Changing Your Blog Name – What You Need to Know Before Doing It

Changing your blog name is risky

Don’t make the decision to change your blog lightly. It is a long process and there is a lot at stake! It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of changing the name. As with any big change over (changing names, switching platforms, etc.) there is a risk of losing followers. It’s up to you to decide whether or not the risk is worth it.

Why are you changing your name?

To help decide if it’s worth it, think about why you’re changing your name. Here are some good reasons for changing it:

  • Your current name is unoriginal. There are a bunch of other blogs with similar titles or titles that are even exactly the same!
  • Your blog name and URL don’t match.
  • You’re changing the focus of your blog. For example, say your name is “Young Adult Book Lover” but you no longer review Young Adult books. Then it makes sense to change it to something more broad that can encompass all book genres (or even non-book topics).
  • People have a really hard time remembering or finding your blog because the name/URL is confusing. (Examples might be: using an uncommon extension instead of .com or .net, having dashes that people forget to put in, or a spelling that isn’t obvious.)

Pros and Cons

Here are a couple of pros and cons of changing your blog’s name. These are general ones that I thought of, but I would encourage you to make your own list!

Pros

  • You have the opportunity to re-brand yourself.
  • Going through a change is fun and exciting!
  • You can pick an original name that you can ensure no one else has. This is a great opportunity if your current name is really common.
  • Changing your name might make you feel better and more confident about your blog, especially if you really don’t like your current one.

Cons

  • Changing your blog name might confuse some of your readers.
  • If you don’t set up a 301 redirect correctly, people could still try to visit your old blog and have trouble finding your new one (this is not a problem if you set up a 301 redirect correctly).
  • Until your new name gets reestablished, people might not know who you are. You lose your established online presence.
  • You will have to update all your publisher and author contacts with your new URL and blog name so that they know who you are.
  • If your review has been quoted in a book or on a site anywhere, you lose that connection to your blog, since it will be under the old name.
  • You will be unable to change your Facebook page name. You can change the URL but not the name of the actual page. You will either have to create a new one (and lose followers) or live with the fact that the URL doesn’t match your name.

As you can see, there are a few more cons than pros. But it’s up to you to decide for yourself if the pros outweigh all the cons (for me they did!). I personally think that in the short run changing your name kind of sucks. You lose followers, people are confused, etc. But in the long run it will all pay off and you will be a happier blogger! So if you’re in this for the long run, then the change might be worth it.

Making the Change: The Checklist

If you’re still reading this section, it means you’re serious about changing your name and most likely going to go through with it! But before jumping right into the change, I think it’s important to get a good idea of the steps you will have to go through. Here’s a chronological list of all the things you will have to do to most successfully change your name:

Note: Not all of these steps are *required* (like the 301 redirect, contacting Google, etc.), but I STRONGLY recommend them in order to maintain as many of your followers and search engine rankings as possible.
Some of these steps might only apply to WordPress blogs, but most of them apply to both WP and Blogger.
  • Set up a new e-mail address on your new domain ( yourname@yourdomain.com ). Forward all of the e-mails from your OLD mailbox to your new one. Then update this e-mail address on your contact page or wherever else you list it.
  • Move your site to the new domain name.
  • Set up a 301 redirect. It’s VERY important that you do a 301 redirect as opposed to 302. The 301 tells search engines that your site has moved permanently and it transfers over all the rankings from your old site to your new site.
  • Tell Google that your site has moved to a new URL. This will help with search engine indexing.
  • Change your blog name (the physical bit of text in the WordPress/Blogger settings area).
  • Edit any supporting blog graphics (buttons, meme banners, etc.) with your new name.
  • Change your social media account names (don’t forget Goodreads!).
  • Change your social media graphics (avatars, cover photos, etc.).
  • Contact Bloglovin’ so they can merge your “old” blog URL entry with your new one.
  • Install the Velvet Blues Update URLs WordPress plugin to update all the URLs on your blog to your new domain name.
  • Update all your e-galley site information with the new name and URL (NetGalley and Edelweiss).
  • If there are any authors or publishers you need to inform of your new e-mail/name/URL, be sure to do so!

Depending on what platform your using, you might have to do a few steps differently or even skip a couple. But this gives you the idea of everything that could be done to make your change as smooth as possible! It was really helpful for me to create a checklist when I changed my blog name. It helped ensure that I didn’t forget any steps and I was able to cross things off as I completed them!

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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74 comments

  1. I’ve been thinking about changing my blog name for a while now, and while it won’t be as much of a hassle because I just started blogging, it’s still a lot of work to go through all your graphics and account names, etc, in order to do so. I kind of rushed into my blog name because I just wanted to get started reviewing and blogging, which I kind of regret. I think I’ll change my name soon-ish, which I’m still excited to do, but I’ll need a couple days to actually get everything accomplished in order for it to be a smooth transition. I’m glad everything worked out for you! I love your new title and blog design.

    Janita @ Book, Interrupted recently posted: Review: Poison Study
    1. Yeah if you’re moving from a free platform it makes sense that you can’t do a 301 redirect. It’s a bummer, but there’s not really a way around it!

