Tag - Properly

How to Properly Change a WordPress Theme (Ultimate Guide)


Are you planning to change the WordPress theme of your website? WordPress makes it super easy for users to change and manage themes on their site.

However, you must remember that changing the appearance of your live website is a major event. You need to keep certain things in mind before and after you change a theme, so you don’t lose any data and website traffic.

In this article, we’ll show you the step by step process on how to properly change a WordPress theme with a step by step checklist.

How to Properly Change a WordPress Theme (Ultimate Guide)

Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll learn in this article:

Things to Do Before Changing a WordPress Theme

While changing a theme is literally a few clicks away, you must take some precautionary steps before starting the process.

We recommend that you to go through the following checklist to ensure that the process of changing your WordPress theme goes smoothly, and you don’t end up losing important data.

1. Copy Snippets from Your Current Theme

Some intermediate WordPress users like to customize their website by adding code snippets directly to the functions.php file of their theme.

Since these changes were made once, people usually forget about them.

If you or your web developer made these changes, then make sure to go through the files of your current theme and note down all the additional code that you’ve added previously. This will allow you to add them later into your new theme’s functions.php file or a site-specific WordPress plugin.

2. Test Load Time

Before changing your theme, you should check the load time of your website, so you can easily compare the differences in the page load time after you made changes to your website.

Remember, WordPress speed is an important factor in user experience and SEO, so you need to make sure that the new theme is faster than your previous one.

You can check your website speed by using a tool like Pingdom.

Make sure that you test the load time of the homepage and also some of your inner pages.

3. Don’t Lose Any Tracking Code

Some users add their analytics tracking code directly to their theme files. Also, there are WordPress themes that allow you to add Adsense or Analytics code in their settings panel.

One of the most common mistakes beginners make is to overlook these codes.

You need to make sure that you copy all the tracking codes, so you can add them to your new site after changing the theme.

To future proof this, we always recommend users to install Google analytics using a plugin like MonsterInsights, and for other tracking code we recommend using the header and footer plugin.

4. Make a Full Backup

It’s always recommended to back up your posts, images, plugins, and the database before changing your theme.

You can use a WordPress backup plugin to create the backup of your entire site. Make sure that you download this backup to your computer before moving forward.

This step will ensure that you can recover your website easily if anything goes wrong.

5. Sidebar Content

Sidebars are used for adding different widgets including social links, advertisements, subscription forms, or a contact form.

Make a note of these changes. If there is any custom code added into a widget, then make sure you copy and paste this code on your computer, so you can reuse it in your new theme.

6. Keep Your Site on Maintenance Mode

It’s a good practice to put your website on maintenance mode when you’re making changes to it. You don’t want your visitors to see an under construction site, right?

We recommend using the SeedProd plugin for this purpose.

SeedProd plugin

It’s a popular WordPress plugin that allows you to easily create beautiful coming soon and maintenance mode pages for your site.

To keep your site on maintenance mode, you need to install and active the SeedProd plugin.

Next, head over to SeedProd » Settings page to configure plugin settings. Here you need to select the Enable Maintenance mode radio button and click on the Save All Changes button.

SeedProd enable maintenance mode

How to Install a WordPress Theme

After following the above precautions, the next step is to install a theme that you want to use on your site.

There are thousands of free and paid WordPress themes available for you to pick from. The fact that you’re reading this article means you’ve likely found a good theme for your needs.

If you haven’t already selected a theme, then we can highly recommend the following WordPress themes to you:

1. Divi

Divi WordPress theme

Divi is one of the most popular WordPress theme in the market. It’s powered by the drag and drop Divi Builder which allows you to easily build any kind of website.

It comes with 20+ pre-built layouts and 46 different content elements. You can easily customize each element of your site and see the changes in real time.

2. Astra

Astra WordPress theme

Astra is a lightweight and speed-optimized WordPress theme. It’s compatible with various page builder plugins like Beaver Builder, Divi, and Visual Composer.

It’s a translation and RTL-ready theme. This allows you to start your website in any language and even create a multilingual website.

Astra can be easily integrated with the WooCommerce plugin, so you can easily create an online store without much hassle. You can also customize the header, footer, layout, and more using the WordPress Theme Customizer.

Our favorite part about Astra is all the starter website templates it comes with.

3. StudioPress

StudioPress WordPress themes

Genesis is the most popular WordPress theme framework and has been built by the StudioPress team. You can create amazing websites using the Genesis framework and other StudioPress themes.

In case you don’t know, StudioPress is now a part of WP Engine, the most popular managed WordPress hosting company.

