Category Archives: Wordpress

Your Checklist to Changing WordPress Themes

Switching themes as a blogger is no biggie – we have all done it at least once in our lives. If you have not, all the better, you get to begin with this tutorial and avoid all the mistakes others before you have made.

The awesome thing about changing themes in WordPress is that it is very easy – it is literally just a few clicks and you are good to go. Probably explains why some bloggers go at it on a weekly basis, not that there is anything wrong with that.

If you’re blogging for more than just fun and you actually have or are looking for a brood of followers for business purposes, changing your theme should be well thought out and executed so that you come out ahead. You could lose certain vital elements for instance or have a couple of people frowning on your choices.

Here is how you should go about changing your theme in WordPress for best results:

  1. Write down what you see in your current theme – as you find solutions to your thematic shortfalls and add them manually, make note of them as you go, because they will likely not be there on your new theme. Copy the additional code blocks somewhere and name them appropriately.
  2. Remember the sidebars – because it is so easy to customize, many users make tons of changes on their sidebars in WordPress. Ensure that the new theme is widget ready so that you do not lose your custom texts, advertisements, links, images or lists. Changes to the theme will also overwrite your modifications to the sidebar.php portion of your old theme.
  3. Google Analytics – If you are using any Analytics tool, make sure to copy and paste your tracking code into the new theme you select. Some themes may have a spot dedicated to the AdSense code. Remember any modifications made to the footer.php file.
  4. RSS FeedBurner – Many of the premium themes will allow you to integrate your current FeedBurner from the settings panels. Make sure to direct your feed to FeedBurner or you risk having two feeds for your blog – one for Feed Burner and the other from WordPress RSS feeds.
  5. Backup – create a backup file for all your theme files, the database and your plug-ins; you have nothing to lose by it anyhow. There are backup tools to help you carry out full-site backup, and its’ a worthy precautionary measure, in case you get to the other side and hate it there.
  6. Maintenance mode – at the time of making the switch ensure to have maintenance mode running to that users do not see a broken site. This will give you time to test everything and once done, you can activate the new site.
  7. Testing – post-activation, ensure that every plug-in and all functionality was retained and operational. Your notes from step 1 will be handy with this.
  8. Cross-browser compatibility – test the site on every browser that exists and that you can access. Your site should especially work on Internet Explorer. Ensure it looks good everywhere.
  9. Beautify the third-party items – if using Google AdSense for instance, customize the links to fit into your current theme. The same goes for the social media share buttons.
  10. Notify the users – once you come back on (and before you go off) let your users know that you are making changes and therefore you may still be working on technical issues they encounter. There is no way you will be able to catch all the bugs with in the 15-20 minutes you are on maintenance mode.

This is not exhaustive, but it will help you a lot. After that, listen to user feedback, and improve on the aspects the users mention.

Bio

Denis White is an experienced and full-time technology blogger. For more information on the best WordPress themes and on how to find or customize themes for your blog click here.