Businesses grow and change over time. As a result, it is common for businesses to change their name. There are some important considerations that go in to this decision and once it is made, there is some work to do to get licenses, websites, directory listings, stationary, promotional material, and everything else up to date. In this post we focus on what needs to happen online with honorable mention to some offline things that need to get done first.
Get The Business Name Changed First
There are two ways to do this in most locations
- Adding a "Doing Business As" or DBA name
- Changing the name of the corporate entity
The most important thing to do as you're changing the name is get one or both of these completed. Then move on.
You may choose to generate a new logo, slogan, or short description for the business. If so, try to get this done before moving to the online changes to the website, social media, and directory listings steps. It will help you spend time updating those just once instead of multiple times. The most common thing to update for businesses is their logo and business name graphic.
With the name established and basic branding chosen it is time to tackle the website. The one decision that impacts this step more than any other is the choice to change to a new domain name. If the business goes in this direction there is work to do to make sure all those links out there on the internet keep routing people to your business.
Some common steps are:
- Buy a new domain name
- Create a new site or copy the existing one and make updates
- Apply branding changes
- Launch the new website, keeping the existing one online
- Setup internet redirects from the individual pages on the existing site to the new site in a way that tells search engines to update their data
- Eventually, set the existing site to do a simple redirect to the new website
These days there are literally thousands of websites that list the core contact information for businesses (name, address, phone, website, hours, branding, etc). It is really important to update these when a business name change happens so that people can find you online as they transition to the new name.
Generally, the most important platforms to update are:
- Google My Business
- Facebook Pages
Every business then needs to address the various listing sites specific to their industry. There is a super-simple and cost effective way to update directory listings that we share with Pro members.
You're coming down the home stretch when you get to social media accounts. Changes to social media involve these major steps:
- Announcing the change to followers
- Changing account names
- Changing account URLs
- Updating branding
How To Check Name Change Progress
The best way to check on progress during a renaming is to go to Google, type in the old business name, and scan through the results. These are pages that still need to be changed. Now, do the same for the new business name. These are the items that have already transitioned over.
Making this switch can be hard and time consuming, don't be afraid to reach out for help when changing something this important online.