Blogging is not as easy as it might seem. Sure, anyone can create a blog, but if no one reads it, then it doesn’t really matter much. As someone who has had several failed blogs, I can certainly identify with that. But what if you have an established readership and your blog needs a refresh? How do you go about rebranding your blog to attract new readers but not ostracize your current audience? Here are 7 best practices for rebranding your blog.
The first step to blog rebranding is to truly commit to it. If you have been contemplating a rebrand, be sure you are ready to execute it before you start. You need to be all in for it to work. Do your research and gather resources (like this post) and be sure to have everything planned properly before you begin.
The Name Game
Take a look at your current blog name: what about it works and what doesn’t work? I have had a few environmental blogs and naming them was really fun, but the name has to make sense for your content and readership—not too clever, not too vague, not too broad, but not esoteric. Brainstorm and workshop name ideas before making a final decision.
Feeling the Vibe
Your new blog will not just have a new name; it will have a new look and feel. What do you want your blog to convey (especially if the current one is not doing that) and how should it represent your brand—which might be your company or just you as an individual. When a new reader lands on your page, what is the first thing they will see? Determine what colors, images, topics, etc. are exemplary of your brand and use them to express the essence of the blog. For example, if the company you’re representing is focused on environmental conservation, your colors could be green and brown to represent a forest. The aesthetic touch is particularly important if you are switching from a pre-made template to a custom site.
The experts at Search Engine Land recommend first pinpointing the reason behind the rebrand, then approaching your SEO strategy based on that. Make sure you appropriately update all of your social media—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, GooglePlus. Note that Facebook only allows one name and URL change, so you must commit fully to the new name/brand before changing anything. If you are merging two brands or companies, select the one with the most followers and rebrand that one accordingly.
Stay the Course
Once you have launched your new blog, leave the old one up for at least a week or two. Although it generally only takes 72 hours for web servers to discover that the domain is pointing to a different IP address, it can often take longer and it is better to be safe than sorry. Search Engine Land recommends leaving “the old sites on the old IP addresses as the shift occurs for a period of about two weeks...It might be overkill, but I’d rather do that than lose my hard-earned SERP listings!”
That being said, it is important to redirect all of the old URLs to the new site/content. Make a list of all links and places your URL appears so that you can change and redirect them to the new site. Your blog host often makes it easy to redirect the old page to a new one. If you are unable to have more than one URL, use the “under maintenance” option until all the new content is ready to roll. And, it’s not a bad idea to let your regular readers know you are undergoing some changes—this gives them a heads up to expect something new. For more tech help, check out Chantilly Branding Designs and ReloKate for advice.
Don’t forget that many people will be reading your blog on their phone or tablet. When you embark on a rebrand and redesign, make sure you optimize it for mobile consumption. Some experts recommend getting the desktop site up to par first—fixing issues and ironing out kinks—before focusing on the mobile. However, if you know that the majority of your readers view your site on mobile devices, immediately integrate it right into the rebrand. Always do what’s right for your readership.
So take a look at your current blog and assess whether or not it is really working for you. Does it truly represent your business? If you are ready to embark on a rebrand use this post as a guide and get planning.
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