My Thoughts, 4 Years After Rebranding My Business

posted by Andrea | 01/19/2017
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As we start a fresh new year, I thought it might be fun to revisit a time when I started over fresh with my business — that time I rebranded my entire blog and business!

Believe it or not, it’s been almost FOUR years since I changed the name of my blog and my business — which means I’ve officially been “Andrea Dekker” for longer than I was “Simple Organized Living” — crazy!

I’m regularly asked questions about why I rebranded, how I rebranded, if I’d do anything differently, if I wish I hadn’t rebranded, etc. so I thought I might answer some of those questions today…

UPDATE:  I’ve been asked a few times this morning how I pronounce my name ( AN-dree-a or AHN-dree-a, or An-DRAY-a or Ahn-DRAY-a?)

My name is pronounced: AN-dree-a  DECK-er

WHY?

I LOVED my Simple Organized Living name… and Google loved my name too!  The words “simple” and “organized” were SO good for search engine optimization, so Google sent boatloads of traffic my way every day!

I honestly think my name was one big reason my blog grew so quickly in the beginning. However… there are 3 main reasons why I decided to change my blog/business name.

1. It was a long name and hard to get anything to “match” — like an email address, twitter, instagram, etc. I had to use different names for different social media platform (which is never great for branding). Now, all my stuff is simply “Andrea Dekker”.

2. Many other people decided they also liked the “simple organized” combo and I was soon lost in a sea of copycats – to the point where my own readers were having a hard time finding my blog because they would go to another similar blog instead.

  • simple organized life
  • simple organized family
  • simple organized home
  • simple organized money
  • simple organized you
  • simple organized kitchen
  • And then there were all the simpLY organized… life, living, home, family, business, food, etc.

I figured that using my own name was less likely to result in copycat websites — however, there is an “Andrea DeCKer” with a “CK” instead of “KK”. I tried to buy both domains when we first got married, but the CK spelling was already taken.

SIDE NOTE: If you publish anything online, I would highly encourage you to register and purchase the domain for your name. You never know when it might come in handy!

3. People continually mixed up my name. 

I don’t know if it was the length of the name or what, but people constantly butchered my Simple Organized Living business name when they talked about my blog or introduced me.

I remember once, speaking for a pretty big conference at the end of 2012, and the lady introduced me as “Andrea Dekker from SimpLY Organized LIFE”. I made a joke about it and corrected her so people would know my real name. But later at the same conference, a different person referred to me as “Andrea Dekker from… Simple…. um, Organized… Life?… or Living?”

I figured, if it was so hard for people to remember my name and blog URL, I’d just make it super easy for them and change it to my name! 🙂

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HOW?

Changing my name was not an easy decision to make — and I didn’t jump into the rebranding process quickly or hastily. I thought about it for almost a full year. I met with a lawyer, with my accountant, with my web designers, and with other web-savvy friends before making any final decisions.

I signed, faxed, scanned, and emailed a fair amount of paperwork.

I changed my bank accounts, tax records, 1099’s, LLC info, and PayPal information.

I updated my email addresses, my social media profiles, and I ordered new business cards.

One thing I did NOT do was to update all my old photos that still had the “Simple Organized Living” brand on them. That seemed like way too much busywork for me so I never did it. Sometimes people ask about it, but for the most part, it doesn’t seem to be a huge issue (at least it’s not an issue for me!)

As for all the URL links to my old website domain name — my amazing tech people magically rerouted all of those for me; and to this day, I haven’t had any issues with broken links due to my name change. I could never have done this without the help of my web people!

I do still own the domain name for Simple Organized Living — and I will continue to pay for that domain name every year because if someone else ever purchases that domain and uses it to create their own website, all my rerouted URLs would be messed up.

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WOULD I DO ANYTHING DIFFERENTLY?

Honestly, it would have been MUCH easier if I had simply used the AndreaDekker name from the very beginning — but as I mentioned earlier, I don’t think that name would have drawn as much traffic as “Simple Organized Living”.

I also would have designed a different logo for the new Andrea Dekker site. I like how my logo is very wide and spreads across the top of my website header, but it’s so light in color, which means it doesn’t show up well on social media or on other websites. I think I would have chosen something narrower and taller — more square.

Thi is not a huge deal — and something I could change if I really wanted to. Obviously it doesn’t bother me enough to change it now!

PROS:

I’m using my own name so there’s no confusion as to whose blog it is — plus, since the name doesn’t specifically say “simple” or “organized” I’m not limited as to what I want to talk about.

A shorter name that was much easier to get social media names, email addresses, LLC’s, etc.

I never had a tagline with my Simple Organized Living name… but obviously, if I was going to operate under the very vague “Andrea Dekker” name, I had to come up with a tagline. I remember the exact moment I decided on my tagline and I LOOOOOOVE it so much! “real life… simplified.” truly embodies so much of what I want for this blog, for my business, and even for my life.

