With so many beautiful, optimized WordPress themes available, it’s no surprise why you may want to update your site with a brand new theme. The beauty of WordPress is that it allows you to change themes easily. However, there are steps you’ll want to take before changing the theme, otherwise you can end up losing elements that you didn’t intend to.
Below are the things you must do before changing your WordPress theme.
Take notes on your current theme.
If you run into problems when updating your theme, it will be helpful to have notes to look back on. This way, you can Google your problem and find the best solution. Take a few minutes to go through your theme files and note the additional code that has been added.
Make sure your theme is widget-ready.
Sidebars are probably one of the most customized areas of a WordPress site. You may have custom text, images, links, advertisements and widgets. If you’re using a widget-enabled theme, you’ll want to switch to another theme like this. If the theme is not widget-ready, you’ll lose all of your sidebar elements.
Don’t lose your tracking codes.
If you added your analytics tracking code to your file themes, you’ll need to make sure that you copy them. This way, you can add them to your new site after changing the theme. Some people forget this step and end up losing their codes.
Backup your files.
Backup all of your files, including your theme files, plugins and the database. Even though the switch should go over with no problems, it’s good to have everything saved. To make this step easier, install a WordPress backup plugin. Don’t forget to download the backup to your computer.
Turn on maintenance mode.
While you’re changing your theme, turn on maintenance mode for about 15-20 minutes. Visitors will see this message instead of a broken or under-construction site. Plus, having a beautiful maintenance page entices visitors to come back and see what’s new.
Test all functionalities and plugins.
Once your new theme is activated, you’ll want to check the functionality and plugins to ensure they work. Here are some things to test:
- Commenting process
- Single post pages
- 404 pages
- Archive pages
- Contact pages
Test your site in different browsers.
Because users will be visiting your site from different browsers, it’s important to make sure that it’s compatible with each one. Test your site out on the major browsers – Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome – and ensure everything looks good and works well.
Even after your theme change, keep an eye on how your visitors behave when they visit your site. If your bounce rate increases, there are probably things you need to fix. For a fast and smooth transition to a new WordPress theme, contact Magna Technology.