Blogging is a fun hobby. It's a way to get your voice out into the world and meet people with similar interests. As with anything, though, the more you do it, the more you see where your interests lie. You may start out blogging your pregnancy and family life or you may blog your political ideals. Then, after a few months or even a year, you see that you tend to be writing about certain topics more than others -- you've found your niche. And wouldn't you know it? Your niche and passion just don't fit your blog's name any more. Hey, it happens. One of my blogs went through three name changes before I finally settled on its final name. The question is: how can you change the name of your blog without confusing your readers?
I'm going to point out the obvious and tell you that you should seriously consider your blog's name before you start blogging instead of just throwing something up there because then you won't be in this predicament. But, since I didn't do that and I'm hardly one to throw stones, I'm not going to dwell long on that sentiment. Before you change your blog's name, though, you should take some time and think about what you're going to use as your blog new title because your readers, though loyal now, will tire of your whimsy if you're changing your blog's name every year. I think it's an un-written blogging law that you get one change and that's it. Any more than that and not only are your readers confused, but you're damaging the brand you're trying to build. You can't have consistency if you're always changing.
So, if you must change your name, let's look at some things you need to think about:
- Match your blog's new name with a domain. If at all possible, your blog's name and domain (URL) should match. As you're considering what to change your name to, do a search to see if the domain is available (and try to get the .com and .net). Having your blog name and URL match isn't just good SEO, it's an easy way for people to find you. If a reader can remember the name of your blog, she can remember your URL and find you. For example, if I meet you at a conference or just around town and you tell me your blog's name is Blogging Basics 101, chances are, when I try to find you online, I'm going to type in www.bloggingbasics101.com. If that's not your blog, I may or may not type the title into Google. It depends on how much I want to find you. If your blog's name and domain match, problem solved; if they don't, it can be a hassle for your new fan.
- Match your brand throughout your social media accounts. Ten years ago, most bloggers just had to worry about their brand on their blog (and we didn't even call it a brand). Now you have a social media brand on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter at least. If you decide you need to change your blog's name, consider how that will affect your other accounts. I went from Chilihead to Melanie Nelson a few years ago and I still have people calling me Chili (which, actually, I love). In fact, many times I introduce myself and I get the blank look. Then I say, "I'm Chilihead on Twitter" and the person usually has at least a glimmer of recognition. If you change your blog's name, will people still be able to recognize you throughout the social media community?
- Change your name early in the game. If you think you want to change your blog's name, do it sooner rather than later. When you've established an entire brand or identity around your blog, it's harder to change that when you have 1500 posts instead of 500.
- Tell your readers as soon as possible. Let your readers in on your decision and keep them in the loop. Let them know that you're going to change your name, how the change will affect your content (if at all), and whether your domain will change as a result. Tell your readers your thought process and lead them through the transition. Your readers are your community and, though it is your blog, they are your readers and they'll be more inclined to make the jump with you if they're part of the process.
- Advice for New Bloggers: Choosing a name for your blog via Absolutely Bananas. This article discusses not only what to consider when you're naming your blog, but the comments are also interesting and offer great discussion on how others have faced this dilemma.
- What to do when you outgrow your blog name? by DawnieMom at BlogHer. This is the post that inspired the post you're reading now. It's such a common thing to want to change your blog's name at some point. Click over to join the discussion and add your advice.
- Starting a Blog: Picking Your Name via Empowering Mommy: "I have found that bloggers can tend to change their themes and ideas after about 6 months - they find what they are good at and love. By that time, their name defines them and they are often concerned that by changing their name they will lose their readers."
Have you ever changed your blog's name? Were you able to retain your readers or did you have to start over? How long did it take you to re-build your brand once you made the change?
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