Do you have a WordPress theme that you used and now you want to add some advanced features to it to make it more attractive? For this, you are looking for a solution on how to change a WordPress theme safely without disturbing the entire content.
Whatever the reason you have, you can change it without breaking your website. In this article, I will give you a complete guide to it.
Although changing the WordPress theme is a time taking procedure and cannot be done in a few minutes. So understand each step patiently and apply it. I am pretty sure you can do it and even you will be satisfied with the result.
Now, you do not need a skilled full web developer; you can do it yourself. This procedure is time-consuming, as these can’t be done in a few minutes, so believe in the process, and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
So let’s begin.
Before changing a WordPress Theme, Be Careful!
Changing the WordPress theme is not pretty straightforward. For this, you need to consider many things before switching off the theme.
Let’s understand it with this, the theme-changing process is the same as sewing clothes. You have to take the measurements of the clothes first, then start the process of cutting.
Similarly, some existing theme content may not get along with the new theme.
Like if your existing theme has theme-specific shortcodes, a code that allows you to add custom functionality to your site. If your old theme included shortcodes that work specifically for that theme, they may not work properly with your new theme.
So before switching, it is important to know your existing theme compatibility and potential issues that can happen. So you do not panic when you face this kind of situation.
For this, backing up your website copying necessary codes and snippets, and putting the website in maintenance mode are important to change a WordPress theme process smoothly.
Following are some points that you need to do before starting to change the WordPress theme.
1. Compatibility Issue:
All themes are built on unique code, and these themes should be compatible with the plugins and custom code. If you select a theme that does not work well with the plugins and code, it can break the website.
2. Widget And Menu Settings:
If you choose a website that has different widgets and menu settings, then after switching them your widgets or menu becomes misplaced or may be shown up in the wrong place.
3. Page Layout:
Some themes have different page layouts, like sidebar placement or the number of columns on a page. Switching to a new theme with a different layout can change the previous layout of the theme.
4. SEO And Page Speed:
Some themes don’t work well with the SEO, and the speed of the page becomes slow, which can have a negative impact on the site ranking and user experience.
So preventing these situations from testing the theme before finalizing is much more important. So your time and intensive hard work do not go in vain.
5. Find The Theme That Resonates With Your Industry:
Each industry has different requirements and should be aligned with your brand and website theme. Like which themes work best for your brand.
The color and layout should be different like the fashion design industry has a different theme color and message conveying style than the health industry.
Choose a wordpress theme that is easy to navigate for the visitors and that is desktop and mobile-friendly.
6. Your Website Should Run On All Searching Browsers:
Your visitors can come from different search browsers like Bing, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. So make your WordPress site compatible with all browsers. So people can navigate to your website easily. For this, test your WordPress site on different browsers.
7. Plugin Support:
Choose a WordPress theme that is compatible with the plugin you’re using. As you may know, Plugins are add-on software components that give the WordPress site additional features and functionality. So some themes work well with certain plugins, and some do not.
There is a social media sharing plugin to share your content on other social media platforms, So use the theme that supports this plugin. Similarly, if your website has an online store or you want to add an e-commerce plugin, choose a theme that supports this plugin.
8. Page Builder:
Page builder comes with pre-built templates and modules that help to create a professional-looking website without any coding skills in no time. Some themes work with specific page builders, and some do not.
So it is also important to consider the page builder integrations before selecting the WordPress theme.
9. Backup Your Website:
Mishaps can happen, so taking preventive measures is a wise step before changing a WordPress theme.
10. Copy All Codes:
Copy all the old tracking codes so you can add them to the new WordPress theme if they have no built-in option for tracking codes. Some WordPress themes may have different settings for adding them.
There are also plugins available that you can use and again add the copied codes to the new WordPress theme.
11. Copy All Snippets:
Functions.php is a critical file in WordPress containing various code snippets and functions that control how the website works.
If your old WordPress Website is customized with additional features, then you might have code snippets in the Functions.php.
If you want the same function in your new WordPress theme, copy all these code snippets So you can add the same functionality to the new website. For this,
- Open the Function.php file in a text editor
- Copy the added codes
- Paste these codes on your computer
Copying the codes and snippets will help you in a smooth transition without losing any features.
12. Put It On A Maintenance Mode:
While changing the WordPress theme, it is more suitable to put your website in maintenance mode when visitors come to your website so they don’t disappoint or harm your brand.
How To Change A WordPress Theme In 7 Steps:
After going through some important preventative measures, now comes the actual process.
