HOW TO SAFELY SWITCH WORDPRESS THEMES WITHOUT LOSING YOUR CONTENT
You’ve decided on installing a new theme but making the switch seems like a daunting task for you. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll lose all your content.
When switching a WordPress theme rest assured that all of your content including your media, posts, pages and comments will remain the same.
Although switching WordPress themes can be very easy, there are some precautions that you need to take which I have outlined below:
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BEFORE CHANGING YOUR THEM
1-BACKUP YOUR FILES
Plugins such as Updraft Plus and BackupBuddy will automatically backup your plugins, database, themes, content and other necessary files for your website. Usually, backup plugins will store your backup files off-site in a secure location, so you won’t need to worry about anyone hacking into your information.
Updraft Plus has both free and paid versions but BackupBuddy is only a paid plugin. Here are other backup plugins to check out:
BackWPup (free and paid versions)
Duplicator (free and paid versions)
You should consider doing manual backups too if you have a very large site.
Doing a manual backup requires a little bit more technical know-how, but we will walk you through it:
- Log into your website control panel. Your control panel is through your website hosting provider.
- Click on the option that says one of these: “FTP access,” “FTP settings,” “FTP account” or “FTP users.”
- Log in and copy the files you want to backup from the correct directory. You do this by typing: “ftp://yourwebsite.com” into a separate browser. Obviously, where it says your website, you would insert your website name there.
- Go back to the control panel and open up “phpMyAdmin.”
- Choose your database. If you only run one website, there should be only one.
- Export the database. There should be an option to export the database.
Once it is exported, you have a manual backup of your site as it currently sits at the time you did the export.
2-CHECK YOUR WIDGETS
As a WordPress user, you probably already know how much you use widgets to run different aspects of your website. Most widgets are very easy to use, which means many times users will customize them to their needs.
If you are currently using a widget-enabled theme, you need to make sure the new theme you are going to use is also widget-enabled, otherwise, you will lose any of the data from the current widgets you use.
You new theme will probably have different widget areas than your old theme. After the switch, the widgets you had before should appear in “Inactive Widgets” at the bottom of the widgets screen and you can easily re-drag them to your new sidebar areas.
Make note of your active widgets and any information associated with them to avoid losing any of this information in the switch. You should also remove any widgets that you no longer use
3-COPY ANY WEBSITE TRACKING DATA
Some website owners paste the Google Analytics Tracking Code into the footer. When you switch themes, that information will be lost and your website will no longer be tracked in Google Analytics .So make sure that you paste the code again after you switch themes.
DURING THE PROCESS OF CHANGING WORDPRESS THEMES
1- PUT WEBSITE IN MAINTAINANCE MODE
2-TEST COMPATIBILITY WITH MAJOR BROWSERS
You will need to check what your website theme looks like on all major browsers including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari.
3-TESTING FUNCTIONALITY AND PLUGINS
Try to view your website as a new user or ask a friend to help you with the task of checking the functionality of your site. This includes:
- Commenting on Blog Posts( if applicable)
- Contact Page
- Widgets( Social Sharing Buttons, Email Newsletter signups etc)
- Search Functions
- 404 Error Page
AFTER CHANGING WORDPRESS THEMES
1-REMOVE ANY UNNECESSARY PLUGINS
When you update your theme, you may realize that you have some plugins which you do not use. Installed plugins which are not being used can slow down your website unnecessarily, so I suggest removing plugins that you no longer use.
2-UPDATE YOUR ADS
If you’re using third-party advertising on your site, you will need to go back and make sure that everything is displaying correctly. You will also need to update the designs of your ads to make sure that they align with your brand.
3-LET YOUR VISITORS KNOW
Your regular users will obviously know that you have updated your site once they see the change in design. So it’s a great idea to write a short blog post telling your users that you have changed your website design to tell you if they face any problems on their end.
Changing your WordPress theme doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you’re prepared ahead of time and have taken the steps to prepare and protect your website.
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