An Essential Checklist For Changing Your Website's ThemeAs a beginner you are most likely at the stage of wanting to test out a number of different themes on your WordPress website. This is to see which one will give you that elusive combination of functionality and impressive aesthetics. Or you might want a theme that supports a whole plethora of plug-ins. Whatever the case, we are here to help with a detailed tutorial on what to do before changing your theme. Whether your website has been online for a long time or it is only a recent project, you still need to note down some important information before switching up the theme. Failing to do most if not all of the steps on this list could lead to unwanted issues and even spoil the look or functioning of your website. Here are some of what we feel are the key things to do before you make that theme change!
• This first thing you should do is check the load time of your existing theme and note it down. This is a vital step and one which many newbies overlook. The loading time of the pages on your website is a key statistic you should always bear in mind. Users get frustrated at slow loading times and are more likely to decide not to return if pages are laggy. What you need to do is pinpoint the exact speed your website is loading at with the current theme installed. This will be useful for later comparison with a new theme installed. If your loading time has doubled, you should reconsider changing the theme. PingdomTools.com is a good website for this and instead of just checking how fast the home page loads, you should test out a few different pages on your site for a more accurate picture of the performance of any theme.
• Double check that your new theme is ready for widgets. While the depth of knowledge needed to learn WordPress and the underlying code that powers it is incredible, most people find that customizing things like the sidebar widgets on their website incredibly simple. There is often a high level of customization in this area, with users adding their own personal texts, images or adverts to the sidebar. Let's say you have tested out a demo of a potential new theme and you love the look of it. Some people make the mistake of not checking that it is widget-friendly. If it turns out that your new theme is not compatible with widgets yet, all your precious customization will be lost. Don't risk losing it.
• Make a backup of all files. This is advice that is applicable across the whole gamut of computer applications. When changing anything important on your laptop or personal computer, you will often be presented with a warning that tells you to backup your files so that any changes resulting in poor performance or loss of functionality can be reversed. Backing up your theme files on WordPress is a simple process. Doing this means that if something goes wrong after the installation of a new theme, it will be easy to revert to your former functioning theme.
• Set your website to maintenance mode. This is a pivotal step in changing the theme of your website. Many beginners to running their own site go ahead and change their theme without warning any potential visitors of scheduled site maintenance. This is a misguided decision because if visitors click a link to your site that doesn't load, they may well assume it is broken and not bother returning. Changing to maintenance mode on WordPress is easy, and it is a good way of informing your visitors that the down time is just temporary.