Rebranding your business with a new domain name can be a major undertaking, so it’s important to carefully consider if it’s the right strategic move for your company. Here are some key factors to weigh when making this decision:
- Is your current brand tied to outdated perceptions or negative associations? A new domain can help you reset your branding and establish a fresh identity in the marketplace. This is especially relevant if your company has gone through significant changes in leadership, products/services, or target markets.
- Do you want to expand into new sectors or geographic regions? Adopting a new domain that’s less restrictive can allow you to broaden your reach and appeal to new audiences under an updated brand.
- Has your brand stagnated or declined in relevance? A reboot with a new domain can reinvigorate your marketing and reconnect with customers. It signals change and modernization.
- Are your current branding and domain causing confusion? If your company name is difficult to understand or spell, it’s harder to attract and convert customers. A new domain with a clearer, simpler name can help.
- Is the quality of your current domain lacking? Factors like a non-premium domain extension (.info, .site etc.) or poor domain authority may justify an upgraded domain for the new brand.
- Do you want to distance yourself from past brand controversies or crises? A new start with a new domain can dissociate you from previous issues and bad press.
Carefully weighing factors like these will determine if the investment in rebranding with a new domain makes strategic sense for your situation.
Selecting Your New Domain Name
Choosing the right domain name is one of the most important aspects of rebranding with a new website. Here are some tips for selecting a domain name that aligns to your new brand strategy:
- Brainstorm a list of potential names that speak to your brand values, positioning, and target audience. Avoid anything too restrictive or niche.
- Test the names with target demographics through surveys and focus groups to identify what resonates based on brand associations.
- Perform keyword research to select a name that will drive organic traffic by ranking for relevant searches.
- Conduct competitive analysis to ensure the name doesn’t closely resemble competitors and isn’t already trademarked.
- Choose a premium domain extension like .com over alternatives like .biz or .info for mass appeal.
- Ensure the name is short, memorable, easy to spell, and looks professional. Avoid odd spellings or made-up words.
- Confirm domain name availability and register your top choice(s) immediately before someone else does.
- Set up accompanying social media profiles and trademarks to establish your brand name dominance online.
With a thoughtful brand name selection process, you can choose a new domain that becomes a key business asset and reinforces your desired rebranding.
Website Design and Development
Your new domain will need an updated website designed specifically to align with your rebranding goals. Some key elements to consider for the website design and development process include:
- Work with a professional web design agency that understands your industry and target audience. Avoid cookie-cutter templates.
- Incorporate brand elements like colors, fonts, and imagery that reinforce your new brand identity across the website.
- Focus on simplicity and remove any outdated, irrelevant content from the previous site.
- Highlight your key products/services and core differentiators upfront.
- Optimize page speed and mobile responsiveness for the best user experience.
- Incorporate lead generation forms, calls-to-action, and clear contact options to drive conversions.
- Develop site architecture and navigation optimized for on-page SEO, accessibility, and usability.
- Implement analytics to monitor engagement and identify areas for ongoing optimization.
- Build on a modern content management system for easy updating as the brand evolves.
Investing in a professionally-designed website tailored to the rebranded domain demonstrates commitment and adds credibility. It ensures your new domain has a solid foundation to build upon.
Redirecting Traffic from the Old Domain
To smoothly transition customers and leads to your new domain, it’s critical that you properly redirect traffic from your old website and digital properties. This involves:
- Installing 301 redirects to corresponding pages on the new domain. This passes link equity to the new domain.
- Updating old site content with prominent calls-to-action to visit the new domain.
- Redirecting traffic from old social media profiles, paid advertising, email marketing, etc. to the updated accounts and landing pages.
- Registering your brand across online directories, review sites, and other listings to reflect the new domain.
- Getting critical vendors/partners to update contact links/materials referencing your old domain.
- Creating redirects for common typos, misspellings, or variations of the old domain.
- Using Google Search Console to submit change of address requests and manage redirects.
- Monitoring 404 errors and redirecting dead pages that still receive organic traffic.
Proactively implementing redirects ensures no leads or customers fall through the cracks as you transition to the rebranded domain. Maintain these redirects long-term to preserve your domain authority.
Email Marketing and Customer Communications
Email subscribers, existing customers, and past purchasers will all need to be notified as you rebrand with your new domain. Some best practices include:
- Send announcements explaining the rebrand and new domain from your old email addresses so messages aren’t flagged as spam.
- Provide ample advanced notice before the official launch of the rebranded website to give customers time to adjust.
- Offer an incentive for existing clients to opt-in again to your email list under the new domain. This helps build your new list.
- Segment audiences and customize emails, highlighting the benefits most relevant to each group.
- For customers, emphasize that the same great products/service remain, just under a new brand.
- Update email signatures, graphics, tone of voice and calls-to-action to align with new branding.