The best part is you’ll get 35+ StudioPress themes for free if you sign up for any WP Engine hosting plan.

4. OceanWP

OceanWP WordPress theme

OceanWP is a responsive and multi-purpose WordPress theme. It offers multiple demo templates that have been built with different professions and businesses in mind.

It is compatible with the major page builder plugins. You can also use different extensions to take your site to the next level.

5. Beaver Builder

Beaver Builder plugin

Beaver Builder is one of the best drag and drop page builder plugins that allow you to build stunning pages for your site without any coding skills.

Beaver Builder is compatible with almost every WordPress theme, and you can even use it to create a custom WordPress theme without writing any code.

Anyways, we hope the above recommendations will help you to choose a WordPress theme for your site.

Once you’ve selected a theme, you need to install it on your WordPress site. Y

ou can use any of the following 3 methods to install a WordPress theme:

  • Using the WordPress theme search option
  • Uploading a theme from your WordPress Dashboard
  • Installing a theme using FTP

You can check out our beginner’s guide on how to install a WordPress theme for help.

How to Change WordPress Theme Without Going Live

Once you’ve installed your new theme, you are ready to switch themes.

However, it’s always recommended to test a theme before switching to it on your live website.

This way you’ll be able to check the compatibility of the new theme with your existing plugins and make sure that everything is working properly as desired.

There are two ways that you can use to change your WordPress theme without going live:

1. Live Preview Option

By default, WordPress allows you to preview a theme on your website without changing it.

To do that, head over to Appearance » Themes from the left sidebar of your admin panel.

On this page, you’ll see all the installed themes on your site. You need to hover your mouse over the theme you want to preview and click on the Live Preview button.

WordPress Theme Live Preview Option

This will open your new theme in the WordPress Theme Customizer. You can now test your new theme and make sure that everything is working properly.

2. Theme Switcha Plugin

Another option is to use the Theme Switcha plugin. It allows you to preview your new theme without activating it.

First, you need to install and activate this free plugin. Next, go to Settings » Theme Switcha from the left sidebar of your admin panel.

Theme Switcha plugin settings page

On the Settings page, you need to select the “Enable theme switching” option and then, scroll to the bottom of the page to click on Save Changes.

This plugin will now display all your installed themes at the bottom of this page. Go ahead and click on your new theme to preview it on a new tab of your web browser.

Theme Switcha available themes section

How to Change WordPress Theme on Live Site

After you have tested your new theme, it’s time to start the process of switching the theme on your WordPress site.

To do that, go to Appearance » Themes from the left sidebar of the WordPress admin panel.

Change WordPress theme on live website

On this page, you need to hover the mouse cursor over the theme you want to use and then click on the Activate button to change the WordPress theme.

Now you can visit the homepage of your website to see the new theme in action.

How to Change WordPress Theme Manually

Sometimes an error can make your WordPress admin area inaccessible. In that case, you won’t be able to change the theme using the above method.

To recover your website, you need to restore it from backup, or you may troubleshoot the WordPress error causing the problem.

However, if you don’t have a backup, then you can change the theme manually with the help of phpMyAdmin.

This method allows you to inform WordPress which theme to use by changing the information in the database.

First, you need to connect to your website using an FTP client and go to the /wp-content/themes/ folder.

FTP WordPress themes folder

Here you’ll be able to see all the themes that are currently installed on your website. You can also install a WordPress theme via FTP if you don’t see it.

Next, you want to write down the folder name of the theme you want to use because you’ll need it later.

After that, you need to go to the cPanel of your WordPress hosting account. On this page, you will have to scroll down to the Databases section and then click on phpMyAdmin.

cPanel open phpMyAdmin

Once you are in phpMyAdmin, you’ll see a list of databases on the left side of the screen. Simply click on the database that you are using for your WordPress site.

phpMyAdmin open database and table

Next, it’ll show you the list of tables in this database. You need to click on the “wp_options” table to open it.

Note: By default, WordPress use wp_ as the prefix for the table names. However, it’s possible to have a different database prefix, as shown in the above image.

Now you need to locate the template and stylesheet rows on the right panel.

Template and stylesheet rows

Next, click on the Edit link present in the “template” row to open the editor.

Here you need to change the value in the option_value field to the theme name that you want to use. It’s usually the same as the folder name in /wp-content/themes/ folder that you copied earlier.

Change template value

Once you’re done, click on the Go button to save the changes. Next, go ahead and repeat the same process for the “stylesheet” row.

