Checklist: Changing WP Themes (during early stage website building)

Last Update: January 19, 2018

I changed my WP Theme last night and here are a few action steps that helped me to make this transition smoother in the very early stages of WP website building.

1. Widget-ready

Check if you are using a widget enabled theme and then switch to another widget-enabled theme. If you switch to one that is not widget enabled, you will lose some elements.

2. Functionality and plug ins

Once the new theme is activated, test that everything still works. Check if you need to go back and add functionality that you want from the old theme to the new one. Try out all features including single post pages, contact page, etc. Ensure all widgets are still there and working properly. If you want the formatting to be relatively the same, you might check the new theme plug-ins because some use their own default styles.

3. Different Browsers

Check your site in various browsers (Chrome, Explorer, Opera, Modzilla, etc.).You want your website to look as expected in most browsers used today. Please note, some embellished or elaborate themes may not appear exactly the same from one browser to the next.

4. Trim the Fat

Some themes have many features pre-loaded. Get rid of things you don’t need. For example, some themes have too many SEO features. As you learn more about various pre-loaded feature, you might want to eventually choose wisely and trim the fat.

5. Careful Steps

Start changing smaller elements and check it functions properly in various browsers. Later, you can try more drastic changes. Take time to understand the structure of the new theme before taking radical leaps.

6. Navigation Friendly

Some themes offer better website navigation than others. Some may appear very impressive initially – enticing and beautiful yet lack ease of use. You want to test the new theme by imagining yourself as an online user accessing your website for the first time. You want your readers to have an enjoyable, easy and smooth experience when scrolling or browsing through content, topics or other call-to-action type steps on your site.

7. Ask for feedback

When you switch themes, you might ask other users to check out your site on their preferred browsers (with different screen resolutions) to understand better what they see and how they react (like or dislike). Be open to listening to their initial tips. You may or may not decide to make changes based on what they’ve shared. You could even ask them to send you a screen shot (just in case it’s difficult for them to describe their opinions and improvement tips).


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accad Premium
Thank you for this post. I noticed some of the features you mentioned when changing themes but I did not bother to remind the community.
You made a great job.
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phoeby123 Premium
thank you!
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accad Premium
You are welcome.
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frex6 Premium
Great way to test the themes and also a must when it comes to swapping themes.
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phoeby123 Premium
live and learn :)
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Tirolith Premium
Asking for feedback is team work which should be used more than anything in WA. Screen shots will help everyone.

Helping others teachers us as well. No one person knows everything but a team knows most things.

Thanks for your time, Tom.
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phoeby123 Premium
Thanks for commenting
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MKearns Premium
I like your process of test driving the theme Phoeby!
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phoeby123 Premium
Thank you! vroom vroom
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SurfsideBob Premium
Great stuff, well thought out Phoeby! I remember when I started designing sites years ago, I'd install a theme and it looked nothing like I had anticipated - certainly nothing like the demo. So checking all of the areas that you bring up is important. I published a couple of posts recently - 1 about creating a Free SiteRubix site to experiment on - a 1 about creating a Child Theme. Hope you find them helpful. Peace my friend. :-)
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phoeby123 Premium
Thanks for kudos and followup tips. I'll check it out.
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