Before switching WordPress themes, there are 12+ things you MUST DO
Are you unsure of what to do before switching WordPress themes?
You must follow a few crucial procedures while changing your WordPress theme in order to ensure that everything goes smoothly and that no crucial information is lost.
We’ll go over the most important steps you need to do before switching WordPress themes in this check list.
Every website owner must make a significant decision at least once every few years, which is whether to change their theme.
Of course, you need to determine your motivation for switching and select a theme that meets all of your requirements.
If you’re seeking for recommendations, check out our lists of the best WordPress blog themes and top WordPress multi-purpose themes.
Following the below checklist will help you avoid losing any content or data once you’ve decided on the new theme and are ready to make the transfer.
1. Note Any Customizations Made to a WordPress Theme
Some WordPress website owners will directly add code snippets to their theme files to personalize their WordPress themes. Code snippets can be a terrific method to add to your website additional features that aren’t included in the default theme.
However, it can be simple to lose track of those snippets if you add them straight to your theme files.
Make sure you go through your current theme files and make a note of all the extra code that has been included if you or a web developer performed these changes.
We always advise using a site-specific plugin or a code snippets plugin for adding code snippets in the future. This way, even if your theme changes later, you can still use those snippets. See for more information.
2. Get Up-to-Date Performance Statistics for WordPress Themes
You should evaluate the performance and loading time of your present website before changing the theme. This enables you to compare any variations in the page load speed after changing themes.
You need to make sure the new theme is faster than the one you’re currently using because WordPress speed and performance are crucial to user experience and WordPress SEO.
Using a WordPress speed testing tool, such as the free website speed testing tool from IsItWP, you can quickly verify your existing website speed metrics.
3. Note the Sidebars and Widget Areas of the Current Theme
Use sidebars to add various widgets to your website, such as popular articles widgets, social media buttons, and email newsletter subscription forms.
If you switch themes, your widgets can suddenly move or vanish from your site because every theme has a different set of widget regions.
For this reason, before switching themes, it’s crucial to keep track of the widgets you’re utilizing in your WordPress sidebars and any other widgetized portions of your website. After switching, you can easily recreate them.
Make careful to copy any custom code or shortcodes you’ve made and save them in a secure location so you can use them with your new theme.
4. WordPress tracking codes should be copied
A lot of people will directly include analytics tracking code in their theme files. You can also add tracking codes straight to your theme options panel with some WordPress themes.
The frequent error is to ignore these crucial tracking codes.
Make sure to copy all of the tracking codes from your current website that you use for analytics, advertising, and other purposes so you can apply them to your new website.
We advise utilizing a plugin like MonsterInsights to install Google Analytics in WordPress if you want to make life simple for yourself.
You can rely on MonsterInsights to ensure that your analytics won’t be interrupted or data lost. Additionally, you’ll gain access to extra tracking features like tracking link and button clicks, WordPress category and tag statistics,
5. Before switching WordPress themes, there are 12+ things you MUST DO
Regularly backing up your website is always a smart idea. You should make a thorough backup of your posts, pages, plugins, media, and databases before changing your theme.
Using a WordPress backup plugin to make a backup of your complete site is the simplest way to accomplish this. See our tutorial on using UpdraftPlus to backup your WordPress website for more information.
This will make sure that if something goes wrong when switching themes, you can quickly restore your website.
6. Turn on maintenance mode for your WordPress website
It’s usually a good idea to put your website into maintenance mode while making updates to it. You can provide your visitors a helpful notice when your site is in maintenance mode.
This helps stop users from viewing your website while it’s still under construction or only partially done.
We advise utilizing the SeedProd plugin to accomplish this. Over 1 million websites use the greatest drag and drop WordPress page builder.
It enables you to quickly design personalized 404 pages, coming soon pages, landing sites, and maintenance mode pages.
7. Test All Functionality and Installed WordPress Plugins
Make sure you have the same functionality as before and that all of your previous plugins work with your new theme once you’ve activated a new WordPress theme.
The code snippets that you copied from your old WordPress theme files can be reinserted first. See our beginner’s guide to copying code snippets into WordPress for more information.
Use your site’s features that are driven by WordPress plugins for a while after that. See our beginner’s guide to troubleshooting WordPress issues if you’re currently seeing any errors.
8. Test the new WordPress theme on different devices and browsers.
You can ensure that your new website appears excellent across a range of browsers, screen sizes, operating systems, and mobile devices by conducting cross-browser testing.
The majority of people who visit your WordPress blog will presumably do so using Google Chrome. However, hundreds of millions of people throughout the world continue to use other web browsers like Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, and more.
If one of those browsers can’t properly display your new website, you’re losing out on traffic and visitors.
To see how your website appears on various browsers and devices, you can fortunately use a variety of cross-browser testing tools.
9. Remove any outdated plugins from WordPress
When you install some WordPress themes, plugins are already installed. Sometimes you won’t need them, but other times they may be useful.
To check if your theme has included any new plugins, go to Plugins > Installed Plugins.
Additionally, now is an excellent moment to review all of your installed plugins to determine which ones should be removed.
See our selection of the essential WordPress plugins if you’re seeking for high-quality plugins to go with your new theme.
10. Make Users Aware That Your New Website Is Now Live
You can exit maintenance mode when you’re ready to publish your updated WordPress theme.
Additionally, you ought to contact your readers and inform them of your newly launched website. This will help to keep your subscribers interested and coming back to your site to view the new design while also preparing your audience so that they are not confused by any significant design changes.
We advise informing your audience through push alerts, social media, and your email newsletter.
11. Test Your New WordPress Theme’s Loading Speeds
It’s time to perform another speed test after your new theme has gone online and you’ve completed the previous stages. Your redesigned website should be quicker and perform better on your speed test.
Use the same website speed tool you did earlier and compare the findings to accomplish this.
Check to see if you have any caching or firewall settings that could be the source of the dip if the new theme is slower than your old theme. Also, run many tests and test from various locations.
12. Keep an eye on the bounce rate of your WordPress website
The percentage of visitors who arrive on your website and leave without viewing a second page is known as the bounce rate. A high bounce rate indicates that you were unsuccessful in persuading visitors to remain on your website long enough to take action.
Following a theme change, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your bounce rate. Some themes just make it easier for visitors to navigate across your website.
If your bounce rate has increased since changing themes, you should take steps to reduce it. This can be accomplished by enhancing your navigation menus, including adding more internal links, a popular posts widget, and other things.