Actions to take when changing your WordPress Theme

If you have been using WordPress for a while, chances are you have changed your theme a few times. However, if this is the first time you have used a WordPress theme, that is great news. One of the great things about using these types of themes is that it is very easy for new and advanced users to switch and manage themes. It only takes a few clicks, but changing themes is a little more than simply activating the new theme. 

Before choosing a WordPress theme, make sure it’s aligned with your sites’ design and your brand. It also must be a user-friendly theme.

You can use the following information to create a checklist of what you must do before you decide to change your WordPress theme. Creating a checklist is critical so you can make sure the process is completed smoothly. If you do not, you may lose certain features and elements that you did not want to leave out. 

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Make a Note of Your Current Theme

Most live WordPress help experts recommend keeping notes of the theme that you are currently using. Those who use WordPress themes will often search online to find solutions to issues they may be having with the theme. These solutions are usually found in snippets that are added manually to themes. Some examples of these snippets are functions.php and ones like it.  These changes are often not remembered because they were only done once and are long forgotten. You would want to write down all the codes that you have added to your theme since you installed it because you’ll need it later. 

Backup Your Files

If you’re planning to change your sites’ theme, it’s extremely important to backup your entire website. Most hosting services, and even the cheap WordPress hosting services in the market today allow users to perform an easy manual backup for your site. 

You can use paid or free plugins that will automatically backup your files, content, database, and themes. If you have a large website, you would like to consider doing a manual backup as well. 

Do Not Forget the Tracking

The majority of bloggers use a type of analytics tool such as Google Analytics. They generally do not include plugins for tracking codes. Instead, they will open up the footer.php and create modifications in the codes. 

If you want your theme to have a place for Google AdSense, it is important to copy and paste all tracks from the old theme to the new theme. This is something simple and easy to do, but many people forget to do so. 

Sidebars and Widgets

The new theme that you are installing must be ready for the installation of widgets. Some of the easiest widgets to install are sidebar widgets. This is also the area that is the most customized on a WordPress site. 

WordPress users make lots of changes to this area by:

  • Adding images
  • Adding links
  • Adding advertisements
  • Adding other widgets

If you are currently using a theme that is widget enabled and you switch to one that is not, you will likely lose all your widgets. However, this is not an issue if you are switching to another widget that enabled the theme. 

Check the RSS Feed

Feedburner is the most common tool used for RSS feeds in WordPress. Feedburner can be integrated by making sure default feeds are pointing towards Feedburner. There are several WordPress themes like Standard Theme that will allow you to integrate the feed directly from the settings. The feed must point directly to Feedburner or you will have two RSS feeds for your site. 

If this occurs, you will likely lose the count of a lot of subscribers if they were subscribed to a feed that no longer points to Feedburner. You will not lose subscribers, but you will not be able to see them in the count for Feedburner. 

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Testing Loading Time

Load time is also an important issue to be tested when changing your WordPress theme since it affects the user experience and the SEO of your site. Users are expected to see the content of a website as fast as possible, within up to 2 seconds time, otherwise, you might be losing them to competitors’ websites. Delayed in loading time can lead to conversion loss. Moreover, Search engines have started pushing slow sites down in search results and even penalizing those that are slow. 

The main causes of a slow WordPress site would be:

  • Bad WP Configuration 
  • Images size
  • External Scripts
  • Bad Plugins
  • Bad Web Hosting

You should check the load time of your websites’ home page and inner pages and compare it to the new one you are installing. You would want to be sure that it runs faster after changing your sites’ theme. If you’ll get major differences, you should improve the loading speed.

Browsers compatibility 

It’s very important to understand which browsers your audience is using and test your site on a few browsers since they have the tendency to render information differently, especially Internet Explorer one. 

Users Suggestions

Improve your site according to user’s suggestions of how they think your sites’ design should be improved. 

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