  2. Fantastic post, as always, Ashley! I really like my blog name, so I don’t think I’ll change mine in the future, but it does seem so complicated now that I’m thinking about it. I’m totally not a tech wizard, and the amount of HTML I know is like teensy-tiny, so I’d probably end up screwing things up along the way, especially with the 301 redirect and the BlogLovin’ and the Google stuff. I don’t even think I do that NOW without changing my name O_O

    *runs away to check* This is a fantastic post, though! I’m glad you changed your blog name and are really happy with your new name πŸ™‚ I’ll definitely be referring to this if I ever decide I need to change my name!

    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted: The Ward by Jordana Frankel
  3. I decided to change my name anyway. The other one wasn’t that original and I only choose it a few months ago because I couldn’t come up with anything else. Since my blog is not that old yet, I changed it. For now it’s only the header and the button that has changed. This summer I’m ordering a new lay-out from In Between Designs, so with that, I’ll change the site address and add a URL redirect in my HTML code like Parajunkee described. πŸ™‚ And I’ll be doing a giveaway with it to celebrate. πŸ˜›

    Bieke @ BookaddictBieke recently posted: My blog has a new name!
    1. If you’ve been thinking about it, then that means you’re not totally happy with your current name. I think as long as you take the renaming process slow and make sure you come up with a name that you absolutely love, then you’ll be glad you did it!

      1. I actually do like my name, but the URL is long, and when I tell people verbally what it is, they all think I’m saying “Body Book Blog” which is disturbing… maybe it’s my accent.
        Anyway, my conundrum is I have all these business cards that will be useless (that I’m handing out at BEA). Will my host redirect email to my new email? is that normal? Guess I should just ask them.

        I’m not going to start the process until June or July.

        Jennifer @ The Bawdy Book Blog recently posted: Indie Author Excerpts: Tower of Obsidian by L.T. Getty
        1. Oh, yeah, the business cards are a huge bummer. πŸ™ But OMG I hope I see you at BEA!!

          You should be able to set up e-mail forwarding just fine, regardless of your host! Since that’s more of an e-mail setting than anything else.

            1. Oh yeah, if you cancel the domain then you won’t be able to forward because when you cancel a domain it becomes available for other people to buy and that e-mail address can’t exist since someone else might own the domain… if that makes sense.

  4. dang, i really did not think prior to changing my blog name in a second. and now i am going through the entire processes you mentioned. it’s a pain.
    i actually came here searching for how to redirect URLs from old blog name to new blog name automatically within blogger…

    1. Well you don’t have to change anything on your hosting (the thing that costs the most money), but you will have to buy a new domain name (another ~$10 per year purchase). You most likely can’t get a refund on your first domain name, but you can opt to not renew it (meaning you never pay for it again here on out). Just make sure you have auto renewal (if available) turned off.

      Transferring your site to a new domain name can be a little bit tricky. I mean, it’s not that hard, but if you’re not really familiar with hosting it might be a bit confusing. The best thing to do would probably be to contact your web host (if they have live chat or phone support) and explain that you want to switch your site over to a new domain name and see if they can help (or even do it for you!).

    1. I think it depends on what your goal is for your blog. Just having it as your name is great if you have some kind of business (like web design, photography, writing, etc.). It works well for those because your name can be like your brand.

      But if it’s a blog about something non-business related, just having your name isn’t always the most unique/catchy/interesting.

  5. Hey! Thanks for your helpful tips. I’m considering changing the name of my blog before I get in too deep. I’ve been blogging off and and for a little while now, but I’ve never really gotten serious about it. I’d like to become more established, start posting more, look into getting a new design, and own my domain. My aim for my blog is fairly broad – I hope to post from my daily life, adventures in a new town, some of my DIY projects, and so on. My blog name is currently “Make a Decision, Already” and I’m not sure if this efficiently describes my blog or not. I also feel like it may be sort of dorky. Would you suggest I create a new blog name? Thanks for you time. πŸ™‚

    1. I don’t think you should worry about whether or not the name describes your blog. For example, my blog is called Nose Graze, which certainly doesn’t describe what I blog about (books, WordPress, and blogging tips).

      Your first priority should be finding a name that YOU like.
      Your second priority should be ensuring that the name is unique and memorable.

      So if you’re happy with the name, you should stick with it! πŸ™‚ I think my only criticism would be that it doesn’t sound like a name since it’s more of a sentence. That also makes it feel a bit wordy.

      I personally like to stick with names that are no longer than 2 words if I can.

  6. I’ve been debating a name change but I’m thinking there are a few too many negatives to it. I’m an established blog (5 years) and people know me and my blog (Candace’s Book Blog). I also would have an issue with facebook. Some of my other profiles are just my name so that would be fine. I just don’t want to confuse anyone or have the publishers ‘lose’ me. When I started my blog I had thought it was just for me to keep track of the books I read and what I thought of them. But then book blogging became more of a thing and it took off and I really love it. I don’t plan on going anywhere. I wouldn’t mind some re-banding (would love it actually) but I’m on the fence whether it’s worth it.
    This post has been really helpful because I was unsure about the facebook profile bit. And I hadn’t thought of some of the other aspects. I may just have to deal with my name as it is. I’ve done alright so far… Thank you for this!

