What can you do if business is slow in the summer?
First order of business, take a much-needed vacation and some self-care time.
Once you’re all refreshed and rejuvenated, it’s time to have a closer look at how you can work on your business. And a doable project that we’ve all put on the back burner once or twice is the website redesign.
Here’s Corrie Alexander’s advice on how to use the slow months to rebrand your website.
Take it away, Corrie!
When I launched my freelance writing business in April 2016, my first website was mostly just a personal blog and a place to put my writing samples. At the time, the site served its purpose and helped me secure my first paying clients.
But as my aspirations for the business grew, my website’s brand – or lack thereof – became a problem. I decided that rebranding my website was the only way to continue growing.
It turned out to be a lot of work, but totally worth the effort.
If you’re thinking it’s time to rebrand your website, these slower summer months are the perfect time to take the plunge.
Here are the steps that worked for me:
1. Determine the cornerstone of your business
My writing niche was vaguely lifestyle-related at the beginning, as I was still learning what type of content I really excelled at. As a result, a lot my articles were unrelated to each other, and my website lacked a common theme.
As I gained more experience, I discovered my best articles were about recruitment and career development, and even found a secondary niche in fitness and healthy living. I decided to marry the two to create The Fit Careerist.
Before you start rebranding, have a clear grasp on what the heart of your business is, and who your content is for.
How would you summarize what you do in one sentence?
What is your long term vision?
What adjectives do you want people to associate with your business?
Answering these questions will give you a clear concept on what your business is about and who your target audience is.
2. Decide on a budget
I certainly didn’t have a lot of money set aside to throw at this and I still had great results because I decided ahead of time how much I could spend on branding, and how much I could do on my own. (Which was most of it!)
Decide right away how much time and money you can dedicate to rebranding. This will help you budget for the big ticket items and prevent overspending on the less important ones.
Your budget should include factors such as:
- Domain name
- Graphic design
Rebranding can also be an opportunity to save money. For example, starting fresh with a new website and domain name is the perfect opportunity to shop around for the best deals on hosting services.
3. Decide if you will rework your existing website or start from scratch
Reworking your website might be best for you if you’re planning on keeping all the existing content and your rebrand is more aesthetic.
However, in some cases you may want to start from scratch with a new website, especially if you started your blog on a free WordPress site or Blogger.
Upgrading to a paid website will facilitate better monetization of your site and will look more professional.
Although my first site was a paid one, I wanted to start fresh because I was giving my business a completely new face, including a new domain name.
4. Overhaul your site’s visuals
My old website had a deep purple colour scheme and most of my photos were ones I’d taken on my iPhone, which to me screamed “personal blog.” It didn’t have the professional edge I wanted.
The colors you use need to complement each other to project the new image you’re going for.
Remember those adjectives you want to be associated with your brand? Choose the color that you think represents those adjectives best. This will be the dominant color that you’ll use in your logo and highlighted sections of your website.
Next, choose a complimentary secondary color for menus or headings, and a neutral background color.
As simple as it sounds, I found it surprisingly difficult to choose colors that looked harmonious together. Using free tools like the Adobe Color Wheel really helped me settle on the colors.
The photos you use also make a huge statement about your brand. Whether you take your own photos with a good camera, or budget for professional stock photos, use quality pictures that share a consistent theme.
For example, perhaps your pictures will be of the outdoors, or of stylish office furniture, or of people. Keep your featured image on each post the same size. Try using the same fonts and theme in your photos so that when people come across your content, they know without looking at the logo that it’s yours.
5. Import old content from the old site to the new one (if applicable)
Even if you’re starting over with mostly new content, there may be a few posts, pages, media, or other content that you want to carry over to your new site.
With WordPress, you can easily do this with the platform’s import/export function. Export all or specific types of your web content into a XML file and upload them directly into your new WordPress site.
6. Repurpose your old blog posts
Maybe you want to retire your old blog posts because they aren’t relevant to your new brand or the type of content you want on your new website.
That doesn’t mean you have to exile them to a dark corner of your hard drive, never to be seen again. Make those old posts work for you!
You may be able to refurbish certain articles to make them relevant to your new brand. Or, you can try submitting them as guest posts on other websites that allow republished content, which can help drive traffic to your new site.
I compiled my favorite posts into an anthology and offered it as a free downloadable e-book on my new website as an opt-in.
7. Commission a professional logo
If there’s one aspect of rebranding I don’t recommend as DIY, it’s designing your own logo. (Unless of course, you’re a graphic designer!)
I made my own logo for my first website using Canva. While it was probably still better than no logo, making the investment to have one done by a graphic designer the second time around made my website much more professional-looking. (My logo was created by the talented Kayla Batista of Batista Graphic Design!)
There are many great logo designers out there, so do your research and choose someone whose designs are congruent with your brand aspirations.
If you’re on a tighter budget, try trading your writing or VA services with a graphic designer who’s just starting out in exchange for a logo.
8. Continue to tweak as needed
Remember that it’s okay for your website to be a work in progress as you continue to grow and learn from your business. I’m still tweaking and improving my website every day!
A rebrand of your website doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you develop the right plan and break it down into manageable steps. And once you’re finished, you’ll have successfully streamlined your site’s identity to target your ideal audience.
Corrie Alexander is a content creator and customer service manager from Toronto, Ontario. Her climb up the corporate ladder cultivated her interest in the topic of career development, a passion rivaled only by her love of exercise and strong coffee. Visit her website, thefitcareerist.com.