I’m Merging My Websites and Embracing Brand Clarity

Embracing brand clarity - define your business better with ONE brand

For a long time now, I’ve been splitting my online presence between:

  • Nose Graze – The blog
  • Creative Whim – The “design/dev” site and shop

But for the past year I’ve been constantly asking myself, am I doing this wrong?

I didn’t create two brands on purpose

At one time, it felt natural for me to have two online presences. Creative Whim was created first. It was my business and portfolio. When I wanted to create a book blog, it made no sense to put it on my “business site”, so I started a whole new domain. But after blogging for a year on Nose Graze, I realized that all of my business was starting to come from Nose Graze, as a result of the blog!

When all of my business started coming from my blog, it didn’t make sense to have my official business site on a separate domain.

I was afraid I was doing myself a disservice.

When people hear “Nose Graze”, do they know that I’m also “Creative Whim?” Or when someone says, “The Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin, made by Creative Whim,” do they know that that’s actually me?

I was trying to promote two totally different brands and identities. And it was hard. At one point I tried to manage two Twitter accounts—one for Nose Graze and one for Creative Whim—but that ended VERY quickly. Managing more than one account seriously sucks.

And every single day I would ask myself, “Would I be more successful if I focused on ONE brand?”

But change never came, because it was scary as hell

Deciding to totally merge one brand into another is REALLY SCARY. It’s irreversible. I mean, technically it’s possible to reverse it, but it feels a bit like brand suicide to have two brands, merge them, then split them again. Way to confuse your audience!

I knew that if I was going to do this, I had to be absolutely certain that I wanted to. And that was the problem—I wasn’t certain. I was afraid of making a mistake. I was afraid of losing half my business.

And which brand becomes the umbrella?

For me, this wasn’t even a question. I knew that if I made this merge, I would merge everything into Nose Graze. Some people think that’s a mistake. Creative Whim sounds more like a design/creative company/industry (because it has the word “creative” in it). But to be honest, I don’t feel like I have a connection with the name “Creative Whim” any more. I don’t dislike it, I just don’t have strong ties to it. Nose Graze, on the other hand, feels like home.

So screw what I “should” do.
Screw what “sounds” like a creative/design company.

I chose what felt right. And that’s Nose Graze.

I want a strong focus

  • I want one name and one brand.
  • I want to be able to focus on building a single name.
  • I don’t want people to have to explain what one brand is (“oh, Creative Whim is that girl from Nose Graze”).
  • I want everything I do to be connected.

After a year of pondering and doubting, I’ve made the leap!

As of today, creativewhim.com is no more. The online shop has been migrated to shop.nosegraze.com and all development/coding services have been moved to plain ol’ Nose Graze.

Check out the new shop

I’m not 100% done yet. I still have to move over my clients/billing site and I’m also planning on rebranding Book Host into just Nose Graze Hosting, but let’s take things one website at a time. πŸ˜‰

What do you think of my merge? Have you checked out the new Nose Graze Shop?

Have you ever juggled more than one brand? Did it work out for you?

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I'm a 28 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). My three great passions are: books, coding, and fitness. more »

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60 comments

    1. I will! πŸ˜€ I’ll probably wait to update them until I have an actual content update too so that the update isn’t only the name change, you know? But definitely on my to-do list!

  1. I was contemplating creating a new site for my Caffeinated Virtual Assistant services..you have convinced me to keep it with my blog. I loved Creative Whim..but know I personally refer folks to Ashley @Nose Graze. So good call.

    1. Yeah I don’t think you need a separate website for that. I bet most of your business would come as a direct result from your blog, and a services page like that only really needs one single page (or maybe 2-3 max). You could easily do that on your existing site! And it will be easier to keep everything in one place.

  2. It makes sense, Ashley. Your presence is so strong, Nose Graze is a reference when it comes to coding and helping bloggers. And we rely on you, and that is what every brand try so hard to achieve… it would be a waste not to (strongly) associate your business with it.
    Creative Whim is super cool, but Nose Graze is a more personal brand. And all this awesome content you have here can only add value to your business.
    Good luck with all the changes πŸ˜€

    1. You’re totally right—Nose Graze is the more personal brand. I think it’s because my blog is there and that’s where I personally connect to people. Creative Whim has more of a business association with it, and I don’t want that to be the focus!