  7. Hey Ashley! πŸ˜€ So you referred me to this lovely article when I was asking about Rebranding yesterday πŸ™‚ This is really useful for me to evaluate all the pros and cons too, and you really got me thinking! While the list of cons is longer, I do feel very strongly about this name change! The first few times I googled Constellation Chronicles, Google showed a book! xD But it seems that my blog is now on the top when I google it! But while it sounds nice, it seems a little too common! “Constellation Chronicles”. I still love this name, but the new name I’ve thought of (and I’m sure you know what it is πŸ˜‰ ) is still stuck in my head, and I have a feeling I might love it more! And while it’ll be hard in the initial stages of the change (people might still remember me as Constellation Chronicles), I can always set up redirects and stuff like you said! πŸ˜€
    Thanks so much for this article, Ashley! πŸ˜€ It’s so very useful! πŸ™‚ And I really do love Nose Graze!! <3

    Emily recently posted: Rebranding
    1. Yeah the list of cons is longer, but I think some of the pros can hold more weight. Your blog name is a very personal thing and you’ll feel a lot better about your blog overall if you love the name!

  8. I’ve recently started blogging just this month but I am not 100% happy with it and would really like to change the name. My current blog name is just a little book addict and I think it’s a little wordy and common. I have blogspot, what’s the process for changing my blog name for blogspot? is it different to word press?

    Samena recently posted: Stacking The Shelves [1]
    1. Changing it on Blogspot isn’t really as good as WordPress because you can’t do a redirect that will save all your SEO. The absolute best way would be to buy a custom domain ( http://www.yourname.com ) for about $12 per year. If you do that and connect it to your Blogger blog, Google will redirect your old name to your new custom domain for you.

      But if you don’t want to do that, you have to create a whole new blog, export your old blog, then import it into your new blog, then add a message to your old blog explaining where you moved to.

    1. I’m glad this was helpful to you!

      You’re only able to change your page name if you have fewer than 200 likes. After that you are unable to. πŸ™

  9. Hi this post is really helpful especially considering the pro and cons. I just have a quick question, I have been blogging for five months thereabout and when I started blogging I rushed in too quick and purchased a domain name and now I don’t like it any more and plus it doesn’t fit the concept of my blog any more. I don’t have a great following so I can change it and I don’t have to explain to a lot of people about it. The only problem I have is that my following is on bloglovin and I wanted to know if it is possible to still keep my readers with a new url. Plus I read somewhere that it is not possible to change your domain name if you already have a custom domain name please help

    1. Yes you can migrate your Bloglovin followers. All you do is contact their support and basically say:

      “I changed my blog URL from [OLD URL] to [NEW URL], can you move my subscribers for me?”

      And they’ll do it for you.

      You cannot change a domain name, you have to buy a new one. So you have to pay for a brand new one, then you just stop paying for the old one.

  10. Hi Ashley,

    just wondering if you can help me at all. I recently changed my blog name (last week) from lilac beauty trouble to tights and ladders, as this seemed more relevent with the direction my blog is going in.

    However, since changing google no longer lists my blog. Even if i search for my blog, its no longer there. My old blog did come up on google and I just dont know what to do :[

    Thanks

    1. You’re on Blogger, is that right? Sadly I can’t assist with Blogger because I don’t know much about it. But if your old blog URL isn’t redirecting to the new one, then that’s the reason. You need to forward all traffic in order to keep your rankings.

    1. Well I personally just do manual 301 redirects, which involve editing your .htaccess file. I think that’s the best option.

      Or, you can usually set up a 301 redirect with your domain registrar. There’s usually an option to edit your domain name there and instead of having it point to a website, you select the option to redirect it to another domain.

      I think either of those options are better than installing a plugin. πŸ™‚

    1. What kind of subscribers are you talking about? Where have they subscribed from? Example:

      RSS feed
      Bloglovin’
      Email subscription

      They’re all different!

    1. Your subscribers will go with you. πŸ™‚ The exact steps you need to take depend on what you plan on doing to change your name, but no matter what you will keep your subscribers.

      Example:

      If you create a whole new wordpress.com blog with a different name, you will have to contact the wordpress.com folks to move your subscribers for you.

      If you buy a custom domain name and just “mask” your wordpress.com URL and replace it with the custom domain name, then you don’t have to take any extra steps. Your subscribers will still be there.

      If you decide to move to self-hosted WordPress with a custom domain name, then you’ll have to migrate your subscribers with the Jetpack plugin.

      1. Does this mean that if I change the blog address of my free wordpress.com blog to another free name without paying for a redirect that I won’t lose any subscribers or likes and comments?

  11. Question: How do you deal with changing your name for affiliates? Is that a super complicated process?
    I’m on the fence about changing my blog name right now, but this post is super helpful – thank you πŸ™‚

        1. Changing your name shouldn’t affect anything unless the program has a super strict set up where affiliate links/widgets only work on a certain URL. (Amazon isn’t like this – you can use your affiliate link anywhere, so no changes are even required on your part if you change URLs.)

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