Saturday, 2 March 2019

How I Completely Re-branded My Blog

When I realised I was absolutely, 100%, no-going-back certain that I wanted to give my blog an overhaul, I knew it would be a massive job. The longer you blog, the more of a trail you have, and the more there is to change: from fairly easy things like the design and the URL, to the little things like changing your email address, your social media accounts, re-formatting everything, and much more.

Transforming The Mile Long Bookshelf to what we have today took me a couple of weeks. I had to...

Work on a new design

I've been eyeing up Pipdig for a couple of years, but the price - though not at all expensive - always put me off. I'm reluctant to pay for something when I know I could do it myself for free. In the end, though, I paid for the convenience, and they made it such a smooth and easy transition that I wouldn't hesitate in paying for a service like that again. From paying for my chosen design to getting the basics installed here took all of about 10 minutes, and the tweaks I had to make didn't take much longer. It was the biggest change but also the quickest. What do you think of the design, by the way? I love it!

Change all of my social media accounts

You would think this would be the quickest, but it wasn't. With Facebook, I had to submit a request to change the name of my Facebook page and, several weeks later, they finally accepted it. Twitter was easy, but unfortunately if you have a verified account - which I did - changing your username loses you that blue tick. I did it anyway, though - it's just a small group of pixels, after all. Instagram was complicated, because I had two accounts: @themilelongbookshelf, which was my blog account with the most followers and engagement, and @amberkirkford, my personal one. Because I like to be difficult, my blog is now my name... meaning my personal account had to become my blog account. (With me? I'm not.) It was complicated and boring but basically I ended up making a third account to hold the name @themilelongbookshelf so no one nicks it, and swapped the others around, blah blah blah. I got there in the end.

Change my email address

I've had the same email address for thirteen years, so you can imagine how many databases I'm on and how many contacts I have. In the end, I decided to keep that account so I wouldn't miss any emails from people and companies I work with, but I also made a new one to match my new look and, over time, direct people to use. I got a custom email address for free with Zoho and it seems fine so far. Much more profesh.

Change the domain

This blog began as Then it became, so I had to set up a redirect automatically routing people who put in the old incorrect URL to the new one. And now, as you can see, it's I like to complicate things, can you tell?

Work on new labels

When this was a book blog, I had soooo many post labels. If you don't know what labels are, they basically categorise your blog posts - it's how, when you click 'categories' in my menu up there, you can click 'places' and all of my travel posts come up. But when I set up the labels I had on my book blog, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what they were for, so I had over 50 labels such as 1 star, 2 stars, Review, Penguin, HarperCollins... I had to manually remove those from all 700 published posts I had, work on a new set of labels, and then implement those. It's now a much simpler system and you can see them all in my menu: Life, Places, Books, Food, Blogging, and Style. 

Create new content

For the past year I've been in a blogging rut. I had no ideas for blog posts at all, and this stemmed from the fact that I just did not fit in my niche anymore. Honestly, I was starting to think something was wrong with me - for my whole life all I've done is write, and then the well dried up. But when I came up with this new space, jesus were the ideas flowing. I came up with 28 ideas on the spot. That's unheard of for me. I promptly got to work - after all, I couldn't relaunch this place with nothing on it, could I?

Fix all the broken links

I used a checker to trawl through my blog and flag up all of the broken links. These came from comments written by people who then deleted their profiles, meaning their names which once linked to their blogs linked to nowhere. Other broken links were blog posts I linked to but then deleted. They came from pages I once had but deleted in my transformation. In the end, there were 200 broken links which wasn't too bad considering when I did it for the first time a few years ago there were 2000. The reason it's important to do this as a blogger is because a blog full of broken links can affect your SEO and Domain Authority, which are important things to upkeep. You can read about broken links and the importance of fixing them here.

Have a little discussion with myself...

...and think about how I could incorporate more of my personality into my online space. Part of the reason I stopped blogging is because I felt constrained by my 'internet persona' - I'd started blogging as a child, and even though I had since grown up, I was struggling to show that for fear of disappointing people, I guess. So I made a promise to myself that whatever I did next would be less filtered and more me.

Get you guys to realise that I am, in fact, still alive

After all, I did kind of drop off the face of the earth for a bit. The algorithms of social media forgot about me, so when I first began posting again, no one was seeing it. I think most of you know I'm alive now though. I hope.

It's been a long process, and it is ongoing, but so far I'm happy with how things are going. I hope you like the changes, too.


  1. I really need to do the labels and broken links thing, I haven't rebranded so to speak but my blog has definitely evolved since 2011 and I curse past me for labelling every.single.possible.connected.word! The rebrand looks great, Amber.

  2. I actually typed in "themilelongbookshelf" out of the blue and found your blog again! I'm so glad you've rebranded yourself. It's hard when you grow as a person and others expect you to be a certain way.