Thinking of Switching Your WordPress Theme? – Do’s and Don’ts of theme replacement

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WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) tool which enables users to publish and manage online content like blogs etc. with ease. It is perhaps the most powerful and user friendly tool available for the purpose, if I may add so. Even a publisher with basic internet skills is able to create a simple blog with minimal effort. WordPress enables users to choose themes or readymade templates for the blogs which form the backdrop or the skeleton on which content is written or pasted. These themes play an important role in enhancing the look of the blog. I am sure everyone will be familiar with the concept of Themes as you might have changed it multiple times on your smart phone, desktop or tablet.

Changing or replacing themes in WordPress is a common practice by users. Themes basically add that extra bit of oomph and style quotient to the otherwise boring content. Themes you use in your blog define your character and to an extent also reflect your mood. It would not be wrong to say that the USP of WordPress is the availability of endless themes. Let us analyse a few facts and problems related to frequently changing WordPress themes.

What-to-Know-Before-Changing-Your-Wordpress-Theme

Why to change?

A question to be asked here is as to why a theme change is required. Although there is no established rule or law which prevents you from doing so, but you can’t change it just for the sake of it. A very famous old saying that comes to my mind at this point is “It is important to do the right thing, but the reason for doing it should be equally important”. If you want to change the theme just because a few new themes have been added to the ever growing collection of themes, then you have yourself a wrong reason. New themes will keep on coming, as creativity and imagination can never be confined or limited in boundaries. Even fun cannot be justified as a valid enough reason for changing the theme. In my opinion, frequent changes affect continuity. For a new user it is still ok, but for a frequent visitor at your blog, sudden changes can be overwhelming. Compatibility issues are also a common problem while changing themes, as the new theme might not be compatible with the old one. So don’t get carried away and avoid frequent theme changes.

In case you still want to change. What to do?

1.How to select the right theme?

Here comes the tricky part. On a rough estimate WordPress has around 10,000 themes to choose from divided into categories and sub categories. If you start from morning till night it will take you a few days if not months to even get a sneak peek at all of them, leave alone changing and trying them on. Subtlety and simplicity are the virtues you should remember while choosing the theme. Too bright colours should be avoided as they can be an eye sore. Be topic centric while choosing. This is the most important aspect of choosing the right theme. The theme you choose should be related to the topic on which your blog is based. To give an example, if you have a property related blog and you apply a theme with a picture of a blue whale, it’s surely going to look odd. This aspect should be considered even when you contemplate replacing the theme image. Choose themes with colours and backgrounds, which match with your blog pictures and complement them rather than making them look out of place.

2.What precautions to take while changing the theme?

  • Though the chances are very rare, but you could lose your data while changing the theme. So it is advisable to create a backup first, before you begin.
  • Make sure that your blog works well with all browsers like Internet explorer, Firefox & Google chrome, as some browsers might not fully support your new theme causing problems affecting your blog’s functionality.
  • Keep traffic at bay while changing the theme by displaying a message ”we’ll be back shortly” or “Closed for maintenance”.
  • Run rigorous tests to check the integrity of the blog against possible flaws after a theme change to ensure that it is working perfectly after the change and only then open it for users. If any bug still persists, the bloggers are anyway going to report it to you.
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    The other side of the coin:

    There are however, many benefits also associated with changing the theme which should also be discussed. Since CMS tools like WordPress keep updating their technology, switching to a newer theme may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, solving many technical issues you might have experienced with your older theme. Newer WordPress themes also might have enhanced SEO functions, resulting in increased rankings of search engines. Due to refinement in technology, newer themes are lighter and faster and open much quicker as opposed to the older themes. Newer themes are also expected to perform well with plug-ins resulting in better performance.

    Apart from technical benefits, another added advantage will be a new and enhanced look for your blog, in case you choose a good new theme. The new theme if selected with good design elements in mind can uplift the overall look of the blog while keeping it simple and sober.