1 April

11 Tips to Flawlessly Change a WordPress Theme & Make Your Site Engaging

WordPress Theme Development

The availability of diverse themes and the ease with which you can change them are some of the key selling points of WordPress as a web platform. Choosing different themes according to changing needs or changing them are central to the WordPress theme development process. However, just changing the themes without considering the technical details. That’s where this post comes into play.

We’ll offer some tips that will change the way you look at WordPress themes. Read on for these exciting ways of using WordPress themes.

1. Don’t forget to document your current theme 

Often we add different elements to a WordPress theme whenever we find something interesting on the web. Since we make these changes on the fly, many of us forget the technical details of those changes. It’s, therefore, always wiser to go through your theme files and note down the additional coding and modifications you made before changing the current theme. You should also note down the load time of your current theme. This will help you compare the new theme with the current one. You can use tools like YSlow to test theme speed.

2. Backup your theme files 

Having a backup of your current theme means you don’t have to lose anything. It’s also useful in cases when you need something from the older theme. Backup all your theme files, plugins,
and the theme database. A host of backup plugins are available to store your WordPress theme.

3. Analyze Plugin Compatibility

Switching to a new theme is a significant change to your website or blog in terms of appearance and functionality. Make sure that the theme you’re planning to install is compatible with all the plugins you’re using with the current theme. Once the new theme is installed, check the functionality of the plugins again.

4. Select the Maintenance Mode 

Showing your user how and when you’re making the shift from one theme to another would be a bad idea. So always remember to turn on the “Maintenance Mode” while working on WordPress theme development or installing a new theme. Select this mode for the estimated time you’d need to install the new theme. Turn off maintenance mode as soon as you complete the installation process.

5. Use Sidebars Carefully

Sidebars are, perhaps, the most customized and attractive elements of WordPress-based websites. They let you use all kinds of contents in forms of texts, images, and links. Because all themes are different in terms of positioning of the sidebars. This is because all themes have different coding. Therefore, it’s very important to remember the coding for customizing the sidebars of your WordPress theme.

6. Test compatibility across browsers 

This is another must-do thing after you install a new theme. Test your new theme on all the major browsers, including Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. The new theme might appear broken or may not perform optimally on some browsers. You must promptly resolve such issues. Always ensure that the new theme has a consistent look across browsers and that it performs smoothly.

7. Thoroughly test every functionality and plugin

After you have installed the new theme, it’s critical to check that all the functionality and plugins work optimally. Testing every element is the best way to ensure it. Besides, now you can use the document of the older theme you created. Use that document to create the additional coding and modifications to your theme. Add all the extra functionality you use to have in your previous theme. Also, check for the widgets you used in the older theme.

8. Inform Users About the Change 

Ultimately, it’s the users for who you are putting so much effort to make the site/blog attractive. So inform them. You could write a quick blog post or a brief social media post about the new theme. Try to mention why did you change the older them and what users can expect from this new theme. Don’t forget to turn off the maintenance mode before informing users.

9. Get rid of unnecessary plugins

Most themes nowadays come with in-built plugins and additional features. So there’s no more any need to use plugins for many functionalities. Minimalism is the new trend in theme design. Follow it in your site’s performance and functionality as well. Only keep the plugins that are crucial to you the themes appearance and/or performance.

10. Analyze bounce rate 

Bounce rate simply tells you how engaging (or uninteresting) or site is to your target audience. Some themes are more useful than others when it comes to engaging users. Compare the bounce rate of your new theme with that of the previous one. If the bounce rate has decreased it means your new theme is a success already. However, the rate increases take required measures to fix it. You can also use WordPress support services for help. Maybe you need to ask users what went wrong. That brings us to the final tip of this blog.

11. Seek feedback from users 

Taking users’ suggestions and even constructive criticism is the most useful way to improve your website performance. It’s not just about changing a theme. It applies to everything related to the design and development of a website. Listen to the audience carefully and consider seriously the suggestions they give. If you find the suggestions complex, hire WordPress developers to make the improvements for you.

Changing a theme may appear a simple thing to do. But if you are serious about design, engagement, and other performance-related matters, you need to be very careful before you switch to a new theme. We hope this blog would be greatly helpful in choosing and installing a new theme. So, consider these points and install a great WordPress theme for your site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I create a custom WordPress theme?

Go to the Appearance button -> Themes page. Then locate the active theme and click on the ‘Customize’ button next to its title. Modify your WordPress Theme as desired using this page.

Q. How do themes work in WordPress?

WordPress themes are collections of files that work together to produce a graphical interface and the design of a website/blog. These files are called template files. Themes create and change a website’s appearance and add functional elements.

Q. Why are plugins used?

Plugins are software that act as an add-on to a web browser and gives the browser additional functionality. A plugin can allow a web browser to display additional content it was not originally designed to display. With the right plugin, you can significantly improve a site’s performance.

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