In our two previous posts we discussed the beginnings of how we changed our name, and rebranded our form builder in two weeks. In this post I want to talk about the trademark research we did and the actual launch of our new website as it pertains to our rebrand.
I talked about how we acquired our domain in the first post, but something I didn’t mention is that when we were selecting final names we did quick Google searches to see if there were any potential trademark issues with the names we wanted. When we chose Formstack, we did a quick search and did not find much to worry about, but to make sure we went through trademark search with the help of our attorney. The search cost us around $600 plus attorney fees to review and make any recommendations based on his findings. Fortunately for us, the review was pretty clean and showed only a few minor conflicts. Mostly, the conflicts were around the fact that we had put together two common words, “form” and “stack,” and there were a wide variety of companies using one word or the other in trademarked terms. Again, much like using SnapNames, we found out that we didn’t have much to worry about, and the cost was well worth it to us.
Below is a sample from the report we received that shows similar uses of Formstack and any potential issues through the different databases that were searched, including USPTO, State databases, Common Law databases, business names, and similar domains registered.
It took 5 days from getting the logo approved to delivery of the final files needed to launch the new site which included new graphics, colors, and logos. While we had been working on the branding elements we had also been setting up a plan to move our site, our blog, our support system and our app to the new domain.
We added the new domain to the servers a few days before launch. We also started running a local instance of our site on one of our developer’s computers to ensure that we could quickly enact the switch with our CMS system.We also did this for the blog and support sites making sure that we did “Find/Replace” changing all references from our old name to our new name.
One of the biggest things we were worried about was redirecting all of our old web pages to the new domain. Using 301 redirects, we wrote scripts to make sure that all of our old content changed to the new domain without causing too much loss in page rank from the almighty Google. While there is some debate about how much page rank you lose with 301 redirects, we are continuing to evaluate the results and will probably have a better indication in the next few months of the affects the redirects have had on our site.
Rebranding is not something we would have chosen, but going through it we learned a few things.
1) Work with constraints: Some of our constraints were self-imposed, some were imposed on us. Our need to quickly go through the process allowed us to see what was important. We were willing to put trust in our partners and our team for the sake of getting things done. We worried less about the little things and more about the really big things (name, domain, etc).
2) Have a plan: the best thing we did is plan the technical details while also going through our branding exercise. The details are what matters. Making sure that you have a proper 301 redirect plan in place is way more important than what shade of green your logo is going to be.
3) Monitor: We are still running error reports in Google and making sure that no pages are left hanging. We still see that there are some small things that have our old logos. Everyday we are looking at our traffic and PPC numbers and user sign-ups, etc. We are constantly evaluating the changes and what impact they have had on our business. Knowing what the plan is and having the right tools allow you to monitor post-change to see what tweaks you need to make after the launch.