After making changes to both the rows, you can go to your website to see the new theme in action.

Things to Do After Changing Your Theme

Once you’ve changed the theme on your website, you need to take care of certain things before turning off the maintenance mode.

You can check out the following checklist of things to do after changing your WordPress theme:

1. Test Your Website

First, you need to make sure that all the functionalities, plugins, and widgets are working properly.

You should invest some time to test your website and check out different things including the posts, comment section, images, and the contact form.

2. Cross Browser Compatibility

Browsers have a tendency of showing certain things differently.

To make sure that your website looks good in every major browser, you should test your site in different web browsers including Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

3. Add Tracking Code

After you’ve tested the features and the cross-browser compatibility, you should add your analytics and Adsense tracking code to your site.

You can use the MonsterInsights plugin to add the Google Analytics tracking code. This will allow you to properly setup analytics and view detailed website stats right inside your WordPress dashboard.

4. Turn Off Maintenance Mode

You can disable the maintenance mode on your site to make it go live.

If you’re using the SeedProd plugin, simply go to SeedProd » Settings from the left sidebar. On the settings page, select “Disabled” and click on Save All Changes to turn off the maintenance mode.

SeedProd disable maintenance mode

5. Test Loading Time

You need to go to the Pingdom website again to test the loading time of your homepage after changing the theme.

Next, compare it to the load time when your old theme was installed. If you see any major differences, you can follow our guide to improve WordPress speed.

6. Monitor Bounce Rate

After switching themes, you should monitor the bounce rate of your site.

If your new theme is not user-friendly and difficult to navigate, it may increase the bounce rate of your site.

You can add related posts, popular posts widget, and breadcrumbs to reduce the bounce rate and increase page views.

7. Ask for Feedback

You can also ask your users for feedback and suggestions on how to improve your site design. You can use survey forms or online poll to gather user input.

You can share the new design with your subscribers using an email marketing service and ask them for their suggestions. This will help you to get ideas on what they would like to see improved.

We hope this step by step guide helped you easily change your WordPress theme. You may want to see our list of the must-have WordPress plugins for business websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more WordPress video tutorials. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.



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How to Properly Switch From Wix to WordPress (2019)


Looking to switch from Wix to WordPress?

Wix is a popular website builder that lets you create a simple website, fast. However, many Wix users soon realize that their options are limited and adding extra features can become quite expensive.

If you want more features and flexibility without the high costs, then switching to self-hosted WordPress is the best choice. WordPress powers over 32% of all websites on the internet because it’s extremely powerful. In this article, we will show you how to properly move from Wix to WordPress and grow your website with complete freedom.

Move from Wix to WordPress

After reviewing various different ways to move from Wix to WordPress, we believe the easiest method is by importing your blog posts via RSS.

In this step by step guide, we will walk you through the process of transferring your Wix website to WordPress. Depending on how many pages you have on your Wix site, the migration can take upto an hour.

Here are the steps to migrate from Wix to WordPress:

  1. Sign up for WordPress web hosting
  2. Setup your new WordPress site
  3. Customize your site’s style and appearance
  4. Import your blog posts via RSS
  5. Convert your Wix pages to WordPress
  6. Create your main navigational menu
  7. Redirect Wix to WordPress

Ready to switch from Wix to WordPress? Let’s get started.

Step 1: Signup for WordPress Web Hosting

To start a WordPress blog, the first thing you’ll need is a web hosting account for your website.

Web hosting is your website’s home on the internet. This is where all of your files and data is stored.

You will also need a domain name (such as www.yoursite.com). This is your website’s address on the internet.

When you use Wix, they host your website for you which is also the reason why it’s quite limited. On the other hand, WordPress is a free software, so you’ll need a place to install it. That’s why you need to purchase web hosting and a domain name.

We highly recommend that you use Bluehost because they are an official WordPress.org recommended hosting provider.

They have agreed to give WPBeginner readers a free domain and over 60% off discount on web hosting when you use our special Bluehost coupon code.

→ Click here to Claim this Exclusive Bluehost offer ←

If you want to look at more options, then we have a list of the best WordPress hosting providers that you can choose from.

Some other companies that we recommend are SiteGround and HostGator.

In this tutorial, we’ll use Bluehost for screenshot and examples.

If you’ve already registered a domain name with Wix, that’s no problem. When signing up with Bluehost, you can enter your existing domain under the “I have a domain name” option.

Enter your existing Wix domain name on the right

Later on in this guide, we’ll walk you through how to transfer your domain when your new WordPress site is ready.

