If you ever worked on WordPress, then you probably know about switching themes. If you haven’t then, this article may be a life saver for you. The wonderful part on WordPress is that it becomes very easy to change themes. Normally it takes few clicks to jump into a new theme.
We have gathered 15 checklist here to guide you before changing the WordPress themes. The steps are a bit tricky to make sure everything goes smooth. Do take note of all the necessary points we’re mentioning in the article.
Make sure to note everything about your current theme
You may know majority of WordPress users finds solutions to their problem on web. Therefore, most of them use snippets using it manually on functions.php file. Once done they don’t remember it any longer. Although, this is not what you should do. Go through your theme file and check for the changes you made. If you want to check the load speed of your page, you can check it from Pingdom Tools efficiently.
Be Aware of the Sidebars on your theme
Please make sure either you’re new theme is widget ready or not. Sidebars are really easy to use hence they are used by millions of people in wordpress. Sidebars can be well customized in a WordPress theme. Everyone does tons of changes to sidebar to make the overall theme looks good. If you’re planning to take a widget enabled WordPress theme. Take a note of everything you do.
Don’t lose Tracking
Majority of bloggers use either Google Analytics, Adsense or some other services. Some of them use the footer.php file to implement and modify the codes. As a whole when you’re switching the theme it might be necessary to implement the tracking code again. This is commonly a overlooked thing by most of the users.
Do you work with RSS feeds
If you use FeedBurner for you WordPress RSS Feeds. One of the best thing integrate your Feedburner in WordPress blog so that subscribers can easily subscribe for your feeds. A lot of theme like Genesis and Standard theme allows you to properly manage the FeedBurner from the setting panel. You should look at some of the basic things like WordPress natively provides a RSS Feed. If that may be the occasion, you might see two RSS Feeds which will be difficult for both you and analytics to know. So, use FeedBurner to make things simple for your subscribers.
Backup your files
Backup is always a good practice. You’ll never lose any data if you backup in timely manner. As a precautionary measure. You should always backup everything such as theme, database, files and plugins. We recommend you to use BackupBuddy for taking backups. We personally tested this one and it worked beautifully. Also, create a full website backup if you want with the help of this plugin.
You should not be worried when your user see a Error page when making a switch to new theme. This may seen as broken site or such but it would hardly last for 15-20 minutes for Maintenance work to go on. Once you’re finished up with Maintenance work. You’re good to go.
Testing all the Functionality and Plugins
Once you have installed and activated new theme, make sure to retain and take a look at all the plugins and their functionalities. Get a notepad or something to track the plugin’s functionalities if any plugin losses its functionalities or stops responding to the new theme. Deactivate the plugins and find a new alternative for that plugin. It might be necessary to check out all the widgets you have.
Cross Browser Compatibility
It’s necessary to test your new theme on various browser. Each browsers render things differently. Specially IE. You might face browser incompatibility they break up completely when used with IE. So, thats a CON but you can check it for yourself and refrain using such theme which has browser incompatibility.
Make sure those Third Party items looks pretty
If you’re using any third party ads on your website you might need to consider visual format text, font changing option to make sure its blend together nicely with the theme. Same goes with the social sharing buttons. Adjust those with new colors scheme.
Let’s user know about Everything you do
You’re turning off for maintenance mode! Lets users know about it. A quick blog can help your followers to know that you’re checking things for 15-20 minutes. Loads of bloggers ask their readers for bug testing. Well this may come handy when you’re not able to find out a issue pertaining to you website. You may also contact the theme devs but they will only help you out if got a paid theme for yourself. As, you know support services are really bad for FREE ones!!
You might know these days most of the themes comes preloaded with SEO features like one we use Genesis or any other theme. The concept is simple but one thing you should make a note about Plugins can actually makes a real difference and do stuffs a way better. We recommend you to use more powerful plugin like Yoast SEO. Make your choices wisely.
Take baby steps while Changing
If you’re working with a new theme, you can do it lot better by implementing smaller changes on your website that behaves good with all browsers available. Once you’re fine with the basic you can go with some advance tweaks to make and structure your blogs to look it more professional.
Test Loading Time
This is crucial if you’re using a new theme. Checking website loads speeds of your website can help you making right decision finding out any issue and disabling any plugins or codes which might impact the page loads that leads to reader disengagement or high on bounce rate. See what you can do to improve the load time.
Monitor Bounce Rate
After you switch themes, you need to make sure that you’re monitoring all the stats. Majority of themes performs well and when it comes to readers engagement. You should watch closely on bounce rate percentage. If you find the previous theme to work well, you should switch it back or probably work on the new theme you just installed.
Listen to your readers, and Take suggestions
Anyhow, if you wished to change the theme your reader might look at it hoping for a good navigation and specific features you added on it. Communicating with your readers might come a crucial factor when you need to know about the changes you made on your theme. You can go for fb posts, take surveys or polls to see what users suggests you. It will equally important to take suggestion on chin to help your website getting a positive review.
Do you have a checklist you can share with us. We would love to hear and update on our blog for sure. Comment down anything you might want to share with us.