Sarah from Back Home Blue has been through a major re-branding of her blog, something many bloggers experience as they grow + shift focus over time. She’s here sharing some knowledge about some tips ‘n tricks she learned along the road to re-brand.
I spent most of this past summer– well, most of the 2015– working on re-branding the company I work for. I’m beginning to think I come with a bit of a “re-brand curse.” I’ve worked for three companies since I graduated from college, and all three of them have re-branded.
Funny enough, I’m in the midst of re-branding my own blog, as well.
Companies re-brand for a number of reasons. My current company did it to unify our brand. We went from having countless product lines to having 5 or 6, depending on who you ask. Bloggers also re-brand for a number of reasons. Perhaps they named their blogs something like “Puppies and Kitties and Rainbows” when they started out, and now realize that isn’t the best name for their slice of the internet. Or perhaps they started off a fashion blogger, but ended up a travel blogger.
Personally, I’m re-branding to become a bit more professional. My blog has cycled through a few identities over the years. It was “Wears Inappropriate Shoes” in college, “Music City Sarah” during my days in the Nashville music business, and currently, it’s “Back Home Blue” as an ode to the time I decided to leave the music biz and move back home. But now, my professional goals and my blog have crossed paths, and I want it to reflect me. As in, Me. I want it to reflect my name and my work.
And so, let the re-branding begin.
Re-branding isn’t an easy process, but here are five steps to get you started– steps to take before you even think about re-directing domains and all that technical stuff that’s so important to SEO.
1. Do you really want to re-brand?
Before you jump off the re-brand deep end, take a moment to think about it. Is re-branding what you really want to do? The bigger your audience, the more there is to consider. Will you alienate your readers by re-branding? Or will it help build your community? Also, do you have the time and resources to undertake a re-brand? Are you able to handle the whole project, or do you need help?
Take some time to make a pro/con list before you pull the re-brand trigger. If you decide re-branding is definitely for you, then go for it!
2. What is your look?
So you have decided to move forward and re-brand your blog. Awesome! Now comes the fun (usually) part. How do you want your new brand to look? Feel? Are you building it yourself? Hiring someone to do it for you? Build a mood board. Pin blogs and websites you like. Figure out what color scheme you want to work with (Design Seeds is my favorite place to find color palettes, by the way). I recommend dreaming big to start, then narrowing down your likes and dislikes as your vision becomes clearer.
3. Are your categories and tags right?
I’m in the middle of this step right now. Many bloggers, myself included, categorize and tag the heck out of things. Use your re-brand as an opportunity to re-evaluate how you’re tagging and categorizing your site. For instance, maybe you have the tag “holiday” and “holidays.” You don’t need two tags for the same thing, plural or otherwise.
As a refresher, categories are meant for a broad grouping of your posts, while tags are more specific. For example, my “travel” category has tags that include things like “London,” “Paris,” and “Prague.” With my re-brand, I’m going through and re-aligning my categories and tags in a way that’s much cleaner. It feels like spring cleaning!
4. What platform do you want to use?
Re-branding is a great time to consider what platform you want to use. Happy with Blogger? Awesome. No work required on this point. But, if you’ve been considering switching to WordPress or another CMS (content management system), re-branding is your chance to do it. Again, think before you make the leap. Do you have the technical knowledge to do it yourself? Or will you need some help? I moved from Blogger to WordPress two years ago. It was messy. I had the technical skills to do it myself, but it definitely consumed a weekend.
5. Is your new domain available?
Finally, is your new domain available? Take a look, and, even if you’re not ready to re-direct everything yet, snatch it up before someone else does. If its not available, you have time to come up with an alternative.
That’s just the tip of the re-branding iceberg, but its a good place to start. Things can start getting technical from here, but we’ll save that for another day!
Sarah blogs at Back Home Blue and is an ambassador of The Blogger Collective.