If you’ve come here looking for Eco Traveller Guide, don’t worry, you’re in the right place. We’ve just had a change of name. Read on to find out why.
When I started Eco Traveller way back in 2011, I was certain what direction the blog would take. There would be destination guides, gear guides, and maybe a print magazine at some point. I had so many plans.
I’d been writing about eco travel for other websites for years before I started Eco Traveller Guide. In fact, as of 2019, I’ve been writing about ecotourism for 12 years. Can’t believe it’s been that long. And I still love writing about the subject and maintain the same passion I’ve always had. But I’ve been keen to change direction of the blog for a long time. I’ve just had to find the courage to do it.
I tell ya, it’s not been an easy decision. Hells no.
We’ve recently moved back to the UK from Australia and I can honestly say that was one of the hardest decisions of my life. However, it only took about a year to make up our minds. Deciding whether I should rebrand my blog was so much harder! It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
I’ve been crippled with indecision.
Should I change it? But I’ve worked so hard on the site (ok, well not recently, but in the earlier years I lived and breathed this blog). Would getting rid of the brand be the right decision? Would I alienate readers? Would they care? What about my social media profiles? I have all the @ecotraveller handles. What about Google rankings and backlinks? Honestly, the same questions kept rolling around in my head. For years.
In preparing for the rebrand I have consumed hundreds of blog posts and researched the backside out of how to do it the right way. I read way too much. There should be a limit to how much you can keep reading when you’re faced with tough decisions. The overwhelm is real, people.
So why am I rebranding my blog?
Short answer: I want to change the focus of the blog to encompass all things sustainable.
Long answer: (you can skip on if this is all yawn) EcoTraveller is a travel blog. I don’t travel as much as I’d like to and it’s not easy to go off galavanting when you’ve got two school-age kids and a hubby who works full-time. It’s not that we stay at home the whole time, we still venture out, but these days it’s more local outings and short trips. Hmmm, apart from the big trip to Australia planned for later in the year and a few long weekends to Europe. Oh, and maybe some camping.
And it’s not just about travelling less. I’ve been writing about sustainability for other publications for many years. I’m passionate about it. Always have been. But I’ve felt that because the name of this site is so niche posting general sustainable articles doesn’t quite fit.
Of course I could shoe horn most topics into a travel blog, but there are things I’d love to write about that would out of place on travel site – like how to make recycled paper briquettes for your fire, the best sustainable finance brands or how bad are log burners really? These things genuinely interest me and I dare say readers too, but if you’ve come to a site seeking travel inspo and advice and end up looking at worm compost… well, you can see why some readers may be put off.
So, the name of the blog and content you read here is changing, for the better. And shortly you’ll see the site’s new makeover. I can’t change the theme and domain name at the same time as I don’t want to mess up all the hard-earned rankings of the site. The blog name and urls you will see in the search bar will change first. The theme will come when I know the site’s settled in its new home.
I’m nervited* about it.
I want to offer readers something more
Since I’ve been researching ways to improve this site, I have had an epiphany… which really was more of a slow burn than a eureka moment. I’ve been reading the same advice for years, just chose to ignore it: most people who go online do so to find information, to find a solution to their problem/s. Whether that means finding hotels or how to live off the grid, it doesn’t matter, they’re seeking answers. EcoTraveller doesn’t/wasn’t always offering solutions.
The journalist in me is always trying to find the story. But that doesn’t always provide people with answers. I really didn’t want to be the 100th person to write a 48hrs in wherever guide, or another listicle. But you know what? I’ve discovered – finally – that’s exactly what I should have been doing. That’s the info people are searching for. Gosh darn it. While I was busy dancing to the beat of my own drum, trying to avoid that sheep mentality I completely missed the point where blogging changed from cataloguing your life to improving other’s lives.
It’s time to rectify that. The new site will concentrate on what readers want.
Yep, that’s right, it’s all about you, baby!
I want to concentrate on making this more of a business
Ok, and it’s still a little bit about me.
I had all good intentions of turning the blog into a business when I started out in 2011, and for while it made some good money. There were a handful of regular contributors and even an editorial assistant! Along with my income from freelance writing, life was good.
The plan I had for EcoTraveller originally was to produce a series of travel guides in PDF format, which would have been financed by companies who featured in the guides as sponsors. In my head it was such a good idea.
Then the online world changed… again! People weren’t paying for guides anymore. So much travel content was online for free. Smart phones made it easy to access information on the go. Companies wouldn’t invest because they needed to have a good idea of a return on their investment. That’s hard to predict in the online world.
But the entrepreneurial spark within me will not be put out. It flickered and waned for a little while as life took a different direction and blogging wasn’t a priority, but it never went out.
Now I’m planning a new tack for this little old corner of cyberspace and hope you like the sound of what I have in store for you.
If you’ve been a long time reader – thank you for hanging in there. Good things come to those who wait.
Do stick around to see the changes and sign up for my all-new-can-you-believe-it-after-8-years-newsletter when it becomes available.
Eek. You ready?
Are you thinking of rebranding your blog?
What’s holding you back?
