WordPress is a popular CMS that has managed to be everyone’s favorite; experts and beginners, alike. Its ease of use and super-supportive open source community have tremendously contributed to its ranking as a super beloved website building platform. Its wonderful Themes are yet another powerful feature of the platform that makes WordPress way more impressive.
Probably the best thing about WordPress is the ease of customization offered by the platform for non-coders. If you need functionality or a look, you can have it with a Theme; all with a few clicks and no code. If users are looking for a little help, the theme documentation and tutorial will guide them through.
In this blog post, we will talk about things that need to be taken care of while a user chooses to change the WordPress theme. This checklist will make sure that your site remains intact after you have enabled the theme changes.
Create a backup before everything else
Changing your WordPress site’s design is pretty simple, or it might seem so. Each theme has its own architecture and navigational features. A change in your site’s appearance will always give way to certain things breaking down on your site. These minor breakdowns can obviously be fixed, but a site owner must not entirely rely on that idea.
In case of an unfortunate event, while you are changing your site’s theme, things can go haywire, and your entire site might go down. So, always backup your website and its files before changing your site’s theme while you are setting up a blog with a new design or are making other major changes.
Notify your users of the change/Maintenance Mode
Changing your site’s theme has a substantial impact on the audience which will be in for a surprise. They will be looking at a fresh version of your site and will take a few visits to get used to the new appearance, the navigation, and the added functionalities when you eventually start blogging or posting. Hence, before you accomplish the deed, notify your users of the change by putting up a ‘maintenance mode’ page on your site while you plan to make the changes.
This will help the audience know that your site isn’t actually down or has gone missing and that it is undergoing some changes.
Retain the major elements
A change in your site’s theme will bring a couple of changes that you want to show. However, certain site elements are tricky and need to be retained after the theme change. Make a note and introduce them to your new theme as well so that the previous functionalities don’t go out of the window.
- WordPress PHP snippets make up for providing certain functions to your WordPress site. These snippets are codes that website users introduce to their theme’s functions.php or another file for bringing the features to work. Since these snippets are randomly added by site owners as and when the requirement is, the chances are that they might miss them out while changing their site’s theme. So, note them down and paste them into your new theme’s files to retain the earlier functions.
- Monetization code/Ad Code are codes offered by blog monetization services such as the Google AdSense. Bloggers and site owners paste these codes into their site’s HTML for displaying targeted Ads and get paid for it. Hence, making a change in the theme will eliminate the codes from the site’s HTML, and these codes will be required to be pasted into new theme’s HTML for keeping the monetization going.
- Google Analytics Code is for helping site owners track their site’s traffic, pages visitors interests, on-site timing, and more. Hence, to keep the analytics in a loop, just copy the analytics code into the new theme as well.
- Updating RSS Feed on the new theme is crucial if you don’t want to lose the subscriber count on your WordPress blog/website.
- Widgets, Sidebars, Color scheme, Links or Menus that need to stay. Make a note of them all and their positions on the blog/website so that they don’t get all messed up when you change the theme.
Assess your site’s speed after the theme migration
The most important thing to be considered while you are changing your site’s theme is the resultant speed of your website after the changes have been made. Choosing a speed optimized WordPress theme is a wise move. You can use tools like Pingdom to check everything out.
Remove irrelevant plugins
If you have decided on going with a new theme for your WordPress website, there definitely is a motive behind it. This new theme will impart certain functionalities and features to your existing site which might have been earlier provided through a particular plugin. If the case is so, you can uninstall and delete those irrelevant plugins that are no longer needed. This will cleanse the clutter and keep your site speedy as well.
Seek audience feedback
Your WordPress website is all about providing relevant and useful content to the target audience while ensuring a seamless user experience. A change in your site’s architecture, look and feel, navigation through the new theme can impact your site’s overall impression and performance, thereof. Since your audience is the best critic, you can open up a conversation with them and seek feedback about your new theme and its overall effect.
Be it WordPress or Joomla, this kind of feedback will be honest and will also rekindle the audience’s sentiment of engagement with your site.
- Make a note of other nifty changes that you had earlier introduced in your site’s previous theme.
- The new theme should be widget ready.
- Use a reliable source to download your new theme.
- Make sure that the new theme is responsive so that your site manages to work on all kinds of viewer devices.
- Ensure cross-browser compatibility so that the site performance on certain browsers is not compromised.
- The theme should go well along with the installed plugins and not misbehave with them as it will interfere with your site’s normal functioning.
- Keep monitoring your site’s Bounce rate after you have changed your site’s theme. This will help you improve your site’s overall user experience.
Speaking from personal experience, changing your site’s WordPress theme can be a whole lot of fun. The process is seamless, involve a few clicks, and is quite non-technical. With a checklist to follow, we believe that your site’s theme transition will be way more fun. So, if you have been looking to redesign the way your WordPress site looks and functions, go ahead with this checklist and make a move, today!