Blogging Journey – Road to Rebranding
Thinking of rebranding your blog because you are not very satisfied with your existing one as you progress in your blogging journey? I have finally mustered the courage to rebrand my blog after much hesitation and will be sharing with you 5 Costly Decisions & 5 Lessons Learned through this journey.
Throughout my blogging journey, I made a few costly decisions which resulted in painful opportunity costs.
5 Costly Decisions Made
#1 Naming / Branding my Blog
As my zodiac sign is Rabbit and I am nicknamed a “Rabbit” by my hubby, I branded my blog as “Musings of a Rabbit“.
As I matured in my blogging journey, I realised that my blog’s name was a mouthful to pronounce and it sounds pretty childish as my visitors might stumble upon my blog looking for tips to care for their pet rabbit. 😂
Hence the branding “Aldora Muses” was born. I named my blog after my Christian name because I wanted to inject a personal touch to it.
“A Girl should be TWO things, CLASSY & FABULOUS”
~ Coco Chanel ~
Also, my blog’s tagline “Journey to Classy & Fabulous” was taken after my favorite quote from Coco Chanel. I hope my Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle blog can provide value to my readers in their pursuit to be Classy & Fabulous.
#2 Change of Blogging Genre
When I started my blog in October 2013, I was still dating my husband and we were doing lots of café hopping then. Hence I started reviewing cafés / restaurants on my blog and soon enough, I received invites to media tastings where I met a lovely group of food instagramers.
Through my food blogging journey, I came to the realisation that food blogging is not sustainable to me because:
- Food bloggers tend to get exploited as cheap advertisers for food outlets because we do not get adequately compensated for our work. We might need to cab to the cafés / restaurants at times because their locations are inaccessible.
- I began to feel sick of the food served by cafés as they tasted pretty much the same after some time.
- My husband dislike the idea of eating cold food as it takes approximately half an hour to shoot a decent photo of the foods served.
- Attending too many media tastings is detrimental to my health as I noticed a weight gain.
After my wedding in April 2016, I decided to move away from food blogging and blog about Beauty instead.
As my instagram feed used to be decorated with food photos, I had to substitute my posts with my OOTDs, product flatly and Selfies instead. During this period of time, I lost many followers on Instagram because accounts followed me for my food posts.
I am also very thankful to my Instagram Husband and fellow fashion bloggers who helped me out with my OOTDs as it is impossible for me to shoot myself on a remote.😂
#3 Blogging Platform
I first started my blog on Blogger because it was a free platform and was fuss-free to use.
However as time goes by, I realised that blogger is not as customisable and hence I decided to move to a self-hosted WordPress platform instead.
#4 Blog Hosting
It is a big pain in the ass when it comes to the selection of Blog Hosting especially when I am new to hosting my own blog. My blog used to be hosted with a small hosting company who could no longer support my blog as it contained too many graphics that take up too much bandwidth / capacity.
Hence I shifted to host it on SiteGround as i was sold by their “Live Chat” function and I had to engage their engineers to migrate my blog over. I lost some existing blog comments and images due to this migration and the engineers could not salvage the lost data. Also, the migration was done badly that some corrupted files are eating into my capacity and my site got suspended on and off for over a week. I tried to contact the customer service officers from SiteGround in vain to resolve my teething issues via “Live Chat” to realize that this function is so unstable when accessed in Singapore.
After repeating my story to the 10th operator via “Live Chat” (as the chat got disconnected after a couple of minutes), I finally decided to cancel my hosting plan with SiteGround.
My blog is now hosted by Vodien – same hosting provider as famous local blogger like Xiaxue. The hosting plan costs alot more but I get instant support via their much stable “Live Chat” function where we can communicate more efficiently.
I also engaged Fiverr to assist from time to time when I needed a Web Developer to resolve some technical issues. In addition, I normally will pay more than USD5 for a gig as it is impossible to engage a professional to help with that little amount of fee.
#5 Giving my Blog a Facelift
I tend to be pretty anal when it comes to my blog design and overall user experience. Therefore, I engaged a web designer – Carol Jade Sarah to give my blog a facelift. The designing process took approximately 6 months to materialize before the final product was installed onto my blogger. However my first ever customized theme was short-lived.
