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. Here are some website rebranding tips for you that I’ve found useful along the way!
Here’s a quick fun fact that might surprise you: the longest theme I had on my website, was a free one.
Usually, professional bloggers, especially, website designers, don’t really use free themes since they can be rather limiting and lack support. However, the theme that I had on my blog for more than a year, was what seemed to be my perfect fit.
Eventually, I started noticing how it’s not updating properly and is having some weird issues I wasn’t able to solve.
That’s when I made the smart decision to finally upgrade and actually find a theme I could purchase and love just as much.
It was time for yet another website rebranding!
*This blog post includes affiliate links.
How to find the perfect website theme?
Theme research is on my daily to-do list for my client websites so I had no problem updating 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.
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.
However, here are some simple hacks you might find useful when researching your WordPress theme:
- Review what other bloggers are doing and get the inspiration so you know the direction you want to go
- Make sure to preview available Demo’s to understand whether or not the theme will give what you need
- Seek themes with Drag & Drop editors or any editor that you feel comfortable with
- Give yourself enough time to review different themes and their options
- Always give a chance to smaller or more indie WordPress theme shops since their offer can be a lot more unique!
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 the side.
This will give you a less stressful experience and more time!
You can read more about the most effective way of changing your WordPress theme here.
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.
6 website rebranding hacks that’ll make your redesign easier
Here are just a few things everyone should keep in mind when doing a website rebranding:
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.
WEBSITE REBRANDING HACK #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 about how it’ll go and whether you’re ready – get started!
If you’re lacking the inspiration, make sure to check out this WordPress theme review for bloggers.
WEBSITE REBRANDING HACK #2: Give yourself enough time and more
Even with the simplest themes, it usually takes way more time than you might’ve expected. 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 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.
WEBSITE REBRANDING HACK #3: Prepare to deal with bugs and errors
I don’t want to scare you off from this experience but be prepared to work on some errors and fix bugs!
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!
If you can’t solve any of the issues yourself, make sure to seek out a professional.
WEBSITE REBRANDING HACK #4: Keep track of the plugins you need
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.
Here are some tips for the must-have plugins!
WEBSITE REBRANDING HACK #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!
WEBSITE REBRANDING HACK #6: Release it before it’s fully done
It’s a good practice to launch your website when it’s around 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!