Why and How I Changed Everything to Personal Branding

I recently decided to migrate my “OKay Marketing” branding (okaymarketing.com) back to my personal branding on brianjackson.io. This included changing domains, social profiles, etc… I will walk you through below how I changed everything as I have surprisingly had quite a few people asking how I did it.

Why Did I Change to Personal Branding?

To be honest I never really was super in love with the company name “OKay Marketing” but at the time this was what worked. I have noticed in my social media efforts over the last 6 months everything is much easier when promoting from my personal account. I think this simply is because people like connecting with other people, not companies. I could tweet the exact same thing on my personal profile and on my company profile and my personal tweet would get twice as much engagement.

I also found when people were reaching out needing services such as SEO and or blogging they requested me. They didn’t care about my company branding, they always were requesting that I be the one working on it.

Neil Patel has a great guide here on “how to build your personal brand.” A portion of it really resonated with me… He said the following.

If you’re looking to grow the sales for a company, you want potential clients to associate your personal brand with a feeling of trust and long-term success and satisfaction.

So I finally decided simply stop building a brand and switch to personal branding. I know this will save me time and will make marketing easier. If I then launch a new company down the road I will have the “trust” and reputation part done.

Branding Changes Included:

  1. Swapping Twitter Names to keep higher follower count
  2. Changing FB page name to use personal profile URL
  3. Migrating WordPress to new domain and changing URLs
  4. Migrating Disqus not only to new domain but also new shortname
  5. Implementing 301 Redirects
  6. Change of Address with Google Webmaster Tools
  7. Updating Backlinks
  8. Misc Updates

1 – How to Swap Your Twitter Name

swapping twitter usernames

Since I had been doing all of my work on my @okay_marketing twitter I wanted to keep the same followers/audience and transfer them to my @brianleejackson twitter. So after some digging around and research I discovered that Twitter releases usernames immediately. So here is what I did to swap the names. You will want to be fast as you could potentially lose your username.

Step 1

I logged into my original twitter account @brianleejackson and renamed my username to @brianjacksonxxx.

Step 2

I then quickly logged into my @okay_marketing twitter and changed the username to @brianleejackson.

Step 3

I then quickly logged into my @brianjacksonxxx twitter and changed the username to @okay_marketing.

This allowed me to swap my usernames so now my @brianleejackson twitter has all the followers I have been building over the past year. I only follow people within my niche so they are a fairly well targeted audience. Check out ManageFlitter for an awesome tool to grow your Twitter followers with link minded people.

Also a big thanks to Joe over at joecanwrite.com for pointing out my Twitter cards weren’t working. Make sure if you switch twitter accounts to request a new approval for your twitter cards.

2 – How to Change your Facebook Page URL to Personal Profile URL

swapping facebook URLs

This is something a lot of people don’t know about. My personal Facebook account was http://facebook.com/brianleejackson. My company FB page was http://facebook.com/okaymarketing. Since I no longer wanted the company branding I wanted to change it to /brianleejackson. As long as you are using the same FB account as the admin on your page then you can actually request a page name (URL) change.

Step 1

Under your Facebook page’s About section click “Edit” on your page name.

edit facebook page name

Step 2

Click on “request change.” You can now choose your personal profile URL as what you want your page URL to now be. As long as you own both they will allow this. So on my OKay Marketing page I requested a change to facebook.com/brianleejackson. You then have to fill out a FB form saying what you want to change. They do approve this manually and will send you an email confirmation. I also recommend changing your page category as well. I changed mine to “People: Blogger.”

This is what the email from Facebook said in the confirmation.

Hi Brian,

The Page name you’re requesting is significantly different from your current Page name, so your request requires a 14-day waiting period. We require a waiting period for name changes that could be confusing for people who already like the Page. During that time, the people who like your Page will be notified of the name change.

Your Page name will be automatically updated 14 days from today at the same time that you received this approval email. Thanks for your patience.

You will then see a page name change confirmation if you hover over the details of your page name..

page name change scheduled

My personal profile URL on Facebook now looks like this: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1098660425 But I don’t really care because I use that account for personal use. My page name now looks like this: http://facebook.com/brianleejackson.

3 – Migrating WordPress to new domain and changing URLs

changing domain names

So I had already purchased brianjackson.io a while back. Don’t get me started on trying to buy brianjackson.com. I have offered the guy up to $1,000 at one point for the domain but he won’t budge. So I then needed to move everything from okaymarketing.com and dump it into a fresh WordPress install on brianjackson.io. Follow the steps below on how I migrated everything.

Step 1

You can follow my post on “How to Migrate Your WordPress Website to New Web Host” for transferring the database and files.

Step 2

Once everything was migrated into brianjackson.io I then needed to change my WordPress address URL. You can normally change this within the WordPress dashboard, however you will probably realize that if you try to login it is simply going to redirect to your old domain. So I updated my WP address URL in the database.

Login to phpMyAdmin on your site and under the “wp_options” table you will want to update both the “siteurl” and “home” to your new URL.

database wordpress site urls

You can then login to your WordPress dashboard.

