I asked some friends online what questions and problems they had regarding technology and rebranding. This is what I got:

"If I set up my old site to forward to my new site what happens to all the old blog posts?"

"My client is definitely worried about SEO — she’s spent years building a photography blog and doesn’t want to lose the Google ranking."

"I get really tripped up every time I move hosts or set up a new domain name."

The funny thing is that I see many conversations online about rebranding, and I get involved in a lot of them — but I don’t get that many rebranding clients. In fact, many people that I see discussing rebranding often end up making do with what they have or staying with their existing systems. Why?

Many business owners are afraid of rebranding.

Instead of seeing the possibilities of a rebrand, they only see the problems. They get overwhelmed and frustrated before they even begin! I hear reasons like:

  • All of my old backlinks will die.
  • I will lose all of my "Google juice".
  • I’ll be stuck using 3 different e-mail addresses.
  • I will lose my G+ circles.
  • No one will be able to find my new content.
  • I will lose my old blog posts.
  • I will have to start over from the beginning.

What if I told you that it was possible to minimize or eliminate all of those problems? Would you get excited about rebranding then?

Let’s dive in then!

Note: Some of this will require technical knowledge or assistance. I didn’t say it was going to be easy, but I do want you to know that it is possible! And if you ever need help, just ask!

Your Old Blog Posts & Web Pages

If you are going to redesign your site, the first thing you should do is migrate your current site into the new development site.

Done For You (DFY): Ask your designer to move a copy of your old site to the development directory before the redesign starts.
Do It Yourself (DIY): Use WP Migrate DB (available in free and pro versions) to export the entire database and then import it into a new WordPress install.

If you didn’t do this before you started the redesign, you can also try exporting just the posts by going to Tools>Export in the wp-admin, and then reversing that by using Tools>Import on your development site. This isn’t preferred though, because you can lose crucial information like SEO data.

Your Backlinks

You can just redirect your old URL to your new one in entirety but that sometimes doesn’t help people looking for specific content. What if they clicked on a link for your-old-domain.com/cool-story and were redirected to your-new-domain.com/ … would they be able to find the new location?

DFY: Create a spreadsheet or Google Sheet for your redirects and then contact a developer or your host to set up an htaccess file. To create this file, you need 2 columns: the first one is the starting URL (without the domain part) and the second one is the destination URL (the full URL). So for example, if you wanted http://old-domain.com/about-me/ to redirect to http://new-domain.com/about/, you would put "/about-me/" into the first column and "http://new-domain.com/about/" into the second one. Then give this spreadsheet to your developer to set up your redirects!
DIY: Use a plugin that does 301 redirects (like this) to help people find their way from old to new content, or follow the DFY instructions and then create your own htaccess file. It’s more time consuming and perhaps more limiting on options (depending on your technical skills), but it would work.

Your E-mail

The best thing you can do for your business is to move to an external e-mail service like Google Apps because it is not connected to your hosting and gives you independent control of your e-mail service — but whether or not you do, you can combine your e-mail into one. You’ll first want to pick ONE e-mail address or account you will be using for all of your correspondence. Then&hellip:

DFY: Have your developer transfer all of your e-mail into the one account, and then set up all other e-mail addresses to forward to that account for all new mail.
DIY: Get the other e-mail into the one you chose, usually by POP/IMAP transfer (such as adding additional accounts to your gmail) or by migration (see the Migrator App below). Once the e-mail is transferred, set up the other accounts to automatically forward all new incoming mail to your new account.

Your Google Apps Account

You can combine your Google accounts into one or move from your old domain to your new one! There will be no more confusing, multiple accounts for you.

DFY: Have your developer transfer all of your e-mail, calendar and Drive documents into your new account, and then set up appropriate redirects and initiate a G+ profile transfer.
DIY: Use the Backupify Migrator to move your existing e-mail, calendar and Drive documents into your new account. If you have more than one account, you’ll need to purchase in a pack of 10. You’ll then need to initiate a G+ profile transfer.

Google is discontinuing the ability to transfer your G+ profile as of December 4, 2014 — so if you want to rebrand and move your profile, now is the time to do it!

What if you did it "wrong"?

Don’t worry, all hope is not lost. There probably is some way of sorting it out. Just contact me or post a question below, and we’ll see what we can do to make it work.

The important point is this: Don’t let your fear or overwhelm of the technology hold you back. If your current brand is not meeting your needs, then it’s time to change it. The technology is there to help you make it happen.

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