The marketplace is constantly evolving, and organizations continuously adapt their brands to stay relevant. Rebranding can be a transitionary process. Sometimes a small evolution, a refresh is all that is needed to rejuvenate a brand. However, when the rebranding of your organization includes a name change, there are practical things that should be done to ensure a seamless transition and reduce the impact on your site’s traffic and SEO rankings.
- Select a domain name that is very searchable and not highly competitive in the search rankings. Current customers and prospects need to be able to find you online. One you’ve selected the name, you’ll need to register your new name and decide on the hosting provider.
- Consider a staged process for your rebranding. Move your site first, and then launch your redesign to manage to make the process smoother and troubleshoot the unexpected. Be sure to monitor your search traffic before and after your name change to address traffic issues before they’re problematic.
- Choose an appropriate time (off-peak hours) to launch your new site. DNS records require time to propagate throughout the Internet—from several hours to several days.
- Publicize your new name after you switch your URL, to maintain your search rankings. As soon as you have your new domain name, start having your new name searched. Retain control of your old site domain for six months after the switch.
- Manage your content so searches redirect from your old name to your new website name. When your new content is in place, check all links. If your previous site used absolute links versus relative links, this is key.
- Your site content should include your old and new name in multiple places including in your home and about us pages, in your news releases and blog posts.
- Change your profile name and links on your social media channels, business listing and local search directories.
- Reach out to your referral traffic sources and consider how your brand appears on these other websites. If other professionals, associations, directories, etc. drive a significant portion of your site traffic and business, this is a critical step.
- Be sure your employees have updated email addresses and e-signatures. Make sure that you forward email from your old domain to your new one.
- Send an email out to your past and current customers, vendors and media contacts announcing the name change. Consider crafting a brand story around the name change—rebranding is an excellent PR opportunity.
Discover how other brands that have successfully survived rebranding and website name switches:
- The 10 Most Successful Rebranding Campaigns Ever by Judith Aquino, The Business Insider
- 8 Successful Companies That Changed Domain Names by Amy Burke, Mashable
The purpose and reasons for rebranding varies, but the process should always begin with a clear vision of the goals and outcomes. Comply can help you discover your brand’s uniqueness and begin the rebranding process with the end in mind.