How I rebranded my WordPress blog

LMEAs some of you may notice if you’ve been to my site a few times, a couple of weeks ago I rebranded. For 9 YEARS my website had been named after me (so initially angelajcook and then angelajwatling). However, over the last 15 months, since becoming a mother, I have been using my blog even more heavily than before. I wanted a name that better reflected what my site was about so I decided to rebrand it to ‘Life, Motherhood and Everything’ (a subtle nod to Douglas Adams there for any ‘Hitchhikers Guide’ fans). Although much of my site is self-coded, my blog is on a self-hosted WordPress installation and this is where a majority of my content sits. Fortunately there are lots of helpful WordPress plug-ins to help migrate. So for anyone else thinking of doing the same, here’s what I did!

  1. Registered my new domain name: Or in actuality I got Sam to do it because he has a preferred domain hosting company and manages all our other domains. He used Wiser Hosting because they are pretty good on price but there are lots of companies out there;
  2. Re-branded my site theme and content: I didn’t want to do a full re-brand and overhaul of the look-and-feel because I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the last few months tweaking it and refining it. But there were a few things I need to change (the header and any other references to ‘angelajwatling’, my AboutMe page although I’ve done that very well yet!) and wanted to change (fonts). I updated the header across my sites by just using my code editor and then I found some new fonts I liked on FontSquirrel; FontSquirrel is a great site with loads of font styles and you can filter by licence type (you need ‘Webfont’ for a website) so you know it’s okay to use it online. (If the font isn’t in the right format for the web (e.g. OTF) then you can convert it using the FontSquirrel converter.) 
    I particularly love my new header font!
  3. Deployed the code: I uploaded all of the updated files through my usual FTP client, Filezilla;  
  4. Pointed my new domain name to my old site ‘contents’ folder: We did this through our web hosting provider’s console. Rather than move all of my contents to a new FTP folder, I decide to leave them where they were and just re-point my new domain name to my existing folder. I then pointed my old domain name to a new empty FTP folder for reasons which follow…; 
  5. Re-directed my old domain name to the new: Again in my web hosting’s admin console, I set-up a redirect. The wizard they provided effectively created a .htaccess file for me in the new empty FTP folder which meana that any traffic trying to hit my old domain will be immediately re-directed to the new one. By making it a ‘wildcard’ redirect, all subpages will redirect too. If you have to write it manually then you can just copy & paste the below in and replacing ‘olddomainname’ and ‘newdomainname’ accordingly (although do Google for tips on how to edit that particular file):
    RewriteEngine on

    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^olddomainname\.com$ [OR]
    RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\.olddomainname\.com$
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ “http\:\/\/www\.newdomainname\.com\/$1” [R=301,L]

  6. Updated my WordPress settings: There are only 2 settings in WordPress which must be updated when changing domain name and they are both in the WordPress Admin Console > Settings > General:
    Wordpress Settings
  7. Ran a find-and-replace across my WordPress database: I had almost forgotten that my blog is inevitably littered with hardcoded links to my domain name, so in changing it I also needed to change the links. Otherwise if I stop renewing my old domain name in a year or so, all of my images and links will break. After a quick search I found an awesome plug-in which does this for you: Search & Replace. The cool bit about the plug-in is that it has ‘Dry Run’ feature so you can preview all the changes in a table before running it proper!
  8. Created a new favicon:For those of you who don’t know what a favicon is, it’s the little picture you see in the browser tab next to the title of your site. It’s a 32x32px image that’s uploaded to the root of a site named ‘favicon.png’, although it’s wise to also save and upload a version in ‘.ico’ format so that it works in Internet Explorer. I used ‘Gimp‘ – which is a free Graphical Editor – to create it.
    angelajwatlingfavicon  LifeMotherhoodAndEverythingFavicon


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About Me

About Me

Hello, I'm Angela. I'm Mum to two small people (6 & 3). I'm a Gardener, houseplant obsessed and addicted to tea. By day I work in tech and also look after my littles. I'm trying to get our family to live a more sustainable life. I also have far too many opinions...hence the blog. You can read more about me here. You can also follow me on Instagram for mainly plant spam. Hope you enjoy reading!

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