Things To Do Before Switching Your WordPress Theme
Along with other changes that you can do to your theme, switching the theme is the best thing WordPress allows you to do. Though changing a theme is an easy process, but you should always take care of some things before changing a theme because if the process is not carried out properly, you may lose your data or have to bear some other problems. In this article, we are mentioning some measures to take while switching your current WordPress theme for the smooth working of your site even after the switch.
Backup Your Site: The first step in switching the WordPress theme is taking the backup of your current theme which includes theme files, plugins and the database. This is necessary because in the process of switching to the new theme, if something goes wrong, you can always fall back to your current theme. If you don’t backup your current theme and something goes wrong, WordPress will set default theme as your current theme. Though this is a relief, but it is always better to take the backup of your current theme. You will be saved from the overhead of making changes to your website again.
You can either manually backup your theme or choose from the plugins available to keep your data backed up. If things don’t go well, the plugins just restore the old settings and changes you made to your theme.
Switch to Maintenance Mode: No one wants to show a broken site to the users. To hide the broken site from users, turn on the maintenance mode. You can switch to this mode for some time till the site works properly. You can even leave a message for your users telling them the reason behind some section of the theme not looking or working properly. This way they won’t get pissed off and will return to your site after the stipulated time.
Note Down the Changes: You may have changed the current theme for it to function in a certain way to suit your requirements. If you have done this by manually tweaking the CSS or PHP file, note down all the changes you have done to your current theme so that you can apply these same changes to the new theme for it to work the same way as your current theme.
Check your theme files and note down the changes you have manually made in it. Copy these snippets and paste it into a text file. Now paste the snippet from this text file in the function file of the new theme to make it perform the same functions as the old theme. This way you can easily bring the same changes to the new theme as that of the old theme without writing a single line of code again.
Keep RSS Feed Updated: If users have subscribed to your site then you must inform them about the theme change. They will not come to know about the new posts present on the RSS feed if they are not aware of the change. Update the RSS feed to make new posts visible to the users easily. Make sure not to ask users to again make new RSS feed as they may not do this and you may lose users.
Make One Change at a Time: Change one element of the theme at a time and check if it comes out properly. This will help detect the problem if anytime it arises. Once you are comfortable with the new theme, you can take big steps to make changes, but before that, approach slowly to tweak the theme.
Inform Users: Inform your users that you have changed the site. Ask them to share their experience with the changed site. Also ask them to inform you about any bugs that you had not got a notice of. They may come up with some serious bugs that you failed to see. Their reviews and feedbacks will help you improve your site for better performance. If you ignore their problems you may lose valuable customers, which are indeed important for a successful site.
Check Overall Functionality: Check if the plugins you have added are properly functioning or not. For this activate and install plugins one by one and then check if it is working properly or not. This way you will come to know which plugin is malfunctioning. You can then take the necessary steps for its proper functioning. Apart from plugins, check the functionalities of each section and part of the new theme. Troubleshoot problems of sections not working properly. The theme should be in proper format with widgets, search field, links, etc.adapted to the new theme seamlessly.
Browser Compatibility and Responsiveness: Check the new theme for browser compatibility and responsiveness. It is obviously not necessary that the users will be using the same browser as that of yours. So for the smooth loading of your site across all browsers, check the browser compatibility of your new theme. You can do this manually by loading it on different browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Opera etc. You can check if your site is cross browser compatible either through manual checkup or using the tools available.
It is mandatory for a site to be responsive so that it can adjust its layout across devices of different screen sizes. With websites receiving a significant amount of traffic through mobile data, it is a feature you must not compromise with. There are various tools to check the responsiveness of your site like the online emulator, Google’s mobile friendly test or through the browsers’ embedded tool.
Record Bounce Rate: Monitor the bounce rate of your site with the new theme. If the bounce rate is higher than the previous theme, then you need to take necessary steps. Make your site user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Switching a WordPress theme is an easy task if carried out properly taking the above measures into consideration. Changing a theme can sometimes be inevitably necessary. But it can be made simple by following the above steps.