A Simple Guide to Changing Your Existing WordPress theme

Do you plan to switch the WordPress theme of your website to a new one anytime soon? The process of changing WordPress themes is pretty straightforward as WordPress makes it easy for the user to switch and run themes on his/her website.

That being said, the fact that switching your current theme to a different one is a matter of pressing a few buttons is an understatement. There a few supplementary steps you ought to take and bear a few things in mind before and after you switch your theme. This is to ensure that the process goes along smoothly and you do not lose any of your site’s traffic and content.

Read on to for a step by step procedure on how to correctly change your WordPress theme.

Matters to Take Care of Before Changing Your WordPress theme

It is prudent to take a few preventive steps to stay on the safe side, before commencing the process of changing your theme:

Test the loading time of your website

Before switching your theme, be sure to confirm the loading time of your website. This way, you can easily compare the discrepancies in the webpage loading time after you change your theme.

Bear in mind that speed plays a pivotal role in user experience, so you must ensure that your new theme is quicker than the one you previously had. You should also test the loading time of the homepage of your site and a few of the inner pages as well. There are various tools available online like “Pingdom,” which can be used to find out your website’s speed.

Make a copy of the tracking codes

A few users tend to plug in their analytics tracking code to the theme file directly. There are WordPress themes as well, which allow users to plug in the analytics tracking code in the theme’s setting panel.

You have to make sure that you make a copy of all of these codes so you can plug them into your new website after switching your theme. You should install Google analytics using a suitable plugin to keep track of the codes.

Create a complete backup

It is always in your best interest to make a backup of the database, your images, posts, and plugins before switching your theme. Be sure to download the backup of your website on your computer before moving forward with changing your theme. This ensures you can recover your website without hassle if anything goes south while changing the theme.

Put website in maintenance mode

You should keep your website in maintenance mode while you are bringing about changes to its platform. Visitors might not get a good impression if they see an under construction website. You can use SeedProd for this purpose, which is a popular WordPress plugin.

Installing a New WordPress Theme

The next step after following the measures mentioned above is to install a theme, which you would like to use on your website. There is a bevy of paid and free WordPress themes available on the market. Some of the most reputable theme providers are Happy Themes, Studio Press, Themify, Theme forest, and many more.

Picking the Right WordPress Theme

Before website owners or designers change WordPress themes, they like to do their research. You have to spend some time to find out which themes will best suit your website. The design of your theme should match with your branding elements. For example, if you are a corporate business with a serious product, you would not want any cartoonish graphics on your website.

Similarly, if you are a cartoon and animation studio, you would not want a dull, bland, and corporate-ish theme for the website. That’s where the popularity of WordPress comes in. Since the platform is so popular around the world, you can get hundreds and thousands of WordPress themes from a variety of sources.

Here, you should know a little about Happy Themes. Happy Themes has proved to be one of the best websites for getting premium WordPress themes that serve a variety of industries. These themes are incredibly professional. More importantly, they have been designed not just for the aesthetic factor, but to boost the engagement of website visitors.

You can pick one from a variety of premium themes available from Happy Themes. With more than 11 years of experience in designing WordPress themes, the company can offer you more options than other new WordPress theme resources on the internet.

Once you have picked your desired theme, you will have to install it on your WordPress powered website. You can install a theme by either uploading your theme from your WordPress dashboard or installing a theme via File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

How to Switch Your WordPress Theme without Going into Live Mode

After the installation of your new theme, you are now ready to change your theme. However, it is advised that you test your new theme before adding it to your website. This way, you ensure that everything is functioning hunky-dory.

There are essentially a couple of ways to switch your theme without going into live mode:

Theme Switcha Plugin

The Theme Switcha plugin allows users the option to preview their new theme without enabling it.

Firstly, you have to install and enable this plugin. Then, head over to Settings->Theme Switcha. On the settings webpage, you have to check the box which says “enable theme switching” and then save the changes you just made. The Theme Switcha plugin will now show all the themes which you have installed at the bottom of this webpage. You can now select your new theme to preview it in a different tab on your browser.

Live Preview

WordPress allows users to preview a theme on their website without switching it. This is by default mode. Navigate over to Appearance ->Themes to do this. On this webpage, you can observe all of the installed themes on your website. You have to move your mouse cursor over the theme you would like to preview and press the “Live Preview” button. In this way, you can test your theme and ensure all aspects are working smoothly.

How to Change WordPress Themes on the Live Website

After the testing part of your new theme, you can commence the process of changing your theme on the WordPress powered website.

Head over to Appearance->Themes. On the webpage that pops up, you have to move the cursor of the mouse over the theme you want and then press the Activate button to switch the theme. You can now observe how your new theme looks by going to your website’s homepage.

After Changing Your Theme

After changing the WordPress theme on your site, there are certain tasks you have to do prior to taking your website off maintenance mode.

Check compatibility with all web browsers

Occasionally, browsers show certain elements differently. For instance, a WordPress theme might look slightly different on Firefox than it does on Google Chrome.

It is strongly recommendable to test out your website on all major browsers like Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and of course, Google Chrome.

Testing your site

Right of the bat, you have to ensure that all the widgets, plugins, and other functionalities are working fine without any glitches. You must dedicate adequate time to test out your site and examine all the things like the images, posts, the comments, and the contact section (This is essentially a form through with visitors correspond with the person(s) who run the website).

Insert the tracking code

After testing your website and checking for compatibility across all the major browsers, you need to plug in your analytics code to your website.

You can insert the analytics code with MonsterInsights, which is a premium WordPress analytics plugin. In this way, you can correctly set up the analytics and observe the website statistics inside the WordPress dashboard itself.

Turn the maintenance mode off

You have to switch the maintenance mode off on your website so that it can operate live.

To do that, head over to SeedProd->Settings. On this settings page, check the “Disabled” tick box and then click “save all changes” to disable maintenance mode.

Test the load time of your website

After changing the theme, you have to utilize the Pingdom tool again. You will gauge the load time of your homepage and a few of the inner pages as well. Then, compare these numbers to the loading time of your web pages when your previous theme was up. Make sure there are no significant discrepancies. You can reach out to your theme provider’s customer support if there are noticeable differences in the loading times.

Finally, request feedback for your website

After the theme has changed and is up and running, you should request the users to leave honest feedback and suggestions on how you can further improve the aesthetic appeal of your website. You can make use of online polls and survey forms to collect inputs from various users. This will enable you to get a clear picture of which elements they would like to see enhanced.

Final Word

Most individuals will be inclined to change the themes of their websites at some point. Hence, it is incredibly useful to familiarize yourself with the process of switching your WordPress theme with a new one. This way, you will be equipped with all the correct knowledge when you are changing your theme.

The procedure of switching themes itself is fairly easy. However, going about it correctly makes sure that your website functionality with the new theme is just as impressive, if not better than it was with your previous theme.

In a nutshell, the steps required to change WordPress themes are as follows:

  • Purchase the theme you like for your website.
  • Install the said theme
  • Preview it via the WordPress Customizer. You do this before activating the theme.
  • Activate the theme to make it go live on your website.
  • Sit back and admire the action as it unfolds!

In the end, avoid any hasty decisions. Take your time researching the right themes, and pick one after a proper thinking process. You can’t keep changing your website themes too frequently because doing so directly impacts your branding image.

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