When you start a blog, you may thing you know exactly what you want your brand to be or what you want to write about. Then you write a few posts, join some Facebook groups, maybe take a course or read an ebook, and BAM! You realize you want to change the branding of your business.
Now you feel stuck and not sure what your are supposed to do. You already have a URL with posts linked to it, and have marketed these posts on Pinterest and other social media platforms. How exactly do you change your URL and make everything work? Is it possible?
Good news! It is possible. I did it for my own blog shortly after starting it. I originally started blogging about 2 of my passions: finances and parenting. After writing some posts and learning more about blogging, I really discovered that while I loved being a mom and reading about it, it wasn’t necessarily a topic I wanted to build my blog and business around. Finances & Pinterest/Blogging were where I saw the future of my blog and business going.
I went into the change mostly blind, not sure exactly what I needed to do. I spent several late nights googling it, and calling my brother for his technical thoughts. Finally, when I felt I had all the information I could find, I took the plunge and changed my domain and website name. And guess what? It worked!
And now I am going to share with you exactly how I did it so you can have success doing it too!
Note: This post may contain affiliate links.
Buy a New Domain Name
Your first step is to decide what you want your new domain name to be. Think long and hard about this. You don’t want to be changing your domain name very often if you can help it. The longer you have the current domain name, the harder it is to change it.
Some things to think about when deciding on your new domain name:
- Your current blog post topics
- The future potential of more blog posts on the same topic
- Your passions
- If you plan to offer products in the future (ie., courses and ebooks)
Once you decide what you want your new domain name to be, you need to purchase it. Well, first you will need to see if it’s available, but then you purchase it. 🙂
I used my current hosting platform, Bluehost, to purchase my new domain name. It cost more than the first time, because the first time I got the domain name free when I purchased hosting. Bummer, I know. 🙁 But still worth it to get the domain name that really speaks to your business.
You can choose whether or not you want to purchase the privacy option. I always recommend it so that your personal information isn’t available for anyone to look at. I don’t have time to deal with marketing calls and emails.
In the image below, you can see how to purchase a new domain name on Bluehost. Just use the box to search the availability, and once you find one, click buy. Easy as that!
Transfer Your Primary Domain
Once you have purchased your new domain, you need to have your new domain transferred so that it is your primary one. You will then put your old domain as secondary, or parked. Eventually, your old domain name will expire if you don’t renew it.
This is assuming that you are not going to be keeping your old URL active. If you are, then the rest of this post won’t do much for you, since you won’t need to redirect your old links.
Your hosting should be able to transfer your domain for you, or at least walk you through it. Bluehost transfered mine for me, and I didn’t even have to talk to them on the phone. I used the chat option, and they told me everything I needed to know, and directed me to additional reading I may want to read about for the transfer.
Once I was ready, I let them know, and they completed the process for me.
That was it! Easy peasy!
Now do keep in mind that you should backup your blog before transferring the domains. Everything should transfer fine, but they can’t guarantee that you won’t lose stuff. And to be honest, you should be backing up your blog periodically anyway.
I use a plugin called BackWPup to backup my blog. I also have all of my posts on Google docs.
In the picture below, you can see my 2 domain names. One is primary, and one is parked. On the left you can see the chat box that says walk me through it. This is what I used to have them walk me through changing my domain!
Updating Pinterest Pins
Pinterest is unique in that your pins could be viewed months and even years after you pin them. Someone might pin your pin, and then a few months later a new follower looks at their boards and sees your pins. They think it is great content and pin it to their profile. And then starts the process of more exposure again. Great for you! Not as great if your links aren’t redirected.
For that reason, you should go through your pins and change your URL. That way when they are repinned, they click through correctly. You don’t need to delete them and repin everything, updating the URL works just fine.
Ideally, you have a board called “Best of ___” that you have each of your pins on. You can then go to this board and work through all of the pins until each one is updated. This does take some time, so space it out so you don’t get overwhelmed. Set a certain amount you would like to complete each day, and take it day by day.
The pins that are already floating around out there won’t be affected by this change. Pinterest doesn’t allow you to change the URL of pins that have already been repinned. Good for keeping spam out, not good for when you want to change the URL of your own website. In this case, you will want to set up redirects so that they traffic makes it to your new site. Here is a good article about redirects to help you get started.
When I switched domain names, I only had about a dozen posts, so I chose not to worry about the redirect. I was changing from a blog with many topics, to one specific topic (finances), so I didn’t feel the need to redirect all of the unrelated posts.
Be sure you change everything on Pinterest profile, such as your name, URL, description, board names, etc. This can get very overwhelming, especially for someone who isn’t savvy with Pinterest. If this is the case for you, you may benefit from taking my Pinterest course that walks you through it all. Use this unique link to get $10 off the course!
In the image below, you can see the screen on Pinterest that you would use to update the URL on your pins. Just click edit pin, and you will get to this screen. Put the new URL in the box and click save. Done!
Don’t forget to schedule your new pins on a platform such as this one so that you can get maximum expose to your blog posts.
Well there you have it! Those are the 3 steps I took when I changed my blog domain name.
Depending on the length you have had your domain and the marketing you have used up until now, you may find the process takes more time and focus.
Now it’s your turn to start the process of changing your domain name. If you have questions during the process, feel free to leave a comment below and I will help you as much as I can!
Side note: If you want an amazing blog website, check out this resource. I tried going DIY at first, and I thought my website looked ok. It was only after I got a professional’s help that my blog really had an amazing look! Check out more details here! After all, there is no point in having a great domain name if you website isn’t up to that level 🙂