Should YOU Rebrand Yourself?
|Mirror, Mirror, in my hand,|
Tell me, truly, my grand new brand?
If you manage a personal blog, you might decide that it’s not worth rebranding, but it may be a good idea, especially if very few visitors are visiting your site.
My former blog name was cool enough, but I didn’t have the matching domain in .com. Also, “Food for Thought” was taking me in a direction where I no longer wanted to go, at least exclusively; I was kind of stuck in food and diet topics, and I was beginning to find this boring. In addition, the search engines were burying my blog on something like page 15 because, evidently, “Food for Thought” is a highly competitive term.
I selected “Life is a Brand” because branding is a popular topic, it fits my professional branding themes (Brands Z and Brandite), and I was able to register the matching .com, .net, and .org domains directly from the registrar, without paying aftermarket prices. For me, acquiring a cheap domain for this personal project was crucial because I don’t expect to profit much from this site. If I do, then it’s just a bonus.
With the new title and exact-match domain (EMD), my blog is now on page 1 (Google) for Life is a Brand (broad search: without quotations, 1,380,000,000 searches) and page 1 for exact term (exact term, with quotations, 18,900,000 searches). If you can find a domain with large stats like this, it will be easier to attract traffic.
With this branding change, I will be able to branch out into other areas, focusing on a more general direction.
My plan: to mix the personal with the professional, both writing and domaining (holding virtual property and reselling it – someday I’ll explain why domain investors are not necessarily cybersquatters, just as property investors are not landsquatters). I’m thinking of moving some of my blog posts from other sites and consolidating them onto this site.
By the way, my traffic has tripled since the October 17, 2013, change of name. Yes, some of it is “junk” traffic from dodgy sources, but I am seeing more organic traffic as well.
How can you rebrand your personal blog?
First, select a name that you like, one that preferably has the Exact Match Domain (EMD) available for direct registration. Here are some tips (geared toward the business community) for selecting your brand/domain:
· The brand name should be pronounceable – avoid acronyms (unless they spell out a pronounceable word, are very well-known generics, and not already trademarked).
· Tongue twisters should be avoided, unless the visual aspects of the name are compelling enough to overcome the tricky pronunciation.
· The brand name should generally carry a positive connotation, suggesting trustworthiness and desirability. Some exceptions might include something like killz for a bug extermination company.
· Sound of word: Masculine sounds/words for a male type business/personal blog and feminine sounds/words for female enterprises. Yes, stereotypical, but, unfortunately, we still live in a stereotypical world, even in the 21st Century.
· The term should “pop” at first glance and offer a hint of what kind of business or personal blog the term suggests. If one dithers and questions a possibility, then the name may not be a good choice.
· For longer brandables (brands using made-up terms), perhaps even a generic word could be a part of the term. For long brandables, the term should generally be no more than 10 letters and 3 syllables (there are always exceptions, of course – my own personal brand name consists of 12 letters). In any case, the term must be instantly memorable and create an earworm. I particularly love 5-letter and full-sentence names, as evidenced by my own name.
· The exact term must not infringe on an existing Trademark (TMs) – particularly true of a made-up word and a well-known TM (such as Verizon). Some lesser known terms may be used in different non-competing businesses, but, even here, one should tread carefully. A good tool for checking out existing U.S. trademarks is USPTO.gov (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Also, Trademarkia.com and Markify.com are good tools for checking global trademarks. Finally, Google the target term to search for “natural trademarks” (terms used in business but are unregistered with USPTO and other TM registries).
· Your EMD must be .com. Trying to brand any other TLD tends to be a fool’s mission, as some major companies have discovered. A company may already have its ccTLD (Country Code TLD, such as .me or .co), but for a global presence, the .com would be a must. For now, avoid all the hype about the new gTLDs, such as .shop, .uno, .web, etc. Someday, these new extensions are likely to be important, but you need traffic now, right? And .com is still King.
· Avoid hyphens or numbers, unless you also own the non-hyphenated or spelled-out numeral domain versions, such as Brand-x and Brandx or Brand1 and BrandOne.
· Preferably, the term should pass the radio test, but not doing so would not be a deal killer, especially if the term itself offers visual/curb appeal, such as ZZZSpot.com, ZZZyou.com, ZZZNN.com, ZZZUS.com, and ZZZUSA.com. On the radio, these names can easily be spelled out.
Second, before announcing your new name, be sure that you acquire your EMD, either a straight purchase from a domain registrar (Go Daddy domain coupons can be found on Namepros – click on the last page for the most recent coupons – you can often find coupons that knock the first-year domain price from 99¢ to $5.99), or purchase your dream domain on the domain aftermarket. But before jumping into paying $,$$$ or $$,$$$, look into finding a cheapie, and do not believe the conventional view that all good hand registered .com domains are gone; LifeIsABrand.com was registered direct from the registrar, and I am quite pleased with it. You are limited only by your imagination.
But if you are having difficulty finding that perfect hand registration, Go Daddy Auctions, Namejet, Snapnames, and Sedo are good places to find aftermarket domains. At the very least, you might get ideas for alternate hand registrations. Nothing like perusing long lists of domain names to get those creative juices flowing.
In addition, I have some domains for sale on Brandite and Brands Z – names beginning with the letter “Z” – but they are priced for the business market, possibly beyond your budget, but I would be quite happy to sell one to you.
Go Daddy auctions offer the cheapest aftermarket prices – that is, if you filter for “expired” and “closeout” Buy It Now (BIN) domains. One other thing: to bid on Go Daddy names, you must first set up a Go Daddy account and join its auction club ($4.99 per year). It may be worth paying this fee because you can save thousands of dollars (the other auction sites tend to be pricier). At one time, you didn’t need to be a member to buy closeouts, but many format changes have taken place at Go Daddy in the last few months. If you opt for a closeout, the best thing to do is to buy the domain and see if Go Daddy requires this fee.
Be aware that if you purchase an expired domain, the original registrant still has seven days to renew it (don’t worry, in that case, you’ll get a full refund, but don’t build your empire based on your name until the domain actually migrates to your registrar account). This system stinks, but it is what it is.
Third, once you have your domain name figure out who will be hosting your site. For a personal blog, I suggest using Google’s blogspot – it’s free – and you can connect your domain to your blog, thus creating a “custom domain.” To show you what I mean, I’ll give you the blogspot version of this site:
If you click on the above URL, you’ll come right back to this URL/blog:
The best place to get directions for creating your custom domain using a Go Daddy domain:
That’s about all there is to it.