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CONS:

Obviously, it was a good amount of work to rebrand. I spent a considerable amount of time, and also a decent amount of money paying Agathon Group to do all the techy, behind-the-scene work for me. (Have I mentioned they are amazing?)

Since I’m using my own name, it’s not nearly as clear what type of information my blog actually shares — but as I mentioned above, I’m also more free to write about whatever I want to.

Believe it or not, my whole web presence is actually SMALLER now than it was 4 years ago — due in large part (I assume) to the sad fact that Google doesn’t send nearly as much traffic my way. I’ve also cut back on the amount of marketing I do (I don’t do any right now) so, of course, that could be part of the equation too.

Probably the most frustrating “con” for me was that Facebook penalized me for changing my name. I’m still not sure how or why, but I lost thousands and thousands of Facebook followers in the 2 months after I changed my Facebook name. In fact, even almost 4 years later, I have just a few more followers now than I did before I switched my name.

Of course, since my Facebook reach is down, all that potential traffic to my site is down as well — so it converts into less exposure, less traffic, and less income.

Finally, although I don’t have any intentions of selling my website or my business, the fact that my business and blog run under my own name makes it almost impossible to sell it.

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It might sound like the “cons” outweigh the “pros”, but I factored in all the cons (except for Facebook) before I made the switch. For me, it still made sense and I’m still glad I made the switch; but I do hope I won’t need or want to rebrand again any time in the near future!

I’m certainly not an expert, but I get enough questions about my rebranding process that I figured it might be smart to write up my answers in a blog post.

If you have more questions, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot me an email! 

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26 comments

  1. Lynda

    02/04/2017

    Love your blog, truly You ground me when I get carried away with the would of, should of, could ofs I stumbled across your blog doing a search and have been hooked ever since. You always have a way of restoring my peace that I am doing the best I can and when I want different, I do different with various aspects of family life. Thank you Andrea!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lynda! This is such a great compliment! This is exactly what I hope to do with my blog — “ground people” when they get too carried away with Pinterest ideas, Magazine ideas, and fancy-blog-with-amazing-photos-of-everything ideas.

    There is ALWAYS more we could do, but sitting back, taking a deep breath, and being satisfied with what we have done creates so much more peace.

    [Reply]

  2. JoAnn C.

    01/19/2017

    Wow! Has it really been four years? That was fast. I still sometimes start to tell people the former name for the blog then quickly correct myself. I’ve been with you so long I truly talk about you like you’re part of the family. So having said that; I hope to be invited, (virtually of course), to your blog’s twenty fifth anniversary. ; ) Happy Thursday, Andrea.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — yes, you’ll be invited 🙂
    Thanks JoAnn!

    [Reply]

  3. Debbie

    01/19/2017

    I had no idea all it took to rebrand your business. Your reasons for rebranding makes so much sense though. Too bad about FB penalizing you for that. Your tech people are amazing! The switch on my end was pretty smooth, and your blog is one of my favorites for many reasons. One of them is that it doesn’t have annoying ad pop ups. It also doesn’t all of a sudden crash like some blog sites do when scrolling down. I don’t know what that’s all about but it’s just deters me from going to the blog because I know all too well what will happen once I start reading and scrolling.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Debbie — yes, my tech people are amazing! They have the best customer service ever (and Dave’s cousin is one of the owners — so that’s another reason we love them!)

    [Reply]

  4. lyss

    01/19/2017

    Oh, good, I’ve been pronouncing your name right! Love your name, and love that pronunciation of it. : )
    I had no idea blogging was so complicated! lol.
    I love your blog. It’s refreshing. I’ve quit reading plenty of blogs because people can be so argumentative. Ladies think that if they have a blog that means they know it all, and if you disagree, you’re no good. Seriously, that’s the feeling I get from many bloggers. Not you. You seem to be able to give your ideas and opinions without being so opinionated, if that makes sense! I love your tagline and agree that it fits. I need more simplicity in my life and love reading about yours to learn new ideas. And even if a post doesn’t apply to me, it’s still always a refreshing read. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Oh good, I’m glad you’ve been pronouncing my name correctly all these years 🙂
    Also, blogging is NOT complicated — you just need to have all your ducks in a row “behind the scenes” if you want to make money doing it. Taxes are a pain, but everything else is fun and enjoyable!
    Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement Lyss!

    [Reply]

  5. Mara Yager

    01/19/2017

    Great post, very interesting! I found you via MoneySavingMom.com actually, sometime in 2016. I’m sure it is always fun and interesting to learn where/how your followers found your site 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yay — Crystal generously sends a lot of her readers my way! I’m very grateful!