  3. I think this is a very smart move – plus, juggling two brands seems like a major CHORE. I am very glad you chose Nose Graze as your brand, because I think that it fits you more and I definitely connect you more to NG than Creative Whim. Maybe just because i get more of a feel of who you are through the blog rather than your business site? But anyway, congrats on your big change – it’ll be great! πŸ˜€

    Rosie // Rosie Reads recently posted: Books With Characters on the Autism Spectrum
    1. Thank you Rosie! πŸ™‚ I think you’re totally right about the reasoning. The blog is where I talk to people and connect with them. Creative Whim always had more of a business feel to it, and I don’t want my main brand to be “business”, I want it to be more like “tips, talking, friendly advice”—stuff like that!

  4. Wow, I think that’s quite a smart move indeed – dealing with and promoting two brands does sound like a bit of a headache, and this way you’ll be able to focus your attention more rather than spreading yourself too thin. πŸ˜€

    One thing, though, that I believe you might have forgotten to change – in the header on top of the blog, the “Shop” link still goes to http://creativewhim.com/shop. It does redirect, but still – perhaps something to look at if you have the time, just for the sake of clarity πŸ™‚

    Topaz @ Six Impossible Things recently posted: Friday Poetry: “Within Discordance”
    1. Thanks so much for pointing that out Topaz! I will update that now. πŸ™‚ I’ve got to find all those pesky links to update!

  5. The question you posed were all really good ones, and I think it is a good decision to merge your two websites. I was actually surprised when I went to check my ticket and I ended up at your site.

    But Ashley, I can’t check the ticket. I’ve opened it in another tab, window, but it just loads back to the ticket page.

    Shannelle recently posted: The Summer Story of April 25, 2015
    1. I believe I’ve fixed the problem now. πŸ™‚ I’m so sorry about that—please try again now!

  6. I did something similar this month! I took my business brand and merged it with my author brand. I still need to figure out what my brand is going to encompass post-merge, but I feel so much better about not having to manage so many sites. I still have separation between my book blog and business stuff, but with associate reviewers on my book blog and a fundamentally different brand, I prefer it this way. But two sites instead of three is so much better.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with choosing Nose Graze as your umbrella. Plus, if you’re worried about people not knowing what you do, a simple tagline can fix that.

    1. Congratulations on your merge, Amanda! πŸ™‚

      I think under your circumstances, it does make sense to still have some kind of division. It’s definitely different for each person. Like here, I’m the only blogger and most of my posts are kind of related to my business anyway. πŸ™‚

  7. Congratulations! I can imagine how scary that must be. I was actually considering STARTING another brand for my design business, but after thinking long and hard I’ve decided that would just be too much. I absolutely love the name Nose Graze, so props to you for going with your gut! I hope this journey goes well for you!

    1. Thank you Jessica! πŸ™‚ I definitely think it’s easiest and best to keep everything under one umbrella. πŸ™‚ Especially because I bet your blog would drive tons of traffic to your business, so it makes sense to keep those the same.

  8. Honestly, I stopped in because I’ve been thinking of switching from Blogger to WordPress and I remember browsing your site and seeing a How To post on it. Congrats on the ONE brand! I believe it was a smart move!

  9. I think this is a super smart business move that can save you a lot of stress. I wish you luck! And if I ever move to WordPress, I know you’re my girl πŸ˜‰

  10. Definitely scary move, but a very good one! I know of one other designer/developer who did the same, merged her blog and design website into one (xosarah.com) and it all worked out pretty well. πŸ™‚

    For a while, I’ve also been wondering if I should do the same with my personal blog and my portfolio page, but they’re too separate at the moment that it doesn’t seem to make sense to merge right now. What I did before though was to use the same theme for both so they have the same look/branding. I’m thinking of doing that again if I find a nice theme I like. πŸ™‚

    Everything looks good, by the way! I’m still not over how I love your new design, especially the About page. πŸ™‚

    1. Ah yes, I have seen Sarah’s site too. πŸ™‚

      Using the same theme is a great solution. It will help create a connection between your two sites.

