I’ve mentioned before that I was struggling with a bit of a blogging identity crisis and thought I might need a rebrand. I have blogged casually since my college days, and my domain name reflected that. When I became a Mom, my blog gained a purpose and I started to use it more specifically as a platform to learn about motherhood and connect with other bloggers, and less as just a place to house my random thoughts. My blog became more organized, more professional, and became something I was proud to work on. But what held me back was the old domain name. Velvet-Rose.net was purchased back in 2004(!) and while it was a fun poetic name back then, it just doesn’t work now. So I agonized over it for months but no inspiration came. Then I joined a wonderful blog tribe and had a brainstorming session with Erin from Stay at Home Yogi. She really lit a fire under my butt with that discussion we had, and later that evening I registered FabWorkingMomLife.com (I use NameCheap for my domain names). I wanted a domain name that spoke to my life as it currently is, but also had room to grow (my word for 2016!). I wanted something with pop and style, but also something short and sweet. This fits perfectly and I am so excited to have that inspiration hit me in the brain.
So let’s talk about what I’ve done with my rebrand so far, and what I’m going to do next. My plan was not to start all over on a fresh website and hosting plan but to instead rebrand “in place” as I like to call it. I wanted everything to remain, just to change the name of the website. That way I wouldn’t have to decide which posts to keep and which to move over, and whether to keep or change the dates, etc. My history would remain intact and I could change the older posts as I needed to over time.
1. The first thing I did after I registered the domain is to get over how scary making all these changes is going to be. Well, maybe I’m not quite over it yet, but I’m making them anyway. The next thing I did was get on my host’s support pages and find information on changing the domain name. I found an answer to my problems: parked domains! My HostGator “hatchling” plan only allowed for one domain name, so I upgraded to the “baby” plan. (Well, there went my blogging income for January, but the plan is this rebrand will bring even more income. And that will give me the opportunity to host other domain names should I ever end up creating products that warrant their own websites.) As soon as my account got upgraded, I took my newly registered domain name and added it as a parked domain in my cpanel. Then I set up my email address and set it up to be fetched in my Gmail. Now, you can access this same blog from fabworkingmomlife.com and velvet-rose.net. Boom.
2. Next, I started changing the name in the text of this blog where it is most visible. I changed the blog name in the header and in my menu pages. The only “branded” social media I had was my Facebook Page that was specific for this blog, as all my other things like Twitter and Pinterest are keyed off my nickname “juliecookies”. I changed both the name of my Facebook Page and the URL of my Facebook Page. Then I had to remember to update my Facebook Page link in the sidebar. I posted on my Facebook Page that there are changes afoot, and I’m getting positive feedback about the changes! It was great to be able to update my Facebook Page instead of starting a new one. I got to keep my (meager) likes.
So what’s next? A lot.
1. Well, the first next step is to do a FULL BACKUP of my account! The next big change is to update the URL of my WordPress installation, so all the pages and posts default to fabworkingmomlife.com rather than velvet-rose.net. You might notice that even if you access the page from the new domain name, the posts are still fully linked to VRnet. The way to change that is to update the domain name in WordPress.
2. The next step after that change would be to replace every instance of velvet-rose.net with fabworkingmomlife.com. WP has this lovely way of putting in the FULL URL to every image and post link (rather than a file path reference from the main page) so I don’t want to switch back and forth or have anything end up broken. So I will use a find and replace type plugin to make those changes.
3. But before I do any of that, I want to have my branded layout ready. The first step there would be to create a header image with my new blog name that I can install in the lovely Tweak Me theme that I bought but haven’t used yet. I don’t want to change the domain name in WordPress until I have that ready.
4. Moving forward I will be using the new branding and name on my featured images, as appropriate. I will have to go through my previous posts though and update the featured images. I’ll start with the most popular and go from there as time allows.
5. Create more awesome content under the new branding to excite my readers and grow this blog.
I’m still debating on whether I want to change my primary URL in my hosting plan. If I choose to stop renewing VRnet, then yes I will need to make that change. But for now, maybe I’ll keep that one thing constant so at least my cpanel and account information stays the same. I’m already terrified that I’m going to break my site by changing the WordPress URL, so at least not making the primary domain change will still give me access to correct things if the sky falls down.
Have you ever rebranded a blog?
>> Read Part 2 of my Re-Branding Journey here.