Step 3

I then used a WordPress plugin to update all of my URLs on my site. For example you probably have static URLs that you will need to fix within your pages and posts, as well as if you linked to images on your CDN directly. The plugin I used was Velvet Blues Update URLs. It works great and I had no problems.

Once installed you can click into Tools > “Update URLs.” I selected everything except for GUIDs and then clicked “Update URLS NOW.” (make sure to backup your database before doing this just in case)

update wordpress urls

And it is that easy to update all of your URLs!

4 – Migrating Disqus to new domain and shortname

change disqus shortname

So I have already written up a separate post on how I migrated my disqus comments to a new domain and shortname. Disqus usually doesn’t let you change your shortname but there is a work around.

Also make sure under your Disqus admin settings to setup your new trusted domain. Otherwise if someone else installs Disqus on their domain and types in your same shortname they could get your comments.

disqus trusted domains

5 – Implementing 301 Redirects

301 redirects

Once I migrated everything to the new domain I needed to put the proper 301 redirects in place so I didn’t lose any traffic or link juice. According to Matt Cutts at Google if you do everything right 301 redirects should pass most of the link juice.

I use a plugin called Simple 301 Redirects to put them in place.  This plugin does require you to place each one, but since my site is not that large I prefer to do them manually so I know I catch everything.

setting up 301 redirects

You can also setup your 301 redirects via your .htaccess file if you prefer. Here is a great tutorial on Setting up a permanent 301 redirect via .htaccess.

6 – Change of Address with Google Webmaster Tools

google change of address

If you are moving your website to a new domain it is highly recommended that you use the “change of address” feature in Google Webmaster Tools. This will let them know that you are moving it.

You can find the change of address by click on the gear icon in the top right hand corner of Google Webmaster Tools.

change of address

They will walk you through a 4 step process to confirm your move.

gwt change of address

7 – Updating Backlinks

update backlinks

301 redirects do pass your link juice but I always recommend updating them if possible with your new domain. So what I do is export a list of my backlinks and slowly contact the owners of sites that link to me to see if they will update the link to my new address. You won’t be able to update everything such as blog comment backlinks but everything helps.

I use Web CEO to export my list of backlinks, which uses Ahref data. Make sure to check out my review on Web CEO if you haven’t already.

Step 1

In Web CEO click into “Backlink Quality Check” and click on “Linking Pages.”

linking pages

Step 2

Change the filter to “All except lost.”

backlinks all except lost

Step 3

On the right hand side click on “Export” and select “Download as CSV.”

export backlinks to csv

Step 4

I now have a full list of my active backlinks and I can work them contacting the owners of the links and requesting them to update my link from okaymarketing.com to brianjackson.io. This process will probably take months, but it is something I always recommend doing when changing domains. Also make sure they are also updating the ALT text/link text if possible too. You don’t want your backlinks to be skewed by showing old name/branding.

backlink profile list

8 – Misc Updates

update mailchimp campaigns

There are a lot of other updates I had to do.

  • Update my MailChimp campaign and my list so everything matched on the new domain.
  • Created new Gmail account so I could setup new Google Analytics account, Google Tag Manager, etc.
  • Updated my social media profile images and branding
  • Created a new office 365 email account and signature for my .io domain.
  • Verified GWT, BWT, Pinterest, Alexa, Yandex
  • Setup a new account for VaultPress backups.

Conclusion

I think that is about everything that was involved in my migration from okaymarketing.com (company branding) to brianjackson.io (personal branding). I haven’t seen any traffic decreases, in fact I have noticed a slight increase.

traffic after migration

Update 08.12.15

I originally wrote this article back on March 1st, 2015.

I am happy to report I don’t regret the move. It has now been 6 months and my organic traffic is up 366%!

traffic after branding migration

As always feel free to leave your comments below!

11 thoughts on “Why and How I Changed Everything to Personal Branding”

  1. It’s an awesome case study on personal branding, Brian! Thank you for sharing your experience and for a mention of Web CEO:-)

  2. Hey Brian, if I have a CCTLD that mainly gets traffic from 1 country (Malaysia), but want to create an international media site, should i change to a TLD like a dot com?

    • Google has said it doesn’t matter. I have a lot of .io domains that rank #1 in SERPs just fine, targeting the entire web. A .com does have its benefits, such as easy to remember, etc… but I wouldn’t migrate just thinking it will boost your rankings.

      • Indeed, but a dot my isn’t the same as a dot io :( dot my domains are limited to Malaysian traffic, unfortunately.

        • Oh oops, ya forgot about that. Then I would definitely recommend changing it. As you would see more traffic. I have 301’d websites many many times and never saw drops in traffic or anything.

    • Hey Leo, I saw nothing but amazing gains until I decided to move all my posts to woorkup.com lol. While personal branding is awesome to get started, I think once you have enough traffic, building a brand can be even more important. Especially if you ever plan on selling later.

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