A Helpful Checklist Before Changing Your Theme

WordPress sites are great for providing users with countless theme options to update their site. There are thousands of themes you can install on your WordPress site that you can customize and change at any time. Before you decide to swap out your current theme, here’s a list of what you should do before changing your theme:

  • Make a backup of your website
  • Test current plugins with the new theme
  • Put your site in maintenance mode
  • Test the theme on multiple devices

How to Change a Theme

Your WordPress admin dashboard, located in the top-left corner of your screen, is the yellow brick road that leads you home from anywhere in your site.

To choose a new theme, click on “Add New.” You will then be able to choose a theme based on the type of business or website you want to build.

Responsive Themes, and Why You Need One

A “responsive theme,” in WordPress speak is one that’s been coded with the specific ability to shift responsively between desktop and mobile displays. As you search for a theme for your new WordPress site, look for those that are labeled as being responsive.

Because responsive design has become so popular, you’ll find that most WordPress themes claim to be responsive. But don’t just take their word for it. Instead, read reviews of the theme, if they’re available. Did any past users mention issues regarding the theme’s ability to operate responsively? If so, you may wind up facing the same problems yourself once you’ve installed the theme.

Once your new responsive theme is active, test it on as many devices as you can (or check out a testing service like UserTesting) to ensure it’s operating the way you expected. If you’ve hand-coded images to customize your theme, for instance, you may find that the site’s responsive coding isn’t being applied correctly, leaving you with assets that break the boundaries of your responsive design.

WordPress theme options are overlaid upon the source code and determine the appearance and some of the functions of a new WordPress site. Most free and premium WordPress theme options contain proper HTML markup to accommodate search engine bots, and many of the newer themes and upgraded versions of older themes include mobile-friendly features as well. For older themes that don’t have these features, there are plugins that can add features, such as mobile responsiveness and enhanced options for adding metadata and other search engine optimization elements, in cases where switching from an easily recognized longstanding theme to a newer one would pose problems for a site’s brand recognition.

Having a user-friendly site with optimal UX is essential for creating a positive online experience for your visitors. When a user is on your site, anything that conveys a message like an image, video, or product description can influence how they interact with your site.

Usability testing is also a method of evaluation that can help you identify more finite issues a user could be experiencing with your site.

Themes can be as detailed, or as simple as you’d like. Just choose a theme that works for your website type, and find ways to personalize it in order to show the world who you are. You can find the latest themes on WordPress.org or in your admin dashboard.

Desiree Johnson
Desiree Johnson | Content Specialist
Desiree Johnson is a Content Specialist at Bluehost where she writes helpful guides and articles, teaches webinars and assists with other marketing and WordPress community work.

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