    [Reply]

  6. Jane

    01/19/2017

    I think a huge pro is that you aren’t just some unknown behind the blog. I understand the need/desire for some to keep their real life name etc. private, but readers feel more of a connection and loyalty if we are familiar with your face and family. I don’t do facebook anymore and I use Bing instead of google. I usually find interesting blogs through the comments left on blogs.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, I like it that people can see me and know who I am. A little crazy when people recognize me at the grocery store or the post office though 🙂

    [Reply]

    Jane Reply:

    I live in your area and often wonder if I will see you around. I haven’t yet 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    well if you ever do, make sure you say hi!

    [Reply]

  7. Beverly

    01/19/2017

    Good article Andrea! I think about this same issue often and have many of the same pros and cons that you came up with; the big pro being that you can write about anything and the big con being that you lose all the Google traffic you’ve built up. I have seen a couple blogs lately that keep their old blog URL, but they have a new header and logo where their personal name is a large part of the design and the blog name is in small print under it. That’s one way to get the best of both I guess! One more big consideration for me is that I feel my name immediately signals my age . . . something I’m not sure is a real concern or just my own vanity 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, I could have changed my logo and header and kept my URL the same, the the point for me is that I wanted EVERYTHING to be under one name. So my blog, my business, my URL, my email addresses, my social media is ALL “Andrea Dekker” right now. If that’s not as important to you, it would be a much easier change to just update the blog header 🙂
    As for your name, I think you might be more concerned about that than other. I would have never thought twice about your name sounding “old” — Look at Martha Stewart! “Martha” is definitely a dated name and she certainly made it work for her!!

    [Reply]

  8. Cori

    01/19/2017

    Hi Andrea,
    I’ve wondered something for years and it almost goes along with your topic today so I thought I’d finally ask. 🙂
    How do you pronounce your name? I’ve known Andreas before with different pronunciations… Are you AN-dree-a or AHN-dree-a, or An-DRAY-a or Ahn-DRAY-a?
    I don’t recall you mentioning this before and I’m curious when names come up in your blog topics.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — that is a really good question! It’s AN-dree-a. Nothing fancy 🙂

    [Reply]

    Cori Reply:

    Thanks for answering! Have a great rest of your week.

    [Reply]

  9. Kristin

    01/19/2017

    Firstly, I cannot believe it was 4 years ago! I started to follow your account just before your rebrand and boy has 4 years flown by.

    I really appreciate you taking the time to write this post. It really does help me out a lot. Over the past 6 months I have been trying to decide in which direction I will go in – and the name of my website has been a huge issue. I started with one, got a life coach, and then stopped posting as we realised I would be going in a broader direction.

    I will for sure take your points into consideration – and I appreciate your “expert” knowledge.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kristin!
    One thing I would suggest is not to stop writing just because you don’t know what direction you’re going in. Sometimes, the act of writing helps me to find my direction because I realize I keep writing about a cluster of topics and that’s what I’m really passionate about.
    Also, even if you rebrand and go in another direction, you could probably rework the content you’ve already create to work for the new site too.
    Just my two cents 🙂

    [Reply]

  10. Angela

    01/19/2017

    Do you use your Andrea Dekker Facebook page as your own personal FB account as well? I’m wondering because my husband and I have a business that we’re marketing via FB, and I don’t want our real life FB friends to feel like they’re bombarded by receiving our business posts (although I guess that’s what happens when they like our business page), or for them to feel like we’re just always trying to sell something, if that makes sense? We each have our own personal FB pages and then a separate linked one for our business, in my attempt to separate our business stuff from our real life stuff. Just wondering what your thoughts are on that.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    No, definitely not! I have my own personal Facebook page (that I rarely use) and then my business page. I do not ever post anything from my business or my blog on my personal Facebook page (ever). I NEVER want to be one of those people who try to sell their product or push their business on their facebook friends.
    If someone is interested in what I write, they can easily “like” my business page and get the updates that way. If not, they won’t see or read them on my personal Facebook page.

    [Reply]

  11. Michele

    01/19/2017

    Wow! Can’t believe the time has been so long. I found you under farmhouselove.com. When was that?

    And yay! for you. I love your site. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michele,
    Farmhouse Love was almost 6 years ago — when we purchased our farmhouse 🙂 My intentions were to keep all the “home renovation and decorating stuff” on that blog, and then cleaning and organizing on the Simple Organized Living blog. However, after about a year, I realized the 2 blogs overlapped a ton — and it would be more fun and less work to incorporate them into one blog (and I’m SOOOOOO glad I did!)

    [Reply]

  12. Michele

    01/19/2017

    Wow! Can’t believe the time has been so long. I found you under farmhouselove.com. When was that?

    [Reply]