Changing WordPress Themes is a natural thing for WordPress website owners to consider. Over time your website and its audience might change. You might have a bigger website with a larger audience base or even consider pandering to a different demographic. Checking out multiple WordPress themes is something we’d suggest, but the main issue lies in that changing things that you’re used to bringing a whole dish of new troubles.
When you are changing WordPress themes, you change not only the outlook of your website but also how you interact with it. This also might include tools of customization and website control. Similarly, there might be specific changes set to your current WordPress theme that might not pass on to the new one correctly.
So, today’s on Beautiful Themes will provide you tips you can use when you are changing WordPress theme. However, before you refer to this theme to make sure your theme changes go well, consider reading this article of ours on WordPress Themes. It’s much easier to tackle WordPress Theme changes when you’re confident that you completed the process well.
1. Keep a Backup before you update
It’s not often the case but when you update you might end up breaking something. Sometimes you might change a WordPress theme without being aware of its incompatibility with something that you require for your websites such as Widgets or sidebar and other front-end elements. Similarly, you might not be able to change your New WordPress theme to fit some of your preferences or end up losing some of your older theme preferences.
In times like these, Backups can be convenient. A nifty backup restore will put your website right back up the way you preferred, and you can make changes accordingly to fit your next WordPress Theme change.
You can check out this article for learning more about WordPress backups here. The article lists out some of our best recommendation for backup options on WordPress here:
2. Maintenance Modes and Pages
One of the most under-looked elements in WordPress is Maintenance pages. When you’re bringing new changes or updates to your WordPress website, a Maintenance page can be crucial. This lets you inform viewers that any issues on the website is not on their side as well as provide them anticipation for new changes.
Maintenance modes and pages can be used to take your site on offline while you’re changing your Theme and making necessary front-end changes. Visitors might be off-put from seeing a broken site if they use it while you’re making your changes.
We have an article that tackles this exact issue as well as an in-house plugin that can help you manage it. Do consider taking a look at if you want to learn more about setting your Website in Maintenance mode.
3. Record Preferences and Changes to your current theme
Before migrating to a New theme take note of all the changes and modifications you’ve made to your theme. Over time you might’ve added changes to your WordPress Theme settings and added external codes to it. Do make sure that you have kept track of these theme changes, both on the Theme’s file coding as well as Appearance settings before you make your change to the New WordPress theme.
These extra changes might be lost when you migrate to the new theme, and you might be required to add them again as well. So we highly suggest you note down all these extra code snippets and save them for further use. This includes Google snippets, Tracking codes and theme changes.
4. Keeping track of your Trackers
Using Google Analytics and Google snippets is a common thing for most websites and for obvious reason. However, people generally tend to insert Google snippet codes onto the footer or header files and forget about it mostly. When you use this direct method instead of using dedicated plugins, you lose these code snippets when you migrate to a new WordPress theme.
As a great Segway from the last point, do remember to keep track of these codes. You will require them later on the newer theme and might be required to insert them once again. So we highly suggest you check with theme files for any codes you might have added over time.
5. Testing Widgets, Plugins and other elements
When you migrate themes, you might have the chance to use new features and tools such as Pricing tables, 404 pages, search bars and new layouts. Before you start publishing content, it’s a good idea to check out all these features and test them if they function well for your website.
A wide range of WordPress Themes come with fancy new features and functionality. This includes widgets and external plugins as well. This obviously includes our plugins as well and like we said, it’s great to the idea to make sure your widgets and plugins, both new and old ones, work correctly on your new WordPress themes.
6. Check compatibility with multiple browsers
While your website might work perfectly on the browser, you’re testing it on. Currently, it might have issues with other website browsers as well. To make sure your content reaches every possible viewer, it’s a good idea to ensure that your theme and all its new changes are setups perfectly on all browsing platforms. This not includes Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge but also mobile platforms on different OS. Mobile platform testing is crucial for most websites these days. It is an important thing to make sure that your new theme functions the way it should on both PC as well as Mobile browsers.
7. Website speed optimization and Loading time
A good practice you should consider before changing and after changing theme is measuring your website loading speed. WordPress themes can highly affect the time it takes for your users to load your website. Optimally you want your new theme to load as fast or even faster the older theme used to. Consider using website tools such as Pingdom to check whether your website load speed is as optimal as you want it.
When you should keep or change your WordPress theme should be judged based on the loading time test.
8. Informing your viewers about the changes
Regardless of the size of your website audience, it’s a good practice to inform them of any changes you’ve made to your website. Whether it functions as a news website or a blog, people feel discomfort adapting to new changes, especially if they’re unaware of these changes.
Thus do remember to notify your viewers that you’re changing WordPress themes beforehand, preferably not at short notice. Similarly, do remember to collect their opinion and response to these announcements and changes itself. User interaction and response are the best ways to improve your website and their comments towards your website’s appearance can be quite important as well. So keep your ears open for any notable comments.
Thus, these were our tips for changing WordPress themes. Regardless of if you’re migrating to a free theme or a premium one, it can be quite essential to take note of all the important points we’ve listed below. Treat it like an event if you want as well. Changing WordPress themes is a sign of progress, often times good, and that you’re open to making changes to your system. Celebrate this change and welcome any comment you receive towards these changes to improve your website accordingly.
Similarly, some of the nifty simple changes you can do to your website without changing WordPress themes can be listed in some of our blogs below:
- How to embed Google maps on your WordPress website
- How to add a WordPress Print button to your website
- Creating a WordPress Helpdesk on your website