The idea of rebranding your website or blog can be very daunting. This is primarily due to the sheer number of factors involved in rolling out a new design. So many things can go into rebranding, from a name or logo change, all the way to the general design and mechanics of your site. Of course, it depends on what type of change you are looking for, but deciding exactly what to alter can be the biggest part of the equation. The last thing anyone wants is to rebrand their site and realize they should have just kept everything as-is.
Before taking on a rebranding, here are five steps you should heed to ensure the process goes smoothly and to be sure it is what you really want to do.
1. Identify Why You Are Making a Change and What You Want Out of It
Don’t just dive into the fray and start changing your site. The most important part of any successful strategy is having a proper map and to come up with one you need to plan ahead. What is it about the current design or layout of your site that you dislike? What do you want to change? Is it just time for something fresh and new, or is there actually a problem with your current design?
These points should factor into your final plan of attack. If there is a part of your site that doesn’t work properly, or could be more efficient, then consider that when choosing a new design.
Better yet, a website design should serve your needs. That is, it should offer everything you need or want for your site. That includes social sharing buttons, the colors and theme, navigation menus and more. Does your design truly operate the way that you would like it to? Building on that point, will the new site design you are choosing serve you just as well?
Identify what it is that you want out of your site and what you would like your design to offer. Then, just like we mentioned above, use that information to help put together a better design.
2. Consider Your Loyal Customers or Reader Base
It is a difficult concept to grasp, but if your website or blog has been around for a while and you have a healthy community of readers then it is not just yours anymore. Loyal customers and readers are often overlooked when making such a big decision, but they shouldn’t be. Will your loyal followers actually appreciate the change or will they hate it?
Of course, there is no way for you to ever be sure that everyone will agree to you rebranding your site. That being said, if you have been working with your community for an extended period of time, you should have a pretty good idea of their needs and wants. That factors into the equation just as much as your own requirements.
A great way to find out what your community wants is to host some sort of poll or questionnaire, where you can gather valuable information. You could ask if a site redesign is desired, or if it is something that your followers dread?
No one wants a site rebranding to turn out for the worst, causing long-time readers to shy away. Take a minute to consider how the community will react before jumping the gun on your site rebranding.
3. Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best
This is not about being a pessimist; this is about being a realist. A great motorcycle accident attorney never expects his client is going to win automatically just because he is up against a truck driver. It would be silly for the attorney to do so, because the outcome is going to depend on the case and particular scenario. In other words, a win is just as likely as a loss and the attorney needs to prepare for that.
Taking that back to rebranding, it is very silly to expect everything to roll out perfectly. There are going to be technical issues, and there may even be some pretty big speed bumps. Things like a messed up RSS feed, stat tracking failures and even 404 errors can and most likely will occur.
When you are coming up with an initial plan or strategy, make sure you have a contingency plan in the event that something goes wrong. For your own good, always remember to keep a backup of your original design just in case. At the very least, it will offer something to fall back on if your rebranding goes awry.
4. Prepare Your Global Rollout
Even if your website rebranding or redesign goes smoothly, how you handle the global rollout is going to matter. In cases where you change the URL, name or logo for your site, you will need to do the same across your social media channels. Some of the networks have various hoops you will need to jump through before you can change anything.
For example, if you have more than 200 followers on Facebook you can’t just change the name and URL of your existing page freely. You will actually have to create a whole new page and that means securing the new URL. You might as well forget it if your brand or site name is popular because there is a good chance the URL is already taken at this point. If you do secure the URL you want, you will have to encourage your existing followers to go like the new page.
The steps required for a rebranding are going to vary across networks, but understand that the process may not be as easy as you think. We are not trying to break your heart and scare you away from the rebranding you have been considering. Just make sure you keep all of this in mind when you’re putting together your redesign strategy.
5. Assemble the Tools and Elements Early
Whether moving to a new URL is part of your rebranding or changing the name of your site is, make sure you have all the necessary components before you start the process. Like we just mentioned above, there may be some cases where you cannot acquire the correct URL on a social network. Even worse, the name for your site or blog may already be taken.
Part of the rebranding strategy is making sure you have everything necessary before you dive in. You don’t want to waste time putting together an excellent plan, only to find out that various components are or never were available to you.