A platform that began as blogging oriented, WordPress has now devolved into something much more. More than 30% of websites on the internet are currently powered by WordPress. It has not remained as only a blogging tool. Instead, it has become a full-fledged Content Management System and website builder.
Popularity of WordPress
One of the most important reasons behind the popularity of WordPress is the ease of customization that it provides. It takes only a few clicks to completely refurbish a website or blog.
The theme of your website or blog is one such thing which helps you attract your audience’s attention. This means it is important to keep updating the theme look from time-to-time.
Sometimes the ease of customization land you in trouble as you may unintentionally cause repairable damage to your website or data if you do not have a proper understanding of how to change the theme of your WordPress account safely. To help you with it, here is a compilation of important steps to ensure the smooth change of the WordPress theme.
Keep Track of your Current Theme
After creating the WordPress account, people keep on changing it from time to time. And with time, you might forget about all the changes you’ve made. Before changing the theme, you should check all the previous edits and additional codes that you added and note them down. This will help you if in case you lose the additional code. After every edit, keep updating the list. You can also compare the two themes by checking the load time of the current theme.
Pay Attention to the Sidebar
Users are generally inclined to use the sidebar widget more and customize it to suit their needs. In case your theme enables the use of widgets, you should check the widget compatibility of the new theme that you intend to use. If it does not allow widgets, you will lose all the modifications in the sidebar.php file. You should ensure that you add the existing codes in the sidebar of the new theme.
One of the things that are overlooked very often, is the tracking code. Whether you use the tracking Code by Google Analytics or from some other source, it is important to copy it into the new theme. You can also use plugins to automatically add the code if you don’t already use it.
If you use FeedBurner to get analytics on the subscribers by integrating FeedBurner with your WordPress account, you would need to choose a theme that would enable you to continue integrating FeedBurner directly from the setting panel of the theme. Once you do that you should also ensure that the feed is directed to FeedBurner in order to avoid duplicate feeds.
Keep a Backup of Your Site
To prepare for a worst-case scenario, you should always have an updated backup of the database, files, theme, and plugins. There are many easily available software that can help you create the backup for your full site without any hassle. Regularly creating backups would keep you secure from any sudden data losses.
Use the Maintenance Mode
Before changing the theme, turn on the maintenance mode for the duration that would take you to ensure that the site is running properly. This would prevent users from seeing a broken site. Once the changes are done and the new theme is activated, you can turn off of the maintenance mode with none the wiser.
Test Your Site
Now that the new theme is activated and you have gone through all the efforts to ensure that the site does not lose its functionality, you should add the codes and plugins which were lost during the transition. The notes created initially will act as a reference.
Once that is done, try the various features and pages to check that they are in working condition. Also, make sure that the plugins look pleasant with the new theme.
Compatibility Across Browsers
Different browsers present things differently. You need to ensure that your site’s theme is compatible across all major browsers. Make sure that the theme does not break especially in that browser which is popular among your audience.
Pay Attention to the Third Party Items As Well
Once the theme, plugins, and widgets are coordinated, start customizing the third party items to match them with the current theme’s color scheme.
Inform Your Audience
There is a significant chance that the new theme will have several bugs. You can either spend hours rechecking and modifying to get rid of the bugs or you can simply inform your users through a blog or tweet or such, and ask them to visit your site and report any bugs that they may encounter along with the screenshots.
This will give you the reports of how your site is performing across various devices and platforms. You can then fix the issues yourself or ask the developers to fix them.
Organize the Plugins
WordPress has started incorporating the commonly used plugins into the themes. You may end up with multiple copies of the same plugins on your site. Organize the plugins and delete those are not necessary.
Take Time to Understand the Theme
Do not start by making drastic changes. Take the time to understand the new theme and learn your way around it by changing smaller elements and tracking its behavior across all browsers. This will help you to understand the behavior of the theme so that you can accurately predict the consequences of the changes in the more important elements and work accordingly.
Compare the loading time of the new theme with that of the old. Try to streamline the loading time as much as possible without affecting the functionality of the site.
Themes affect the way that the users interact with your site. If the theme proves to be difficult to navigate, users would not invest their time. Therefore, you should track the bounce rate after changing the theme, and in case of an increase, you need to figure out how to attract the audience and keep them invested.
Finally, always pay attention to the feedback of the users whether it is positive or negative. Have your users take surveys or polls about their opinion on the new site as well as what improvement they would like.
Use these steps to keep your site updated, relevant, and looking good without losing any data in the process! Need WordPress developers to change your theme, reach out to Primotech’s experts here!