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Working With Clients Who Want a Redesign: A Rebranding Checklist

Have you ever been approached by a shopper to assist with rebranding their WordPress web site? Whereas that is an thrilling and doubtlessly profitable request, it can be a sticky widget.

If you’re the one initiating a redesign, you’re ready for the dialog. You’ve assessed the poor high quality of a web site and perceive why it’s a fixer-upper.

However when a shopper involves you wanting a rebrand, it isn’t so simple as discovering a new theme or modernizing their on-site advertising and marketing technique.

Listed below are a few of the extra widespread explanation why purchasers might want a rebrand:

Market Shift

It’s not completely unprecedented for a firm to modify instructions as soon as they’ve found that their resolution is extra relevant to a different business. Or maybe they found there’s a better demand for his or her product overseas. Regardless of the reason for the pivot, a refresh or complete do-over of their branding may be necessary.

It’s Outdated

For some companies, the brand identity has been in place for years, maybe even decades. It worked well originally, but it’s no longer modern enough by today’s standards. Think about a handwritten font, for example. It might still look beautiful, but what if their millennial audience just doesn’t “get it”?

Legal Troubles

If a company has flown under the radar for long enough, they may not realize their company name, logo, or even domain is in violation of someone else’s copyright. But once traffic picks up on their site or someone calls their claim to a name into question, they may need to act hastily to swap out their branding.

It Was a Rush Job

Sometimes a company builds on a brilliant business idea that they wanted to push out the door right away, so didn’t take time to think through on the branding. That lack of planning is now catching up to them as they can’t seem to keep anyone on their site long enough to convert.

Without extensive research into the audience or intensive planning around the company identity and branding, many companies may find themselves in the undesirable position of having to start all over again—and this is why they’re now coming to you.

If you’ve run into clients experiencing this sort of identity crisis, then this post is for you.

In this article, I’m going to cover what you need to do to help clients effectively tackle their branding exercise, under your guidance. I’m also going to provide some pointers on how to implement those changes on their WordPress site, without disrupting current visitor experience.

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Why You Should Tread Carefully Before Accepting a Rebranding Job

Creating a set of branding elements and guidelines is a process that should not be taken lightly. If your client approaches you and has no idea what they want to do for their rebranding, then you might want to pump the breaks on this project. (Basically, if they answer your questions with a question, that’s a bad sign.)

It doesn’t matter if you’re helping to redesign the branding or simply responsible for implementing it on the site. If your client is hazy on what the new branding consists of, then I’d advise you not to move forward until everything is crystal clear.

Here’s why I say this:

Branding plays a very important role in a company’s website. The more familiar and comfortable visitors feel when they step into a website, the more likely they are to trust the company behind it, which, in turn, leads to more conversions.

On the flip side, if your client forces a complete overhaul without thinking it through, not only will the change be jarring to the visitors’ experience, it will also be painfully obvious that there was a lack of planning behind it.

If that doesn’t convince you, think about this: rebranding is a very expensive process. If your client doesn’t realize that, you’ll be doing them a solid by making them aware.

Even if all they’re changing is the company name―so the logo, colors, typography, and images could all stay the same―that singular name change will be far-reaching and extend to:

  • the wordmark (if there is one)
  • the domain name
  • every instance where the company is mentioned on the site
  • all the site’s metadata
  • the footer copyright information
  • all internal links on the site
  • all backlinks
  • all social media (including the wordmark, page name, description, URL, and all the previous posts linking back to the old domain name)
  • and more…

To reiterate, it would be in everyone’s best interest to take any approach at rebranding seriously. As a web design professional, it’s your job to ensure your clients understand the full scope of rebranding, and what the process for their specific rebranding exercise will entail―which is exactly how you’d approach any other web design project.

A Rebranding Checklist For You and Your Client

Trusting that your client is fully prepared for this, let’s talk about implementation. Some of these you might handle yourself, and some might be handled by your client with other parties.

Regardless, hold onto this checklist and review it with your client, to ensure that everyone has done their part.

#1. Research

There’s a lot that goes into company branding. The name needs to make sense, but it also needs to be memorable. The logo needs to be visually appealing, while resonating with the core business. Colors need to be chosen to reflect tone and type. And the content needs to complete the story. Needless to say, research cannot take a backseat here.

#2. Documentation

Once the new brand identity is defined, it’s time to create a completely new style guide for it. This guide should then be shared with every person participating in the brand overhaul to ensure consistent implementation.

#3. Take Inventory

Review the WordPress site from top to bottom. Create an inventory of brand assets and everything that will subsequently be affected by the rebranding changes. You’ll want to keep this list within reach throughout the course of the project.

Note: the remaining items on this list are here so you’ll have a comprehensive rebranding checklist for whenever a new project arises. You may not need all of them; leave in what makes sense for your project, and disregard the rest.

#4. Put the Site on Pause

An example of an “Under Construction” web page.

