Can I change my blog name and keep my readers?

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 I Like Pie, chances are, when I try to find you online, I’m going to type in http://www.ilikepie.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.

More Articles on Choosing a New Name for Your Blog

  • 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.”

Questions for Comment

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?

This article was cross-posted at BlogHer.com.

Comments

  1. At the beginning of this year I changed Have Kid Will Travel to Family Rambling due to having begin 5+ years ago and totally not planning to build a business. My change was due to not copyrighting my name and having it stolen in various ways. When I rebulit and re-branded I was able to do it “right” with SEO, and other fun tools. So while I am not up to the readership I previously had I will be in about 3 months + I am receiving more opportunities now. (Oh, and I am copyrighting my new name!)

  2. Thanks for the insight! I just started blogging and currently my blog is whatever I feel like writing about – called “Pintucked.” This has nothing to do with the blog subject (I do plan on writing about fashion, though) but I’m already getting ideas for different blogs for different niches. I’m thinking of calling my blogs “The Pintucked Collective” and using subdomains for each blog’s name. What do you think?

  3. Melanie:
    You bring up some great points about changing names. I frequently blog about naming challenges from a company standpoint, but having a blog and a domain causes “double” the branding challenge.

    If you change your name and your domain all at once, you’re very likely to lose all your traffic. Another idea might be to create a category within your blog, a subgroup or navigation to help. Or change both but continue to post links to the new domain/blog title on your existing site.

    I moved my blog (but kept the name) in Jan 2008 from blogspot (blogger) to a self-hosted domain (with wordpress software). Unfortunately, I have so many backlinks from the old blog (from Feb 06-Jan 08) it often comes up one or two results ahead of the new blog… even though the new blog has twice as many posts and 4 times the amount of traffic. Can’t beat those ‘old backlinks.

    I’ve helped my readers to move to the new one by leading with a short post on the old blog and then the … read more … link goes to the new blog. This of course is also causing the old blog to continue to grow.

    Any ideas of how I should do it differently?? Or should have done it differently??
    Thanks, Chris

  4. Chris, I wonder if you’ve set up a 301 Redirect for your old blog so it point people to the new one? Have a look at this article by Devil’s Workshop: http://devilsworkshop.org/blogger-to-wordpress-traffic-permalinks-redirection-plugin/

    Melanie

  5. Excellent points to consider, Melanie! This blog is such a great resource for new and experienced bloggers. Keep up the great work!

  6. Wow! Thanks so much for referring to my article! I really appreciated your article. I am one of those that did change their name after a year and couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t lose a single reader but in fact, it caused my readers and sponsors to take me more seriously.

    Thanks for this article and for referring to me. I’ll be checking out the rest of your articles.

  7. Hi Melanie,

    Excellent and very helpful tutorial. I’ve been in denial for the longest time that the blog site title that I originally selected, “Towards a Rational America and an Enlightened Judaism” is no longer apropos for the content of my posts Besides the title was rather clunky from the get-go. But the more I wrote, the more entrenched I felt in sticking with it.

    So after 62 posts, the first of which was in Feb., 2008 I want to change it to “The Jewish Nontheist”, tweak the site description, and keep my url. Do you think that this modification is viable?

    Rick Levy

  8. GOLIAMA LEO says:

    In fact it to hard , but .I am planning to have the blogs that comprise current news
    I wish I will have the famous and fantastic blogs from Tanzania covering different issues

  9. Thank u, nice articles.

  10. Excellent points to consider, Melanie! This blog is such a great resource for new and experienced bloggers. Keep up the great work!

  11. Good article keep up your good work Melanie!

  12. I want to change my name, I even bought a new url address. Go Daddy is forwarding my new domain name to the existing domain. So I can still use both, is that a good idea? I have affiliates and I don’t know if I should go through the trouble of changing my name through them when the domain is still the same???? Thanks!

  13. Thank you for your great articles! I found this site very useful.

    I also have a problem with changing my name because my url is Rockbleeder and my Blog name is Treasure Chest. Just now that I changed it though I wonder if it can affect my submissions to web directories or to blog advertising communities where I filled up the form using the blog name Treasure Chest. I hope that there will be no problem.

  14. Very good information here. Thanks loads Melanie.

  15. I have just changed my blog name, and was very confused about the whole thing. thanks for giving a solid. actually it was tumblr tips blog, now i am thinking to add tips on other blog platform so i have just changed my blog name, so i can cover other blogging platform topics as well. :)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Turns out I can, but at the risk of confusing — and losing — followers. So I’m currently on the fence about it. I know a few bloggers who have undergone a brand/identity change and emerged from it unscathed. Heather at http://www.girlgonemom.com told me that changing her brand (blog name, Facebook page, Twitter handle) wasn’t so bad. She had a lot of followers when she did it, too. She said the key was writing lots of posts and tweets to remind readers of the change, a tip that is echoed in this helpful article from bloggingbasics101.com. [...]

  2. [...] Thinking of Changing Your Blog Name? on Blogging Basics 101 [...]

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