Step 2: Setup Your New WordPress Site

After purchasing your new hosting plan, you’ll need to install and setup WordPress.

If you signed up with Bluehost, then they automatically install WordPress for you, and you can simply login to your WordPress dashboard from your hosting account.

Upon login, you will see your WordPress admin dashboard:

WordPress admin dashboard

All other WordPress hosting companies also offer 1-click WordPress installers from their hosting dashboard. If you need help installing WordPress, then you can refer to our step by step guide on how to install WordPress for beginners.

Once you login to WordPress admin area, it’s a good idea to set your WordPress permalinks.

Your permalink settings will determine the address of each blog post. For example, instead of publishing a blog post to:

www.yourblog.com/2017/10/blog-post-title

You can publish it to:

www.yourblog.com/blog-post-title.

You can change your permalink settings by navigating to Settings » Permalinks in your WordPress dashboard. Once you have selected the structure you want, click on the Save Changes button at the bottom.

Change WordPress permalinks before importing Wix

For more details about permalinks, you can check out our post on SEO-friendly URL structures in WordPress.

Step 3: Customize Your Site’s Design

Next, you should customize the appearance of your website. It’s easy to do that using WordPress themes.

WordPress themes are similar to Wix templates, they control the appearance and display of your WordPress website.

There are thousands of free WordPress themes available for you to use. Some themes are very basic and minimalist, while others will add a lot of new features to your site.

WordPress themes

As a WordPress beginner, you may want to start with a simple theme that’s easy to use. We have a list of recommended simple WordPress themes you can take a look at to get started.

Wondering how to decide on a theme? You can check out our article on selecting the perfect WordPress theme for tips and advice.

Once you have found a theme you like, you can install it by following our guide on how to install a WordPress theme.

Remember, you can easily change your theme in the future, so it’s important that you don’t spend too much time on this step.

You can even use the default WordPress theme and start with the migration process. Because the most important part is moving all of your content from Wix to WordPress.

Step 4: Import Your Wix Blog Posts to WordPress

In this step, we’ll transfer your Wix blog posts over to your new WordPress site.

Wix is a closed platform, and they don’t provide an easy way for users to migrate their content away from Wix.

But we can still automate the process by importing your Wix RSS feed, instead of recreating each blog post manually.

To get started, you’ll need to download your Wix RSS file.

You can locate the file by adding /feed.xml to your Wix website URL.

If you don’t have a custom domain with Wix, then you can find your RSS feed at username.wixsite.com/blogname/feed.xml, where “username” is your Wix username and “blogname” is the name of your blog.

If you have a custom domain such as www.yourwixblog.com, then you can find your RSS feed at www.yourwixblog.com/feed.xml.

After navigating to the proper URL, you should see a page full of code.

Go ahead and right-click anywhere on the page and click Save As to save the file in your computer.

Save Wix RSS feed

Now that you have your RSS file, you can log in to your WordPress dashboard and click on Tools » Import.

Next, click the Install Now link under the RSS heading.

Wix to WordPress migration using RSS feed

After a few seconds, you’ll see a link at the top of the page to Run Importer. Go ahead and click the link.

Next, you need to click the Choose File button and select the feed.xml file that saved to your computer. Once selected, you can click the Upload file and import button.

Click the upload button to transfer Wix to WordPress

If you have a lot of blog posts to import, then it can take several minutes to import them all.

When it’s done, you’ll see a confirmation message.

Your Wix blog posts imported to WordPress

To check on your blog posts and make sure they were exported from Wix correctly, you can navigate to Posts » All Posts and click View underneath each post.

Blog posts imported

At this point, the content of your blog posts has been transferred, but there’s one problem: any images in your post are still hosted with Wix.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to fix this and move your images over to WordPress.

All you need to do is install and activate the Auto Upload Images plugin.

Plugins are like apps for WordPress that allow you to add new features. We have a step by step guide on how to install a WordPress plugin.

After installing and activating the plugin, you’ll need to re-save each post that contains images, and the plugin will import images inside it.

It would be time-consuming to edit each post one by one, but we have a handy trick that you can use to quickly re-save all WordPress posts at once.

Simply go to Posts » All Posts page and then click on the Screen Options button at the top.

Display more posts

You need to increase the number to 999 in the ‘Number of items per page field’ field and click on the Apply button.

WordPress will reload the page, and this time it will show 999 posts at a time.

Next, you need to select all your posts and then select Edit under the bulk actions menu.

Select all posts

After that, you need to click the Apply button. WordPress will show you a quick edit box with all selected posts. You just need to click on the Update button, and WordPress will update all your posts.

