Are you planning a rebrand? Grab my checklist!
Last week I rebranded my business from Multiples of Two to Lisa Kate. Yep, I have gone with my name (or part of it) as it makes great sense for me and the direction of my business.
From the outside it might look like I just changed my URL and logo. But I am here to tell you that there are many other things that need to be considered before you flip that URL over. So I began to write down all the things I did during this process to give you an idea of what is involved if you need to rebrand your own business one day. I have come up with a list of 33 things to think about on and offline when you are making the change. I’m going to dive into five of the main points in this post and then you can grab the full checklist below.
Before I begin I assume (for the checklist) you have already bought the domain for your new business name and you own the appropriate social media usernames. If not check out my previous posts on registering a domain name.
1. Migrate your email
Having your business email address on your own domain is a must when it comes to looking legit with your business. So of course when you change your domain name your email must follow. I have previously talked about how I use Google Apps for Work for my email as it is easy to use and gives me the control I want. An example of this ease of use is that when I set-up my new account for lisakate.com on Google Apps for Work I was able to use their migration service to move over all my emails, folders and filters to my new account. They also migrate email data from all sorts of email platforms like Microsoft Exchange servers, ISPs like GoDaddy and webmail hosts like Yahoo.
Whether you want to use Google Apps for Work or something else, definitely make sure you switch your email to the new domain and don’t lose any of your important contact information and correspondence from your old email account.
2. Change over your social media profiles
If your brand change impacts your social media usernames then you will need to update and possibly create new profiles under your new name. Depending on which social media platform we’re talking about this process can be as simple as editing the username field, or it can be a convoluted process that may involve proof of your name change via business registration. Whatever the case, when you change your username don’t forget to also update your bio, website link and and graphic elements like Twitter headers and Facebook timeline images. Here is what I did on Twitter and Facebook:
The easiest way to change your username on Twitter is to edit it in “Settings” to the name you now want. That’s pretty straightforward if your new name is currently available, but often people have already snapped up the name they plan to change to. Thus you will need to relinquish your new name and then quickly change the username of your current account to it. A quick name switcheroo! If you decide to do this, I would suggest that you also create another new profile that you can snap up your old username with. Then if people end up at the account via old links and recommendations you can point them to your new account.
Note: I didn’t do what I recommend above as I have owned @lisakate since 2006 and have a bigger following on it. If you have a similar situation then I recommend just keeping both accounts and letting people know about the change by pointing the account you are “turning off” back to the one you are now using and pin your change in the tweet at the top.
Changing the name and URL on your Facebook page can be a bit trickier depending on the number of likes you have. The big gotcha is that you only get one chance to change your page name, so make sure you really think about what will work for your business going forward.
For my Facebook page I had kept my activity to a minimum over the past few months so I was still under 200 likes. This meant when I submitted my change it would happen immediately, whereas if I had gone over 200 likes I would have to submit a change request which can involve uploading documentation with proof of your new business name. This all takes a bit longer.
3. Think about the redirects you need
The real moment my site was relaunched was when we put on the redirects to forward users and search engines from my old URL to the new URL automatically. The best redirect to use is a “301” redirect as it is a permanent redirect which passes between 90-99% of link juice (ranking power) to the redirected page. Serving a 301 indicates to browsers and search engines alike that the page has moved permanently.
A common way to redirect links to a new site is to just take all traffic to your old domain and redirect it to the homepage of your new domain. But it’s far better to do 1-1 redirects if you can. So, if you have a very popular blog post that lots of people have linked to and it ranks very highly in Google then you could redirect that old blog post URL to the same blog post with the new URL. This provides a better user experience and maintains the SEO of each page.
Depending on how important this is to you you can choose to redirect every page or just one page. When I worked at a media publisher we redirected thousands of pages during a URL change across 6 websites. They all maintained their Google rankings and all those links embedded in thousands of other websites were maintained.
4. Change your metadata
One of the items I have in the list of 33 is to check all references to your old name in the content of your website. But one place that people often forget to check is in their metadata. Make sure your title tags and meta-descriptions don’t reference your old name. This is not only important for your SEO but they also display in search results and in links on Facebook so they need to be right!
5. Set up Google Analytics
A new URL means you need to create a new account for that URL within your current Google Analytics account. Ensure the new code is on each page so you can measure the traffic going to this new web address of yours. Also, if you had any special code on your old site measuring goal conversions, then set that up again for this URL.
5 out of 33
These are just five items on my list of 33 must-dos in a brand relaunch. So grab the whole checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything for your relaunch.
Broken links, a mix of new and old names or readers following a retired social media account are not ways you want to step into your new brand. You want your customers to know your new identity from the outset and love it.
Download my checklist today by entering your email below and be confident that you have ticked all the boxes when it comes to having a smooth rebrand!