The beauty of WordPress is that you can change the outlook of your website complete by changing WordPress theme. And it can be done in a few clicks. We have already written a detailed article on how to change WordPress theme. Though it is a single click process, and you might already have switched themes but it is more than just switching WordPress themes.
Before Changing WordPress Themes
There are certain things which you must ensure prior to making the change. It is essential to ensure that the process goes on smoothly because otherwise, you might lose certain features of your website which were available in your previous theme.
First of all record all the customization you had made to previous theme. And then compare these with the theme you want to change to. See if all the features that you introduced with customization are already supported in the new theme or work out how you can make these changes to the new theme before going live with your WordPress website.
Check the page load times of the new themes and also compare it with your current theme. Check the load times of not only home page but also posts and category pages to make a proper comparison. You can use a tool like Pingdom for this.
Ensure that the new theme is widget ready because most webmasters make a lot of changes to the side bars. When you change your theme, the sidebar file will be rewritten, so you will need to activate the widgets afresh.
It is critical to backup our database and wordpress files before making the change. A good backup is your insurance against anything going wrong. In order to make the process easier and foolproof, I recommend that you consider a plugin like My WP Backup for taking and regularly scheduling backups of your website.
If you will need to make a few changes to the new theme to get all the features available in the previous theme, then it is wise to put your WordPress website in maintenance mode before changing WordPress themes. This will keep your users informed that you are busy maintaining your website.
More importantly, test all features, functionality and plugins to ensure that they work with the new theme as intended. Specifically check the following features:
- All plugins are working
- Widgets are there and working
- Single Post, Single Page, Homepage
- Commenting process
- Archive pages and Contact page
- If it is an eCommerce site then the ordering process and payment gateway also needs to be checked thoroughly
Changing WordPress themes is also the time when you need to prune your plugins if possible. Since there are many themes which add features that you might be previously doing with plugins. If the theme provides such features natively, then you may disable those plugins.
Check browsers compatibility with all major browsers. It is also important that you check that the theme is responsive and works correctly on mobile screens as well.
You create website for your users, therefore, it is also recommended that you write a post about the theme change and get feedback from your users. Make changes according to the feedback.