See our guide on importing external images in WordPress for more detailed instructions.

Step 5: Import Your Wix Pages to WordPress

After you have imported your blog post, next we’ll need to transfer your Wix pages over to your WordPress site.

Wix doesn’t provide any automated way to do this, so we’ll have to recreate each page in WordPress one by one.

First, you can navigate to the Wix page you want to transfer to WordPress. Highlight all the content (except for the page title). Then you can right click and click on Copy.

Copy Wix pages to WordPress

After that, you need to login to your WordPress dashboard and navigate to Pages » Add New to recreate the page. At the top of the page, you can type in the page title. Then you can right-click and and click on Paste to recreate the content.

Paste page content

For help with styling your pages, you can check out our article on add new post or page in WordPress.

When you’re finished styling your page, you can click the Publish button to publish your page on your new WordPress site.

Publish your page

While you can follow the above method for all text based pages, it won’t work for certain pages like your contact page.

You’ll need to install a contact form plugin like WPForms to create a contact page. We have a step by step guide on how to create a simple contact form.

Now that you’ve converted all your content, it’s a good idea to carefully review your posts and pages to make sure everything is working right and looks the way it’s supposed to.

Step 6: Create Your Main Navigational Menu

Next, you’ll want to make sure your visitors can easily navigate through your new website using your primary menu.

You can create a navigational menu by going to Appearance » Menus. Type in a name for your menu, and click one of the Create Menu buttons.

Creating new navigation menu

Next, you can select whichever pages you want to add to your main menu, and click the Add to Menu button. When you’ve added all the pages you want, select the menu position.

Finally, click the blue Save Menu button on the right.

Add pages to menu

Now your menu has been created and is live on your website.

Step 7: Redirect Wix to WordPress

Your new WordPress site is complete, and you’re ready to let your readers know about your move.

It’s important to not only announce your move to your readers but to setup proper redirection.

You want all visitors of your old site to land on exactly the same page on the new site. This will also let search engines know that your old site has moved to a new location.

Note: You can only redirect users to your new WordPress site if you had a custom domain on Wix. Unfortunately, if you were using a wixsite subdomain, then you cannot redirect users to your WordPress site.

First you need to open a plain text editor like Notepad and paste this code:


var hashesarr =  
"#!about-us/c1it7":'/about/',
"#!contact/ce54":'/contact/',
"#!random-article/c1mz":'/random-article/'
 ;

for (var hash in hashesarr) 
    var patt = new RegExp(hash);
    if (window.location.hash.match(patt) !== null) 
        window.location.href = hashesarr[hash];
    



In this code we have added three example URLs in the following format:

"#!about-us/c1it7":'/about/',

The first part of the line looks for a string in the URL. This will be the URL your Wix users will be coming from. The second part in the line is the WordPress slug for the same page.

Unfortunately, you will have to manually add each URL in this format. Once you are finished, you need to save this file as redirects.js.

Next, you need to upload this file to your WordPress theme’s /js/ directory using an FTP client.

If your theme does not have a /js/ directory, then you need to create one.

Now you need to edit your theme’s functions.php file and add this code at the bottom of the file:


function wpb_wixjs ()  
wp_enqueue_script( 'wixredirect', get_stylesheet_directory_uri() . '/js/redirects.js', array(), '1.0.0', true);
 
add_action('wp_enqueue_scripts', 'wpb_wixjs');

Don’t forget to save your changes.

That’s all, you can now try visiting a URL from your old Wix site to see the redirect in action.

Note: These redirects will not redirect search engines and are not very SEO friendly.

Lastly, don’t forget to inform your readers of your new address. You can do this by announcing your move on social media, writing a blog post about it, and sending out a notice to your email newsletter.

Step 8: Add Essential WordPress Plugins

WordPress plugins allow you to add more features to your site. Plugins work like Wix apps. There are hundreds of plugins available, free and paid. You can check out our archive of articles about the best WordPress plugins if you’re not sure where to start.

We also have a list of the must have WordPress plugins for all websites.

If you’re looking for a Wix style drag & drop page builder, then we recommend using one of these best drag & drop WordPress page builder plugins.

That’s it! We hope this tutorial helped you switch from Wix to WordPress without a lot of hassle.

We would like to welcome you to the WordPress community. To get started with WordPress, please take a look at our beginner’s guide section and our WordPress beginner videos.

If you have a friend still using Wix, then you can show them your new WordPress site and our comparison on WordPress vs Wix and convince them to switch over.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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