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What to Do Before & After Changing Your WordPress Theme


Times change, preferences change, and blogs change. It’s such an easy thing to do, right? You just flip a switch in your WordPress admin and *poof* you have a new look! With all the amazing designs, I’m the first to admit that it’s hard to pick only one. Whether you are changing it for the first time or the fiftieth time – there are several steps to follow before and after implementing your theme change:

Before Changing Your WordPress Theme:

  • Backup Your Current Theme
    Just in case you edit your old theme, or pull items from it, you want to keep a backup in case you need to revert!

  • Revisit Your Categories & Pages
    In changing to a new theme, be careful of where the Categories and Pages list. If you are moving from a side navigation to a top navigation, you may need to pare down your category list and their titles in order to make it fit. Now is the time to make those changes, not after implementing the new theme.

  • Save Your Code
    Before I disable one theme, I typically create a document with all of my ad code, Adsense code, etc. I can then grab them and add them into the new theme in the appropriate locations.

  • Disable Your Plugins
    Not all plugins work well with all themes. In order to avoid chaos, your best bet is to disable all your plugins as you swap out the theme, and then add each one in slowly (testing your blog for errors).

After Changing Your WordPress Theme:

  • Check the Design and Broken Links
    Make sure that your Categories and Pages look appropriate and are all functional. Bounce around the site and make sure all of your links are in tact. Test the appearance of your blog in various browsers for consistency.

  • Check Your Sidebar
    Most themes come with a blogroll and links. You will want to edit these out and add your own.

  • Check Your RSS Feed
    Sometimes your RSS feed will get wonky. Test it out by subscribing to your blog and seeing how it comes across.

  • Add Your Analytics Code
    You will need to go back in and add your analytics code to the footer (or other section) of your theme.

  • Add Your Adsense Code/Ads
    You may need to edit your index and single page files if you embedded ads, affiliates, or Adsense code between your posts. This holds true for the sidebar, header, and footer as well. You may need to change the colors of your code to match with the new theme.

  • Enable Your Plugins
    Evaluate your plugins and enable the ones that are still necessary for your blog to look and run the way you want it to!

What about you? Do you have any tips for installing a new theme?

Nikki Katz is the Managing Editor for the BlogWorld Blog. Feel free to follow her Twitter @nikki_blogworld and @katzni

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