For those who think you might be up for the task, I’m going to talk about the process of rebranding & coming up with the design elements you’ll need for your new site, your social channels, and marketing materials. We’ll also walk through some theme options, plug-ins, and best practices.
Let me preface this, by letting you know that the information in this post is specifically suited for those that already have intermediate/advanced experience with graphic design, web design, WordPress and have basic coding skills.
If you are not currently versed in those things or don’t consider yourself to be very technically savvy, then this isn’t quite for you…yet. You will want to seek the help of a consultant or a professional designer.
People decide to rebrand for many reasons. For some, it’s a way to reinvent yourself and present a new image to a brand new audience. For others, it’s simply a way to get over boredom with the look and feel of their current online presence. Or, it can be a combination of the two. Whatever your reason, rebranding can be a great way to expand your reach and gain new followers or new business.
Stanley Straughter of WPStan, offered up the following suggestions when rebranding:
- Figure out the goal of the rebrand.
- Research similar companies or brands you feel are meeting or exceeding your current rebranding goals. What do you like about their branding? Is it the logo? Their homepage?
- Don’t be afraid to seek consultation
What Are Your Biggest Concerns With Rebranding?
I haven’t met a person yet who doesn’t have questions or concerns about the whole rebranding process. So let’s focus on your fears first, so we can move on to the nitty-gritty. Let’s talk about the #1 thing that comes to mind…budget.
I recently reached out to blog strategist and branding expert, Takenya Hampton of KR Studio, to get her take on some of the most common concerns that branding clients have. Here’s what she had to say.
“I find that people typically have reservations about spending the money that rebranding can cost…I think that if you are serious about your brand and looking to grow it…it’s worth the investment. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to take it seriously as well”
She also talked about how people can work through their budget issues.
“There are many options that can fit many different budgets to get you to where you want to be. And as you grow, you can always update and upgrade.”
So in summary, if budget is an issue for you. Don’t worry. You absolutely can take care of small pieces over time. Don’t let your current budget prevent you from moving forward.
Create An Inspiration Board
When I decided to rebrand Naturally Stellar in 2016, I knew it was going to be a large undertaking. Not only would it mean more time, that I did not have lol, but I also realized that rebranding could cost some serious $$$. I knew that I had the skills to do a pretty decent job graphically, but I had a lot of doubts about whether or not I could pull everything off by myself. Plus, I have plenty of blogger friends that have spent some serious COIN on rebranding, so again I doubted whether or not I was as good as some of their designers that charged them NICE fees for their new image. Doubt can really do a mind job on you if you let it.
As a solopreneur I’ve never been afraid of a challenge when it comes to business. I may get scared or doubt at times, for various reasons. But in the end, I always do what I have to do and get done what needs to be done. So, me being me, I immediately started researching what I would need to get started rebranding on my own. What I quickly discovered was necessary, is having an inspiration board.
An inspiration or mood board is basically a vision board for designers. It’s a one stop place to gather all of the visual elements you’ll need for your design project. You can add things like your site colors, fonts, buttons, logos and inspirational pictures. This is the board that I created when brainstorming the new look for Naturally Stellar. I used a simple template that I found online and plugged in each of my elements as I finalized them.
Create Your Logo
If you no longer want to keep your current logo, you’ll need to create a new one for use on your site, marketing materials and potentially for your watermark and favicon. I won’t go into great detail about creating your logo here. Here’s a great post by The Little Tech Girl that deals specifically with the topic of logo creation. I will simply speak about how I came up with mine.
I used a few ideas that already existed on my blog. Since my blog name is related to stars and I often use the term “Stars” when speaking to my audience, I wanted to incorporate an image of a star in my new logo. But not just any star. It needed to be stylish and make a statement. So I started brainstorming on paper. When I got the general idea of what I wanted, I went to work in Photoshop testing out various star shapes, textures, fonts and my new blog colors.
Designing Your WebSite
As the wife of a web designer, I knew it would be super easy to just hand over my site design project to my husband and say “Here bae, take care of this”. But based on observation over the years, I had a rough idea of what it would take for me to undergo this on my own, so I was up for the task.
Now, bookmark this post, because I don’t want you to take this next advice lightly. This part of your branding project will be the hardest and the most time-consuming.
If you’re gonna give it a go alone:
Select A Good Theme or Genesis Framework
- Make sure your theme has all of the technical elements you’ll need or want. These can be things such as right or left sidebars, navigation menus, sliders, photo galleries and widget areas that make sense to your content or business etc.
- Genesis Framework lets you build websites easily with WordPress. It is highly regarded in the WordPress community as the gold standard for site building, because of the great tech support, use of child themes and affordability.
- Select a theme with good tech support and active forums. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re going at this alone, YOU WILL run into instances where you’ll need support with your theme. IMO the definition of a good theme is one that offers excellent support. Invest in an extended support plan!
- Pick a theme that has multiple layout options so you’re not stuck with 1 design for your site. You can still maintain the professional appeal of your site while having the option to change it as often as you’d like. Tip: Elegant Themes has a great WordPress plug-in called Divi Builder. It’s a drag and drop tool that allows you to customize your layout. Be sure to check for compatibility issues with your theme prior to installing it.
*FYI this website is built using the WordPress Valenti theme and not Genesis. But, it has everything I need, it’s super customizable and similar in price to Genesis. Even if you’re not savvy with coding, there are still a lot of plug-ins and excellent support forums out there with active developers, ready to help you customize. Don’t get heavily caught up in having to choose a Genesis theme or not. Just pick the option that works best for your situation.
Seek A Professional
If your patience level isn’t where it needs to be for a site re-design project, consider seeking the help of a professional web designer. A designer can free up the task so you can focus on your business. Plus, you’d be surprised at how well some designers can work within your budget. Just keep in mind that you can’t expect them to give you the moon without a moon budget.
Additional Expert Tips For Rebranding On Your Own
- Even if you don’t pay someone to do the whole design, if there are things you can’t figure out or are taking a long time to do, consider paying for the smaller parts.
- Look at other sites and see what you like about them and what you don’t. Find what you want your site to have and what it absolutely should not.
- Don’t be afraid to take advice from a seasoned professional if they tell you an idea may not be the most beneficial to accomplish your goals.
- Free logo creation, Canva.com
- Low cost logo creation, Tailor Brands
Expert tips & tech resources:
Takenya Hampton, KR Studio
Stanley Straughter, WPStan.com
Kris McDonald, Little Tech Girl