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.
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Richa Choudhary says
You have done a faboulous job with your blog Julie. I have been following you for quite sometime and i can see the transition you have taken. Good work and great content. Inspirational
Thank you so much Richa!
Lovely to read this; it’s helpful to remember that changes can be made gradually. I need to remember this, I don’t have to change everything ALL AT ONCE. 🙂 What an exciting journey you’re on. I’ve off to read part 2. And my, is there something that a plug in doesn’t exist for …. love the idea of a find and replace plugin. I need to get myself around the redirect stuff; I also don’t have access to my cpanel, because I use managed self hosting. Hmmmm
A Cornish Mum says
I am forever tinkering with my site, I think my name is about the only thing I haven’t changed over the last year ha! Well done though lovely, thanks for linking up to #PicknMix
I believe you. Now that I have finally installed the Tweak Me theme, I feel like I will be tinkering with it every day for the rest of forever lol
I rebranded mine (sort of) when I went self-hosted, and changed the name. My Twitter is still the old name though. Best of luck with the rebrand-looking forward to seeing it! #thelist
My twitter is staying the same, since it isn’t blog-specific but used for my personal stuff too. But yea that was a good time to rebrand, when you moved the sites. Thanks Min 🙂
This is so helpful and perfect timed for me as I’m pretty sure I’m going to be rebranding very soon! Thank you for sharing these tips and I love your blog’s name 🙂 Mim x #TheList
Aw I like your blog’s name! But thanks, hope your rebranding goes smoothly!
Ivan Jordon says
I have to agree. Rebranding my blog is the best decision I ever did. My business site is now better than ever!
Emma T says
I’m debating a rebrand – maybe not now, but when N no longer wants to be on the blog. I have my new domain name, but the whole having to redirect is scary. So it’ll be interesting to see how yours goes. #thelist
It is a bit scary, definitely Emma. In some ways maybe starting fresh is easier than changing everything in place has been, but hopefully I won’t have any troubles and I’ll be done in a few more weekends.
Good grief,sounds like a lot of work but it does look fab!You must have worked so hard.Well done x #picknmix
Thank you 🙂 So much more to go, but I’m getting closer 🙂 I’m almost ready to put up my new theme and get rid of this floral one but that might have to wait till next weekend.
Erin @ Stay At Home Yogi says
It’s such an honor to get even the teeniest bit of credit for inspiring you! 🙂 This is no small undertaking but you are doing it for all the right reasons, and it’s going to be so educational for others to watch you go through this change! Yay Fab Working Mom Life! 🙂 🙂
Thanks Erin!! Yea I’m learning so much here with all these changes, like who knew WP was so picky and if I link to a post using the new domain name, since it isn’t switched in WP yet, it won’t let people comment.
Healing Mama says
I love the new blog name and I’m excited to see what is coming for your blog. I thought about rebranding. When I started my blog it was going to be focused on holistic health but then it turned into a mom blog.
I think your brand still works even as a mom blog because there is a lot to healing and being a mama 🙂
Rachel (Lifeathomewithmrsb) says
Glad you know what your doing! It sounds very technical and daunting! Good luck with the re brand. Our blogs have to be a true reflection on us to be honest blogs! #picknmix friday
Thanks Rachel! 🙂 Yes, it is definitely technical and I hope I know enough about this tech stuff to not break the internet.