The fantastic of WordPress is that you can custom your website by changing the theme. The WordPress theme determines how your website appearance great. It offers a graphical interface via template files. It changes the way that is displayed without modifying the basic software itself. Changing the WordPress theme is much more than a few clicks, you should make sure the changing process smoothly. Here is a checklist you have to Prepare To Change WordPress Theme
1. Back up your website before you change WordPress theme
Backy up your website is very important. Before you take any changes to your website, you should take a backup. It makes sure your site will always active in all areas even when you have mistakes.
You need to take backup 3 important things: Plugins, Database, All of your theme files. There are two to take backup: Manually via Cpanel or take it automatically by using plugins or tools.
2. Test the theme locally
It is stupid to change them directly in a live environment. You can test your changes on the staging website. So you can edit all you want till you get the expected look without public.
3. Take Notes on Your Current Theme
You might custom your current them to make it as you want. You need to check the theme files and note all the additional code that you have added. It makes sure your website doesn’t break because you can copy and paste the changes. and You shouldn’t forget to check the load time of your current theme to compare with the new theme. Your new theme should not lower than your current theme because load speed affects your SEO ranking too. You can test the speed of different pages like Pingdom tools…
4. Check Analytics when you change WordPress theme
Don’t forget to check on your Google Webmaster, Google Analytics before you live. These tools help you know all the customer’s insights. All this information helps to continue writing valuable content. Be sure to copy the analytics coding into the new them is available. Understanding the behavior of site visitors provides valuable insights into how to generate more interest, how to retain visitors, and how to improve the website in the future.
5. Check new theme source
It is important to check the new theme source. The theme could come from a reputable source or free theme. Make sure you check these three important metrics:
- The theme should be recently updated
- It should have good ratings and reviews >3.5
- It should have a good number of active installations, the more the merrier.
6. Set up maintenance mode
Turn on the maintenance mode to avoid destroying the site in your customers’ eyes with a messy site or broken site
You can turn on the Maintenance Mode about 15-20 minutes or when your website ready. You can even leave a custom message explaining that your site is undergoing some changes with the help of some ‘Maintenance Mode’ or ‘Coming Soon’ plugins. This will tone down the disappointment of those visitors who were searching for your site.
7. Testing all functionality and plugins after changing WordPress Theme
After changing the new theme, let check all WordPress plugins to make sure they work as possible. Look at the note and see what function from the original theme that you would want to bring back to the new theme. Try out all the features including but not limited to the commenting process, 404 pages, single post pages, search, archive page, contact page, etc. Make sure all of your widgets are still there and are working. Check all plugins look good with the new theme.
8. Check the theme on different browsers
Test your website all browsers to avoid losing out to any audience. Check the site in all browsers to make sure it looks good on any browser as Firefox, Chrome, IE, and Safari. Actually, the site may look good on Chrome but be messy on Internet Explorer. You need to guarantee that your design seems to be good in the main browsers. It creates a positive appearance in your customers’ minds.
In addition, it is extremely important to check the appearance and responsiveness of new them on various devices such as laptops, desktop, mobile phone, or any devices. Ensure website loading are up to the desired level. Don’t forget it while testing.
9. Make those Third Party Items look pretty
If you are using a third party or Google Adsense, you should review your website again. Those icons or Google Adsense codes will be matching with the old them color. If you have a different color scheme for your new theme, then it is better to format those items to match the style. The same goes for Facebook, Instagram… like buttons. Let’s adjust those with your new color scheme.
10. Let your Users Know
Let your user know that your site has changed. You can write a blog or status on social media that informs the changes you did in detail. Customers can be a great tester and show you more issues that you did not find out and you will catch all the bugs. You also request feedback from your customers through email or Facebook, inbox…
11. Listen to Visitors and IMPROVE
You have to remember to take your customers’ feedbacks. Ask them to love a specific feature, or hate a specific feature. See what they would like to see improved, and then work on getting that done. Always find a way to improve the layouts to make it more user-friendly and improve conversion rates.
Hopefully, this article has brought to list of essential things You MUST DO before you change WordPress Themes
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