Switching your WordPress theme, especially when you have functionality built through the theme widgets and theme shortcodes, requires careful consideration for a safe transition. If your current theme is deeply integrated into your site’s functionality, changing the theme can potentially disrupt your website. Switching themes safely involves more than just a few clicks, as you need to ensure compatibility and avoid any issues that may arise during the transition process.
By following basic procedures and precautions, you can minimize any potential issues and ensure that your website continues to function smoothly even after the switch. Alternatively, you can hire theme migration services such as CMSHelpLive to make the overall process easy for you.
Process to switching theme in WordPress
Take a moment to explore some of the most sought-after free WordPress themes available for your website:
You’ll notice notable stylistic variations among these options. Hence, it’s unsurprising that changing to a new theme often disrupts both the appearance and functionality of your site. In the best-case scenario, the new theme may only affect a few elements, which you can promptly repair or revert. However, the deeper integration your theme has with your website’s design, the higher the odds that transitioning to a new one will result in significant consequences. These are some of the consequences that you might face due to switching WordPress themes without changing content:
- Affecting the core features of your website.
- Messing with the navigation bar, contact forms, or particular sections within the pages, etc.
- Disabling form shortcode working in your previous theme.
- Removing theme-specific widgets on your pages.
- Changing the schema data of the pages.
Given the unique nature of each website, it’s essential to select the theme that aligns best with your site’s requirements. Nonetheless, understanding how to switch themes safely is crucial, as issues can arise regardless of the current or new theme being used.
Switch your WordPress Theme Safely
Before moving further, it is good to have a backup of your WordPress website. Ideally, you should already have several restore points available. Since changing themes is a significant undertaking, it’s essential to be fully prepared in case you need to regress to a previous state for any reason.
Step 1: Have a Testing Site Ready
You should preferably have a staging or testing site that acts as a lab where you can test your changes before pushing such important updates to your main website.
Step 2: Install and Preview Your New Theme
Before activating the theme, navigate to the Appearance > Customize section within your dashboard. Here, you can enhance your WordPress site’s appearance and even preview how your new theme will look. This allows you to make adjustments and ensure everything aligns with your desired aesthetics before making the switch.
Click on the Change button located next to the Active theme section in the left-hand sidebar:
Next, select the theme you want to test and click on the Live Preview button under its name.
Following this, WordPress will showcase how your home page will appear after activating the new theme.
Step 3: Activate your New Theme
Now that you know how your website will appear with the new theme, it’s time to proceed further. Close the Customizer and navigate to the Appearance > Themes tab. From there, simply click on the Activate button next to your chosen theme:
The WordPress will now process the changes. After some time, the new theme will be activated and ready to go.
Step 4: Resolve Errors
After activating the new theme, you might need to clean up certain elements, especially if your previous theme had specific features. In our experience, this step often requires the most time, as its extent depends on how the switch impacted your website’s layout and functionality. As identified in the introduction of the article, switching WordPress themes might lead to the breaking of different parts of the website, such as:
- Widgets and shortcodes
- Call to Action Buttons
- Navigation bar
- Specific sections of your page.
Your content should stay intact after the theme switch, as it is unaffected by this process. Next, your focus should shift to customizing the new WordPress theme to align with your desired appearance. Further, confirm that important functionalities from your previous theme are not missing in the new one. If any feature is absent, explore plugins as alternatives to maintain the desired functionality.
If your pages consist of a particular schema markup, you have to make sure to configure your new theme to load the schema properly.
Step 5: Push your Website Live
After confirming that your website is bug-free and visually appealing, it’s time to launch it. If you took the cautious route and used a testing website, now’s the moment to transition it to your live site. Essentially, this involves replacing your current live website with the enhanced version from testing.
Switching themes in WordPress is a task that requires careful consideration to avoid disrupting your website’s functionality and appearance. While it may seem simple, changing themes can lead to various issues that affect your site’s performance. It’s crucial to follow a structured approach to ensure a smooth transition. By creating a backup of your site, testing the new theme in a testing environment, and resolving any errors that arise during the switch, you can minimize potential problems. Customize the new theme to align with your preferences and ensure essential functionalities are retained. With proper planning and execution, you can safely switch WordPress themes without affecting your site’s content.\
Hire Theme Migration Service if you want to make the process of switching theme hassle free.