There are a few important things to do before and after changing a WordPress theme. There are thousands of WordPress themes available.
In case you don’t know how to change a WordPress theme, check out our post.
So let’s understand, why would one wants to change their WordPress theme.
Why Would You Want To Change Your WordPress Theme?
A theme is an integral part of any WordPress website. It is what gives your website an appealing graphical user interface (GUI).
But not every theme will be as per your specification i.e. the way you want it to be.
The default theme that WordPress installs in every website is actually quite plain for many people’s liking.
It means that everyone who own’s a WordPress website gets the same default theme.
Just imagine how boring it would be if each & every WordPress website looks the same.
Also, one important part of any theme is it’s features. Different themes have different features.
You may not find the features in your default WordPress theme, that you are looking for.
In such a scenario, you should find a WordPress theme, which has all the features that you want.
Things To Do Before And After Changing A WordPress Theme
We will have a look at the things to do before and after changing a WordPress theme.
But first, let’s have a look at things to do before changing a WordPress theme.
Things To Do Before Changing A WordPress Theme
Important things to do before changing a WordPress theme are given below,
Take A Back Up Of You WordPress Website
Taking back up of your current website is the first & the most important thing that you should do before doing anything else.
Changing the theme might cause problems in the functionality of your WordPress website. This might result in your website not working properly.
To correct the problem caused, you will have to spend time & energy on it & there is no guarantee that the problem will get solved.
So, its better to take a back up of the current version of your WordPress website before you make any changes to it.
Make A Note Of Any Theme Customizations
You might have made a few customizations to your current theme. Take a note of all such customizations that you made.
When you install a new theme you can re-apply all those customizations.
Say for example, you have removed the website url field from your WordPress comment form.
For removing this field you must have installed a plugin or added some code.
If you have installed a plugin then write down the name of that plugin & make a note of all the settings.
If you have added a code then make a note of that code.
By doing this, you will be able to re-install the plugin & re-apply all the settings or simply paste the same code back in your newly installed WordPress theme.
Make A Note Of All The Tracking Codes
Say, you are using Google Analytics in your WordPress website to track your website’s traffic.
To use Google Analytics, you must have pasted a piece of code given by Google in the header.php file of your WordPress website.
Make a note of that code because once you have installed a new theme, that code will be over written & you won’t be able to track your website’s traffic any longer.
In fact, make a note of all such codes that you use for tracking purposes, so that you can paste those codes back in your website after you have installed a new theme.
Make A Note of Your Sidebar Widgets
As you may know that you have different widgets such as a “search functionality”, a “subscription form” or latest comments on the sidebar of your WordPress website.
Make a note of such widgets because once you install a new theme few of those widgets might get removed from the sidebar.
If you have a list of the widgets, you can very easily add those back on the sidebar.
Keep Your WordPress Website In Maintenance Mode
When making changes to your WordPress site, it’s always a good practice to put your website into maintenance mode.
By doing so, your audience will know that the website is temporarily under maintenance & will be live soon.
This will prevent your audience from being put off by a website under construction.
Once you have your website in maintenance mode, install a new theme.
Also check out, how to make your 404 page more appealing.
If you are looking for free themes check out, 9 Free WordPress Themes That Are Awesome.
Things To Do After Changing A WordPress Theme
We will now look at a few things to do after changing a WordPress theme.
Check The Functioning Of Your Website
After you have changed your theme, the first thing that you should do is to check whether your website is functioning properly.
Sometime changing a theme can break your website. And, that’s why we mentioned earlier that you should keep a back up of your website.
Check, if the website is visible & loading properly. Also check whether all the installed plugins are working correctly.
And don’t forget to check if the new theme is working properly across all the browsers such as Chrome, Firefox etc. & devices such as Android smartphones, iPhones etc.
Customize Your WordPress Theme After Changing It
Once you have checked the functioning of your website & plugins, you can now customize the theme as per your specifications.
You can get these customizations from the notes that you made before changing the theme.
Simply follow all the instructions from the notes & re-apply the customizations to you new theme.
You can customize your theme by clicking on the Customize Your Site button from your WordPress Dashboard.
Add The Tracking Codes To Your Website
As discussed earlier, you must have made a note of all the tracking codes that you use on your website.
You can paste the codes in the same location as they were before.
For example, the tracking code for Google Analytics should be pasted where it was before i.e. the header.php file.
You open the header.php file from your WordPress Dashboard.
Go to Appearance => Theme Editor to make the changes.
Open your header.php file & paste the Google Analytics tracking code between the <head> </head> section of your header file.
Do the same for all the tracking codes.
Adding Back The Missing Widgets From Your Sidebar
If any of the widgets have disappeared after you changed the theme, then, add those widgets back on your sidebar.
You can add those widgets by clicking on Manage Widgets link from your WordPress Dashboard.
Test The Speed Of Your WordPress Website
Upon re-configuring your WordPress website with all the customizations post change of theme, check for the speed of your website.
The reason you need to check the speed of your website is because some themes can really slow down the website.
So, check if your website is working with the same speed as before.
Changing your WordPress theme to your liking is the obvious thing to do as it adds a personal touch to your website.
Once you are done re-applying all the settings, making all the customizations, adding all the tracking codes, checking the working & speed of the website, you can go live & inform your audience that your website is live again.
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