Doing a name change can be daunting. As you are well aware by now, this past June I got re-married. The whirlwind of wedding planning is past, and now the whirlwind of life changes is occurring. There are so many things that go into changing your name and life after marriage. 4 months later and I am still facing the battle of the names. You would think that in some cases it would be a simple process. In fact, most of it is easy. However, tasks that should be no problem are turning out to be a very troublesome situation. Because of this some ladies opt to not change their name at all. However, that is not an option for me. Since I was married before I don’t think that my new husband would appreciate me keeping my ex-husband’s name while being married to him. 🙂
Personal Name Changes
When you get married, you start by changing your name with the Social Security Administration. That part was actually pretty easy, quick, and painless. I had a new card within a week. Once you have that you can go to the DMV for a new license. From there it trickles on… credit cards, financial accounts, household bills, your passport, etc. Start by making a list of everything that you can think of. As you tackle them, check them off. If you have to receive new credit or debit cards, be sure that you keep track of when they arrive, then destroy the old ones. However, I recommend holding on to your old Driver’s License or State ID for a while in case you still receive important papers or checks in that name.
Name Change Problems
Now surprisingly, there are a couple of places that do not allow you an easy way to change your name. You would think that changing your name after marriage would be a no brainer anywhere and everywhere that you have to register your name. For example, FedEx told me that there is no way for me to change my name in the FedEx Delivery Manager system. Say what? After talking with support they were unable to come up with a solution for me to change my name. So I figured that I would just sign up for a new account with my new name. Easy, right? Wrong. My new account will not validate my address. Sigh… so this means that any package sent to me through the FedEx system in my new name is not trackable in my Delivery Manager account. So, if I want to track my packages via my mobile and email notifications, I have to be sure that everyone uses my previous name. Highly annoying.
Business & Branding Name Changes After Marriage
If you run an online business or blog and you have an established presence on the Internet changing your name after marriage can be tricky. Personal branding is extremely important if you run a business, and you do not want to mess it up. Not to toot my own horn, but being in this business for the past 10+ years has its perks. Not only do I get to work with some great companies, brands, and other bloggers, I have a pretty well established presence on the Internet. My numbers may not be as big as some other bloggers. However, I do pretty good in web searches for my target topics. Search for “Kris Cain” on Google, Bing, or Yahoo and I pop up on the first page and dominate most of the results. And of course if you search for “LittleTechGirl” or “Little Tech Girl” it is mostly all me (except for a couple of exceptions). Now, the LittleTechGirl searches won’t change. That is my main brand and I am not touching it. I purchased this domain on May 18, 2002 and I have no plans to change that part of me. However…. my real name… now changing that poses a problem. But, it is not the end of the world. There are a few things that I need to do to make sure that I maintain my status on the Internet.
Changing Your Domain
If you have your own domain based on your name (and you should) you will have to change your domain to match your new name. While my main blog here, LittleTechGirl.com will stay as is, my personal website, KrisCain.net will have to undergo a change. If your name changes I recommend securing the domain name you want as soon as possible as they aren’t always available. I decided to get a Domain.ME address! KrisMcDonald.me is going to be my new profile site. Now, does this mean that I have to build a brand new site? If I want to I certainly can! However, for now I will just redirect it to my existing site at KrisCain.net. This way, whichever address people remember they will still find me. Another approach is to put an announcement on KrisCain.net telling people that they can now find me at KrisMcDonald.me. I hope that was not confusing. 🙂 When I have time I have some major updates planned for that site.
Why even have a personal website based on your name? Depending on your business, personal branding is very important. I am my brand. You should consider creating your own personal website for use as an online resume using a .ME domain. What better way to say “this is who I am” than with a .ME domain? If you are weary of coding there is also a website builder available through Name.com right now via a special offer.
Tweaking Your SEO
With name and domain changes come changes to your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). For example, while some no longer believe that meta keywords are necessary on a website I do still use them. Meta keywords are a specific type of meta tag that appear in the HTML code of a web page to tell search engines the topic of the page. It can help in the search results. On my site I have keywords that include topics like social media, photography, Chicago, twins, and much more. And I have variations of my name. While I won’t remove the current keywords that refer to Cain because people may still search for me that way, I will add variations on my name that include McDonald. I will have to do this on all of my sites.
Search Result Issues
And with name changes and SEO changes comes search engine problems. It can take search engines a while to reindex, catch up, and start displaying your new name in search results in the way that you want. Surprisingly there seem to be a lot of Kris McDonalds on the internet. Sigh… Unlike above when I mentioned that searching for “Kris Cain” is mostly me on the first couple of pages, currently searching for “Kris McDonald” is the opposite. Hopefully this will change in time.
Your Email Address
If your email address contains your maiden name, you will probably want to change it. In my case I’m very lucky. My main address is a Gmail address that matches this blog so I do not have to change it. And since I host my own domain I can set up numerous email addresses based on my domain. So, while kcain AT littletechgirl.com will still work, I also set up kmcdonald AT littletechgirl.com. Both of these addresses forward directly to my Gmail so that I get all of my mail in one place.
Your Email Signature
Don’t forget to change your email signature. Your signature is an important part of advertising your personal brand and letting people know who you are. It should contain your name, email address, web address, and phone number if you want potential customers to be able to reach you in that way.
Your Social Media Accounts
Changing social media accounts is quite easy. Most of them allow you to just change your name in your profile settings. However, you may want to think about including your maiden name in the settings if possible if you think that people will search for you by that name. Facebook allows a field just for this purpose.
I’m pretty sure that I could think of many, many other places where my name needs to be changed. It seems like every day I remember somewhere else that I need to update. I know that I will get it all done in due time. 🙂
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Disclosure:This post was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME, and Name.com, a registrar that provides services like custom website design. They aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. However, all thoughts and opinions in this post are my own.