How to Change WordPress Theme Without Losing Content
After some time you want to make changes to the layout of your website or Word Press blog , but you are faced with the need to change the template . And now? How to do this without risk to stop the site or cause problems to the content ?
If this is the first time that will change template, rest assured that the task is simple, just take some care to avoid problems. Read the step-by – step before you choose and activate the new template, because these tips can make you avoid head aches in the future.
Study the Structure of Templates involved
The very structure of WordPress greatly simplifies changing template, let’s see how we can summarize this structure :
Note that the structure is basically the same in all template, but of course there are many possibilities for variations, such as the change of sidebar side, and whether or not Sidebar or Footer.
The first step is to give this structure between the current template and which you want to install. A good tip is to always analyse the width of these areas, especially the sidebar, which usually vary between templates.
Check Customizations made to your Template Current
It is possible that you have made one or other changes in your template. Remember that the new template will not have this customization automatically. You should check the above changes manually added to your template files. Seek First the functions.php and file and CSS styles.
For this reason I recommend that from now always document the changes made to your WordPress, put them in a file and save it in a safe place, and post comments with your name on the files you edited.
It is also extremely important to check the load time of your website with the current template, so you have a basis for identifying whether there will be more work to be done on time to improve your new template.
Use tools to measure site load time as the Pagespeed Insights and YSlow, and then apply techniques to optimize the speed of WordPress.
For safety, always create a full backup of your site before performing the exchange of the template. And do not forget the database. So you will have no problems in returning to the starting point if something goes very wrong.
Take a Test Drive
That’s right, a test drive with your new template. Before activating your new template use the plugin Theme Test Drive. This plugin allows you to limit the template display to a particular group of users, such as administrators only, without having to stop your site.
It is an excellent tool for you to make the compatibility test with its contents. But unfortunately it does not allow you to change the new template configuration.
To verify the new template configuration and make more effective testing in its new layout, you need to activate a plugin that puts your site in maintenance mode, so while you do all the configuration of your new template, your users will not see your site being changed, and not run the risk of possibly broken display pages, but a screen stating that the site is temporarily down, as follows:
We use then the plugin Custom Coming Soon Pages, which allows you to display a message and still tell the time the site will be off the air.
Try to keep the maintenance mode for a maximum of two hours. If you can make changes in a lower shipping time, early in the morning is the best time for this, so you guarantee enough time to put all content in its place and everything working properly.
It is very important that after the activation of the new template you make that all plugins are working properly without disfiguring your layout. Remember that some plugins are exhibitor and configured in widgets, so check the pages carefully.
Experiment also in all the features of Word press as research, articles pages, single pages and especially the contact page or other pages that generate conversions.
Check your RSS Feed
Some templates allow administrators to integrate the feed with Feed Burner site, so after the change, if your template is included in this category is important to verify that the new template also enables this integration. If otherwise select and activate a plugin for this task.
Keep an eye on your ads
For sites that use ads as a source of income it is extremely important to a good analysis on each ad unit used in your site.
Remember to keep the pattern in the color of links ads, for example, if the previous template was basically blue and you your links were blue in Google Ad Sense, but this new template a new basic color is a must lighter blue, go to the configuration of Ad sense and change the colors of the links
Compatibility with browsers
Do not forget to check if after all the changes in the new template, if all browsers display the features of your site as expected. It is very common that some style rules are interpreted in different ways for each browser.
Use the Google Analytics data you had in your old template to set the browsers priority order according to the percentage of importance that each had the old hits.
With the growth of the mobile market it is very important that you make sure your site is compatible with the display in each type of device. A good tip is to always seek to replace the old layouts for responsive templates.
Keep an eye on bounce rate after the exchange template , note the main pages of the site, as this information may indicate that some changes had no acceptance by your visitors and you should take action to correct the problem.
Do not be afraid to change your template , just analyze the exchange carefully. Today is the fact that presentation and style count a lot in the visitor ‘s decision to take action within sites . So you just overcome small obstacles to get good results with the new look of your website.
Have you done any exchange template? Leave your comment here , saying it was their experience that can help other WordPress administrators to avoid problems.