Robb Sutton Q&A: Re-branding a Blog

Robb Sutton and I recently became acquainted through Twitter. Recently, he re-branded his popular blog from RobbSutton.com to BloggingLabs.com. During the brainstorming process, I helped Robb bounce around some ideas for his blog’s new name. Once Robb finished his re-brand, Robb was kind enough to answer a few questions about his re-branding effort. I hope you find this helpful should you ever consider changing the name of your blog or business.

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Q: Why did you decide to re-brand RobbSutton.com?

A: There were a couple of reasons actually. The rebrand from RobbSutton.com to a domain that was not my personal name has been on the back burner for quite sometime. The site had turned into blogging tips/tutorials site that was generating a loyal following and I felt that a branded domain and logo would much better serve the site for future growth. By having it off of my personal domain, I am also able to sell the site at some future date if I want to (no plans on doing that but you never know!) and it opens up my personal domain to do with what I wish.

Another positive benefit was getting my site separated from all of the self proclaimed “make money online” gurus in my niche that were actually not making a cent. There was a trend of people using their own name as the domain that was cheapening up the idea.

Q: How long did it take you to come up with Blogging Labs? Why did you choose it?

A: Forever. There was almost a month of brainstorming. Branding is not my strong point and when you start looking for a new name, it not only has to fit the site, be something that people will remember and not sound cheap, but it also has to be available as a domain! After a lot of going back and forth with different ideas, Blogging Labs “Formulating Blogs That Make Money” was where I finally landed and once I said it out loud…it just made sense. I needed something that spoke to bloggers and attracted them to the idea of subscribing to my content on blogging. It fit perfectly for that application.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge with the re-brand? What are the pitfalls to watch out for when re-branding?

A: The biggest challenge is the beginning brainstorming phase for me. My brain likes to get locked into one line of thinking, so it took me a lot (typically going out on a bike ride) to get my thoughts headed in a different direction at times. Really good branding looks extremely easy when done right, so one of the major pitfalls is looking at too much of your competition and getting into a mindset where you end up copying everyone else instead of being unique. Getting your mind to be a clean slate to be creative is not an easy task to accomplish.

Q: The response to your blog’s re-brand seems to be very positive. Why do you think it went over so well? What do you think is the key to making a re-branding effort successful?

A: I think it went over so well because it really connects with my readers. My subscriber base is looking to generate more income online and live the “internet lifestyle”. Whether that is just generating some extra income to go on vacation or the ability to work from anywhere with their blogging as their primary income, they are all looking to expand and grow. The new brand, Blogging Labs, allows them to attach to it much easier than a person. When you combine that with the positive steps I took on the design side to make content easier to read and engage with…it really was a positive step forward.

I think the key to making a re-brand successful is creating something that inspires emotion with your target audience. It can’t be forced no matter how much money you throw at it. It either works or it doesn’t.

Q: When should a blog or business consider a re-brand?

A: In my case, I considered the rebrand because I actually made a mistake in the beginning by using my personal name as the domain. This was a fix to that problem that could have negative affects over time, so if there are negative aspects that are going to become a major issue for the future…a rebrand makes perfect sense. Also, if you find that your company’s direction as changed so much with time that your brand no longer fits within the scope of your business, it might be time to look at something new. Your brand has to match your focus or it will just cause confusion for your target audience/customer base.

It’s your turn – when do you think a blog or business should re-brand? What questions do you have about going through a re-branding effort?

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Robb Sutton is a blogger, cyclist, photographer, entrepreneur and owner of the onenienty8 blog network that consists of Bike198.com and BloggingLabs.com.

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Laura Click

Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

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