you launch a new space there are always going to be hiccups. Be patient – they won’t take long to fix.

Also, if you’re considering making a change – do it! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my career. Within weeks of launching my new space I had numerous new sponsors who appreciated the fact that my blog was more “lifestyle” as opposed to “mumsy” and I continue to work with all of them. The new look also caught the attention of publishing company, Blurb, who offered me a book deal (six weeks after my launch!).”

You can find Jodi at her blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net, and the gal behind Veggie Mama. A writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd, she can be found making play-dough, reading The Cat in the Hat for the eleventh time, and avoiding the laundry. See evidence on Instagram here, on Facebook here, and twitter @veggie_mama.

About Stacey Roberts
Stacey Roberts is the Managing Editor of ProBlogger.net: a writer, blogger, and full-time word nerd balancing it all with being a stay-at-home mum. She writes about all this and more at Veggie Mama. Chat with her on Twitter @veggie_mama, follow on Pinterest for fun and useful tips, peek behind the curtain on Instagramand Snapchat, listen to her 90s pop culture podcast, or be entertained on Facebook.
Comments
  1. Sometimes, rebranding and restrategizing as an affiliate marketer or blogger is a virtual must. It may be indirectly required to do so in efforts of retaining your online audience. Or, to redo your image as a blogger or webpreneur in hopes of getting more readers, traffic from search engines, and making more money online from affiliate programs.

    Long story short…it’s always good to “change up” when necessary, because it shows you’re striving to stay innovative and relevant to those who spare you their precious time reading your content.

  2. Hi Jodi,
    Thank you for sharing your success story of re-branding your website. That is something I will be facing down-the-road once my blog gains traction. It is comforting to know that it has worked for you.

    You didn’t mention 404 pages, but I’m sure you had to consider those too in your re-branding.

    Cheers
    Rob

    • Hi Rob,

      Apologies but I have no idea what 404 pages are. I don’t do the “technical” side of blogging – it’s all creative for me :)

  3. Congratulations, Jodi. Did you prepare your readers in advance for the change?

    • I made subtle mentions of the fact that changes were in the works but it wasn’t till a few days before the official relaunch that I let me readers know what was going on x

  4. Hi Jodi,
    Rebranding any blog is too risky and it can harm the blog superbly I believe.So I guess I wouldn’t prefer to take such a risky step.Anyway thanks for sharing this to us.

  5. Firstly I think Re-branding our web or blog is very risky because we can lose our loyalty readers but after read this tips I knew that it’s OK if we change n re-branding our web or blog.

  6. Hi Stacey and Jodi,

    Thanks for sharing Jodi’s re-branding experiences.

    Jodi, congratulations on a successful change-over and an even more successful result! Awesome.

    It would be great to hear more details about what sorts of hiccups Jodi encountered, or on a more general scale, what sorts of hiccups are common in making such a big move as re-branding, changing website names & domains, and/or switching designs.

    Stacey, would you consider doing a series about re-branding? Perhaps delving into some of these issues and the actual experiences of others who’ve taken the leap? I think that would be extremely helpful, both to myself, and to other ProBlogger readers/members.

    Thanks for considering the idea.

    cheers, Lash

    • Hi Lash,

      The hiccups were all technical, hence my tech guy handled it all. In regards to design and social media platforms – it was all really straightforward. I suppose I would recommend taking time to do it all – rushing is never a good option! x

      • Hi Jodi,

        VEry handy to have a good tech guy handle that stuff.

        Unfortunately for me, I once hired a highly recommended tech guy to help handle the migration of my travel blog from blogger to WordPress and he made a HUGE mess and left me to sort it out myself! Astounding. Not sure what happened that time, as he’s highly regarded, but it was extremely stressful and exasperating. Glad you didnt’ have any such issues. :))

        Thanks for your details.

        cheers, Lash

  7. Thanks for Sharing some useful stuff. i have a blog but it is not popular in social. hope your tips helps my blog

  8. great info, thanks for sharing

  9. Thanks for sharing this story. Rebranding is something I have always been more than a little wary of! However, I can see that given the appropriate approach it can be a great thing.

  10. As someone who is in the middle of rebranding right now, this was a great read because it offers confirmation that what I’m doing is ‘right’.
    I’ve lost a lot of inspiration for my writing on my travel site and when I realised the passion I felt for my new personal development site, I knew I had to give my old one a makeover to try and find that motivation again. It seems to be working so far in the run-up to the relaunch :)

  11. Hi Jodi,

    Rebranding a blog is always risky but sometime it’s worth doing that.Unless we take the risk we could never get succeeded.So thanks for sharing this stuff.

    Regards
    Debarpan

  12. Hey Jodi, I truly believe in bringing change in life as right decision on right time can really help in moving ahead but who knows whether a time is right or wrong, so we should only act and respond to the change our environment is having.. The results you found after updating the look were really amazing and I congratulate you for getting in touch with the publishing company as well.. Wish you luck in future :)

  13. This is such a good read. As someone so confused about taking the plunge..it couldn’t have come at a better moment. It comforts me. Thank you!

  14. Jodi, your post could not have come at a better time. I think it’s given me the kick to just do it.
    Love the simplicity of your new site. That’s one of the reasons I’m totally over mine – it’s far too busy, and, like, you my focus has changed.
    All the procrastinating means my current site is suffering, so yep, gonna do it. Right now! … just need to settle on a name ;)

  15. Jodi,

    Wonderful story. I have two blogs, one of which has quite a large following that really needs a rebrand and restructure as well. It just doesnt speak to me anymore and as such my content suffers. I loved reading this and it’s inspired me to put a plan into action!

    Laura

  16. Hi Jodie,

    First of all: congrats!

    I did have a (practical) question though. I myself am rebranding and I was wondering how you changed your name + url of your Facebook page? I’m struggling to do this and I wonder how you contacted Facebook?

    Thank you!

    Greetings,
    Femke

  17. Great advice! I do have a (practical) question though. I’m rebranding and I was wondering how you can change both your name + url of your Facebook page? I’m struggling to do this and I wonder how you can best contact Facebook?
    Thank you!

  18. It is often much tougher than expected to rebrand. Sometimes it’s just easier to move on and start over, leaving the old blog to collect cob webs, but also keep the visitor count at near peak levels. Perhaps you can link from old to new and bring over some of the visitors.

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