      I think totally merging the two would be a good move if you start to see TONS of overlap. When your personal blog starts driving tons of traffic to your portfolio page (or vice versa) to the point where they almost feel like they COULD be the same.

      That’s how I felt. I realized that the only reason anybody visited Creative Whim was because they saw my blog on Nose Graze. Every piece of traffic (nearly) had to do with Nose Graze in the first place. So if that’s the case, why send people to a totally different site?

      1. Oh, you know what? I’ve decided to just create a new page on my blog and redirect the domain of my portfolio site to that page. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense because portfolio site was more like a landing page and had nothing much, no posts or anything. ;P

  11. I like the move and the name consolidation. I am more familiar with you on Nose Graze (maybe b/c I know you as a book blogger first). I do think it makes sense. I have a few online twitter handles too — now I’m wondering if I should combine those!

    Midnyte Reader recently posted: City of Masks - Audio.
    1. Thank you!

      For me, managing more than one Twitter account was a nightmare. I quickly realized that I was neglecting all my other accounts because it was so much work. Then I didn’t see a point in having all these extra Twitter accounts if I was mostly only on my main one (@NoseGraze) anyway.

  12. Congratulations πŸ™‚ Like everyone above, I think it’s a smart move! It will require less work to promote one brand and maintain only one site, plus if you have a stronger connection to Nose Graze than Creative Whim, it all makes sense.
    I noticed there’s no link to your book reviews in your main menu. Are you leaving the book blogging aspect behind and focusing 100% on (bookish) web design & dev?

    1. Thanks so much!

      I’m not leaving the book blogging aspect 100%. I’m still going to post reviews when I have them (like my review of ACOTAR!), it’s just been less often lately because I’ve been reading less.

      I removed the book reviews link from my menu because it no longer feels like a big enough part of the blog to have menu space. It’s the minority of my posts now—not the majority.

  13. I first heard about you on Twitter with your Nose Graze site. Too be honest I didn’t know about Creative Whim and am subscribed to get your Nose Graze updates. Great idea to merge the two, wish I could make the decision for my two blogs. I have the sites Novel Meals and Squirrel Head Manor. It would be great to merge but I am completely on the fence about which one to keep.

    Squirrel Head Manor in on Blogger and I have had it for over 7 years. Novel Meals is on WordPress and is mostly book reviews. Lately I have been writing the same posts for both blogs until I could decide which one to keep. Sad. BUT – great choice for you to make Nose Graze your one and only!!

    Tina recently posted: Nigella’s Chicken Potluck
    1. Thank you Tina. πŸ™‚

      A decision like this is definitely super hard and not one that you want to rush into. It sounds like you’re in a very tough dilemma! Here are some things to think about:

      1. Which name do you like more?
      2. Which brand do you like more?
      3. Is there one that has a bigger audience/following?
      4. Is there on that you resonate more or naturally think of as your “main” site?

      1. I saved this post in my mailbox because I have been dithering this entire time (it’s been what, 2 months?!) on my merge. Haven’t done it yet. I thought about what you told me waaaay back in April. So this past Saturday I posted a “Where do you find me?” sort of post with a poll, asking people which site they prefer.

        There isn’t any interaction at all, I have a total of 4 votes. Split down the middle. Maybe I’ll toss a coin πŸ™‚

        Tina recently posted: Where do you find me??
        1. I think it’s fantastic that you’ve spent so much time thinking about this. That’s exactly what you want to do! You definitely don’t want to rush into it.

          1. Well I certainly can’t be accused of rushing 😊 By the way, I may not comment much on your site but I read all of your posts and find them very informative. Just like this one, thought provoking.

            1. Thank you so much Tina! That’s so wonderful to hear. πŸ™‚ I’m a bit of a lurker myself on other blogs, so I totally understand if you don’t comment very much.

  14. I think that’s brilliant and brave all at the same time. Super proud of you doing that…it really does simplify things for you so you can work more efficiently. I also think a lot of the blog design you offer goes hand-n-hand in the book blog world too. For someone like me who’s an author and a health coach, I still haven’t figured out how to merge those two…but at least I function only one twitter and instagram…that definitely helps. High5 girl. You do great work and I adore you! ~A

    1. Thanks Ashley! I can see how bridging the cap between author and health coach would be tricky. πŸ™‚

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