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7 things to do while changing WordPress themes

Developing a WordPress website by yourself could be a challenging task sometimes especially if you want to make some drastic changes to your website like changing its design. All those who want to give a new look to their WordPress website can easily find several free or paid themes available.

All you need to do is install and activate the desired themes however there are a few things to consider before switching your existing design theme to a new one. In this blog post, I am going to share a few checklists that a webmaster or web developer must consider before applying a new design/theme to your WordPress website.

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#1 Check: The Sidebars

If the existing theme of your WordPress website is widget-ready, then you must make sure that the new theme should also widget-ready as well. It is quite possible that most webmasters/web developers would customize their sidebars and use them as widgets which makes it easier for them to edit and call these sidebars in any of the areas of their WordPress website.

#2 Check: Custom Codes

Often, it happens with many WordPress users/webmasters that they tend to find out some patches & solutions for the issues with their themes. To implement these fixes, the webmasters or web developers would make some changes in the template or other PHP files. These changes must be noted down before switching the themes just to make sure that you can implement these changes with the new theme as well.

#3 Check: Tracking Codes

Tracking code is one of the important elements which you must make sure to have in your new theme pages as well. These tracking codes could be Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, etc. It is often noted that WordPress websites tend to lose the tracking codes after the theme switch especially if the webmasters or web developers have used the codes directly in the files and not through a tracking plugin.

#4 Check: Backup

Have you backed up your WordPress website before switching over the themes? If not, then you must back up your website first (including all the files, database, etc.) to make sure that you should be able to restore the website back just in case you face any issues with the new theme. There are lots of backup plugins available for web developers who want to back up their WordPress website regularly. In one of my previous posts, I shared a few of the best backup plugins for a WordPress website.

#5 Check: Browser Compatibility

Never assume that if your previous theme is used to support all browsers, your new theme will do the same way. The browsers especially Internet Explorer keep upgrading their versions frequently and to cope-up with the new versions is just to make sure that your webpages have been built using updated syntax. If you don’t keep a check on the browser compatibility of your website, it is likely that your analytics report will start showing an increase in the bounce rate. So, in order to retain your users for a longer period of time, you must make sure that your website is browser compatible.

#6 Check: Loading Time

In order to avoid any bad experience for your users, you must make sure that the new WordPress theme must be able to load as quickly as your old theme, if not faster than it. The quick loading speed of a website is good not only for the website users but for the search engines as well. The reason is very simple: Search engines love websites that load quickly.

#7 Check: 3rd Party Widgets

When you switch over your WordPress website theme, you must make sure that the 3rd party widgets like Google Adsense, Affiliate Ads, etc. still look good on your website. It is likely that you must have done some customization in your previous theme templates in order to make the 3rd party widgets look good and you may have forgotten about it.

So, when you switch over to the new theme, you must make sure that those widgets still look good on the website front and if not, you can refer to the old template files for reference and implement the same changes in the new template files as well.