You can’t settle on a new domain name for your site
A holy god, what a right pain in the flabjubidas that is! I have gone through so many names for this blog. It’s one of the main reasons I really want to rebrand. When I was starting out I was convinced the SEO gods would look favourably on EcoTravellerGuide.com. It relayed exactly what the blog is about. But in reality the name is limiting if you want to write about anything outside eco travel.
So if you are thinking of rebranding, take the time to find a generic name that will suit any content if you think you’ll have an inkling of changing tack down the line.
Hey look at Google, Amazon, Facebook and Moz. All ridiculous names that are totally fine now we’re used to them.
You’re crippled by indecision
I am unbelievably indecisive. I never used to be. At least I can’t remember being so rubbish at making decisions. But in recent years, oh my lords, I can’t begin to tell you how bad I am now.
When I was chatting about rebranding in a helpful blogging group a few weeks ago, I had to check the age of the domain to answer a question. I thought I bought it only a few years ago, but no, it was five years old. Yes FIVE! That’s how long I’ve been trying to make a decision about a blogging rebrand. Beyond ridiculous, isn’t it?
I’m an overthinker. I spend way too much time cojutating all the possible outcomes of certain decisions. I don’t think it’s so much being a worrier or a pleaser, I just try to make sure things are done right. Doesn’t always work out that way, of course.
And I’m also a researcher. Which is a blessing and an absolute pain in the ass at the same time. I spend waaaay too much time researching things. I don’t know how I coped without Google in my pre-internet life. Well, I do, I visited the library a lot. I like to know things. Now with Google on tap all the questions in my head have answers almost instantaneously. I love it. BUT I get led down the Big G rabbit hole far too easily and often find it hard to claw my way back. Curse you, Google!
My advice to save you five years of procrastinating? Just do it!
You’re worried about losing traffic and rankings
I’ve got to be honest with you, you may lose some traffic for a little while and your Domain Authority may be hit.
However, you can work to get the rankings and traffic back using good SEO techniques and posting great user-friendly content. I know that’s what I’m going to be doing.
And I’d say that once you rebrand you’ll be hit with renewed vigour to work harder than ever before on your site so it won’t take long to gain favour in the rankings again.
How to rebrand your blog the right way
Tell your readers
Er, hey, you guys, I’m gonna change EcoTraveller to a whole new site. K? It’s gonna be awesome. If you like all things sustainability, stick around. Things are gonna GO OFF!
Make sure you change your social media handles
This is tough if you’ve currently got great social media handles. I’ve been @EcoTraveller on all the social media sites since I started the blog. It’s going to be hard to give it up. This was another decision blocker in the whole rebranding saga.
I’ve got new handles all ready to go but don’t want to do it until after this post goes out.
I’ll list the new names right here once the change has gone through.
Decide whether you’re going to keep your theme or change it
Even though I love this theme, I’ve decided to change it to accompany the new domain name. Anyway, I like to change it every now and again. Like they say, a change is as good as a holiday (*whispers*: no, it’s not really. A holiday is always way better).
I’m going to still keep it simple though. I like things that way.
Make sure you know what you’re doing
If you talk to some people, they’ll tell you moving domains and websites to a new host is not a big deal and that you can totally do it by yourself. Sure you can. You can also build a house by yourself if you really want to, but why would you when there a plenty of experts available who can do the job much better and quicker than you.
Ask friends and colleagues for recommendations, or get in contact with people in groups you belong to – you know they’ll do a good job because they won’t want to lose any potential new work within the group.
I’ve opted to go with an expert because I need to be sure it’s done right. I know they’ll check the redirects are working and things are functioning normally in the backend before signing off completion.
If you don’t have the funds to employ someone, talk to your hosting company, they may offer free website migration.
Make sure your timing is right
They say timing is everything. I try not to think about it too much because sometimes there is no right time. And then sometimes there is.
The timing was right for me now because I haven’t been posting regularly, traffic is stagnant (because I haven’t been posting) and I’m not a giant influencer in social media terms. I see rebranding as a positive move for this site and I’m keen to see where things can go. I have more time to invest in the new site, have fresh ideas and know there is an audience out there looking for information on how to live life more sustainably.
Not sure whether rebranding is right for you?
If you’re still not sure whether you should rebrand your blog, list all the pros and cons you can think of. And be sure about your ‘Why?’ Why are you rebranding? Write it all down. Go through what can go wrong during the migration. Would you cope if you lost some traffic or went down in the rankings? Would it be worth it?
If, after asking yourself all the important questions, you think it’s still a good idea and the time is right, then go for it!
Good luck! Let me know how you go.
When I was looking for information about rebranding, I found a plethora of information on how big companies should rebrand. There is very little about how to rebrand a blog without losing traffic or SEO, which is why I’ve listed some of the best rebranding resources I can find.
Moz website migration guide
Scary article from Moz to warn what could go wrong
Site migration checklist
How to move a WordPress site without losing SEO
I’ll be adding more resources to this post in the future so check back for updates if rebranding is something you’re thinking about.
*Glossary: nervited – a word my kids made up meaning feeling nervous and excited at the same time.