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!
- 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.
- 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:
- Set up a new e-mail address on your new domain ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). 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!