Your business’s website is the central key to its success because without it, there would be no way to connect with customers and audiences.
It allows you to gather revenue in different ways, interact with customers from around the world, and create a professional brand for your business’s name.
However, building your business’s website can take a lot of time and effort. This is why so many new businesses start out with WordPress as their website’s platform as it offers so many different and unique themes to help personalize their brand.
The thing is that you may be tempted to ‘update’ the theme of your WordPress website. As your business grows and changes, so can your WordPress website – but how can you change a theme in WordPress?
Prep You Need To Do First
Before anyone starts to play around with the theme of their WordPress Website, it’s super important that you start backing things up so you don’t lose any important information and be forced to rebuild parts of your website.
Here are some things you should do first in preparing for changing your WordPress theme.
Make Copies Of Your Codes
So, first things first, copy down the additional code from your current theme. As you have added plug-ins customizations or code snippets to your website’s functions.php file, these will not be carried over into your new theme.
So, you should go through these files and write down all the changes you have made to the code. This way, when you change your WordPress website’s theme, you can quickly remake the customization changes.
If you have added any analytics tracking codes to your files, you should also copy them down too so you don’t lose them.
Again, this is so you can add them to your new themed website later and not lose any information or progress you have made in the past.
Another thing many people forget to save is the sidebar – remember to write down any codes you have used to customize it!
Test The Load Times
You will also need to test the load time of your website so you can compare the differences to your new theme.
This will help you gather important information when it comes to SEO and user experience, so the last thing you need is to change your theme only to find out it’s slower than your previous one.
There is a testing tool for WordPress speed you can try out here to ensure that your new theme will be faster than your old one.
Use A Plugin To Back-Up Your Website
Finally, you should then make a full back-up of your website. This will save all of your images, plugins, posts, and more before you change your theme.
You will need to use a WordPress back-up plugin to achieve this, but it will make an exact copy of your website so if anything goes wrong, you still have the original to fall back on.
Installing Your New WordPress Theme
Once everything is backed up and you have your new WordPress theme at the ready, it’s time to start installing it!
Finding Your Theme
To first install your new theme, you need to head to the Appearance menu on the admin sidebar underneath your Dashboard. In the drop down menu, select ‘Themes’ to open up the theme menu.
There, you can either use a theme you have previously installed or select the ‘Add New’ button at the top of the screen.
This will open up a search bar and allow you to browse all of the themes on offer with WordPress. If you have not found a theme yet, then this is the best place to find a new one.
Alternatively, you can find more complex and professional themes available to purchase and download on third party websites.
Changing Your Theme
Once you have found the theme you wanted, you can just select the ‘Install’ option underneath the theme itself, right next to its name.
WordPress will then install your theme and save it for future use. Once the theme is installed, a green tick and ‘Installed’ bar will appear above the theme. Now, all you have to do is select the ‘Activate’ button to apply it to your website.
However, there is also a ‘Live Preview’ button as well that will allow you to view your website in the new theme before making the change. This can help you fully see if the theme is really the best one for your website.
Uploading A Third-Party Theme
If you want to upload a theme that you purchased from a third party website, then you need to head to the same Themes menu as before.
Select the ‘Add New’ button and once the search bar opens up, the ‘Add New’ button will have changed to ‘Upload Theme’.
Select ‘Upload Theme’ and then ‘Choose file’. Another window will open up, allowing you to search your computer for the theme’s .zip file so you can upload it and install it to your WordPress.
Then, it will appear just like another installed theme ready for activation.
Now that your new theme has been installed and activated, your website should now look completely different. However, it’s a good idea to do a few things afterwards to ensure everything is wrapped up neatly.
First, test the website out for yourself to make sure all the widgets and plugins are up and running. Test it across lots of different browsers (such as Firefox and Google Chrome) to ensure that it is accessible to all of your customers.
You should also test the loading time and monitor the bounce rate of your website.
Add a new suggestion widget on your website so your customers can get in touch with you about their new layout and use this to gather feedback regarding user experience!
This way, you optimize your website to help your business grow its brand and revenue. Good luck!