If your site has been live for more than a few months and has already generated a decent following, you might need to hit the “pause” button while you work through implementation. This may mean:

  • Creating an “Under Construction” page to stop visitors from seeing the old one. (This is good if your client is facing legal issues, and/or they don’t have new designs/content ready to replace the old ones.)
  • Publishing a blog post so visitors are aware of the changing face of the website over the projected time period.
  • Waiting until all rebranding work is done, and then scheduling time overnight to make all the changes. This way the site doesn’t have to go down and people won’t see the changes happening in real time.

#5. Update the Branded Elements

All affected visual elements on the site will need to be updated, which may include:

These updates can be made from the WordPress Theme Customizer tool, or may be part of a custom theme’s options.

#6. Get a New Domain

If the name of the company has changed, then the domain name needs to be updated too. Register a new domain through your web hosting company, then mark the new domain as the primary one (while deactivating the old).

Once you’ve made the change, go into WordPress and check under General Settings to verify that the new URL is reflected.

WP settings URL checkDon’t forget to check the site URL in WordPress settings.

#7. Fix Your Links

When your site’s domain name changes, the URL of all the pages on your site should automatically switch over. However, that doesn’t mean embedded links, CTA buttons, or other manually generated links will switch over. (This is why an inventory checklist is important!)

broken link checker pluginThe Broken Link Checker plugin indicates when something’s gone amiss with any site links.

I personally like to use Broken Link Checker. This plugin is free, and units up a scan of all of the hyperlinks in your web site, letting you recognize if any of them are damaged. You possibly can work straight throughout the scanned listing of damaged hyperlinks and modify the URL there, so that you don’t must painstakingly undergo web page by web page.

#8. Redirect Visitors

A redirect plugin is significant, in case an previous hyperlink by some means will get left behind. SmartCrawl is free, and nice for creating 301 redirects. There may be additionally a professional model if you need different useful options as well as, like checking for damaged URLs, 404s, and a number of redirections.

smartcrawl pluginSmartCrawl plugin’s redirect characteristic ensures guests are despatched to the proper place.

#9. Rewrite Copy

For some rebranding initiatives, solely a few title modifications could also be so as all through the content material of your web site. For others, rebranding could require a extra intensive rewrite of the positioning, particularly if all the identification, goal market, and so on. are being shifted.

The amount of copy rewriting shall be dictated by every explicit rebranding undertaking.

#10. Edit search engine optimisation

An replace to your web site’s metadata is vital, particularly if natural visitors was beforehand quite excessive. Nevertheless, you do need all info to be introduced constantly throughout your web site, which implies updating the next:

Needless to say main modifications to this metadata will doubtless result in a lower in visitors, no less than for the brief time period.

#11. Create New XML Website Map

Talking of which, if the area title, metadata, or content material on the positioning has modified in any means because of this rebranding, you’ll have to create/ship out a new XML sitemap to the various search engines.

As soon as once more, I’ll counsel SmartCrawl, because it expertly handles this activity as properly. (You possibly can seek for different XML sitemap plugins on the WP.org repository should you want to strive one thing else.)

#12. Repair Your Kinds

Updating the content material inside kinds isn’t obligatory. As an alternative, give attention to ensuring these two objects are so as:

  • the redirect URL for the shape (if it goes to a customized Thank You web page)
  • the e-mail tackle that receives the notification (if the change of the e-mail tackle shall be completely different)

#13. Notify Google

Producing a new sitemap for the various search engines is step one in letting Google know what’s happening. However don’t neglect to replace your new area tackle or firm title in your different Google tools. This includes: Analytics, Search Console, and My Business.

#14. Replace Different Advertising Belongings

Most companies nowadays have an internet presence established throughout a number of channels. A WordPress web site is simply one of many locations the place firm property must be up to date throughout rebranding.

Social media, newsletters, print and digital collateral ought to all have their content material reviewed and revised accordingly.

#15. Launch Rebranding Advertising Marketing campaign

Final, however not least, in case your shopper goes by the difficulty of rebranding to allow them to come out a higher and stronger firm ultimately, their viewers ought to obtain phrase of the upcoming modifications.

Preliminary bulletins may be made in step #4 above, however the launch itself ought to have its personal advertising and marketing marketing campaign—particularly if this implies thrilling modifications for patrons. Listed below are some choices to contemplate:

  • Difficulty a press launch
  • Announce on social media
  • Write a weblog put up
  • E-mail prospects
  • Add an announcement or popup reminder on the positioning (train warning right here; too many popups can flip folks off)

A Model New Day

A rebranding request doesn’t all the time imply the positioning is in for a full overhaul. However, there’s a lot of labor that goes into any of those initiatives, regardless of how minor they could appear on the outset.

Simply bear in mind to work intently along with your shopper to make sure they’re doing the rebranding for the proper causes, that they’re approaching the rebranding train appropriately, and that they perceive what implementing these modifications on their web site entails.

Your purpose is two-fold right here: to get a rebranded web site up shortly in your shopper (as a result of there’s nothing worse than being sad with the present state of your small business), and to take action with little interruption to the guests’ expertise.

In case you plan accordingly and use the proper instruments, you’ll have your purchasers’ rebranded web site up and operating very quickly, able to greet prospects with a polished, cohesive look that runs with none hiccups.

This put up has been up to date for accuracy and relevancy.
[Originally Published: June 2017 / Revised: November 2021]

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