- Monitor email engagement, clicks, and unsubscribes as you transition to spot potential issues.
- Add prominent website change announcements, pop-ups, and opt-in forms on the old domain during the transition.
Clear communication across all email channels ensures customers understand the changes and carry over their brand loyalty into the future.
Updating Social Media Accounts
Social media will play a major role in broadcasting your rebranding to followers. Key steps for social media accounts include:
- Register matching usernames on relevant social platforms under the new brand name.
- Design all new branded profile images, banners and bio/description language.
- Set up accounts in advance but do not actively post until the rebrand launch.
- On launch day, post announcements across all old accounts directing fans to follow the new branded profiles.
- Cross-promote frequently across your suite of new social accounts to build followers.
- In paid ads, use new branding but still target fans of old pages during transition.
- Post compelling content highlighting your new brand identity, mission and offerings.
- Run social contests/giveaways and brand hashtags to spark engagement.
- Monitor conversations and brand mentions for feedback on the transition.
- Let audiences know about the rebranded website and customer portals.
Executing a coordinated social media strategy ensures seamless continuity of your brand community throughout the domain change.
Updating Paid Advertising and SEO
Rebranding successfully requires aligning your paid advertising and SEO strategies to the new domain early on. Recommendations include:
- Launch new search, social, and display ads on branded keywords tied to products, services and the new domain name.
- Expand keyword targeting as you build content/authority on the rebranded domain.
- Redirect old ads to relevant pages on the new domain using tracking UTM parameters.
- Create new Google Ads, Bing Ads, and social media ad accounts under the new brand.
- Associate new domain Google Analytics and Google Search Console properties.
- Submit XML site maps to index new pages and initiate crawling.
- Monitor clicks, costs, conversions, and ROI across old vs. new accounts.
- Optimize on-page SEO including title tags, meta descriptions, alt text, schema markup, etc.
- Build high-quality backlinks through content, outreach, partnerships, and press.
With advertising and SEO fine-tuned for the new domain, you can attract qualified visitors at scale.
Updating Brand Assets and Visual Identity
Beyond just the website, a successful rebrand requires updating all visual branding elements to match the new domain. This includes:
- New logo design tied to the rebranded name and messaging.
- Cohesive graphic design standards for fonts, colors palettes, and image styles.
- Visual brand identity guidelines for proper use across materials.
- Updated printed collateral including business cards, letterhead, brochures, signage, etc.
- New packaging designs for any physical products.
- Branded apparel and swag for employees, events, and giveaways.
- Updated presentation templates and sales materials.
- New brand imagery for photography/video content.
- Refreshed interfaces/graphics for mobile apps, software, etc.
Ensuring cohesion across all brand touchpoints enhances recognition and cements your new domain in audience’s minds.
Launching and Promoting the Rebrand
When executing the actual launch of your rebranded domain, some effective strategies include:
- Announce the launch through a press release and media outreach campaign.
- Host a launch event or webinar to introduce the rebrand to customers.
- Spotlight the rebrand prominently across all digital properties.
- Run launch promotions, contests, and incentives to create buzz.
- Invest additional marketing budget into advertising the rebrand initially.
- Communicate key brand differentiators that the new domain reinforces.
- Leverage influencers and brand advocates to amplify launch messaging.
- Share news of the rebrand through both company-owned channels and earned media.
- Distribute branded merchandise allowing customers to publicly display the new brand.
- Time the launch to align with major initiatives, product releases, or company milestones.
With the right launch strategies, you can maximize the impact of your hard work rebranding with a more strategic, aligned domain.
Measuring Success of the Rebrand
Tracking performance will allow you to continually refine and improve upon your domain change strategy. Key metrics to measure include:
- Website traffic to the new domain vs. the old domain
- Search rankings for branded and non-branded core keywords
- Social media followers/engagement on new branded profiles
- Email list growth and email metrics like open, click through, and unsubscribe rates
- Brand mentions and sentiment across media/social channels
- Marketing qualified leads attributed to the new domain
- Sales qualified leads and customer acquisition costs
- Revenue, customer retention, and churn metrics
- Return on marketing investment across all paid channels
- Brand surveys evaluating awareness, favorability, consideration etc.
By establishing KPIs early on and monitoring progress against benchmarks, you can maximize the business impact of rebranding with your new domain.
Rebranding your company with a new domain name requires extensive planning and execution across all areas of marketing and communications. However, the long-term benefits of aligning your website, brand identity, and online presence under a new domain can be substantial. With a detailed strategy and commitment to see it through, you can successfully leverage a domain change as an opportunity to create a refreshed brand image. Monitor results closely, be proactive with redirects to avoid losing any traffic, and communicate the changes clearly. With the steps in this guide, you can rebrand seamlessly and start propelling future growth under your new domain name.