Notes from My Blog Rebranding Strategy
This is a guest article by Maddy Osman.
Hey, I’m Maddy, the creative genius (hehe) behind Chicago Cheap Ass and The Blogsmith. I’ve actually been blogging for years, but my concept Chicago Cheap Ass is on the cusp of its very first birthday. It’s exciting and has got me all nostalgic.
Rebranding Strategy OverviewMaddy’s Rebranding Strategy: Chicago Cheap Ass
Changing My Blog’s Theme
About a month ago, I decided to change my blog’s theme design. It was this sudden and urgent feeling that I couldn’t shake. I can’t explain why it happened, but it probably had something to do with my blog’s anniversary and letting lessons from the past year really sink in.
I’m part of an amazing blogging collective in Chicago called the Windy City Blogger Collective. After being exposed to so many creative bloggers and their own concepts, I had a very particular look and feel in mind for my new blog.
I knew I wanted to showcase all of my different categories on my homepage, with previews of my posts with images. I found a carousel plugin that would achieve this look and feel, but it was hard to get it to work perfectly (or at least to my standards). Since the plugin was paid, I had some support from the developer, but ultimately had to hire a web designer to fix the remaining issues. I do basic web design, but this was a little over my head and definitely not something I had a lot of time to spend on.
A lesson I learned from this process is that if you have little web design issues that you can clearly articulate to someone (not – “the doohickey is doing something weird”), use Fiverr to get it fixed. I spent probably $50 total on a number of web changes. If I had hired a web designer, it would have been $100-200.
There are still small tweaks I need to make, but I’m very happy with the design as it stands. The articles are very Medium-like – big featured image, clean design and a timer for how long the article takes to read.
Changing My Blog’s Tagline
My blog is called Chicago Cheap Ass. Sometimes that gets in the way of attracting brands who’d like to work with me (and can pay a fair price or make a fair exchange for the work involved). My tagline used to be, “The best deals and values in Chicago.”
My initial vision for my website was just sharing deals. It’s moved towards also sharing Chicago food and events that may not be cheap, but are a good value for the price. In addition, I work with Amazon to review technology products that aren’t necessarily cheap. But I’m not full of it – I buy high priced tech when it makes sense. I pay for events even if they’re not cheap. I would never promote something on my blog that didn’t suit the lifestyle I’m always preaching about.
Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out what my tagline should be, because the other issue is that some of my posts are not just about Chicago and have a more broad audience appeal. I’m toying with something like:
“Chicago-based food and events; frugal lifestyle advice for all.”
I would love to hear your feedback and brilliance in the comments!
At the end of the day, I want to have a more broad appeal to brands who don’t think I’m going to be sending them cheap customers!
Changing My Blog’s Content
Finally, a year of blogging has encouraged me to take a more critical look at the blog posts I create and provide additional value to readers.
One thing I used to do that I will not continue to do is write a post in a format like:
“[Insert Product/Event/Restaurant Here] Review”
Now, I’m going to use each post to share a unique viewpoint. To give you an example, I recently went to my favorite Spanish restaurant in Chicago (which is beloved by a LOT of residents, so it’s quite familiar). My review post for them is going to be called:
“My top 5 tapas at [Restaurant]”
This will result in a much more useful piece of content for my readers.
Changing My Blog’s Logo
Right now, my blog’s logo is a crappy word art picture I made in Photoshop. I am NOT a graphic designer and I don’t have a great eye for it. I recognize my limitations, which is another important lesson learned from blogging this past year. I’m currently working with a graphic designer to make it more beautiful – stay tuned!
Changing My Blog’s Link Structure
As a result of research and need, I’m completely changing the link structure on my blog’s menu. Two pages that will be undergoing a massive makeover:
- Press (as in, work with me for brands)
- Write for Chicago Cheap Ass
I’m also going to be adding some Chicago “guides” that are longer form posts. I want to gear these towards Tourists, to capture that audience, but they will also be useful for residents!
I’ve also changed my categories from about 10 to just 4. Those four categories are reflected in the carousel of blog posts on my homepage!
Just when I think I’ve finally got it all figured out, I get a new idea that I can’t shake. My blog is a constant work in progress!
Hopefully you’ve learned something from my blog’s rebrand/redesign and can take something from it to help your own blog.Behind the scenes of a blog rebranding strategy. Helpful tips!
Is there anything you’ve been dying to change? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Maddy Osman is a digital marketer who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, www.ChicagoCheapAss.com, shows young adults how the find the best deals and values in Chicago. If you’re more interested in learning how to be more effective with your own blog, check out her website, www.The-Blogsmith.com