It feels like everyone is rebranding their blog in one way or another at the moment and I did it too as I wasn’t happy with my blog name anymore and wanted something that better represented me as a blogger and the sort of content you would be able to expect from my blog. The big issue with rebranding (especially a domain change) is that you lose your DA ranking that you’ve probably spent your whole blogging career trying to raise with every update. This post is going to cover all the steps you should be taking if you’re planning a rebrand, have just done one or want some more info before taking the next step.
I’ve decided on a name – what do I do next?
Deciding on a new name when rebranding can be one of the hardest things to do and I actually need to thank Lyd for mine as she came up with one that totally describes me and my blog. Once I had my name I needed to find the domain to match which was free as well as finding out if the social media handles were also available. Unfortunately for me, the social handles needed an underscore at the end to make them match my new blog name but my Twitter and Instagram handles are now the same which makes things so much easier for me to remember.
When it came to the domain name I bought it when I saw it was free so that I could secure it and get to work moving my content over to my new site. I decided to do it this way so that my blog was still operational while I did all my rebranding. The only issue I had was that I needed to replicate my content during this period but it was worth it to be able to sort my design and layout ahead of time.
How do I redirect my website?
It doesn’t matter if you’re on WordPress, Blogger, or another website provider – you’ll need to redirect your old domain to your new one. There are 2 very important reasons that you should do this.
- You want your blog readers to be able to find your new blog and this step is particularly important if anyone has your blog saved.
- If you want your DA ranking back (it does come back eventually) then redirects are really important as it tells search engines that your content has moved.
One of the options you have with self-hosted WordPress – depending on your host – is to change the domain you use within WordPress. This is really handy if you don’t have the know how to move your content to a new WordPress account. Most hosts give you the facility to host more than one website within the same account which is handy for a rebrand.
You’ll need to go to the site you bought your domain from and setup permanent 301 redirects to your new domain. If you have issues doing this your domain provider should be able to help you with this. Once you’ve set up the redirect you need to allow up to 48 hours for this to fully take effect as depending on the amount of content on your site it can take a while for all the redirects to take effect.
How do I keep my ranking now the redirect is in place?
I’m not entirely sure how much of an effect these steps have had on my blog or my DA for that matter but I did them anyway as it’s so hard to tell what works and what doesn’t.
The first thing you need to do is add both your domains to Google Search Console which you’ll find in Google Webmaster Tools and you need to do this so that you can submit a change of address for your domain.
At the top click add a property and follow the steps to add both your sites to Search Console. It’s easy to do but makes the next steps simple to carry out too.
Next, you need to submit the change of address for your domain. This basically confirms to Google that as well as the 301 redirect you want all your links/rankings redirected to the new domain address. It’s the online equivalent of telling the Post Office you’ve moved house but is important if you get a lot of your page views from Google Searches.
To start the process click the link for the domain you’re moving from (for me this would be the wisheshopesdreams.co.uk in the picture above). In the next screen click the cog in the top right-hand side and go to change of address. The picture below shows what you need to answer and it is really easy to do.
- As you’ve already added your new domain to Search Console it should be available to pick from the list.
- If you’ve already implemented the 301 redirect then click check and it should come back with the green tick. I waited the full 48 hours before attempting this to be on the safe side.
- This step is confirming that your old site still “technically” exists i.e. the domain is still yours and verified on Search Console
- Click submit to move the ranking for your old domain to your new one.
I’ve done all of this – what do I do now?
Once you follow all of the steps above I would suggest you (in an incognito window) or a friend check that your site does redirect to the new domain. Don’t do it when you’re logged into your blog as it will probably work but it may not for someone else. The only other thing you need to do is wait – as hard as that may be.
Your DA won’t pop back to normal immediately – mine took a month and is now 5 lower than it was when I rebranded but I believe by following all of these steps that I’ve got my ranking back a lot faster than if I hadn’t. If you’ve rebranded recently or are considering it then take a look at my services page for how I can help or just pop me a DM on Twitter and I point you in the right direction of a tutorial which might give you the info you need.