Recently my website experienced a relaunch and I’m more than excited to tell my story along with some tips for website rebranding.
I’ve mentioned more than once that I used to be a rebranding maniac. Since I’m a graphic designer and website creator – my website was the one going through changes more than anything else. Long story short – it took me five tries to get to my previous blog design.
It happened by accident. I found a free theme online which I instantly fell in love with. I just wanted my blog to be THAT and that exactly.
But since this theme was free, I had a feeling that I might need to change soon. Very often free themes don’t get enough updates and their support is close to nonexistent. Which was exactly what happened to me.
It was time for a change and this time it freaked me out.
Especially because I’ve created several websites within the past year for my clients, I knew what time and effort it’ll request and I never felt like being truly ready.
But my business growth kept me pushing forward and I finally needed to make up my mind.
In search of the perfect theme
Theme research is on my daily to-do list for my client websites so I had no problem to update myself with the latest WordPress themes.
The downside of this experience was obvious – I saw how repeated and all the same most of the themes are. I was seeking for something truly unique but still simple enough to work without bugs.
My excitement about possible changes died fast (and furious).
Until the somewhat a miracle happened and I found Pixelgrade. I’ve shared more about what is Pixelgrade and why I chose to use their theme over here. But my very first experience with this platform was a pure excitement.
First of all, I had the option to not only preview the theme but also to try it out for free with their 14-day free trial. This assured that I wouldn’t invest in something that didn’t fit me. AND their latest theme Vasco was just around the corner. I literally fell in love with it in an instant.
I’ll leave this love story for another time. Now, let’s get to the practical side of website rebranding, especially, theme change.
The practical side of changing a WordPress theme
My very first advice when you’re looking forward to website rebranding is to keep your existing site going and do the setup of the new theme on a side.
This will give you a less stressful experience and more time!
If you already have a self-hosted WordPress website, you should contact your hosting company and get to know whether you could create a temporary domain for your new website setup. Most companies have this feature and you don’t have to pay anything additional.
This will give you the option to have a private website where you can start from ground zero and set up your theme.
With Pixelgrade, it’s easy. Once you sign up for your free trial, you can download any of their offered themes and try them out. No matter whether it’s one or all of them.
I knew the only theme I really want to work is Vasco so I waited until it got released and set it up right afterward.It's time to rebrand your website! Here are a few tips and tricks you'll find useful in the process: Click To Tweet
My experience with Vasco
I had a rather simple experience with Vasco setup. It was easy to experiment and work on it, step by step. Good thing – it’s a very beginner-friendly theme!
The landing page had an option to easily add, delete or move any of its elements so that’s where most of my time was spent.
It had all the features I needed regarding fonts, colors, size adjustments. Since I’m a rather picky web designer, I could rate the offered options as “enough” which, on my scale, is more than very good!
Besides that, Pixelgrade is regularly working on various updates which is absolutely essential for a great theme.
I’ve contacted them in my rebranding process regarding various details and they’ve helped me in a very timely manner. Their team has also worked on various updates, based on my suggestions. The baseline is – it’s really nice to work with actual people and feel like someone on the other end is really interested in solving your problems.
What to keep in mind before doing a website rebranding
Here are just a few things everyone should keep in mind when doing a website rebranding:
0. Before anything EVER happens – Export ALL of your old website. Even if you’re not working on it now, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!
1. Don’t overthink it
Although I’m not the best sample of this, I still strongly suggest not to overthink it and get in the process.
Yes, it’s important to like (and like A LOT) the theme you’re going to use. At the same time, let’s be real – nothing ever is truly perfect.
Also, you can’t figure it all out without getting in the process and actually doing things. Therefore, instead of thinking how it’ll go and whether you’re ready – get started!
2. The redesign will take more time than you think
Even with the simplest themes, it usually takes way more time than you might’ve planned. That’s why I always suggest setting up your new design on a side so your existing website is not interrupted.
Normally, the theme can be set up in an hour or so, depending on your skill level. But all the minor details like fonts, colors, design preferences and basic setups will definitely request more of your attention.
Not even talking about the content writing and layout creation…
A simple website CAN be created in a relatively short time but if you’re working on a bigger project and have big ambitions – make sure to dedicate enough time for that.
3. There will be errors
I don’t want to scare you off from this experience but be prepared to work on some errors!
In this case, it doesn’t matter what theme you’d use. Any rebranding process will include this error experience. And if you manage to go through it error-free – you’re really one of the lucky ones!
This especially applies to Imported/Exported content. So if you already have a blog and you want to Export all of your content and Import it in your new blog – make sure to review those posts and see whether everything is working.
Don’t get scared of errors. Errors are fine. It’s not the end of the world. And, most likely, everything is absolutely solvable. Sooner or later!
4. Don’t forget the plugins!
Sometimes it’s the cause of the error but other times it’s just a matter of keeping your preferred website features.
This is especially important if you’ve used a plugin that adds shortcodes in your blog posts.
For example, MailerLite is using shortcodes and I’ve added email opt-ins in my blog posts. To make sure they still work and make sense – I had to reinstall MailerLite plugin on my new website as well.
To make sure you always keep track of the plugins you’re using, it can be valuable to actually collect their names before doing the rebranding. So even if you leave your old website and never look back – you have all this information with you at all times.
5. Use Documentation and request help
When I was just getting into website design, I used to figure out all themes on my own and denied the option to actually use Documentation or Support. Well. Silly me, I know.
That’s why this tip is all about actually reading attached materials and seeking help when necessary.
It’s all there for a reason!
And although I very often feel a bit dumb asking a question answer to which turns out to be – well, hello – super obvious, I feel like the time saving and the overall feeling of support really HELPS!
5. Release it before it’s fully done
It’s a good practice to launch your website when it’s somewhat at least 70% done.
First of all, only when everything will be fully set up – domain name, hosting, blog posts, media, etc – only then you can see whether everything is working.
Very often you’ll have to update old links, fix broken images and do all kinds of small maintenance stuff before it’ll be fully ready.
You can always leave some page creation for later and launch when all the must-haves are in place.
This will also give you the option to hear the feedback from your audience and see what improvements you could work on.
In general, I encourage positive changes! Especially in the online world – everything is constantly changing, new updates are always coming in, new trends, new features. It’s an exciting world to explore. So if you’ve thought about your website redesign but don’t dare to make the leap just yet, I’m here to be the final push – go for it!