This is part 2 in our series on rebranding and renaming your food blog. If you missed part 1 yesterday be sure to check it out.
In Part 1, I talked about my experience rebranding and refocusing the identity of my blog. In this part, I talk about the practicalities of what to expect and how to go about it.
Moving your blog to its new home:
Once you have your new name, and online presence registered and good to go, you are ready to move your blog to its new home, and the hard work begins. It is worth letting your readers know in advance that you are going to be rebranding, and this will take time and work. Offer them a timeline, if you have it. This means that they will come back, even if the site is unavailable when you are working on it.
If you are hiring a designer/web consultant, then they will do the preliminary work for you. State your budget upfront and work out all the details in advance. Most designers will do an initial consult for a reasonable fee, and it is worth maximising your time with them with a list of questions. FBC has this great post here on how to hire and what to expect from your designer.
It's also worth asking friends if they will help out. I got good friends to help with the technical side of moving the blog to its new name and registering it. Google works, to some extent, on a system of trust, as it looks at how long new sites are up and running, so you may find that it may not find your new name at first (you can and should submit a sitemap file to google to speed this process up considerably). However, if you have set up a redirect (or just migrated your blog to a new platform/ domain) this should not be a problem. I bought my domain, and while the redirection was happening, I took the opportunity to write my introductory post and got started on all the housekeeping that goes with rebranding a new blog.
I hadn't hired anyone to do the design work (... because I couldn't afford it and I still can't, but I always live in hope of matching those six numbers...), so I referred to this excellent article by David Lebovitz on food blogs and it was my starting point when redesigning my new look and theme. I used Photoshop to design my header and cleaned up unnecessary clutter, reworked my recipe index and moved all my little sidebar badges to a new page.
Bringing Back Your Blog's Readers:
Once I was happy with the way my new, revamped site looked and performed, the real work of bringing back my readers began.
1. Tell Your Blog Readers What's Happening
The first step in this process, is to write an introductory post. Explain your reasons for renaming or rebranding, and why it was important to you. I have found that a short, clear statement, including any new links is the best way to begin with. This will make sure any readers who may have missed the posts telling them about the new website get back on board.
Broadly, the majority of your readers will be supportive. But you can't please everyone, and there will always be some who will tell you that they liked the old site better and this whole business of your rebranding is awful and how they will never come back. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about them, and the best way to deal with a situation like this is to be polite and to reiterate your reasons for change. If you want to be a little snarky, go with the time honoured 'nothing is constant except for change'.
2. Bringing Back Your Blog's Facebook Fans
The next, and in my opinion, harder step is to bring back your Facebook fans. Unfortunately, if you have over 200 fans Facebook doesn't let you change your name or merge your page. You can try and submit a request to have your name changed, but you can do this only once, and the page address remains the same, which defeats the point of the rebranding.
The only way I managed to migrate all my fans to my new page is by publicising it at every given opportunity. And, I know this is time consuming and painful, by writing to fans who I was allowed to message and letting them know about the new page. You could also suspend the old page when you are getting the new one set up, to avoid any confusion.
3. Changing Your Twitter Handle
You can usually change your Twitter handle to your new identity, as long as it is available. However, you can also get a new one for your new brand, and perhaps, follow all the people you did with your old identity. This is a longer, slower process, so you are best placed to know if it is worth it for you. It's the same with any other social networks, including Google +. Pinterest is similar to Twitter, where you can just edit your profile to reflect your new name, as is YouTube.
4. Getting Blog Rolls and Dead Links Updated
You will also find that your old blog has probably been linked on other blogs/ link lists. This is another time consuming process, as you have to head over to everywhere you are linked to and let these bloggers and friends know about your new name and rebranding. It is worth doing this, though, as it creates a cohesive brand identity using your new name.
Your permalinks remain the same, but you can streamline your keywords, writing style and make your site more SEO friendly. FBC again has some fantastic resources to help you out.
Kick Back and Relax!
The final step after all your work rebranding, making over and renaming your blog is to kick back and relax. Spend some time reflecting on your new site, thinking about where you want to take it. Enjoy it. Sure, the work is only just beginning (and there will be a new post on how to leverage your newly renamed and rebranded blog coming up) but take a little time out, if you are able to. Or go out for a drink, sneak glances at your beautiful new site periodically and smile at it. You'll be surprised at how good it will make you feel.
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.