I started this blog in May 2014 without any big ambitions. My main motivation was to be able to blog in English, as on the rankingCHECK blog, I was limited to writing in German. Also, blogging for me is a great way to formalise and record my knowledge of certain things.
I chose the pretty unobtrusive brand name Howtodotdotdot for the first version of this website and the design was fairly playful and not very flaunting. I just didn’t want it to seem like I was showing off anything and the entire appearance of the website reflected my rather shy and reserved character. Here is what the logo looked like:
After a few months I realised that I was heading the wrong way. I felt that the name and the concept of my blog limited me to writing a certain type of article, namely how-tos. This had been what I wanted in the beginning, but I soon got bored of it and I felt the desire to be able to write a random piece on whatever came to mind once in a while.
On top of that I came to understand that I was punching below my weight. The stuff I was writing was good and I was getting some good feedback from my friends and colleagues and it was not at all necessary to hide behind an unobtrusive brand name and a playful design.
My friend Alex from ONI helped me see things more clearly during this stage of doubt and lack of motivation. He told me that if I wanted to be taken seriously with my blog, I needed a new name and a new design.
So I started thinking and it didn’t take me very long till I came up with the name Rebelytics. I even registered the domain the moment it first came to my mind, because I was convinced by it straight away. My trusted web designer Ana Cidre (who is also the love of my life and mother of my child), created a powerful and profesional design for this website.
In the summer of 2015, I changed my brand from Howtodotdotdot to Rebelytics and launched the new design of my website.
But why am I actually telling you all of this?
This article is not about how great the name and the design of my blog are. With this story, I want to show you how important it is for you to have a good brand name and a good design.
After the relaunch of my blog something AMAZING happened! Read on to learn more.
It’s not all about SEO, performance marketing and measuring success
I am an SEO and web analytics consultant, so I believe in technical optimisation of websites, in good content, and in measuring overall performance and the impact of certain changes you make to your marketing. I was always aware of the fact that there were things you couldn’t measure or predict, but I didn’t care too much about them.
I was wrong.
Before the rebranding and the new design, I was getting some interesting organic search traffic from Google. I had optimised my blog articles well enough and they were ranking for the search terms I wanted them to rank for. There wasn’t any interaction happening on my blog, but I didn’t care too much about it. After all, I was writing mainly for myself in my free time and I wasn’t pursuing any higher goals.
Also, in 2015, being a young father and a busy consultant, I never really had time to blog. I published a few articles in the beginning of the year, and then from March until August I didn’t publish anything at all. I only did a quick update of all articles around the time of the relaunch, but it mainly consisted in editing some typos and no real value was added to any of the articles.
So when I relaunched my page nothing really changed, except for the brand name and the design. The exact same articles were online, their content hadn’t changed, just the way it all was presented was different.
But all of a sudden, people started leaving comments.
And they weren’t spamming my page for backlinks, they were actually asking me questions about the problems they were having with their work. All of a sudden, they trusted me and saw me as an authority on the subjects I was writing about. Someone who could help them with their problems.
I went from zero comments on Howtodotdotdot to a hell of a lot of very interesting comments on Rebelytics.
This experience has had a huge impact on how I view online marketing. I have come to the following conclusion:
If your design and your brand name suck, your performance will suck.
You can have the best marketing strategy and the highest budgets, but if your users aren’t attracted by what they see and feel when they interact with your content, you will not be successful.
Get your design and your brand name right before you start anything else
The advice that I would like to give you is to make sure you have a good brand name and a good design before you invest any time, money and energy in online marketing or SEO. So why don’t you start today by hiring an awesome web designer?
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