Re-branding Your Blog: Kim Grabinski Shares Her Experience

By May 18, 2017

When I noticed Kimberly Grabinski‘s site had gotten a fresh new makeover — I panicked a little.

Not because her new look and feel wasn’t fantastic – it is! It’s just that her recipe for Low Carb Breakfast Lasagna has become my most-requested potluck dish. After I heaved a sigh of relief that I could still find that recipe – and let’s face it, continue to claim it as my own (sorry, Kim!) — I was able to really take in all the “curb appeal” her new branding provided. I definitely felt welcome at 730 Sage Street!

We caught up with Kim to get the full scoop on her re-branding effort – the good, the bad and the “oh, no!” Here’s what she had to say.

What were your primary motivations for re-branding?

It wasn’t actually just a single thing that inspired me to re-brand, it was a combination of a couple of things.

The first was that I never owned the domain for my original blog name, What’s That Smell? Not for lack of trying, but the owner of the domain wasn’t interested in selling it to me. So, since I started my blog in 2007, my URL never matched the name. I had the same issue with my social channels – they didn’t all match.

Next, was that while many people loved the name because it perfectly described parenthood…

it felt like it limited me, especially because I know that some brands weren’t too keen on it. Both of these contributed to a lack of cohesive identity and what I viewed as a brand that was potentially unprofessional and therefore maybe not taken as seriously. I felt like it limited my potential for growth.

What were your goals for the effort?

My goal was to build a brand that was cohesive, recognizable and appealing. I had originally considered narrowing my focus to a single topic to help achieve that goal. There is a lot of power and influence in being a niche blogger, but I realized right before I committed to the re-brand that I am not a niche person. I have a wide variety of talents and interests and I wanted my brand to reflect a style, not necessarily a topic. It was actually empowering by accepting the idea that it was ok to be a “lifestyle” blogger.

Did you have any hesitations about re-branding? If so, what made you take the leap?

Oh yes. Often! My biggest hesitation was that the re-brand would cause a reduction in traffic which in turn would cause a reduction in income which is a difficult concern to overcome when your blog helps pay the bills. But the old brand had really begun to feel like a chore for me. I wasn’t happy or proud when I published a post with a beautiful recipe or a useful printable. I put all this hard work into creating something unique and valuable only to be disappointed when I’d view it on my site. I felt like that wasn’t something I could maintain long-term.

I procrastinated the change a bit, but after talking to my tech person about 40 times, who assured me (patiently each time) that the redirects from the original URLs to the new URLs would be seamless and traffic loss would be minimal, I pulled the trigger and never looked back.

How long did the process take?

Brainstorming the name is what took the longest. I worked daily on it for a couple of weeks. It’s like naming your child, you can’t do it lightly, especially coming from my previous naming experience. It had to be unique, all of the social channels had to be available, and most of all I had to love it. After committing to a name, logo design took about a week or so, maybe less. Theme layout and editing took a couple of weeks, and then the transfer of content from the old domain and the redirects only took a couple of days. Altogether I would say it was a two-month process from start to finish once I actively started working on it.

What was the most challenging part of it?

The doubt that I was doing the right thing. And changing the name of my Facebook page. That was like trying to push a rope! But persistence paid off eventually.

How are people responding?

Very well! I was so happy to receive compliments on the name when I first announced the re-brand, and even a month or so later I am still getting compliments on the name and the site. Some people said they will miss the old name, and I will too. But I have never once regretted the change.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?

Honestly, I think I got lucky. I think I did enough research and took all the right steps so there isn’t anything I could say I would do differently that would make the process easier. Of course, I’d love to have had less feelings of doubt, but I think that helped me make sure I did everything I could to make it seamless.

What is one thing you love about your new site?

My most favorite thing about my site is the name. It was such a labor of love and every time I see it, it inspires me.

What has been the most successful part of your re-brand for your business?

Immediately after the re-brand, there was brief decline in traffic, mostly from the search engines. It lasted about a week. Since then, I have had increased traffic and I also noticed an increase in brand outreach and opportunities in new areas such as decorating and interior design, which now resides in the Dwell tab on my site. It’s a growing area, but one I am super excited to put my passions into.

How did you come up with your new, fresh look? Did you consult with someone, look at other blogs for inspiration?

For me, everything starts with the name. I can’t write a blog post without a title so I knew I needed a name first. Then I’d worry about what it looked like. I started by making a list of blog and brand names I liked. It was a very long list. Then I began to brainstorm name ideas inspired by the ones I loved. That was also a very long list.

I took that list and narrowed it down to my favorites and then asked a couple of trusted friends and family members to choose their favorite from the list. One issue I had in the naming was that it’s very hard to be unique. So many of my favorite names had URLs and social channels that were already taken. Not just for brands necessarily, just by people who thought they sounded cool. So what I did was take the name that everyone seemed to like the most and add something unique to it.

Sage green is my favorite color, and it represents sustainability as well. It’s also a natural element and is used in cooking. Sage Street sounded like a destination, which was an idea I liked as well.

It didn’t take long for me to decide to add my dad’s birthday to Sage Street (7/30). He had passed away a few months before and it felt like such a special way to honor him and solve my problem as well. 730 Sage Street was born.

From there, I started the logo design. I started with a logo design kit I purchased for inspiration and purchased a WordPress theme for the layout. The rest was just a series of trial and error getting the logo design, layout and colors the way I liked. I have to admit that I wasn’t confident I could achieve the look that I felt the name deserved without hiring a professional, but in the end I am very happy with the way it turned out.

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