By the time the customized theme was installed onto my blog, I realized that the theme was not mobile-friendly and it looked so awkward on my iPhone. Hence I switched to a decent mobile-friendly theme I downloaded online shortly after to realize that my blog’s aesthetics is not the way I want it to be. I need to switch to WordPress in order to enjoy more professional features.
I seriously forgot how much I spent on beautifying my blog even before I start to monetize it. 😅
5 Lessons Learned
I have learned from my blogging journey many invaluable experiences that made me a better person.
#1 It is OK to Make Mistakes
Blogging is full of trial and error. I tried to do many different methods to grow my blog and stumbled along the way.
Looking back, I am actually pretty proud of myself that I managed to keep my blog up and running for almost 3 years!
I admit that I made a blunder in selecting my initial Blog Name / Domain Name on impulse and corrected it through a painful rebranding process so as to keep my branding in line with my niche. However, I learned to move on and fine tune my processes along the way.
#2 Constant Upgrading
Complacency is the greatest stumbling block in this fast paced blogging industry. Technology is always advancing and hence it is important that we constantly keep ourselves updated of the latest trends so as to keep our blogging content relevant.
It was through lots of reading up that I learned that having a mobile-friendly blog theme is important to rank better in Google Search Engine. You may also run the Mobile-Friendly Test on your blog to ensure this.
I also learned that it is important to top-up a nominal fee for privacy protection for my own domain so that personal information like residential address & contact number will not appear in the public WHOIS register.
#3 Join a Blogging Community
I tend to be introverted and selective with my friends.
When I started Food Blogging, I realized that food bloggers / instagramers generally tend to be political and competitive with their food photography. After all, we are taking photos of the SAME food served to us in a media tasting and hence certain angles may look similar. Food instagramers tend to take things very seriously although we are not paid a single cent for attending media tastings.
I stuck to the same group of foodies like Jocelyn (@SnapAndEat), Bryan (@BryAndBry) , Cassie (@cassakating) & Kevin (@Kevin_The_Hiak) et al. I was amazed with the amount of dedication they placed to beautify their instagram photos during media tastings. Kevin & Bryan also taught me many photo editing tips to beautify my photos which turned out to be even more useful when I’m perfecting my OOTD shot. 😂
As I moved to blog about Beauty & Fashion, I am fortunate to be acquainted with beauty bloggers like Agnes (aka Aggylow) who guided me on the “market practice” in the industry. It was then I learnt that I can actually monetize my blog and charge a fee for blog posts / social media shoutouts.
I get to know many awesome like-minded bloggers through instagram and we have a group chat to discuss about our niche. It is through such channels that I opened my eyes and progress throughout my blogging journey.
#4 Take Pride
I take pride in my work and hence I will only take up projects / collaborations when I am confident that I can cope with them. Many other bloggers might simply jump into any opportunity that come their way but I tend to assess the opportunities before I decide to accept / decline them.
I also stick to the agreed timeline and deliver my work on / before the deadline as credibility is important to me.
#5 Have a Backbone
I know that many Asian bloggers tend not to get adequately compensated for the amount of work / efforts placed in blogging. Many social media influencers tend to strike losing deals with brands / PR agencies where they slog so hard for a nominal fee. I am one who stand firm on my principles.
“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.”
~ Frederick Douglass~
I only accept collaborations if I am genuinely interested in the brand’s products / services. And depending on my interest level, I may provide discounts / waivers out of goodwill.
My competitive edge in my blogging journey is that I am trained to read contracts arising out of my full-time vocation. Hence I am able to spot discrepancies in a blogger engagement contract quickly and fight for my rights when a certain brand / PR agency try to demand for stuff that differ from our pre-agreed terms.
“I am easygoing, but definitely not a pushover.”
~ Aldora ~
It is through my blogging journey that I toughen myself up when faced with self-entitled and demanding Brandzillas and I want to let other bloggers to know that we have to stand up for our rights in order not be be exploited.
Your Blogging Journey?
Feel free to share with me your blogging experiences in the comments below! 😉
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