This is part one of a two part series on rebranding and/or renaming your food blog. Join us tomorrow for part two!
Food, Football and a Baby was born almost six years ago in England. It was only a month after I gave birth (literally) that my blog was also born. As any new mom knows, the first month is usually spent in a dazed fog of sleeplessness. And so I don't think anyone would blame me when I picked the first available name on the internet for that fledgling food blog. It wasn't even a food blog, just a bunch of random recipes and blurry pictures at the time.
When I moved to Canada, I suddenly had time on my hands and I went from posting, maybe once in a few months to turning out almost eight to ten posts a month. With that, my readership increased, and the recipes I posted got picked up by Google and other search engines. I understood SEO better, used the right keywords, practiced my photography and developed my own style of writing.
The one thing that was holding my blog back, though, was its name and its lack of brand focus. I was emotionally attached to my blog name, but it was clear that it had lost its relevance, not to mention being long, cumbersome and hard to categorise. But I held back, because I was fearful of plunging in and changing my name, particularly as I now had a steady readership, a significant number of Facebook fans, a Twitter identity and a BlogHer Ads account. It took me over a year, and many hours of deliberations, to finally take the plunge and rebrand to The Tiffin Box. And that rebranding has rewarded me with more than I could have ever dreamed of.
Choosing a New Blog Name and Identity:
So, you've decided to do it, and rebrand your blog. One of the first questions that you need to ask yourself, before you start the process, is "what are your reasons for changing the name and brand identity of your blog, and why do you want to do it?" We rarely, if ever, ask the question of ourselves, but it is the answer to this question that will determine your way forward. So,
- Are you rebranding to increase blog traffic?
- To make your blog look and read better?
- Get more engaged readers?
- For better SEO, so that search engines can find you easily?
- To develop a good working relationship with companies and organisations?
- Or have you realised that, like me, you have just outgrown your name?
It is worth taking some time to answer these questions, even if it is just to clarify your own thought processes. Once you have focused on your reason you will know exactly what it is you want from your blog. It also makes the process of choosing a new name and brand identity easier.
Finding a new name is, and should be, based on your reasons for rebranding your blog. Perhaps you would like a shorter name, a shorter web address? Something more punchy? Focused on your niche? Or, if you have been seriously thinking of rebranding for a while, you probably already know what your new name is going to be, and are just fearful of taking that step.
For example, I wanted my name to be shorter, and easier to tell people about. The Tiffin Box, for me, was a name that not only evoked what the site was all about, but also neatly fit in with the Indian/ British/ Canadian theme as well as encompassed all aspects of what I wanted my blog to focus on. It was also short and memorable and easy to find online. And, once I changed it, I was shocked at how successful it's become in the short time I've had it, just because of its strong niche and identity.
Securing Your New Blog Name, Tagline and Brand:
Start by doing an online search. You may find that (sadly) your name is already taken. It is not the end of the world, as you can try and find something else that is just as evocative and similar. If you are lucky enough and your name is not taken, then the next step is to buy and register your domain. Things to think about before buying and registering domains:
- Is it too similar to an existing larger site? Not that this will matter a huge deal, but could it get you in trouble for copyright infringement? So be careful to research your name before you buy it.
- Is your new name easy to remember and publicise?
- Can you afford to buy your new domain name? Many of us are not as rich as we want to be, and we can't think of spending vast sums on buying a domain name that we only own for a year or two. Think about your maximum budget and stick to it, keeping in mind that you're going to have to buy back the name in a few years. If you find a reasonable long term deal, and you know that you want to be blogging for a while, jump on it.
- Are Facebook/ Twitter handles available?
- Have you thought of a simple tagline? Is it reflective of your new site?
- Do you want or need a geographical focus (as in a dot com, a dot ca, a dot net etc.)? I picked thetiffinbox.ca, just because the .com was not available at the time. However, I found out later that the .com had become available, but was now bought by another food blogger who was also running a blog called The Tiffin Box. To be honest, there is not very much you can do about this, other than concentrating on your niche and growing it as much as you can. But if it is reasonably priced, it's worth buying the dot com version of your site too, even if you choose not to use it.
Today I find that new blogs, some less than a year old, are already gorgeous and so much sleeker to start with. People are more clued in to what works and spend a lot of time researching before they plunge into the online world. But the one thing that new blogs cannot buy is readers, particularly engaged ones. So if you had no idea what blogging was all about when you started, but now have a loyal readership, you are already a step ahead. Yes, changing your name and brand identity is like starting out all over again - but with a significant amount of experience, as well as a loyal group of readers behind you, cheering you on - like redecorating a solidly built house.
Join us tomorrow for Part 2 of Renaming and Rebranding Your Blog: What You Need to Know where Michelle will cover moving to your new home and regaining your readers.
Renaming and Rebranding Your Blog: What You Need to Know was written by Michelle Peters-Jones. Michelle blogs at The Tiffin Box, and is a food writer, recipe developer and communications professional. She loves weaving stories around food, and creates recipes inspired by her family and friends. She writes about East Indian, British and Canadian food, with a strong focus on using fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.