Step No 1. Staging A Website:
Setting up a staging copy of your website means creating a replica of your website in a separate location. The public cannot see this replica website, and you can use it to test changes without any fear of making a mess on the real site before starting to run live.
Many WordPress hosting platforms offer stage feature services. You can use it and test your WordPress theme and repair any issues before running live.
Step No 2. Choose The Theme:
- Go to the WordPress Dashboard
- Under the My Sites section click on the “Appearance” option
- Then click on the theme
You will see the free as well as paid themes. Free themes are typically available within the WordPress platform, while premium themes are purchased from various marketplaces or developers.
As I said before, scan themes that are compatible with your previous themes’ features then search among these themes by narrowing down your options.
Select themes according to the type of website you’re building, such as a blog, portfolio, or e-commerce. Filter WordPress themes by feature, layout, columns, subject, and style.
Keep in mind your brand identity and necessary visual elements. For this, review the demos to get an idea of how they will look and work for your brand.
Step No 3. Install The Theme:
The theme Selection process might take time, but after choosing the theme, installing is easy.
- On the little left side from the middle of the screen, you will see the option Add New, Click on it.
- You will go to the Add New Theme page
- Now Install the theme.
If you have a theme already on your computer, you can upload it to your WordPress site.
- Select the “Add New” button in the “Themes” section
- And upload the theme’s zip file from the computer to the website.
- Now install it.
Step No 4. Preview New Theme:
After installing the WordPress theme, customize it. So it resonates with your brand and style. Under the heading of the Appearnc, Click on the Customize button.
After reaching the customization page, bring the required changes in the website layout, design, and content. If required add the widgets, menus, headers, and other features to make it look more professional and improve the user experience.
After tailoring the website theme style, preview it.
The preview option is available on the right-hand side of the screen. Click on the change button, located next to the archive theme section. In this way, you will get an idea of how your website will look when you run the website live.
Step No 5. Activate The Theme:
After customizing and being satisfied with your desired theme, the next step is activation. Previewing the website is essential, and analyzing everything on the WordPress site works well as you intended.
Now click on the activate button. After activating your audience current visitors can see the new WordPress theme layout.
For premium version themes, after purchasing and installing the theme, you will get the key or link on a confirmation screen, use it for theme activation.
Step No 6. Go Live:
If your website is staged, then you can customize your website live. For this, you need to follow your web hosting instructions.
But remember that when you create a staging version of your website, After the staging site is created, any new content added to the live site will not be included. So recheck and confirm that you have transferred all content, codes, snippets, etc. Keep a copy of the old website as a backup as a precautionary measure.
Step No 7. Test Everything:
After changing your WordPress theme, things have not been done yet. Test out everything and confirm that everything is operating well as intended,
For this, check out these main points after changing the WordPress theme
- Check out your WordPress website on all different browsers like Safari, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.
- Add the tracking codes again that you copied before. And check out whether the website has good traffic or not.
- Analyze the loading time of the website. The faster the loading occurs, the better it will be for WordPress.
- Monitor bounce rate to analyze whether it is user-friendly or not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Change The WordPress Theme Without Losing Any Content?
Yes, you can change the WordPress theme without losing any content. Because WordPress separates the website content with design and layout. The wordPress theme only changes the visual appearance of the website without disturbing the content.
But you need to choose the WordPress theme that is compatible with your old website theme.
Does Changing WordPress Theme Affect SEO?
The theme has a major role in website performance. SO theme also has a powerful impact on SEO. like your website speed, metadata, infection, and website stability all depend on the WordPress theme.
If you choose the right website theme, it can further improve the website’s SEO and ranking in the search engine result pages.
Can I Use Multiple Themes AT A Time In WordPress?
Technically, you cannot use multiple themes simultaneously on a single WordPress website. WordPress allows you to use only one active theme at a time, which controls the design and layout of your website.
However, there are a few ways you can incorporate elements of different themes on your WordPress website. One way is to use a page builder plugin, which allows you to create custom page layouts using drag-and-drop functionality.
Changing WordPress themes might seem a daunting task, but if your new theme contains more advanced features than the existing one, it can give a new fresh look to your audience and also increase the site’s performance.
But you have to be careful and choose the theme wisely because themes have an impact on the website. Otherwise, you will lose the website data and traffic If you don’t consider it before.
I hope after reading this article, you will change the WordPress theme without any mishaps.
Wish you Good Luck!